He was a part of the Southern California racing scene for a handful of months between 2016 and 2017. Owned by Cheyenne Stable LLC, no one ever beat him, and he was touted as a Kentucky Derby hopeful.
In fact, he became the Southland's top Derby prospect after his final victory. The Run for the Roses eluded him, but he still proved to be a memorable Thoroughbred during the last part of 2016 and early 2017.
Fans first caught a glimpse of Mastery during the 2016 Santa Anita autumn meeting. Teaming with Rafael Bejarano, the Bob Baffert maiden brought in the most money. Sent off at 3-5 at post time, victory was obviously expected. That scenario came to fruition as Mastery struck the front early in the six furlong maiden special weight contest and never looked back. His power was showcased in the final furlong as he opened up for a convincing win to graduate.
The son of Candy Ride was later sent to Del Mar as he skipped the allowance ranks and moved straight into the Grade III scene. Entered in the seven furlong Bob Hope Stakes, Mastery was paired with Mike Smith for his first try against winners. Again thirty cents on the dollar, Mastery faced pressure early on and then found himself in a brief battle with a rival. But he took charge going into the far turn and allowed no one to grab the lead from him. Running with confidence and determination, Mastery demonstrated power in the stretch once again as he joined his sire as a graded stakes winner at Del Mar.
Being a Candy Ride offspring, handicappers no doubt foresaw Mastery as being able to route. Or at the very least, attempting to route. He did just that in the Grade I Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity, where he was tasked to navigate a mile and one-sixteenth. As was the standard for all his starts, Mastery went off at odds-on, this time at 2-5. The heavy favorite used tactical speed for his first Grade I outing, staying close to leader Bobby Abu Dhabi down the backstretch after getting the lead for a few strides. Ready for battle in the far turn, Mastery took over in the stretch and secured the inside while stretching his lead and winning comfortably. That gave him the distinction of being a Grade I winner just like his sire.
The Futurity served as the closing chapter for Mastery's two-year-old campaign, and his record of three straight victories inserted him into the conversation as horses to watch during the upcoming Kentucky Derby prep season.
Mastery returned in March 2017 in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes. Again competing at a mile and one-sixteenth, Mastery showed up in about the middle portion of the Kentucky Derby prep schedule. But fans were unconcerned of any racetrack rust, for he was set at 4-5 when the wagering stopped. Already leading in the clubhouse turn, Mastery looked stout as he traveled down the backstretch. No one could rival him in the San Felipe, and when the time came for the stretch run, Mastery rebuffed a challenge from Iliad and expanded his lead to win by a sizable margin in an impressive effort. But that turned out to be Mastery's final on-trac performance. Shortly after reaching the wire, Mike Smith slowed Mastery down and immediately hopped off to tend to him. Mastery was subsquently diagnosed with an injury and then retired. But thankfully, he recovered from that injury and moved on to a new career.
A stallion for multiple seasons, Mastery's most successful progeny in the early part of his career include Cover Me Up, Forced Ranking, Hazy Command, and Midnight Memories. Given the class Mastery had on track, which was given to him by Candy Ride, it will not be surprising if Mastery produces several stakes winners in the breeding shed.
It will take time to gauge Mastery's success as a sire, but there is no question he was a talented Thoroughbred during those few months he saw action. He was stout, and he inherited Candy Ride's propensity for winning. And he managed to capture graded stakes at all three major Southern California racetracks and win sprinting and routing. Mastery's career was indeed brief, but still quite prolific.
Though he never appeared in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes, Mastery certainly stands as one of Southern California's top classic prospects during the the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017.