Posts Tagged ‘Ever So Lucky’

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.

Dullahan Runs Down Hansen in Blue Grass Stakes

Keeneland’s marquee Kentucky Derby 2012 prep was run on Saturday and Dullahan beat juvenile champ Hansen in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.

G1 Blue Grass (4-14-12): 98 BSF (Dullahan)

Dullahan

Dullahan is 2-for-2 in Grade 1 races at Keeneland - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Hansen relaxed from an outer post in the G3 Gotham but went straight to the front from post 4 on Saturday, carving out solid fractions of :23.10, :46.64, and 1:11.32. Outsiders Politicallycorrect, Midnight Crooner, and Hero of Order gave futile chase.

The 2-year-old champion opened up a commanding 2-1/2 length lead in the stretch but Dullahan was slowly creeping up from 11th after a 1/4, 10th, after a 1/2, and 9th after six panels. The son of Even The Score made a sustained three furlong run under Kent Desormeaux and had dead aim on Hansen in the lane.

Dullahan had the momentum and swept past Hansen to win by 1-1/4 lengths for trainer Dale Romans. He completed his nine furlong trip in 1:47.94 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice. Hansen was clearly second best, followed by longshot stablemate Gung Ho and late runner Holy Candy.

Howe Great was an even 5th for Graham Motion, followed by Tampa Bay Derby hero Prospective, Heavy Breathing, Midnight Crooner, Scatman, Ever So Lucky, Russian Greek, Politicallycorrect, and Hero of Order.

Dullahan seems as though he can run all day and continues to improve for Romans. He has two solid nine furlong preps under his belt this year and looms a late running threat on the first Saturday in May. Both of his career wins occurred in Grade 1 races at Keeneland and his 0-for-3 conventional dirt record under the Twin Spires does not seem to bode well for his Kentucky Derby chances.

Hansen dropped two of his three Derby preps this year after going 3-f0r-3 as a juvenile. He surprisingly seemed willing to relax a bit in the G3 Gotham but was back to aggressive early tactics in Lexington on Saturday. The Derby pace could be on the quick side with the likes of Bodemeister, Hansen, I’ll Have Another, Secret Circle, and Take Charge Indy mixing it up early.

Blue Grass Stakes Grade: B (85 out of 100)

Blue Grass Stakes 2012 Preview: Hansen’s final Derby prep

The Keeneland sophomores try to make their mark on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 in Saturday’s Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes and juvenile champ Hansen is the strong 6-5 morning line choice.

Pace Scenario:

Early Speed- Hansen, Hero of Order, Scatman

Pressers – Heavy Breathing, Politicallycorrect, Midnight Crooner, Howe Great, Ever So Lucky

Closers – Gung Ho, Prospective, Russian Greek, Dullahan, Holy Candy

Analysis:

#9 Holy Candy (30-1) could be poised to surprise this field. He scratched out of the SA Derby in favor of this and Candy Ride is a fine synthetic sire. He has done the bulk of his training on Cushion Track and ran well in his Hollywood Park synthetic sprint bow last fall. The promising Sadler trainee looked great in March 23 graduation run and has faced some decent sorts in SoCal (Empire Way, Castaway, Stirred Up). Did you know that Drew Brees might have a Kentucky Derby horse?

#3 Prospective (10-1) is 2-f0r-2 on Polytrack (Woodbine) and exits a good looking tally in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (blinkers on). The improving sort owns a pair of graded route wins and should get pace to chase.

#6 Dullahan (6-1) won the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last year and fired a strong local bullet for this April 8. He has had a few setbacks this year (fever, minor splint injury) but ran well in the grassy G3 Palm Beach and appears to be back on track.

#4 Hansen (6-5) is an obvious prominent throughout threat but he meets other speed and gets a stamina test at low odds. He is 2-for-2 on Polytrack (Turfway Park) but My Adonis, the horse he beat in his last pair, came back to disappoint in the G1 Wood Memorial last weekend. I woulf not be shocked if he won or finished up the track.

The Plays:

$5 Exacta Box 3-6-9 ($30), $10 to win #9

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Key graded wins for Creative Cause, Prospective

There were a pair of graded routes on the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail last weekend and Creative Cause pleaded his case in Santa Anita’s G2 San Felipe Stakes.

Creative Cause Kentucky Derby 2012

Creative Cause won his third graded race on Saturday - photo by Eclipse sportswire

Creative Cause has been a Derby hopeful for quite some time and he took another step forward at the Great Race Place on Saturday. He wore down a stubborn Bodemeister and garnered a fine 102 BSF. The talented son of Giant’s Causeway was goofing off in the stretch and needs to keep his mind on business if he expects to make a serious dent under the Twin Spires.

Bodemeister was giving up valuable experience and seasoning to the winner but he almost made up for it on raw talent. He did all of the pace dirty work and did everything but win. The Bob Baffert trainee was unraced as a juvenile and probably won’t win the Derby but his early-pressing speed will always give him a chance to shine, especially over the speed conducive Santa Anita oval.

Midnight Transfer performed admirably to land the show in his first start around two turns. He clearly has talent but it remains to be seen how far he really wants to go.

Prospective won the second graded route of his career in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby. He showed improved positional speed with the addition of blinkers and earned an 88 BSF for his efforts. At this point, he is not fast enough to wear the roses on the first Saturday in May, but he seems like the type to spice up the exotics. He could make his final Derby prep in the Wood Memorial.

Ever So Lucky finished a distant 3rd in the G2 Swale Stakes and is not expected to make the Kentucky Derby. He drops off the exciting prospects list.

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 Kentucky Derby 2012

Union Rags should get tested in G1 Florida Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender remains at the top of the heap following impressive return tally in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He breezed 4f in :50.76 (48/51) at Palm Meadows on March 10. 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 and was finally on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. Breezed 5f in 1:01.21 (10/19) at Palm Meadows on March 10. Look for him in Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, or possibly the Louisiana Derby. 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 or Louisiana Derby. Breezed 4f in :48.08 (2/40) at Palm Meadows on March 12. Graded Earnings: $200,000

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory to end undefeated juvenile campaign for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. He breezed 4f in :49.77 (25/40) at Palm Meadows on March 12. Begins 3yo season in flat mile allowance affair at Gulfstream Park on March 16. 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 probably 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) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt passed his second route test in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) at Oaklawn on Feb 20. Saturday’s G2 Rebel is next and he worked 6f in 1:11.60 (2/16) at Santa Anita on March 10. Graded Earnings: $170,000

8. Dullahan (Even the Score) – Returns to my top ten after rallying 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. Fired 4f bullet in :47.66 (1/36) at Palm Meadows on March 4. 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. 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 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 1:11.40 (2/16) at Santa Anita on 3-10. G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park is next. Graded Earnings – $150,000

3. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero has recovered from ankle surgery and worked 6f from the gate in 1:11.40 (1/3) at Gulfstream Park on 3-10. He will face Gemologist at the Gulf on March 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 (Wood Memorial?). Graded Earnings: $365,452

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 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 – Hansen is back; Out of Bounds injured

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 is full of ups and downs and we recently ran the gamut of emotions, beginning with juvenile champ Hansen’s triumphant New York return and ending with Out of Bounds going to the sidelines.

Hansen

Hansen goes next in G1 Wood Memorial on April 7 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

First the good news. Hansen overcame post 12 and relaxed beautifully (blinkers off) under Ramon Dominguez to easily capture Saturday’s G3 Gotham Stakes over My Adonis. The Mike Maker trainee took a giant leap in the right direction in regards to making a dent on the first Saturday in May. We will learn much more when he faces better company at nine furlongs in the Wood Memorial.

Jumping over to the West Coast, impressive G3 Sham Stakes hero Out of Bounds is off the Derby trail and out of my top ten after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. The injury was discovered following his 5f bullet drill at Hollywood Park on March 5.

Souper Speedy has not had a published work since Feb 14 and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

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 at the top of the heap following a strong return tally in the G2 Fountain of Youth (95 BSF). The March 31 Florida Derby is next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,070,000

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet (85 BSF) and Withers (90 BSF) and was finally on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. Breezed 4f in :49.83 (31/49) at Palm Meadows on March 3. Look for him in Florida Derby. 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 or Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $200,000

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory to end juvenile campaign for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. He fired another 5f bullet in 1:00.22 (1/10) at Palm Meadows on March 3. Begins 3yo season in Oaklawn’s G2 Rebel on March 17. Graded Earnings: $103,855

Creative Cause

Creative Cause returns to route game in San Felipe - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – BC Juvenile show finisher occupied that same spot in G2 San Vicente on Feb 19. He fired a 4f bullet in :46.40 (1/34) at Hollywood Park on March 6 and goes next in Saturday’s G2 San Felipe.  Graded Earnings: $506,000

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

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt passed his second route test in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) at Oaklawn on Feb 20. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he is fast and deserves another route shot. Worked 5f in 1:00.40 (18/66) at Santa Anita on March 3. Graded Earnings: $170,000

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Drilled a 4f bullet in :47.66 (1/36) at Palm Meadows on March 4. The March 10 Tampa Bay Derby is next. Graded Earnings: $98,400

9. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Look for Larry Jones trainee in Louisiana Derby on April 1. Graded Earnings: $60,000

10. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Back-to-back flat mile wins at Santa Anita. Worked 6f in 1:13.40 (3/12) at Santa Anita on Feb 29 but the Baffert trainee tied up recently and will not go in San Felipe as originally planned.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Bodemeister

Is Bodemeister Bob Baffert's next star? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire


1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Impressive dirt route maiden winner (101 BSF) at Santa Anita on Feb 11 replaces stablemate Fed Biz in Saturday’s San Felipe.

2. Castaway (Street Sense) – Baffert trainee won slower division of Southwest (92 BSF) in his first start against winners. Worked 5f in 1:01.20 (25/48) at Santa Anita on March 2. Graded Earnings – $150,000

3. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 5f in 1:03.80 (18/20) at Gulfstream Park on March 3. Graded Earnings: $150,000

4. Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Seems to be over recent foot bruise after firing a 5f bullet in :58.80 (1/20) at the Gulf on March 3. Sheppard entered him in Saturday’s G2 Swale at seven panels. Graded Earnings: $33,502

5. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in San Pedro. He worked 4f in :49 (41/61) at Santa Anita on March 4 and will try two turns in Saturday’s San Felipe.

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 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. 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.

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

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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 – Union Rags, El Padrino score

A pair of Kentucky Derby 2012 graded route preps were run last weekend and Union Rags made a big splash in his sophomore debut in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.

Union Rags

Union Rags runs away with FOY - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The quality/depth of the FOY took a big hit with the defection of Algorithms and Union Rags rolled past his overmatched rivals in a facile triumph. He has been my top ranked Derby contender since November 2011 and obviously holds on to that spot.

Discreet Dancer was the post time favorite and controlling speed but recently spiked a temperature, had suspect route breeding, and weakened to 3rd for Todd Pletcher.

In New Orleans on Saturday, El Padrino got his nose down on the line to nip a stubborn Mark Valeski in the G2 Risen Star. I have always like the Pletcher trainee and even more so after his game victory on Feb 25. He has strong classic breeding, fine tactical speed, a winning spirit, and has shown the ability to handle any footing.

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) – Remains at the top of the heap following a strong return tally in the G2 Fountain of Youth (95 BSF). The March 31 Florida Derby 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 (90 BSF) and was on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. Breezed 4f in :49.71 (30/46) at Palm Meadows on Feb 25. Look for him in March 31 Florida Derby or April 7 Wood Memorial. Graded Earnings: $180,000  

El Padrino

El Padrino wins Risen Star - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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 or April 1 Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $200,000  

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory to end juvenile campaign for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. He fired a 5f bullet in 1:00.92 (1/29) at Palm Meadows on Feb 26. Might begin 3yo season in Oaklawn’s G2 Rebel on March 17. Graded Earnings: $103,855  

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – BC Juvenile show finisher occupied that same spot in G2 San Vicente on Feb 19. He worked 6f in 1:11.80 (1/1) at Hollywood Park on Feb 28 and goes next in G2 San Felipe (March 10) or G2 Rebel.  Graded Earnings: $506,000  

6. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA is next. Worked 7f in 1:25.60 (1/3) at Hollywood Park on Feb 27. Graded Earnings: $60,000

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt passed his second route test in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) at Oaklawn on Feb 20. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he is fast and deserves another route shot. Graded Earnings: $170,000  

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Breezed 5f in 1:01.29 (5/29) at Palm Meadows on Feb 26. The Tampa Bay Derby might be next. Graded Earnings: $98,400

9. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero and 2YO champ set the pace and held the place in Holy Bull return. He needs to relax on the lead if he expects to make a dent if future Derby graded route preps. Graded Earnings: $1,160,000

10. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Back-to-back flat mile wins at Santa Anita. Worked 6f in 1:13.40 (3/12) on Feb 29 and makes his graded stakes debut for Baffert in San Felipe.

Exciting Prospects

Castaway (Street Sense) – Baffert trainee won slower division of Southwest (92 BSF) in his first start against winners. Graded Earnings – $150,000

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 5f in 1:01.80 (14/22) at Gulfstream Park on Feb 25. Graded Earnings: $150,000

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Currently fighting a foot bruise. Sheppard still hopes to make Gulfstream’s G2 Swale at seven panels on March 10. Graded Earnings: $33,502

Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Look for Larry Jones trainee in Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $60,000

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in San Pedro. He worked 7f in 1:24.80 (1/2) at Santa Anita and will try two turns and graded company in San Felipe.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed 5f in 1:03.22 (4/7) at Palm Meadows on Feb 14. Graded Earnings: $40,000

Injured Reserve

Algorithms horse

Algorithms is off the Kentucky Derby trail - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury. He will have surgery soon and is off the Triple Crown trail.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

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: Alpha Moves Forward in Withers

A trio of Kentucky Derby 2012 graded route preps were run across the nation last weekend and G3 Withers hero Alpha emerged as a potential threat on the first Saturday in May.

Alpha (90 BSF) owns an ascending numbers pattern and has now won back-to-back stakes races at Aqueduct. He is returning to Florida to train for the Wood Memorial in April.

I'll Have Another horse

I'll Have Another will wait for the Santa Anita Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’ll Have Another (96) upset the applecart in a strange renewal of the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Feb 4. Doug O’Neill’s returnee tracked the pace wide and cruised home.

Post time favorite Liaison clipped heels and fell but was going nowhere fast. He just joined my top ten last time and is dropped in the blink of an eye. He can rejoin the chase with an improved effort next time.

Sky Kingdom flopped in the Robert Lewis and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

Battle Hardened (81 BSF) won a slow renewal of the G3 Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay and needs to run much faster to be serious considered as a Derby contender.

Dullahan is battling a cough and that is why he has been absent from the worktab since Jan 14. Dale Romans still hopes to make the grassy Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park on March 11.

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

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed a 4f bullet in :48.67 (1/27) at Palm Meadows on Feb 6 and is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Alpha horse

Alpha goes next in the Wood Memorial - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet (85 BSF) and Withers (90 BSF) and was on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. His is back in Florida and will return for Aqueduct’s G1 Wood Memorial on April 7.

3. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s promising colt returned with a vengeance in wet track Optional Claiming win (100 BSF) at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He could resurface in G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb 25.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is back on the worktab, breezing an easy 3f in :39.88 (10/10) at Palm Meadows on Feb 5.

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He worked 6f in 1:13.80 (6/17) at Hollywood Park on Feb 4 and could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

6. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is next. Breezed 5f in 1:03 (17/20) at Hollywood Park on Feb 6.

7. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He owns a strong route pedigree and should continue to improve this year.

8. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. Went 7f in 1:24.40 (2/3) at Santa Anita on Feb 6.

9. Algorithms (Bernardini) – A trio of sharp one-turn wins to begin career for Pletcher including G3 Holy Bull tally on Jan 29. We will learn more about his Derby prospects when he travels a route of ground.

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero/juvenile champ set the pace and held the place in Holy Bull return. He needs to relax on the lead if he expects to make a dent if future Derby graded route preps.

Exciting Prospects

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful moves off the injured reserve list. He has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 4f in :51 (39/41) at Gulfstream Park on Feb 4.

Cyber Secret (Broken Vow) – Now under the care of Whiting/Cella at Oaklawn Park and exits a highly rated optional claiming route win (96 BSF) in Arkansas. The G3 Southwest on Feb 20 is next.

Discreet Dancer horse

Discreet Dancer spiked a temperature on Feb 6 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7. Spiked a fever and missed a scheduled breeze on Feb 6.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow and set the pace and held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Breezed 5f in 1:01.75 (4/8) at Gulfstream on Feb 6. He is entered in Saturday’s G2 Hutcheson.

Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Update: The promising Bob Baffert trainee just captured a flat mile allowance event at Santa Anita on Feb 9 and should be headed to the stakes ranks in the near future.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in San Pedro. He worked 4f in :49.60 (37/47) at Santa Anita and might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed 4f in :52.22 (36/38) at Palm Meadows on Feb 3.

Injured Reserve

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.

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.

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.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

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: Algorithms, El Padrino Shine in Florida

A pair of Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders emerged at Gulfstream Park on Sunday and Todd Pletcher conditions both. Algorithms rolled past juvenile champ Hansen in the G3 Holy Bull and El Padrino scored a sharp allowance victory over Take Charge Indy.

Algorithms

Algorithms beats Hansen in Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms (98 BSF) is getting the bulk of the press because he secured graded earnings against the 2-year-old champion but El Padrino (100 BSF) won around two turns and earned a better number.

Both colts still have some questions to answer but I have always been fond of El Padrino and he is the stronger Derby prospect at this stage.

El Padrino has a very nice route pedigree and should continue to move forward but it should be noted that both of his wins were accomplished on wet tracks.

Algorithms gets stamina from sire Bernardini but dam Ava Knowsthecode is best known for throwing quality sprinter Justin Phillip and turf sprinter/miler Successful Mission. She also tossed 2006 Kentucky Derby starter Keyed Entry, but he finished 20th and last on the first Saturday in May.

Hansen

Is Hansen a legit Derby threat? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Hansen drops to the bottom of my list after setting the pace and holding the place in his Holy Bull return. He needs to learn how to distribute his energy more efficiently.

Consortium flopped in the Holy Bull and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

Dullahan has not had a published work since Jan 14 and exits the top ten for now. I could easily replace him with Algorithms but sharp two turn form takes precedence at this stage so Liaison joins the ranks.

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 breezed 5f on Jan 31 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed 5f in 1:02.74 (5/11) at Palm Meadows on Jan 31. He is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

2. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He fired a 6f in 1:11.60 (1/20) at Hollywood Park on Jan 28 and could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – BC Juvenile also-ran bounced back in Count Fleet but was unruly in the gate again. He has been schooling at the gate and goes next in G3 Withers on Feb 4. He breezed a 5f bullet in 1:01.02 (1/14) at Belmont Park (training track) on Jan 30.

4. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is next. Worked 5f in 1:00.60 (6/19) at Hollywood Park on Jan 30.

5. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s promising colt returned with a vengeance in wet track Optional Claiming win at the Gulf on Jan 29. He earned a 100 BSF in his first start as a sophomore but must prove he is just as good on fast ground.

6. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows but has yet to show up on worktab.

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. Drilled a 5f bullet in :58.60 (1/61) at Santa Anita on Jan 28.

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He owns a strong route pedigree and should continue to improve this year.

Liaison

Liaison goes next in Saturday's Robert Lewis Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

9. Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Worked 4f in :48 (2/7) at Santa Anita on Jan 31 and is expected to be entered in Saturday’s G2 Robert Lewis Stakes.

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero and 2YO champ set the pace and held the place in Holy Bull return. He needs to relax on the lead if he expects to make a dent if future Derby graded route preps.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms (Bernardini) – A trio of sharp one-turn wins to begin career for Pletcher including G3 Holy Bull tally on Jan 29. We will learn more about his Derby prospects when he travels a route of ground.

Currency Swap – G1 Hopeful moves off the injured reserve list. He has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 3f in :36.60 (5/14) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 28.

Discreet Dancer

Discreet Dancer worked 5f at Palm Meadows on Jan 30 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7. Breezed 5f in 1:02.55 (6/16) at Palm Meadows on Jan 30.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson. Worked 5f in :59.20 (1/4) at Gulfstream on Jan 30.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in Sunday’s San Pedro. He might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe.

Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – My CashCall Futurity value top finished a respectable 4th that day but returned to impress in Jan 12 allowance route at Santa Anita. He joins stablemate Liaison in Saturday’s G2 Robert Lewis Stakes.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed 3f in :37.23 (3/6) at Palm Meadows on Jan 26.

Injured Reserve

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.

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.

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.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

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: Mr. Bowling, Midnight Transfer Score

The Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds was the lone graded Kentucky Derby 2012 route prep run over the weekend and Mr. Bowling knocked down twelve rivals in Saturday’s Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Kentucky Derby 2012

The Lecomte did not look strong visually and received a mediocre 79 BSF. Mr. Bowling drifted out in the stretch and held off Z Dager by a head. Shared Property, breaking from post 13, rallied to finish another ½ length back in 3rd place.

The top three are all expected back in New Orleans for the G2 Risen Star Stakes on Feb 25.

 

Midnight Transfergot a 93 BSF for his sharp off the pace tally in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Jan 22. The Carla Gaines trainee has an eye on the G2 San Felipe Stakes on March 10.

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

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

Union Rags

Union Rags is on course for Fountain of Youth Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed 5f in 1:00.82 (2/28) at Palm Meadows on Jan 24. He is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows and should get back to work in the near future.

3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He worked 6f in 1:14 (5/16) at Hollywood Park on 1-20. He could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

4. Hansen (Tapit) – Undefeated BC Juvenile (94 BSF) hero has never been headed and his true talents are still unknown. He worked 5f in :59.80 (3/40) at Gulfstream on Jan 22 in advance of the G3 Holy Bull Stakes on Jan 29.

5. Alpha (Bernardini) – Champagne runner-up was fractious at gate in BC Juvenile flop. He bounced back in Count Fleet but was unruly in the gate again. He goes next in G3 Withers on Feb 4 and is currently schooling at the gate in New York.

6. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is next. Worked 4f in :48.40 (2/19) at Hollywood Park on Jan 23.

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. Worked 5f in :59.40 (3/32) at Santa Anita on Jan 19.

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – 5th place BC Juvenile finisher owns a strong route pedigree and should be much improved this year. Fired a 5f bullet in :59.78 (1/28) at Palm Meadows on Jan 24.

9. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s $210k purchase was last seen finishing a rock solid 3rd in G2 Remsen. He skipped the G3 Lecomte and could return in an allowance race at the Gulf on Jan 29. Breezed 5f in 1:02.77 (3/10) at Palm Meadows on Jan 23.

10. Dullahan (Even The Score) – G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner blew the break in BC Juvenile but still managed to finish a respectable 4th. Breezed 5f in 1:01.40 (16/45) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 14.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms (Bernardini) – Two nice wins to begin career for Pletcher including sharp 6.5f tally at the Gulf on Dec 16. Breezed 5f bullet in 1:02.02 (1/10) at Palm Meadows on Jan 23. The G3 Holy Bull on Jan 29 is next.

Consortium (Bernardini) – Kiaran McLaughlin trainee did all of the pace dirty work and finished 2nd to Algorithms in aforementioned Dec 16 optional claimer. Breezed 5f in 1:01.22 (7/23) at Palm Meadows on Jan 21. Rematch with Algorithms in Holy Bull is on the horizon.

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7. Breezed 4f in :50.98 (29/36) at Palm Meadows on Jan 23.

Midnight Transfer

Midnight Transfer goes next in G2 San Felipe - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson. Breezed 5f on turf in 1:02 (1/2) at Camden on Jan 10.

Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Drilled 6f bullet in 1:11 (1/16) at Santa Anita on 1-19.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in Sunday’s San Pedro. He might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed an easy 3f in :39.88 (7/7) at Palm Meadows on 1-21.

Injured Reserve

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.

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – Recovering from ankle chip. He is currently galloping on a farm in Ocala.

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.

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.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

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: Alpha on the move

A couple of early Kentucky Derby 2012 route preps were run over the weekend and my former top ranked colt Alpha got back on the beam in New York.

Kentucky Derby 2012

Alpha spent the month of December in Florida but returned to the Big Apple and kicked off the new year in grand style on Saturday. Kiaran McLaughlin’s well bred colt once again had gate issues but settled nicely after the break and pounced on his overmatched rivals in a solid start to his 3yo season. He earned an 85 BSF at the Big A on Jan 7.

Stephanoatsee rebounded from a disappointing effort in the G2 Remsen with a rallying place finish at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Graham Motion trainee should continue to develop.

Switching coasts to Santa Anita Park, Out of Bounds wore down Secret Circle to capture the G3 Sham Stakes.

I put Out of Bounds on the exciting prospects list after his professional seven panel maiden win at Hollywood on Dec 10. He figured to enjoy more ground and did not disappoint in his first start against winners. He garnered a strong 99 BSF on Saturday but that number seems a bit inflated.

I am not sure what to make of Secret Circle. He did all of the pace dirty work but failed to put his rivals away. Baffert’s talented colt can rate but raw speed is his best weapon and that will only carry him so far. He reminds me of The Factor. A very effective early-pressing sprinter but capable of getting a route of ground under the right circumstances.

Hierro took plenty of action but flopped in the Sham for Steve Asmussen. He made a wide early move but weakened to 5th and last in a disappointing performance.

Click on the names of selected horses 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

Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds got a 99 BSF in G3 Sham - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He is back on the worktab, breezing an easy 3f in :38.35 at Palm Meadows on Jan 11.

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows and should return to worktab in short order.

3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He breezed 3f in :37 at Hollywood on 12-30 and worked 4f in :48 on 1-6. He could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

4. Hansen (Tapit) – Undefeated BC Juvenile (94 BSF) hero has never been headed and his true talents are still unknown. He breezed 4f in :53 at Gulfstream on Dec 24 and 4f in :48.75 on Dec 31. He most recently worked 5f in 1:00.40 on Jan 7.

5. Alpha (Bernardini) – Champagne runner-up was fractious at gate in BC Juvenile flop. He bounced back in Count Fleet (85 BSF) but was unruly in the gate again. Could go next in G3 Withers on Feb 4.

6. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. No word on his next start.

7. Dullahan (Even The Score) – G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner blew the break in BC Juvenile but still managed to finish a respectable 4th. Breezed 4f in :51 at Gulfstream Park on Jan 7.

8. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s $210k purchase was last seen finishing a rock solid 3rd in G2 Remsen. Fired 5f bullet in 1:00.44 at Palm Meadows on Jan 9.

9. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – 5th place BC Juvenile finisher owns a strong route pedigree and should be much improved in 2012. Breezed 4f in :50.92 at Palm Meadows on Jan 4.

10. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is probably next.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms

Algorithms goes next in the G3 Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportwsire

Algorithms (Bernardini) – 2 nice wins to begin career for Pletcher including sharp 6.5f tally at the Gulf on Dec 16. Breezed 5f in 1:02.20 at Palm Meadows on Jan 9. The G3 Holy Bull on Jan 29 is next.

Consortium (Bernardini) – Kiaran McLaughlin trainee did all of the pace dirty work and finished 2nd to Algorithms in aforementioned Dec 16 optional claimer. Worked 4f in :49.07 at Palm Meadows on Dec 31 and breezed 4f in :51.44 on Jan 7.

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson.

Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Worked 5f in 1:00.40 at Santa Anita on 12-30 and 5f in 1:02.80 on 1-6.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed.

Injured Reserve

O'Prado Again

O'Prado Again is off the Derby trail - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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.

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – Recovering from ankle chip. He is currently galloping on a farm in Ocala.

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.

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.

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.”

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