Most Kentucky Derby prospects follow a fairly well defined career path. Admittedly that has changed somewhat in recent years with some trainers choosing to run their horses very little as a two year old but that notwithstanding, the basics are still in place. Social Inclusion is a complete question mark for that reason but here’s the problem–as a very talented, very fast ‘question mark’ its unclear just how good this horse can be.
Here’s the broad strokes of the Social Inclusion story–he was bought for $60,000 as a yearling by current owner Ron Sanchez who at the time proclaimed excitedly that he’d purchased ‘a Derby horse’. At this point most talented horses would be put in the care of one of a handful of top trainers like Bob Baffert or Todd Pletcher. Sanchez instead put Social Inclusion under the tutelage of 85 year old trainer Manny Azpurua–a trainer that has never won a graded stakes race. Sanchez himself is a bit of a question mark–he came to the US from Venezuela in 2010 and says that he used to be in ‘the insurance business’ but there’s little to suggest that is the case. In fact, there’s little record about any of Sanchez’s activities prior to his start in the horse racing business.
All of this would be irrelevant except for one thing–Social Inclusion is a very fast horse. His only raced twice in his career but both were very impressive performances. He made his debut at Gulfstream Park in February winning by 7 1/2 lengths. In his second start he broke a track record as he dispatched Honor Code–then considered a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender–by 10 lengths. Most impressive was his Beyer Speed Figure in that allowance race at Gulfstream Park–his Beyer Figure of 111 was the best pre-Derby race at a mile or longer by any 3-year-old since 2009. It’s not just the raw speed that Social Inclusion displays that is impressive but also his ability to maintain it over relatively long distances.
Most are of the opinion that despite his raw speed he’s overmatched in the Wood Memorial and will be overmatched in the Kentucky Derby. That will be determined on Saturday afternoon and at that point we can assess his prospects for the Kentucky Derby and the rest of his three year old career.