Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘I Never Thought We’d Be Able To Go Twice’

When longtime family friend and Thoroughbred trainer Todd Fincher starts throwing around labels like “really special,” owner/breeder Joe Peacock, Jr. definitely starts to get his hopes up.

“That actually makes me more nervous,” said Peacock, 62, chuckling genially. “Todd doesn’t generally talk about horses like that.”

Fincher was describing a 2-year-old colt who, at that point, had done little more than break his maiden over suspect company in a 5 ½-furlong contest at Remington Park. Third-generation Peacock homebred Senor Buscador missed the break in that race, rallied six wide and got up to win by 2 ½ lengths, but his final time of 1:03.78 wasn’t particularly newsworthy.

However, the trainer’s faith in the colt, and Peacock’s returned faith in the trainer, convinced the owner to enter the colt in Remington’s $200,000 Springboard Mile on Dec. 19. It was a massive step up, both in distance and in class, but Fincher remained confident.

“Todd told me, ‘I won’t guarantee you that he’ll win this race,’” recalled Peacock. “Then he added, ‘I will guarantee you that his talent’s gonna shine through.’ It certainly did!”

Senor Buscador missed the break once again and was 17 lengths behind the field early on, making his connections nervous from the start. The colt needed just 1:37.87 to change their minds, showing up with a powerful late rally to pass all nine of his rivals and win the one-mile contest by 5 ¾ lengths.

“If we can ever get him out of the gate, he’ll be really dangerous,” Peacock quipped. “To do that in just his second lifetime start, though, that was pretty impressive.”

Compared to older horses racing earlier on the same card, Senor Buscador put up a quality time for the mile. Dont Tell Noobody, a 3-year-old Oklahoma-bred gelding, won the one-mile $70,000 Jim Thorpe Stakes in 1:39.50. Dipping In, a 3-year-old Oklahoma-bred filly, won the $70,000 Useeit Stakes at one mile in 1:40.69.

Unfortunately, Senor Buscador was not eligible for the 10 Kentucky Derby points usually offered to the race’s winner. The 2-year-old son of Mineshaft raced on Lasix in the Springboard Mile, and the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby will not award points unless horses compete without the race-day medication.

Moving forward, that won’t be a problem for Senor Buscador, Peacock said.

“(The Springboard Mile) was only his second lifetime start, and he’s a late foal, born in May, stretching out from 5 ½ to a mile stakes,” Peacock explained. “Todd just felt like (running on Lasix) was the right thing to do just as a precaution, but obviously going forward on the Derby trail, we’ll be running without it.

“We’re not really worried about it.”

Should the colt’s abilities prove just as eye-catching without Lasix, he will easily make the jump to most Kentucky Derby pundits’ top ten lists as the 2021 season approaches. Fans and analysts will likely see Senor Buscador back in action at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La., possibly as early as the G3 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 16.

The colt’s name is loosely translated from Spanish to Mr. Prospector, the result of a family-wide contest to name the year’s foals and a play on the fact that Mr. Prospector appears on both top and bottom of Senor Buscador’s pedigree.

It marks the second time in the past three years that Peacock’s family have had a horse on the Kentucky Derby trail. In 2018, Senor Buscador’s half-brother Runaway Ghost won the G3 Sunland Derby to earn his spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May.

Their Derby dreams fell apart, however, when Runaway Ghost suffered a fractured shin and had to be given time off, missing the Run for the Roses.

Connections of Runaway Ghost celebrate in the winner’s circle after the Sunland Derby

It had felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so the entire Peacock clan decided to take the trip to Louisville, Ky., anyway.

“We already had all the plans in place,” Peacock explained. “We took Friday and went over to Shawhan Place where the mares are, and then it rained all day long on Saturday, but we still had fun.

“You know, we really enjoy the whole process, from owning the broodmare, determining who you want to breed to, raising the foal, and then seeing it out on the racetrack. I know that’s not the way people are in this business very much anymore, but we love every part of it.”

It was one of the last trips Peacock would take with his father, the family patriarch Joe Sr., who passed in September of this year at 88 years of age. It was the elder Peacock who first fell in love with racing in the 1960s, coordinating trips from the family’s home in San Antonio, Tx., over to Ruidoso in New Mexico to watch Quarter Horses strut their stuff on the track.

“That’s kind of the closest place in Texas you can go to get to the mountains, so that’s where we ran the horses in the beginning,” Peacock explained. “Eventually he switched over to Thoroughbreds, and since it’s hard to get open-company races to go in New Mexico, we started running them all over. We took trips to Santa Anita, to Hollywood Park; we went to the races a lot. It was a wonderful childhood.”

Peacock Sr. purchased the family’s foundation broodmare, Snippet, by Alysheba, at the dispersal sale of family friend Joe Strauss in the late 1990s. An Illinois-bred out of a G3-winning daughter of Damascus, Snippet won four allowance races on the track and earned just shy of $70,000. Peacock sent her to California’s Old English Rancho for a mating to multiple G1-winning millionaire Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore).

Miss Glen Rose, the resultant Kentucky-bred filly, didn’t do much on the track, but it was a different story altogether with her daughter, Rose’s Desert.

Rose’s Desert was foaled in New Mexico in 2008, sired by the unraced Desert God (Fappiano-Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom). The filly showed such promise in her early days that Peacock Sr. turned to a new up-and-coming trainer when she was ready for the track.

Fincher was winning a large number of the New Mexico-bred stakes races, and Peacock Sr. called him up out of the blue to offer him the chance to train Rose’s Desert.

“The rest, as they say, was history,” Peacock Jr. said fondly. “She turned into an amazing race mare, and we trust Todd implicitly with all our racehorses, from breaking them to running on the track.”

Rose’s Desert raced 15 times, winning 10 and finishing second the other five times, and was never beaten more than 1 ¼ lengths. Seven of her wins came in state-bred stakes races, and she earned a total of $626,035.

“She was just such a cool horse to have in the barn,” Fincher said. “She’s definitely my all-time favorite. She was just unbelievably fast.”

An ankle chip ended the mare’s career prematurely in 2013, and the Peacock family decided to send her after the best stallions in Kentucky. Her first mating to Ghostzapper produced Runaway Ghost in 2015, a horse who may have missed his chance at the Kentucky Derby but earned $783,509 and won eight of 15 lifetime starts. He’ll stand his first season at stud in 2021 at Double LL Farms in Bosque, N.M.

Rose’s Desert visited Curlin next, producing stakes-winner Sheriff Brown, and then produced a filly by Ghostzapper named Our Iris Rose, after the family’s matriarch. Our Iris Rose is still in training, and while she’s had a couple minor issues along the way, Peacock Jr. expects she’ll be able to live up to her family’s talent as a 4-year-old in 2021.

Senor Buscador is sired by Mineshaft, and marks Rose’s Desert’s third stakes winner from four foals on the ground. The mare took a year off from the breeding shed in 2018, then aborted a filly by Quality Road last December due to placentitis. Currently she’s carrying a filly by Candy Ride due in February, and Peacock said he has no set plans for the 12-year-old mare’s future.

Of course, should Senor Buscador continue to progress along the Kentucky Derby trail, a return visit to Mineshift could be on the horizon.

“It’s a good problem to have, but we definitely haven’t decided anything,” Peacock said. “We’re just so grateful to her… I ought to take her some roses the next time I see her.”

Senor Buscador is listed as bred by both Peacock and his father, so his Friday night victory in the Springboard Mile was that much more special. The entire family, including Peacock’s two sisters, his mother, five children, and six grandchildren will try to attend the colt’s next start, whether it be in New Orleans or elsewhere, and cheer him all the way to Louisville.

“I guess nobody really knows what to expect, with everything this year,” Peacock said. “It would be incredible to take this horse to the Kentucky Derby. I never thought we’d be able to go twice.”

The post Breeders’ Cup Presents Connections: ‘I Never Thought We’d Be Able To Go Twice’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.