Part of the attraction is the name, He's Had Enough. It conjures up memories of I'll Have Another, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness for Reddam Racing LLP last spring, a dizzying spin to the top of the thoroughbred racing world.
Could Triple Crown success be in the offing again for the Reddam racing team – owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez?
Many of the top contenders for next year's three-year-old season were on display Saturday afternoon, running as two-year-olds in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park.
He's Had Enough went off as a lightly regarded 20-to-1 long shot in the nine-horse field, but came within a head of running down Shanghai Bobby, the prohibitive favourite and ultimate winner in the race. Gutierrez had a nice ride aboard He's Had Enough, angling off the rail as they headed for home to find a gap between horses and almost overtaking Shanghai Bobby at the wire.
On a day when many of the favourites were beaten, including Game On Dude in the $5-million Classic, Shanghai Bobby's win received its share of the attention, in part because its jockey, rising star Rosie Napravnik, became only the second woman after Julie Krone to ride to victory in the Breeders' Cup. But Shanghai Bobby got a big-time push from He's Had Enough, the Kentucky-bred two-year-old grey by Tapit out of Amelia.
O'Neill said his horse "ran dynamite," noting: "Right to the end, I was still thinking he was going to get there. He got beat by a nice horse."
He's Had Enough has run three times in 2012, but was coming off sixth and 11th-place finishes in his past two starts, which lowered expectations for the Breeders' Cup. But O'Neill is an unabashed supporter and told Bloodhorse.com that he believed He's Had Enough "is probably a little bit more physically mature and probably a little less mentally mature" than I'll Have Another at the same stage in their respective developments. "But he's equally as talented. We've very excited about him. He does things at the morning that make you say, 'Whoa! That's not normal 2-year-old stuff.'"
Shanghai Bobby is undefeated in five races and becomes the early favourite for next year's Kentucky Derby, although only Street Sense has managed that feat before – winning the Juvenile at the Breeders' Cup (in 2006, by a record 10 lengths) and then following up as a three-year-old with a victory at Churchill Downs.
"He's the most talented horse I've ever ridden, and I still don't think we've seen the best of him,"Napravnik said. "He's got unlimited talent."
Still, He's Had Enough will at least be in the Kentucky Derby conversation, if his improvement continues over the next six months.
According to Reddem, I'll Have Another was named because of his fondness for his wife's cookies, and his habit of reaching for just one more. He's Had Enough is the rejoinder, he said, a warning to stop eating them before he's eaten too many.
Fort Larned, who went off at odds of 9 to 1, edged Mucho Macho Man in the feature race, the Classic, where the 7-to-5 favourite Game On Dude, had little game and finished seventh, just ahead of two entries with Canadian connections – Pool Play, trained by Woodbine's Mark Casse, and Handsome Mike, owned by Reddam Racing.
"You know what? It was a dream to have him even make it this far, and he tried his best," Casse said of Pool Play's effort.
It was not a good weekend for Game On Dude's trainer Bob Baffert, who failed to win with any of his nine entries.
"It was a tough day for me, but I've had tougher," said Baffert, who also noted: "When these things happen, when things are hard, you've just got to move on. A few minutes ago, Joe Torre [a part owner of Game On Dude] told me you've got to forget it. Things that happened five seconds ago, you've got to let them go."