More Than Ready colt Sonic Boom will step into Group 1 company following his second stakes score in the American Derby-Gr.3 (1800m) at Arlington Park on Saturday.
Sonic Boom went straight to the front and was never seriously challenged as an odds-on favourite in Chicago. He has now won 4 times, all on turf, from 9 starts for owner Robert Lothenbach and trainer Ian Wilkes.
“I felt very comfortable down the back. He relaxed and was doing it very easy,” jockey Julian Leparoux said. “When I asked him at the quarter pole, he really kicked on nice.”
The Secretariat Stakes-Gr.1 (2000m) is on the radar back at Arlington on August 12. “Today was a step forward,” Wilkes said. “Julien is figuring out how to ride him. You kind of leave him alone and let him run his race. He didn’t really like it the one time we tried to rate him.”
Sonic Boom (3c More Than Ready – Silent Circle by Indian Charlie) won a Kentucky Downs maiden last September and was sent to California to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He came up just short in the Zuma Beach Stakes-LR at Santa Anita and was put away for the remainder of 2016.
Wilkes had him primed to win the Columbia Stakes-LR first-up at Tampa Bay Downs in March and he went into the American Derby on the back of an allowance victory at Churchill Downs.
Bred in Kentucky, Sonic Boom is a younger brother to More Than Ready stakes performer Galientos and was knocked down for $135,000 at the Keeneland September Sale. He has banked $245,800 with the $400,000 purse a tempting target in the Secretariat Stakes.
Former French filly Uni is another More Than Ready 3yo with Group 1 aspirations in North America.
Uni won the Prix Matchem-LR (1800m) at Maisons-Laffitte in May and created quite an impression first-up in the Belmont Oaks Invitational-Gr.1 (2000m) on Saturday. She blew the start and powered home for third to fill out a trifecta for trainer Chad Brown.
“She broke a little slow and was pretty far back,” Brown said. “She ran terrific and is going to have an outstanding career here although I haven’t really planned beyond this race.”
More Than Ready sired a promising maiden winner earlier on Saturday at Arlington when She’sadowntowngirl swamped her rivals over 1700m. A 3yo homebred for Richard & Connie Snyder, she was content to trail the field until angling into the clear and closing with a rush to score by two lengths.
She’sadowntowngirl’s dam My Other Girl (Bernardini) is a half-sister to More Than Ready’s Fantasy Stakes-Gr.2 winner Ready To Please.
More Than Ready (USA) returns to Vinery Stud next month for his 17th southern book at a $66,000 (inc gst) service fee.