Aron Wellman Joins the TDN Writers’ Room Podcast

Aron Wellman Joins the TDN Writers’ Room Podcast

Thoroughbred Daily News

It was a huge week for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and its President and Founder Aron Wellman. Over a 24-hour period, Eclipse swept the two Grade I stakes races run during Keeneland’s Fall Stars Weekend. It began with a win by Candied (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the GI Alcibiades S. on Friday. Twenty-four hours later, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Locked (Gun Runner) came through with a determined win in the GI Breeders’ Futurity. Both will now head to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup.

Eclipse couldn’t quite pull off the trifecta when Anisette (GB) (Awtaad {Ire}) ran a game second in the GII Rodeo Drive S. at Santa Anita.

To talk about his Keeneland wins, his Breeders’ Cup plans and the latest on Nest (Curlin), who did not run well in the GI Spinster S., Wellman was this week’s Green Group Guest of the Week on this week’s TDN Writers’ Room podcast presented by Keeneland.

Wellman admitted that he wasn’t overly confident with Candied. She was coming off a three-quarter length win in a maiden special weight race at Saratoga and would be facing the likes of ‘TDN Rising Star’ V V’s Dream (Mitole), who won the GIII Pocahontas by 8 3/4 lengths, and the undefeated Grade I winner Brightwork (Outwork).

Aron Wellman Joins the TDN Writers’ Room from Thoroughbred Daily News on Vimeo.

“I’ll give (Trainer) Todd Pletcher, of course, the credit,” Wellman said. “Any time you train a filly to win her debut going six furlongs and then win a Grade I race after that with just that one start under her belt, well, that is just an epic achievement. I would say I was mildly surprised by the win. We were hoping to get valuable Grade One black type with her. We thought we would accomplish that, and anything beyond that would be cherry on top of the cake. She’s a very gifted filly. She’s done nothing wrong.”

While Candied was 4-1, Locked was sent off at 3-5, not surprising since he was coming out of a super maiden effort at Saratoga, where he got a 96 Beyer figure in a 7 1/4-length win. This time around, it wasn’t easy. Locked was caught four to five wide on both turns and then he had to battle a determined The Wine Steward (Vino Rosso) in the stretch before edging clear to win by a half-length.

“In my handicapping, I didn’t make him 3-5 by any stretch of the imagination,” Wellman said. “When the post positions came out, I didn’t mind that he was drawn wide because he’s such a big, long-striding, high-cruising speed type individual. I thought that if we could keep him in the clear, that would be okay. We just didn’t want to be five wide going into the first turn and five or six wide around the far turn. But Jose (Ortiz) had to make some decisions during the course of this race. He was wide and chasing into a pretty soft pace and Jose pushed the button at the right time, which under normal circumstances probably would have been a little premature. But considering the slow fractions, knowing that it was the short stretch finish, I thought it was a really smart ride on Jose’s part. It did concern me a little bit when he had so much momentum coming off the elbow of the turn and then didn’t separate from The Wine Steward. I was very concerned inside the eighth-pole that The Wine Steward, who was an undefeated horse with three races, wasn’t going to back down and he didn’t. But you could tell that Locked was kind of reserving something in the tank.”

The one thing that didn’t go right for Eclipse was Nest’s race in the Spinster. She was fourth, beaten 11 1/4 lengths. In her prior start, the GI Personal Ensign, she finished third, losing by 4 1/4 lengths. Eclipse co-owns Nest with Mike Repole.

“Nest didn’t have her best day on Sunday in the Spinster,” Wellman said. “So far as going to the Breeders’ Cup, I think we’re just going to have to evaluate her over the next 10 days to two weeks and see how she responds. Todd Pletcher is going to consolidate all of his Breeders Cup hopefuls at Keeneland, so she’s already there, which is nice.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by the 1/ST Racingthe Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, WinStar Farmthe KTOBXBTV and West Point Thoroughbreds, the team of Zoe Cadman, Randy Moss and Bill Finley took a look back at the dozens of major stakes races run over the weekend. Finley said that the win by Up to the Mark (Not This Time) in the GI Coolmore Turf Mile S. was the performance of the weekend. The team was also high on the win by ‘TDN Rising Star’ Muth (Good Magic) in the GI American Pharoah S. Repole’s pronouncement that the owners need to take greater control of the sport was a major subject of discussion. The consensus was that it will be hard for Repole to pull this off, but that if anyone can do it it is him.

Click to either watch this podcast as a video or to listen to the audio.

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