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Barn Notes: Thursday, June 6, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/07/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Stidham’s Trend Anything But a Fad

STIDHAM’S TREND ANYTHING BUT A FAD
The only thing passing about Trend in Wednesday’s featured eighth race was his whereabouts in relation to the field and the wire.  Stone Farm’s strapping homebred son of Grade I winner Sligo Bay dismantled a group of impressive stakes-performing allowance horses en route to a facile 2 ¼-length victory. 

Sent off a slight favorite at just under 5-2, Trend was extremely comfortable throughout the heart of the race, sitting just off the flank of Ben Wessels’ pacesetting Vouch For Victory through a leisurely half in :51.46.  At the quarter pole, jockey E. T. Baird allowed Trend to ease himself into the lead and he disposed of that foe and subsequently easily held off the charging trio of Southern Parkway, Major Gain and Code of Conduct in deep stretch to finish the grassy mile in 1:40.82 (with an impressive final eighth in :11.26 while in hand).

“He looks good.  He came out of the race well,” reported pleased trainer Mike Stidham.  “You know, he if you go back to his Florida form, he really ran against some good horses and wasn’t getting beaten far.”

During last year’s winter Gulfstream Park meet, Trend ran really well against tough company, including two runner-up finishes behind Corporate Jungle (who is entered in this Saturday’s $65,000 Swoon’s Son for new trainer Tom Proctor) – a horse who would go on to finish second to eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan and start as one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint while under the tutelage of Chad Brown.

Trend also impressively won an allowance at the Hallandale Beach oval before his seconds in the aforementioned Canadian Turf Stakes and Appleton Stakes (both Grade III).  It is also worth noting that one horse he defeated was Data Link, a Grade I winner who recently finished second to Wise Dan in April’s Grade I Makers 46 Mile at Keeneland.

The bay gelding commenced 2013 with a lackluster fifth in Fair Grounds Race Course’s Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap and a subsequent defeat as the favorite in an allowance at that New Orleans track.  “He definitely had some excuses.  He didn’t like the Fair Grounds turf at all.  Some horses loved it – he didn’t,” explained Stidham.

After receiving a couple months of rest, Trend resurfaced at Churchill Downs in an allowance.  He responded with a fifth-place finish, but only lost by two lengths.  “The other day (May 18), when he ran at Churchill, he really ran a much better race than it looks on paper,” said Stidham. 

“The jockey that day (Leandro Goncalves) had him in a bit of a stranglehold when he should have let him go.  If you look at the comments on the form, it says he ran ‘eagerly’ because he was trying so hard to be up there and the rider had him too far back,” the trainer continued.  Trend had no such issue on Wednesday.  “E. T. rode him really well and he liked laying in a more contending position early.”

“He just took a little while to come back into his form, but he is looking good now,” reported Stidham of the lightly raced 6-year-old gelding.  “We’ll definitely look at spots like (the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap on July 13) for him.”