Street Sense is our next contender in the Road to the Roses. He is from the first crop of Irish-bred Street Cry. Street Cry was Timeform’s highest rated horse in 2002 that won the Dubai World Cup (G1), the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) and finished second in the Whitney Handicap (G1). His dame was Dixieland Band’s mare Bedazzle which gives Street Sense a good mix of miler speed and endurance.
Last year Street Sense had never won a stakes race. Then, in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (G1), against a field of 14 he moved from 13th place to win by 10 lengths, beating out two grade 1 winners. He was ridden by jockey Calvin Borel who, as of the end of 2006, was ranked 30th nationally. You have to wonder is this a fluke since to date he has not raced since that victory?
According to trainer Carl Nafzger, Street Sense will make only two starts prior to the Derby. His first will probably be the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on March 17 or the Rushaway Stakes (unrated) on March 23rd and then the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 14th at Keenland race track near Lexington Kentucky.
The horse is owned by James B. Tafel who got involved with racing 20 years ago. Tafel’s top horse has been Banshee Breeze, runner-up in the 1998 Kentucky Oaks and champion filly the same year. He also ran Vicar in 1999, Tafel’s only Derby starter.
So what is the key to Street Sense? First, we want to see what he does at Tampa or Rushaway. Nafzger is pleased with his workouts in which he breezed to a 49.20 half-mile on the 24th and a 1.00.21 five furlongs on the 27th. While the five furlong time was not as impressive as was how he did it. He came out at a slow pace for the first three furlongs and then kicked it into another gear; reminiscent of the Breeders Cup win. If he can impress at his two prep races, he may be in the money at the Derby.