Archive for March 1st, 2012

Gotham Stakes 2012 Preview: Hansen seeks redemption

The next-to-last major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep in New York will be run at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday and juvenile champ Hansen tries to get back on the beam in the G3 Gotham Stakes.

Hansen horse

Is Hansen a legit Kentucky Derby contender? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#12 Hansen (6-5) removes the hood in hopes of relaxing a bit in the early going. He used too much early energy after stumbling at the start off the shelf in the G3 Holy Bull and it cost him dearly in the lane. I have always thought the 2-year-old champion was a speedy colt with distance limitations and he figures to take too much action under Dominguez. As of this writing, there is a 100% chance of rain at the Big A on March 3 and the strong morning line favorite handles any type of ground.

#2 Stealcase (12-1) is an interesting price player for Mark Casse. He was favored in all three career starts and smartly moved forward to earn his diploma over a route of ground at Gulfstream Jan 19. Windsurfer, the clear place finisher from his last, came back to break his maiden as the favorite. He finished 4th on Dec 24 and that key heat produced multiple next out winners including Thunder Moccasin in the G2 Hutcheson. The promising sort has faced decent runners and is on the improve.

#5 Maan (15-1) won both sprint starts for Eddie Kenneally (Santiva, Battle Hardened) including a stalk and pounce tally in the slop at the Gulf Feb 9. The $200k purchase is bred to go this far but must avoid a bounce.

#1 My Adonis (5-1) rallied for the show in the G3 Holy Bull. He handles any footing and is capable of stalking the pace or rallying late, depending on the race shape. His only bad race occurred when he dueled on a fast pace and faltered in the G3 Delta Jackpot.

#13 Tiger Walk (12-1) matched his career top number in a show finish behind Alpha in the G3 Withers here Feb 4. The Sagamore Farm colt has some talent and new pilot Eddie Castro will try to work out a tactical trip from a tough post.

#10 Side Road (20-1) replaces injured colt Consortium for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Darley Stable colorbearer is on the upswing and can grab a piece of this with further development.

#9 King And Crusader (15-1) could throw a monkey wrench into Hansen’s theft plans. Rick Dutrow’s fleet colt has rattled off three straight and looms a pace player at the very least. He might not want to go this far against this type of competition.

It would not be a Derby prep without Todd Pletcher and he takes two shots at the top prize. #6 Dan And Shelia (8-1) rallied to finish 4th in a slow renewal of the G3 Lecomte but that was only his second lifetime start so he has upside. Uncoupled stablemate #8 Raconteur (15-1) owns fine tactical speed and exits back-to-back inner track route victories. He is bred for a wet track and gets tested for class.

#3 Finnegans Wake (20-1) is one of two uncoupled longshots entered for Dale Romans. This one is owned by Donegal Racing (Dullahan, Paddy O’Prado) and goes turf-to-dirt. Stablemate #7 Suns Out Guns Out (30-1) is still a maiden for West Point Thoroughbreds. The son of Empire Maker is getting better but this is a tough spot.

#4 Pretension (20-1) has fired Exacta shots in all five lifetime starts. The decent NY-bred projects a tactical trip but might find this group a tad salty.

#11 Done Talking (20-1) was last seen rallying for 4th in the G2 Remsen. He has some ability but might need the outing.

The Plays:

$20 to win #2

$1 Trifecta 2-5/1-2-5-12/1-2-5-10-12-13 ($24)

Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders – Union Rags, El Padrino score

A pair of Kentucky Derby 2012 graded route preps were run last weekend and Union Rags made a big splash in his sophomore debut in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.

Union Rags

Union Rags runs away with FOY - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The quality/depth of the FOY took a big hit with the defection of Algorithms and Union Rags rolled past his overmatched rivals in a facile triumph. He has been my top ranked Derby contender since November 2011 and obviously holds on to that spot.

Discreet Dancer was the post time favorite and controlling speed but recently spiked a temperature, had suspect route breeding, and weakened to 3rd for Todd Pletcher.

In New Orleans on Saturday, El Padrino got his nose down on the line to nip a stubborn Mark Valeski in the G2 Risen Star. I have always like the Pletcher trainee and even more so after his game victory on Feb 25. He has strong classic breeding, fine tactical speed, a winning spirit, and has shown the ability to handle any footing.

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

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – Remains at the top of the heap following a strong return tally in the G2 Fountain of Youth (95 BSF). The March 31 Florida Derby is next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,070,000  

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet and Withers (90 BSF) and was on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. Breezed 4f in :49.71 (30/46) at Palm Meadows on Feb 25. Look for him in March 31 Florida Derby or April 7 Wood Memorial. Graded Earnings: $180,000  

El Padrino

El Padrino wins Risen Star - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Gamely captured G2 Risen Star (98 BSF) at Fair Grounds on Feb 25. He handles any footing and goes next in Florida Derby or April 1 Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $200,000  

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory to end juvenile campaign for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. He fired a 5f bullet in 1:00.92 (1/29) at Palm Meadows on Feb 26. Might begin 3yo season in Oaklawn’s G2 Rebel on March 17. Graded Earnings: $103,855  

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – BC Juvenile show finisher occupied that same spot in G2 San Vicente on Feb 19. He worked 6f in 1:11.80 (1/1) at Hollywood Park on Feb 28 and goes next in G2 San Felipe (March 10) or G2 Rebel.  Graded Earnings: $506,000  

6. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA is next. Worked 7f in 1:25.60 (1/3) at Hollywood Park on Feb 27. Graded Earnings: $60,000

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt passed his second route test in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) at Oaklawn on Feb 20. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he is fast and deserves another route shot. Graded Earnings: $170,000  

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Breezed 5f in 1:01.29 (5/29) at Palm Meadows on Feb 26. The Tampa Bay Derby might be next. Graded Earnings: $98,400

9. 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. Graded Earnings: $1,160,000

10. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Back-to-back flat mile wins at Santa Anita. Worked 6f in 1:13.40 (3/12) on Feb 29 and makes his graded stakes debut for Baffert in San Felipe.

Exciting Prospects

Castaway (Street Sense) – Baffert trainee won slower division of Southwest (92 BSF) in his first start against winners. Graded Earnings – $150,000

Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 5f in 1:01.80 (14/22) at Gulfstream Park on Feb 25. Graded Earnings: $150,000

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Currently fighting a foot bruise. Sheppard still hopes to make Gulfstream’s G2 Swale at seven panels on March 10. Graded Earnings: $33,502

Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Look for Larry Jones trainee in Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $60,000

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in San Pedro. He worked 7f in 1:24.80 (1/2) at Santa Anita and will try two turns and graded company in San Felipe.

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 5f in 1:03.22 (4/7) at Palm Meadows on Feb 14. Graded Earnings: $40,000

Injured Reserve

Algorithms horse

Algorithms is off the Kentucky Derby trail - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury. He will have surgery soon and is off the Triple Crown trail.

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.

Consortium (Bernardini) – Ankle chip has knocked him out of the Gotham and off the Derby trail. He is expected to return later this year.

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.

Junebugred (Corinthian) – Smarty Jones Stakes hero is off the Derby trail with a bone chip in his ankle.

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.”