Posts Tagged ‘Currency Swap’

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Gemologist, Alpha impress in Wood Memorial

It was business as usual on the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail last weekend with favorites Gemologist and Alpha running 1-2 in the G1 Wood Memorial and highly regarded colts I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause noses apart in the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Done Talking upset the G3 Illinois Derby but that race was a puzzling crapshoot and  should not have a major impact on the first Saturday in May.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Four of my top five contenders (Alpha, Secret Circle, Union Rags, Creative Cause) from my initial Derby Top 10 list last September are still very much in the thick of things, with Alpha, Union Rags, and Creative Cause running well without winning in their final Derby preps.

Currency Swap and Midnight Transfer drop off the Exciting Prospects list after disappointing in graded action on April 7.

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) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender remains #1 after a troubled show finish in the G1 Florida Derby. He is expected to post his first work since the Florida Derby at Palm Meadows on Friday or Saturday and could ship to Keeneland as early as this weekend. Graded Earnings: $1,170,000  

Alpha Gemologist Kentucky Derby 2012

Gemologist and Alpha put on a show in New York on Saturday - photo by Eclipse sportswire

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – G3 Withers hero almost ran down Gemologist in Saturday’s G1 Wood Memorial. He continues to improve and enters the Derby a sharp, fresh threat for Kiaran Mclaughlin. Graded Earnings: $380,000  

3. 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 will train for Kentucky Derby 2012 at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. Graded Earnings: $703,855  

4. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Captured his second graded route in G2 San Felipe on 3-10 and just missed to I’ll Have Another in Saturday’s G1 SA Derby (blinkers off). Graded Earnings: $836,000

5. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He breezed 5f in 1:00 (4/14) at Churchill (training track) on 4-7. The G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14 in next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000 

6. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Captured back-to-back graded routes at Oaklawn in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) and G2 Rebel (92 BSF). He worked 5f in 1:00.20 (9/25) at Santa Anita on 4-9 and is expected to return to Hot Springs for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14. Graded Earnings: $470,000

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. Graded Earnings: $698,400 

8. 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). Late running Asmussen trainee can run on anything. Breezed 5f in 1:02.40 (14/15) at Churchill Downs on 4-9. Graded Earnings: $545,558  

9. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Finished a flat 4th in a very disappointing Florida Derby performance. He is on the graded earnings bubble and seemingly moves up on wet footing. Graded Earnings: $250,000

I'll Have Another Kentucky Derby 2012

I'll Have Another joins the Top 10 list after winning the SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

10. 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 threat on the first Saturday in May. Graded Earnings: $601,000

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order)

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Followed up 101 BSF maiden romp with another 101 BSF in San Felipe runner-up effort on 3-10. He worked 5f in 1:00.40 (14/55) at Santa Anita on 4-8 and looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Arkansas Derby on 4-14. Graded Earnings: $60,000

2. Dullahan (Even The Score) – 4th place BC Juvenile finisher landed the place in G3 Palm Beach at the Gulf March 11. Fired a 5f bullet in :57.40 (1/33) at Keeneland in advance of Saturday’s G1 Blue Grass. Graded Earnings: $405,000

3. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow and finished 2nd behind 109-1 bomber Hero of Order in G2 Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $260,000 

4. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – Professional winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (88 BSF) for Mark Casse. Blinkers helped him get involved earlier and he will face better next time in G1 Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (2/5) at Churchill Downs on 4-2. Graded Earnings: $365,452  

5. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Motion/Team Valor. He was green in the stretch and might run one more time before the Derby, with the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on 4-21 a logical target. Graded Earnings: $282,000 

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)

Illinois Derby 2012 Preview – Can Currency Swap go the distance?

The winner of the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby will grab enough graded cash to make the starting gate in Kentucky Derby 2012 and morning line favorite Currency Swap tries two turns for the first time.

Currency Swap

Will Currency Swap handle two turns? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#4 Currency Swap (4-1), the 2011 G1 Hopeful winner, recently returned from an injury and finished a distant 2nd behind G1 Wood Memorial favorite Gemologist. He has some distance influences on the dam side (Pine Bluff) and looms a pace factor at the very least. He could regress 2nd off the shelf and might not want to go this far at less than ideal odds.

#11 Our Entourage (9-2) is 0-for-2 on dirt and gets one shot at Derby glory for Repole/Pletcher. He appears better on turf but this race is wide open and anything can happen. Won’t offer enough value for wagering purposes but he is not without a shot.

#8 Z Rockstar (10-1) is my value oriented top choice for Donnie Von Hemel. The improving son of Rockport Harbor earned the best last race number in a sharp optional claiming tally at Oaklawn Park and projects a stalk and pounce trip under Quincy Hamilton. He is back in three weeks and can compete here if able to duplicate his last.

#12 Morgan’s Guerilla (10-1) is 2-for-2 and looms an early presence under Rosie Napravnik. Other early runners include Private Terms runner-up #2 Hakama (6-1).

Horses with tactical ability include #1 Romancing The Gold (15-1), #3 Ring It Up (15-1), #5 Pretension (5-1), #6 Skyring (20-1), #9 Fastestwhogetspaid (30-1), #10 Frankie Is Rock (30-1), and #14 Slamit (30-1). NY-bred Pretension might be the best of the pressers.

The late runners are #7 Saturday Launch (15-1) and #13 Done Talking (20-1).

#15 Explain (20-1), #16 Arm Force (15-1), and #17 Defiant Flyer (30-1) are also-eligibles and need help drawing into the body of the race.

The Plays:

$20 to win/Place #8 Z Rockstar

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Union Rags still on top

There were surprises galore on the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail last weekend with Take Charge Indy going all the way in the G1 Florida Derby and 109-1 bomb Hero of Order stunning his rivals in the G2 Louisiana Derby.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

I recapped the G1 Florida Derby here on Sunday and in the video below. I have always liked Union Rags and am not going to abandon ship after a less than ideal trip behind tepid splits in his final Derby prep. Julien Leparoux could not do much after he committed to taking back early, coupled with getting pinned down along the inside by El Padrino’s rider Javier Castellano.

Union Rags finished up nicely after finding room in the lane and almost caught Reveron for the place. He galloped out in front and horse/rider should move forward following that learning experience. In reality, he qualified for the Derby on graded earnings long ago, so Saturday’s race was meaningless from that standpoint. He remains a solid contender on the first Saturday in May as long as he trains well leading up to the big day.

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) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender remains #1 after a troubled show finish in the G1 Florida Derby. I will monitor him closely in the weeks leading up to the Derby to see how he training. Graded Earnings: $1,170,000

Alpha horse

Alpha runs in Saturday's G1 Wood Memorial - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet and Withers. Breezed 4f in :49.17 (6/21) at Palm Meadows on March 30. The G1 Wood Memorial on 4-7 is next. Graded Earnings: $180,000

3. Gemologist (Tiznow) – G2 Ky Jockey Club hero returned in the pink at the Gulf on March 16. The undefeated WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner fired a 5f bullet in 1:00.44 (1/9) at Palm Meadows on April 1. Saturday’s G1 Wood Memorial is next. Graded Earnings: $103,855

4. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Captured his second graded route in G2 San Felipe (102 BSF) at Santa Anita on 3-10. He breezed 4f in :48.40 (5/14) at Hollywood Park on 4-3 and goes next in Saturday’s G1 SA Derby. Graded Earnings: $686,000

5. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He breezed 5f in :59.80 (2/10) at Churchill (training track) on 3-31. The G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14 in next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000

6. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Captured back-to-back graded routes at Oaklawn in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) and G2 Rebel (92 BSF). He drilled a 5f bullet in :58.40 (1/37) at Santa Anita on 3-29 and is expected to return to Hot Springs for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14. Graded Earnings: $470,000

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. Graded Earnings: $698,400

8. 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). Late running Asmussen trainee can run on anything. Graded Earnings: $545,558

9. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Finished a flat 4th in a very disappointing Florida Derby performance. He is on the graded earnings bubble and seemingly moves up on wet footing. Graded Earnings: $250,000

10. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Fired 5f bullet in 1:00.60 (1/14) at Fair Grounds on 3-27. Sunday’s G2 Louisiana Derby is next. Graded Earnings: $260,000

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order)

Bodemeister

Bodemeister is likely for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Followed up 101 BSF maiden romp with another 101 BSF in San Felipe runner-up effort on 3-10. He zipped 6f in 1:10.40 (1/9) at Santa Anita on 4-2 and looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Arkansas Derby on 4-14. Graded Earnings: $60,000

2. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero was clearly second best behind romping, undefeated colt Gemologist at the Gulf on 3-16. Breezed 5f in 1:00 (2/9) at Gulfstream on 3-27 and goes next in G3 Illinois Derby on 4-7. Graded Earnings: $150,000

3. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Ended up a respectable 3rd in his G2 San Felipe, his first start around two turns. He fired a 6f bullet at Santa Anita on March 30 and goes next in the G1 SA Derby on April 7.

4. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – Professional winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (88 BSF) for Mark Casse. Blinkers helped him get involved earlier and he will face better next time in G1 Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (2/5) at Churchill Downs on 4-2.

5. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Motion/Team Valor. He was green in the stretch and might run one more time before the Derby, with the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on 4-21 a logical target.

Injured Reserve (in alphabetical order)

1. Algorithms – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury and is off the Triple Crown trail.

2. B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip had him on the sidelines and he returned to the worktab on March 30, breezing 3f in :38.09 (16/22) at Belmont Park (training track).

3. Consortium (Bernardini) – Ankle chip knocked him out of the Gotham and off the Derby trail. He is expected to return later this year.

4. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Hind-end issue has knocked him off the Derby trail, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

5. Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

6. Junebugred (Corinthian) – Smarty Jones Stakes hero is off the Derby trail with a bone chip in his ankle.

7. O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

8. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – G3 Sham hero goes to the sidelines after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. He is off the Triple Crown trail.

9. Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – According to Bob Baffert via Twitter, Sky Kingdom needs 60 days off and is no longer on the Triple Crown trail.

10. Spring Hill Farm (Smart Strike) – 4th place Tampa Bay Derby finisher goes to the sidelines with a right knee fracture. He will have surgery and his racing future is unknown at this time.

11. Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He is expected to miss at least two months and could return this summer.

12. Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – 5 weeks and counting

Went The Day Well did his older stablemate Animal Kingdom proud by winning the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24, and Daddy Nose Best solidified his Kentucky Derby 2012 contender status with a late running victory in the G3 Sunland Derby (March 25).

Daddy Nose Best

Daddy Nose Best captures Sunland Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

In other Derby prep news, Dullahan had his second setback but is still expected to make the G1 Blue Grass Stakes. He had a cough during the winter and recently missed several days of training with a splint injury No published works since 3-3 but he did gallop over the muddy main track at Gulfstream Park on 3-28. I am dropping him off my list again because he has only raced once this year with a pair of setbacks.

Castaway drops off the Exciting Prospects list after dueling and fading as the favorite in the Sunland Derby.

Discreet Dancer is not injured but is off the Derby trail. He will go to Ocala for some rest and is expected to resume his career later this year.

G2 San Vicente hero Drill, an original member of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 list from last September, will make his next start in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.

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

Union Rags

Union Rags squares off against El Padrino in Saturday's Florida Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender looked great in G2 Fountain of Youth. He breezed 4f in :49.10 (13/41) at Palm Meadows on March 24. The Florida Derby on 3-31 is next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,070,000  

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet and Withers. Breezed 4f in :49.17 (6/21) at Palm Meadows on March 30. The G1 Wood Memorial on 4-7 is next. Graded Earnings: $180,000  

3. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Gamely captured G2 Risen Star (98 BSF) at Fair Grounds on Feb 25. He handles any footing and goes next in Florida Derby. Breezed 4f in :49.11 (9/22) at Palm Meadows on March 25. Graded Earnings: $200,000 

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – G2 Ky Jockey Club hero returned in the pink at the Gulf on March 16. The undefeated WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner will have his final Derby prep in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7. Graded Earnings: $103,855  

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Captured his second graded route in G2 San Felipe (102 BSF) at Santa Anita on 3-10. He worked 6f in 1:12.80 (2/9) at Hollywood Park on 3-28 and goes next in G1 SA Derby on April 7. Graded Earnings: $686,000

6. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (6/6) at Churchill (training track) on 3-24. His new target is the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Captured back-to-back graded routes at Oaklawn in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) and G2 Rebel (92 BSF). He drilled a 5f bullet in :58.40 (1/37) at Santa Anita on 3-29 and is expected to return to Hot Springs for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14. Graded Earnings: $470,000

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Scratched out of Tampa Bay Derby in favor of Florida Derby. Worked 5f in 1:01.57 (6/20) at Palm Meadows on March 24. Graded Earnings: $98,400  

9. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Fired 5f bullet in 1:00.60 (1/14) at Fair Grounds on 3-27. Sunday’s G2 Louisiana Derby is next. Graded Earnings: $60,000 

10. Daddy Nose Best (Scat Daddy) – Back-to-back nine furlong wins in G3 El Camino Real Derby and G3 Sunland Derby (100 BSF). Late running Asmussen trainee can run on anything. Graded Earnings: $545,558

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order)

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Followed up 101 BSF maiden romp with another 101 BSF in San Felipe runner-up effort on 3-10. He worked 4f in :46.80 (2/41) at Santa Anita on 3-23 and looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Arkansas Derby on 4-14. Graded Earnings: $60,000 

2. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero was clearly second best behind romping, undefeated colt Gemologist at the Gulf on 3-16. Worked 5f in 1:00 (2/9) at Gulfstream on 3-27 and could go next in G3 Illinois Derby on 4-7. Graded Earnings: $150,000  

Went The Day Well

Is Went The Day Well the next Animal Kingdom? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Ended up a respectable 3rd in his G2 San Felipe, his first start around two turns. He fired a 6f bullet at Santa Anita on March 30 and goes next in the G1 SA Derby on April 7.  Graded Earnings: $36,000

4. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – Professional winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (88 BSF) for Mark Casse. Blinkers helped him get involved earlier and he will face better next time in Wood Memorial or Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:03 (3/4) at Churchill Downs on 3-27. Graded Earnings: $365,452

5. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Motion/Team Valor. He was green in the stretch and might run one more time before the Derby, with the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on 4-21 a logical target. Graded Earnings: $282,000Injured Reserve (in alphabetical order)

1. Algorithms – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury and is off the Triple Crown trail.

2. B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

3. Consortium (Bernardini) – Ankle chip knocked him out of the Gotham and off the Derby trail. He is expected to return later this year.

4. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Hind-end issue has knocked him off the Derby trail, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

5. Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

6. Junebugred (Corinthian) – Smarty Jones Stakes hero is off the Derby trail with a bone chip in his ankle.

7. O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

8. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – G3 Sham hero goes to the sidelines after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. He is off the Triple Crown trail.

9. Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – According to Bob Baffert via Twitter, Sky Kingdom needs 60 days off and is no longer on the Triple Crown trail.

10. Spring Hill Farm (Smart Strike) – 4th place Tampa Bay Derby finisher goes to the sidelines with a right knee fracture. He will have surgery and his racing future is unknown at this time.

11. Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He is expected to miss at least two months and could return this summer.

12. Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Secret Circle, Gemologist score

Was the Rebel Stakes a strong Kentucky Derby 2012 prep? Secret Circle won the race as the favorite for Bob Baffert but the final time was moderate (92 BSF) and the talented son of Eddington looked tired in the lane.

Secret Circle

Do you think Secret Circle can handle ten furlongs on the first Saturday in May? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I have always been fond of Secret Circle. He has been part of my Derby Top 10 list since last September but he always seemed suspect in the stamina department and a mile and a sixteenth appears to be his limit at this stage.

Optimizer is getting some Derby buzz for Wayne Lukas after finishing well for the place in the Rebel but I do not consider him a viable threat on the first Saturday in May. He has lost seven straight and is winless in five conventional dirt starts. He is better on turf/synthetic but won’t see preferred footing for quite some time.

Scatman made all the running and settled for the show in a solid effort. Sabercat, winner of the slow G3 Delta Jackpot last year, was never a threat in his sophomore debut.

Gemologist was originally scheduled to begin his 3yo campaign in the Rebel but Pletcher and company opted for a flat mile allowance prep at Gulfstream Park against four rivals on March 16.

The undefeated WinStar colorbearer ran his record to 4-for-4 with a facile wire job over returnee Currency Swap. Based on that performance (95 BSF), Gemologist would have won the Rebel. I wish Pletcher would have given him a tough, two turn graded test, but you can’t always get what you want and he needs graded earnings in the Wood Memorial to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Alpha horse

Alpha goes next in G2 Louisiana Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

In other Derby prep news, Alpha will likely make his next start in the G2 Louisiana Derby on April 1. Secret Circle is expected to return to Oaklawn Park for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14, and Bob Baffert is also considering Bodemeister for that spot. Howe Great and Dullahan, the 1-2 finishers in the grassy G3 Palm Beach on March 11, are expected to meet again in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.

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) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender looked great in G2 Fountain of Youth. He breezed 5f in 1:04.21 (22/22) at Palm Meadows on March 17. The Florida Derby on 3-31 is next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,070,000   

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet and Withers. Breezed 5f in 1:01.01 (5/22) at Palm Meadows on March 17. The G2 Louisiana Derby on 4-1 is next and Leparoux will ride. Graded Earnings: $180,000

3. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Gamely captured G2 Risen Star (98 BSF) at Fair Grounds on Feb 25. He handles any footing and goes next in Florida Derby. Breezed 5f in 1:01.22 (3/13) at Palm Meadows on March 18. Graded Earnings: $200,000  

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – G2 Ky Jockey Club hero returned in the pink at the Gulf on March 16. The undefeated WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner will have his final Derby prep in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7. Graded Earnings: $103,855  

Creative Cause

Creative Cause fires 5f bullet on March 20 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Captured his second graded route in G2 San Felipe (102 BSF) at Santa Anita on 3-10. He fired a 5f bullet in :59.80 (1/29) at Hollywood Park on 3-20 and goes next in G1 SA Derby on April 7. Graded Earnings: $686,000

6. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He will train in Kentucky before returning to Aqueduct for the G1 Wood Memorial on April 7. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000 

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Captured back-to-back graded routes at Oaklawn in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) and G2 Rebel (92 BSF). He is expected to return to Hot Springs for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14. Graded Earnings: $470,000

8. Dullahan (Even the Score) – Rallied for the place in grassy, nine furlong G3 Palm Beach Stakes at the Gulf on 3-11, his first start since BC Juvenile. The April 14 Blue Grass is expected to be his final Derby prep. Graded Earnings: $375,000  

9. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Scratched out of Tampa Bay Derby in favor of Florida Derby. Worked 5f in 1:01.88 (10/22) at Palm Meadows on March 17. Graded Earnings: $98,400  

10. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Look for Larry Jones trainee in Louisiana Derby. Fired 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/11) at Fair Grounds on 3-20. Graded Earnings: $60,000 

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order)

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Followed up 101 BSF maiden romp with another 101 BSF in San Felipe runner-up effort on 3-10. He looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Arkansas Derby or Santa Anita Derby. Graded Earnings – $60,000

2. Castaway (Street Sense) – Baffert trainee won slower division of Southwest (92 BSF) in his first start against winners. Worked 6f in 1:12.40 (4/17) at Santa Anita on 3-16. G3 Sunland Derby on March 25 is next. Graded Earnings: $150,000

3. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero was clearly second best behind romping, undefeated colt Gemologist at the Gulf on 3-16. Graded Earnings: $150,000  

4. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Ended up a respectable 3rd in his G2 San Felipe, his first start around two turns. He deserves a shot in the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Graded Earnings: $36,000

5. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – Professional winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (88 BSF) for Mark Casse. Blinkers helped him get involved earlier and he will face better next time in Wood Memorial. Graded Earnings: $365,452

Injured Reserve (in alphabetical order)

1. Algorithms (Bernardini) – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury and is off the Triple Crown trail.

2. B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

3. Consortium (Bernardini) – Ankle chip knocked him out of the Gotham and off the Derby trail. He is expected to return later this year.

4. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Hind-end issue has knocked him off the Derby trail, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

5. Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

6. Junebugred (Corinthian) – Smarty Jones Stakes hero is off the Derby trail with a bone chip in his ankle.

7. O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

8. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – G3 Sham hero goes to the sidelines after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. He is off the Triple Crown trail.

9. Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – According to Bob Baffert via Twitter, Sky Kingdom needs 60 days off and is no longer on the Triple Crown trail.

10. Spring Hill Farm (Smart Strike) – 4th place Tampa Bay Derby finisher goes to the sidelines with a right knee fracture. He will have surgery and his racing future is unknown at this time.

11. Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He is expected to miss at least two months and could return this summer.

12. Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps – Secret Circle’s Rebel + Gemologist

The Oaklawn Park 3-year-olds are one step closer to Kentucky Derby 2012 following Secret Circle‘s game performance in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes on Saturday.

G2 Rebel Stakes: (3-17–12): 92 BSF (Secret Circle)

Secret Circle horse

Secret Circle pads his graded bankroll in G2 Rebel - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Longshot Unbridled’s Note and Southwest runner-up Scatman made the running with Cyber Secret chasing and Secret Circle rating kindly in 4th. The top four retained their positions through six furlongs (1:11.42) with Unbridled’s Note the first to crack.

Scatman kicked clear on the bend with Cyber Secret going one-paced. Secret Circle was set down for the drive under Bejarano and went by Scatman with a sixteenth to go. Optimizer found his best stride late and was gaining on the Baffert trainee approaching the wire.

In the end, it was Secret Circle by 3/4ths of a length with Optimizer completing the exacta and Scatman rounding out the trifecta. Jake Mo got up for 4th, followed by Cyber Secret and a belated Najjaar. Adirondack King, Sabercat, Pee H Dee, Reckless Jerry, Atigun, and a tired Unbridled’s Note completed the dirty dozen.Ring It Up scratched.

I have always been a fan of Secret Circle and love his tenacity and winning spirit but he seems to be reaching the end of his rope in regards to stamina. I have always believed that Optimizer was better on turf/synthetic, so based on those statements, along with the moderate final time in Arkansas on Saturday, I doubt this was a top notch Derby prep.

Rebel Stakes Grade: C

Earlier in the week, Gemologist returned in the pink vs. four Allowance rivals at Gulfstream Park.

Gulfstream Park Allowance: 95 BSF (Gemologist)

Gemologist, originally pointing to the G2 Rebel Stakes, stayed in South Florida instead and made short work of Currency Swap and friends on March 16.

The Pletcher/Winstar colt made the lead in the flat mile affair around one turn and widened his advantage throughout, crossing the line seven in front. Currency Swap was clearly second best in his needed return and was followed by Angel’s Tune, Jordan’s Image, and Brother Pat.

It was tough to get a true gauge on this one. Gemologist looked good and earned a decent enough number but Team Pletcher took the easy way out. Gemologist has been in my Derby top ten for many months and is currently ranked 4th. This decision by Pletcher reminds me of Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer. The Rebel was ripe for the taking and would have been a much better Derby prep because it was a graded two turn affair against moderately tough competition.

At any rate, Gemologist remains undefeated and needs to pick up somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 in graded earnings next time to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Gemologist’s Allowance Race Grade: C+

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