The colt with the historic name, We the People, is making his stakes preamble in Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. And even this late on the Kentucky Derby trail, We the People is shaking up any form of domestic tranquility among horseplayers and fans.
The aptly-named son of Constitution, We the People draws his name from the first three words of the US Constitution’s Preamble. He draws his speed from his sire, a multiple Grade 1 winner. And We the People used that speed to promote his general welfare in his first two races.
He won a February maiden special weight by 5 3/4 lengths. We the People followed that with a five-length romp in an allowance optional claimer earlier this month as the 2/5 favorite. That’s two victories by nearly 11 lengths, both in two-turn races, the former at a mile, the latter at 1 1/16 miles.
That’s a pretty perfect union out of the gate. But We the People isn’t one for tranquility. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset said the colt is demanding to train and a handful to ride. He normally rides We the People for workouts, picking spots where there is light traffic. That helps tamp We the People’s aggressiveness.
We the People likes company — some company
At the same time, Brisset works him with stablemate Kuchar because he can’t work solo either.
“We have worked him on his own at the beginning and he was pretty keen,” Brisset told Oaklawn’s Robert Yates. “He’s very effortless. Like he does time very easily, so he has a tendency to trick you and we just do that so he won’t go too fast. We’ve taught him how to break off behind another horse and stay behind. That’s what we’ve been doing for over six months and he’s been working pretty good. Likely, we will try at one point to get with a pony and kind of go easy to a pole with a pony. Just let him break off from the pony and then see how he does. He’s not a very easy horse to ride.”
That’s one reason why We the People didn’t run as a juvenile. Brisset lined him up for his debut at Keeneland last October, but five days before the race, Brisset said he “found a little something” that wasn’t bad, but enough to scratch We the People from the race.
He couldn’t relax, even on R&R
Instead, Brisset sent him to WinStar Farm, which co-owns the colt. Even those cozy, comfortable digs didn’t help his disposition.
“I think he had one work at WinStar,” Brisset said. “It was very frustrating because of all the work we did. He’s not an easy horse to train. All the work we did in July, August, September, we hadn’t gotten him to relax, got him to learn how to breeze.”
Lesson learned. Both those victories came with a stalking/pressing style. We the People was no worse than third at any call in either race. Nor did he trail by more than 2 1/2 lengths in either race.
A top-two spot gets him a Derby date
His last three works have been stellar, capped by a March 26, 47.80-second half-mile breeze that was third of 94 at that distance that day. That said, We the People will need at least a runner-up finish to secure the blessings of a Derby spot. The Arkansas Derby offers 100-40-20-10 qualifying points to the top four finishers.
Toward that end, We the People is the 7/2 morning line third choice to make some more history of his own.