Bill Lawrence had to ask.
When your 2-year-old wins his first couple starts by a combined 10 1/2 lengths, and his trainer keeps saying the juvenile has the same intangibles as some of his best horses, it’s only natural for an owner to inquire whether that ability might just make him a candidate for the American classics.
So when the time came to send in nominations for the 2018 Triple Crown series, Lawrence wrote the check to give Analyze It a chance, in case trainer Chad Brown could be convinced to try the son of Point of Entry on dirt.
But after watching the bay colt barely extend himself during a 5 1/4-length romp in the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes (G3T) over the Keeneland grass course April 6, Lawrence tucked into the fact that, while his colt may not bound for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), he still boasts one of the more promising sophomore runners going.
“We trust Chad a lot, and he came up to me and said, ‘A lot of owners would have pushed me to try the Kentucky Derby.’ I said, ‘I didn’t push you. I just asked about it,'” Lawrence said with a laugh. “You have to ask about it in January and February, but this guy on the turf is just too good.”
Analyze It has been more than good in his three starts, with his stalk-and-swoop victory in the Transylvania the latest testament to his upside.
After settling in an outside path in third, while longshot pacesetter Beer Pressure cut factions of :24.30 and :48.83 through a half-mile, Analyze It made quick work of things in his season debut. He ranged up with a three-wide move on the far turn and opened up as he pleased in the lane—backing up all the high praise his two-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner has heaped upon him.
“This horse has all the clues you look for if you want to train top racehorses,” said Brown, who is poised for a big opening weekend at Keeneland, with champion Good Magic slated for the April 7 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and unbeaten Rushing Fall set to start in the April 8 Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2T). “He has the ability and the mind. He’s just so easy around the barn—easy to work with, easy to train. But when he gets out on the track and gets in that gate, a switch goes off, and he’s such a fierce competitor.”
Analyze It was on the front end in each of his two starts last season—a 6 1/4-length maiden win over the Belmont Park turf Oct. 28 and a gate-to-wire, 4 1/4-length victory in the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3T) at Del Mar Nov. 26. After a break from the outside post in the 11-horse field for the Transylvania, he showed he could work out a trip from just off the pace when he rated kindly for jockey Jose Ortiz, as Beer Pressure opened up by as much as five lengths down the backstretch.
“Chad drew (a plan) perfect for me,” Ortiz said. “He said hopefully two or three horses would go, and you can sit tight—third or fourth. And that’s what I did. (Analyze It) relaxed very well. The fast pace helped me a lot. When I asked him to go, he went so well—so smooth. He’s a really, really nice horse.”
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Analyze It covered the 1 1/16-mile distance Friday in 1:45.60 over a course rated yielding. Captivating Moon ran on to get second by a nose over Admiralty Pier, with Dragon Drew and Maraud rounding out the top five.
Analyze It was bred in Kentucky by Headley Bell, Nancy Bell, and NATO and was purchased by Bradley Thoroughbreds, agent, for $190,000 out of the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March 2-year-olds in training sale. He is out of the Consolidator mare Sweet Assay and is likely to take aim at the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) this summer, according to his connections.
“We really love this guy. Each time he runs, he could be something really special,” said Lawrence, who campaigns 2017 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Cloud Computing in partnership with Klaravich Stables. “You take it one race at a time, but we were really looking forward to today. And he won with not much effort.
“We’ve been lucky to have a lot of great horses and … this guy is as good as anybody.”
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