This is my November 2014 update and third in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2015 contenders. Once again, I got an early start in September, and there will be many twists and turns in the weeks and months ahead.
The early Derby 2015 prep of the week is the $1 Million Delta Jackpot and the morning line favorite is Mr. Z. The D. Wayne Lukas charge attended the pace before fading to 5th in the BC Juvenile last time.
Local Jackpot hopeful Golden Actor exits an easy win in the $200k Jean Lafitte. He is versatile and a strong race over the Delta oval is frequently a good angle.
Undefeated SoCal shipper Ocho Ocho Ocho might be the one to catch under Mike Smith.
Other Jackpot runners to keep an eye on are Jerry Hollendorfer’s Prime Engine, the speedy Conquest Tsunami, and 5-time SoCal winner Wake Up Nick.
Let’s rewind to the BC Juvenile. Texas Red ran out of his mind in a race that fell apart from a pace standpoint. He earned a 104 BSF in a facile score over Carpe Diem. I am not sure how strong the BC Juvenile was from top to bottom but I have always liked runner-up Carpe Diem. Texas Red still has to prove that he is for real and must overcome the Juvenile jinx.
Startup Nation drops off my list after back-to-back disappointing efforts. He is replaced by Texas Red.
Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.
Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders
- INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy)
Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey
Last Start: 9th in G1 BC Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Oct 31.
Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.40 (2/33) at Churchill (dirt training) on Nov 16.
Comments: Finished a better than appears 9th of 12 (BC Juvenile Turf) in a race dominated by early runners after racing wide throughout from post 12 and getting bumped in the stretch. I would like to see him switch to dirt and try the Ky Jockey Club Stakes.
Derby Points (10)
- CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables
Last Start: 2nd in G1 BC Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov 1.
Comments: Strange journey in the BC Juvenile. Looked to be running in spots and going nowhere but he found his sea legs (wide) in the lane and got up for the place.
Derby Points (14)
- BLOFELD (Quality Road – Storm Minstrel, by Storm Cat)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Glencrest Farm
Last Start: 1st in G2 Nashua (8f, 93 BSF) at Aqueduct on Nov 2.
Comments: Blew past pacesetter El Kabeir to win G2 Nashua by five. He will skip the Remsen and ship to Florida.
- AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman)
Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables
Last Start: 1st in the G1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita on
Comments: Foot bruise knocked him out of the G1 BC Juvenile. He is expected to resurface next February.
Derby Points (10)
- SOUPER COLOSSAL (War Front – Soaring Emotions, by Kingmambo)
Trainer: Eddie Plesa Jr. – Owner: Live Oak Plantation
Last Start: 7th in G1 BC Juvenile on Nov 1.
Comments: Stumbled at the start and dueled 3-wide before slowly fading to 7th in the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov 1.
Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables
Last Start: 2nd in G2 Nashua at Aqueduct on Nov 2. He is fast but might have distance limitations.
Comments: Set the pace and was clearly second best in the Nashua.
Derby Points (1)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing
Last Start: 1st by 5+ lengths at Aqueduct (MSW, 8f) on Oct 30.
Latest Workout: 4f bullet in :47.75 (1/55) at Belmont (dirt training) on Nov 15.
Comments: Followed up back-to-back place finishes with a smart flat mile graduation run at the Big A on Oct 30. The Remsen might be next.
Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Peachtree Stable
Last Start: 1st by 6+ lengths in 6f Speakeasy at Santa Anita on Oct 13.
Latest Workout: 6f in 1:11.60 (2/17) at Santa Anita on Nov 12.
Comments: Ran away from his overmatched foes in the Speakeasy Stakes. He should stretch back out in the near future.
Derby Points (1)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Last Start: 1st in G1 BC Juvenile on Nov 1 (104 BSF).
Comments: Big, romping off the pace win in G1 BC Juvenile for Team Desormeaux. I like his pedigree moving forward but note that the pace fell apart in the Juvenile and the top four finishers rallied from 11th, 10th, 8th, and 7th.
Derby Points (12)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable
Last Start: 11th and last in G1 BC Juvenile.
Comments: Went back-to-back at Belmont on wet tracks including G1 Champagne. Was hung out to dry (wide throughout from outer post) in BC Juvenile and retreated to last in a throw out effort.
Derby Points (10)
Trainer: Larry Jones – Owner: Brereton C. Jones
Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/20) at Keeneland on Oct 6.
Comments: Shook off pace foe and drew off in romping DelPark debut Sept 3. Multiple graded winning sire Istan is responsible for ’14 graded stakes winners Istanford and Albano. Dam sire Indian Charlie won his first four starts including the G1 SA Derby and his show finish in the ‘98 G1 Kentucky Derby was his career finale.
Honorable Mention: (12) Calculator, (13) I Spent It, (14) Upstart, (15) Iron Fist, (16) Bayerd, (17) Pride of Stride, (18) Wild Zambezi, (19) Today’s Agenda, (20) Bustin It
Competitive Edge – Hairline fracture (9-17-14). Out for rest of 2014.
Hashtag Bourbon – Ankle chip (left front). Could show up at Oaklawn Park in 2015.
Om – Hock injury. Out for rest of 2014.