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Diana Stakes 2014 video: Alterite back in action

My video race of the week for Saturday, July 19 is the Grade 1 Diana Stakes from Saratoga. It is carded as the 10th race for fillies and mares traveling a mile and an eighth on the inner turf course (Post Time- 5:46pm ET).

Morning line favorite Alterite makes her first start in 8+ months for Chad Brown. She ran well in each of her three U.S. outings last year and figures right there if she is ready to roll off a long layoff.

Somali Lemonade looms the one to catch at a distance beyond her best. Emollient should make her presence felt throughout but is not as sharp this year. Consistent early-pressing filly Discreet Marq is an interesting contender at 5-1.

Solid Appeal, Abaco, Strathnaver, Caroline Thomas, Stephanie’s Kitten, and Tannery are all patient runners in a wide open turf heat. Stephanie’s Kitten was a close-up 3rd in this event last year but has disappointed in a pair of 2014 outings. Maybe she can bounce back 3rd off the shelf.

Click here to view today’s free Pick 6 & Late Pick 4 Tickets from Saratoga

SATURDAY’S DEL MAR FULL CARD (JULY 19) analysis now available to purchase for $10 at:

The Runaway Horse

Today’s Racing Digest

Los Alamitos Derby Video: Will Shared Belief remain unbeaten?

My video race of the week for Saturday, July 5 is the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby. It is carded as the 8th race for 3-year-olds traveling a mile and an eighth on the main track (Post Time- 5:3opm PT).

Juvenile champ Shared Belief is the 4-5 morning line favorite. He easily captured all four lifetime starts and his lone outing in the last 6+ months was a very easy six furlong allowance score at Golden Gate against four rivals. Foot issues caused him to bypass the Triple Crown trail earlier this year. Is he fit enough to run nine furlongs against solid competition over a quirky dirt surface?

Candy Boy is fresh, fit (3 route races in 2014), and training well. He exits a miserable trip in the Kentucky Derby (my Derby pick) and should sit an outside stalk and pounce journey.

Eddie’s First from the rail and G3 Affirmed winner Can the Man (Baffert) are the early runners. G2 Woody Stephens runner-up Top Fortitude stretches out, and Shared Belief‘s uncoupled stablemate Tonito M will try to get involved late, along with Affirmed runner-up Friendswith K Mill.

Click here to view today’s Pick 6 and late Pick 4 tickets from Los Alamitos

Recapping last week’s video, I got home my suggested $5 Majestic Harbor-Clubhouse Ride exacta box, which returned $68.80 for a buck. Let’s bring home another video winner!

Click here to view today’s HRN video play of the day, the G2 Los Al Derby


Gold Cup at Santa Anita Video: Can anyone beat Game On Dude?

My video race of the week for Saturday, June 28 is the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. It is carded as the 8th race for 3-year-olds and up traveling a mile and a quarter on the main track (Post Time- 4:43pm PT).

Wily veteran Game On Dude will break from the rail as the 4-5 morning line favorite. The 7-year-old has captured half of his 32 lifetime starts but has dropped 4 of his last 5. He should face serious pace pressure from Fury Kapcori and might be vulnerable late if that scenario plays out. The latter is classy and likes Santa Anita but might not want to go ten furlongs.

Imperative upset Game On Dude in the Charles Town Classic. His positional speed should put him in a nice spot but he won’t be 26-1 this time.

Clubhouse Ride always seems to play second fiddle to The Dude. He defended his G2 Californian title May 31 and would appreciate some pace help.

Majestic Harbor exits a solid 3rd in the aforementioned Californian. He won the 12f Tokyo City before that so ten panels will not be an issue.

Salto Del Indio from Chile and Lideris from Peru round out the field.

Click here to view today’s Pick 6 carryover tickets at Pick 6 Blog


Summertime Oaks 2014 video: Can Delta Flower go two turns?

My video race of the week for Saturday, June 21 is the Grade s Summertime Oaks from Santa Anita Park. It is carded as the 8th race for 3-year-old fillies traveling a mile and a sixteenth on the main track.

Morning line favorite Delta Flower seeks a four-bagger but has never raced beyond seven furlongs. She moved to the Jerry Hollendorfer barn for her last start, a neck victory in the $75k Angel’s Flight at seven panels. The fleet daughter of A. P. Delta is the one to catch but might get leg weary late if the pace is too fast.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer also entered Fleet of Gold and Stop Smiling. The field also includes an uncoupled pair for Bob Baffert (Jojo Warrior, Front Range) and Eoin Harty (Live for Now, Arethusa). Wesley Ward’s La Mejor Fiesta rounds out the contestants.

Santa Anita Park free full card for Saturday, June 21 at The Runaway Horse

Today’s Santa Anita Pick 6 & Pick 4 Tickets at Pick 6 blog


Stephen Foster 2014 Video Analysis – Revolutionary vs. Departing

My video race of the week for Saturday, June 14 is the Grade 1 Stephen Foster from Churchill Downs.

Revolutionary, my 2013 Derby-Belmont top, is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He will try to get involved late but there is not a ton of pace in the paper race.

Will Take Charge is the 5-2 second choice. He started to show fatigue in his erratic Oaklawn Handicap stretch run and threw in a clunker last time in the Alysheba at Churchill Downs. I will try to beat him until he shows some oomph.

Departing, at 9-2 on the line, was my Preakness pick last year. He returned with a solid score under the Twin Spires and might be ready to rejoin the stakes ranks.

My Stephen Foster night 2014 full card is available to purchase for $10 at:

The Runaway Horse

Today’s Racing Digest


Triple Crown Remains Elusive Target

California Chrome failed in his bid to sweep the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park. Not surprisingly, the twelve furlong journey jumped up and bit him.


Tonalist spoils California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Tonalist, a fresh, lightly raced son of Tapit, caught Commissioner in the late stages to win by a head, with Medal Count landing the show. The winning BSF came back 100.

California Chrome finished in a dead-heat for 4th with Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong. The Derby-Preakness hero never looked like a winner and will get a well-deserved rest before returning in September for a BC Classic prep.

Tonalist has set his sights on the Travers and may prep in the Jim Dandy. Both races will be run at Saratoga later this summer.

Commissioner came out of the Belmont with a bone chip and could return later this year.

Let’s check in on some former “Exceptional Eleven” Derby members and see what they are up to:

My Derby top Candy Boy skipped the Preakness-Belmont and goes next in the Los Alamitos Derby on July 5. He worked 4f in :48.20 at Santa Anita on June 9.

Candy Boy

Candy Boy targets the Los Al Derby – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Give No Quarter is back in training at Fair Hill for Graham Motion. The Sagamore Farm colorbearer most recently logged 5f in 1:02 on June 14.

Indianapolis returned to the Santa Anita worktab on June 12 (3f in :36.20).

Intense Holiday had to be put down after developing laminitis. Very sad ending.

Kendall’s Boy was last seen finishing 6th at OP on March 22. His steady worktab includes a 5f move in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs on June 14.

Kristo failed to handle Santa Anita turf on May 18. He worked 5f in 1:00.60 on June 11.

Misconnect finished 4th in the Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont undercard.

Noble Cornerstone finished 2nd in a Belmont Park Allowance race on May 18. He worked 4f in :47.91 on June 6 and was entered and subsequently scratched on June 14.

Schoolofhardrocks was visually impressive in an Optional Claiming turf win at Santa Anita on May 31. He appears ready for a turf stakes assignment and will probably make some noise at Del Mar this summer. He worked 5f in 1:00.40 on June 12.

Shared Belief captured his much anticipated Golden Gate comeback on May 26. He traveled 5f in 1:02.20 on June 10 and has options for his next outing, including the aforementioned Los Al Derby.

Tapiture runs next in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday night, June 14.

Vicar’s in Trouble has been in steady training since running last in the Ky Derby. He went 5f in 1:01.20 at Churchill Training on June 9.

Wildcat Red got beat up during his rough 18th in the Derby. The Haskell is his summer goal and he worked 3f in :36.80 at Gulfstream Park on June 14.



Belmont Stakes 2014 Video Preview

It is Belmont Stakes week and California Chrome attempts to complete the Triple Crown sweep on Saturday, June 7.

Please watch and listen to the broadcasts below for pedigree profiles, Belmont Stakes history, pace analysis, and California Chrome’s true chances of winning the Belmont Stakes.

Watch Horse Racing Nation’s Belmont Stakes Round Table!

I joined Steve Bortstein on his First Sports radio program on June 5 to discuss the Belmont Stakes – Listen to the Podcast!

My Belmont Stakes Day 2014 full card is available to purchase for $10 at:

The Runaway Horse

Today’s Racing Digest

I’ll return next week with a Belmont Stakes 2014 recap.

Preakness 2014 Recap: Chrome x 2

Preakness 2014 went according to the Hollywood script and California Chrome will try to complete the Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 7.

California Chrome

California Chrome wins Preakness 2014 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

California Chrome earned his sixth straight win in Baltimore and had to fight harder than many expected. Once again, he fell into a cozy tactical trip, pulled the trigger with a short burst on the far turn, and held off Ride On Curlin to win by a length and a half. The winning BSF came back 105, faster than the Derby (97) but not as fast as his romping San Felipe (107) and Santa Anita Derby (108) wins.

Ride On Curlin made up more than five lengths on Chrome from the Derby to the Preakness but it was not quite enough to get the job done. He was clearly second best and will likely take another shot at the Derby-Preakness hero in the Belmont Stakes. The Preakness was his eighth loss from as many starts at a mile and beyond.

Social Inclusion wasted valuable energy in the post parade and in the starting gate. He did not grab the early lead as expected but made a run at Chrome around the far turn before weakening and just holding off General a Rod for the show. He has a ton of raw talent but does not have the mental capacity to win a classic event at this stage of his promising career. The Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

I have said all along that California Chrome was very good but not spectacular. His final quarter in the Derby was slow and it appeared as though he laid it all on the line in the Preakness. As distances increase, Chrome’s speed figures are shrinking, along with his win margins, and the last eight Belmont Stakes winners did not compete in the Preakness.

As I stated right after the Derby, I do not see a scenario in which the modestly bred, overachieving colt earns a quality speed figure while successful navigating twelve furlongs at Big Sandy. This is not meant to be a knock on Chrome and I hate to come across as Debbie Downer. He is obviously a classy, quality animal, but I have been following horse racing since 1980 and have seen every failed Triple Crown attempt, and there is nothing to suggest that this year will be different.

Based on this year’s events and recent history, all of the evidence points to a fresh horse with stamina and a long-winded pedigree winning Belmont Stakes 2014.

In the days and weeks leading up to Belmont Stakes 2014, I will preview the field and look at the bloodlines of the top contenders. Stay Tuned!

My Belmont Stakes Day 2014 full card analysis will be available to purchase for $10 at:

The Runaway Horse

Today’s Racing Digest

Preakness 2014 Preview

The Preakness 2014 field is set and they will be off and running on Saturday (6:18pm) at Pimlico.

California Chrome shoots for his sixth straight win in Baltimore. He dominated his rivals at Santa Anita earlier this year and did not disappoint as the Kentucky Derby favorite, but the Derby left many unanswered questions.

California Chrome

California Chrome chases the second Triple Crown jewel Saturday – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Derby was slow throughout and many top contenders had rough trips. California Chrome is still a big question mark in legitimately run races at classic distances.

The Derby paper pace projected as fast early but that race shape never materialized. California Chrome closely tracked moderate fractions and kicked clear in the lane but did not appear to have much left in the tank late through a pedestrian final quarter mile in :26.21.

Listen to my Kentucky Derby recap – Preakness preview podcast!

The Preakness should be faster early and the overachieving, modestly bred California Chrome might be vulnerable late if he is too close to demanding fractions.

I would not be surprised if California Chrome captured the second jewel of the Triple Crown because many of the top sophomores skipped the Preakness. Regardless of what he does on Saturday, the Belmont Stakes looks to be an impossible distance hurdle for the Art Sherman trainee.

Social Inclusion might be the speed of the speed in the Preakness. He has the most upside and might be the best horse in the race but is very inexperienced with only three lifetime starts. California Chrome, Ring Weekend, Bayern, and Pablo Del Monte are the other speed horses.

Dynamic Impact and General a Rod project decent trips behind the speed, and Ria Antonia, Kid Cruz, and Ride On Curlin will try to get involved late.

Preakness 2014 field with post positions and morning line odds:

preakness 2014 odds

My Preakness Day 2014 full card from Pimlico is available to purchase for $10 at:

The Runaway Horse

Today’s Racing Digest

I’ll return next week with a Preakness 2014 recap and an early Belmont Stakes preview.

COMING SOON: Belmont Stakes Day full card analysis!

Kentucky Derby 2014 Rewind: California’s Derby

California Chrome was very fortunate and pretty good in Kentucky Derby 2014, but much more of the former. The pace was surprisingly slow (:47.37, 1:11.80) for a 19-horse field full of early-pressing types.

California Chrome

California Chrome captures Kentucky Derby 2014 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I have been watching Derbies since 1980 and this “fast track” edition (2:03.66/97 BSF) was one of if not the slowest that I have witnessed. The track was not slow earlier on Saturday. Central Banker rattled off 7f in 1:21.15 in the CD Stakes, good for a 107 BSF. Some argue that the track was not playing as fast by the time they ran the Derby. That may be true but a budding star capable of winning the Triple Crown should have run much faster.

Despite sitting a perfect trip tracking a pair of longshot pacesetters (Uncle Sigh, Chitu) through modest splits, California Chrome could only manage to come home in :26.21, hardly a superstar performance and indicative of distance limitations beyond 9f. He loses the Derby under any other pace scenario but the racing gods were surely with him under the Twin Spires.

The Derby horses were tightly bunched due to the modest fractions and that caused a chain reaction of troubled/wide trips (Candy Boy, General a Rod, Intense Holiday, Ride On Curlin, Wicked Strong). Chrome’s main foes were eliminated and the race was essentially over after a half mile.

Commanding Curve, eligible for an entry level affair, ran on well to finish a clear second and probably stuns the Derby field with a bit more pace help. Danza, with four lifetime starts and only one around two turns, finished a solid 3rd.

The real shining star on Derby weekend was Untapable in the Kentucky Oaks. She dominated from the outside post, getting 9f in 1:48.68 (107 BSF), the second-fastest Oaks in history. The pace was moderate (:47.80, 1:12.24) and she came home in a spry :36.34 ( final 1/8 in :12.52). She easily could have won the Derby and would have been the one to beat in the Preakness but will not face males at this stage. Look for her next in the Acorn (June 7) and/or Mother Goose (June 28) at Belmont Park.

Early Preakness 2014 Preview

Preakness 2014 should have much livelier splits. Bayern won his first two starts in SoCal before a foot bruise knocked him out of the San Felipe. He returned with a solid 3rd in the Arkansas Derby and had his number taken down in the Derby Trial. The speedy sort drilled a strong 5f bullet in :58.20 (1/19) at Churchill Downs on May 5. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Preakness five times.

Social Inclusion, another promising early runner, ran away in his first two starts at the Gulf before ending up a better than expected 3rd in the Wood Memorial. He arrived at Pimlico on May 8.

Pablo Del Monte scratched out of the Derby in favor of the Preakness. He set the pace before settling for the show in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes.

Ride On Curlin had no chance in the Derby after shooting over to the rail from the auxiliary gate under Borel. He ended up a better than appears 7th and gets Rosario in Baltimore.

Can California Chrome win the Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown hype has begun in earnest, but I do not see any scenario in which Chrome gets a mile and a half at Big Sandy. He is much more likely to win the shorter Preakness Stakes but will be a huge underlay in Baltimore.

California Chrome’s Derby come home time was slow and long distance breeding means everything in the Belmont Stakes. The last 8 Belmont Stakes winners did not compete in the Preakness. Four of those lost the Derby, skipped the Preakness, and won the Belmont (Palace Malice, Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil).

A second outcome is much more plausible. Derby hero California Chrome wins the Preakness and loses the Belmont Stakes at miniscule odds. Since 2000, horses exiting the Derby have captured the Preakness 11 times. Exceptions: Rachel Alexandra, Bernardini, and Red Bullet.

In a third scenario, Chrome loses the Preakness, skips the Belmont Stakes, and wins the Los Alamitos Derby at his home track on July 5.

Pedigree Spotlight Revisited: California Chrome

california chrome silks

California Chrome’s sire Lucky Pulpit (Pulpit – Lucky Soph, by Cozzene) won 3 of 22 starts and earned $209,928. He placed in multiple stakes – Pinjara Stakes (2nd), G3 Generous (3rd), G2 Santa Catalina (2nd), Ocenaside (3rd), Smile Stakes (1st), Taylor’s Special (3rd), Sneakbox (2nd). He entered stud in 2007 and his leading runner before California Chrome was CA-bred stakes winner and multiple graded placed runner Rousing Sermon ($710,092). The latter finished 8th in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

california chrome breeding

Lucky Pulpit’s sire Pulpit (A.P. Indy – Preach, by Mr. Prospector) had a short but productive 6-race career in 1997, beginning with a debut maiden win at Gulfstream Park in January.

Pulpit (1994-2012) captured an allowance race in Florida second time out, and followed that up with a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a 2nd in the Florida Derby, and a victory in the Blue Grass Stakes. He chipped his knee during a 4th place finish in the Kentucky Derby and was subsequently retired.

A.P. Indy’s most successful son at stud, Pulpit was responsible for 42 graded stakes winners (11 Grade I winners), including 2010 Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box.

Unfortunately, Pulpit died in his stall at Claiborne Farm at age 18 in late 2012.

Pulpit’s sire A.P. Indy won the G1 Hollywood Futurity in 1991 to end his juvenile season. In 1992, he captured the G2 San Rafael, G1 SA Derby, G2 Peter Pan, and G1 Belmont Stakes. He wrapped up his stellar career with a victory in the G1 BC Classic.

A.P. Indy is a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, out of Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise. She was also the dam of 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall.

Lucky Pulpit’s dam Lucky Soph (by Cozzene) captured 1 of 6 overseas starts.

Lucky Soph’s sire Cozzene captured 10 of 24 starts including the 1985 BC Mile. He was responsible for numerous stakes winners including 1996 BC Classic hero Alphabet Soup and 1994 BC Turf winner Tikkanen.

California Chrome’s dam Love the Chase (by Not For Love) won a single race from six Golden Gate outings.

Not For Love (by Mr. Prospector) scored on six occasions (29 starts) and placed in the 1994 Bob Harding Stakes. He has sired many useful performers and was the leading sire in North American earnings in 2003-06.

California Chrome continues to outrun his modest pedigree. He successfully navigated ten furlongs in the Derby, thanks to stamina influences Pulpit, A.P. Indy, and Cozzene.

COMING SOON: Preakness and Belmont Stakes Day full cards!

Kentucky Derby Day full card analysis recap

My Preakness Day 2014 full card will be available to purchase for $10 at:

The Runaway Horse

Today’s Racing Digest

I’ll return next week after the Preakness draw with a sneak preview of Pimlico’s showcase event.



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