The Kentucky Derby is the world’s most famous Thoroughbred race. Participating in the greatest two minutes in sports has long been the goal of many people in the game. If you have a chance to chase that Derby dream it’s an opportunity you just can’t pass up. And that is exactly what Bloom Racing is doing.

Snapper Sinclair is a promising three-year old colt by City Zip that has some folks on the West coast thinking of the first Saturday in May. Conditioned by hall of fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Snapper has shown enough to make for some sweaty palms and sleepless nights.

“Everybody wants to be on the Kentucky Derby trail,” says Jeff Bloom, mastermind behind Bloom Racing and a part of the sport since the 1980’s. “If you can’t get excited about opportunities like this, you shouldn’t be in the Thoroughbred game.”

Bloom’s excitement is well-founded right now as Sinclair has been quite Snappy during his five race career. In the second race as a two-year old, this great-grandson of Mr. Prospecter broke his maiden in a 5 ½ furlong race over the Saratoga turf. He then followed that with a nice triumph in a 7 furlong Stakes race on the challenging grass at Kentucky Downs. After a head-scratching twelfth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar to close out his two-year old season, Bloom decided to give Snapper a try on dirt. The former jockey and exercise rider for Charlie Whittingham was rewarded as Snapper took a liking to the dirt and finished a fighting third in the mile and 70 yard Lecomte Stakes at the Fairgrounds in Louisiana on January 13.

“We thought we had something after he broke his maiden at Saratoga, which is never easy,” says Bloom. “When he came back and won at Kentucky Downs it only added to our excitement. That is a very challenging track and a great place to run. We found out a lot about him there. We drew a line through the Breeders’ Cup race because we really weren’t sure what happened there. Our only question before the race in Louisiana was how he would like the move to dirt. We felt like he certainly had the talent and we found out he liked dirt just fine.”

The Fairgrounds race was a nice dirt party for Snapper Sinclair. Breaking alertly and stalking the early pace, Snapper ran a close second before assuming the lead at the quarter pole. Instilled Regard drew even and then eased away as the long Fairgrounds stretch got shorter. Running hard to the wire, Bloom’s colt finished 3 ½ lengths behind the winner but only a neck out of second place.

“He made it clear to us he has the talent to be on the road to the Kentucky Derby,” says Bloom. “The two turns were not a problem and he came out of the race really good. He proved to us that he can stay with some tough horses. After that effort we felt as though we certainly should give it a try.”

The next stop on the road to Churchill Downs will likely be the Risen Star Stakes on February 17. Also run at the Fairgrounds in Louisiana, Asmussen has used the race as a prep for his past Kentucky Derby starters Gun Runner (2016) and Pyro (2008). Run at a mile and a sixteenth, the Risen Star will be another test for Bloom’s hope.

“We have talked with Steve and think this is a good spot,” says Bloom. “We have a lot of confidence in our trainer. His resume speaks for itself and we are just putting our trust in him and enjoying the ride.”

Snapper Sinclair currently has 2 qualifying points (23rd ) towards a starting spot in Kentucky Derby 144 with the Risen Star offering up 85 qualifying (50 first, 20 second, 10 third, 5 fourth).