Posts Tagged ‘Florida Derby 2012’

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.”

Take Charge Indy Beats Union Rags in Florida Derby

Last year’s G1 BC Juvenile continues to shine in regards to finding Kentucky Derby 2012 prep winners. It was Take Charge Indy‘s turn in the spotlight as he controlled proceedings throughout and held off Reveron and Union Rags in Saturday’s G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

 G1 Florida Derby (3-31-12): 95 BSF (Take Charge Indy)

Take Charge Indy

Can Calvin Borel win another Kentucky Derby aboard Take Charge Indy? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

There was not much pace in the paper race and Calvin Borel sent Take Charge Indy straight to the front through moderate fractions of :47.71 and 1:12.09. For comparison purposes, Yara went :47.19 and 1:10.80 with eventual winner Grace Hall pressing in the G2 Gulftream Oaks earlier on the card. The hidden fraction between 4-6 furlongs (:24.38) was the key as Borel was able to slow things down, which put Union Rags and El Padrino at a huge disadvantage over a speed conducive oval.

Javier Castellano aboard El Padrino was intent on keeping Julien Leparoux and Union Rags hemmed in along the inside, and those race riding tactics, coupled with the controlled tempo up front, doomed the strong post time favorite.

Take nothing away from the winner. Take Charge Indy and Borel utilized their paper race advantage and now trainer Patrick Byrne looks like a genius for scratching out of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. I have always liked the son of AP Indy but had my doubts about his ability to change course and return from a layoff to beat a field of this quality. The race shape may not be so kind on the first Saturday in May.

Union Rags had a useful final Derby prep, and if you liked him before this race, don’t abandon ship now. Everything seemed to go against him at the Gulf on Saturday. Sure, Leparoux could have been a bit more aggressive, but he thought he was on the best horse and could not do much behind tepid splits while pinned in. He had room to roam in the lane and finished up nicely while just missing the place, a length and a neck behind the winner. He galloped out in front and remains a serious Derby threat if he trains well leading up to the big dance.

El Padrino was the big disappointment. He tracked the pace wide and in the clear but had no answer when Castellano asked for run around the far turn. He ended up a flat 4th and may have bounced following a grueling Risen Star win. Also, he may be better on wet ground, something that we have talked about numerous times on the Fast Track radio show.

Reveron chased from 2nd all the way around the track and had just enough left to hold off Union Rags. The gem of consistency is on the bubble in regards to having enough graded earnings ($220k) to make the Derby gate.

Florida Derby Grade: B (86 out of 100)

Florida Derby 2012 Preview: Can El Padrino Beat Union Rags?

The final major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Gulfstream Park will be held March 31 and Union Rags is the strong 6-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags a slam dunk in the Florida Derby? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#6 Union Rags (6-5) has been part of my Derby Top 10 since I started the list last September, and he has occupied my top spot since last November. The uncrowned juvenile champ looked great in his facile G2 Fountain of Youth return but there was not much behind him that day. He has over $1 million in graded earnings and figures to be no worse than 2nd in his final Derby prep.

#8 El Padrino (2-1) might have the tactical edge in here since he drew outside of heavy favorite and fellow stalker Union Rags. Castellano might park him on the flank of the aforementioned fav and bide his time. The G2 Risen Star hero owns the best numbers, has been battle tested, and smartly scored here in January. Should be an interesting chess match between Castellano and Leparoux, and remember that the former gave up the mount on Union Rags earlier this year!

#1 Fort Loudon (20-1) has some tactical speed in a race that came up light on pace and might try to take advantage of the inside post. He showed some ability as a juvenile but has struggled against better graded company in his last three. Jurado rides him well and a minor award is not impossible.

#4 Neck ‘N Neck (20-1) had some early trouble (bumped, steadied) in the FOY (blinkers on). He failed to seriously threaten graded rivals in his last pair but his numbers are on the rise. He has earned triple digit Late Pace Ratings in his last three and should enjoy this longer trip. Edgar Prado rides.

I have always liked #3 Take Charge Indy (5-1) but he has been curiously handled this year. He began his campaign with a clear place finish behind El Padrino but scratched out of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby when he drew post 10. He has not been seen since Jan 29 and has only shows four published times since. He owns dangerous speed but has lost stretch ground in his last four and might fold his tent when Union Rags and El Padrino come running.

#9 Reveron (12-1) has fired Trifecta shots in all six starts including a win in the local GP Derby and a show finish in the G3 Sam Davis. The fresh colt removes the hood and is firing Calder bullets for this but is stuck in the outside post and seems a cut below.

#2 News Pending (8-1) received a smart ride in his FOY place finish. Kent D sensed the slow splits and wisely moved early, but he was no match for Union Rags. His numbers are going the right way but he is 0-for-4 on dirt. He reunites with winning rider Rajiv Maragh and figures to stalk the pace for trainer Dale Romans.

#8 Bartolome (30-1) exits a solid show finish in a course/distance Optional Claiming affair. He faltered badly against El Padrino and Take Charge Indy before that and seems up against it.

#5 Z Camelot (50-1) is a well-bred maiden facing graded company for Dale Romans. The $550k Keeneland sales grad set the pace and weakened to 5th when last seen in a 9f MSW turf route here Feb 23. He is over his head to say the least.

The Plays:

$10 Trifecta 6-8/6-8/1-4 ($40)

 

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