Posts Tagged ‘Steve Asmussen’

Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders: Year-End Rankings

My newest Kentucky Derby 2014 contender Gold Hawk ran his record to a perfect 2-for-2 with a good looking, late striding 3-1/2 length score in an entry level route at Fair Grounds Dec. 27.

Kentucky Derby 2014 logoA $450k purchase trained by Steve Asmussen, Gold Hawk owns a promising route pedigree and has plenty of upside. Look for him to join the sophomore stakes ranks in New Orleans next year.

Purple Sky had every chance in the stretch and ended up a respectable 4th, 3/4ths and a head shy of the place. That’s back-to-back disappointments around two turns and his stock continues to drop.

Bob Baffert’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day has suffered a non-displaced chip on the left hind sesamoid and has been retired.Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders

1. SHARED BELIEF (Candy Ride – Common Hope, by Storm Cat)

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer – Owner: Jungle Racing (Jim Rome)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:02.20 (47/52) at Santa Anita Park on 12-28.

Comments: Cruised in his 10-19 Golden Gate debut (84 BSF) and crushed four rivals in the G3 Hollywood Prevue (99 BSF) on 11-10. The exciting gelding thoroughly dominated the G1 CashCall Futurity (106 BSF) on 12-14, his first start around two turns. He could make two, possibly three starts on the Derby trail at Santa Anita next year, culminating with the G1 SA Derby on April 5.

Honor Code horse

Honor Code is back on the work tab in Florida – photo be Eclipse Sportswire

2. HONOR CODE (A.P. Indy – Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat)

Trainer: Shug McGaughey – Owner: Lane’s End Racing & Dell Ridge Farm

Latest Workout: 3f breeze in :39 (10/13) at Payson Park on 12-31.

Comments: Made up more than 20-lengths in his career debut (Saratoga slop) to score by 4-1/2 lengths at 7f on 8-31 (89 BSF). He rallied to miss by a neck in the G1 Champagne on 10-5. McGaughey’s plan to skip the G1 BC Juvenile in favor of the G2 Remsen worked out well. He is wintering in Florida.

3. HAVANA (Dunkirk – Missy Turtle, by Kyle’s Our Man)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Taber, Magnier, and Smith

Comments: Went wire-to-wire in his Saratoga debut on 8-23 and earned a 102 BSF. Put away Debt Ceiling and Grand Arrival early, and held off Honor Code by a nose in the G1 Champagne (93 BSF) at Belmont on 10-5. Stalked and pounced from post 13 in BC Juvenile but could not hold off New Year’s Day.

4. STRONG MANDATE (Tiznow – Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister)

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas – Owner: Baker & Mack

Latest Workout: 4f in :47.60 (3/17) at Oaklawn Park on 12-26.

Comments: Finished 5th in his 7-22 Saratoga bow. He graduated by 4-1/2 lengths at 6.5f at the Spa on 8-17 and cruised by 9-3/4 in the G1 Hopeful at 7f (mud, sealed) on 9-2 (85 BSF). He never got untracked in 7th place Champagne puzzler. He shot to the front from post 14 and finished an improved 3rd in the BC Juvenile.

5. GRAND ARRIVAL (Harlan’s Holiday – Grandstone, by Grindstone)

Trainer: Nick Zito – Owner: Ameche Jr., Ameche III, & Prancing Horse Enterprises

Latest Workout: 3f breeze in :36 (2/5) at Palm Meadows on 12-27.

Comments: Distant 3rd in his 7-22 Saratoga debut (Strong Mandate 5th). Romped by 6-1/4 lengths as the 3-2 favorite at that same venue at 7f second time out on 8-31 (sloppy, sealed). Attended pace and retreated to 8th in Champagne and finished a wide 7th of 12 from post 10 in the G2 Nashua. He is entered in the GP Derby at the Gulf on Jan. 1.

Cairo Prince horse

Cairo Prince has worked twice this winter at Palm Meadows – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

6. CAIRO PRINCE (Pioneerof The Nile – Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull)

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Namcook Stables

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :51.90 (45/48) at Palm Meadows on 12-31.

Comments: Won his first two races including the G2 Nashua. Just missed in a strange renewal of the Remsen and is wintering in Florida.

7. GOLD HAWK (Empire Maker – Caressing, by Honour and Glory)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen – Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

Comments: Debut stalk and pounce tally at Churchill Downs Nov. 30. Found his best stride late in a good looking entry level route win at Fair Grounds 12-27. The promising colt is headed to the 3YO stakes ranks in New Orleans.

8. KENDALL’S BOY (Sky Mesa – Golden Damsel, by Gold Token)

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Jerry Namy

Latest Workout: 4f breezed in :49 (6/70) at Fair Grounds on 12-16.

Comments: Clearly second best to Havana in his 8-23 debut (94 BSF) at the Spa and rolled by 5-1/4 lengths at 6f under the Twin Spires on 9-13. He never appeared comfortable on synthetic footing and was not persevered with in 11th place Breeders’ Futurity effort.

9. MISCONNECT (Unbridled’s Song – Summer Raven, by Summer Squall)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Repole Stable

Comments: Battled on the pace throughout and was 2nd best to Honor Code in his 8-31 debut at the Spa. He graduated by a length at Belmont on 9-28 (85 BSF).

10. PURPLE SKY (Pulpit – Tessa Blue, by Awesome Again)

Trainer: Al Stall Jr. – Owner: Bruce Lunsford

Comments: 3rd behind Honor Code and Misconnect in Aug. 31 Saratoga debut and raced green that day. He overcame adversity to earn diploma at Churchill Downs (one mile) on Sept. 28. Never got involved in allowance route at Churchill on Nov. 9 and finished a conpetitive 4th in an entry level allowance route at Fair Grounds Dec. 27.

11. SCHOOLOFHARDROCKS (Rock Hard Ten – Miss Chapin, by Royal Academy)

Trainer: David Hofmans – Owner: Amerman Racing LLC.

Comments: It is not easy to win a route race first time out, but he did just at Del Mar on 8-31. Veteran jockey Victor Espinoza is high on this one. “He’s a very talented horse,” Espinoza said of the son of Rock Hard Ten. “I liked him the first time I saw him. I was impressed with how he ran going a mile and winning from the one hole (at odds of 10-1 Aug. 31 at Del Mar). I feel he’ll get even better.” Schoolofhardrocks scratched out of the FrontRunner Stakes. “It’s not too significant,” trainer David Hofmans said of the unrevealed injury. “It’s a problem we’re working on.”

Pedigree Spotlight: Gold Hawk

Gold Hawk’s sire Empire Maker (Unbridled – Toussaud, by El Gran Senor) was my Derby horse in 2003 and he ended up 2nd on the first Saturday in May that year. He turned the tables on Funny Cide in the Belmont Stakes five weeks late.

gold hawk pedigree

Empire Maker has sired U.S. champion, Royal Delta, and Kentucky Derby runner-ups Bodemeister and Pioneerof the Nile. He was exported to Japan in 2010.

Empire Maker’s sire Unbridled won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1990 and sired 1996 Derby hero Grindstone and 2000 Preakness winner Red Bullet.

Empire Maker’s late, great Grade I winning dam Toussaud also tossed Grade I winners Chester House, Honest Lady, Chiselling, and Grade II Decarchy.

Gold Hawk’s dam Caressing (Honour and Glory – Lovin Touch, by Majestic Prince) won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2000. Her sire Honour and Glory (Relaunch) won multiple stakes races including the G1 Breeders’ Futurity, G1 Met Mile, G2 San Rafael, and G2 King’s Bishop.

Gold Hawk should get dam-side stamina from Lovin Touch and Majestic Prince. Lovin Touch won the G3 Selene and landed the place in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Majestic Prince captured the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1969.

Gold Hawk has the stride and running style of a true router, and his pedigree suggests that he should excel in longer events. Look for him to do some damage in upcoming Fair Grounds stakes races.   

Risen Star Stakes 2013 video + written analysis

The 2013 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds is worth 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner. My special video guest this week is Molly Jo Rosen from RacingWithBruno.com. I have also included my written analysis (with wagering strategies) below.

#1 PROUD STRIKE (8-1) has faced decent runners and exits a local key race graduation run at this trip (off the turf). Stevens hops aboard for Asmussen and the $240k purchase should get better with age.

#2 Code West (6-1) invades for Baffert and was flattered when stablemate Super Ninety Nine returned to romp in the G3 Southwest. The consistent stalking type removes the hood.

#9 Normandy Invasion (5-2) makes his first start of 2013 for Chad Brown and will be finishing. He earned a big fig in the Remsen.

#6 Palace Malice (8-1) is a highly regarded Pletcher runner trying two turns for the first time. Napravnik rides.

#4 Golden Soul (20-1) was my G3 Lecomte top and was a distant 2nd that day. He is training well for this and is my longshot underneath key in the Trifecta.

#10 Oxbow (5-1) ran away from his G3 Lecomte foes and will probably try similar front running tactics.

Check out my Saturday (Feb 23) Fair Grounds full card analysis (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (FG 13th race, click view sample) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

#5 Mylute (6-1) exits a runaway local optional claiming route win but leading rider Napravnik abandons.

#13 Circle Unbroken (20-1) looks like a sprinter.

#3 Agent (30-1), #7 Hardrock Eleven (50-1), and #8 Ive Struck a Nerve (30-1) all appear overmatched.

#11 Bethel (50-1) is cross-entered in an optional claiming route earlier in the day (Fair Grounds race 4).

#15 Sunbean (12-1) is cross-entered in the Gentilly Stakes for LA-breds (Fair Grounds race 3).

#12 He’s Had Enough (10-1) will scratch from this spot in favor of the Fountain of Youth Stakes at the Gulf.

#14 Departing (12-1) is expected to scratch out of this event in favor of a stakes spot at Sam Houston next weekend.

THE PLAYS:

#1 to win

Trifecta 1-2-6-9/ALL/4

 

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Daddy Nose Best Takes Sunland Derby

The Kentucky Derby 2012 trail made a rare stop in New Mexico and Daddy Nose Best wore down local hope Isn’t He Clever in an exciting renewal of the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.

G3 Sunland Derby (3-25-12): 100 BSF (Daddy Nose Best)

Daddy Nose Best

Versatile colt Daddy Nose Best is headed to the Kentucky Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

An unexpected suicidal speed duel between post time favorite Castaway and Ender Knievel set things up for the patient runners and Isn’t He Clever got the first run trip under Luis Contreras, who seemingly jumped the gun and moved too soon.

Julien Leparoux and Daddy Nose Best bided their time in 6th place and went after the local hero turning for home.

Isn’t He Clever appeared home free for a moment but Asmussen’s El Camino Real winner was grinding away and got the job done by 3/4ths of a length, running nine furlongs in a solid 1:48.59.

It was more than seven lengths back to show finisher Stirred Up. No Spin was 4th, followed by Ender Knievel, Tequila Factor, Castaway, and Justanoldsong.

Daddy Nose Best earned $400,000 for the win and has more than enough graded dough for the first Saturday in May. The neat 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy has now won on dirt, synthetic, and turf.

Sunland Derby Grade: B- (83 out of 100)

Sunland Derby 2012 Preview: Ender Knievel’s coming out party?

Kentucky Derby 2012 hopeful Castaway, a visually impressive winner of the slower division of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb 20, takes on seven rivals in Sunday’s Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby (race 12) at Sunland Park.

Castaway

Castaway goes after his third straight win in Sunday's G3 Sunland Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Castaway (2-1) and his talented stablemate Secret Circle invaded Arkansas and left with graded glory in both divisions of the Southwest. Secret Circle returned to Oaklawn Park and landed the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes last weekend.

Now, Castaway visits New Mexico for trainer Bob Baffert in hopes of earning a nice chunk of graded cash for a possible engagement on the first Saturday in May.

Castaway, a well-bred son of Street Sense, took six tries to break his maiden, and he graduated in style over wet-fast footing at Santa Anita Park in January. He followed up his easy maiden tally over Holy Candy with another win in the G3 Southwest and figures in the think of things throughout from the inside post on Sunday. Rafael Bejarano rides again.

Baffert also conditions #3 Stirred Up (8-1). The late striding son of Lemon Drop Kid flees the speed conducive Santa Anita Park oval and would appreciate contested fractions. The recent graduate beat sharp next out winner Holy Candy last time will be ridden by Martin Garcia.

#2 Ender Knievel (6-1)  is on the upswing for Todd Pletcher. The promising son of Distorted Humor, out of an AP Indy mare, raced for George Arnold in Kentucky and Florida last year and improved his numbers each time. Pletcher took over the training duties and he responded immediately with a romping flat mile maiden win at Gulfstream Park on Feb 5. John Velazquez with pilot the fresh, prominent throughout threat.

#6 Daddy Nose Best (3-1) exits a game nostril victory over UAE Derby hopeful Lucky Chappy in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Steve Asmussen’s versatile son of Scat Daddy has been competitive on dirt, turf, and synthetic, and should be finishing under regular rider Julien Leparoux.

Local hope #4 Isn’t He Clever (4-1) is 4-for-4 in the state of New Mexico and smartly captured the local prep for this (Borderland Derby). The gelded son of Smarty Jones projects a tactical journey under new rider Luis Contreras. He is 2-for-2 at Sunland.

#5 No Spin (8-1) was last seen finishing 6th behind Castaway in Hot Springs. The Tim Ice trainee is 0-for-4 on dirt and appears better on turf/synthetic.

#7 Tequila Factor (15-1) easily captured a minor turf stakes affair at Turf Paradise March 17. He failed to threaten Isn’t He Clever in a pair of local starts and appears most effective on turf/synthetic at this stage of his career.

Lightly raced colt #8 Justanoldsong (20-1) colt broke his maiden in a local flat mile event Jan 31 and was a well-beaten 6th in the Borderland Derby last time. He is overmatched on numbers.

The Plays:

$20 to win #2 Ender Knievel

$5 Exacta #2 Ender Knievel over #3 Stirred Up and #6 Daddy Nose Best ($10)

$5 Exacta #3 Stirred Up and #6 Daddy Nose Best over #2 Ender Knievel ($10)

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: El Camino Real Derby

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 made a pit stop in Northern California on Feb 18 and Daddy Nose Best edged Lucky Chappy in a thrilling renewal of the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Kentucky Derby logo 2012

G3 El Camino Real Derby (2-18-12): 92 BSF (Daddy Nose Best)

I am not sure that the El Camino Real was a serious Kentucky Derby prep but it was an exciting race. Daddy Nose Best was full of run and just waiting for an opening, and the tactical threat made his move at the same time as late runner Lucky Chappy. The two shippers battled down the lane with the Steve Asmussen trainee getting the bob.

If I had to pick one of the top two in regards to making the Derby field, I would have to side with Daddy Nose Best. He landed the place in his dirt sprint bow at Churchill last summer and his dam sire Thunder Gulch won the Kentucky Derby in 1995. He owns a decent late kick and showed nice positional speed on Saturday.

Irish bred Lucky Chappy is expected to contest Dubai’s UAE Derby at Meydan for trainer Graham Motion on March 31.

Show finisher Handsome Mike now has stakes placings on turf and synthetic. Doug O’Neill’s versatile colt handles any footing and gave sire Scat Daddy a 1-3 finish in the El Camino Real.

El Camino Real Derby Grade: C

El Camino Real Derby 2012 Preview: Daddy Nose Best

Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby is the lone graded route in Northern California’s road to Kentucky Derby 2012 and Daddy Nose Best should offer a hint of value for Steve Asmussen.

Kentucky Derby 2012

#1 Daddy Nose Best (9-2) began his career splitting a pair of subsequent stakes winners (Exfactor, Dullahan) in a Churchill dirt sprint. He disappointed second time out but started to hit his best stride with added ground on the turf. Asmussen won this with Silver Medallion last year and that one also exited Santa Anita’s grassy Eddie Logan Stakes. Leparoux strings along and he shows five works for this.

#6 Lucky Chappy (7-2) brought strong Italian form to Keeneland for his US bow last fall and was hardly disgraced in a G3 Bourbon show finish. He followed that up with a troubled 4th from post 11 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and prepped for this with a runner-up effort in the Jan 21 Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream. The Graham Motion trainee is a late running threat if he handles the Tapeta footing.

#7 Handsome Mike (8-1) is an interesting price player. The versatile SoCal shipper finished 4th in the G3 Sham (dirt), 7th in the G1 CashCall Futurity (synthetic), and 2nd in the G3 Generous (turf). He dons the hood and looms a pace factor at the very least.

#10 Lady of Fifty (5-1) is a filly taking on the boys and she might be the best local hope. She ran faster than the gents in the Cal Oaks but seems most effective on the lead and meets other speed. She must overcome the outside post but her task is not impossible.

#4 Russian Greek (5-2) is 2-for-2 in local routes and exits a fine late running score in the $100,000 Cal Derby. His numbers are a bit light but the $100k Keeneland sales grad packs a decent late kick and will be finishing for the productive Gryder-Hollendorfer team.

#3 Cahill Chrome (10-1) was tagged in a surprise place finish in the Cal Derby. He owns fine early-pressing speed and likes this oval but is probably a cut below the best in here.

#2 Senor Rain (12-1) finished an even 3rd in the Cal Derby and will need to show more to make a dent in this tougher event.

#8 Rockinarz Recruit (20-1) stretches out in distance and will probably show speed. He remains eligible for an entry level spot and is probably in over his head today.

#5 Unveiled Heat (20-1) broke his maiden on turf in his 9th career start. He finished 5th in the Cal Derby at 18-1 and looks like an outsider in this spot.

#9 All Squared Away (20-1) broke his maiden in a local route Jan 22 but he controlled the pace that day and did not earn much of a number. He is overmatched in the paper race.

The Plays:

$24 to win #1

$10 Quinella 1-6

$6 Quinella 1-7

 

 

2011 Belmont Stakes Profile: Nehro

After sweeping moves in both the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby, Nehro has become a buzz horse for the 2011 Belmont Stakes. Trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Ahmed Zayat elected to skip the Preakness with the 3-year-old son of Mineshaft to prep specifically for the Test of Champions at Big Sandy.

Nehro

Nehro is ready for Belmont Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Nehro disappointed in his first two outings before a breakthrough maiden performance at Oaklawn Park under late jockey Michael Baze, who also rode him to a runner-up effort in the Louisiana Derby.

He needed earnings to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May and got them in a second place finish in the Arkansas Derby under new pilot Corey Nakatani.

Speaking of Nakatani, he sensed the slow pace in the Kentucky Derby and made a wide early move aboard Nehro, which resulted in yet another runner-up finish.

The Preakness was seriously considered but the Kentucky Derby was Nehro’s third start in six weeks so his connections are left with a fresh horse making his first start in five weeks at Belmont Park.

Nehro’s sire Mineshaft, out of ’92 Belmont Stakes hero A. P. Indy, is responsible for last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Fly Down.

On June 6, Nehro completed his Belmont Stakes preparations with a four furlong work in :50.88 and his brash owner is confident in his colt’s chances in the Test of Champions.

 

2011 Preakness Profile: Astrology

The Kentucky Derby pace was surprisingly soft and if they try to go that slow again look for Astrology and jockey Mike Smith to make their presence felt throughout from the cozy rail.

Steve Asmussen

Trainer Steve Asmussen has saddled two Preakness winners - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Astrology showed ability right out of the box as a juvenile at Saratoga with a debut show finish and an extended sprint maiden win over To Honor And Serve. He was the beaten favorite in the Garden State Stakes at Monmouth in his third outing and rebounded to win Churchill’s Iroquois in October. He ended his juvenile season with a place finish behind Santiva in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes under the Twin Spires.

He got a late start on the 2011 Kentucky Derby trail and was forced to miss the first Saturday in May after a pair of runner-up efforts in the March 27 Sunland Derby and April 23 Jerome.

The son of A.P. Indy is no longer behind schedule for Steve Asmussen and he has the talent to make a longshot run for Preakness glory on Saturday.  He figures to save all of the ground on or near the lead and should have every chance if good enough.

2011 Preakness Profile: Nehro

Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro might skip the 2011 Preakness and wait for the Belmont Stakes but he figures to take plenty of wagering action if his connections opt to run him in Baltimore.

Trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Zayat Stables, Nehro was slow to develop. After back-to-back unplaced efforts, the 3-year-old son of Mineshaft graduated nicely in a flat mile special weight affair at Oaklawn Park on Feb 21.

2011 Preakness logo

The aforementioned maiden win seemed to light a fire under Nehro because he returned to just miss in the Louisiana Derby at 36-1. He returned three weeks later to lose another photo in the Arkansas Derby and he headed to Churchill Downs as the wise guy horse.

Surprisingly, the Derby had no pace and Nehro’s rider Corey Nakatani sensed the slow fractions and made a smart early move. He was run down by Animal Kingdom and landed the place once again.

The Kentucky Derby was his third start in six weeks and it might be asking too much to come back in two weeks on the third Saturday in May. If he waits for the Belmont Stakes he would be running on five weeks rest.  He breezed four furlongs in :50.80 at Churchill Downs on May 16.

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