Archive for January 7th, 2012

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)

 

 

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