Harty’s Derby threat may be Out of Bounds

[caption id="attachment_69047" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Andrew McNamara and Hidden Cyclone jump clear on the way to victory in the Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners Steeplechase at the recent Leopardstown Festival in County Dublin. "]


Eoin Harty can usually be counted on to contribute a runner to the Triple Crown scramble and this year’s candidate appears to be Darley Stable’s Out of Bounds, winner of Saturday’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.

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Out of Bounds, a 3-year-old colt by Discreet Cat, had only four rivals to contend with in the Sham, but one of those was Secret Circle, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. That rival agreed to be rated about a length off the pace, with Out of Bounds another length behind. Jockey Garrett Gomez got busy aboard Out of Bounds inside the eighth pole and they wore down Secret Circle in the final sixteenth to edge away to win by one-half length.

Out of Bounds ran the 2-turn mile over a fast dirt track in 1:34.2. He paid a resounding $22.60 off a maiden victory at Hollywood Park last month.

“He’s a very big horse, but he’s a gentle giant,” Harty said of Out of Bounds. “He’s come around mentally, as well as physically, and sometimes it takes awhile for both to catch up. Lucky this horse has the mental attributes, as well as the physical attributes.”

Harty isn’t ready to specify the next assignment for Out of Bounds, but allowed that “it certainly will be here at Santa Anita.”


Sheikh Mohammed, the master of Darley, has long coveted a Kentucky Derby victory, but has found that goal elusive. He also has a threat with Kiaran McLaughlin in the form of Alpha, winner of Saturday’s Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.

Alpha, a 3-year-old homebred son of Bernardini, recovered from a poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to draw off for the victory by just over two lengths in this 2-turner at a mile and 70 yards over the Big A’s inner dirt track. He was put into a stalking position by jockey Ramon Dominguez after a shaky break, ranged up on the outside entering the lane and prevailed under a hand ride. Alpha got the trip over a fast surface in 1:42.4. He returned $3.60 to win.

Alpha might actually have the better breeding of the two Sheikh Mo runners for the rigors of the classics. His sire, Bernardini, won the edition of the Preakness that is best known for Barbaro’s breakdown, and his broodmare sire, Nijinsky II, needs no introduction. Discreet Cat, the sire of Out of Bounds, is still cutting his teeth as a producer, but might have more of a tendency to stamp out milers. Unbridled’s Song, the broodmare sire, fell flat in his run for the roses while compromised by a quarter crack. His line is probably stretched to the max trying to go 10 furlongs or longer.

McLaughlin swept the two Aqueduct stakes run on Saturday, also greeting Darley’s Captivating Lass in the winner’s circle. This 3-year-old filly broke her maiden at first asking at Philly Park in October, and then had a troubled trip in her return to the races in the Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct in late November.

There were no such problems on Saturday, as Captivating Lass and jockey Mike Luzzi shadowed the pacesetter through the early stages of the race. They advanced steadily down the stretch, eating into the margin and reaching the front inside the sixteenth pole to prevail by a neck.

Captivating Lass got the same trip as Alpha in 1:43.3. She paid $5.80 as the second choice in the field of six fillies.


Eddie Kenneally enjoyed a stakes win, although he had to sweat out a photo before Summerplace Farm’s Heavenly Landing had her number put up in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

Heavenly Landing, a 5-year-old mare by Pulpit, brought consecutive victories over the grass into this race. Before Kenneally tried her on the lawn at Keeneland in October, she’d been winless in seven tries over the main track since breaking her maiden at Saratoga in August 2009.

Jockey Corey Lanerie kept Heavenly Landing well off the early pace and advanced around the far turn, where she was stalled by a wall of rivals. Whereas his rivals were all crouched, ready for the drive down the stretch, Lanerie was standing tall in the stirrups, with nowhere to go. A hole eventually presented itself, Heavenly Landing came on through and did a sidestep to drive up past the leader just in time to put her nose down at the wire. She paid $40.80 to win.

Kenneally also got a pair of wins at Aqueduct last week, starting with Steven Jones’ Thomas Hill in Friday’s ninth race. The 3-year-old homebred gelding broke his maiden against $20,000 claiming stock off two fair efforts in Kentucky. He gutted out a neck victory under Cornelio Velasquez, returned $5.10 to win, and then went to John Parisella’s string via the claim box.

Kenneally then won Sunday’s third race with Edward Marshall’s homebred filly Estrella Vega and managed to keep her. She left the gate an odds-on choice with Velasquez in the saddle and took command inside the eighth pole to score by just over two lengths in this claiming sprint at the $15,000 tier for non-winners of two races. The win mutuel came back $3.20 and there was no interest in the winner at the claim box.


Maybe someday trainer Carl Doran will pen his autobiography and entitle it, “My Success Story.” For the time being, he will enjoy Thursday’s tally in a Penn National maiden special weight sprint by Jody Swartz’ My Success Story. The 3-year-old colt set the pace under Vladimir Diaz and was never seriously challenged while reaching the finish line almost three lengths in front. This was the fifth career start for the winner, and the second under Doran’s tutelage. The win mutuel came back $12.60.