Posts Tagged ‘Holy Candy’

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.

Beyond the Crown – Hansen rights his ship

Juvenile champion Hansen rebounded from a 9th place finish in the Kentucky Derby to trounce four overmatched rivals in the G3 Iowa Derby (97 BSF) on June 30. The Michael Maker trainee has his confidence back and will try to make it two straight in the G2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on August 3.

Hansen

Hansen got back on the beam at Prairie Meadows – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Teeth of the Dog, stablemate of Union Rags, gamely captured the G2 Dwyer at Belmont Park on June 30. The Michael Matz trainee earned a 92 BSF and will take on Hansen in West Virginia next.

In other 3-year-old stakes action, Bob Baffert sent out Blueskiesnrainbows in the G2 Swaps and he controlled the tempo and kept on finding on the fourth of July. G3 Affirmed winner Nonios rallied for the place and Baffert runner Liaison finished 3rd. The winner earned a 102 BSF.

My Adonis threw his hat into the Haskell following a game ½ length score over Macho Macho in Monmouth’s Long Branch Stakes on July 8.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked sophomore goes next in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 29. The Belmont Stakes hero breezed 5f in 1:00.60 (1/7) at Fair Hill on July 6.

Bodemeister

Bodemeister worked five panels on July 8 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid was tuckered out after his 3rd race in 5-weeks at Pimlico. His early speed is especially dangerous up to nine panels and he could prove an elusive target in the Haskell. Worked 5f in 1:01 (11/31) at Santa Anita on 7-8.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – Leg infection after the Wood Memorial probably contributed to his 12th place Derby effort. He spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is currently stabled at Saratoga and fired a 4f bullet in :47.33 (1/16) on July 7.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He is back in Pletcher’s barn with an eye on the Travers. Breezed 5f in 1:04.88 (8/10) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 7-2.

5. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion got back on the beam in facile G3 Iowa Derby victory. The G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4 is up next, followed by the Travers.

6. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt should continue to develop. He zipped 5f in :58.60 (1/19) on July 4 and could resurface in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy on July 28.

7. 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. Look for him to resurface in the Haskell. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (2/11) at Churchill Downs on 7-7.

8. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer ran into the likes of Union Rags in Florida earlier this year. He exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16.

9. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – G3 Spiral Stakes hero finished a troubled 4th in the Derby. My Preakness top flopped in the second jewel and seemingly had nothing left to offer after his aforementioned bad trip two weeks earlier. Breezed 4f in :48.40 (1/14) at Fair Hill on 6-23 and 5f in 1:01.20 (4/16) on 6-30.

10. Holy Candy (Candy Ride) – Expecting big things from Sadler’s late developing colt. He exits a needed show finish in the G3 Affirmed and goes next in the Oceanside at Del Mar on July 18. Worked 6f in 1:13.80 (2/7) at Hollywood Park on 7-5.

Beyond the Crown – Union Rags back on the beam

It is that time again. My annual Beyond the Triple Crown series top ten list is back in full swing and Union Rags got his much deserved Classic in the Belmont Stakes as I predicted. He has been my top ranked Triple Crown series colt since last November and remains the top dog after getting back on the beam under new pilot John Velazquez.

Union Rags

Union Rags wears down Paynter in Belmont Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Test of Champions was only the beginning of things to come from the talented Matz trainee. A marathon is obviously not his best trip but he figured to handle it based on stamina influences on the female side of his pedigree and class pulled him through.

The Travers Stakes is the main summer goal for Union Rags with a prior pit stop in the Jim Dandy or Haskell.

Paynter is the new kid on the block and he came through with flying colors in the Belmont Stakes. He made the pace but could not hold off my troubled Derby top when the real running began. Baffert is looking at the Travers for the son of Awesome Again as well.

Baffert also has Derby-Preakness runner-up Bodemeister for the Haskell.

A few parting words on I’ll Have Another. It was a shame that he missed the Belmont Stakes and subsequently retired but part of the Triple Crown challenge is the ability to withstand the rigors of three races in five weeks. It takes a very sturdy horse to make the gate in Kentucky, Maryland, and New York.

I never believed that I’ll Have Another was going to sweep the Triple Crown. The last eleven horses to go for the Triple Crown sweep went down in flames and there is a reason why horses exiting the Preakness have only managed two wins in the last fourteen editions of the Belmont Stakes. He is the clear leader of the sophomore division and it will take a huge second half by Union Rags to take the title away from him.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – I refused to drop him from my top spot after troubled trips in the Florida Derby/Ketucky Derby and my stubbornness was rewarded in the Belmont Stakes. We have not come close to seeing his best and I am looking for a big second half.

Bodemeister

Bodemeister eyes Haskell – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid was tuckered out after his 3rd race in 5-weeks at Pimlico. His early speed is especially dangerous up to nine panels and he could prove an elusive target in the Haskell.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – Leg infection after the Wood Memorial probably contributed to his 12th place Derby effort. He spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is currently stabled at Saratoga with the Jim Dandy a possibility.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He is back in Pletcher’s barn with an eye on the Travers.

5. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion finished 9th on the first Saturday in May. He could show up in the G3 Iowa Derby on 6-30, followed by the G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4. He fired a 5f bullet in 1:00.60 (1/14) over the Churchill training track on 6-16.

6. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt should continue to develop. He could resurface in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy on July 28.

7. 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. Look for him to possibly resurface in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 21.

8. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer ran into the likes of Union Rags in Florida earlier this year. He exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16.

9. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – G3 Spiral Stakes hero finished a troubled 4th in the Derby. My Preakness top flopped in the second jewel and seemingly had nothing left to offer after his aforementioned bad trip two weeks earlier.

10. Holy Candy (Candy Ride) – Expecting big things from Sadler’s late developing colt. He exits a needed show finish in the G3 Affirmed and probably goes next in G2 Swaps on July 4. Breezed 4f in :49.60 (25/36) at Hollywood Park on 6-13.

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

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

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

Creative Cause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Plays:

$20 to win #8

$10 Exacta Box 1-8 ($20)

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