Anyone who remembers the "old" days no doubt took great joy in seeing Shanghai Bobby win the Three Chimneys Hopeful (gr. II) and Foxwoods Champagne (gr. I) stakes, arguably the two most prestigious 2-year-old stakes prior to the advent of the Breeders' Cup. It was in those two races that 2-year-old and 3-year-old champions were born.
So, here we have a horse who won both races in impressive fashion and then journeyed cross-country to Santa Anita to win the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in a gutsy performance that showed everyone he had the courage to go with his talent. We also have a horse who closed his 2-year-old campaign undefeated in five starts at five different distances from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, while competing at four different racetracks. He was ridden by Rosie Napravnik in all 2012 starts.
It is difficult not to jump on this colt's bandwagon, especially if you're one of the many fans starving for a Triple Crown winner that evokes memories of the champions of yesteryear.
Owned by Starlight Partners and the Coolmore partnership of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, the son of Harlan's Holiday--Steelin,' by Orientate, began his career with a four-length victory in 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct, followed by a workmanlike score in the listed Track Barron Stakes at Belmont going 5 1/2 furlongs. Then came dominating wins in the Hopeful (by 3 3/4 lengths) and Champagne (by 5 lengths). In the latter he pressed the pace and still was able to fly home his last quarter in :24 1/5 to complete the mile in 1:35.55.
In the Juvenile he had every right to regress off the Champagne, especially traveling 3,000 miles and racing without Salix for the first time, and while his performance was not as brilliant as his previous two, he showed perhaps the most important attribute of all--courage under fire.
Appearing beaten turning for home, he dug in the length of the stretch and fought off the challenge of He's Had Enough to win by head.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonehaven Steadings, Shanghai Bobby was a champion in every sense of the word.