It's back to the drawing board for BEZOS after a poor start to his racing career. The son of EMPIRE MAKER out of A.P. MINK by A.P. INDY held the racing spotlight as he trotted the Santa Anita track during the post parade. It was a $60K maiden special weight race, the first start of his career. He'd already been fancied as a KY Derby win candidate by the racing world, betting him down 24-1 in the Future Pool. It was no surprise he drew heavy favoritism to make short work of this group.
BEZOS had been working steadily at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. He did not miss a single work week, dating back to early December of last year. He registered a 5F bullet on Jan. 21st, going :59.40, indicating his readiness. It was the fastest of 39 works that day. Note that the KY Derby Future Pool 2 would open two days later, which probably had bettors frothing at the mouth to submit their wagers.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, nine horses loaded into the Santa Anita starting gate, with jockey Mike Smith and BEZOS in the seventh slot. They were to run six and half furlongs over a fast track.
They broke with the group but Mike Smith had to hustle BEZOS to get up front. Baffert's other horse TIVOLI TWIRL showed the most speed and grabbed the lead with MR. IMPOSSIBLE, the second favorite, shooting up the rail to challenge as well.
They ran through opening fractions of 23.40, the half in 46.19. BEZOS raced in third, on the 3path, less than a length off the pace. He makes his move as they approach the turn, getting on even terms with the leaders under mild urging by Mike Smith. But that was only for a moment. A 20-1 longshot, DREAM SHAKE, came circling the field four-wide, seizing the lead at the top of the stretch and opening up to win by more than five. BEZOS, roused by Mike Smith, had no answer and flattened out to finish seventh. The final time was 1:17.34.
While the Peter Eurton trainee, DREAM SHAKE, stole the show and will likely have a following going into his next race, we should not dismiss BEZOS so easily. The obvious reason being it was only his first start. But there's more to it.
We've come to know Baffert-colts as being trained for early speed. But BEZOS didn't show much natural speed at all. Mike Smith had to urge him forward right from the start. Perhaps BEZOS would've preferred to race further back.
Maybe BEZOS will do better going longer. He's by EMPIRE MAKER, who was not so much the early speed type of horse, but thrived off classic distances.
Nevertheless, it was still disappointing of BEZOS because the field did not go terribly fast to come up totally empty in the stretch, even finishing on the wrong lead. He looked exhausted. But not all great horses dazzle on their debut. Watch out for BEZOS for how he comes off this race, how he responds when Lasix is removed, and how he stretches out for longer distances.