KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Key graded wins for Creative Cause, Prospective

There were a pair of graded routes on the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail last weekend and Creative Cause pleaded his case in Santa Anita’s G2 San Felipe Stakes.

Creative Cause Kentucky Derby 2012

Creative Cause won his third graded race on Saturday - photo by Eclipse sportswire

Creative Cause has been a Derby hopeful for quite some time and he took another step forward at the Great Race Place on Saturday. He wore down a stubborn Bodemeister and garnered a fine 102 BSF. The talented son of Giant’s Causeway was goofing off in the stretch and needs to keep his mind on business if he expects to make a serious dent under the Twin Spires.

Bodemeister was giving up valuable experience and seasoning to the winner but he almost made up for it on raw talent. He did all of the pace dirty work and did everything but win. The Bob Baffert trainee was unraced as a juvenile and probably won’t win the Derby but his early-pressing speed will always give him a chance to shine, especially over the speed conducive Santa Anita oval.

Midnight Transfer performed admirably to land the show in his first start around two turns. He clearly has talent but it remains to be seen how far he really wants to go.

Prospective won the second graded route of his career in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby. He showed improved positional speed with the addition of blinkers and earned an 88 BSF for his efforts. At this point, he is not fast enough to wear the roses on the first Saturday in May, but he seems like the type to spice up the exotics. He could make his final Derby prep in the Wood Memorial.

Ever So Lucky finished a distant 3rd in the G2 Swale Stakes and is not expected to make the Kentucky Derby. He drops off the exciting prospects list.

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 Kentucky Derby 2012

Union Rags should get tested in G1 Florida Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender remains at the top of the heap following impressive return tally in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He breezed 4f in :50.76 (48/51) at Palm Meadows on March 10. The Florida Derby on 3-31 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 and was finally on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. Breezed 5f in 1:01.21 (10/19) at Palm Meadows on March 10. Look for him in Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, or possibly the Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $180,000

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 Louisiana Derby. Breezed 4f in :48.08 (2/40) at Palm Meadows on March 12. Graded Earnings: $200,000

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory to end undefeated juvenile campaign for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. He breezed 4f in :49.77 (25/40) at Palm Meadows on March 12. Begins 3yo season in flat mile allowance affair at Gulfstream Park on March 16. Graded Earnings: $103,855

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Captured his second graded route in G2 San Felipe (102 BSF) at Santa Anita on 3-10. He probably goes next in G1 SA Derby on April 7. Graded Earnings: $686,000

6. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He will train in Kentucky before returning to Aqueduct for the G1 Wood Memorial on April 7. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt passed his second route test in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) at Oaklawn on Feb 20. Saturday’s G2 Rebel is next and he worked 6f in 1:11.60 (2/16) at Santa Anita on March 10. Graded Earnings: $170,000

8. Dullahan (Even the Score) – Returns to my top ten after rallying for the place in grassy, nine furlong G3 Palm Beach Stakes at the Gulf on 3-11, his first start since BC Juvenile. The April 14 Blue Grass is expected to be his final Derby prep. Graded Earnings: $375,000

9. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Scratched out of Tampa Bay Derby in favor of Florida Derby. Fired 4f bullet in :47.66 (1/36) at Palm Meadows on March 4. Graded Earnings: $98,400 

10. 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 

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Followed up 101 BSF maiden romp with another 101 BSF in San Felipe runner-up effort on 3-10. He looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Santa Anita Derby. Graded Earnings: $60,000

2. Castaway (Street Sense) – Baffert trainee won slower division of Southwest (92 BSF) in his first start against winners. Worked 6f in 1:11.40 (2/16) at Santa Anita on 3-10. G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park is next. Graded Earnings – $150,000

3. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero has recovered from ankle surgery and worked 6f from the gate in 1:11.40 (1/3) at Gulfstream Park on 3-10. He will face Gemologist at the Gulf on March 16. Graded Earnings: $150,000  

4. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Ended up a respectable 3rd in his G2 San Felipe, his first start around two turns. He deserves a shot in the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Graded Earnings: $36,000 

5. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – Professional winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (88 BSF) for Mark Casse. Blinkers helped him get involved earlier and he will face better next time (Wood Memorial?). Graded Earnings: $365,452

Injured Reserve (in alphabetical order):

1. Algorithms – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury and is off the Triple Crown trail.

2. 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.

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

4. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Hind-end issue has knocked him off the Derby trail, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

5. 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.

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

7. 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.

8. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – G3 Sham hero goes to the sidelines after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. He is off the Triple Crown trail.

9. Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – According to Bob Baffert via Twitter, Sky Kingdom needs 60 days off and is no longer on the Triple Crown trail.

10. Spring Hill Farm (Smart Strike) – 4th place Tampa Bay Derby finisher goes to the sidelines with a right knee fracture. He will have surgery and his racing future is unknown at this time.

11. Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He is expected to miss at least two months and could return this summer.

12. 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.”

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