While the outside-drawn (12) Chance It was scratched from the field of the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes early Saturday afternoon, the 11-post didn’t stop last month’s Holy Bull runner-up Ete Indien. Breaking from the far outside of 10 starters, the 3-year-old son of Summer Front got a hot start and made it over to the rail before the first turn. Under jockey Florent Geroux, who replaced the colt’s regular rider Luca Panici after an injury, Ete Indien led the field all the way around the Gulfstream oval, cruising under the wire an easy winner of 50 points toward the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
Trained by Patrick Biancone and sent off at odds of 3-1, Ete Indien ran 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.02. The colt is campaigned by Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable, Horse France America, D P Racing, and Patrick Biancone Racing.
“We have been through a week of hiccups,” Biancone said. “First we lose our jockey [Luca Panici, to injury] and second we draw [outside] but good horses can overcome everything and I think he’s an exceptional horse. We look forward to the future. I want to see how he comes back, how he works the next time. He’ll need to improve a little bit to be able to win the Florida Derby. We’re here in Florida, he’s training in Florida and we love Florida. I think we’ll take a shot if he’s in good form.”
The race’s 6-5 favorite for his seasonal debut, the highly-touted Dennis’ Moment did not engage and finished last.
Trainer Dale Romans told the Daily Racing Form‘s Marty McGee that: “the jock told me he grabbed a quarter. I want to go back and see it if I can. It sure is disappointing. Getting beat is one thing. To get beat like that, something has to be bothering him.”
Of course we are disappointed that things didn’t go our way today. We’re going to take some time to give Dennis’ Moment a thorough look and hopefully we’ll have more to share in the near future. He looks good at the barn. No injuries.
— Dale Romans (@Romansracing) February 29, 2020
Ete Indien had to be very sharp out of the gate to make the lead and get over to the rail, but Geroux managed to accomplish that and rein in the colt’s enthusiasm before expending too much, too early. Settling in with a one-length advantage, Ete Indien led Gear Jockey and Liam’s Lucky Charm into the backstretch run.
Looking comfortable all the way around the course, Ete Indien pulled away from the field in the far turn and despite drifting out late, galloped under the wire an easy 8 1/2-length winner. Candy Tycoon got up for second over As Seen On TV, and Shotski finished fourth. Country Grammar was fifth.
“As soon as I secured a spot, I just put the horse on cruise control and the horse was nice and easy, started flopping his head and took a nice breather,” Geroux relayed. “When he got into a rhythm, he just felt very good. He wanted to get out at first when he saw the lights, but he’s very professional. I didn’t think he was that quick, to be honest. I didn’t think he had this kind of speed, which gives us way more options in the future.
“Patrick flew me over earlier this week to get a good feel for him and breeze him nice and easy, so it was very important for me to get a good feeling on him before the race. I really loved him when I breezed him, I was very excited and looking forward to today. I’m feeling very bad and sorry for the jockey who used to ride this horse, Luca Panici. I know it’s part of the game. I’ve been injured before and people rode my horses, that’s how it goes.”
Bred in Kentucky by Robert B. Tillyer and Eric Buckley, Ete Indien is out of the Mizzen Mast mare East India, a half-sister to stakes winners Piquant and Flavor. An $80,000 yearling at the Keeneland September sale, Ete Indien was pinhooked by Powerstown Stud through the Arqana May 2-year-old sale. There, he brought a final bid of $269,640 from Biancone and returned to the United States.
Debuting over five furlongs on the turf, Ete Indien closed to win by a neck. After a disappointing eighth in the G3 Bourbon Stakes over Keeneland’s turf, Biancone entered the colt on the dirt in a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream. Ete Indien won by 2 1/2 lengths that day, earning a spot in the starting gate for the G2 Holy Bull. Beaten only by early Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law that day, Ete Indien rebounded to an easy victory when absent that rival in the Fountain of Youth.
Overall, Ete Indien has won three of his five starts for earnings of over $330,000.
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