1) THOUSAND WORDS (c, Pioneerof the Nile—Pomeroys Pistol, by Pomeroy)
O-Albaugh Family Stables & Spendthrift Farm. B-Hardacre Farm (Fl). T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $1,000,000 yrl ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 3-3-0-0, $211,000.
Last Start: 1st GIII Robert B. Lewis S., SA, Feb. 1
Accomplishments Include: 1st GII Los Alamitos Futurity
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 20.
Thousand Words has owned the No. 1 ranking since the start of the season, but the gap between this $1-million KEESEP buy and most of the pack widened discernibly after his grind-’em-down, power-under-pressure score in Saturday’s GIII Robert B. Lewis S. This still-learning Pioneerof the Nile colt has displayed the strongest combination of physical prowess and mental awareness among top-tier contenders so far, and his three-quarter length win in the Lewis was tactically similar to his GII Los Alamitos Futurity win in that he had to put away a speedy stablemate and then have enough left to confront a fresh closer in deep stretch. This time around, Thousand Words broke fluidly, rated patiently at the rail, dropped back to fifth on the clubhouse turn, then worked his way up to be a stalking fourth on the backstretch. Taking dirt to the face while into the bit, this three-for-three colt was ridden patiently through the far turn. He got nudged along through a narrow hole at the quarter pole, then commenced a long, steady reeling-in of his target while keeping a late-arriving foe at bay. “He’s got that big, long stride and the farther the better with him,” trainer Bob Baffert said post-race. “You could tell about the last 50 yards he was really getting going. He came back he wasn’t even tired, so that is a good sign.”