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Kentucky Derby Contender Nasa Hopes to Soar in 2015

Kentucky Derby Contender Nasa Hopes to Soar in 2015: The 2015 Kentucky Derby still is a long way off, but that doesn’t stop connections from dreaming of the Kentucky Derby before their horses even win their first race. Every owner hopes to one day win the royal roses, but only one chance comes in the horse’s career and if the horse doesn’t make it or win, that is it. It is over the moment horse doesn’t cross the wire at Churchill Downs in front of the other nineteen horses.

Jerome Stakes 2014

Vyjack, pictured above, won the 2013 Jerome Stakes before winning the 2013 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Will Nasa follow the same path?
Photo: Coglianese/NYRA

Some owners and trainers have won the Kentucky multiple times, such as Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas. However, this is one trainer currently pointing his soon-to-be three-year-old colt to the Kentucky Derby, beginning with the possibility of starting in Saturday’s Jerome Stakes on January 3, 2015, a grade two race at Aqueduct, which is preparation for the Gotham (G3) and Wood Memorial (G1). John Servis last visited Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby with his undefeated Pennsylvania-bred, Smarty Jones. Smarty Jones looked unbeatable, until he was passed in late stretch five weeks later in the Belmont Stakes. Smarty Jones since retired to stud and sired some nice offspring, but his newest son to burst on the scene is named Nasa, owned by Someday Farm and trained by John Servis.

Nasa was born May 11, 2012 in Pennsylvania. He is a homebred of Someday Farm. Nasa is a son of champion Smarty Jones and the unraced Seattle Slew mare Shootforthestars. Nasa could easily be considered royally bred, as his sire won two-thirds of the Triple Crown and his damsire won the Triple Crown in 1977 while undefeated. While Shootforthestars was unraced, her dam, Lotka Dancing, was a grade three winner and grade one placed. Nasa’s third dam, Lotka, was a grade one winner of the Acorn Stakes. Lotka was also a grade three winner on turf.

Nasa has the breeding to be successful as he moves forward on his path to chasing his own Kentucky Derby dream. With a mix of speed on top with the Elusive Quality sire line over the speedy stamina that Seattle Slew lends to his mares. In the first five generations of Nasa’s pedigree, he has three Kentucky Derby winners, a Preakness winner, two Belmont winners, and two Triple Crown winners (Secretariat and Seattle Slew). Nasa also has Alydar on his distaff line, which lends a lot of stamina.

Nasa has been campaigned primarily at Parx, but was shipped to Laurel Park to break his maiden in his second start. Servis then sent the colt to Christopher Elser Memorial Stakes at Parx, going 6.5 furlongs. Finishing third, Nasa seemingly needed more ground for his late charge. Servis seemed to listen to his colt, sending him out next in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes over seven furlongs. Winning that race in front running fashion, Nasa not only showed some versatility to adjust to his circumstances, he showed that added ground is what he wanted. He has run four times in 2014, and he has yet to finish worse than third place.

Nasa has the breeding, the experienced trainer, and stakes experience under his belt. Going into the G3 Jerome should not be a hindrance to the Smarty Jones colt. It will be his first try around two turns, but that is likely to be an easy adjustment for the colt. Depending on which running style Nasa decides to use in the Jerome, he could find some competition on the front end from the speedy Zayat Stables horse, El Kabeir.

Nasa should easily stamp himself as a legitimate contender for the 2015 Kentucky Derby with a win or even hitting the board in the January 3, 2015 Jerome Stakes (G2). With pedigree and humble beginnings on his side, Nasa should soar into the Kentucky Derby leaderboard in the near future.