Posts Tagged ‘Najjaar’

Bodemeister Humbles Stablemate Secret Circle in Arkansas Derby

Bodemeister stamped his Kentucky Derby 2012 ticket with a facile 9-1/2 length triumph over stablemate Secret Circle in Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

G1 Arkansas Derby (4-14-12): 105 BSF (Bodemeister)

Bodemeister

Bodemeister runs away and hides in Arkansas Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bodemeister broke outwardly from post 11 but quickly straightened himself out and set sail for the lead under Mike Smith, carving out splits of :23.02, :46.55, and 1:11.36. The Bob Baffert trainee increased his advantage at every call and opened up by two lengths after six panels.

Stat started to give up the chase after six furlongs and it was Secret Circle’s turn to make his move. The G3 Southwest/G2 Rebel hero was clearly second at this point but Bodemeister was more than three clear after a mile in 1:36.74 and cruised across the line more than nine to the good, stopping the clock in 1:48.71 and paying $6.80 as the post time favorite.

Secret Circle might have distance limitations but he always fights hard to the end and would not let Sabercat and Cozzetti pass him for 2nd. Baffert’s runner-up has fired Exacta shots in all seven lifetime starts. I have been a fan for quite some time but do not consider him a viable ten furlong threat on the first Saturday in May.

Sabercat punched his Derby ticket last November when he captured the $1million, G3 Delta Jackpot. He flopped in his Rebel return and showed some late interest to garner the show on Saturday. He is not good enough to win the Derby but has earned the right to participate based on the rules.

Atigun finished 5th and was followed by Stat, Najjaar, Isn’t He Clever, Optimizer, Jake Mo, and Raconteur.

As for Bodemeister, he put it all together in Hot Springs but I do not like his chances under the Twin Spires. The unraced juvenile may have peaked at Oaklawn Park and I cannot see him running the same race in three weeks. Yesterday’s win reminded me of his maiden tally and after that effort he returned in four weeks to lose to Creative Cause in the G2 San Felipe. Note that he romped the two times he grabbed the early lead and he finished 2nd both times he failed to clear off early.

For final time comparison purposes, Alternation won the G2 Oaklawn Handicap for older horses earlier in the day and completed his nine furlong journey in 1:49.94.

Arkansas Derby Grade: A (94 out of 100)

Arkansas Derby 2012 Preview: Bodemeister or Secret Circle?

The Oaklawn Park 3-year-olds take their final steps toward Kentucky Derby 2012 in Saturday’s G1 Arkansas Derby and Bodemeister and Secret Circle share top billing for trainer Bob Baffert.

Bodemeister

Can anyone stop the Baffert express at Oaklawn Park? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#11 Bodemeister is the 9-5 morning line favorite. The unraced juvenile landed the place in his Santa Anita sprint bow before romping in a fast flat mile graduation run Feb 11. He gave his all but could not quite match strides with Creative Cause in the G2 San Felipe March 10, and he was hardly disgraced in a fine runner-up performance. He removes the hood and figures in the thick of things throughout under Mike Smith.

#5 Secret Circle (5-2) has fired Exacta shots in all six lifetime starts and is 2-for-2 at Oaklawn Park. The hard knocking early-pressing type may have reached the end of his stamina rope but must be respected throughout under Bejarano.

#3 Najjaar (15-1) is an interesting late runner for profitable dirt route trainer Dan Peitz. He fell too far back under Borel in the G2 Rebel and showed late interest while splitting the 12-horse field. He is reportedly training well for this and can make a serious late run if he is able to maintain contact with the field.

#2 Stat (10-1) has raw talent for Todd Pletcher. The early-pressing type reminds me a bit of Dance City, who landed the show for this barn in last year’s Arkansas Derby.

#6 Isn’t He Clever (6-1) almost stole the candy in the G3 Sunland Derby but he moved a bit too soon under Contreras. He would probably be a slam dunk if this race was in New Mexico but looms a tactical threat nonetheless. Albarado hops aboard.

#1 Cozzetti (15-1) put in a late run to garner the show in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby last time. He appears capable of landing the show for Dale Romans but a win would surprise.

#4 Jake Mo (30-1) has danced all of the local dances (Smarty Jones, Southwest, Rebel) and was not disgraced in any of those events. He can compete for a minor award at a big number.

#7 Optimizer (30-1) rallied for the place in the Rebel but that was his sixth straight loss on conventional dirt. Court got to know him last time but Lukas struggles in graded races (2% wins, 154-race sample) and this one is better on synthetic/turf.

#9 Sabercat (15-1) won a slow renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot as a juvenile and predictably flopped while overbet in his Rebel return. He can spring forward 2nd off the shelf but is not fast enough to threaten these.

#8 Atigun (30-1) is training forwardly and has seemingly gotten rid of his pesky quarter crack. He adds lasix and should improve off his 11th place Rebel finish.

#10 Raconteur (15-1) exits a game win in the $75k Private Terms Stakes but was dusted in his lone graded try (Gotham) and is a few notched below the best in here.

The Plays:

$6 to win, $10 to place, $15 to show #3 Najjaar

.50 cent Trifecta 5-11/ALL/3 ($9)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps – Secret Circle’s Rebel + Gemologist

The Oaklawn Park 3-year-olds are one step closer to Kentucky Derby 2012 following Secret Circle‘s game performance in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes on Saturday.

G2 Rebel Stakes: (3-17–12): 92 BSF (Secret Circle)

Secret Circle horse

Secret Circle pads his graded bankroll in G2 Rebel - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Longshot Unbridled’s Note and Southwest runner-up Scatman made the running with Cyber Secret chasing and Secret Circle rating kindly in 4th. The top four retained their positions through six furlongs (1:11.42) with Unbridled’s Note the first to crack.

Scatman kicked clear on the bend with Cyber Secret going one-paced. Secret Circle was set down for the drive under Bejarano and went by Scatman with a sixteenth to go. Optimizer found his best stride late and was gaining on the Baffert trainee approaching the wire.

In the end, it was Secret Circle by 3/4ths of a length with Optimizer completing the exacta and Scatman rounding out the trifecta. Jake Mo got up for 4th, followed by Cyber Secret and a belated Najjaar. Adirondack King, Sabercat, Pee H Dee, Reckless Jerry, Atigun, and a tired Unbridled’s Note completed the dirty dozen.Ring It Up scratched.

I have always been a fan of Secret Circle and love his tenacity and winning spirit but he seems to be reaching the end of his rope in regards to stamina. I have always believed that Optimizer was better on turf/synthetic, so based on those statements, along with the moderate final time in Arkansas on Saturday, I doubt this was a top notch Derby prep.

Rebel Stakes Grade: C

Earlier in the week, Gemologist returned in the pink vs. four Allowance rivals at Gulfstream Park.

Gulfstream Park Allowance: 95 BSF (Gemologist)

Gemologist, originally pointing to the G2 Rebel Stakes, stayed in South Florida instead and made short work of Currency Swap and friends on March 16.

The Pletcher/Winstar colt made the lead in the flat mile affair around one turn and widened his advantage throughout, crossing the line seven in front. Currency Swap was clearly second best in his needed return and was followed by Angel’s Tune, Jordan’s Image, and Brother Pat.

It was tough to get a true gauge on this one. Gemologist looked good and earned a decent enough number but Team Pletcher took the easy way out. Gemologist has been in my Derby top ten for many months and is currently ranked 4th. This decision by Pletcher reminds me of Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer. The Rebel was ripe for the taking and would have been a much better Derby prep because it was a graded two turn affair against moderately tough competition.

At any rate, Gemologist remains undefeated and needs to pick up somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 in graded earnings next time to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Gemologist’s Allowance Race Grade: C+

Rebel Stakes 2012 Preview – Can anyone beat Secret Circle?

The Arkansas sophomores take another step on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 and morning line favorite Secret Circle will be tough to overhaul in Saturday’s Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Secret Circle Kentucky Derby 2012

Secret Circle seeks more graded cash in Rebel Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#8 Secret Circle (9-5) is one of the fastest members of his generation for Bob Baffert. The fleet son of Eddington has earned strong Final Time Ratings in all five outings and exits a gritty victory in the G3 Southwest. A mile and a sixteenth should be within his grasp and he figures in the hunt early and often under Bejarano.

#4 Cyber Secret (15-1) is worth a stab at square odds. He was only 5-1 against Secret Circle and company in the Southwest and ended up a respectable 5th after racing wide and returning in 16-days. The tactical threat looked great in fast local optional claiming route tally Feb 4 and can rebound with 26-days between starts.

#2 Scatman (8-1) gave Secret Circle fits in the Southwest and will probably attempt to go all the way once again. He makes his second start around two turns and could have more to offer in his 3rd race off the shelf.

For country music star Toby Keith Kentucky Derby hopeful Reckless Jerry is one of his best Derby chances in years. #9 Reckless Jerry (12-1) has fired Trifecta shots in all seven lifetime starts including underneath finishes in the Smarty Jones and G3 Southwest here. He is one you can use in your exotics.

#13 Adirondack King (6-1) will try to overcome unlucky post 13. He was best of the rest in the faster edition of the Southwest and has hit the board in all seven career starts.

#7 Sabercat (5-1) will take too much action off the shelf for Steve Asmussen. He rattled off three straight to end his juvenile campaign and fattened his graded stakes bankroll in the G3 Delta Jackpot. The versatile son of Bluegrass Cat owns ordinary numbers and might need the race.

#6 Jake Mo (20-1) was up for the place in the slower division of the Southwest and can contend for a minor award.

#11 Najjaar (6-1) seems pegged too low on the morning line. The late runner is slowly improving and is 2-for-2 at Oaklawn but he lands a tough post and needs to run much faster to make a dent in this salty spot. Calvin Borel sticks with the long winded stretch runner.

#9 Atigun (12-1) packs a decent late kick and is 2-for-3 on regular dirt. He necked today’s rival Ring It Up when last seen in a local optional claiming route Jan 15.

#2 Unbridled’s Note (20-1) stalked and pounced his way to a good looking debut maiden win under the Twin Spires last October. He took money in his needed Southwest return but never got seriously involved after a troubled start and racing in traffic. He lands the cozy rail and could attend the pace with a clean beginning.

#1 Ring It Up (20-1) and #1a Pee H Dee (20-1) run as a coupled entry for high percentage trainer Chris Richard. The former was 4th to Castaway in the slower division of the Southwest and the latter was 4th in the faster division of the Southwest on Feb 20.

#5 Optimizer (30-1) exits a disappointing 9th in the G2 Risen Star. Wayne Lukas has given this one every chance to excel on conventional dirt but he clearly prefers turf or synthetic. He fired a local three furlong bullet for this March 13.

The Plays:

$20 to win #4

$10 Exacta Box 4-8 ($20)

$5 Exacta Box 2-4 ($10)

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