Posts Tagged ‘Z Rockstar’

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)

Illinois Derby 2012 Preview – Can Currency Swap go the distance?

The winner of the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby will grab enough graded cash to make the starting gate in Kentucky Derby 2012 and morning line favorite Currency Swap tries two turns for the first time.

Currency Swap

Will Currency Swap handle two turns? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#4 Currency Swap (4-1), the 2011 G1 Hopeful winner, recently returned from an injury and finished a distant 2nd behind G1 Wood Memorial favorite Gemologist. He has some distance influences on the dam side (Pine Bluff) and looms a pace factor at the very least. He could regress 2nd off the shelf and might not want to go this far at less than ideal odds.

#11 Our Entourage (9-2) is 0-for-2 on dirt and gets one shot at Derby glory for Repole/Pletcher. He appears better on turf but this race is wide open and anything can happen. Won’t offer enough value for wagering purposes but he is not without a shot.

#8 Z Rockstar (10-1) is my value oriented top choice for Donnie Von Hemel. The improving son of Rockport Harbor earned the best last race number in a sharp optional claiming tally at Oaklawn Park and projects a stalk and pounce trip under Quincy Hamilton. He is back in three weeks and can compete here if able to duplicate his last.

#12 Morgan’s Guerilla (10-1) is 2-for-2 and looms an early presence under Rosie Napravnik. Other early runners include Private Terms runner-up #2 Hakama (6-1).

Horses with tactical ability include #1 Romancing The Gold (15-1), #3 Ring It Up (15-1), #5 Pretension (5-1), #6 Skyring (20-1), #9 Fastestwhogetspaid (30-1), #10 Frankie Is Rock (30-1), and #14 Slamit (30-1). NY-bred Pretension might be the best of the pressers.

The late runners are #7 Saturday Launch (15-1) and #13 Done Talking (20-1).

#15 Explain (20-1), #16 Arm Force (15-1), and #17 Defiant Flyer (30-1) are also-eligibles and need help drawing into the body of the race.

The Plays:

$20 to win/Place #8 Z Rockstar

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)

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