'Uncomplicated' Blazing Sevens Nearly Gave De Meric A Classic Training Grad In Preakness Stakes - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Uncomplicated’ Blazing Sevens Nearly Gave De Meric A Classic Training Grad In Preakness Stakes

Blazing Sevens trains for the Preakness Stakes

Even in defeat, Blazing Sevens' rugged stretch battle with Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure gave a thrill for plenty with something to gain from his success.

Nick de Meric was part of that cheering section, having put the colt through his early training at his farm in Ocala, Fla., even if he wasn't at Pimlico Race Course to add his voice to the desperate crowd.

However, de Meric was still within shouting distance. Visiting the greater Baltimore area to consign horses at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, the horseman watched the Preakness from the outdoor patio of the Oregon Grille in nearby Hunt Valley, Md.

Blazing Sevens might not have picked up the win for de Meric, but the classic placing still represented another highlight for his training operation, and his long-running partnership with bloodstock agent Peter Bradley, who selected the colt at auction for owner Rodeo Creek Racing.

“I made the comment to Pete, 'In my opinion, he lost nothing in defeat,'” de Meric said. “He said, 'No, he really didn't; except for the $8 million or so more he'd be worth.”

De Meric and Bradley's careers have been closely linked since 1981 when Bradley moved from the West Coast to Fred Seitz's Brookdale Farm in Kentucky to manage the operation. De Meric was already the farm's lead showman, and he was a major cog in Brookdale's sales consignment wing.

In later years, the two would form the pinhooking partnership D & B Ventures, whose successes over their 20-plus years in operation included multiple Grade 1 winner Dream Rush.

Today, de Meric is one of Central Florida's leading consignors of 2-year-olds, while also starting plenty of horses to go straight to the racetrack, and Bradley is one of the game's top bloodstock agents. When Bradley signed the ticket on Blazing Sevens at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, the decision on where to begin the son of Good Magic's training was automatic.

“He had the frame, he was a good looking horse, and he's been uncomplicated since the hammer fell on him,” Bradley said. “He's not a horse that we've had to back up on. Yes, he keeps progressing and maturing. I think he's just getting there, myself. If the racing gods treat us right, we've got a lot to look forward to.”

Blazing Sevens arrived under de Meric's watch in October of his yearling season; one of about 12 horses his operation breaks and trains for Bradley's clients each year as part of the 80 to 100 total horses they'll prepare over the course of the season.

De Meric described Blazing Sevens as a tractable colt in his early lessons, with early indicators that his best work might come around two turns.

“In his early training, he was a very uncomplicated horse,” he said. “He learned his early lessons well. He never really gave us any anxious moments, mentally or physically. He was always a very nice mover over the ground, and he always had strong gallop-outs in his workouts, and he looked like a horse that was dying to do more than what he was doing.”

With a segment of his trainees pointed toward the sales, and another slated to graduate straight to a trainer's barn at the racetrack, de Meric said his training regimen is not a “one size fits all” program.

For the auction-bound horses, the youngsters not only have to run as fast as they can for an eighth or a quarter of a mile; they have to look good doing it. After gaining their sea legs on the track, de Meric will start breezing the sale horses alone, instead of in tandem, to better simulate what they'll face when they go under the stopwatch during an under-tack show.

With advances in technology and buying philosophies moving at a lightning pace when it comes to analyzing a breeze, that time alone on the track has turned into an increasingly bright spotlight.

“Buyers every year become more sophisticated and more intelligent about the way they approach the sales to the point that it's not just about how fast they go down the track, which it used to be a decade or two ago,” he said. “It's now about style, movement, the gallop out, balance, and getting the leads right, and not being over-ridden to do it.

“They've got to run fast, but they've got to run pretty and they've got to vet well,” de Meric continued. “If they jump through all the proverbial hoops, there is demand for them, but it can be lonely after that.”

Blazing Sevens' path through the de Meric program focused more on getting the colt prepared physically and mentally for the racetrack experience.

Support our journalism

If you appreciate our work, you can support us by subscribing to our Patreon stream. Learn more.

De Meric likes to test the racetrack-bound horses for speed to a certain degree, just to establish that they can turn it on when asked, but that part of the curriculum is shared with extensive gate training, longer workouts, and getting horses used to performing at their best with others in their vicinity.

“With the horses going to the races, I tend to work them in company, unless there's a good reason not to. I like to work them head-and-head. I'm not one for having horses blow their doors off in workouts, so we work them together on the bridle, within themselves, but we focus on strong gallop-outs and professionalism, and also getting a well-rounded education.

“When a trainer gets a horse from us, we like them to be able to go right on, and we don't like them to have to go to the starting gate more than two or three times to get a gate card,” he continued.

Blazing Sevens left the de Meric program for trainer Chad Brown's barn at Saratoga Race Course in May 2022. He broke his maiden at the track two months later, and he followed up with a third-place effort in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes before the end of the meet. He then moved to Aqueduct for the Belmont at the Big A meet, where he won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and established himself as a potential division leader.

The colt's high-level success at two played against the expectations of de Meric, who didn't see him as a horse whose best work would be around one turn in a race like the Champagne. However, with sire Good Magic being a champion 2-year-old in his own right, Blazing Sevens might just be the start of a new trend.

“One of the interesting things about Good Magic is he looks like he's passing on some of his precocity with a sire line that isn't famous for that,” de Meric said. “I think if you can get the combination of the precocity, along with the continuing to develop and improve factor that we expect from Curlin, he's going to be a very dangerous sire as time goes on.”

Still, both de Meric and Bradley agreed that the Preakness was a promising indicator that their assessment of Blazing Sevens as a horse that will truly find his footing with added age and distance might still be spot-on, even if he could succeed against type, as well.

“He's a big, strong horse, and Chad had him about as right as you can have a horse for this race,” Bradley said. “We're all a little melancholy, but at the same time, how can you not have such pride in a horse that performs like that?”

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More