Brilliance at Belmont

Three-for-three. Sprinting. Routing. Fast. Muddy. Gulfstream. Aqueduct. Belmont. Is there a more exciting three-year-old, with more upwards potential, than Unified? The undefeated colt was dazzling again this weekend, stretching out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the G2 Peter Pan.

Unified, exiting a victory going 7 furlongs in the G3 Bay Shore, sat off the pace in his first attempt going long. “I thought he rated as good as you could expect for only having two races,” said Jimmy Jerkens after the race. “I was happy to see that. Jose [Ortiz] did a good job of keeping his hands down and keeping him out off the fence,” he added.

It was an impressive display of professionalism for a lightly raced colt, who kicked clear down the stretch and held stakes winner, and possible Belmont Stakes contender, Governor Malibu at bay under the wire. The victory earned him a spot on the NTRA’s Top Three-Year-Old Poll and opened up a world of possibilities for the future. “He’s a talented horse, he always tries. I think he’s got the competitive spirit you want to see,” said Centennial President Don Little, Jr. after the victory.

The Centennial Farms team was back in force the following afternoon as hard-trying Securitiz made his stakes debut. Exiting a February win at Gulfstream Park, Securitiz stretched out to 1 3/8 miles in the Flat Out Stakes. Facing a tough field, the four-year-old took over the lead, got passed, and re-rallied to narrow the gap on the winner under the line. His second place finish earned him lucrative black-type, designating a top three finish in an elite-level race. In fact, his effort means at least one member of the last three Centennial Farms crops to hit the races has earned that distinction.

Plans for both Unified and Securitiz will be made in coming days as trainer Jimmy Jerkens and racing manager Dr. Stephen Carr evaluate their options. One thing is for certain – their futures look bright!