Last year’s Grade 1 Champagne hero Daredevil begins his road to Kentucky Derby 2015 in Saturday’s Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Daredevil won his first two wet track starts at Belmont Park before racing wide and finishing up the track from an outside post in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He must overcome the inside post off a layoff in the Swale and has bigger fish to fry. He is firing bullets for quality layoff trainer Todd Pletcher and gets pace to chase in the paper race.
Souper Colossal has a nose for the wire (4-for-5) and might have a fitness edge in the Swale following a solid win in the Texas Glitter (5f turf sprint) Feb 7. He showed rating ability in his last and is a logical alternative to morning line favorite Daredevil.
Daredevil and Souper Colossal have both been part of my “Exceptional Eleven” Derby list for quite some time. The Swale is not a Kentucky Derby points race so both will get one upcoming shot at making the gate on the first Saturday in May, if they perform well on Saturday.
G2 Fountain of Youth (95 BSF): No doubt the ugliest Derby prep of the season from a visual standpoint. Upstart staggered, bobbed, and weaved across the line 2-3/4ths clear of Itsaknockout. Hold all tickets! Upstart was dq’d and placed 2nd for cutting off Itsaknockout. Frammento snuck past Frosted in the late stages to garner the show. The latter seemed to have this one in the bag turning for home but lost his action in the lane in a very odd race to say the least.
G2 Risen Star (93 BSF): In the best looking Derby prep of the week, International Star somehow found the rail (excellent ride by Mena) from the outside post and replayed his Lecomte score over War Story. Keen Ice was up to finish a non-threatening 3rd. Post time favorite Imperia finished a flat 5th and might be better on turf.
G3 Southwest (91 BSF): Far Right splashed home along the rail from off the pace, defeating longshot The Truth Or Else by 3/4ths of a length with perennial bridesmaid Mr. Z another nose back in 3rd. This was a virtual replay of the Smarty Jones except Mr. Z kept a straighter course.
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 2015 Contenders
- CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables
Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in 1:01.21 (1/5) at Palm Beach Downs on Feb 21.
Last Start: 2nd in G1 BC Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov 1.
Comments: He is targeting the Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.
Derby Points (14)
- DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat)
Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.
Latest Published Workout: 7f in 1:25.60 (1/1) at Santa Anita on Feb 26.
Last Start: 1st in G3 Robert Lewis Stakes.
Comments: The undefeated colt will either run in the G2 San Felipe on March 7 or wait for the SA Derby on April 4. Baffert is reportedly pleased with his recent morning activity.
Derby Points (20)
- INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy)
Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey
Last Start: 1st in G2 Risen Star.
Comments: Lecomte-Risen Star winner will probably return to Fair Grounds for the G2 LA Derby on March 28.
Derby Points (71)
- AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman)
Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables
Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:12.40 (2/31) at Santa Anita on Feb 21.
Last Start: 1st in the G1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita on Sept 27.
Comments: Foot bruise knocked him out of the G1 BC Juvenile. 2YO Champ returned to the work tab on Feb 2. The G2 Rebel at Oaklawn on March 14 is a likely return spot.
Derby Points (10)
- EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song)
Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables
Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.88 (3/35) at Belmont (dirt training track) on Feb 22.
Last Start: 2nd in G3 Withers at Aqueduct on Feb 7.
Comments: Won the pace battle but lost the war in the Withers. He never misses a dance and is expected to go next in the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct on March 7.
Derby Points (25)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Last Start: Close 2nd in G2 San Vicente on Feb 1.
Comments: Using swimming therapy (through March 7) to help heal his foot abscess. It looks like one more Derby prep, probably the G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 4. If he needs an extra week, the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 11 is the backup plan.
Derby Points (12)
Trainer: Eddie Plesa Jr. – Owner: Live Oak Plantation
Latest Published Workout: 4f in :50.20 (11/32) at Gulfstream Park West on Feb 21.
Last Start: 1st in Texas Glitter (5f turf) at GP on Feb 7.
Comments: Easy turf sprint return victory should set him up nicely for Saturday’s G2 Swale at 7f.
Derby Points (0)
Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans
Last Start: Disqualified from 1st and placed 2nd in G2 Fountain of Youth.
Comments: Crossed the line first in the FOY but did not look like the sharp Holy Bull winner.
Derby Points (36)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing
Last Start: Fading 4th in G2 Fountain of Youth.
Comments: The runner-up in the Remsen & Holy Bull seemingly had the Fountain of Youth in the bag but spit the bit in the lane.
Derby Points (13)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable
Latest Published Workout: 4f bullet in :48.20 (1/19) at Palm Beach Downs on Feb 22.
Last Start: 11th in G1 BC Juvenile.
Comments: Was hung out to dry (wide throughout from outer post) in BC Juvenile and retreated to last in a throw out effort. He drew the rail for Saturday’s Swale.
Derby Points (10)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Stonestreet Stables
Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.95 (10/26) at Palm Meadows on Feb 21.
Last Start: 1st in G3 Sam F. Davis.
Comments: Replaces stablemate Imperia on the list. The Gotham on March 7 might be next.
Derby Points (0)
Honorable Mention: (12) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (13) Lord Nelson, (14) Firing Line, (15) Khozan, (16) Mr. Z, (17) Far From Over, (18) Itsaknockout, (19) Far Right, (20) War Story, (21) Imperia, (22) The Great War, (23) Prospect Park, (24) The Truth Or Else, (25) Metaboss