With only four lifetime starts under his belt, Cupid is still short on seasoning, and he benefited from a lack of significant pressure on the lead. After getting away with a third-quarter breather in :25.29, he would have had to be a far less talented colt than he is not to have something left in the tank for the stretch drive. For a moment it looked as though the charging Whitmore might get to the bottom of him, but Cupid dug in, put that rival away after a brief duel, and pulled clear to the wire with Martin Garcia only shaking the whip at him in the last 70 yards.
Cupid probably benefited from the fact that Suddenbreakingnews found traffic trouble as well, but make no mistake about it: this is a colt who is bred to be a serious racehorse. The fourth stakes winner and third graded stakes winner out of his dam Pretty 'n Smart, he is by the best stallion in the country, Tapit, and is a maternal grandson of 1990 Philip H. Iselin Handicap (USA-I) winner Beau Genius, as honest a racehorse as ever looked through a bridle.
The main question is how far Cupid really wants to go if he can't get an easy lead. While Tapit has gotten Grade I winners all the way up to 12 furlongs, all three of Cupid's stakes-winning half sibs scored their major victories in sprints. On the other hand, only Ashley's Kitty even started in a route race, and she did so only once---and as a daughter of Tale of the Cat, she figured to want shorter distances anyway. Pretty 'n Smart is a half sister to the staying turf mare Hostess (by Chester House), and the female line traces back to the stout handicap champion Gallorette, as rugged a mare as has ever graced the American Turf.
Besides the winner's share of a US$900,000 pot and 50 points toward a Derby starting slot, Cupid got the benefit of a genuine challenge in the stretch without having to put out the kind of gut-busting effort that could have knocked him backward. The question now is how much forward progress he has in him, and the Arkansas Derby (USA-I) in four weeks may reveal whether he is truly a silver streak or just a flash in the pan.