Short-priced favorite Colonel John overcame his inexperience and a rail draw in his first two-turn race to deliver a polished victory in the $105,900 Real Quiet Stakes for 2-year-olds on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track Nov. 18.
The talented Tiznow colt won for the second time in three starts for owner and breeder WinStar Farms and trainer Eoin Harty. After successfully making his first start beyond seven furlongs, Colonel John becomes a leading contender for the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) Dec. 22 after completing the 1 1/16-mile test in a solid 1:42.92.
Corey Nakatani steered Colonel John slightly off the rail at the top of the home stretch, and the bay quickly surged past the three leaders — Many Rivers, Cafe Tortoni, and Overextended — in the lane to win impressively by three lengths. Overextended topped Cafe Tortoni by 4 1/2 lengths for second, with second choice Gallon, closing on the extreme outside, settling for fourth. With Colonel John saving ground all the way, Many Rivers set the pace — :24.32, :48.19, and 1:12.26 — before fading to fifth in the field of seven.
"He has turned into a very nice horse," Nakatani said. "Working with Eoin and knowing what the horse is capable of doing, our main goal today was to get him to relax...get that high cruising speed. Off of those fractions on this track, the way it is, for him to run like that is just awesome.
"By his breeding--Tiznow out of a Turkoman mare—that's pretty good breeding for the Derby. So we'll just keep our fingers crossed, and I know he's on that road, so I'm looking forward to his next race."
"The distance for this horse is not going to be a problem; he is certainly coming around nicely," Harty said. "It seems like the Hollywood Futurity will be his likely return spot, but he will have to be supplemented, so that's something we'll have to talk about."
Colonel John debuted in August with a second-place finish in a six-furlong maiden race on the Del Mar Polytrack Aug. 19, then returned on Oct. 7 in a sizzling 4 1/2-length win at Santa Anita Park over seven furlongs in a brisk 1:21.47. He had been working regularly and fast at Santa Anita since then for Harty. Colonel John, who earned $65,900 for the win and has now banked $105,300 in his brief career, is out of Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman.
Sent off at 7-10, he paid $3.40, $2.40, and $2.10. Overextended, coming off a seventh-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), returned $3.20 and $2.80 with Martin Garcia aboard. Cafe Tortoni, ridden by Michael Baze, was worth $5.20 to show.