HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Joe Orseno was so impressed by Hades at the 2022 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale April that he encouraged two longstanding clients to join forces for the first time to secure the son of Florida sire Awesome Slew, who stands at Ocala Stud.

However, the Gulfstream Park-based trainer wasn’t so thrilled with D J Stable LLC and Robert Cotran’s $130,000 purchase a week after welcoming the Florida-bred colt to his barn.

“When I bought him out of the sale, I gave him a week and brought him down here. He just wasn’t training like I thought he should have been,” Orseno said. “He was [acting like a stud], really [acting like a stud]. He was a little weak behind. He didn’t seem to be himself. I said, ‘This isn’t the horse I bought,’ because we really loved him.”

After being turned out in Ocala, Hades showed no improvement. Orseno refused to lose faith in Hades while deciding that gelding him would be the key to his future success.

“He was not going forward. I said, ‘Just cut him and help him grow up a little bit.’ That’s what we did. We just gave him time and cut him,” Orseno said. “Nobody was thinking ‘stallion’ at that point. Nobody was thinking anything. We bought a racehorse and we’ve got to get him to the races.”

Hades made a complete turnaround upon being gelded, looking very much like the promising 2-year-old in training that had impressed him so much at the sale.

Hades shook off early bumping to rally from far back to win on debut in a maiden $50,000 optional claiming going five-and-a-half furlongs Dec. 9 at Gulfstream Park, where he came right back to score by eight lengths with a front-running victory in a first level allowance going seven furlongs.

In his stakes debut and first start around two turns, Hades set a pressured pace from the start of last Saturday’s Grade 3 Holy Bull going a mile-and-a-sixteenth and drew away to win by two lengths as heavily favored Eclipse Champion 2-year-old male Fierceness faded to third.

Orseno is looking forward to Hades’ future, which may include a start in either the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2 or the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) on March 31 at Gulfstream, where his Holy Bull winner returned to the track Tuesday.

“Both [my] feet are on the ground and everything’s fine. The horse is doing great. He came out of it really well in his training. He’s been back training two days. He’s galloping great,” Orseno said.

“[Wednesday], he was more aggressive. It was windy and it was his first day back on the track. [Thursday], he was more settled,” Orseno said. “We’re obviously working backwards from the first Saturday in May. We’ll do what’s best for the horses. I don’t think both races are in the plans. If I had to guess today, I’d say the [Florida Derby].”

Hades is out of The Shady Lady, by Quality Road and was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, Joseph M. O’Farrell III, David O’Farrell, et. al. He is undefeated in three starts with earnings of $225,000.

Return to Feb. 9 issue of Wire to Wire