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Hawaakom is Peitz's 'Derby horse'

Shadwell Farm may have bred another runner based on the way the two-year-old Hawaakom broke his maiden Saturday afternoon at Fair Grounds.

After dropping back steadily during the early part of Saturday's mile and 70-yard test for juveniles, the son of Jazil rallied outside the leaders despite drifting in and drew clear late for a 1 1/2-length score under an attentive ride by jockey Leandro Goncalves.

"I guess you could say he's my Derby horse now," trainer Danny Peitz joked while speaking from Oaklawn Park Wednesday morning shortly before embarking on a journey to New Orleans to check on the string he has stabled at Fair Grounds. "I'll say that because he's the only two-year-old I have that has won going over a distance of ground."

All kidding aside, Hawaakom -- based on his breeding alone -- may turn out to be just that. Despite the fact that he returned a $75.60 win mutuel last weekend, the homebred has shown consistent improvement in his training.

"He ran seventh in his first and only other start at Churchill (on November 7)," Peitz said, "but that race was at six furlongs and I've thought all along that this one would be more of a distance horse. The rider who rode him that day thought he ran very green but said this colt would show a little more ability when we started to stretch him out.

"I'm kicking myself for not throwing at least a couple of dollars on him the other day," the horseman added. "I thought he'd do better going two turns, but there I was last weekend just sitting on my hands.

"Last year, I had another son of Jazil named Najjaar who was going to be my Derby horse," Peitz continued. "He showed a lot of late run in the (Grade 2) Rebel here at Oaklawn but didn't run that race back when I put him in the (Grade 1) Arkansas Derby.

"After that I took him to Chicago and he ran third behind Silver Max in the Arlington Classic, but he put a little chip in his ankle right after that race and he's just started back in his training with his first work last Friday. He can run on grass or dirt so you may see him coming to Fair Grounds a little later in the season.

"I don't know if this colt (Hawaakom) has that kind of ability or not," Peitz admitted, "but right now he's got to be my Derby horse. I don't have any others."

Is Hawaakom now a possibility for the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes on January 19 at Fair Grounds?

"I'm not sure," Peitz said, "but I'm definitely not going to say 'No.'"

What about the colt's name? What does it mean in Arabic?

"I have no idea," Peitz grinned. "I'm not even sure how to pronounce it. All the announcers have called it one way and I've always pronounced it differently. I don't know who's right. Maybe the way I've been saying it is just me speaking in my 'Arky-Arabic.'"

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