Though he’ll be riding Live Oak Plantation’s Soup and Sandwich for the first time in the Kentucky Derby on May 1, jockey Tyler Gaffalione has been following the 3-year-old’s races since the very beginning.
“I’ve been following this horse since his first race,” Gaffalione said in an interview with Jennie Rees for the Kentucky HBPA. “He just, his stride looks effortless. He covers a lot of ground, he was still green that day, he swapped leads a couple times, but he kind of reminded me of a Gun Runner early in his 3-year-old year. He had a lot of raw talent but hadn’t really figured it out yet.”
The son of Into Mischief won on debut Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park, dominating by 7 1/4 lengths for trainer Mark Casse.
“I texted Mark after the race that day, and said, ‘If it ever comes up, I’d love the chance to ride this horse,’” said Gaffalione. “We weren’t able to hook up until now, but I mean, this is the one you want! Everything’s just kind of falling into place.”
In his second career start, on Feb. 24 at Tampa Bay Downs, Soup and Sandwich bested a three-horse field in his first start around two turns. From there, Casse was confident enough to send the colt into the Grade 1 Florida Derby, where he ran a big second behind Known Agenda despite not switching leads in the stretch.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Nick Tomlinson at Palm Meadows,” said Casse’s assistant, David Carroll. “Nick loved this horse before he ever ran, even though he said he was very immature. He showed that in his first race and even his second race, so he’s learning on the job, so to speak… You have to think that having run just three races, there’s a lot more upside to him. His race in the Florida Derby was very, very good, but he didn’t switch leads, showed true greenness, and had every chance to give it up, but he didn’t.”
Gaffalione got a chance to ride Soup and Sandwich in the morning for the first time on Saturday, breezing five furlongs at Churchill in :59 4/5.
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 17, 2021
“I loved every bit of it,” the jockey said. “He’s got a beautiful stride, he just covers a lot of ground and just keeps finding more.
“There’s just an aura about him. (Nice horses) have a different, I guess you would say ‘class,’ about them. They know they’re a nice horse and they have a lot of confidence in themselves, and you can really feel that.”
Out of the winning Tapit mare Souper Scoop, Soup and Sandwich is a second-generation homebred for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud. His name is a play on her heritage, since her grandfather is the Campbell Soup founder John T. Dorrance and she serves as a board trustee of Campbell Soup Company.
Soup and Sandwich is one of two likely Kentucky Derby starters for Mark Casse in 2021. The second is Helium, undefeated winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, who will be partnered by Julien Leparoux.
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