The Santa Anita Park meeting faded into the sunset on Halloween with Subconscious delivering a smart win in the Twilight Derby (G2T) in his first career stakes appearance.
Bred in Kentucky by Buscar Stables, Subconscious is out of the stakes-placed Candy Ride mare Sweet Dreams . He sold to Solis/Litt for $380,000 as a weanling at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, where he was consigned by Hidden Brook. He was also foaled and raised at the famed Hidden Brook Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Now with three wins, a second, and a third in six starts, Subconscious has earned $219,820.
LNJ Foxwoods’ Subconscious became the 150th black-type winner for Gainesway stallion Tapit, a three-time leading sire who will stand for a $185,000 fee in 2022.
The performance justified the faith. When the bell rang, the favorite, Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Rock Your World , jumped out from post 8 and crossed over quickly to take the lead. Hernandez placed Subconscious right behind that rival and stayed there down the backstretch and around the far turn, applying some mild pressure at the half-mile pole.
Rock Your World, after fractions of :23.76, :47.46, and 1:11.52, began to flag early in the stretch drive while Subconscious kept finding more. The gelding strode out to win with authority by 1 1/4 lengths, finishing the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47. Cathkin Peak was along to take second with Beyond Brilliant third.
“He’s a colt that was always really athletic to look at,” assistant trainer Gary Mandella said of the winner. “The first time we ever saw him, we had really high hopes for him. He had a little trouble with a knee, had a surgery, and we turned him out. But even if that hadn’t of happened, mentally, he just wasn’t there. Now he is and he’s got it all figured out and you can see what he’s turned into with these three (wins) in a row.”
Rock Your World eventually beat only one rival in the field of 10. None Above the Law , who had been improving steadily against California-breds, found the waters too deep in open company and finished eighth, one slot ahead of Rock Your World.
LNJ Foxwoods’ Subconscious and jockey Juan Hernandez, right, win the Grade II, $200,000 Twilight Derby, Sunday, October 31, 2021 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA.
“He’s improving a lot,” Hernandez said of Subconscious. “Every race, he’s getting better. And even the guys from Mandella’s barn, they told me this horse was doing really good and it looks like he wants to run more every race.”
Subconscious started his career at Santa Anita May 15 and failed to find the winner’s circle in three starts there. He did improve as he went along, finishing second May 29 and third on June 19, leading most of the way each time only to fade late.
He got the job done Aug. 21 at Del Mar, also on the front end, and backed that up with an allowance-level win at Santa Anita Oct. 2 when Hernandez settled him behind rivals to make one late run.
Gary Mandella said that gelding Subconscious in June played a big role in the dark bay’s development, adding, “It’s nice to see him live up to his potential now with that part of it straightened out. He’s a serious horse now.”
Despite his confidence in Subconscious, Hernandez said he had a few moments of doubt about catching Rock Your World.
“For a moment, it looked like that horse was never going to stop,” he said. That’s why a put a little pressure on at the half-mile. I had to move. But when we turned for home, he passed the horse in front of him and he didn’t get caught by the other horses.
“Mr. Mandella told me if they went too crazy in front of me, to stay behind them because he’s able to relax better. I let the speed go and he relaxed pretty well today for me so that was the key—stay behind the speed.”
Hernandez closed out the meeting with a riding triple.
-edited from www.bloodhorse.com