Upstart has been the epitome of well-named in 2022 as the breakout stallion accounting for Blue Grass Stakes hero Zandon in the 3-year-old colt division as well as Kathleen O., the leading 3-year-old filly on the East Coast heading into the Kentucky Oaks.
At the OBS April Sale, David Ingordo was looking for the classic, two-turn profile that has filled up the Lane’s End stallion roster, and he was drawn to this bay Florida-bred out of a Hard Spun mare. Hard Spun of course has been very good to David and to West Point as the sire of Grade 1 winner Hard Not to Love.
The colt named Vance C. worked an eighth of a mile in 10.1 and galloped out strongly at the OBS sale. He is close to his first breeze in the Cherie DeVaux barn at Keeneland.
Upstart was a terrific talent, capturing the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) by more than 5 lengths in early 2015. He was unlucky to not become a Grade 1 winner in his very next start, as he finished second in the Florida Derby while earning an incredible negative 2 Thoro-Graph figure, equal to the winner that day Materiality and among the best figures in any Triple Crown prep in the last 10 years.
Kathleen O. was similarly brilliant this winter and early spring at Gulfstream, drawing off to win both the Grade 2 Davona Dale and Gulfstream Oaks and take a 4-for-4 record into the Kentucky Oaks, finishing a respectable fifth.
Zandon captured the Blue Grass by 2 1/2 lengths and loomed large turning for home in the Kentucky Derby, hooking up in a duel with Epicenter before Rich Strike came from nowhere to steal the spotlight, with Zandon checking in third with his second straight 98 Beyer.
Upstart also has been represented by the 3-year-old filly Green Up, who earned TDN Rising Star honors breaking her maiden in March at Gulfstream and followed that up with an allowance victory last time out on April 21.
“We absolutely loved this colt at the April Sale, I mean loved him,” said Jeff Lifson. “He was one of, if not my favorite horse in the whole sale. Instead of bidding against each other, we teamed up with David’s colts group to get him bought. Teamwork.”