Posts Tagged ‘Brother Francis’

I’ll Have Another, Done Talking Win Key Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps

The West Coast 3-year-olds completed their path to Kentucky Derby 2012 on Saturday and I’ll Have Another got the bob over Creative Cause in the 75th running of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

G1 Santa Anita Derby (4-7-12): 94 BSF (I’ll Have Another)

I'll Have Another nips Creative Cause in the SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

42-1 Baffert bomber Blueskiesnrainbows surprisingly coasted on an easy lead through splits of :23.11, :47.11, and 1:11.14. I’ll Have Another stalked on the outside and Creative Cause was relaxed along the rail.

Blueskiesnrainbows still held the advantage after a mile in 1:35.36 but I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause were gaining fast. The two favorites crossed the line noses apart with I’ll Have Another narrowly getting the job done under Mario Gutierrez. Baffert’s longshot pacesetter was another 1/2 length back in 3rd.

Paynter finished 4th, and was followed by maiden Brother Francis, Liaison, Midnight Transfer, Senor Rain, and Longview Drive.

I’ll Have Another, trained by Doug O’Neill, competed his nine furlong journey in 1:47.88 and paid $10.20. The son of Flower Alley picked up $450k in graded earnings and heads to Louisville riding a 2-race graded route win streak.

Creative Cause removed the hood and ran well from post one. He qualified for the Kentucky Derby on graded earnings long ago and received a useful prep on Saturday.

I have always thought the Southern California 3-year-olds were a cut below the top Florida runners and continue to hold that belief following the SA Derby.

Kudos to I’ll Have Another for proving me wrong on Saturday but he figures to fall short on the first Saturday in May. Creative Cause always runs his race and is the more serious Derby threat.

Santa Anita Derby Grade: B- (82 out of 100)

In the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, Done Talking rallied to an upset victory for sharp Maryland connections Hamilton Smith and Sheldon Russell.

G3 Illinois Derby (4-7-12): 85 BSF (Done Talking)

The pace was honest with Frankie Is Rock and Our Entourage leading through splits of :23.94 and :48.64. Morgan’s Guerilla made a wide middle move and was up to 2nd after six panels in 1:13.94.

Morgan’s Guerilla struck the front under Rosie Napravnik in the lane but Done Talking and Hakama were finishing fast. In the end, it was Done Talking by 3/4ths of a length over Morgan’s Guerilla with Hakama another length and a half back in 3rd.

Saturday Launch was a rallying 4th and was followed across the line by Ring It Up, Skyring, Frankie Is Rock, Pretension, Z Rockstar, Currency Swap, Fastestwhogetspaid, Romancing the Gold, and Slamit.

This looked like a weak Derby prep on paper and did not impress visually while earning a mediocre number.

Illinois Derby Grade: C- (71 out of 100)

Santa Anita Derby 2012 Preview – Creative Cause a slam dunk?

Southern California’s top Kentucky Derby 2012 contender Creative Cause is the strong 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Is he worth trying to beat in Santa Anita Park’s showcase event?

Creative Cause

Creative Cause looms large in SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Creative Cause (6-5) has been a major Derby top ten player since I began my list last September and he continues to go strong for trainer Mike Harrington.  The tactical gem of consistency removes the hood and the only weakness he has is losing focus and goofing around in the stretch. He qualified for the Kentucky Derby on graded earnings long ago and does not need to win this. The main thing is to keep his mind on business and finish up strong with a quality top three performance.

#8 Midnight Transfer (10-1) is capable of giving the aforementioned favorite a scare if he improves off his San Felipe show finish. He is training well for this and has the numbers to make a dent if he handles today’s added ground. Not sure he really wants to go this far but he projects a decent tactical trip under new rider Mike Smith and the price figures to be right.

#2 Liaison (8-1) capped off a productive juvenile season with a game win in the G1 CashCall Futurity but everything has gone wrong this year. He clipped heels and fell in the G2 Robert Lewis and got no pace help in G2 San Felipe 4th place effort. He reunites with winning pilot Bejarano and should offer value.

#4 I’ll Have Another (5-2) surprised off the shelf in the G2 Robert Lewis at 43-1 but that race has not been productive and he offers no value at 5-2. The fresh colt is an early-pressing player at the very least.

#5 Longview Drive (12-1) is 0-for-3 in the graded ranks and will probably be aggressively handled by Russell Baze, who rides him well.

#3 Holy Candy (8-1) makes his third start in five weeks for Sadler. The promising son of Candy Ride looked good in local flat mile graduation run March 23 but he shows up in a tough spot and is light on numbers. Does Drew Brees have a Kentucky Derby horse?

#10 Brother Francis (20-1) is a stakes placed maiden trying to make the Derby cut. He does not have the numbers to win but another minor award is not out of the question. Garrett Gomez ends up here.

#6 Paynter (6-1) looked good graduating against three rivals at 5.5 furlongs at Santa Anita Feb 18. The Baffert trainee is probably not up to this type of company at this stage but is worth following.

#7 Senor Rain (15-1) exits an optional claiming extended sprint tally here and should make his presence felt from the outset. He seems a cut or two below the best in here.

#9 Blueskiesnrainbows (20-1) is a Baffert outsider. He removes the hood and should stalk the pace before throwing in the towel.

The Plays:

$20 to win #8

$10 Exacta Box 1-8 ($20)

Grading the 2012 Kentucky Derby Preps: CashCall Futurity

The G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec 17 was the last major  Kentucky Derby 2012 prep of the current racing season and at this point I would say that it was not a strong renewal.

CashCall Futurity (12-17-11) – 91 BSF (Liaison)

I wrote a CashCall recap in my latest Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders blog and below is what I said about the players. The top seven finishers were separated by three lengths so the overall strength of the race is a bit suspect, especially with a CA-bred finishing 2nd and a maiden landing the show. The top two (Liaison, Rousing Sermon) also finished 1-2 in the Real Quiet Stakes (C- grade). Maybe the Real Quiet should have been rated higher, or we have a mediocre West Coast group on our hands. I have a feeling it is the latter. Grade: C

The road to the 2012 Kentucky Derby made a pit stop at Hollywood Park last weekend and Liaison got the job done in a professional manner for trainer Bob Baffert.

The son of recently deceased sire Indian Charlie owns fine tactical speed and has a nose for the wire. He once again got the best of Rousing Sermon and the top two validated the strength of the Real Quiet Stakes.

Maidens always seem to make some noise on the Derby Trail. In 2009, Make Music For Me placed behind Lookin At Lucky in a pair of graded events and graduated in a grass stakes event the following year. Santiva landed the place in the 2010 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland before earning his diploma in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. At this point in 2011, the talented maiden award goes to Brother Francis.

The son of Lion Heart, trained by James Cassidy, followed up a rallying place finish in the G3 Hollywood Prevue with a solid show finish in the CashCall Futurity. Will he return to the maiden ranks or continue to compete against stakes foes?

Sky Kingdom was bumped at the start and missed the CashCall show by a ½ length. The Baffert trainee was hardly disgraced in his first start against winners and remains a decent long range prospect.

Empire Way was 5th in the CashCall and should continue to improve with added ground and experience. Blingo was a nose behind him in 6th for John Shirreffs, followed by Handsome Mike (pressured throughout), Cozzetti, and a badly tailing off Drill.

Majestic City attended the pace before faltering to finish 10th. He is clearly best sprinting. Basmati checked in behind him and solidified the weakness of the Delta Jackpot.

CashCall Futurity 2011 Preview: Majestic City Seeks Better

The Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park gives 2012 Kentucky Derby hopefuls an opportunity to earn a nice chunk of change at the end of their juvenile campaigns. Morning line favorite Majestic City has already garnered $245,570 and tries to add to his bankroll on Saturday.

Majestic City

Majestic City loves Cushion Track - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer Peter Miller captured the CashCall Futurity last year with Comma to the Top and he is back for more with the aforementioned Majestic City. The fleet son of City Zip is 3-for-3 at Hollywood Park and recently hot Aqueduct jock Ramon Dominguez flies in for the mount. Distance is the major hurdle as he has yet to win beyond six furlongs. He removes the hood and is firing local bullets for this.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert takes three cracks at the $750,000 pot and Sky Kingdom looks like an interesting contender. The $180k son of Empire Maker, out of a Kingmambo mare, figured to relish two turns and showed marked improvement on the stretch out in a sharp course/distance maiden breaker Nov 24. Garrett Gomez hops aboard and he fired a strong six furlong bullet at Santa Anita on Dec 11.

Liaison shoots for his third straight win for Baffert. He looked good in the Real Quiet Stakes here last time and tries to win one for his sire Indian Charlie, who succumbed to cancer earlier this week.

The third and final Baffert entrant is Drill, and the enigmatic sort exits back-to-back disappointing efforts in the G1 BC Juvenile and G3 Delta Jackpot. He is reportedly training well and both wins occurred on synthetic but he is hard to recommend in his current form.

John Shirreffs rarely strikes with a first time starter but he did just that with Blingo, who rallied strongly to capture his flat mile turf bow by 2-1/4 lengths. He has the Zenyatta connections in his corner and could easily be this good.

Handsome Mike drew the rail and figures to play catch me if you can under Corey Nakatani. The recent Reddam/O’Neill private purchase is on the upswing and showed high octane speed in his G3 Generous show finish at a flat mile on the turf last time.

Rousing Sermon, the CalCup Juvenile winner, always runs his race and exits a place finish behind Liaison in the Real Quiet. Joe Talamo got to know the Hollendorfer trainee last time and the hard knocking CA-bred is a proven router and can make an impact at 6-1.

Dale Romans has been a fixture on the Triple Crown scene in recent years and he hopes to enjoy another wild ride with Cozzetti. The juvenile son of Cozzene exits a romping maiden win in the Churchill slop and worked over Cushion Track on Dec 11.

Basmati returns to SoCal after landing the place in the G3 Delta Jackpot but the number from that $1 million showcase came back light. He handles synthetic ground and must work out a trip from a tough post under profitable rider Hector Berrios.

Brother Francis is still a maiden after two starts but did flash ability both times including a fine runner-up effort in the G3 Hollywood Prevue. The ambitiously placed non-winner tries two turns for the first time and is listed at 20-1 on the line.

Royal Delta’s baby bro Empire Way was visually impressive in his local bow but did not earn much of a number. He came back in less than two weeks and beat one horse home in the aforementioned Hollywood Prevue. The longer the better for the stretch runner and he should continue to develop but he has not run fast enough to be competitive in this type of race.

Desormais is an overseas transplant now under the care of Paddy Gallagher. He can run on day based on his ten furlong synthetic score in France on Nov 15 but landed the unlucky thirteen hole and could not have found a tougher spot for his US bow.

Speaking of maidens, Groovin’ Solo finished out of the top three in both Del Mar sprint starts. The 50-1 outsider removes the hood and needs an easier spot.

The $40 Play:

$20 to win Sky Kingdom

$10 Quinella Sky Kingdom/Liaison

$5 Quinella Sky Kingdom/Handsome Mike, Blingo

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