There are certain horses that have that x factor that makes fans sit up and take notice. There are horses like Paynter, or Mucho Macho Man, who overcome physical adversity to show their grit. Then there are horses that stand out because their running style exhibits a uniqueness, tenacity or sheer brilliance. Those that come to mind on the larger scale are the Zenyatta, Presious Passion, and Frankels’ of the thoroughbred world.
Then there are some that stand out even before they have stamped their mark on the big stage. Earlier this year, Incognito brought some well deserved attention to himself after surviving multiple challenges to gut out a win. Soon after that Incognito ran a very respectable fourth in the Belmont Stakes. The only horses to beat him that day were the three Triple Crown winners, Orb, Oxbow, and Palace Malice.
In the 37th running of the Secretariat, which will take place at Arlington Park this Saturday Aug. 17th, a horse with a similar X factor will be entered at post position 12. The horse is Draw Two; a son of Macho Uno and trained by Michelle Nihei. Draw Two will be running in his sixth lifetime race and despite only winning two of them, he has shown he may have that certain something that the great ones have.
From the first time he ran, Draw Two began setting the tone for standout performances. In a 70K MSW last July at Belmont Park, Draw Two began his career by breaking poorly and falling back to last. In fact he fell back 11 lengths before mounting an impressive middle move, going six wide on the turn and making up six lengths in the process to finish third at 15-1.
In his next race, Michelle stretched him out from 7 furlongs to 1 mile 1/16th to give extra ground to benefit his deep kick. Again, Draw Two would become bored with the early part of the race, falling back last. This time he only had to go five wide on the turn to get up for second, losing to Noble Tune; who would go on to be a multiple stakes winner.
One month later he broke his maiden in very impressive fashion, not content to make up too much ground this time, Draw Two was only five lengths off the pacesetters. This time he did not have to lose ground by taking the overland route and as a result, romped to a 7 ¾ length victory.
In July Draw Two ran in the Virginia Derby, his first stakes race. In that race he broke slowly – which is nothing new and has become something of his trademark. By the time they hit the backstretch, Draw Two found himself once again 11 lengths behind the front runners. Jockey Jose Lezcano had to get into him early, because these horses would not be as forgiving in letting him make up 11 lengths. As they hit the turn for home, Lezcano decided to cut him inside of the field rather than go five or six wide. This split second decision, greatly compromised Draw Two’s smooth closing kick. Realizing this, Lezcano attempted to steer his horse back to the outside, after executing that move, he had bumped into the nine horse; Fear the Kitten. This resulted in Draw Two loosing whatever momentum he had gained up to that point. Despite that, Draw Two sustained another bid, closing with ‘late foot’ to get fourth.
On Saturday Draw Two will get Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens to pick up the mount, he also will break from post 12, but with any luck Stevens will at least give Draw Two a punchers chance down the stretch.