Once a promising sophomore who briefly tried the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail, Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Synchrony is now coming into his own as an older turf horse. The Mike Stidham trainee broke through with his first stakes score last time out in the February 17 Fair Grounds H. (G3), and completed the double over the same course and distance in Saturday’s $300,000 Mervin H. Muniz Memorial (G2).
“We think the sky’s the limit for this horse,” Stidham said in the postrace interview.
Synchrony is living up to his bloodlines as a son of Tapit and near-millionaire Brownie Points. Herself a Pin Oak homebred, the Forest Wildcat mare was admirably versatile while winning or placing in a total of 20 stakes. Brownie Points earned her signature win in the 2008 Ouija Board Distaff (G3) on turf but was effective on dirt too, notably splitting Zenyatta and Ginger Punch in the Apple Blossom (G1).
It made sense for Synchrony to start out on the dirt for original trainer Donnie Von Hemel. Breaking his maiden at Keeneland and quickly following up in a Churchill Downs allowance at two, the chestnut was an encouraging third in the 2016 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn. But he was a belated sixth in the Southwest (G3), and after a similar third in the Lexington (G3), he was sidelined.
Resurfacing with Stidham last season, Synchrony was a lackluster fifth in an allowance on the Fair Grounds dirt. Even if entitled to need that one, he jumped up to win when switching to the turf next out, and hasn’t looked back since. After a fast-finishing second in the Henry Clark at Laurel to Ascend, the subsequent winner of the Manhattan (G1), Synchrony was also runner-up to Irish Strait in the May 27 Red Bank (G3) at Monmouth. He didn’t race again until the Fair Grounds ‘Cap, showing no rust off the nine-month layoff, and made it two in a row here on Louisiana Derby Day.
Synchrony showed good speed from the rail in the opening strides, but the 3-1 favorite kindly eased back in the hands of Joe Bravo and let others press ahead. The 91-1 Zulu Alpha led the way through splits of :23.67, :48.81, and 1:12.51, pestered by an unexpectedly keen Forge down the backstretch and rounding the far turn. As Forge flattened out in upper stretch, Zulu Alpha fought back, and the stalking Arklow emerged as a menace. Then Synchrony, who angled off the fence and into the clear, put them all away with a decisive turn of foot.
Finishing about 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.59 on the firm course, Synchrony crossed the wire a handy 1 3/4-length winner. Arklow got the better of Zulu Alpha for second, and Mr. Misunderstood settled for fourth. Ring Weekend checked in fifth, followed by Lucullan, who never factored after bobbling at the start; Forge; One Mean Man; Revved Up; Galton; and Danish Dynaformer.
Synchrony’s scorecard now stands at 12-5-3-2, $438,102.