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Sanchez entertaining offers, targeting Kentucky Derby for Social Inclusion
Following Social Inclusion's record-setting allowance victory at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, owner Ron Sanchez of Rontos Racing Stable is considering offers to purchase the three-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt.
Under a hand ride from jockey Luis Contreras, Social Inclusion romped by 10 lengths over the well-regarded Remsen winner Honor Code in 1:40.97 for 1 1/16 miles, eclipsing the track record of 1:41 set by Devil's Cave on February 16.
The owner had several visitors at trainer Manny Azpurua's Gulfstream Park barn on Friday morning to look at Social Inclusion, who Sanchez purchased for $60,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.
"I've had maybe eight or 10 offers. We're going to sit down and analyze everything and do what's best for the horse," Sanchez said. "I know this is a business, but we're going to make a decision that is going to be the best one for the horse. We're going to take our time and see what happens. If I sell, it has to be for big money. I want to keep a piece of the horse, because this is the horse of a lifetime. It's a dream for every horseman."
Thursday's race was the second career start for Social Inclusion, who joined Azpurua's barn in mid-December and debuted with a 7 1/2-length maiden score at Gulfstream on February 22, running six furlongs in 1:09.35. Sanchez brought Social Inclusion to Ocala as a yearling and initially sent him to trainer Jeff Bonde at Santa Anita before returning to South Florida with fellow Venezuelan Azpurua.
"He was training extremely good, but he was still a little immature and we wanted to give him time because he's a May foal," Sanchez said. "We wanted to take our time because if you give a horse the time, it will pay off and now it is paying off. We brought him back to Florida because this is the Championship meet and if you think you've got a good horse, you've got to try with the best ones."
Social Inclusion is by the same sire as multiple Grade 2 winner Cairo Prince, the likely favorite for the $1 million Florida Derby on March 29, and Grade 3 Sam F. Davis winner and Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Vinceremos. Off his latest effort, Social Inclusion joins them on the Triple Crown trail. Sanchez is considering both the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct the following week on April 5 for a next start. Both races carry 100 qualifying points to the winner for the May 3 Derby.
"Our original goal was the Preakness, but now we are thinking about the Derby," Sanchez said. "The main goal is the Wood Memorial, but we may want to not travel and stay here for the Florida Derby. We'll know soon about everything, maybe in just a couple days."
Both Sanchez and Azpurua were impressed with how Social Inclusion emerged from Thursday's race.
"He's full of energy and he's very proud," Sanchez said. "He's nice and calm. He came back very happy and didn't feel tired at all. That's good, because he ran a hell of a race and set a new track record, and you expect a horse to be a little tired. But, he was nothing like that. He's special. He can handle whatever comes to him. He's just a special horse."