By J.J. Hysell
You’ve heard the stories about astute claims in horse racing. In the claiming game, it’s all about finding a star that’s yet to be discovered. That’s just what happened with 3-year-old For Goodness Sake.
The son of Big Brown didn’t draw much attention when he finished seventh in a turf route in his first start on Dec. 22 at Gulfstream Park for trainer Chad Brown and owner Hoffman Thoroughbreds. He broke from the rail post and was “headstrong” in his debut according to the Equibase chart – not unusual for a first-time starter.
For his 3-year-old debut on Feb. 8, the colt was dropped into a maiden claiming race at a mile on dirt at Gulfstream. Once again, he drew the rail post, but this time he showed marked improvement. The colt rallied five-wide from off the pace and finished a strong third.
Trainer Michael Tomlinson and ownership group V-Leaf Stables saw something they liked about For Goodness Sake and claimed him for $50,000. It’s proved a wise decision.
Since finishing sixth off a layoff on May 3 when adding blinkers in his first start at Churchill Downs, For Goodness Sake has looked like a rejuvenated colt.
His breakout race was on May 25 at Churchill, a stretch-out to 1 1/8-miles on dirt. This was his announcement to the racing world. For Goodness Sake, at 8-1 with Brian Hernandez aboard, drew off and won by more than 10 lengths. He covered the distance in 1:51.56 with a final split of 12:28.
Bettors still weren’t convinced when he returned to the Churchill track to face winners for the first time in a salty 1 1/16-mile allowance race on June 28. Among his competitors were 2013 Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul, graded stakes-placed Rankhasprivileges and Wizardly. For Goodness Sake went off as the third betting choice at 4-1.
Once again, the son of Big Brown showed his development. This time Hernandez guided him straight to the lead, and he held his foes at bay with a dominant win by 6 3/4-lengths. He finished in 1:43.77 with a sharp final split of 6:08.
It’s no surprise For Goodness Sake appreciates these dirt route races. In addition to being by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, he has strong stamina influence on his dam side through Old Trieste (A.P. Indy) and Ms. Paragon (Tank’s Prospect).
This late bloomer has proven to be a wise claim by the connections and he appears to be a stakes-quality colt. He is also quite the personality, a horse who is playful and likes to have fun. His favorite game is “pull my tongue.”
Thanks to Jonathan and Melissa Cozart for sharing these pictures of For Goodness Sake showing his fun side on a recent visit.