Three alumni of the 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) scored notable wins over the weekend, including Thunder Snow, the UAE Derby (G2) winner who had to be pulled up early at Churchill Downs after bucking through the slop.
The Godolphin colt posted a front-running victory in Sunday’s Prix Jean Prat (G1), an about one-mile race for three-year-olds at Chantilly. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, Thunder Snow handed runner-up (and favorite) Trais Fluors his first career defeat.
In the replay below, the horse in the light blue colors chasing Thunder Snow early is Gold Luck, a half-sister to three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) legend Goldikova. She eventually finishes third.
Also, watch as the field leaves the gate. Lightupthenight is the one who doesn’t want to budge, only gets going reluctantly, and trails in last the whole way.
This marked Thunder Snow’s third start since the Derby,
following a second in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) and a third in the St James’s
Palace (G1) at Royal Ascot.
For more background as well as his upcoming targets in Europe, see the complete recap of Thunder Snow’s Jean Prat at Brisnet.com.
On Friday night, Calumet Farm’s Hence bounced back in the Iowa Derby (G3) at Prairie Meadows, where he rolled from last to first with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith.
The Steve Asmussen trainee was winning for the first time since the March 26 Sunland Derby (G3). While his 11th in the Kentucky Derby was blamed on the wet track, Hence was equally disappointing when ninth in the Preakness (G1) over a fast track at Pimlico. So it’s good to see him back on song.
In Saturday’s Dwyer (G3) at Belmont Park, Practical Joke made his first outing since the Derby an impressive one. The 3-5 favorite had to wait before jockey Joel Rosario could swing out around horses down the stretch, but punched home with authority.
A valiant fifth in the Run for the Roses, Practical Joke has earned all three of his stakes wins around one turn – in last year’s Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1) and now the Dwyer. Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s runner has run well in defeat in his two-turn races, and trainer Chad Brown is likely to give him another chance over a route of ground in the July 30 Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth.
Elsewhere on Belmont’s blockbuster Saturday card, 2015 Kentucky Derby also-ran Keen Ice snapped a prolonged losing streak with gusto in the Suburban (G2).
Famous for upsetting Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Travers (G1), Keen Ice had gone winless since that stunner back in August 2015. The son of Hall of Famer Curlin has been facing Arrogate of late, finishing a distant third to him in last November’s $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), fourth in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) in January, and most recently seventh in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 25.
Photo of Thunder Snow galloping at Churchill Downs courtesy of Coady Photography