Independence Hall Breezes, Connections Plotting Path to Derby
By Steve Sherack
Unbeaten Independence Hall (Constitution) returned to the worktab Friday for the first time since his jaw-dropping victory in the GIII Nashua S. at Aqueduct Nov. 3 (video).
The dark bay, campaigned in partnership by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Robert and Kathleen Verratti, breezed four furlongs in :49.40 (7/10) at trainer Mike Trombetta’s Fair Hill base.
Independence Hall established himself as one of the early book leading contenders for next year’s GI Kentucky Derby while posting a division-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure in his aforementioned 12 1/4-length score in the one-turn mile Nashua at second asking.
While the ‘First Saturday in May’ is clearly the longterm target at this stage, how he gets to Louisville is still to be determined. As previously reported in these pages, Independence Hall will bypass the upcoming GII Remsen S. at the Big A Dec. 7.
“According to Mike Trombetta, Independence Hall has come out of the Nashua in terrific shape and he’s been training very well,” Eclipse President & Founder Aron Wellman said.
“In the immediate aftermath of the Nashua, the main thing Mike and I discussed, along with our racing partners, was that we didn’t want to be lured by the temptation of running Independence Hall back too quickly off such an explosive performance in which he earned some massive speed figures, especially considering it was only the second start of his life. So, the only firm decisions which have been made at this stage is that we would eliminate the Remsen from consideration and that we would do our best to keep Independence Hall in his comfort zone at Mike’s primary base at Fair Hill for the time being, preferably until after the first of the new year. We have the luxury of time being on our side, so we’re keeping an open mind about the proper progression for him while building in a schedule with plenty of flexibility.”
Independence Hall, a $100,000 KEESEP yearling, RNA’d for $200,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale after breezing an eighth in :10 2/5. Out of the Cape Town mare Kalahari Cat, he is a half-brother to Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten), a graded stakes winner at three. This is the extended female family of Grade/Group 1 winners White Moonstone (Dynaformer), Desert Stormer (Storm Cat) and Better Lucky (Ghostzapper). Independence Hall is one of four graded winners for his highly promising freshman sire Constitution. He was bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds.
Eclipse and Twin Creeks bought into Independence Hall privately following his impressive debut victory for the Verrattis going seven furlongs on the GI Pennsylvania Derby undercard at Parx Sept. 21 (video).
“It’s no secret what our primary objective is, so we are laser focused on doing what’s best for Independence Hall to provide him with the requisite foundation to be prepared for the Kentucky Derby while finding that unique balance of having him in peak form come the First Saturday in May,” Wellman concluded.