While Fulsome is wired and ready to go, O Besos will have to wait for his next shot at avenging his Matt Winn Stakes loss to his rival. That came after trainer Greg Foley decided not to enter the colt in next week’s Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand.

O Besos-Out of Indiana Derby
O Besos won’t take on rival Fulsome in next week’s Indiana Derby after trainer Greg Foley found something amiss in a workout. (Image: Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

Foley made the call after watching O Besos’ Tuesday workout. He told publicist Jennie Rees that there was something not right after the colt clocked a bullet 1:00.20 for five furlongs at Churchill Downs.

“I didn’t really like the way he went this morning,” Foley told Rees, who handled publicity for Indiana Grand. “We’re just passing the race. We checked him out, didn’t really find anything. (But) I wasn’t going to run him if he wasn’t 100%. No sense entering him when I’m not going to run him. I don’t think nothing is bad or anything. Maybe the work the other day jammed something up a little. He wasn’t lame or off or anything. The exercise rider didn’t like the way he went, and I didn’t either. You don’t want to put him in a race like that when I didn’t like the way he went a few days before it.”

In five races this year, O Besos has finished 1-2-3-4-5. The win came in a January allowance at Fair Grounds. The second came to Fulsome in May’s Matt Winn at Churchill Downs. That third came to Hot Rod Charlie and Midnight Bourbon in the Louisiana Derby. The fifth came in the Kentucky Derby along with O Besos’ career-best 103 Equibase Speed Figure.

Fulsome looking awesome coming in

As for Fulsome, he breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:00.80 on Wednesday morning, getting in his final paces before next Wednesday’s Indiana Derby.

“He did great. It was just maintenance,” jockey Florent Geroux told Rees.

Fulsome is maintaining a wonderful season to date. The Into Mischief progeny is 4-for-5 in 2021, with that last-to-first, 3 ¾-length Matt Winn victory being his third consecutive win.

Fulsome-Indiana Derby
Fulsome won the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes in May for his third consecutive victory. (Image: Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

This, coming from a colt who opened his career on the turf, winning a maiden special weight race on his third try, then finishing fourth in a Black-Type stakes race at Fair Grounds. He backed into his dirt debut when a Keeneland allowance was moved off the turf. All Fulsome did was win that dirt allowance by 3 ½ lengths.

Finding his secret in the dirt

“He transferred over to the dirt well in April at Keeneland,” trainer Brad Cox told Rees. “I’m glad it came off the turf; it was in the mud. He gave us the confidence to press forward on the dirt, so it’s been very rewarding this spring.”

It has, indeed. Fulsome is unbeaten in three dirt races. He captured the Listed Oaklawn Stakes May 1 as a prelude to his Matt Winn victory. He’s already banked $353,854 this year.

“I think he’s probably a touch better on the dirt,” Geroux said about Fulsome, having ridden him in his first three turf starts. “He was not very quick. So Brad and (owner) Juddmonte (Farm) didn’t feel there was a great need to sprint him on the dirt, having him all the way back and eating dirt. So that’s why he ran a few times on the turf, around two turns. And when he was ready to take on the dirt, they switched him over and he’s been pretty good since then. His numbers show he’s better on dirt, but I think he’s very versatile.”

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