Yes, Dynamic One’s victory came in a listed stakes, the Curlin. Yes, it came in a 3-year-old race buried in the laundry that is Jim Dandy Weekend at Saratoga – especially with star sophomore Essential Quality headlining.

Dynamic One-Curlin
After a disappointing Kentucky Derby, Dynamic One returned from a nearly three-month racing layoff to win the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Next up for the $725,000 colt could be the Grade 1 Travers Aug. 28. (Image: Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

But Friday’s Curlin, which was limited to 3-year-olds who had not won a graded stakes of a mile or longer in 2021, served its purpose. This was the race all of Dynamic One’s connections waited to see from a colt who set his high-powered owners back $725,000.

Now, those owners: Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable, may see Dynamic One return to Grade 1 competition. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he liked what he saw from Dynamic One’s performance and put the Travers Stakes on the table as a possible next stop.

“I think he definitely showed that he is capable of stepping up. And we were looking at this as a potential Travers prep, and he gave us everything we could have hoped for today,” Pletcher told the New York Racing Association’s Brian Bohl.

Since you asked, Dynamic One’s Equibase was a 102

One of those owners, Vincent Viola of St. Elias Stable, likes where his trainer’s going here. That, after liking where Dynamic One went in his last-to-first, 1 ¾-length triumph.

“He’s been coming around to that. I’d like to see his (speed) number off today’s race,” Viola said. “I really think he’ll be competitive in the Travers. I think that’s where Todd will aim him after today. It’s up to Todd, but that’s what we’re thinking.”

If Dynamic One sounds familiar, well, he should to 3-year-old watchers. The last time you saw the Union Rags progeny was in the May 1 Kentucky Derby. There, he finished a miserable 18th out of the 19 starters – 32 ¼ lengths behind Medina Spirit. That told Pletcher Dynamic One needed time off and class relief. The Derby was only Dynamic One’s second stakes race.

This was not a Derby to remember

His first was the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, where he finished a head behind 72/1 Bourbonic. That got Dynamic One into the Derby, where he never fired after getting bumped by Midnight Bourbon right after the start. He ran a rank race and never settled for jockey Jose Ortiz.

So Pletcher sent Dynamic One to the bench for the next five-plus weeks. He brought him back June 10 for the first of six workouts at Belmont Park over the next five weeks. Pletcher sneaked in a final Saratoga work July 23, then sent him out in Friday’s nine-furlong Curlin.

That race often gets buried because it’s run the same weekend as the more heralded Travers prep: the Jim Dandy. As you expect from a Grade 2 vs. a Listed race, you usually see more accomplished horses in the Jim Dandy. But this doesn’t faze Pletcher from looking toward the 1 ¼-mile Travers and the deep field that awaits.

Some get this racing thing quicker than others

“He’s a horse that always trained exceptionally well,” Pletcher said. “We always felt like there was a lot of talent there. It’s taken him a little while to mentally put it all together, but today was his most professional race.”

Dynamic One’s second victory was easily the biggest of his career to date. He’s hit the board four times in seven outings (2-2-0), good for $260,120 in earnings. Only another $459,880 to go to make back that purchase price.