In this edition of our Derby Profile, we look at WEYBURN, the James A. Jerkens trainee who owns 50 qualifying points for his Road to the Kentucky Derby, all of which came from his victory in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct earlier this month.
WEYBURN is a lightly-raced colt and we're going to take a closer look at how he's performed so far, and discuss his chances to win the Run for the Roses.
The last time we saw WEYBURN, he pulled a massive upset winning the Gotham Stakes (G3) at 44-1. Part of the reason for his humongous odds was because he was entering the race merely as a maiden graduate, and was facing more accomplished rivals. Specifically, he was entering off a maiden 80K race at Aqueduct, going seven furlongs over the slop. Prior to that, he was second in another maiden 80k race, and the race before that, he was soundly beaten by Rank #36 NOVA RAGS. There was not much on paper to indicate he belonged with the field; at least nothing quite obvious.
The other reason for the huge odds can be attributed to the fact that sentimental betting money went to FREEDOM FIGHTER, the Bob Baffert trainee, who was coming off a game second-place finish against CONCERT TOUR. WEYBURN was basically written off, but the way he won makes him a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby.
On paper, WEYBURN's overall early, middle, and late speed figures match the criterion of a Kentucky Derby winning performance. The major caveat is that those speed figures are were considerably influenced by his wonderful performance at just one mile. We'll want to see him stretch out and show the same grit and determination all the same. Therefore, we ought to consider this colt's pedigree.
WEYBURN's breeding suggests he'll happily welcome one or two extra furlongs just fine. The classic distance shouldn't be too much to ask. He's by PIONEER OF THE NILE out of SUNDAY AFFAIR by A.P. INDY. He's got EMPIRE MAKER as his grandsire. If we ascend to his third generation level, we see SEATTLE SLEW in WEYBURN's bloodline. That means he's got three winners of the one mile and one-half Belmont Stakes (G1) in his lineage. The longer the distances get, perhaps the more tougher we can expect WEYBURN to be.
But how do we equate WEYBURN'S class with that of the rest of the Kentucky Derby contenders? Well, in that category, he is not far behind. In fact he's up there with the top ranked horses.
If we look at his Gotham Stakes (G3) win, according to reputable papers, it was rated equally as impressive as Rank #3 GREATEST HONOUR's Holy Bull Stakes (G1) victory, as well as Rank #8 ESSENTIAL QUALITY's Breeder's Cup Juvenile (G1) win. That's good company to be part of, considering how lightly raced WEYBURN is! This same paper continues with speed averages that indicate WEYBURN has shown more competitiveness than HELIUM, MEDINA SPIRIT, HOD ROD CHARLIE, and even CONCERT TOUR relative to thier respective opponents. The reader is encouraged to review Brisnet's data on the Kentucky Derby candidates.
WEYBURN is currently training for the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) which is on April 3rd, 2021 at Aqueduct. His last workout was at Belmont Park, going 4F in 50.93 seconds, the 20th fastest of 45 works at that distance. Not a flashy work, but hey, it was his first time training since his last victory. We'll want to pay attention if he's worked once more before race day.
In the Wood Memorial, he'll have his mettle tested because a deep field awaits him. One of the "probables" is the up and comer PREVALENCE — who we discussed superficially in the GREATEST HONOUR Derby Profile edition, and who may win the race and receive his own focused discussion! PREVALENCE will be a tough customer from the barn of trainer Brendan Walsh, as the Godolphin-owned colt seeks his first graded stakes victory following two impressive wins against much weaker company.
Two West Coast horses may ship across the country for the race: ROMAN CENTURION and ROMBAUER, though nothing has been declared official. We shall revisit this race when the field takes greater shape. At any rate, the Wood Memorial is an important learning-race for WEYBURN, specifically on the issue of distance. Let's not forget that his win in the Gotham Stakes (G2) was only going one turn. Now he'll go two turns against a tougher field. This is much-needed experience to prepare for the Kentucky Derby's classic distance. Stay tuned as we draw nearer to WEYBURN's upcoming prep — for it will award to its winner 100 qualifying points for the Derby, something you don't want to miss!