Archive for the ‘Belmont Stakes 2012’ Category

Beyond the Crown – Neck ‘n Neck wins Indiana Derby

Neck ‘n Neck, patiently handled while breaking from post eleven under Brian Hernandez Jr., rallied from 10th place to land the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Saturday.

Neck 'n Neck

Neck ‘n Neck is not expected to run in the Breeders’ Cup – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Ian Wilkes trainee clearly enjoys a mile and a sixteenth, and his fondness for Churchill Downs is well documented, so he could end up under the Twin Spires next.

Super Derby hero Bourbon Courage was up for the place and beaten favorite Fed Biz checked in a respectable 3rd.

Gemologist has been retired to WinStar Farm and is one of several high profile sophomores to hit the breeding shed much too early.

Since my last report, Paynter had surgery to remove a growth from his intestines and is on the road to recovery.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

Alpha

The BC Classic is probably next for Alpha – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Jim Dandy/Travers hero finished a flat 6th in the PA Derby. He is currently gearing up for the BC Classic, most recently breezing 4f in :48.40 (3/4) at Greentree Training Center on 10-5.

2. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions and looked great capturing his first graded stakes in the Haskell. He is recovering from recent intestinal surgery and hopefully all of his recent health issues are behind him.

3. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He was clearly second best behind likely BC Classic favorite Game On Dude in the G1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept 29.  Worked 4f in :47.60 (3/55) at Hollywood Park on 10-6.

4. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic but never picked up his feet in the grassy G1 Jamaica. The BC Turf or Classic is next.

5. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Rallied from the back of the pack (post 11) to gamely capture the G2 Indiana Derby (95 BSF). He will probably show up next in a stakes race at Churchill Downs.

6. Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart) He put together a trio of strong efforts in the G2 West Va. Derby (2nd), G2 Super Derby (1st), and G2 Indiana Derby (2nd).

7. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31 and just finished a close-up 3rd in the Indiana Derby on Oct 6.

8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon and  Mandella’s $900k purchase rallied for the show vs. salty older sprinters in G1 SA Sprint Championship on 10-6. The BC Sprint might be next.

9. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee switched to turf and smartly nabbed the G3 Eddie D (92 BSF) over Santa Anita’s downhill course on Sept 28. The BC Turf Sprint is probably next. Worked 4f in :50.40 (35/44) at Santa Anita on 10-8.

10. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. He was 3rd again in the G1 Jamaica and could have won that one with clear sailing.

Beyond the Crown – Union Rags retired

Much has happened since my last update. Union Rags was diagnosed with a suspensory injury a month after capturing the G1 Belmont Stakes and was officially retired on Friday. I was hoping he would return as a 4yo but it was not meant to be. At least he captured a classic and ended his career on a high note.

Union Rags

My longtime #1 ranked 3yo Union Rags has been retired and will enter stud in 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportwire

In other 3yo news, Bodemeister spiked a temperature and is out of the Haskell. Baffert will replace him in the Monmouth showcase with Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter.

Went The Day Well, my disappointing Preakness top, has bone bruising in both front ankles and is done for the year. He is expected to return to the races in Florida this winter.

Holy Candy was pulled up as the heavy favorite in Wednesday’s Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar. He will undergo tests soon to determine the problem.

I have only had two horses occupy the top spot in my Triple Crown trail and beyond rankings. Alpha was number one until last year’s BC Juvenile and Union Rags took over until his retirement. Alpha appears to be poised for a big summer/fall campaign and is back on top of the heap.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

Alpha horse

Alpha regains my top spot following retirement of Union Rags – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Wood Memorial runner-up was last seen finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He had a leg infection after the Wood and spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is working extremely well for the Jim Dandy and breezed 4f in :49.58 (31/63) at Saratoga on July 21.

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He goes next in the Jim Dandy or Haskell and fired a 5f bullet in :58.40 (1/43) at Saratoga on 7-22.

3. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid spiked a temperature and is out of the Haskell. The BC Classic is his ultimate goal if his heath cooperates. No published works since 7-8.

4. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion got back on the beam in facile G3 Iowa Derby victory. The G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4 is probably up next, followed by the Travers. Could still alter plans and try the Haskell. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (1/2) at Churchill (training track) on July 17.

5. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt now has his eye on the Haskell and worked 6f in 1:13.20 (1/6) at Del Mar on July 18.

6. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Kentucky Derby show finisher flopped in the Belmont. He loves Keeneland’s Polytrack and is a competent turf performer as well. He is pointing to the Haskell and fired a 5f bullet in :59.80 (1/15) at Churchill Downs on 7-21.

7. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16. Jim Dandy is next and he breezed 5f in 1:00.65 (3/22) at Saratoga on July 17.

8. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Hollendorfer’s consistent late developer exits a solid place finish behind lone speedster Blueskiesnrainbows in the G2 Swaps. The Haskell is next and he worked 5f in 1:01.80 (14/37) at Del Mar on July 17.

9. Summer Front (War Front) – Ran his turf record to 5-for-5 in sharp Duluth win at the Spa on July 22. He could face fellow turf win machine Silver Max in the near future.

10. Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Impressive Delaware return vs. four overmatched rivals July 5. Sheppard’s highly regarded colt breezed 5f in :59.38 (3/43) under Johnny V at Saratoga on 7-22. He goes next in Curlin Stakes at Saratoga on July 27.

Beyond the Crown – Union Rags back on the beam

It is that time again. My annual Beyond the Triple Crown series top ten list is back in full swing and Union Rags got his much deserved Classic in the Belmont Stakes as I predicted. He has been my top ranked Triple Crown series colt since last November and remains the top dog after getting back on the beam under new pilot John Velazquez.

Union Rags

Union Rags wears down Paynter in Belmont Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Test of Champions was only the beginning of things to come from the talented Matz trainee. A marathon is obviously not his best trip but he figured to handle it based on stamina influences on the female side of his pedigree and class pulled him through.

The Travers Stakes is the main summer goal for Union Rags with a prior pit stop in the Jim Dandy or Haskell.

Paynter is the new kid on the block and he came through with flying colors in the Belmont Stakes. He made the pace but could not hold off my troubled Derby top when the real running began. Baffert is looking at the Travers for the son of Awesome Again as well.

Baffert also has Derby-Preakness runner-up Bodemeister for the Haskell.

A few parting words on I’ll Have Another. It was a shame that he missed the Belmont Stakes and subsequently retired but part of the Triple Crown challenge is the ability to withstand the rigors of three races in five weeks. It takes a very sturdy horse to make the gate in Kentucky, Maryland, and New York.

I never believed that I’ll Have Another was going to sweep the Triple Crown. The last eleven horses to go for the Triple Crown sweep went down in flames and there is a reason why horses exiting the Preakness have only managed two wins in the last fourteen editions of the Belmont Stakes. He is the clear leader of the sophomore division and it will take a huge second half by Union Rags to take the title away from him.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – I refused to drop him from my top spot after troubled trips in the Florida Derby/Ketucky Derby and my stubbornness was rewarded in the Belmont Stakes. We have not come close to seeing his best and I am looking for a big second half.

Bodemeister

Bodemeister eyes Haskell – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid was tuckered out after his 3rd race in 5-weeks at Pimlico. His early speed is especially dangerous up to nine panels and he could prove an elusive target in the Haskell.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – Leg infection after the Wood Memorial probably contributed to his 12th place Derby effort. He spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is currently stabled at Saratoga with the Jim Dandy a possibility.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He is back in Pletcher’s barn with an eye on the Travers.

5. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion finished 9th on the first Saturday in May. He could show up in the G3 Iowa Derby on 6-30, followed by the G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4. He fired a 5f bullet in 1:00.60 (1/14) over the Churchill training track on 6-16.

6. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt should continue to develop. He could resurface in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy on July 28.

7. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Kentucky Derby show finisher flopped in the Belmont. He loves Keeneland’s Polytrack and is a competent turf performer as well. Look for him to possibly resurface in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 21.

8. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer ran into the likes of Union Rags in Florida earlier this year. He exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16.

9. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – G3 Spiral Stakes hero finished a troubled 4th in the Derby. My Preakness top flopped in the second jewel and seemingly had nothing left to offer after his aforementioned bad trip two weeks earlier.

10. Holy Candy (Candy Ride) – Expecting big things from Sadler’s late developing colt. He exits a needed show finish in the G3 Affirmed and probably goes next in G2 Swaps on July 4. Breezed 4f in :49.60 (25/36) at Hollywood Park on 6-13.

Union Rags Captures Belmont Stakes 2012

How sweet it is. Union Rags received a ground saving trip and ran down a game Paynter in the final strides to capture the 144th Belmont Stakes at Big Sandy on June 9.

Union Rags

Union Rags beats Paynter in Belmont Stakes 2012 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I have been touting this horse since last September and it was great to see my Derby top redeem himself under new pilot John Velazquez.

He has been my top ranked Triple Crown series contender since last November and I never lost faith after a pair of troubled journeys in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby under Julien Leparoux.

Michael Matz did a great job preparing the strapping son of Dixie Union for the Test of Champions and he received stamina from the female side of his pedigree as predicted.

This was the start of a big second half of 2012 for Union Rags and it is on to races like the Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

I hope to catch up with him in person at Santa Anita Park in the fall!

 

 

 

Belmont Stakes Day – Saturday, June 9, 2012

DerbyWars.com

We have a $30,000 Belmont Stakes Day game on tap for Saturday. The buy in is $175 and the Prize Distribution goes down to 32nd place. Winner brings home $10k.

Derby Wars

Play Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day games at DerbyWars.com

Also scheduled for Saturday is our $1,000 Belmont Stakes Survivor.  The Derby Wars survivor games are a great value. The buy in is $4 and you can purchase up to three entries. If you selection finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you survive to the next contest race. First place gets $750 and second place brings home $250.

Other games scheduled for Saturday include a $150 Belmont Survivor, a $500 Belmont Park game ($12 buy in), and a $600 Belmont-Hollywood game ($25 buy in).

Fast Track Radio Show

As usual, I will be joining Steve Bortstein on the Fast Track this weekend. The show airs weekends at 10am ET and we do frequently go over the following hour by about 5-10 minutes, so we’re not automatically done at 11am ET. Click here to listen to the show.

HorseRacingNation.com

Horse Racing Nation

Check out all of the latest Belmont Stakes news at HorseRacingNation.com

Check out HRN for updated Belmont Stakes 2012 news, including results, recaps, videos, and selections.

For Saturday, I posted free analysis of the Grade 2 True North Handicap.

Pick 6 Blog.com

Friday night’s Betfair Hollywood Park Pick 6 Tickets are now available for your viewing pleasure. It looks like a moderately tough sequence and make sure to check back for Saturday’s Pick 6 tickets as well. In addition to my Pick 6 tickets, I am also now including a best bet and live longshot for each Hollywood Park program.

Today’sRacingDigest.com

I am offering full card analysis for Belmont Stakes Day on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper Page.

The cost is $10 and includes wagering strategies for all 13-races. Primary/Secondary Pick 6 Tickets included as well.

I have also posted a bonus Saturday free play (Belmont race 13) on my Digest Handicapper page (click view sample).

Note that I posted my analysis before I’ll Have Another scratched, but I have never been a fan and he was not part of my top four selections anyway.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: My Adonis

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes list concludes with late entrant My Adonis.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
My Adonis’s sire Pleasantly Perfect (by Pleasant Colony) won 9 of 18 races from 2001-04 including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in ‘03. The Lane’s End Farm stallion is responsible for Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Account, multiple graded turf route winner Cozi Rosie, 2-time ‘Big Cap runner-up Setsuko, and recent G3 Affirmed hero Nonios.

Pleasantly Perfect’s sire Pleasant Colony (by His Majesty) won 6 of 14 starts including the G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Preakness. His Triple Crown bid came to a halt with a 3rd place finish in the 1981 Belmont Stakes. The late sire is responsible for such prominent runners as Pleasant Tap, Pleasant Stage, St. Jovite, Behrens, and ’93 Belmont Stakes hero Colonial Affair.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Unstoppable U

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Unstoppable U.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
Unstoppable U’s sire Exchange Rate (by Danzig) won 6 of 15 races from 1999-2001 including the Risen Star Stakes and G2 Tom Fool. The Three Chimneys Stallion is responsible for 31 stakes winners including Ermine and Xchanger.

Exchange Rate’s sire Danzig (by Northern Dancer) won all three career starts in New York. The influential stallion died in 2006 at age 29. He sired such prominent runners as Chief’s Crown (3rd ’85 Belmont Stakes), Stephan’s Odyssey (’85 Belmont Stakes runner-up), Danzig Connection (’86 Belmont Stakes winner), ’92 Preakness hero Pine Bluff, and Breeders’ Cup Mile winners Lure and War Chant.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

I’ll Have Another Scratched from Belmont Stakes

Trainer Doug O’Neill announced on Dan Patrick’s radio show that I’ll Have Another will be scratched from the Belmont Stakes.

When asked by Dan Patrick if we would see I’ll Have Another race again, O’Neill responded that if he had to gamble we have already seen I’ll Have Another’s last race.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Union Rags

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Union Rags.

Belmont stakes 2012 logo

Union Rags’s late sire Dixie Union (by Dixieland Band) won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee Brew. He also captured the G1 Malibu in his final career start and sired 39 stakes winners from his first eight crops including Gone Astray and Grasshopper. Dixie Union’s offspring are usually effective up to a mile and an eighth.

Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first started following racing in the early 1980′s. Dixieland Band won the G2 Pennsylvania Derby and G2 Mass ‘Cap. He also competed in the 1983 Belmont Stakes and finished 14th.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Street Life

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Street Life.

Belmont stakes 2012 logo
Street Life’s sire Street Sense (by Street Cry-IRE) won 6 of 13 races in 2006-07. The ’06 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ also captured the G3 Tampa Bay Derby, G1 Kentucky Derby, G2 Jim Dandy, and G1 Travers. He banked more than $4.3 million for trainer Carl Nafzger and owner Jim Tafel. The promising young sire is responsible for graded winners Motor City and Castaway.

Street Sense’s sire Street Cry-IRE (by Machiavellian) went 5-for-12 from 2000-02 and won such prestigious stakes races as the G1 Dubai World Cup and G1 Stephen Foster. He has sired multiple stakes winners including Desert Party, Street Boss, and Zenyatta.

Read the rest of this post at HorseRacingNation.com.

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