Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Etched in Stone

As a two year old he blew the Nashua field away in such an easy and dominating performance that he stamped himself one of the early Kentucky Derby favorites of 2008. After a disappointing fourth place finish in his first Derby prep race he seemingly disappeared from existence. During 2008 he only made one other start, an allowance/optional claiming, where he found the winners circle once again. After nearly a 10-month layoff he returned in 2009 in, yet again another allowance/optional claiming race, and again, won. After winning two races in a row, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, decided it was time to try stakes company once again, and it was decided that in the Meadowlands Cup, Etched would finally resurface.

Etched, a beautiful fiery red chestnut with a bright white blaze marking his face, dropped from the face of the earth after he ran in the UAE 2000 Guineas. In that race he was running against horses that were up to six months older than himself, and his immaturity landed him fourth place. Before this almost every die hard racing fan had heard about the spectacular two year old, who won the Nashua in only his second start, and had yet to be beaten. As of now Etched's racing record stands at six races, five wins and one fourth. Since his one off the board finish he has yet to be beaten, and he showed when holding off Kiss the Kid for his second graded stakes victory that he still has the talent that he displayed as a two year old.

In the Meadowlands Cup Etched settled close to the leaders, racing about three wide. The track was a mud fest that day, but the leaders still set a torrid pace up front, running a quarter mile in 23 and one fifth, and a half mile in 46 and four fifths. After running six furlongs in 1.10.31, Etched began to move up on his rivals and as they turned for home put on a quick burst of acceleration that left his foes eating his mud. The race however was not over, as Kiss the Kid began to close in, threatening to overtake Etched. Seeing his opponent, Etched dug in gamely, not about to lose for a second time, and held Kiss the Kid at bay. As they crossed the finish Etched had won the race, while Kiss the Kid came in second by half a length.

Etched ended up beating stakes winners Anak Nakal, It's A Bird, and Cool Coal Man, in addition to the game Kiss the Kid. The mile time for the race was timed in an unbelievable 1.33.85, and the final time a scorching 1.45.93. Etched had closed his final furlong in a very solid time of 12.12 seconds, his final three furlongs was 35.62! This race was run on mud, and he comes back to rate close behind such a torrid pace then close out the race in a final three furlongs that was caught in less than. 36 seconds. What is also impressive is that in his second race off a layoff he broke the stakes record, which was held by K.J.'s Appeal at 1.46 flat. With a race like that Etched just proved not only that he is back in good form, but that he is ready for some serious action.

When asked about the Breeders Cup as a possible target for Etched, the assistant trainer said he would not be surprised if Godolphin and head trainer, McLaughlin started to consider it. I myself would love to see him in the Cup as a fan, but if I were to place myself in the trainer or owner's shoes, knowing the fragility of Etched, would wait until until next year, when he is fully mature and has a few more starts under his belt. Etched is a naturally gifted racehorse, and to have the possibility that he will be a five year old stallion, still racing, would be a blessing for the sport of racing. Welcome back Etched, I hope you get to stay around long enough to show what you're really made of.


  1. Etched is certainly a talented horse...looks like he will be headed to the Clark rather than a try in the BC.

  2. Which is fine by me. I liked him as a two and three year old, and he's looking like he'll get the chance to establish himself as a very talented older male.