February 2, 2016

LEMON DROP KID had a big Saturday last weekend, led by the up-and-coming turf star Da Big Hoss, who smashed over four seconds off the course record at Sam Houston Racetrack with a win in the 1 1/2-mile G3 John B. Connally Turf Cup S.

Up against the classy Grade 2 winners Kaigun and Big John B, Da Big Hoss, “tracked the pacesetters from fourth, surged to the lead along the rail in upper stretch and powered clear to win [by 4 3/4 lengths],” wrote the Thoroughbred Daily News.

The final time of the race was 2:28.16, which shattered the old mark of 2:32.56.

“He’s a real classy horse,” trainer Mike Maker said of Da Big Hoss. “The pace was slow and Florent [Geroux] had plenty of horse. He’s got a great pedigree; just made for the longer turf distances.”

Geroux added, “My horse broke well from the gate and settled early. I just wanted to make sure to keep him clear and when I asked him, he finished well. It’s a great feeling and the horse really seems to like the long distances.”

Da Big Hoss previously aired by two lengths in the 1 5/8-mile John’s Call S. at Saratoga last August before winning by the same margin in the G3 Kentucky Cup Turf going 12 panels at Kentucky Downs in September. He ran a credible sixth, splitting the field, in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in October. Saturday’s win improved Da Big Hoss’s record to a perfect .500, with 8 wins from 16 starts and $703,056 in earnings.

Da Big Hoss was bred by Gary & Mary West Stables, and is currently owned by Skychai Racing.

LEMON DROP KID got it done as a broodmare sire down in Texas, too. Forever Unbridled, a 4-year-old Unbridled’s Song filly from LEMON DROP KID’s G1 Kentucky Oaks heroine Lemons Forever, won the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic S. on the same night.

Earlier in the day, LEMON DROP KID was represented by his latest stakes winner. At Laurel Park, the 4-year-old filly Candida H., a Fitzhugh homebred, won the $75,000 Conniver S. by 2 1/2 lengths. Trained by Michael Trombetta, the filly has now been first or second in 8 of 10 starts.

LEMON DROP KID is coming off a strong 2015 season. He sired 11 stakes winners on the year, a remarkable 8 of whom won at the graded level. That ranked him a co-#5 among all sires by graded winners, ahead of War Front, Speightstown, Curlin, Kitten’s Joy, Distorted Humor, et al.

The sire of 41 graded winners and 90 stakes winners in his career, LEMON DROP KID stands for $40,000.

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