Barn Notes

Craft Unicorn Drops Down Into Allowance Company

Posted Friday, Sep 28, 2012

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            Saturday will be a day of firsts for Crafty Unicorn when trainer Dennis Manning tries him on the dirt, at the distance of a flat mile, and in allowance company for the first time in the colt’s young career.

            “If you don’t try you’ll never know whether he’ll like it,” said the veteran horseman, who will run Crafty Unicorn on Monmouth’s main track in the featured $32,000 allowance/optional claiming race. “But if you look at his breezes on the track, he’s done very well on the dirt.”

            The Florida-bred bay colt is by Friends Lake out of Unicorn Kid, making him a grandson of champions A.P. Indy and Lemon Drop Kid, who both won the Belmont Stakes plus multiple Grade 1 races on the main track, so he is bred to relish dirt and distance. But Manning ran him for the first time in March on Polytrack and he broke his maiden in the $100,000 OBS Champion Stakes at the Ocala Training Center going around two turns.

            Since then, he has never competed in anything other than stakes races on the turf or traveled a distance shorter than 1 1/16 mile. Crafty Unicorn finished third in three successive events, the $75,000 Sophomore Turf Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, the $60,000 Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth and the $60,000 Jersey Derby also at Monmouth. Last time out, in the $60,000 Restoration Stakes here, he set the pace but weakened and faded to fifth.

            On Saturday, he turns back from 1 1/8 miles to 1 mile and drops down into the allowance ranks.

            “I don’t know if it’s a drop in class for him or not,” said Manning. “It looks like a solid field to me.”

            Speaking of looks, Crafty Unicorn is an especially handsome horse.

            “He’s one of the best looking horses I’ve ever seen. When he went through the (auction) ring, I told myself that I had to have him,” said Manning, who paid $20,000 at the OBS 2011 sale for the colt who has already earned $82,500 in his five starts.

            Gospel Lesson, Adduce, Nebikon, Disco Rhythm, Kid Sidney, Loving Dove and Esporon round out the field and all are experienced on the main track. Kid Sidney tried the turf for the first time in the Jersey Derby and finished fourth, right behind Crafty Unicorn. Last time out on Sept. 8, he was a solid second on the main track against this same class of horse.

            “I took the blinkers off and I think that helped quite a bit,” said trainer Steve Hobby. “I don’t like the shorter distance, but I do think this is a nice spot for my horse.”

 


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