Private Desire breaking his maiden. (Chelsea Durand)
Belmont at the Big A Notes
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – A strong performance from second-out maiden winner Private Desire on Saturday at Belmont at the Big A will likely warrant an effort at stakes level, with the bay Constitution colt being a potential candidate for either the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on October 7 or the listed $150,000 Nashua on November 5 – both going a one-turn mile for 2-year-olds over the Aqueduct main track.
Owned by Stephen Brunetti, Jr. – the son of Red Oak Stable owner Stephen Brunetti – and trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Private Desire was a 1 1/4-length winner of a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont at the Big A to kick off Saturday’s program. There, he broke sharply from his outermost post 7 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano and engaged with post time favorite Hurricane Nelson on the front end. He took command midway down the backstretch with Hurricane Nelson switching to his outside in attempt to re-rally, but Private Desire kicked clear to victory and completed the distance in 1:16.68. The win produced a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.
Private Desire was a $350,000 acquisition at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of graded stakes placed Wildcat Heir broodmare Brahms Cat, who is out of the graded stakes-placed Wildcat Heir mare Brahms Cat.
“We’re pleased with his effort and with the colt. We’ve liked him all along,” said Rick Sacco – racing manager for the Brunetti family. “He’s a beautiful horse with a beautiful pedigree. When we bought him at Keeneland as a yearling, we paid good money for the horse. I think his pedigree and the way he looks fit the bill.”
Private Desire exited a key debut race on July 29 at Saratoga, where he finished fourth behind victorious Seize the Grey – a colt for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas who finished fourth in Saturday’s Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs – as well as Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Mage’s half-brother Dornoch and the Chad Brown-trained next-out maiden winner Global Perspective.
“His first race at Saratoga was a good race. Lukas’ horse won and the second horse is the half to Mage, the third horse of Chad’s came back and won. It was a very tough maiden heat at Saratoga,” Sacco said. “Javier got off the horse and said to Todd, ‘I really want to ride this horse back.’ So, he got positive feedback from Javier and our camp always liked him. After his first race, he really put it all together. He put in some very solid breezes, and we skipped a race at Saratoga to point for this race. When the form came out, we kind of knew that he was the lone speed of the race. There were some unknown soldiers in there with some high price tags, but this horse has shown all along that he has very good speed.”
Sacco commented that Private Desire trained with some of Pletcher’s promising 2-year-olds this summer.
“It’s like playing for the University of Alabama – one All-American after another,” Sacco said of Pletcher’s loaded stable. “He put in a string of good breezes, and we were very confident going into the race that he would run well based off his first race. What Javier did was pretty remarkable, he took it to that speed horse and dropped over on him. We expected he would engage him and kind of sit off that horse, but we didn’t expect him to drop over in front of him and turn it into a sprint after he did that. The gallop out in his race yesterday was extraordinary. We’re pleased with everything. It’s always a fun time when you have a well-bred 2-year-old in the barn.”
Sacco said he will discuss Private Desire’s next start with Pletcher.
“I’m going to talk to Todd. The Nashua is Breeders’ Cup weekend and right now everyone is excited after the big win,” said Sacco. “The Champagne is a little quick back for our liking, but we’re going to talk about it.”
Sacco went on to talk about Brunetti, Jr. – a recent graduate at the University of Kentucky, who is slated to carry on his family’s legacy.
“He’s a young guy that’s getting into the game. He loves the horse racing business. He’s one of the younger generation guys that’s getting involved and he wants to carry on the tradition of the Brunetti family in horseracing,” Sacco said. “It was a slight change in the silks. The sleeves have chevrons on them instead of hoops and the son is going to carry the banner of Red Oak Farm, so the cap had ‘ROF’ instead of ‘ROS’ for Red Oak Stable.”