Track Phantom, a three-year-old colt bred and still part-owned by Breeze Easy, is on the Kentucky Derby trail after winning the Derby points paying Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds on 12/23/23. Sold for $500,000 at the Keeneland September Sales, the bay is now owned by a partnership of L and N Racing, Clark O. Brewster, Jerry Caroom and Breeze Easy LLC, and is trained by Steve Asmussen.
On his debut, which came in a one mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on 10/12/23, Track Phantom set strong early fractions of :22.86 and :46.30, but was headed in the stretch, going to finish third to Stronghold – second in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on his next two starts – and subsequent impressive maiden scorer Resilience.
Returning just 17 days later in a similar event, Track Phantom again set out to make the running at a brisk tempo, but after opening up in the stretch was caught late by Real Men Violin, who prevailed by a 1/2 length. The form of that race gained a significant boost when Real Men Violin returned to finish an excellent second to Honor Marie in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).
Building on that effort, Track Phantom stretched out to 8 1/2 furlongs for a Churchill Downs maiden special weight on November 25, and after putting away an early rival, took command after a half-mile, and then powered clear in the stretch to score an extremely impressive 4 3/4 lengths victory. The quality of that effort was underlined when the runner-up, Lat Long, returned to record a decisive win in a $115,000 Oaklawn Park maiden test.
Given the style of his victory, Asmussen elected to skip the allowance condition and let Track Phantom take his chance in the one mile Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds, a points paying Kentucky Derby trial. After disputing a strong early pace, Track Phantom asserted himself on the lead, and despite an aggresive middle quarter, stayed on well to score by daylight from Snead, himself a 7 1/2 lengths allowance winner on his previous outing. Third came the odds-on favorite, Nash, a much-touted son of Medaglia d’Oro, who on his previous start had taken a Churchill Downs maiden special weight by 10 1/4 lengths, while earning a 96 Beyer Speedfigure. After this fine effort, Track Phantom will take his next step on the Triple Crown trail in the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds on January 20.
Track Phantom defeats a quality field to capture the Gun Runner Stakes
Track Phantom’s ability comes as no surprise when one looks at his pedigree. He is by Quality Road, a brilliant racehorse, and now one of the world’s leading sires with such as Champions Abel Tasman, Caledonia Road and Corniche, and other standouts City of Light, Dunbar Road, Bellafina, and the 2023 Preakness Stakes (G1) hero National Treasure.
Miss Sunset, the dam of Track Phantom, is one of the most talented daughters of five-time Leading Sire, Into Mischief. She captured no less than nine black-type events, including the Raven Run Stakes (G2), and missed victory by inches in the Madison Stakes (G1). Her dam, Tuscan Sunset, is a winning half-sister to stakes winners Sizzlin South and Sparklin Lil, the dam of Prayer For Relief, an earner of over $2,000,000, including the West Virginia Derby (G2), Super Derby (G2), Cornhusker Handicap (G3) and Iowa Derby (G3).