News and STORIES

A Definitive Caddo River Rushes on the Triple Crown Trail, 2021

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday February 05, 2021

A Shortleaf Stables colt has delivered a 2nd consecutive front running and dominating victory by posting a 10 ¼ length runaway win in the Smarty Jones Stakes. Caddo River finished second to bag 10 Kentucky derby points, living up to his hype as a legitimate trial contender for the Triple Crown.

The races were held at Saratoga racecourse, New York, a 7/8 of a mile for which he battled for a fast early lead. The second stretch had Caddo River opening a clear lead, but being caught late in the three-quarters, to finish behind the winner with a length.

Under Minimal Urging, Caddo River Sweeps Through His First Two Starts

On November 15, a Brad Cox trained Hard Spun colt started his next pace control with jockey Florent Geroux debuting him. By the one-turn mile, Caddo River had settled nicely to click off fractions fast, and he completed the opening quarter leading by 1 ½ length.

His will exerted in his seven opponents, and as the significant 3-10 favorite, he drew away to finish under minimal urging and with 9 ½ lengths.

Under Geroux, Caddo River dictated the race's pace, utilizing the same blueprint at the two turns at a mile Smarty Jones race. A short gallop into the first turn, the colt, under his jockey’s prompts accelerated to clear Hardy Swayed and enter an easy half-mile that was largely unchallenged.

Jockey Geroux Confident Of Upcoming Stepping Stones to Kentucky Derby

Caddo River, who opened a 3 ½ length lead with a six-length advantage at the quarter pole early stretch, is pointing to the March 13, $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. The Shortleaf Stables colt cruised to a runaway win, emerging as the 3-5 bookies favorite.

Geroux later stated that the horse was relaxed, doing everything right and making the distance seem as though it wasn't a problem. The jockey was excited with the upcoming days, as according to his sentiments, ‘Caddo River can run all day, which is a good problem.’

Earning 99 Equibase Speed Figures for the Smarty Jones, and being rated an optimistic 82 Beyer Speed Figures, the jockey looks forward to having an excellent first Saturday of May. Caddo River earned 88 and 89 and jumped to 104 with his November Churchill Downs maidens and 92 for his Smarty Jones maidens.

Hard Spun Bred Winner a Fast Prospect to Compete With 3-Year-Olds

Caddo River has a running style and speed that leads from start to finish and it's been his driving force during the two consecutive wins. He presses, relaxes into the race without settling, and then pounces to command a lead, fading very late.

The colt is at his best form, though he's not a need to lead type but more of a setter of the pace, a running style that he's probably taking to the derby. How Caddo River responds to the prep races for Kentucky, and he will be challenged early, will be key to the type of finisher he'll develop into.

Whether the Brad Cox trained colt can rate off the pace for a win, or handle the early challenge pressure remains something you'll soon find out. Shortleaf Stables is an outfit owned by racer-breeder Ed Antony of Arkansas, a graded stakes winner, and 2012 Belmont stakes 3rd place finish.