Archive for January, 2012

Holy Bull Stakes 2012 Preview: Let’s Topple Hansen + El Padrino Returns

Juvenile champ Hansen begins his quest for Kentucky Derby 2012 in the G3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sunday and he is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the one mile test.

Hansen has never been headed in three lifetime starts and is the one to catch in the Holy Bull (10th race) but I have never been a huge fan of the undefeated colt. The Mike Maker trainee easily captured his first two synthetic starts at Turfway Park and caught a funny drying out track in the G1 BC Juvenile. He controlled the pace under the Twin Spires and was fortunate to just last over Union Rags, who failed to keep a straight course in the lane.

Hansen

2YO Champ Hansen returns in G3 Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The speedy son of Tapit has only worked five times for this engagement. His first four furlong drill was timed in a slow :53 so he probably did not get much out of that one, and he went fast early and got tired late in latest five furlong move. He makes his first start since early November and does not have to win this at low odds. Ramon Dominguez rides.

Consortium is an interesting contender for Kiaran McLaughlin. The promising son of Bernardini, out  of Machiavellian mare Marietta, is bred to run all day. He looked great rallying in his Big A Bow and did all of the pace dirty work in a better than appears place finish behind today’s rival Algorithms in a Gulfstream optional claiming sprint Dec 16. He adds first lasix and there is other speed in here this time, so look for Johnny V to employ patient tactics.

Algorithms sat the perfect outside tactical trip against Consortium last time and it could be deju vu all over again. The Todd Pletcher trainee is also out of hot sire Bernardini and he sports a Palm Meadows bullet for this. Castellano is enjoying a fine meet and he looms large as the 5-2 second choice on the line.

Fort Loudon was last seen finishing 7th in the BC Juvenile from post 12. He raced eight times as a juvenile and all of his wins and works were recorded at Calder. He will likely press the pace under Maragh.

Silver Max goes turf/dirt for Dale Romans. He has fired Exacta shots in all six lifetime starts and finally earned his diploma in a local flat mile turf affair Jan 13. He likes to show speed and should be hustled away from the rail under Leparoux.

My Adonis dueled through strong splits before spitting the bit in a weak renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot. The Kelly Breen trainee is shooting bullets for this but will have to deal with serious pace rival Hansen early and often.

The Plays:

$20 to win Consortium

$10 Exacta Box Consortium, Algorithms ($20)

Earlier on the Gulfstream Park program, a trio of promising 3-year-olds will hook up in an allowance route (7th race), and El Padrinolooms the value play at 4-1.

El Padrino was originally slated to go in the G3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds last weekend, but trainer Todd Pletcher felt he needed another work and his latest five furlong morning move was accomplished in 1:02 and change at Palm Meadows on Jan 23. I love his distance oriented pedigree (Pulpit-Giant’s Causeway) and early-pressing types from inner posts perform well in 8.5 furlong races at the Gulf. Look for the G2 Remsen show finisher to track the pace under new rider Castellano.

{Keep up with the latest Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

Take Charge Indy, the 5th place finisher in the BC Juvenile, is another with strong distance breeding (A.P. Indy). He has only worked four times for this but did fire a Palm Meadows bullet on Jan 24 and should stalk the pace under Borel.

Finally, Casual Trick is the one to beat as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Nick Zito’s charge exits a solid place finish in the Gulfstream Park Derby and owns a recency edge over his aforementioned rivals. He is yet another promising runner out of Bernardini, and this entry level route could top the Holy Bull in terms of producing Kentucky Derby contenders.

The Plays:

$20 to win El Padrino

$7 Exacta Box El Padrino, Casual Trick ($14)

$3 Exacta Box El Padrino, Take Charge Indy ($6)

Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders: Mr. Bowling, Midnight Transfer Score

The Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds was the lone graded Kentucky Derby 2012 route prep run over the weekend and Mr. Bowling knocked down twelve rivals in Saturday’s Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Kentucky Derby 2012

The Lecomte did not look strong visually and received a mediocre 79 BSF. Mr. Bowling drifted out in the stretch and held off Z Dager by a head. Shared Property, breaking from post 13, rallied to finish another ½ length back in 3rd place.

The top three are all expected back in New Orleans for the G2 Risen Star Stakes on Feb 25.

 

Midnight Transfergot a 93 BSF for his sharp off the pace tally in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Jan 22. The Carla Gaines trainee has an eye on the G2 San Felipe Stakes on March 10.

Click on the names of each horse below to view their HorseRacingNation.com profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

Union Rags

Union Rags is on course for Fountain of Youth Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed 5f in 1:00.82 (2/28) at Palm Meadows on Jan 24. He is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows and should get back to work in the near future.

3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He worked 6f in 1:14 (5/16) at Hollywood Park on 1-20. He could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

4. Hansen (Tapit) – Undefeated BC Juvenile (94 BSF) hero has never been headed and his true talents are still unknown. He worked 5f in :59.80 (3/40) at Gulfstream on Jan 22 in advance of the G3 Holy Bull Stakes on Jan 29.

5. Alpha (Bernardini) – Champagne runner-up was fractious at gate in BC Juvenile flop. He bounced back in Count Fleet but was unruly in the gate again. He goes next in G3 Withers on Feb 4 and is currently schooling at the gate in New York.

6. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is next. Worked 4f in :48.40 (2/19) at Hollywood Park on Jan 23.

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. Worked 5f in :59.40 (3/32) at Santa Anita on Jan 19.

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – 5th place BC Juvenile finisher owns a strong route pedigree and should be much improved this year. Fired a 5f bullet in :59.78 (1/28) at Palm Meadows on Jan 24.

9. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s $210k purchase was last seen finishing a rock solid 3rd in G2 Remsen. He skipped the G3 Lecomte and could return in an allowance race at the Gulf on Jan 29. Breezed 5f in 1:02.77 (3/10) at Palm Meadows on Jan 23.

10. Dullahan (Even The Score) – G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner blew the break in BC Juvenile but still managed to finish a respectable 4th. Breezed 5f in 1:01.40 (16/45) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 14.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms (Bernardini) – Two nice wins to begin career for Pletcher including sharp 6.5f tally at the Gulf on Dec 16. Breezed 5f bullet in 1:02.02 (1/10) at Palm Meadows on Jan 23. The G3 Holy Bull on Jan 29 is next.

Consortium (Bernardini) – Kiaran McLaughlin trainee did all of the pace dirty work and finished 2nd to Algorithms in aforementioned Dec 16 optional claimer. Breezed 5f in 1:01.22 (7/23) at Palm Meadows on Jan 21. Rematch with Algorithms in Holy Bull is on the horizon.

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7. Breezed 4f in :50.98 (29/36) at Palm Meadows on Jan 23.

Midnight Transfer

Midnight Transfer goes next in G2 San Felipe - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson. Breezed 5f on turf in 1:02 (1/2) at Camden on Jan 10.

Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Drilled 6f bullet in 1:11 (1/16) at Santa Anita on 1-19.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in Sunday’s San Pedro. He might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed an easy 3f in :39.88 (7/7) at Palm Meadows on 1-21.

Injured Reserve

B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – Recovering from ankle chip. He is currently galloping on a farm in Ocala.

Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Lecomte, San Pedro

A single graded Kentucky Derby 2012 route prep was run over the weekend and Mr. Bowling struck out twelve rivals in Saturday’s Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes (1-21-12): 79 BSF (Mr. Bowling)

Mr. Bowling

Mr. Bowling goes next in the G2 Risen Star on Feb 25 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Lecomte did not look strong from a visual standpoint and was run in a mediocre 1:43.49. For final time comparisons, sophomore fillies covered the same distance in the Silverbulletday Stakes with Believe You Can stopping the clock in 1:42.34. Two races later, 3-year-old Atlantic Titan broke his maiden in 1:43.42.

Mr. Bowling drifted out in the stretch and held off Z Dager by a head. Shared Property, breaking from post 13, rallied to finish another ½ length back in 3rd, followed by Z Dager’s stablemate Dan And Shelia.

The top three are all expected back in New Orleans for the G2 Risen Star Stakes. Based on the weakness of the Lecomte, look for new shooters to make the grade in New Orleans next time.

Lecomte Stakes Grade: D

The Lecomte might not produce a legitimate Derby contender but the six and one-half furlong San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita Park was the coming out party for Midnight Transfer.

San Pedro Stakes (1-22-12): 93 BSF (Midnight Transfer)

The Carla Gaines trainee, a 3-year-old son of Hard Spun, out of French Deputy mare French Satin, garnered a rock solid 93 BSF for his good looking off the pace tally on Sunday and might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe Stakes at the Great Race Place on March 10.

Got Even set the pace and got nailed late by the winner. Drill made a wide early move before flattening out in yet another disappointing effort.

San Pedro Stakes Grade: B-

Lecomte Stakes 2012 Preview: Will Hammers Terror scare up a win?

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 gets underway on Saturday at Fair Grounds with their first graded route for the 3-year-old set, the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes. The one mile and seventy yard affair has attracted a baker’s dozen and Hammers Terror figures to offer value at 6-1 on the line.

Kentucky Derby 2012

#8 HAMMERS TERROR (6-1) has earned quality Final Time Ratings in all three starts and I like his tactical burst away speed. He is a nose away from a perfect 3-for-3 record.

#4 Mr. Bowling (8-1) was making nice progress from a numbers standpoint prior to finishing a flat 3rd as the beaten favorite when last seen in the flat mile G3 Iroquois at Churchill in November. He earned his best Final Time Rating around two turns and could be poised to fire a fresh shot for Larry Jones.

#3 Ted’s Folly (10-1) has rattled off six straight and is a nice success story. He won the Springboard Mile last time and runner-up Reckless Jerry just missed in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn on Jan 16 while show finisher Pee H Dee came back to win an allowance race at Oaklawn on the same day.

{Keep up with all of the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

#10 Capetown Devil (6-1) is 3-for-3 and has earned a Stakes shot after working his way from Maiden Claiming to Starter Allowance to Optional Claiming. The improving gelding projects a tactical trip.

#11 Shared Property (4-1) flashed ability as a juvenile for Amoss but he is stuck out in post 13 and has not raced in more than three months.

Exfactor

Can Exfactor get two turns in Lecomte? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#5 Exfactor (5-1) was all out to win by a nose in his dirt sprint return. He stretches out 2nd off the shelf and is a bounce candidate.

#6 Seven Lively Sins (9-2) exits a weak renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot. He did beat Mr. Bowling in the Iroquois and might be best around one turn. The Al Stall Jr. trainee looms a pace factor at the very least.

#2 Dan And Shelia (6-1) captured his flat mile bow at Gulfstream for Pletcher. The $150,000 son of More Than Ready tries two turns in his first start against winners and gives up a seasoning edge in this spot.

#2b Z Dager (6-1) exits a course/distance maiden win in the slop for Asmussen. This is an ambitious placement for the recent graduate.

#1 Adena’s Chance (20-1) and #1a Hero of Order (20-1) both seem up against it, along with #7 Alexander Thegreat (30-1) and #9 Chalybeate Springs (20-1).

THE PLAYS:

$12 to win #8

$1 Trifecta 3-4-8/3-4-8/3-4-8-10-11 ($18) 

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Smarty Jones Stakes

The ungraded, $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan 16 kicked off the Oaklawn Park prep series for Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders and Junebugred sat the right trip under Joe Bravo.

Smarty Jones Stakes (1-16-12): 89 BSF (Junebugred)

Junebugred, a lightly raced 3yo son of Corinthian, saved ground from post 2 and was always full of run. He scooted through along the rail in the stretch and prevailed by a neck, stopping the clock in 1:38.45 for the flat mile journey and paying $14.80.

{Keep up with all of the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

Reckless Jerry raced wide from post 12 and probably would have won with a better draw. He was slowly gaining late and can turn the tables on Junebugred next time.

Fabulous filly On Fire Baby was hardly disgraced in a solid show finish. She also raced wide from post 10 in her first start since November and can go better next out.

Smarty Jones Stakes Grade: C

Oaklawn Park Kentucky Derby 2012 Prep Schedule:

G3 Southwest Stakes – Feb 20

G2 Rebel Stakes – March 17

G1 Arkansas Derby – April 14

Smarty Jones Stakes 2012 Preview: On Fire Baby takes on the boys

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 gets underway at Oaklawn Park on Monday with the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and On Fire Baby takes on eleven boys from post 10 in the one mile test for 3-year-olds.

On Fire Baby

Will On Fire Baby beat the boys on Monday? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#10 On Fire Baby captured all three of her conventional dirt starts last year and she used a different style each time. She stalked the pace in her Ellis Park sprint debut, rallied in the G2 Pocahontas, and went wire-to-wire in the G2 Golden Rod. Her only off the board finish occurred when she dueled and weakened to 5th in the G1 Alcibiades at Keeneland (Polytrack).

She must overcome an outer post in Hot Springs on Monday and her speed figures are rather ordinary for a 2-time graded winner.

#4 No Spin could be the value play at 6-1. He was stuck out in post 12 in the $300,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec 10 and was hardly disgraced in a 4th place effort. He graduated in a synthetic sprint and impressed in a turf stakes tally at Hawthorne in October. Dirt might not be his best surface but I’m willing to take a shot if his morning line odds hold up.

#2 Junebugred earned a decent speed figure in a flat mile maiden win at the Big A on Nov 26. He is now under the care of Steve Hobby and should make his presence felt throughout under Joe Bravo at 5-1.

#5 Fastestwhogetspaid is not without a chance at 15-1. He graduated in a Maiden Claiming sprint but his numbers are going the right way and he looked good in an Optional Claiming route in Chicago Dec 28.

#12 Reckless Jerry has been part of the Trifecta in all five outings including a fine runner-up effort in the Springboard Mile. The improving tactical threat must work out a trip from post 12.

D Wayne Lukas will give #6 Optimizer another chance to shine on dirt. He graduated in his turf route bow and placed in a pair of graded events on turf and synthetic after that. In his two dirt starts he finished 8th in the G1 BC Juvenile and 4th in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He seems worth trying to beat on the win end at 5-2.

#1 Laurie’s Rocket would be the choice if this was a sprint as he has finished 1-2 in his four outings at 6.5 furlongs or less. He should sit a decent ground saving tactical trip but might find this trip a bit far and has a cold jockey-trainer team in his corner.

#8 Jake Mo could not keep up with the sizzling pace when last seen in the G3 Delta Jackpot. Both of his wins were accomplished in wire job fashion and he might have a hard time finding the lead in this salty spot.

#11 King Coral was dusted by Reckless Jerry in October and came back to flatter that one with his own Allowance triumph in Oklahoma on Nov 17. The stalk and pounce type is light on numbers.

#3 Prince Cheval has been competitive versus Illinois-bred company in his last three and might find these a bit tough to handle.

Illinois-bred #7 Copus exits a wire-to-wire maiden sprint win at Hawthorne and will likely fade after contesting the early lead.

#9 Hard Nosed was blasted in an Optional Claiming route at Fair Grounds on Dec  8 and looms a brief pace player at the most.

The Plays:

$16 to win #4

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-10/ALL/5 ($15)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-10/2-4-10/2-4-5-10-12 ($9)

Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders: Alpha on the move

A couple of early Kentucky Derby 2012 route preps were run over the weekend and my former top ranked colt Alpha got back on the beam in New York.

Kentucky Derby 2012

Alpha spent the month of December in Florida but returned to the Big Apple and kicked off the new year in grand style on Saturday. Kiaran McLaughlin’s well bred colt once again had gate issues but settled nicely after the break and pounced on his overmatched rivals in a solid start to his 3yo season. He earned an 85 BSF at the Big A on Jan 7.

Stephanoatsee rebounded from a disappointing effort in the G2 Remsen with a rallying place finish at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Graham Motion trainee should continue to develop.

Switching coasts to Santa Anita Park, Out of Bounds wore down Secret Circle to capture the G3 Sham Stakes.

I put Out of Bounds on the exciting prospects list after his professional seven panel maiden win at Hollywood on Dec 10. He figured to enjoy more ground and did not disappoint in his first start against winners. He garnered a strong 99 BSF on Saturday but that number seems a bit inflated.

I am not sure what to make of Secret Circle. He did all of the pace dirty work but failed to put his rivals away. Baffert’s talented colt can rate but raw speed is his best weapon and that will only carry him so far. He reminds me of The Factor. A very effective early-pressing sprinter but capable of getting a route of ground under the right circumstances.

Hierro took plenty of action but flopped in the Sham for Steve Asmussen. He made a wide early move but weakened to 5th and last in a disappointing performance.

Click on the names of selected horses below to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds got a 99 BSF in G3 Sham - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He is back on the worktab, breezing an easy 3f in :38.35 at Palm Meadows on Jan 11.

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows and should return to worktab in short order.

3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He breezed 3f in :37 at Hollywood on 12-30 and worked 4f in :48 on 1-6. He could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

4. Hansen (Tapit) – Undefeated BC Juvenile (94 BSF) hero has never been headed and his true talents are still unknown. He breezed 4f in :53 at Gulfstream on Dec 24 and 4f in :48.75 on Dec 31. He most recently worked 5f in 1:00.40 on Jan 7.

5. Alpha (Bernardini) – Champagne runner-up was fractious at gate in BC Juvenile flop. He bounced back in Count Fleet (85 BSF) but was unruly in the gate again. Could go next in G3 Withers on Feb 4.

6. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. No word on his next start.

7. Dullahan (Even The Score) – G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner blew the break in BC Juvenile but still managed to finish a respectable 4th. Breezed 4f in :51 at Gulfstream Park on Jan 7.

8. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s $210k purchase was last seen finishing a rock solid 3rd in G2 Remsen. Fired 5f bullet in 1:00.44 at Palm Meadows on Jan 9.

9. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – 5th place BC Juvenile finisher owns a strong route pedigree and should be much improved in 2012. Breezed 4f in :50.92 at Palm Meadows on Jan 4.

10. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is probably next.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms

Algorithms goes next in the G3 Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportwsire

Algorithms (Bernardini) – 2 nice wins to begin career for Pletcher including sharp 6.5f tally at the Gulf on Dec 16. Breezed 5f in 1:02.20 at Palm Meadows on Jan 9. The G3 Holy Bull on Jan 29 is next.

Consortium (Bernardini) – Kiaran McLaughlin trainee did all of the pace dirty work and finished 2nd to Algorithms in aforementioned Dec 16 optional claimer. Worked 4f in :49.07 at Palm Meadows on Dec 31 and breezed 4f in :51.44 on Jan 7.

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson.

Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Worked 5f in 1:00.40 at Santa Anita on 12-30 and 5f in 1:02.80 on 1-6.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed.

Injured Reserve

O'Prado Again

O'Prado Again is off the Derby trail - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – Recovering from ankle chip. He is currently galloping on a farm in Ocala.

Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Count Fleet, Sham

The ungraded, $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct was one of two Kentucky Derby 2012 prep races to be run on Jan 7 and strong favorite Alpha did not disappoint in New York. On the West Coast, Out of Bounds upset Secret Circle in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes.

Count Fleet Stakes (1-7-12): 85 BSF (Alpha)

I have always been fond of Alpha but was concerned about his gate behavior after his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile flop. His starting gate antics were on full display once again in the Count Fleet Stakes but he was able to overcome them this time. He stalked, pounced, and cruised home over late runner Stephanoatsee in a solid performance. He received an 85 BSF for his victory on Saturday and is clearly back on the right track.

Alpha has the breeding, connections, and talent to be a legitimate Derby contender but he must work out his gate issues.

Stephanoatsee is no slouch for Graham Motion and should continue to progress. The son of AP Indy is out of Unbridled mare Oatsee, which makes him a 1/2 brother to 2011 Preakness hero Shackleford.

Count Fleet Stakes Grade: C+

Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds makes the grade in Sham Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

G3 Sham Stakes: 99 BSF (Out of Bounds)

Out of Bounds showed promise in his seven furlong maiden win at Hollywood Park on Dec 10 and took another step forward in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The son of Discreet Cat, out of 2001 BC Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, sat a nice stalking trip and wore down highly regarded Bob Baffert runner Secret Circle.

Secret Circle is no longer undefeated but was hardly disgraced in his two turn debut. He intently tracked Longview Drive and took the lead in the lane only to be tagged by Out of Bounds. The fleet colt probably would have won on Saturday if he tried to run his rivals into the ground but the goal was to relax and learn something about his distance prowess. We now know he can go a flat mile but he could end up turning back in distance sooner rather than later. He does deserve another route start but as of this writing there is no word on his next outing.

G3 Sham Stakes Grade: B-

Sham Stakes 2012 Preview: Secret Circle Tries Two Turns

Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint hero Secret Circle seeks to join the serious Kentucky Derby 2012 chase as he navigates two turns for the first time in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Secret Circle

Will Secret Circle remain undefeated? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert’s fleet colt is the fastest 3-year-old in the West but if he wants to remain on the Derby trail he will need to learn how to ration his speed. The talented son of Eddington, out of Dixieland Band mare Ragtime Hope, figures to get a pace test from G1 CashCall Futurity 7th place finisher Handsome Mike.

Hierro could be the goods for Steve Asmussen. The Hard Spun colt hooked G1 Champagne runner-up Alpha in his bow and was 2nd to G2 Remsen runner-up Souper Speedy second time out. It was his turn to shine in facile maiden breaker under the Twin Spires Nov 9 and he is training well at the Great Race Place.

Out of Bounds is another exiting a sharp graduation run. He earned his diploma in a Cushion Track extended sprint at Hollywood Park Dec 10 and his dam Unbridled Elaine captured the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Longview Drive adds blinkers and might be part of the pace under Joel Rosario. He rallied for the show when last seen in a weak renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot.

Senor Rain will break from the rail and doesn’t seem to class up. He graduated in a maiden claiming sprint and his other win was in the starter allowance ranks. He did finish 3rd behind subsequent 1-2 CashCall Futurity finishers in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood in November.

The Plays:

$20 to win Hierro
$10 Exacta Box Hierro, Out of Bounds

Count Fleet Stakes 2012 Preview: Time for Alpha to Shine

The $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and seventy yards begins the Kentucky Derby 2012 journey for the newly turned 3-year-olds based in New York and it is put up or shut up time for Alpha.

The promising son of flashy stallion Bernardini, out of Nijinsky II mare Munnaya, began his career with an eye catching seven panel graduation run at Saratoga last September. Alpha chased talented colt Union Rags in the G1 Champagne in his second career start before coming apart at the gate in a disappointing G1 BC Juvenile showing.

Alpha shipped to Florida during the month of December before firing a four furlong bullet in his Big Apple return Jan 3. The highly regarded Godolphin colorbearer adds lasix and attracts top notch jock Ramon Dominguez. He was my top ranked juvenile following his debut maiden win and can start living up to his vast potential with a big effort at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is the strong 4-5 morning line favorite.

Count Fleet 2012 field with morning line odds

Last year’s Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion has well bred colt Stephanoatsee ready to rumble at the Big A on Jan 7. Shackleford’s baby brother rallied from far back to land the place in his Laurel bow before earning his diploma in Maryland last October. He got no pace help in 7th place G2 Remsen effort and could put his best foot forward at 6-1 odds on Saturday.

Il Villano has rattled off three straight sprints and will take them as far as he can from the rail. He figures to face stern pace pressure from Todd Pletcher trainee and fellow sprint/route runner How Do I Win.

Shkspeare Shaliyah won a graded turf route as a juvenile but is an unknown commodity on conventional dirt. He can always go back to the sod if this dirt experiment goes awry.

Speightscity is a 2-time route winner exiting a sharp stalk and pounce inner track tally. He was trounced in both graded outings and might be up against it from a class standpoint.The son of Speightstown owns plenty of two turn experience, should sit a decent tactical trip, and could grab a piece of this.

Whistleblower earned a decent number in his local inner dirt sprint maiden victory Dec 3. He gets the acid test in his first route try against winners.

The Plays:

$20 Exacta Alpha over Stephanoatsee
$5 Trifecta Key Alpha over Stephanoatsee, Speightscity ($10)

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 530 other followers