An Ojo lives up to its breeding

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An Ojo enjoyed a comfortable inner journey in 1st grade Arkansas derby, until it was tight and jockey Ramon Vazquez had to check hard for last place. The pair never recovered and finished eighth. Un Ojo’s shoulder literally scraped the rail at the 3/8 post, and he needed staples to close the wound.

An Ojo solidified his 2022 Kentucky Derby dreams with half a victory in the Rebellious stakes (G2) on ethereal roadwho sniffed out late billing barber’s road. An Ojo stopped the clock in 1h45 3/5 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast wet track.

An Ojo (Laoban – Risk a Chance, by AP Indy), Spanish for “one eye”, lost an eye in a paddock incident when he was a foal. The one-eyed wonder has already racked up two second-place finishes in the Withers (G3) and New York Stallion Series Stakes and has 54 Derby qualifying points.

With their Rebel win, Un Ojo handed gifted coach Ricky Courville the first high-stakes win of his career. Courville trained the gelding for his first three starts before Un Ojo was shipped to Tony Dutrow’s New York barn. Courville takes over the duties of the Rebel. An Ojo holds two wins and two second-place finishes in seven starts with $782,571 in earnings.

Southern Equine Stables bred this son of Laoban and Un Ojo breeds in the green and white silks of Cypress Creek Equine LLC.

Un Ojo’s father, Laoban (Uncle Mo – Chattertown, by Speightstown) was a young girl for most of his career, but competed in seven grade stakes. His only win came in the Jim Dandy (G2) 2016 at 27-1. He also ranked in Sham (G3) and Gotham (G3).

Laoban retired due to a soft tissue injury at the end of his 3-year-old season with a 9:1-2-1 ($526,250) total. He started his stallion career at Sequel Stallions in New York for a fee of $7,500.

Part of a posh family that includes several first-year winners and I’m a Chatterbox multi-millionaire, Laoban quickly set about spawning classy entertainers. His stakes winning offspring Simply Ravishing, a 6 1/4 length Alcibiades Stakes (G1) winner, Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Keepmeinmind, and multiple list winners ensured Laoban became the second best first generation bull.

WinStar Farm in Kentucky recruited Laoban for his second year at stud. Unfortunately, the budding young stallion passed away last May. He has a phenomenal 53 winners, including 10 bet winners, out of 95 runners.

So far, none of Laoban’s descendants have won beyond 1 1/8 miles, although one was third at 1 3/16 miles in a stakes race in Puerto Rico.

An Ojo has a well-bred, stake-filled cattail line with roots in the famous Elmendorf Farm and Chester and Mary Broman breeding programs.

A fourth colt, the gelding is the first black-type winner among the Risk a Chance multi-bet miler (AP Indy – Seeking the Ante, by Seeking the Gold).

The class begins with Un Ojo’s fourth dam, the Argentinian mare, Auspiciante (by Practicante). Several times placed in groups in her native country, she was part of trainer Ron McAnally’s South American mare import program. In races in the United States, Auspiciante has won victories in the Ramona Handicap (G1), Matriarch Invitational (G1), and Beverly Hills Handicap (G2).

Auspiciante reproduced through her daughter, millionaire Antespend, who was her father, Kentucky Derby hero Spend a Buck, the only Grade 1 winner in 16 American cultures. Antespend competed against the best mares of her generation, twice beating champion mare Hidden Lake in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Las Virgenes (G1) and finishing second to champion Escena in Fantasy (G2).

Antespend passed on her class genes to Un Ojo’s second mother, Seeking the Ante (Seeking the Gold). The mare has won or placed in 10 of 16 starts, including a win in all seven Nassau County Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G2) and second-place finishes in the Comely (G2) and Top Flight Handicap (G2), both one mile away.

Besides Risk a Chance, Seeking the Ante also carried Mineralogist (Mineshaft), a winner of multiple stakes in New York, and managed from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. The mineralogist’s son, solid 20-start veteran Can You Diggit (Tiznow), won the Evan Shipman Stakes and was placed 1 1/8 miles away.

Kentucky Derby contender or contender?

There is a long history of Rebel Stakes contenders who have left their mark on Triple Crown races. Three, including Triple Crown champion American Pharoah (2015), Sunny’s Halo (1983) and Smarty Jones (2004), have won the Kentucky Derby.

That being said, only five Rebel winners since 2010 have made it to the Kentucky Derby. However, recent rebel victors fared better in Maryland. Four contested the Preakness, with two winners, and last year Concert Tour finished third.

An Ojo has the pedigree and conformation of a road horse. It stretches with good leg extension and no unnecessary movement, such as high knee action or paddling. He is professional, he changes tracks and keeps the right path. But Un Ojo is a regular, one-paced type, with no real speed.

Put an end to Un Ojo’s misadventure in the Arkansas Derby. One-paced grinder types rarely win the Derby unless they can get close to a steady pace. Numerous one-pace bombs spoiled the Exotics, reaching #2 through #4.