Al Stall Jr. wants to make sure he squashes all of the Kentucky Derby talk before it even gets started:
Bind will not be pointed to any of the Triple Crown races.
It's understandable that Stall felt the need to dismiss the Derby talk on Tuesday, a few days after Bind dazzled in his debut at Fair Grounds. The dark bay colt stole Risen Star day in New Orleans when he ran away to a 9 1/2-length maiden special weight victory while earning a 105 Beyer. What also turned heads was his final time--1:08.80 for six furlongs--after stalking freakish fractions of :21.39 and :44.73.
By comparison, multiple graded stakes placed 4-year-old filly Beautician ran six furlongs in 1:09.76 two races after Bind, and in the other three six furlongs races that day none of the winners could do any better than 1:11.37. So, it wasn't a souped-up track that day. And don't forget, this is Fair Grounds, not Santa Anita. The track record at Fair Grounds is 1:08.03.
"I can't figure it out," Stall said. "People were saying they must have souped-up the track because of the big day, but I don't think they had time. If you remember, they had night racing here on Friday. The races ended at about 9 p.m., so they didn't have time to do anything special. They didn't water it or pack it down, or anything like that. Horses were out here training at 6 a.m.
"I haven't seen factions like that here. I don't know where that came from."
And what about the 105 Beyer?
"People are telling me it's the fastest breakout Beyer ever (for a first-time starter). I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what I was told. The Rag numbers haven't come out yet."
(For the record, it is believed that the highest first-time Beyer was Formal Gold in 1996 when he received a 112 at Monmouth. Ironically, Bind's sire, Pulpit, received a 107 the following year in his debut).
Bind showed promise early on for Stall, even though he was a bit of a late-bloomer. A February foal, he is a son of Pulpit, out of the Unbridled mare Check. He's a homebred of Claiborne Farm, owned in partnership with Adele Dilschneider. Sound familiar?
"It's impossible to predict that kind of debut effort," Stall said. "But he clicked all the boxes from the start. He was wonderful looking, fit, trained the right way, had a great mind, and was fast-he showed everything you would want in a young horse.
"I knew he was going to make a good showing, but he's clearly going to be a two-turn horse so I wasn't sure he would show that kind of speed. Sometimes with these kinds of horses they break slowly, maybe have one horse beaten early one, and then come flying at the end to finish second or third."
After a debut performance like that the obvious question on everyone's mind is, where will he go next? As with all of his horses, including Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame, Stall will be patient.
"None of that Triple Crown stuff," he said. "Maybe if he did it in December we would have thought about that. But his next race will probably be a one-other-than (allowance), either here or at Keeneland. I'm not sure what Fair Grounds has. We'll stretch him out a bit, possibly two turns, maybe a mile and 70 if it's here.
"After that, it's hard to say. If we're talking about big things later, maybe the Super Derby or Travers; something like that.
"He came out of the race great. Hopefully he will keep progressing, but you never know."