Updated on 12/02/2015 3:44PM

Jerardi: Mohaymen at top of Derby heap – for now

R. L. Thibodeau
Mohaymen showed he's a serious horse with his 94-Beyer victory in the Remsen.

I have been waiting all fall for the 2-year-old colts to start running fast. I am still waiting, but I was finally encouraged by a performance. I loved everything about Mohaymen in Saturday’s Remsen – tactical speed, ability to relax behind horses on the inside, willingness to split horses in the stretch, the instant acceleration that has been winning races forever, and the career-best 94 Beyer, the second-best figure by any 2-year-old male in 2015.

If we were coming up on the first Saturday in May instead of the first Saturday in December, the unbeaten $2.2 million son of Tapit would be my Kentucky Derby choice. But that is just a thought, not yet an opinion.

The only 2-year-old male to run faster was Matt King Coal (96) in the race after he was beaten by Gift Box, the horse that could not keep up with Mohaymen late in the Remsen. So I will reserve judgment on the Matt King Coal performance.

We all got spoiled by American Pharoah’s triple digit Beyers in the 2014 Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner. That was the early sign something special could be on the horizon.

There have been no such signs in 2015. In fact, three of the four fastest Beyers by a 2-year-old this year have been by a filly. So it is at least possible that 2016 will be the reverse of 2015 when the fillies were really slow in comparison to other years and definitely in comparison to the colts of their generation.

Songbird’s 99 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies seems likely to hold up as the best Beyer of the 2-year-olds.

Carina Mia, another filly, has the next-best Beyer with a 97, followed by Matt King Coal and the filly Pretty Cool (95). Championofthenile and Greenpointcrusader each got the same 94 Mohaymen just got, but, to me, the most impressive of the 94 group has to be the filly Behrnik’s Bank, not a national name yet, but that may be coming soon.

I watched her Nov. 4 debut at Penn National and almost fell out of my chair. She went 21.94, 44.74, 57.00, and 1:09.54 for the six furlongs, winning by 18 1/2 lengths on a surface that was not super fast. She got an 88 Beyer and I had one thought – the Pennsylvania-bred filly version of Smarty Jones. It was that impressive.

Some heavyweight players tried to buy her right after the first start, but the offers – some I was told were around $750,000 – were rejected.

The filly ran back in a Pennsylvania-bred stakes at Penn the night before Thanksgiving, two races before Favorite Tale, third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, ran in the Fabulous Strike. Both races were at six furlongs.

The 2-year-old filly ran these fractions – 22.36, 44.95, 57.18 – finishing in 1:10.22 and winning by 13 lengths. She won as easily as a horse can win a race and kept galloping past the finish line like more distance would be welcomed.

The 4-year-old gelding Favorite Tale ran these fractions – 22.05, 45.19, 57.80 – finishing in 1:11.00 and winning by two lengths. Favorite Tale looked like a horse that was nearing the end of a long campaign and had just a run a brutal race 25 days before in the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. He was not at his very best, but had an inherent edge that carried him home.

Still, the initial reaction was that the filly just ran faster than a multiple stakes winner. Turned out Favorite Tale just ran fast enough to win and got only an 83 Beyer, way off his best.

Behrnik’s Bank, however, got a 94 Beyer with the promise of much more down the road. If you have not seen her run yet, check out the replays. It is some show.

Not sure how much longer owner Peter Kazamias and trainer Dimitrios Synnefias can hold off the offers, which have surely gone up since the second race. I think she would be rather dangerous in Pa.-bred stakes next year, but there is a wider world out there and Behrnik’s Bank looks good enough to find her place in it.

A previous version incorrectly stated that Favorite Tale is a 3-year-old. He is a 4-year-old.