The Count Fleet stakes is one of my favorite races for 3-year-olds. It was that race I first saw a chestnut colt from Philadelphia, who had started his racing career with a serious bonk to the head, had a no-name jockey, and a trainer whose last name wasn’t Pletcher, Zito or Baffert. After that impressive victory, I put that horse on my watch and followed him as if he were the Dalai Llama himself. I bet on that horse when he raced in Oaklawn. I bet him in the Derby Future Pools and the Triple Crown. Yes, Smarty Jones made me look like a genius.
The 2005 Count Fleet didn’t capture my attention this year, at least in the racing form. I didn’t even handicap it or wager on it. But I watched. Achilles of Troy romped to a 14 length victory, setting a stakes record at 1 mile 70 yards at 1:39.61. He earned himself a nice little Beyer of 104. Of interest, this horse was wheeling back after only 9 days when he broke his maiden at 6f, with a Beyer of 96. Sprint to route, and speed figure improvement to boot. Jockey, Alan Garcia, is only winning at a mere 9%. Trainer Jennifer Pederson, at 11%. I read in DRF that she felt that Achilles of Troy was more of a one-turn horse. Well, this horseplayer was most impressed with his two-turn ability on January 7th. He’s on the horse watch. And he may pop up in the Whirlaway.