"Get That Mighty Appealing Feeling!" has been the slogan on T-shirts, jackets, caps and pens that the colt's owner brought to Gulfstream Park.
Today, however, you wouldn't have wanted that Mighty Appealing feeling, unless you like feeling humiliated, overrated and slow.
The 3-year-old from Maryland finished a dismal eighth, 11 lengths behind winner Banner Bob, in the Hutcheson Stakes.
Mighty Appealing had been the fifth-ranked member of his generation last season, and trainer Dean Gaudet brought him to Florida with dreams of the 3-year-old classics.
Banner Bob won by 2 1/2 lengths today, running the seven furlongs in 1:21 3/5, one of the fastest performances by his generation. He had looked like a low-grade stakes horse last fall, but when he came to Gulfstream he amazed trainer Buddy Sarner, jockey Keith Allen and all the track's clockers with his morning workouts -- five furlongs in :56 3/5, a half mile in :45 flat. The veteran Sarner didn't know what to make of it.
"I had no idea, after those works, what he'd do, if he would go to the front or blow up."
While Clever Champ set a sizzling pace, running the first half mile in :44 2/5, Banner Bob laid a few lengths off the pace, just ahead of Mighty Appealing. When the field reached the turn, he moved strongly outside the leaders, while Greg Smith was asking Mighty Appealing for a response and getting none.
Banner Bob, the 2-to-1 second choice, drew away through the stretch to score a comfortable victory over Do It Again Dan, with Creme Fraiche third. Do It Again Dan bumped Creme Fraiche during the stretch drive, and an inquiry reversed their finishing positions.
Sarner, relieved and exuberant, said, "We're on our way to something. I got him nominated for everything. I got him nominated to six derbies. I had to win this one just to pay the nomination fees."
It is unclear where Mighty Appealing is on his way to. After today's performance, the answer might be: oblivion.