Archive for February 1st, 2012

Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders: Algorithms, El Padrino Shine in Florida

A pair of Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders emerged at Gulfstream Park on Sunday and Todd Pletcher conditions both. Algorithms rolled past juvenile champ Hansen in the G3 Holy Bull and El Padrino scored a sharp allowance victory over Take Charge Indy.

Algorithms

Algorithms beats Hansen in Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms (98 BSF) is getting the bulk of the press because he secured graded earnings against the 2-year-old champion but El Padrino (100 BSF) won around two turns and earned a better number.

Both colts still have some questions to answer but I have always been fond of El Padrino and he is the stronger Derby prospect at this stage.

El Padrino has a very nice route pedigree and should continue to move forward but it should be noted that both of his wins were accomplished on wet tracks.

Algorithms gets stamina from sire Bernardini but dam Ava Knowsthecode is best known for throwing quality sprinter Justin Phillip and turf sprinter/miler Successful Mission. She also tossed 2006 Kentucky Derby starter Keyed Entry, but he finished 20th and last on the first Saturday in May.

Hansen

Is Hansen a legit Derby threat? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Hansen drops to the bottom of my list after setting the pace and holding the place in his Holy Bull return. He needs to learn how to distribute his energy more efficiently.

Consortium flopped in the Holy Bull and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

Dullahan has not had a published work since Jan 14 and exits the top ten for now. I could easily replace him with Algorithms but sharp two turn form takes precedence at this stage so Liaison joins the ranks.

Click on the names of each horse below to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

Union Rags

Union Rags breezed 5f on Jan 31 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed 5f in 1:02.74 (5/11) at Palm Meadows on Jan 31. He is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

2. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He fired a 6f in 1:11.60 (1/20) at Hollywood Park on Jan 28 and could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – BC Juvenile also-ran bounced back in Count Fleet but was unruly in the gate again. He has been schooling at the gate and goes next in G3 Withers on Feb 4. He breezed a 5f bullet in 1:01.02 (1/14) at Belmont Park (training track) on Jan 30.

4. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is next. Worked 5f in 1:00.60 (6/19) at Hollywood Park on Jan 30.

5. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s promising colt returned with a vengeance in wet track Optional Claiming win at the Gulf on Jan 29. He earned a 100 BSF in his first start as a sophomore but must prove he is just as good on fast ground.

6. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows but has yet to show up on worktab.

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. Drilled a 5f bullet in :58.60 (1/61) at Santa Anita on Jan 28.

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He owns a strong route pedigree and should continue to improve this year.

Liaison

Liaison goes next in Saturday's Robert Lewis Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

9. Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Worked 4f in :48 (2/7) at Santa Anita on Jan 31 and is expected to be entered in Saturday’s G2 Robert Lewis Stakes.

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero and 2YO champ set the pace and held the place in Holy Bull return. He needs to relax on the lead if he expects to make a dent if future Derby graded route preps.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms (Bernardini) – A trio of sharp one-turn wins to begin career for Pletcher including G3 Holy Bull tally on Jan 29. We will learn more about his Derby prospects when he travels a route of ground.

Currency Swap – G1 Hopeful moves off the injured reserve list. He has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 3f in :36.60 (5/14) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 28.

Discreet Dancer

Discreet Dancer worked 5f at Palm Meadows on Jan 30 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7. Breezed 5f in 1:02.55 (6/16) at Palm Meadows on Jan 30.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson. Worked 5f in :59.20 (1/4) at Gulfstream on Jan 30.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in Sunday’s San Pedro. He might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe.

Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – My CashCall Futurity value top finished a respectable 4th that day but returned to impress in Jan 12 allowance route at Santa Anita. He joins stablemate Liaison in Saturday’s G2 Robert Lewis Stakes.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed 3f in :37.23 (3/6) at Palm Meadows on Jan 26.

Injured Reserve

B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Holy Bull Stakes + El Padrino

The G3 Holy Bull Stakes was the first graded prep for Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders in South Florida and Algorithms spoiled juvenile champ Hansen’s much anticipated return.

G3 Holy Bull Stakes (1-29-12): 98 BSF (Algorithms)

Algorithms

Algorithms stays undefeated in Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms remained undefeated with his first graded score for Todd Pletcher. The promising son of Bernardini is out of Cryptoclearance mare Ava Knowsthecode. He has yet to try two turns and that has me concerned because serious Derby contenders usually have route races under their belts at this stage.

Hansen always seemed a bit  suspect on stamina based on his pace to late pace ratio, also knows as energy distribution. He stumbled at the start on Sunday but failed to relax on the lead and he paid the price late. It is too early to give up on him but he needs to relax early if he is going to be competitive in upcoming graded Derby route preps.

Consortium never lifted a hoof in a puzzling effort. He may not have cared for wet footing.

Holy Bull Stakes Grade: B-

Earlier on the Gulfstream program, El Padrino captured an allowance route in fast time and stole the thunder from the aforementioned Holy Bull runners.

Gulfstream Allowance Optional Claiming (1-29-12, 7th race): 100 BSF (El Padrino)

Sunday’s 7th race from Gulfstream Park was the most impressive Derby prep I have seen up to this point. Eventual winner El Padrino stalked, pounced, and rolled past pacesetter Take Charge Indy, and it was more than thirteen lengths back to the rest.

{Keep up with the latest Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

El Padrino has all the tools you want to see in a Derby contender. He has a Kentucky Derby winning trainer (Pletcher) in his corner and a long winded pedigree (Pulpit-Giant’s Causeway). He also owns running style versatility and proved he could break open a race in his sharp maiden win last year. The only knock is that both of his wins were accomplished on wet footing.

Take Charge Indy figured to improve as a sophomore and he got off to a fine start at the Gulf on Sunday.

Casual Trick was a huge disappointment for Nick Zito. The post time favorite stalked the pace after stumbling at the start but faltered badly on the sealed wet track and finished 8th. He may not have cared for the footing.

El Padrino and Take Charge Indy have both been part of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 list since last October.

Gulfstream Allowance/Optional Claiming Grade: A-