Posts Tagged ‘Bodemeister’

WinStar Farm Visit (Part I): Dullahan and the Studs

We recently visited WinStar Farm in Versailles, KY. This is my first in a 3-part blog series. In this edition, I will look at the WinStar stallions.

Dullahan

RIP Dullahan

Part II takes a look at the horses in the Training Barn. In Part III, I will take a behind the scenes look at WinStar.

Before discussing the sires, I have to mention Dullahan.

Unfortunately, we were one of the last people to see Dullahan at WinStar. We saw him last Wednesday and were shocked to hear that he had to be put down due to colic less than four days later.

I respect all of these amazing athletes, even when they cost me money. I needed Take charge Indy (also at WinStar) to finish 4th to cash my 2011 BC Juvenile superfecta, but along came Dullahan to nip me on the wire.

I had no idea that Dullahan was rehabbing at WinStar and was pleasantly surprised to see him last week. He was a magnificent looking animal and will be missed.

Colonel john

Photos by Stacy Edwards

The WinStar stallions read like a who’s who of my losing Derby selections, beginning with Colonel John. Don’t worry big guy, you redeemed yourself in the Travers!

Colonel John is off to a fast start at stud. He could run on anything and the versatile sort seems to be passing that valuable trait to his offspring.

Oh, look who’s right across from Colonel John. It’s my Kentucky Derby 2008 losing pick Pioneerof The Nile. The latter is a feisty one and reportedly tried to bite someone recently. Don’t turn your back on this one! He seemed a bit keyed up on Wednesday and is ready for the upcoming breeding season.

Pioneerof The Nile was dusted by one of the most unlikely Derby winners of all time, Mine That Bird. Earlier this year, it was fun to see Mine That Bird frolic with energetic miniature horse Winston at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs.

Distorted Humor

Distorted Humor

Distorted Humor put WinStar on the map,  siring the likes of Drosselmeyer, Funny Cide, and Flower Alley.

Distorted Humor laid the foundation and paved the way for 2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Tiznow, who might be the most popular stallion on the magnificent grounds.  Colonel John’s papa is also responsible for Well Armed, Tizway, and fellow WinStar stud Gemologist.

Tiznow

Tiznow

Tiznow beat me in the 2001 BC Classic. I was at Belmont Park that day, and the tragic memories of 911 were fresh in everyone’s mind. In a surreal world, snipers were perched on the roof, and the crowd got lost in the moment when Tiznow turned back Sakhee to win one for America.

Other stallions at WinStar that we got to spend some time with include Bellamy Road, Bodemeister, Gemologist, Hold Me Back, Kodiak Kowboy, Maimonides, Speightstown, Spring at Last, Street Hero, Super Saver, and U.S. Ranger.

We were told that Bodemeister does not care about his appearance – typical dude! Maimondes is very sweet and and owns an outstanding pedigree but is the forgotten sire standing for a mere $2,500.

Thank you to WinStar for allowing us to visit and for taking us behind the scenes. If you would like to learn more about the WinStar StableMates program, check out their website.

If you would like to see more of Stacy’s WinStar photos, please visit her Kentucky horse racing photos page, The Runaway Horse.

Beyond the Crown – Alpha shares Travers trophy

Last Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, it appeared as though Golden Ticket was going to shock the world at 33-1 in the Travers but post time favorite Alpha wanted to be part of the party as well and surged late to share in the spoils.

Alpha and Golden Ticket

Alpha & Golden Ticket put on a show in Travers- photo courtesy of NYRA

Golden Ticket saved all of the ground under David Cohen and needed every advantage to tie with my top ranked sophomore Alpha, who sat an outer stalking trip under Ramon Dominguez. Golden Ticket will have to prove that he is more than a one-hit wonder before he joins my top ten.

I began my Derby Top 10 list right after Del Mar/Saratoga in September in 2010 and 2011 and will do the same this year. In an interesting side note, my initial number one in 201o was Stay Thirsty and Alpha was the early juvenile boss this time around. Both Bernardini colts went on to capture the Jim Dandy and Travers during their sophomore campaigns. Maybe I should rename my future road to the Derby blogs for the Travers trail!

Dullahan traveled west and toppled salty older foes Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid in the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug 26. He sure adores synthetic, specifically Polytrack, and is probably the best in the business on that footing. He crashes back to earth on conventional dirt so if he ends up in the Breeders’ Cup it will likely be on turf.

Since my last report, Paynter resumed training at the Spa but got sick again and is fighting colitis at a clinic in New York. Bodemeister, Hansen, and Street Life have all been retired. It has been a tough year for the sophomore class with numerous injuries and premature retirements.

Checking in with former top ten members, B Shanny won a sprint at the Spa on 8-12. Consortium recently returned to the worktab for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Fire On Ice and O’Prado Again are getting close to a race.

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

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Controlled the pace in Jim Dandy and stalked/pounced his way to a share of the Travers (100 BSF) title on Aug 25. The Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on 9-22 could be next.

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 currently battling colitis at a clinic in NY…get well soon.

Dullahan

What’s next for synthetic specialist Dullahan? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic (111 BSF). Let’s see if Romans and company can avoid the temptation to try dirt again.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – He came out of the Derby with a foot bruise and spit the bit in his disappointing Haskell return. He breezed 4f in :48.15 (6/54) at Saratoga on 8-26 and could meet up with Alpha in the PA Derby.

5. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31. He could be a major player in the Strub Series this winter at Santa Anita.

6. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He handles dirt but might be better on synthetic.

7. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer gamely chased Alpha home in the Jim Dandy and finished 6th in the Travers. He does his best work at Churchill Downs.

8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon. Mandella’s $900k purchase appears tailor-made for Santa Anita’s G1 Malibu on Dec 26.

9. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. Look for him to cut back in distance next time as ten panels is a bit beyond his range at this point.

10. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee looks like and up and coming sprinter.

Beyond the Crown – Paynter on the move

It has been a strange journey this year for Paynter. After earning his diploma in his 5.5 furlong debut at the Great Race Place on Feb 18, he was thrown to the wolves in the G1 Santa Anita Derby but was hardly disgraced in a 4th place finish. He returned three weeks later to land the place in the G3 Derby Trial and easily captured an allowance event at Pimilco 21-days after his Churchill excursion.

Paynter

Will Paynter make the Travers? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Staying on a three week pattern, Bob Baffert’s late bloomer made all the running in the Belmont Stakes but could not hold off Union Rags. After a much needed rest, he garnered his first stakes victory in the Haskell and got sick shortly after that. He was missing in action for over a week but is now safely tucked away at Belmont Park. The Travers is sneaking up fast and it remains to be seen if he actually makes the gate for the Mid-Summer Derby.

I have only had two horses occupy the top spot in my Triple Crown trail and beyond rankings since I started my list September 2011. Alpha was number one until last year’s BC Juvenile and Union Rags took over until his retirement. Alpha retook the top spot after Union Rags was whisked away to the breeding shed and remains there with a little more than two weeks to go before the Travers.

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

Alpha horse

Alpha remains on course for Mid-Summer Derby – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Controlled the pace in smart Jim Dandy triumph over wet ground. He figured to get better with age and is peaking just in time for the Aug 25 Travers. He breezed 4f in :48.33 (7/39) at Saratoga on 8-9.

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 spiked a temp after the Haskell and could end up missing the Travers…stay tuned!

3. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer made the grade in the Matt Winn under the Twin Spires on June 16 and gamely chased Alpha home in the Jim Dandy. He will try to turn the tables on the top dog in the upcoming Travers. Breezed 4f in :48.53 (17/48) at Saratoga on 8-8.

4. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – His Haskell place finish proved that he was more than a SoCal synthetic wonder. He worked 4f in :47 (2/35) at Del Mar on 8-6 and Johnny V will ride him in the Travers.

5. Summer Front (War Front) – Ran his turf record to 5-for-5 in sharp Duluth win at the Spa on July 22. He is expected to challenge fellow turf win machine Silver Max in the G1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on 8-18. Breezed 5f in :58.55 (2/43) at Saratoga (turf training) on 8-8.

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

7. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He set the pace before faltering in his needed Haskell return and could show up next in the PA Derby at Parx on 9-22.

8. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion got back on the beam in facile G3 Iowa Derby victory but Hero of Order got after him in the West Va. Derby and the Mike Maker trainee surprisingly offered little resistance in a disappointing 4th place effort. The Travers is still on the table but his stock is dropping rapidly.

9. Dullahan (Even The Score) – The Kentucky Derby show finisher flopped in the Belmont and Haskell. He loves Keeneland’s Polytrack and is a competent turf performer as well so hopefully Romans and company will avoid dirt at all costs. He is reportedly pointing to the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on 8-26.

10. Street Life (Street Sense) – He is 0-for-3 in graded ranks (4th Belmont, 3rd Peter Pan) but looked good winning listed Curlin last time and Broad Brush earlier this season. The Travers is next for the Chad Brown trainee and he breezed an easy 4f in :50.93 (40/42) at Saratoga on 8-9.

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 – Hansen rights his ship

Juvenile champion Hansen rebounded from a 9th place finish in the Kentucky Derby to trounce four overmatched rivals in the G3 Iowa Derby (97 BSF) on June 30. The Michael Maker trainee has his confidence back and will try to make it two straight in the G2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on August 3.

Hansen

Hansen got back on the beam at Prairie Meadows – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Teeth of the Dog, stablemate of Union Rags, gamely captured the G2 Dwyer at Belmont Park on June 30. The Michael Matz trainee earned a 92 BSF and will take on Hansen in West Virginia next.

In other 3-year-old stakes action, Bob Baffert sent out Blueskiesnrainbows in the G2 Swaps and he controlled the tempo and kept on finding on the fourth of July. G3 Affirmed winner Nonios rallied for the place and Baffert runner Liaison finished 3rd. The winner earned a 102 BSF.

My Adonis threw his hat into the Haskell following a game ½ length score over Macho Macho in Monmouth’s Long Branch Stakes on July 8.

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

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked sophomore goes next in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 29. The Belmont Stakes hero breezed 5f in 1:00.60 (1/7) at Fair Hill on July 6.

Bodemeister

Bodemeister worked five panels on July 8 – 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. Worked 5f in 1:01 (11/31) at Santa Anita on 7-8.

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 and fired a 4f bullet in :47.33 (1/16) on July 7.

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. Breezed 5f in 1:04.88 (8/10) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 7-2.

5. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion got back on the beam in facile G3 Iowa Derby victory. The G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4 is up next, followed by the Travers.

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 zipped 5f in :58.60 (1/19) on July 4 and 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 resurface in the Haskell. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (2/11) at Churchill Downs on 7-7.

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. Breezed 4f in :48.40 (1/14) at Fair Hill on 6-23 and 5f in 1:01.20 (4/16) on 6-30.

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 goes next in the Oceanside at Del Mar on July 18. Worked 6f in 1:13.80 (2/7) at Hollywood Park on 7-5.

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.

Preakness Recap: I’ll Have Another Wins Again

In a virtual repeat of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another ran down Bodemeister to win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

I'll Have Another

Will I’ll Have Another end the Triple Crown drought? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bodemeister set a controlled tempo as expected and briefly appeared home free in the lane but I’ll Have Another put in a relentless rally and stuck his neck out in deep stretch.

It was almost nine lengths back to show finisher Creative Cause.

I’ll Have Another completed his nine and one-half furlong journey in 1:55.94 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice. Once again, Mario Gutierrez rode the son of Flower Alley perfectly for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill.

Bodemeister was game in defeat and has accomplished so much this year for trainer Bob Baffert. The Preakness was his third start in the last five weeks and he is not expected to contest the Belmont Stakes.

I’ll Have Another will attempt a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. If he pulls it off he would be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Let’s recap the entire Preakness field…

1st – I’ll Have Another: Ran down Bodemeister again. He has won four straight and goes for Triple Crown at Belmont on June 9.

2nd – Bodemeister: Looked home free but once again he ran out of gas late. He has been very busy this year and has earned a rest.

3rd – Creative Cause: Did all of the pace dirty work and could not match strides with the top two. He is another in need of a break.

4th – Zetterholm: NY-bred ended up an okay 4th for Dutrow. I would not be shocked if he showed up in the Belmont Stakes.

5th – Teeth of the Dog:  Second stringer for Matz ran about as well as expected and remains a few notches below the best.

6th – Optimizer: Has now dropped eight straight on conventional dirt. He clearly prefers turf or synthetic.

7th – Cozzetti: G2 Tampa Bay Derby show finisher remains eligible for an entry level spot. Lone win in slop at CD.

8th – Tiger Walk: Stalked and faded on Saturday. Graduated on turf and could end up back on that footing.

9th – Daddy Nose Best: Has won on dirt, synthetic, and turf so Asmussen has plenty of options in the coming months.

10th – Went The Day Well: Motion trainee barely lifted a hoof. He handles any ground and is much better than he showed today.

11th Pretension: NY-bred needs a much easier spot.

Preakness Day – Saturday, May 19, 2012

Derby Wars

Derby Wars

Play the Derby Wars $10k Preakness Day game and $1,000 survivor.

We have a $10,000 Preakness Day game on tap for Saturday. The buy in is $77 and the payoff goes down to 29th place.

Also scheduled for Saturday is our $1,000 Preakness 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.

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. I will also be joining Steve on Friday morning to start the Preakness discussions early. Click here to listen to the show.

Horse Racing Nation

Horse Racing Nation

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

For Friday, I posted free analysis of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Pimlico Special. Saturday’s Pimlico free selection is the Alaire DuPont Distaff Stakes.

Pick 6 Blog

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’s Racing Digest

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

The cost is $10 and includes wagering strategies for all 13-races.

I have also posted a bonus Saturday free play (Pimlico race 8) on my Digest Handicapper page (click view sample).

Preakness Day analysis + bonus free play

Kentucky Derby 2012 Aftermath: What Happened to Union Rags?

The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby went according to script from a pace standpoint and I’ll Have Another ran down Bodemeister after sitting the perfect outside stalking trip.

Post position was critical in the outcome of Kentucky Derby 2012 and the key was the draw of the speed horses. Bodemeister (post 6) drew inside the other pace players and hit the ground running under Mike Smith.

I'll Have Another

Will I’ll Have Another win the Preakness? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’ll Have Another was comfortably drawn outside the other speedsters in post 19 and his young rider Mario Gutierrez did a great job angling him in early and positioning him within striking range throughout.

I’ll Have Another is better than recent Derby winners Mine That Bird and Super Saver but probably not as good as Animal Kingdom. He was in the right spot to take advantage of a strung out field on the first Saturday in May and I want him to go out and prove it again at Pimlico.

Bodemeister ran a winning race but was forced to expend too much early energy and could not hold off I’ll Have Another. He wires the field if speedy sprinter Trinniberg is not entered.

Union Rags lost the race at the start and my troubled Derby tops have been down this road before (Lookin At Lucky, Point Given, Hansel, Risen Star). He reminds me of Lookin At Lucky the most. My 2010 Derby top experienced troubled trips in the SA Derby and Ky Derby that year under Garrett Gomez. Baffert made the switch to Martin Garcia and he proceeded to win the Preakness, Haskell, and Indiana Derby.

Julien Leparoux has gotten Union Rags into trouble in back-to-back races and it is time for a change. Just like ‘Lucky and Gomez, the karma is not there for some reason. Who would I like to see on Union Rags? I am thinking Rosie Napravnik. She always seems to put her horses in the right spot and gives them every chance to succeed.

Also, rewind your mind to the Gulf this winter when Javier Castellano ditched Union Rags for a plethora of Pletcher runners including Algorithms. Maybe Michael Matz gives him a second chance.

Let’s recap the entire field…

1st – I’ll Have Another: Post 19 was perfect because he drew outside the other speed horses and was able to keep Bodemeister in his sights throughout. I have never been on his bandwagon and am not about to hop aboard now but you gotta love his positional speed and winning spirit.

2nd Bodemeister: Ran great considering Trinniberg forced him to go too fast early. He has accomplished so much in a short time this year and I would like to see him get a well-deserved break. Preakness remains a possibility but that would be three races in five weeks and he could bounce to the moon following his grueling Derby run.

3rdDullahan: Not surprised that the Keeneland specialist clunked up for a minor award because he did the same thing in the BC Juvenile. He handles any footing but clearly does his best work in Lexington.

4th Went The Day Well: Nice late run to garner a minor award under the Twin Spires. He was one of my projected trifecta/superfecta contenders so he ran as I expected. He will prepare for the Preakness at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.

5thCreative Cause: Made a wide run to get into 3rd but lost the show late when Dullahan and Went The Day Well shot past him. He beat Bodemeister in March and was a nose behind I’ll Have Another in April so he is right there with these on his best day and can make some noise in the Preakness.

6thLiaison: Ended up a better than expected 6th from post 20. He still has not won a race since last December.

Union Rags

Look for Union Rags to have a new rider in the near future – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

7thUnion Rags: A real shame that he did not get to strut his stuff in the Derby. I still think he is the best 3yo in the land and at this point it looks he might skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont Stakes. He probably wins the second jewel if he goes in that direction.

8thRousing Sermon: Decent CA-bred has not won since moving into open company last November. He packs a nice late kick and could resurface in the Belmont Stakes.

9th Hansen: Never looked like a ten furlong horse and faded under Twin Spires as expected. Juvenile champ is now 1-for-4 in 2012.

10thDaddy Nose Best: Split the field in a bit of disappointing run considering he was training well for the big dance. He handles dirt, synthetic, and turf so Asmussen has plenty of options in the coming months.

11thOptimizer: Not a terrible effort beating nine rivals from post two. He has now dropped seven straight on conventional dirt but Lukas will surely keep him on the Triple Crown trail. He is a decent turf/synthetic horse.

Alpha

I am expecting Alpha to make some noise later this year – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

12thAlpha: Missed a key Derby work after being diagnosed with a leg infection after the Wood Memorial. He reminds me of Stay Thirsty and I fully expect him to blossom later this year.

13th El Padrino: Had a slow start and a rough trip early. He passed a few rivals after sitting in last early and has not been the same since grueling nose victory in G2 Risen Star. I always had the feeling that he was better on wet footing.

14th Done Talking: Late runner passed a few tired foes and ran to expectations.

15thSabercat: Figured to finish near the bottom.

16thGemologist: Folded like a cheap suit when the real running began. Guess Pletcher’s plan to avoid Kentucky and train in Florida backfired.

17thTrinniberg: Seven furlong specialist cost Bodemeister the race and had no business running ten furlongs on the first Saturday in May. Connections are thinking Preakness if Bodemeister skips the second leg and he will finish up the track again if he ends up in that spot. A more logical placement would be the G2 Woody Stephens at seven panels on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

18thProspective: G2 Tampa Bay Derby hero is a few cuts below the best.

19thTake Charge Indy: Came out of the Derby with an ankle chip and is scheduled to go under the knife this week. He could return in the fall if everything goes well.

20thDaddy Long Legs: Not surprising the he did not take to conventional dirt since he finished 12th of 13 in last year’s BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Union Rags looks the part

We are less than one week to Kentucky Derby 2012. All of the preps have been run and now we wait for Wednesday’s post position draw.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

The big news on Tuesday was the defection of Mark Valeski and the addition of Wayne Lukas trainee Optimizer.

Mark Valeski, trained by Larry Jones, could resurface in the G2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 12.

My Adonis is on the outside looking in and needs one defection to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Bodemiester and Union Rags figure to vie for favoritism and both are training well leading up to the big dance.

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

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – The G1 Florida Derby show finisher has been in my top three since last September and on top of my list since last November. He breezed a strong 5f in :59.80 (3/53) at Churchill Downs on April 28. Graded Earnings: $1,170,000

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Kept his perfect record intact in game G1 Wood Memorial tally. The WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner likes Churchill Downs, owns fine early-pressing speed, and has a nose for the wire. He breezed a 4f bullet in :50.39 (1/8) at Palm Meadows on April 29. Graded Earnings: $703,855

3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – The versatile gem of consistency was last seen finishing a close-up 2nd in the G1 Santa Anita Derby (blinkers off). He breezed 4f in :47.80 (3/58) at Churchill Downs on 4-30 . Graded Earnings: $836,000

4. Alpha (Bernardini) – Infection caused by a few small cuts in the Wood Memorial forced him to miss one Derby work. He needed a swift final move and got it with a 5f bullet in :59.54 (1/25) at Belmont Park on April 28. Made a nice appearance at Churchill Downs on May 1. Graded Earnings: $380,000

5. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – G1 Arkansas Derby (108 BSF) wire job winner has history against him under the Twin Spires. Bob Baffert’s unraced juvenile is back in three weeks and faces a tough pace scenario. Excellent 5f breeze in :59.60 (2/10) at Churchill Downs on 4-29. Graded Earnings: $660,000

Daddy Nose Best

Daddy Nose Best is an interesting late running Derby threat - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

6. Daddy Nose Best (Scat Daddy) – Back-to-back nine furlong wins in G3 El Camino Real Derby (92 BSF) and G3 Sunland Derby (100 BSF). He is quietly training well under the Twin Spires and would appreciate a contested early pace.  Breezed 4f in :49.40 (29/58) at Churchill Downs on 4-30. Graded Earnings: $545,558

7. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Stole the Florida Derby but could only muster a 95 BSF despite everything going his way. I have always been fond of this one but he could be a pace casualty on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 5f in 1:00.77 (1/4) at Palm Meadows on 4-26. Graded Earnings: $698,400

8. I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley) – Followed up his surprise G2 Robert Lewis triumph with another tally in the G1 SA Derby. The Doug O’Neill trainee looms an early-pressing factor on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 6f in 1:13.80 (7/22) at Hollywood Park on 4-27. Graded Earnings: $601,000

9. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Won his second Keeneland (Polytrack) Grade 1 from as many starts in the Blue Grass. He is better this year so his conventional dirt task is not impossible. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (9/53) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Graded Earnings: $855,000

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally but was too aggressive early in Blue Grass place finish. I have never thought of him as a ten furlong horse. Dominguez chose him over Alpha. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (2/5) at Churchill Downs (training track) on April 28. Graded Earnings: $1,550,000

The Other Ten

Went The Day Well

Can Went The Day Well give Graham Motion/Team Valor back-to-back Derby wins? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

11. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Graham Motion/Team Valor. Reportedly training well but might not be experienced enough to make a serious Derby run. He breezed 5f in 1:01 (6/53) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Graded Earnings: $282,000

12. Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit) – Rallied for the show in G2 Louisiana Derby and can hit the board in the Derby if a fast pace develops. Decent 5f move in 1:00.40 (2/18) at Churchill Downs on May 1. Graded Earnings: $269,000

13. El Padrino (Pulpit) – G2 Risen Star hero finished a wide 4th in disappointing Florida Derby performance. He moves up on wet footing and breezed a slow 4f in :53.34 (7//8) at Palm Meadows on April 29. Graded Earnings: $250,000

14. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – G2 Tampa Bay Derby hero finished 6th in G1 Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (9/53) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Graded Earnings: $387,952

15. Daddy Long Legs (Scat Daddy) – G2 UAE Derby hero was 12th in last year’s productive BC Juvenile. Graded Earnings: $1,294,030

16. Optimizer (English Channel) – G2 Rebel runner-up is winless in six conventional dirt starts. Wayne Lukas trainee breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (4/10) at Churchill Downs on 4-29.

17. Done Talking (Broken Vow) – Late running G3 Illinois Derby winner breezed 5f in 1:01 (1/17) at Laurel Park on April 28. Graded Earnings: $310,000

18. Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity winner has disappointed in three starts at Santa Anita this year. Breezed 5f in 1:00.80 (7/28) at Churchill Downs on 4-30. Graded Earnings: $393,000

19. Sabercat (Bluegrass Cat) – Finished an improved 3rd in G1 Arkansas Derby. Breezed 4f in :48.40 (10/58) under the Twin Spires on 4-30. Graded Earnings: $701,429

20. Trinniberg (Teuflesberg) – Back to-back sharp 7f wins in G3 Swale and G3 Bay Shore. The likely Derby pacesetter breezed 6f in 1:15.40 (1/1) at Calder on April 23. Graded Earnings: $324,500

On the Graded Earnings Bubble: My Adonis

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