Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Three Technique leads 5 to know

Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Three Technique leads 5 to know
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

With each passing weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar, more 2-year-olds are popping up with victories that should springboard them to the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail. Such was the case again Saturday when Three Technique and American Theorem (pictured above) broke their maidens hours apart and on different coasts.

First at Saratoga, Three Technique looked to be beaten as a favorite for the third straight start. He had all but one rival to pass into the stretch and faced traffic before uncorking a rare type of rally, living up to a $180,000 purchase price for former NFL coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm.

According to Trakus, Three Technique, a son of Mr Speaker trained by Jeremiah Englehart, finished the final 1/16 of a mile in 12.06 seconds, blasting to a 5 1/2-length victory in a hand ride.

Given the slow start, Three Technique registered just an 83 Beyer Speed Figure. But he certainly looks like a hype horse for Belmont Park’s Oct. 5 Champagne Stakes (G1) going a one-turn mile.

"Jeremiah told me we had something, and I have a lot of faith in him" Parcells said on Saratoga Live. "...I thought we were done at the bottom of the turn. I said, 'There's no way he's going to be able to get in position.' But Jose (Ortiz) -- can't count him out either."

Later at Del Mar, American Theorem proved he’s as fast in the afternoons as the son of American Pharoah had showed in the mornings. Off as the favorite in a field that included two Bob Baffert horses — how often does that happen in a maiden special weight flight in California? — the George Papaprodromou trainee learned plenty.

With a wall of horses in front of him up the back stretch, American Theorem sat chilly under jockey Tiago Pereira, then showed nice turn of foot to make up ground through the turn, going inside rivals and then swinging out for the stretch drive.

In the end, American Theorem leveled off in a hand ride to win by 1 1/2 lengths, completing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.32. Should he look to go longer, Santa Anita hosts the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) going 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 27.

In addition to those two weekend winners, check out three more to watch:

1. Express Train

Second to Del Mar Futurity (G1) favorite Eight Rings by 6 1/4 lengths first out, this John Shirreffs trainee stretched from 5 1/2 furlongs to a mile on the dirt to much success. And it never hurts to have jockey Mike Smith take the return call off a defeat on a young horse.

A $500,000 son of Union Rangs, Express Train won last Wednesday’s maiden special weight flight at Del Mar by a gaudy 14 1/4 lengths, punching his ticket to the American Pharoah.

Shirreffs has another juvenile to watch — at least in this observer’s opinion — after longshot Thunder Code looked full of room but had nowhere to go late in American Theorem’s victory Saturday, finishing third. Bet that one next time.

2. Rowdy Yates

The familiar connections of L and N Racing and trainer Steve Asmussen, who sent Lookin At Lee out for a runner-up finish in the 2017 Derby, won yet another Ellis Park Juvenile with this $42,000 son of Morning Line, whose connections readily admit they wondered about distance in the seven-furlong race back on Aug. 18.

Rowdy Yates passed that test and now, as an Oklahoma-bred, has options moving forward. He could show up Sept. 14 and go two turns in Churchill Downs’ Iroquois (G3), the first Derby points race, or tackle Remington Park’s series of 2-year-old races in his home state.

With this one, it’s at least a bit concerning that the only horse to defeat him, Bashford Manor (G3) winner Phantom Boss, came back Friday against Cal-breds looking more than a step slow.

3. Acre

A Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider homebred, he’s a son of Blame and a half-brother to Lea, who won the 2014 Donn Handicap (G1) and finished second in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

So even though Acre was entered second out in an Aug. 17 turf race at Saratoga, he remained in the field when the race shifted to the dirt. The colt defeated favored main track-only entrant Market Impact — a West Coast sibling — by 3 1/2 lengths.

Bill Mott trains Acre, who returned to the work tab Friday.

For more...

 Dennis' Moment kicks off the Derby Radar

 Eight Rings emerges for the Baffert barn

 Casse already has two for the trail

About the Derby Radar

Back for the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Horse Racing Nation's Derby Radar seeks to identify promising maiden, allowance and even stakes winners who could target points-paying preps down the line. We'll cover the buzz horses, of course, then using a systematic approach based on past years' Derby contenders identify other talented colts moving up the ladder.

Did we miss one? Email editor Jonathan Lintner ( if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.

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