Posts Tagged ‘Longview Drive’

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)

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)

Southwest Stakes (division 1) Preview: Reckless Jerry sits trip

Monday’s Grade 3 Southwest Stakes (division 1) has drawn a field of eleven and morning line favorite Longview Drive invades from Southern California for Jerry Hollendorfer.

#5 Longview Drive (5-2) finished 3rd in the low rated G3 Delta Jackpot to end his juvenile campaign and occupied that same spot when last seen in the G3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. The $175k Keeneland sales grad figures to show speed and a few others might join him on the front end. The underlaid contender is worth trying to beat on the win end.

#8 Reckless Jerry (9-2) was hung out to dry from post 12 in the local Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan 16. He raced five wide throughout and missed by a neck to ground saving winner #6 Junebugred (7-2). He can turn the tables on that rival with a better trip.

Junebugred

Junebugred shoots for hat trick on Monday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Junebugred fired a local bullet since his last and should sit another decent tactical trip under Bravo. A hat trick is within reach.

#2 Unbridled’s Note (10-1) looked good in his winning Churchill sprint bow last October and the show finisher came back to tally. This is an ambitious placement off the bench. Leparoux and Asmussen teamed up to win Saturday’s G3 El Camino Real Derby with Daddy Nose Best.

#9 Ring It Up (20-1) was clearly second best behind Southwest Stakes division two contender Cyber Secret in a local Optional Claiming route Feb 4. He prefers two turns and should be finishing at square odds.

#11 Castaway (5-1) exits a wet fast wire job at Santa Anita. The Baffert trainee meets other quality speed and will take too much action under Bejarano.

#3 Jake Mo (15-1) finished 4th in the Smarty Jones and seems up against it from a pace perspective. He has lost four straight and his trainer is 0-for-11 in the graded ranks.

#4 Majestic Stride (8-1) adds fuel to the pace fire. I respect trainer Jeff Bonde but this is a tough spot to tackle winners for the first time.

#10 Laurie’s Rocket (12-1) dueled and weakened to 5th in the Smarty Jones. Borel hops aboard but he has done the bulk of his damage in sprints.

#7 No Spin (30-1) was 10th in the Smarty Jones. He removes the hood in hopes of a better result but the Tim Ice runner seems to prefer turf or synthetic.

#1 Red Jack (30-1) meets other speed and figures to fade from the rail for Wayne Lukas.

The Plays:

$24 to win #8

$4 to win #9

$3 Exacta 8-9

.50 cent Trifecta 6-8/ALL/9 ($9)

Sham Stakes 2012 Preview: Secret Circle Tries Two Turns

Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint hero Secret Circle seeks to join the serious Kentucky Derby 2012 chase as he navigates two turns for the first time in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Secret Circle

Will Secret Circle remain undefeated? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert’s fleet colt is the fastest 3-year-old in the West but if he wants to remain on the Derby trail he will need to learn how to ration his speed. The talented son of Eddington, out of Dixieland Band mare Ragtime Hope, figures to get a pace test from G1 CashCall Futurity 7th place finisher Handsome Mike.

Hierro could be the goods for Steve Asmussen. The Hard Spun colt hooked G1 Champagne runner-up Alpha in his bow and was 2nd to G2 Remsen runner-up Souper Speedy second time out. It was his turn to shine in facile maiden breaker under the Twin Spires Nov 9 and he is training well at the Great Race Place.

Out of Bounds is another exiting a sharp graduation run. He earned his diploma in a Cushion Track extended sprint at Hollywood Park Dec 10 and his dam Unbridled Elaine captured the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Longview Drive adds blinkers and might be part of the pace under Joel Rosario. He rallied for the show when last seen in a weak renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot.

Senor Rain will break from the rail and doesn’t seem to class up. He graduated in a maiden claiming sprint and his other win was in the starter allowance ranks. He did finish 3rd behind subsequent 1-2 CashCall Futurity finishers in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood in November.

The Plays:

$20 to win Hierro
$10 Exacta Box Hierro, Out of Bounds

Grading the Early Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps

The unofficial road to the 2012 Kentucky Derby began with the Breeders’ Cup in early November and now that we have multiple graded routes in the books it is time to rate the quality of the preps so far.

2012 Kentucky Derby

BC Juvenile Sprint (11-4-11) – 95 BSF (Secret Circle)

Not sure about the overall strength of the field but winner Secret Circle is arguably the fastest juvenile in the land with 97-97-95 BSF’s in his three winning races to date. He owns three of the top ten BSF’s for juveniles as of 11-29. Grade: B-

Secret Circle had every right to fold after dueling through quick splits of :20.96 and :44.55 but the Baffert trainee gamely held off overseas filly Shumoos to remain undefeated. He has route influences in his pedigree and might try two turns in the G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on 12-17.

G1 BC Juvenile (11-5-11) – 94 BSF (Hansen)

The deepest juvenile prep race of the season with seven Graded/Group winners in the starting gate. Hansen went all the way, becoming the eighth member of the field to make the grade. The number came back solid if unspectacular and the top three were well clear of the rest. Grade: B

Hansen

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

Hansen kept his perfect record intact with a game wire job head victory. He has never been headed in three career starts and it remains to be seen how he will react to serious pace pressure. Mike Maker’s talented colt is wintering in Florida with the Gulfstream 3-year-old preps on his radar screen.

Union Rags tasted defeat for the first time but was probably best after breaking 12th from post 10, racing wide, and wandering in the stretch. He is also spending the winter in Florida.

Creative Cause ended his productive juvenile season with a solid show finish in the BC Juvenile. He will likely resurface at Santa Anita in 2012 with the G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19 a possible starting point.

Dullahan was bumped at the start and rallied to finish a respectable 4th. He graduated in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity and might be better on turf/synthetic.

Real Quiet Stakes (11-12-11) – 81 BSF (Liaison)

A bit of quality in this six-pack with a pair of multiple winners including CalCup Juvenile hero Rousing Sermon. Liaison gamely edged the aforementioned CalCup winner but did not earn much of a number. Grade: C-

Liaison has now won two straight and is clearly making nice progress. He has the right connections (Baffert) and a decent pedigree (Indian Charlie-Victory Gallop). The CashCall Futurity might be next.

G3 Delta Jackpot (11-19-11) – 80 BSF (Sabercat)

Pace meltdown with morning line favorite Drill and My Adonis dueling through splits of :22.11, :45.41, and 1:11.60. Top three finishers Sabercat, Basmati, and Longview Drive rallied from 9th, 6th, and 10th while crawling home in slow final time of 1:46.62. Delta Princess winner Now I Know earned a slightly better 81 BSF. Grade: D

Sabercat was making his sixth start of the year and won his third straight route in Delta Jackpot. Improving Asmussen runner breezed an easy 4f in :53 at Fair Grounds on 11-28.

Basmati took six tries to break his maiden and earned a nice chunk of change in place finish at Delta Downs. The busy juvenile might show up next in the CashCall Futurity.

Jerry Hollendorfer’s NoCal invader Longview Drive showed a new dimension rallying for the show. The $175k Keeneland sales grad has earned his best numbers in sprint races.

Drill came back in two weeks after a failed BC Juvenile attempt and flopped once again in Louisiana for Baffert. He has dropped three straight Graded dirt routes and seemingly needs a break. Both wins occurred at Del Mar in synthetic sprints.

G3 Hollywood Prevue (11-24-11) – 83 BSF (So Brilliant)

So Brilliant gamely wired six rivals but all members of the field were eligible for their entry level condition prior to this seven furlong synthetic affair. Grade: D+

So Brilliant was hardly as secret in his winning bow and made the betting public happy again on Thanksgiving Day. Bob Baffert’s $300k purchase is bred to route and has plenty of room to improve. CashCall Futurity is on his radar screen.

Empire Way was visually impressive in his Nov 13 bow but did not earn much of a number in that event and showed nothing in his Stakes debut. He should improve next year in routes but needed to run much faster.

G2 Remsen (11-26-11) – 80 BSF (O’Prado Again)

The pace was crawling (4f – :49.97, 6f – 1:15.05) and they ran the final 3f in :37.02. Tough to get a true gauge on this event with an overall impression of something close to average. Grade: C

O'Prado Again

O'Prado Again wins his second 9f race in Remsen - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

O’Prado Again won his second straight 9f affair in the Remsen. Trainer Dale Romans has had some success in recent Triple Crown events (Paddy O’Prado, First Dude, Shackleford).

Souper Speedy set the aforementioned crawling fractions and had just enough left to hold the place. Not a bad effort considering he was coming off a layoff after graduating in his 7f mud bow at 31-1.

El Padrino is an interesting long term prospect. He graduated by open lengths in his second career start and saved all the ground tracking the pace while showing late interest in the Remsen. Todd Pletcher’s $210k purchase has a nice distance pedigree and plenty of room to develop.

G2 Kentucky Jockey Club (11-26-11) – 85 BSF (Gemologist)

This one could turn out to be a decent prep. The fractions and final time were solid and the top three ran well. One/all could be heard from next year. Grade: C+

Gemologist remained unbeaten with a sharp stalk/pounce tally. Super Saver won this for same connections (Pletcher/WinStar Farm) en route to 2010 Kentucky Derby triumph. Interesting pedigree with Tiznow on top and Mr. Prospector on bottom.

Ever So Lucky set the pace and gamely held the place. Souper Speedy had a similar effort/pattern in the Remsen but Ever So Lucky carved out stronger splits and looks like the better long term prospect for Jonathan Sheppard. Like the speed (Indian Charlie), stamina (Summer Squall) pedigree mix.

Timely Tally has clearly kicked it up a few notches around two turns. He had some traffic issues under Borel and flew late to just miss the place. Gemologist seemingly has his number but the $220k son of Mr. Greeley is coming around and could be a player next year for Ian Wilkes.

Delta Downs Jackpot 2011 Preview: Can Drill Rebound?

The Grade 3, $1 Million Delta Jackpot has the purse power to guarantee the winner a starting spot in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, and headlining the Delta Downs showcase is Grade 1 winner Drill.

Drill

Drill puts blinkers back on in Delta Jackpot - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert’s Drill, a juvenile son of Lawyer Ron, finished a non-threatening 8th as the even money favorite in his synthetic sprint bow at Del Mar. He ran two more times at the seaside oval with a maiden victory and a game tally in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

He stretched out in Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Norfolk and was clearly second best behind Creative Cause. He was last seen finishing up the track in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (blinkers off) and he may not have cared for the sticky, drying out track.

The $300,000 Keeneland sales grad returned to Southern California after his failed Kentucky journey and he fired a three furlong bullet in :35.40 at Santa Anita Park on Nov 14. He ran his best three races with blinkers on and Baffert reintroduces him to the hood on Saturday. The Delta Downs bullring is tricky to handle and Drill attempts to rebound after running poorly two weeks ago.

Longview Drive and Seven Lively Sins figure to carve out the fractions from the inside with Basmati, My Adonis, and Dougs Buddy chasing. Tiz Moe, Drill, Sabercat, and Jake Mo should be sitting in the next flight with the latter trying to work out a forwardly placed trip from the outside box. Laurie’s Rocket does his best running late but did show improved positional speed with the addition of blinkers at Churchill Downs last time.

My ideal Delta Jackpot contender will break from post 2-7 and sit a decent tactical trip. Drill fits that bill but will not offer value. My Adonis easily won the local prep for this and is a much better morning line price at 4-1. Tiz Moe was clearly second best in the local Jean Lafitte and has plenty of upside with only two races under his belt. His 15-1 price is right as well.

In the end, I am a fan of Drill and would like to see him run well but from a wagering standpoint I will pick My Adonis to win and play him in an exacta box with Tiz Moe.

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