Archive for March 25th, 2012

Spiral Stakes 2012 Recap – Went The Day Well rolls home

The lone graded Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Turfway Park was run on Saturday and Went The Day Well emerged as a contender on the first Saturday in May after cruising home in the G3 Spiral Stakes for Graham Motion and Team Valor.

G3 Spiral (3-24-12): 92 BSF (Went The Day Well)

Went The Day Well

Is Went The Day Well the next Animal Kingdom? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Heavy Breathing carved out the early splits for Todd Pletcher, with Went The Day Well positioned perfectly behind the speed along the rail under John Velazquez.

Pletcher’s other colt Holiday Promise was sitting midpack at almost 26-1 and expected early runner Handsome Mike broke 12th and last after losing his footing and getting bumped at the start.

Heavy Breathing put away overmatched pace rivals Ill Conceived and Coach Royal but Went The Day Well was always traveling smoothly and passed the front runner after six furlongs.

Holiday Promise made a wide move and tried to gain on the new leader but got a bit weary in late stretch while settling for runner-up honors.

Heavy Breathing was a comfortable 3rd and was followed across the line by Handsome Mike, Stealcase, All Squared Away, Ill Conceived, Russian Greek, Tizanexpense, Red Jack, Mr. Prankster, and Coach Royal.

Went The Day Well picked up $282,000 in graded earnings on March 24, which should be more than enough to make the Derby gate. The promising son of Proud Citizen handles dirt, turf, and synthetic, and Motion/Team Valor have plenty of options with the versatile sort this year. He was green in the Turfway stretch before kicking away to win by 3-1/2 lengths. He has some catching up to do and seems a cut or two below the best at this stage. The G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 21 could be next.

It should be noted that Animal Kingdom won the Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby for Graham Motion, Team Valor, and John Velazquez last year…deja vu all over again?

Spiral Stakes Grade: C+ (78 out of 100)

 

 

Sunland Derby 2012 Preview: Ender Knievel’s coming out party?

Kentucky Derby 2012 hopeful Castaway, a visually impressive winner of the slower division of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb 20, takes on seven rivals in Sunday’s Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby (race 12) at Sunland Park.

Castaway

Castaway goes after his third straight win in Sunday's G3 Sunland Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Castaway (2-1) and his talented stablemate Secret Circle invaded Arkansas and left with graded glory in both divisions of the Southwest. Secret Circle returned to Oaklawn Park and landed the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes last weekend.

Now, Castaway visits New Mexico for trainer Bob Baffert in hopes of earning a nice chunk of graded cash for a possible engagement on the first Saturday in May.

Castaway, a well-bred son of Street Sense, took six tries to break his maiden, and he graduated in style over wet-fast footing at Santa Anita Park in January. He followed up his easy maiden tally over Holy Candy with another win in the G3 Southwest and figures in the think of things throughout from the inside post on Sunday. Rafael Bejarano rides again.

Baffert also conditions #3 Stirred Up (8-1). The late striding son of Lemon Drop Kid flees the speed conducive Santa Anita Park oval and would appreciate contested fractions. The recent graduate beat sharp next out winner Holy Candy last time will be ridden by Martin Garcia.

#2 Ender Knievel (6-1)  is on the upswing for Todd Pletcher. The promising son of Distorted Humor, out of an AP Indy mare, raced for George Arnold in Kentucky and Florida last year and improved his numbers each time. Pletcher took over the training duties and he responded immediately with a romping flat mile maiden win at Gulfstream Park on Feb 5. John Velazquez with pilot the fresh, prominent throughout threat.

#6 Daddy Nose Best (3-1) exits a game nostril victory over UAE Derby hopeful Lucky Chappy in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Steve Asmussen’s versatile son of Scat Daddy has been competitive on dirt, turf, and synthetic, and should be finishing under regular rider Julien Leparoux.

Local hope #4 Isn’t He Clever (4-1) is 4-for-4 in the state of New Mexico and smartly captured the local prep for this (Borderland Derby). The gelded son of Smarty Jones projects a tactical journey under new rider Luis Contreras. He is 2-for-2 at Sunland.

#5 No Spin (8-1) was last seen finishing 6th behind Castaway in Hot Springs. The Tim Ice trainee is 0-for-4 on dirt and appears better on turf/synthetic.

#7 Tequila Factor (15-1) easily captured a minor turf stakes affair at Turf Paradise March 17. He failed to threaten Isn’t He Clever in a pair of local starts and appears most effective on turf/synthetic at this stage of his career.

Lightly raced colt #8 Justanoldsong (20-1) colt broke his maiden in a local flat mile event Jan 31 and was a well-beaten 6th in the Borderland Derby last time. He is overmatched on numbers.

The Plays:

$20 to win #2 Ender Knievel

$5 Exacta #2 Ender Knievel over #3 Stirred Up and #6 Daddy Nose Best ($10)

$5 Exacta #3 Stirred Up and #6 Daddy Nose Best over #2 Ender Knievel ($10)

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