Lady and The Track | February 23, 2020

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Intriguing Future For El Camino Real Hero Metaboss

Intriguing Future For El Camino Real Hero Metaboss: Overcoming crawling fractions, Metaboss closed from behind to win the 2015 G3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, February 14. The win placed Metaboss in online discussions as a possible Kentucky Derby contender and might propel a nice rags to riches story if he makes the starting gate at Churchill Downs.

Metaboss Horse

The connections of Metaboss (pictured above) plan to start the Street Boss colt in the Spiral at Turfway Park next month, one of the few racetracks in America with synthetic after dirt surfaces made a comeback in recent years.
Photo: Daniel Preiss

First, the connections plan to start the Street Boss colt in the Spiral at Turfway Park next month, one of the few racetracks in America with synthetic after dirt surfaces made a comeback in recent years.

If Metaboss, currently with 10 Derby qualifying points, runs well in the Spiral, he goes to the Derby (assuming the connections choose this path) with only one average dirt start on his resume. The uninspiring sprint effort resulted in a fourth place finish.

His pedigree and overall profile send mixed signals over how Metaboss projects to handle dirt routes.

Street Boss ran as a synthetic sprinter throughout his entire career in Southern California, and oddly enough for a son of Street Cry, never stretched out. He compiled quite the consistent record, winning seven times out of 13 starts and earning $831,800. In addition, he won and placed in multiple graded stakes races, including wins in the G1 Triple Bend Invitational and Bing Crosby Handicap.

Some astute physical handicappers note that Street Boss looks like a quarter horse, but his distance limitations as a racehorse never prevented the progeny from stretching out. Just last year, Danza won the nine furlong Arkansas Derby before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby at 10 furlongs.

The sprinter influence in Street Boss comes from the dam Blushing Ogygian, who only won two sprint races.

In a complete 360, Street Boss’ sire Street Cry ran as an excellent route horse on dirt. In a somewhat abbreviated career, Street Cry won over $5 million with wins in the 2002 G1 Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster Handicap as the main highlights. His longer distance influence generally passes on to his runners, as most Street Cry progeny develop later and enjoy longer distances (ex. Zenyatta).

On the bottom side, Metaboss’ dirt potential takes a slight hit from his dam Spinning Yarns, who only won three races and none of them on dirt. In fact, her only dirt start resulted in a sixth place finish in the E.B. Johnston Stakes at Fairplex Park. Perhaps the bullring layout did not suit her.

Spinning Yarns certainly receives some dirt credibility from her sire Free House, a gritty runner that dueled with future Hall of Fame inductee Silver Charm on more than one occasion through various graded route stakes races on dirt. Some career highlights include wins in the 1997 G1 Santa Anita Derby, the G1 Pacific Classic next year and G1 Santa Anita Handicap in 1999.

Her damsire Bien Bien ran as a remarkable turf horse with multiple G1 turf wins, including the 1992 Hollywood Turf Cup, 1993 Hollywood Turf Handicap, 1994 San Luis Rey Stakes and San Juan Capistrano Invitational. Despite all those great turf wins, Bien Bien fared decently on dirt too. He won the Swaps on dirt at Hollywood Park in 1992 and finished second in the 1994 Santa Anita Handicap via disqualification. Yet, no G1 dirt wins appear on his record.

Tejedor, the half sibling to Metaboss, placed in a Puerto Rico dirt G1 against questionable competition before falling down to the claiming ranks.

Metaboss won two route races in a row, and his potential going longer looks good based on current form.

Enough immediate synthetic and turf influences bring some questions in regards to Metaboss’ dirt chances. In addition, the way he runs (Metaboss waits and explodes at the right moment) seems reminiscent of great synthetic and turf horses. Consider how Nashoba’s Key ran while compiling a perfect synthetic record from 2007-2008. She waited and exploded in races such as the Milady and Clement Hirsch.

Go deep enough in Metaboss’ pedigree, and more dirt influences appear. But, think about whether those horses four or five generations back influence a horse significantly today. The famous Zippy Chippy’s fourth dam Juliet’s Nurse was once broodmare of the year in 1969, and Zippy Chippy lost 100 races!

If handicapping for 25 years taught anything though, current form trumps all other matters and Metaboss has yet to attempt a dirt route, which means no poor form exists in that category right now for the rising star. Metaboss deserves a shot on dirt going longer, either in the Derby or another stakes race down the road.

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