Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Is Shanghai Bobby a Derby horse?

Shanghai Bobby wrapped up the two-year-old championship with a determined victory in the BC Juvenile but his Kentucky Derby 2013 contender stock plummeted, along with the rest of the Juvenile field.

Shanghai Bobby

Likely 2YO champ Shanghai Bobby looks like a Kentucky Derby pretender – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

To be blunt, this was an ugly renewal of the BC Juvenile. It was the third slowest Juvenile ever and the BSF came back a modest 82, the lowest of the 2-day, 15-race BC programs. The lasix-free colts staggered through the stretch, getting the final quarter in a pedestrian :27.50 seconds…yikes!

Shanghai Bobby figured to regress in longer races. After all, trainer Todd Pletcher started him at 4.5f in April of his 2-year-old season, hardly a sign of confidence from a well-known Derby barn, and his pedigree hardly screams nine panels let alone ten on the first Saturday in May. The deserving 2yo champ clearly has determination and a nose for the wire but his luck will almost certainly run out next spring and beyond. He drops out of my top ten.

He’s Has Enough had some traffic stops along the way to a surprising place finish for last year’s dynamic Derby trio of Reddam, O’Neill, and Gutierrez. He ended up missing by a head and probably wins the Juvenile with clear sailing.

Capo Bastone basically ran the same race that he did in the FrontRunner, sitting back and clunking up for the show. Trainer John Sadler said that he bled a 3 on a scale of 5 and will be evaluated before any future plans are made.

Fortify drifted out early, raced wide, and had every chance in the lane but could only manage 4th.

Power Broker

Power Broker got hung out to dry in BC Juvenile – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Power Broker was carried out wide from the outside post by Fortify and remained wide in a throw out effort. Baffert had bad karma throughout the 2-day BC and this colt never got a fair chance to strut his stuff on Saturday.

Title Contender attempted a wire job in the Juvenile but caved quickly when pressured.

Last year’s BC Juvenile was a strong race that produced many subsequent graded winners: Alpha (Jim Dandy, Travers), Creative Cause (San Felipe), Daddy Long Legs (UAE Derby), Drill (San Vicente), Dullahan (Blue Grass, Pacific Classic), Fort Loudon (Carry Back), Hansen (Gotham), Optimizer (Kent), Prospective (Tampa Bay Derby), Take Charge Indy (Florida Derby), and Union Rags (Fountain of Youth, Belmont Stakes). The 2012 Juvenile entrants have a long way to go to match the class of 2011, and, despite future success, last year’s Juvenile did not produce the Derby winner.

Chad Brown’s BC Juvenile Turf duo of Noble Tune and Balance the Books finished a more than respectable 2-3 behind impressive overseas shipper George Vancouver (87 BSF). The winner, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is a KY-bred son of Henrythenavigator, out of Versailles Treaty. I would like to see all three of those colts try conventional dirt in the future.

From the what were they thinking file, Know More flopped as expected from post 13 in the Juvenile Turf. He raced wide throughout and would have been up against it from any post because he had no turf experience against an international field of quality, proven grass foes. He should have run in the BC Juvenile.

In the G2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct, Violence (86 BSF), trained by Todd Pletcher, ran his record to 2-for-2 with an outside stalk and pounce tally. He owns a promising pedigree and is worth following. Stablemate Darwin was the beaten favorite from the rail. He was in tight in the lane but was going nowhere and did not run to expectations.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

1. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 5-for-6 in the G3 Iroquois (90 BSF). He finished a troubled 5th in his lone two turn outing and will get another route chance in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at CD on 11-24.

2. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Sharp debut win (93 BSF) for Doug O’Neill/Leandro Mora on 9-2. Set the pace and gamely held the place in Belmont’s Champagne. Worked 6f in 1:12.60 (2/13) at Santa Anita on 11-7. The G3 Delta Jackpot (Nov 17) is next. Derby Points (4).

Balance the Books

Will Balance the Books switch surfaces and hop on the Derby trail next year? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation and rallied outside to get up late in the grassy G3 Bourbon (77 BSF). He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee packs a nice late kick.

4. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim (82 BSF) hero finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown.

5. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga bow for Pletcher and his lack of seasoning and wide trip cost him in the Champagne. He is still a promising, long term prospect. He breezed 5f in 1:01.85 (21/49) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 11-11.

6. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Based on his strong route pedigree, he is just getting warmed up. Overcame inexperience to capture G2 Nashua and he should continue to progress for Pletcher.

7. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Played hide and go seek in a facile graduation run (90 BSF) at 8.5f from post 12 at CD on 11-3. Ken McPeek’s colt is a possibility for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

8. Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Derby Points (10).

9. Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut sprint winner at the Spa followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful and a 3rd in G1 Champagne. Lasix-free colt finished a flat 4th in the BC Juvenile and needs time off to grow and mature. Derby Points (3).

10. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. John Sadler’s colt bled in the Cup. Derby Points (4).

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Gamely went all the way in flat mile maiden win at Belmont Park Oct 13 and he earned a solid 93 BSF. Another promising Pletcher trainee.

Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Beat heavy favorite Revolutionary in his 6f Belmont bow Oct 28 and the top two were well clear of the rest. Winning BSF of 101. Michael Mareina trains the WinStar Farm bred colt.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – Clearly second best to aforementioned Little Distorted last time. He earned a 95 BSF and won’t be a maiden much longer for Pletcher. He’s out of an AP Indy mare and is owned by WinStar Farm.

Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Professional 7f debut win at SA on 10-7. He scratched out of the BC Juvenile Sprint after getting cast in his stall. He worked 4f in :47.40 (2/36) at Santa Anita on 11-8.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Facile 7f tally (97 BSF) under Twin Spires in his 4th start. Lukas will give him every chance to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Former Top Ten Members

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He should prosper in future route races. Breezed 4f in :47.67 (5/76) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 10-22. Derby Points (1). 

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – 6th in Del Mar Futurity and 7th in FrontRunner. He rebounded smartly in a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita.

Know More (Lion Heart) – Distant 2nd to Power Broker in FrontRunner, his first conventional dirt/two turn outing. He inexplicably switched surfaces and had no shot with a rough trip from post 13 in the BC Juvenile Turf. He might wheel back in the Delta Jackpot. Derby Points (4). 

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Derby Points – (1)

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 5-for-5 with a determined win in the G1 BC Juvenile (82 BSF). I always had my doubts about his stamina and he does not want to go beyond 8.5f based on his slow Juvenile win. Derby Points (20).  

Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.

Injured Reserve

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Smart second time out maiden tally for Pletcher at the Spa on 8-4. He is out of action with bucked shins.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is out for 60 days with bucked shins.

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