A win in the Sunland Derby was enough to convince the connections of Daddy Nose Best to get on the Triple Crown trail.
Finishing a combined 39 lengths back in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness was enough to convince them to put him back on the grass.
Daddy Nose Best was fourth in his return to turf racing, but was less than a length out of it and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame for 3-year-olds on the inner turf course at Saratoga Race Course today.
“I think he comes out of his turf races a lot more spry and trains better out of his turf races,” trainer Steve Asmussen said.
Daddy Nose Best, a son of 2006 Sanford winner Scat Daddy, actually broke his maiden on the turf at Saratoga last year and was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
He won the El Camino Real Derby on Golden Gate’s synthetic in February, and followed that up with a win on conventional dirt at Sunland Park, but was never a factor in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness.
He took some time off, then returned to the turf at Arlington Park, where he was the 7-5 favorite in the American Derby.
Daddy Nose Best stalked a very slow pace, but Cozzetti got first jump on the front-runners and won by a neck over All Stormy. Skyring, who is 3-1 in the Hall of Fame, was third, followed closely by Daddy Nose Best, who is owned by Bob and Cathy Zollars.
“Last time, in the American Derby, the way the racetrack played out and stuff, it just kind of looked like a merry-go-round race,” Asmussen said. “Hopefully, he can improve on that.”
Daddy Nose Best will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez from the outside post of eight, while his regular rider, Julien Leparoux, is on the Calder-based Csaba.
“Hopefully, Ramon can work a trip out for him,” Asmussen said.
Mechanicville native Chad Brown will saddle the 7-2 third choice Yari, making his stakes debut, and Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas has the 3-1 entry of Optimizer and Skyring.
Optimizer, a son of turf champion English Channel, is making his second grass start after having finished off the board in all three Triple Crown races. He was fourth to turf star Silver Max in the Virginia Derby last out.
The front-running Yari is a nose away from being undefeated in his last four starts.
“We didn’t know what he was when he came in — dirt, turf, long, short,” Brown said. “It’s always a surprise when they can brwak out of the maiden claiming ranks and into stakes company.”