Junebugred – KY Derby Contender

In the September 2010 Keeneland yearling sale, a chestnut colt went through the ring and sold for a mere $20,000 dollars. While most of us would not consider $20,000 a small amount of cash, consider that Seattle Slew sold as a yearling for $17,500 in 1975. With inflation, that sum would be considerable more than $20,00.

Junebugred was that chestnut colt who went through Keeneland ring in 2010. While it is way too early to compare any of the current three year olds to the great Seattle Slew, it’s important to note that Seattle Slew was considered a bargain at that price in 1975.¬† With over $95,000 in earnings already, Junebugred can already be considered a bargain for that $20,000. On top of that, he is a legitimate contender to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Checking, Junebugred’s pedigree, reveals a dosage index of 1.91 with a distribution squarely in the center – the classic distance – the Triple Crown races. He is by CORINTHIAN (Pulpit) out of the Dixieland Band mare, DIXIE MELODY. Corinthian ran 12 times, winning 6 and finishing out of the money only 3 times. Dixie Melody ran 7 times herself, winning twice. Both parents won ran in stakes company with Corinthian winning and Dixie Melody placing. Throughout his pedigree you will see the likes of such classic winners as: Northern Dancer, Easy Goer, AP Indy, Seattle Slew, Alydar and Secretariat.

Junebugred himself has raced three times so far in his career. His first out as a two year old he finished a non-threatening third. He raced again as a two year old. This time he broke his maiden in a battle with a determined foe from the 1/8th pole, finishing a length ahead. In January of 2012, he made his three year old bow, this time in stakes company in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Again, the colt faced setbacks, but was determined not to cede the lead once he had it, winning by a neck. In winning the Smarty Jones Stakes, Junebugred proved that he could hold his own in stakes company, beating the talented filly On Fire Baby and the well thought of Optimizer. More importantly, his handling of whatever was thrown at him – issues at the start, traffic issues and a determined foe – that he had the toughness to handle it all.

Going against Junebugred may be his breeding cross. Pulpit and his sons crossed with Dixieland Band mares has not been particularly successful. True Nicks only rates this cross as a C+. Cause for additional concern with his chances on Derby day is his late birthday. Junebugred was foaled on May 23. Such late born foals are not even actually three for the running of the Kentucky Derby. Often that can make a huge difference.

Should Junebugred stay healthy and make it to the gate for the Kentucky Derby, he may have the deck stacked against him on age and breeding, but I wouldn’t count him out of being a serious contender if he does make it in.

Fight to the finish and keep in the money!

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