Posts Tagged ‘Oaklawn Park’

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)

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)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Baffert Sweeps Southwest

Red hot trainer Bob Baffert shipped his Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders to Arkansas on Monday and he walked away with two graded wins in both divisions of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes.

G3 Southwest division 1 (2-20-12): Castaway (92 BSF)

Bob Baffert

Bob Baffert is on a roll - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Castaway overcame post eleven to win the first division of the Southwest for Bejarano/Baffert. The SoCal invader tracked pacesetter Majestic Stride and burst clear when that rival weakened. He cruised across the line almost four lengths to the good and paid $15.40.

Jake Mo was up for the place with Reckless Jerry rounding out the top three. The final time was nothing special and this event probably won’t produce a serious Derby contender.

Southwest division 1 Grade: C-

In the second division of the Southwest, Bejarano and Baffert struck again with SoCal invader Secret Circle.

G3 Southwest division 2 (2-20-12): Secret Circle (102 BSF)

Secret Circle tasted defeat for the first time in the G3 Sham and got back on the beam at Oaklawn Park on Monday. The swift son of Eddington intently tracked Scatman and wore that rival down in the late stages. The top two were well clear of show finisher Adirondack King and the final time was strong.

Secret Circle might not be a ten furlong horse but the game colt is fast and has a nose for the wire.

Southwest division 2 Grade: C+

Southwest Stakes (division 2) Preview: Secret Circle vs. Cyber Secret

Monday’s second division of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes has drawn a competitive field of ten and morning line favorite Secret Circle looms the even money target.

Secret Circle horse

Secret Circle is the even money favorite on Monday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#9 Secret Circle (1-1) has earned strong numbers in each of his four starts. He rattled off three straight sprints to begin his promising career including a game victory in the BC Juvenile Sprint. He did all of the pace dirty work in the one mile G3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Jan 7 and was tagged by highly regarded colt Out of Bounds. Trainer Bob Baffert gives him another route opportunity and he is training well for this. He looms an obvious prominent throughout player but might be best sprinting and won’t offer any value.

#7 Cyber Secret (4-1) looked good in his local sprint bow at Belmont last fall and I made him my value top in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He finished a wide 7th in his ambitious second outing and was purchased privately by Cella/Whiting. He resurfaced in Arkansas this year and had a bad start in his disappointing Jan 15 effort. He rebounded in a big way here Feb 4 and can compete in this spot if he avoids a bounce (returning in 16 days).

#2 Adirondack King (6-1) always runs his race and comes from the same connections (Elliot-Servis) as 2004 Derby-Preakness winner Smarty Jones. He projects a decent tactical journey at a hint of a price.

#1 Z Rockstar (20-1) has fired Trifecta shots in 6 of 7 lifetime starts including a neck defeat at Oaklawn Park Jan 16. He can contend for a minor award at a big number.

#6 Pee H Dee (15-1) owns an ascending numbers pattern and beat today’s rival Z Rockstar by a neck here last time. A minor award is not impossible.

#4 Apprehender (10-1) earned a big number in his romping local sprint debut in the mud. He adds fuel to the fire but is a likely pace casualty.

#3 Scatman (6-1) exits a sharp local sprint win but gets a distance and class check today. I cannot see him putting away the likes of Secret Circle and holding off the late runners.

#10 Big Wednesday (15-1) captured all three synthetic sprints at Presque Isle Downs last year and was 4th in his lone conventional dirt try. He owns running style versatility but drew a tough post and might need the outing.

#8 King Coral (30-1) finished 9th in the Smarty Jones Stakes. The outsider owns low numbers.

#5 Chalybeate Springs (30-1) won a slow local maiden route Jan 14 and followed that up with a last place finish in the G3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Wayne Lukas charge is not fast enough to compete here.

The Plays:

$16 to win #7

$3 Exacta Box 2-7 ($6)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-7-9/1-2-6-7-9/1-2-6-7-9 ($18)

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)

Smarty Jones Stakes 2012 Preview: On Fire Baby takes on the boys

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 gets underway at Oaklawn Park on Monday with the $100,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and On Fire Baby takes on eleven boys from post 10 in the one mile test for 3-year-olds.

On Fire Baby

Will On Fire Baby beat the boys on Monday? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#10 On Fire Baby captured all three of her conventional dirt starts last year and she used a different style each time. She stalked the pace in her Ellis Park sprint debut, rallied in the G2 Pocahontas, and went wire-to-wire in the G2 Golden Rod. Her only off the board finish occurred when she dueled and weakened to 5th in the G1 Alcibiades at Keeneland (Polytrack).

She must overcome an outer post in Hot Springs on Monday and her speed figures are rather ordinary for a 2-time graded winner.

#4 No Spin could be the value play at 6-1. He was stuck out in post 12 in the $300,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec 10 and was hardly disgraced in a 4th place effort. He graduated in a synthetic sprint and impressed in a turf stakes tally at Hawthorne in October. Dirt might not be his best surface but I’m willing to take a shot if his morning line odds hold up.

#2 Junebugred earned a decent speed figure in a flat mile maiden win at the Big A on Nov 26. He is now under the care of Steve Hobby and should make his presence felt throughout under Joe Bravo at 5-1.

#5 Fastestwhogetspaid is not without a chance at 15-1. He graduated in a Maiden Claiming sprint but his numbers are going the right way and he looked good in an Optional Claiming route in Chicago Dec 28.

#12 Reckless Jerry has been part of the Trifecta in all five outings including a fine runner-up effort in the Springboard Mile. The improving tactical threat must work out a trip from post 12.

D Wayne Lukas will give #6 Optimizer another chance to shine on dirt. He graduated in his turf route bow and placed in a pair of graded events on turf and synthetic after that. In his two dirt starts he finished 8th in the G1 BC Juvenile and 4th in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He seems worth trying to beat on the win end at 5-2.

#1 Laurie’s Rocket would be the choice if this was a sprint as he has finished 1-2 in his four outings at 6.5 furlongs or less. He should sit a decent ground saving tactical trip but might find this trip a bit far and has a cold jockey-trainer team in his corner.

#8 Jake Mo could not keep up with the sizzling pace when last seen in the G3 Delta Jackpot. Both of his wins were accomplished in wire job fashion and he might have a hard time finding the lead in this salty spot.

#11 King Coral was dusted by Reckless Jerry in October and came back to flatter that one with his own Allowance triumph in Oklahoma on Nov 17. The stalk and pounce type is light on numbers.

#3 Prince Cheval has been competitive versus Illinois-bred company in his last three and might find these a bit tough to handle.

Illinois-bred #7 Copus exits a wire-to-wire maiden sprint win at Hawthorne and will likely fade after contesting the early lead.

#9 Hard Nosed was blasted in an Optional Claiming route at Fair Grounds on Dec  8 and looms a brief pace player at the most.

The Plays:

$16 to win #4

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-10/ALL/5 ($15)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-10/2-4-10/2-4-5-10-12 ($9)

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