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Just How Tough is Texas Chrome’s Competition?

Just How Tough is Texas Chrome’s Competition? by Casey Laughter– Texas Chrome once again “upset” his third straight race, the Grade III Oklahoma Derby. The Texas-bred son of Grasshopper has only been favored one time in his 2016 campaign, which was when he raced and won the listed Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star Park.

Texas ChromeTexas Chrome

In the Oklahoma Derby (GIII), Texas Chrome found room on the rail and fought back as Stickstatelydude looked like a winner until the final jumps.
Photo: Robin Buchanan

Texas Chrome just won his third straight race, going up the rail and holding off Stickstatelydude, who was briefly a Kentucky Derby contender. However, the strength of Texas Chrome’s competition is questionable.

In the Bachelor Stakes, Texas Chrome finished third behind Counterforce and I Will Score. Counterforce hasn’t not won since this race, which was in April. I Will Score won the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (GIII) in May, and has not worked since. I Will Score attempted to make a run for the Kentucky Derby, but did not continue after a 6th in the San Felipe Stakes.

In the Texas Stallion Stakes, the only race in 2016 where the colt was favored, he destroyed his competition by 10 11/2 lengths. The second place horse was Grass Court, a gelded son of Grasshopper. Grass Court has not won a race since April and has resorted to allowance and claiming races, which not fared well in.

In Texas Chrome’s graded stakes debut, he finished third in the Matt Winn Stakes (GIII) behind Gun Runner and Gray Sky. While Gun Runner has an exceptional resume, Gray Sky only has his maiden win to his credit and not done so well on the track since.

Texas Chrome finished second in the Iowa Derby (GIII) behind American Freedom. While American Freedom has been running against Grade One competition, he is not yet a top notch horse. He did finish second in the muddy Haskell Invitational (GI) to Exaggerator and second the freak performance Arrogate put on the Travers (GI). American Freedom has not returned since the Travers.

The Super Derby Prelude Stakes began the colts winning streak. He defeated Sharp Azteca, Mending Fences, and Secret Passage. Sharp Azteca won the Pat Day Mile (GIII) but faltered in the Woody Stevens (GII). Mending Fences is, at best, an allowance winner. Secret Passage only has a maiden and an allowance optional claimer to his credit. He finished 4th in the Super Derby Prelude and 4th in the Oklahoma Derby (GIII).

The Super Derby (GIII) proved Texas Chrome a winner over Dalmore. Mo Tom was also in the race; he finished fifth. Dalmore won the Affirmed Stakes (GIII) over Twirling Candy but then finished fifth in the Pacific Classic (GI). Dalmore has not returned to the work tab. Mo Tom manages to find trouble but he is a stakes winner.

In the Oklahoma Derby (GIII), Texas Chrome found room on the rail and fought back as Stickstatelydude looked like a winner until the final jumps. Texas Chrome pushed his neck forward and won by about ½ a length. Fish Trappe Road finished third. The Trappe Shot colt is a stakes winner but also showed he struggles around top competition and two turns.

Looking at the records, Texas Chrome is a good horse, but he is clearly still a step below. He could easily step up into tough competition but might also find his comfort level in these lower graded stakes. While he is bred to be a top-notch, he still has a lot of work to do.