Posts Tagged ‘Hakama’

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

Withers Stakes 2012 Preview: Alpha Looms Large

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 continues at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday with the G3 Withers Stakes and even money favorite Alpha drew the outside post against six rivals.

I have always been fond of #7 Alpha (1-1). He was my top ranked Derby contender when I started tracking the current sophomores last September. Kiaran McLaughlin’s exciting son of Bernardini was a sharp winner right out of the box in his extended sprint bow at the Spa last summer and came right back to land the place behind highly regarded colt Union Rags in the G1 Champagne.

Alpha

Alpha seeks graded glory in Withers - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Alpha came unglued at the gate in the G1 BC Juvenile and ended up a disappointing 11th after stalking the pace. He resumed training in Florida during the month of December before returning to the Big Apple to impressively snare his 3-year-old debut in the Count Fleet Stakes on Jan 7.

Once again, Alpha had some gate issues in the Count Fleet and has been successfully schooling at the Big A ever since. He fired a best of 14 Belmont training track bullet for this engagement on Jan 30 and looms large at low odds.

#1 Hakama (5-1) is the one to catch from the rail and might be dangerous if the inner dirt track is favoring speed. The Michael Trombetta runner exits back-to-back route wire jobs including a local maiden win Dec 10.

Sagamore Farm runner #6 Tiger Walk (6-1) is firing bullets for his first start of the season. He ended his juvenile campaign with back-to-back wins on turf and dirt at Laurel Park and should offer value at 6-1. He’s the wildcard.

#2 Speightscity (20-1) was dusted by Alpha in the Count Fleet but he was bumped at the start and raced wide from an outer post that day. He lands a better post and can grab a piece of this with better racing luck.

#4 King Kid (4-1) was sharp in his extended sprint bow and finished a solid 3rd in the Gulfstream Park Derby last time. He has upside with only two races under his belt. His pedigree screams turf (Lemon Drop Kid-Royal Academy).

#3 Swag Daddy (10-1) owns running style versatility and captured his last two inner dirt routes against NY-breds. He faces open company for the first time and shows an improving numbers pattern.

Pace factor #5 How Do I Win (10-1) faded to 4th after tracking the leader in the Count Fleet and it might be deja vu all over again with early runner Hakama breaking from the rail.

The Plays:

$4 Exacta 7-2

$1 Trifecta 7/1-6/ALL ($10)

$1 Trifecta 7/ALL/1-6 ($10)

$1 Trifecta 1-6/7/ALL ($10)

$1 Trifecta 1-6-7/1-6-7/2 ($6)

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