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Profile: Decisive Moment

Decisive Moment training at Churchill Downs. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Decisive Moment has never been more than a neck back at the second call of any of his eight career races, so there is a good chance he will at least have an impact on the pace of the Kentucky Derby.

He earned his way to Louisville with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot last November as a 2-year-old. The Jackpot carries a $1 million purse, and the $200,000 Decisive Moment earned at Delta Downs counts the same as money earned in a Grade 1 race according to the Kentucky Derby’s qualifying rules.

Decisive Moment returned to Delta on January 14 and won the ungraded $250,00 Jean Lafitte Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths. That was his first and only stakes win.

Decisive Moment tried tougher competition in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. He led the field until midway on the far turn, where Mucho Macho Man and Santiva rolled up on his outside. Despite never giving up, Decisive Moment steadily lost ground to the wire and finished fifth.

Decisive Moment’s final Derby prep came in the Grade 3 Vinery Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. This was probably his best effort. Caught in a three-wide pace duel around the track, Decisive Moment pressed solid fractions of a half-mile in 46.56 seconds and three-quarters in 1:12.57.

He seized the lead turning for home but immediately was challenged on the outside by Animal Kingdom, who rallied from last. Decisive Moment was game in defeat, but Animal Kingdom, who he faces again in the Derby, was drawing away at the wire.

Decisive Moment is a quick, hard-trying horse, but with no graded wins and a pedigree that tilts toward speed, he is a big long shot in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby.

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1 Comment

While I won’t argue that Decisive Moment is going to finish in the top 3, he may surprise those who ignore him. He came out of the Risen Star – his only out-of-the-money finish in 8 races – with a soft-tissue injury. The Spiral was his first and only race on an artificial surface, losing to a turf specialist. He’s had a good six weeks working over the CD surface, having his best lifetime work of 4f in 47.40 a couple of weeks ago in the mud (1/30). No, neither sire & damsire, nor running style, are ideal for a KD contender, but his pedigree is as blue as any other. I’ll be cheering for the boy with the red ribbon on his bridle!

Posted by sherpa on May 3, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

Author PhotoAn award winning newspaper journalist from Chicago’s south side, Pete Denk moved to Lexington, Kentucky, in 2005. He wrote for Thoroughbred Times for five years, as a staff reporter and later as sales editor. Denk headed up the Times’ auction coverage for three years. Still based in horse country, he now works as a freelance journalist and consultant. More by  ›