10/30/2016 5:40PM

McCraken impressive winning Street Sense

Email
Coady Photography
McCraken, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., wins the one-mile Street Sense by 3 3/4 lengths.

LOUISVILLE, KY. – On an all-juvenile day of racing that Churchill Downs calls a “Stars of Tomorrow” card, McCraken turned in a performance in winning Sunday’s $83,470 Street Sense that indeed suggests he could become a rising star late in his 2-year-old year and going forward as a 3-year-old in 2017.

After rating in eighth early in the one-mile race under Brian Hernandez Jr., McCraken unleashed an eye-catching surge from eighth to take command coming into the lane and showed no signs of letting up in the lane by drawing away to a 3 3/4-length victory over Balandeen.

McCraken ran quickly, too – completing a mile on a fast track in 1:35.55, nearly a second faster than the winning time from Lovely Bernadette in the Rags to Riches Stakes for 2-year-old fillies a couple hours earlier. He paid $18.

Though the McCraken acted up in the paddock before the race, Hernandez said he wasn’t concerned, viewing it as a signal the horse as being eager to run. And midway through the race, Hernandez got the response from the colt that he wanted.

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Get handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

“When I checked on him at the half-mile pole and he started getting to those horses so effortlessly, I knew they would be in trouble at that point,” Hernandez said.

None could remotely keep pace with McCraken in the stretch, not even runner-up Balandeen or third-place Guest Suite.

The two favorites and front-runners, Speedmeister and Singing Bullet, weren’t even close with Speedmeister fading to fifth at 2-5 odds and Singing Bullet tiring to seventh as the 6-1 second choice.

 Trainer Ian Wilkes, who assisted Carl Nafzger in training Street Sense to win the 2007 Kentucky Derby, said the victory was rewarding with the race being named in Street Sense’s honor.

He plans to run McCraken, a son of Ghostzapper owned and bred by Whitham Thoroughbreds, in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill on Nov. 26, a race that would mark his first start around two turns and at 1 1/16 miles.

Asked to appraise him after the Street Sense, Wilkes said, “What we’ve seen so far, he’s good.”