KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: American Pharoah is the favorite

American Pharoah is the Kentucky Derby 2015 favorite following another facile win in the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, April 4.

American Pharoah did not control the pace this time. Instead, he allowed overmatched longshot Bridget’s Big Luvy to scoot away early. American Pharaoh inhaled the speed and coasted home by eight lengths under a hand ride.

The Kentucky Derby favorite arrived at Churchill Downs earlier this week. He got a late start this year and the Derby will be his third start in seven weeks.

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

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Last Start: 1st in G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 4.

Comments: He’s been part of my list since last September and has occupied the top spot for more than four months. The feeling here is that we have not seen his best.

Derby Points (164)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Last Start: 1st in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: The undefeated Derby contender elevated his game to new heights in back-to-back graded wire jobs in the San Felipe and SA Derby. The massive colt owns early-pressing versatility and cruised in his lone Churchill start.

Derby Points (170)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :49 (7/9) at Churchill Training on April 11.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. The very experienced Derby contender began his career last June. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. I love his professionalism.    

Derby Points (171)

  1. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G1 Arkansas Derby.

Comments: The 2YO Champ did not break a sweat in the Rebel or Arkansas Derby and heads to Churchill Downs as the Kentucky Derby favorite.

Derby Points (160)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in 1:01.35 (1/7) at Palm Meadows on April 16.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

Comments: He’s the fourth member of my original list from September and I played him Derby Future Pool 1. He showed a new closing dimension in the Wood Memorial and will do the bulk of his Kentucky Derby preparations in Florida.

Derby Points (113)

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir silks

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Wood Memorial on April 4.

Comments: The 5th and final member of my original Derby list. Nothing bothers the versatile, consistent sort and he certainly brings plenty of experience to the table.

Derby Points (95)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Latest Published Workout: 5f in :59.20 (5/56) at Santa Anita on April 11.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to a very easy win at Sunland. The Kentucky Derby will be his first start in six weeks.

Derby Points (58)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 4f bullet in :47.40 (1/6) at Palm Meadows on April 17.

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Spiked a fever and missed his workout last week but looked good returning to the worktab April 17.

Derby Points (76)

  1. ONE LUCKY DANE (Lookin At Lucky – Echo Harbor, by Boston Harbor) one lucky dane silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Michael Lund Petersen

Last Start: 2nd in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: His sire Lookin at Lucky was my Kentucky Derby horse in 2010 and his son qualified for the Derby with a smart runner-up finish behind stablemate Dortmund in the SA Derby on April 4.

Derby Points (40)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.50 (4/15) at Palm Beach Downs on April 11.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882. He earned a 110 BSF in the G1 Florida Derby and looms a pace player on the first Saturday in May.

Derby Points (100)

  1. WAR STORY (Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit) war story silks

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Loooch Racing Stable

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :49.40 (12/18) at Churchill Downs on April 15.

Last Start: 3rd in G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Comments: Hard-knocking gelding earned his way into the Kentucky Derby with a 2nd in the G3 Lecomte, another 2nd in the G2 Risen Star, and a 3rd in the G2 LA Derby.

Derby Points (44)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) Bolo, (14) Itsaknockout, (15) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (16) Stanford, (17) Mubtaahij, (18) Danzig Moon, (19) Tencendur, (20) Mr. Z, (21) Madefromlucky, (22) Keen Ice, (23) Frammento, (24) Bold Conquest, (25) Metaboss

Charles Town Classic 2015 analysis featuring Shared Belief (Video)

Shared Belief tries to run his impressive career record to 11-for-12 in Saturday’s Grade II Charles Town Classic.

Charles Town is a unique six furlong bullring oval and the nine furlong showcase will be run around three turns. This will be a new experience for Shared Belief but he has handled everything with ease throughout his career.

Eight horses will square off against Shared Belief including G1 winner Moreno. The latter was 3rd in the 2014 Charles Town Classic and should make his presence felt throughout.

2014 Charles Town Classic hero Imperative is back to defend his title but his recent form is suspect.

Fans might remember General a Rod from the 2014 Triple Crown series. He is now trained by Todd Pletcher and exits a romping score in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Lightly raced Street Babe exits a smart win in the G3 Mineshaft. He has plenty of upside but lacks the necessary seasoning to win a race like this.

G2 Kelso winner Vyjack appears most effective in extended sprints around one turn.

Gem of consistency Page McKenney shoots for a hat trick but has never faced rivals this tough.

Looking Cool was claimed out of his last for $62.5k and will try to get involved late.

Longshot Warrioroftheroses should show speed.

CT Classic field

 

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: Arkansas Derby video + Lexington Stakes analysis

Arkansas Derby favorite and Eclipse Champion American Pharoah completes his Kentucky Derby 2015 prep campaign at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

American Pharoah was the controlling speed in the G1 Del Mar Futurity, G1 FrontRunner, and G2 Rebel Stakes, and it might be déjà vu all over again in the Arkansas Derby.

The G3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes has minor qualifying points attached but none of the entrants are seriously considering the Kentucky Derby. There are a few promising runners worth following, including my top choice #3 COMFORT (5-1). His first two turf routes were not great but he looked like a new horse in a facile two turn maiden win on the Fair Grounds main track. He was purchased privately by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and is now trained by Todd Pletcher. He fired a Florida bullet last month and looks ready to roll off the shelf under Javier Castellano.

#7 Donworth (5-1) overcame trouble to beat twelve rivals in his extended sprint bow at Gulfstream Park. Motion chose this over an easier allowance spot and he’s bred to be a quality two turn performer (Tiznow-Street Cry). He has raw talent but lacks seasoning.

#5 Fame and Power (5-2) put it all together vs. four foes in his fifth lifetime start at Santa Anita March 8. The Juddmonte-Baffert runner should make his presence felt from the outset.

#1 Divining Rod (3-1) was 2nd in the G3 Sam F Davis and 3rd in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. He’s an inside pace factor.

#4 Tiznow R J (5-1) lost his way after finishing a solid 3rd in the G3 Lecomte.

#3 Quimet (8-1) dons the hood after getting dusted in the G1 Florida Derby.

#5 Henry Jones (6-1) stretches out and looms a pace player for D. Wayne Lukas.

THE PLAYS:

$20 to win #3

$10 Exacta Box 3-7 ($20)

Analysis by Jarrod Horak

Graded Recaps

G1 Wood Memorial (103 BSF): Frosted rebounded in a big way while racing wide and rallying to a convincing win under new pilot Joel Rosario. Tencendur was a surprising 2nd and El Kabeir chugged along for the show. Beaten favorite Daredevil has been sent to WinStar Farm for a freshening and is expected to target the G1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga this summer.

G1 Blue Grass (95 BSF): Carpe Diem was a complete standout in the paper race and did not disappoint on the racetrack in virtual replay of his Tampa Bay Derby triumph.Danzig Moon finished 2nd and Ocho Ocho Ocho bounced back with a respectable show finish.

G1 SA Derby (103 BSF): Dortmund basically repeated his San Felipe wire job over many of the same rivals and late blooming stablemate One Lucky Dane to keep his perfect record intact. Bolo collected the show and 4th place finisher Prospect Park had an elevate white blood cell count this week and is no longer under consideration for the Kentucky Derby.

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

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Last Start: 1st in G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 4.

Comments: He has done little wrong in his career and the best is yet to come. He’s been part of my list since last September and is one of only two that occupied my Number 1 spot, the other being International Star.

Derby Points (164)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Last Start: 1st in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: The hits just keep on coming for Baffert’s undefeated colt. In his last two wire jobs he did not face Firing Line, the only horse to challenge him, and that one romped in the Sunland Derby a few weeks ago. The massive colt owns early-pressing versatility and cruised in his lone Churchill start.

Derby Points (170)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. I love his professionalism.

Derby Points (171)

  1. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 6f bullet in 1:11.60 (1/25) at Santa Anita on April 5.

Last Start: 1st in the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Comments: He has also been part of my list since the beginning. Controlled the pace in all three of his graded wins and is back at Oaklawn for his final Derby prep in Saturday’s G1 Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (60)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Last Start: 1st in G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

Comments: He’s the fourth member of my original list from list September and I played him Derby Future Pool 1. The Wood was a huge step forward and he is peaking at the right time.

Derby Points (113)

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir silks

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Wood Memorial on April 4.

Comments: The 5th and final member of my original Derby list. The versatile, consistent sort has been in steady training throughout his career and never seems to miss a beat.

Derby Points (95)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48 (12/40) at Santa Anita on April 3.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to an effortless tally in New Mexico and had his first Kentucky Derby workout earlier this month.

Derby Points (58)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Gem of consistency might appreciate getting away from the demanding Gulfstream Park surface.

Derby Points (76)

  1. ONE LUCKY DANE (Lookin At Lucky – Echo Haarbor, by Boston Harbor) one lucky dane silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Michael Lund Petersen

Last Start: 2nd in G1 SA Derby on April 4.

Comments: Last year’s 6th place BC Juvenile finisher jumped into the Derby fray in a hurry this season with a smart Optional Claiming win March 19 and a runner-up to stablemate Dortmund in the SA Derby on April 4.

Derby Points (40)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882.

Derby Points (100)

  1. WAR STORY (Northern Afleet – Belle Watling, by Pulpit) war story silks

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Loooch Racing Stable

Last Start: 3rd in G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Comments: Hard-trying gelding qualified for the big dance with a 2nd in the G3 Lecomte, another 2nd in the G2 Risen Star, and a 3rd in the G2 LA Derby.

Derby Points (44)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) The Truth Or Else, (14) Bolo, (15) Itsaknockout, (16) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (17) Stanford, (18) Madefromlucky, (19) Mubtaahij, (20) Danzig Moon, (21) Tencendur, (22) Keen Ice, (23) Frammento, (24) Bold Conquest, (25) Ami’s Flatter

Kentucky Derby 2015: SA Derby video + Wood Memorial analysis

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: SA Derby video

Santa Anita Derby favorite Dortmund makes his final Kentucky Derby 2015 trail prep start and tries to stay unbeaten on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

Dortmund has already qualified for the Kentucky Derby on points but his main rivals have not so look for Prospect Park, Bolo, and One Lucky Dane to put everything on the line at the Great Race Place.

The G1 Wood Memorial features NY lover El Kabeir vs. Florida shippers Daredevil and Frosted.

Daredevil horse

Daredevil is the Wood Memorial favorite – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#4 FROSTED (5-2) looked like he was on his way to a facile victory in the FOY but he inexplicably came to a stop in the stretch. The Gulfstream Park main track was very strange on the FOY and Florida Derby Day and McLaughlin did the right thing getting out of dodge. He is proven at Aqueduct, switches to Rosario, and might bounce back in a big way. He’s my top selection.

#6 Daredevil (9-5) loves the Belmont goo and clearly relishes one turn races. He has put up some big numbers but only has one start at seven panels in 5+ months and must prove himself around two turns.

#5 El Kabeir (3-1) owns running style versatility and always runs his race. He will be there to pick up the pieces if Frosted and-or Daredevil stub their toe.

#1 Tiz Shea D (8-1) has a ton of upside and sports a strong pedigree but I am expecting much more from the lightly raced G3 Gotham runner-up later this year.

The Wood Memorial field is completed by outsiders #2 Toasting Master (20-1), #3 Lieutenant Colonel (15-1), and #7 Tencendur (12-1).

A final note about the Wood Memorial. Far From Over was originally pointing to the Wood but came up with an injury and is off the Derby trail.

Suggested 2015 Wood Memorial Wagers:

$24 to win #4

$5 Exacta 5, 6 over 4 ($10)

$1 Trifecta Key 7 over 1, 5, 6 ($6)

Graded Recaps

G1 Florida Derby (110 BSF): Materiality ran his record to 3-for-3 with a solid win over Upstart but I am not buying the inflated speed figure. Upstart had his number taken down in an ugly renewal of the FOY and I was not impressed with the stretch run of the Florida Derby either. The Gulfstream Park main track was odd to say the least and I do not know what to make of the Kentucky Derby contenders exiting that oval.

G2 Louisiana Derby (98 BSF): International Star completed a sweep of the two turn graded Derby preps at Fair Grounds with a determined, hard fought win over Stanford in the LA Derby. War Story finished 3rd.

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

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :47.98 (3/19) at Palm Beach Downs on March 28.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

Comments: He looks like a complete standout in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, April 4.

Derby Points (64)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:11.60 (3/31) at Santa Anita on March 28.

Last Start: 1st in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: After back-to-back grueling efforts, he got a much needed easy wire job win in the San Felipe. He is the strong G1 SA Derby favorite.

Derby Points (70)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Last Start: 1st in G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 28.

Comments: My original #1 ranked Ky Derby contender when I started this list Sept. ’14. He keeps getting better but needs further improvement to make a splash on the first Saturday in May.

Derby Points (171)

  1. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f in :58.60 (2/88) at Santa Anita on March 29.

Last Start: 1st in the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Comments: Controlled the pace in all three of his graded wins and will return to Oaklawn for his final Derby prep in the Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (60)

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir silks

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.12 (2/28) at Belmont (dirt training) on March 30.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Gotham Stakes on March 7.

Comments: He added a new closing weapon to his arsenal in the Gotham Stakes. The Wood Memorial is his final Derby prep.

Derby Points (75)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to an effortless tally in New Mexico and has wrapped up his Derby prep campaign.

Derby Points (58)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Florida Derby on March 28.

Comments: Gem of consistency exits the baffling Gulfstream Park Ky Derby prep series.

Derby Points (76)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:00.45 (2/15) at Palm Meadows on March 29.

Last Start: Fading 4th in G2 Fountain of Youth.

Comments: He returns to his favorite track to compete in the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (13)

  1. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) daredevil silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.45 (23/89) at Belmont (dirt training) on March 29.

Last Start: 2nd in G2 Swale at Gulfstream Park on March 7.

Comments: He is the Wood Memorial favorite but still has some questions to answer Saturday.

Derby Points (10)

  1. PROSPECT PARK (Tapit – Quiet Romance, by Bertrando) prospect park silks

Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr. – Owner: Martin & Pam Wygod

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.20 (46/83) at Santa Anita on March 28.

Last Start: 2nd in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: Rapidly improving colt finished well for the place in the San Felipe. He is training well for the SA Derby.

Derby Points (20)

  1. MATERIALITY (Afleet Alex – Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr) materiality silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Alto Racing, LLC.

Last Start: 1st in G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28.

Comments: The last unraced 2-year-old to win the Kentucky Derby was Apollo in 1882.

Derby Points (100)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far Right, (13) War Story, (14) Classy Class, (15) The Truth Or Else, (16) Ami’s Flatter, (17) Bolo, (18) Dubai Sky, (19) Itsaknockout, (20) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (21) One Lucky Dane, (22) Stanford, (23) Conquest Typhoon, (24) Madefromlucky, (25) Tiz Shea D

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: Florida Derby analysis

Florida Derby favorite Upstart makes his final stop on the Kentucky Derby 2015 trail at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 28.

Upstart

Upstart is the Florida Derby fav – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Fountain of Youth Stakes did not look good from a visual standpoint, and Florida Derby favorites #4 Itsaknockout (2-1) and #9 Upstart (8-5) both exit that less than stellar heat. The former has upside with only three starts under his belt and the latter is a gem of consistency.

#7 MATERIALITY (7-2) is the stranger danger for Todd Pletcher. He has the same profile as 2014 Florida Derby winner Constitution and could easily make it three straight under Johnny V. He’s my top selection.

#1 Ami’s Flatter (8-1) was my longshot underneath key in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7th and he did not disappoint with a solid place finish at 13.50-1. Leading rider Javier Castellano hops aboard and he could spice up the exotics again.

Dale Romans just failed with Shackleford in the 2011 Florida Derby at almost 69-1 and he saddles another longshot this year, #3 Indianaughty (20-1). The son of Indian Charlie is bred for dirt and might move up 3rd off the shelf.

The Florida Derby field is completed by outsiders #2 Jack Tripp (20-1), #5 Quimet (20-1), #6 My Point Exactly (30-1), and #8 Dekabrist (30-1).

Suggested 2015 Florida Derby Wagers:

$20 to win #7

$4 Exacta 7 over 1, 3 ($8)

$2 Exacta 1, 3 over 7 ($4)

$1 Trifecta Key 7 over 1, 3, 4, 9 ($12)

.50 cent Trifecta 4, 7, 9 with 4, 7, 9 with 1, 3 ($6)

Graded Recaps

G3 Spiral (92 BSF): Dubai Sky was always traveling well from the outside and comfortably finished in front of Conquest Typhoon and Firespike.

G3 Sunland Derby (97 BSF): Firing Line could not have had an easier final Derby prep, winning by the length of the grandstand under jockey Gary Stevens. Where’s the Moon was more than fourteen lengths back in 2nd and Pain and Misery landed the show.

Check out my written analysis of the 2015 Louisiana Derby at HorseRacingNation.com!

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

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Latest Published Workout: 4f in :48.92 (7/30) at Palm Beach Downs on March 21.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

Comments: He will have his final Derby prep in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, April 4.

Derby Points (64)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:12 (2/18) at Santa Anita on March 21.

Last Start: 1st in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: After back-to-back grueling efforts, he got a much needed easy wire job win in the San Felipe. The SA Derby on April 4 is next.

Derby Points (70)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:02.47 (19/30) at Gulfstream on March 22.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Risen Star.

Comments: He drew the outside post in the G2 LA Derby at Fair Grounds on March 28.

Derby Points (71)

  1. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Comments: Controlled the pace in all three of his graded wins and will return to Oaklawn for his final Derby prep in the Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (60)

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir silks

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.90 (1/23) at Belmont (dirt training) on March 22.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Gotham Stakes on March 7.

Comments: He added a new closing weapon to his arsenal in the Gotham Stakes. The Wood Memorial is his final Derby prep.

Derby Points (75)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 5f in :59.55 (4/24) at Palm Meadows on March 21.

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. He is the Florida Derby favorite.

Derby Points (36)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.85 (1/18) at Palm Meadows on March 20.

Last Start: Fading 4th in G2 Fountain of Youth.

Comments: He returns to his favorite track to compete in the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (13)

  1. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) daredevil silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable

Latest Published Workout: 4f bullet in :48.40 (1/30) at Palm Beach Downs on March 21.

Last Start: 2nd in G2 Swale.

Comments: A solid place finish in his Swale return should set him up nicely for the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (10)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Last Start: 1st in G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Comments: After two grueling defeats to Dortmund, he cruised to an effortless tally in New Mexico and has wrapped up his Derby prep campaign.

Derby Points (58)

  1. PROSPECT PARK (Tapit – Quiet Romance, by Bertrando) prospect park silks

Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr. – Owner: Martin & Pam Wygod

Latest Published Workout: 6f bullet in 1:11 (1/8) at San Luis Rey on March 21.

Last Start: 2nd in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: Rapidly improving colt earned important Derby points in the San Felipe. He is reportedly training well for the Santa Anita Derby.

Derby Points (20)

  1. FAR FROM OVER (Blame – Alchemist, by A. P. Indy) Far From Over silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Black Rock Thoroughbreds, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.76 (7/8) at Palm Beach Downs on March 21.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Withers at Aqueduct on Feb 7.

Comments: Skipped the Gotham and goes next in the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (10)

Honorable Mention: (12) Itsaknockout, (13) Far Right, (14) War Story, (15) Mr. Z, (16) The Truth Or Else, (17) Classy Class, (18) Ami’s Flatter, (19) Bolo, (20) Dubai Sky, (21) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (22) One Lucky Dane, (23) Materiality, (24) Conquest Typhoon, (25) Madefromlucky

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 contenders: Spiral Stakes preview

All-weather specialists take center stage on the Kentucky Derby 2015 trail in Saturday’s Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park.

American Pharoah

American Pharoah romps in the Rebel – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Royal Son went all the way in the local prep for the Spiral and looks like the target from the rail.

1-3 El Camino Real Derby finishers Metaboss and Conquest Typhoon square off again on a different synthetic surface and both merit respect.

Imperia has scratched from the Spiral Stakes for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Check out my HRN written analysis of the 2015 Spiral Stakes!

On Sunday, Firing Line gets away from Dortmund and looms a strong favorite in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.

Graded Recaps

G2 Rebel (100 BSF): American Pharoah began his sophomore season with a stylish wire job over a wet track. Bob Baffert absolutely owns the Derby preps at Oaklawn and his juvenile champion is expected to return to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby.

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

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Last Start: 1st in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

Comments: He is expected to have his final Derby prep in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, April 4.

Derby Points (64)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Last Start: 1st in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: After back-to-back grueling efforts, he got a much needed easy wire job win in the San Felipe. The SA Derby is next.

Derby Points (70)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:02.83 (9/18) at Gullfstream on March 14.

Last Start: 1st in G2 Risen Star.

Comments: Lecomte-Risen Star will probably return to Fair Grounds for the G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Derby Points (71)

  1. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Comments: Controlled the pace in all three of his graded wins and will return to Oaklawn for his final Derby prep in the Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (60)

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir silks

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in G3 Gotham Stakes on March 7.

Comments: The former early-pressing type added a new closing weapon to his arsenal in the Gotham Stakes. The Wood Memorial is next.

Derby Points (75)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:13.40 (2/4) at Palm Meadows on March 13.

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. The Florida Derby is his next engagement.

Derby Points (36)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 5f bullet in :59.85 (1/18) at Palm Meadows on March 20.

Last Start: Fading 4th in G2 Fountain of Youth.

Comments: He competes next in Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (13)

  1. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) daredevil silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable

Last Start: 2nd in G2 Swale.

Comments: A solid place finish in his Swale return should set him up nicely for an upcoming two turn Derby prep, possibly the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (10)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Latest Published Workout: 5f in :59.80 (8/50) at Santa Anita on March 15.

Last Start: 2nd in G3 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb 7.

Comments: Gave undefeated Dortmund a big scare in the Los Al Futurity and Robert Lewis Stakes. He’s the strong choice in the G3 Sunland Derby on March 22.

Derby Points (8)

  1. PROSPECT PARK (Tapit – Quiet Romance, by Bertrando) prospect park silks

Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr. – Owner: Martin & Pam Wygod

Last Start: 2nd in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: Rapidly improving colt earned important Derby points in the San Felipe. Up next is the Santa Anita Derby.

Derby Points (20)

  1. FAR FROM OVER (Blame – Alchemist, by A. P. Indy) Far From Over silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Black Rock Thoroughbreds, LLC.

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:01.03 (1/4) at Palm Beach Downs on March 14.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Withers.

Comments: Skipped the Gotham and goes next in the Wood Memorial.

Derby Points (10)

Honorable Mention: (12) Itsaknockout, (13) Far Right, (14) War Story, (15) Mr. Z, (16) The Truth Or Else, (17) Metaboss, (18) Classy Class, (19) Royal Son, (20) Ami’s Flatter, (21) Bolo, (22) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (23) Ocean Knight, (24) Imperia, (25) One Lucky Dane

KENTUCKY DERBY 2015 Contenders: Rebel Stakes video featuring American Pharoah

Two-year-old champion American Pharoah begins his march towards Kentucky Derby 2015 in Saturday’s Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

American Pharoah looms a short priced wire-to-wire winner on Saturday. Bob Baffert owns the Rebel Stakes and his promising colt is training lights out for his first start in more than five months.

Graded Recaps

G2 San Felipe (104 BSF): Dortmund needed an easy race and got it here. He went straight to the front and comfortably went all the way to remain undefeated. The improving Prospect Park finished 2nd and turf specialist Bolo ended up a respectable 3rd.

G2 Tampa Bay Derby (98 BSF): Carpe Diem remains my top ranked Derby contender after a facile win to begin his sophomore campaign in Florida. Queen’s Plate favorite Ami’s Flatter added lasix and blinkers and finished a decent 2nd. Diving Rod was 3rd and Ocean Knight finished up the track in a very disappointing effort. Souper Colossal spiked a temperature and scratched. He is feeling better now but is off the Derby trail.

G3 Gotham (89 BSF): El Kabeir showed a new rallying dimension and continues to rack up Derby points. His versatility is a big weapon, along with his professionalism. Lightly raced and well-bred Tiz Shea D was 2nd and Classy Class crossed the line in 3rd.

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

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Last Start: 1st in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

Comments: He is expected to have his final Derby prep in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, April 4.

Derby Points (64)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Last Start: 1st in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: After back-to-back grueling efforts, he got a much needed easy wire job win in the San Felipe.

Derby Points (70)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Last Start: 1st in G2 Risen Star.

Comments: Lecomte-Risen Star will probably return to Fair Grounds for the G2 LA Derby on March 28.

Derby Points (71)

  1. AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Published Workout: 6f from the gate in 1:10.40 (1/36) at Santa Anita on March 6.

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 Saturday is next.

Derby Points (10)

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir silks

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in G3 Gotham Stakes on March 7.

Comments: The former early-pressing type added a new closing weapon to his arsenal in the Gotham Stakes.

Derby Points (75)

  1. TEXAS RED (Afleet Alex – Ramatuelle, by Jeune Homme) texas red silks

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Last Start: Close 2nd in G2 San Vicente on Feb 1.

Comments: Used swimming therapy (through March 7) to help heal his foot abscess and is expected to return to the worktab at Santa Anita on March 14. 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)

  1. UPSTART (Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold) upstart silks

Trainer: Richard Violette – Owner: Ralph M. Evans

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:13.40 (2/4) at Palm Meadows on March 13.

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)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Published Workout: 6f in 1:11.65 (1/4) at Palm Meadows on March 13.

Last Start: Fading 4th in G2 Fountain of Youth.

Comments: He competes next in the Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, or Blue Grass.

Derby Points (13)

  1. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) daredevil silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable

Last Start: 2nd in G2 Swale.

Comments: A solid place finish in his Swale return should set him up nicely for an upcoming two turn Derby prep.

Derby Points (10)

  1. FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (8/22) at Santa Anita on March 8.

Last Start: 2nd in G3 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb 7.

Comments: Gave undefeated Dortmund a big scare in the Los Al Futurity and Robert Lewis Stakes.

Derby Points (8)

  1. PROSPECT PARK (Tapit – Quiet Romance, by Bertrando) prospect park silks

Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr. – Owner: Martin & Pam Wygod

Last Start: 2nd in G2 San Felipe on March 7.

Comments: Rapidly improving colt earned important Derby points in the San Felipe.

Derby Points (20)

Honorable Mention: (12) Far From Over, (13) Itsaknockout, (14) Far Right, (15) War Story, (16) Mr. Z, (17) Imperia, (18) The Truth Or Else, (19) Metaboss, (20) Classy Class, (21) Royal Son, (22) Ami’s Flatter, (23) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (24) Ocean Knight, (25) Bolo

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