Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders: Alpha Moves Forward in Withers

A trio of Kentucky Derby 2012 graded route preps were run across the nation last weekend and G3 Withers hero Alpha emerged as a potential threat on the first Saturday in May.

Alpha (90 BSF) owns an ascending numbers pattern and has now won back-to-back stakes races at Aqueduct. He is returning to Florida to train for the Wood Memorial in April.

I'll Have Another horse

I'll Have Another will wait for the Santa Anita Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’ll Have Another (96) upset the applecart in a strange renewal of the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Feb 4. Doug O’Neill’s returnee tracked the pace wide and cruised home.

Post time favorite Liaison clipped heels and fell but was going nowhere fast. He just joined my top ten last time and is dropped in the blink of an eye. He can rejoin the chase with an improved effort next time.

Sky Kingdom flopped in the Robert Lewis and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

Battle Hardened (81 BSF) won a slow renewal of the G3 Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay and needs to run much faster to be serious considered as a Derby contender.

Dullahan is battling a cough and that is why he has been absent from the worktab since Jan 14. Dale Romans still hopes to make the grassy Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park on March 11.

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

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed a 4f bullet in :48.67 (1/27) at Palm Meadows on Feb 6 and is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Alpha horse

Alpha goes next in the Wood Memorial - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet (85 BSF) and Withers (90 BSF) and was on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. His is back in Florida and will return for Aqueduct’s G1 Wood Memorial on April 7.

3. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s promising colt returned with a vengeance in wet track Optional Claiming win (100 BSF) at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He could resurface in G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb 25.

4. 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 back on the worktab, breezing an easy 3f in :39.88 (10/10) at Palm Meadows on Feb 5.

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He worked 6f in 1:13.80 (6/17) at Hollywood Park on Feb 4 and could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

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. Breezed 5f in 1:03 (17/20) at Hollywood Park on Feb 6.

7. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He owns a strong route pedigree and should continue to improve this year.

8. 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. Went 7f in 1:24.40 (2/3) at Santa Anita on Feb 6.

9. Algorithms (Bernardini) – A trio of sharp one-turn wins to begin career for Pletcher including G3 Holy Bull tally on Jan 29. We will learn more about his Derby prospects when he travels a route of ground.

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero/juvenile champ set the pace and held the place in Holy Bull return. He needs to relax on the lead if he expects to make a dent if future Derby graded route preps.

Exciting Prospects

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful moves off the injured reserve list. He has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 4f in :51 (39/41) at Gulfstream Park on Feb 4.

Cyber Secret (Broken Vow) – Now under the care of Whiting/Cella at Oaklawn Park and exits a highly rated optional claiming route win (96 BSF) in Arkansas. The G3 Southwest on Feb 20 is next.

Discreet Dancer horse

Discreet Dancer spiked a temperature on Feb 6 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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. Spiked a fever and missed a scheduled breeze on Feb 6.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow and set the pace and held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Breezed 5f in 1:01.75 (4/8) at Gulfstream on Feb 6. He is entered in Saturday’s G2 Hutcheson.

Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Update: The promising Bob Baffert trainee just captured a flat mile allowance event at Santa Anita on Feb 9 and should be headed to the stakes ranks in the near future.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in San Pedro. He worked 4f in :49.60 (37/47) at Santa Anita and 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 4f in :52.22 (36/38) at Palm Meadows on Feb 3.

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.

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.”

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