On February 12 Creator finished second to a horse named Call the Colonel in a Fair Grounds maiden special, the fifth straight loss of his racing career. Just over two months later the colt is a Grade 1 winner and one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby.
Creator was able to find the winner's circle in his next outing 15 days later at Oaklawn Park, dominating a maiden special by 7 1/4 lengths after a four wide trip. He was five wide while making up 12 lengths to be third in the Rebel Stakes (G2) on March 19, setting him up for his impressive April 16 victory in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
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"He made a nice run in the end," jockey Ricardo Santana said of Creator's Arkansas Derby trip, three wide between horses in the final turn. "Last time it was 14 horses. Today it was 12 horses. (Trainer) Steve (Asmussen) told me to be patient, be patient, because you're going to have a lot of horse. It worked out—worked out really good. I hope I have the same trip in the Kentucky Derby."
As of the writing, Creator will be among three Tapit colts in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field (along with Mohaymen & Lani). He was purchased by WinStar Farm for $440,000 at the Keeneland September sale and turned over to soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Steve Asmussen. Creator is the first horse WinStar has ever sent to Asmussen but there was a plan in mind.
"Steve has had a lot of confidence in this horse from the start," said WinStar CEO Elliot Walden after the Arkansas Derby. "He's been a very high-strung horse in the beginning. I liked what Steve had done with some of the Tapits he's had in the past, so that's why we sent Creator to him. ... I love his style. I love the way he's been brought along. I think based on today's performance that he would have a very good (Kentucky Derby) chance."
The gray colt has a very interesting female pedigree, one that suggests stamina. He's out of the mare Morena, a champion in Peru and a group winner at 11 and 12 furlongs in her native land. She was winless after being imported to the U. S. although she did place in five graded stakes (including two at Churchill Downs). Morena is a daughter of the obscure Private Account stallion Privately Held, who's best race was a second in the 11-furlong Meadowlands Endurance Stakes. There is further stamina in the pedigree from sire of Morena's dam, Chartytin, a daughter of 1981 Belmont Stakes winner Summing.
Creator will seek to become the first Derby winner since Monarchos in 2001 to have entered his sophomore season without a victory. Kentucky Derby bettors may be wise to forgive this colt's early career failures and instead view him as a talented runner who is peaking at precisely the right time.