Archive for March 30th, 2012

Louisiana Derby 2012 Preview: Is Mark Valeski the real deal?

The Fair Grounds sophomores complete their Kentucky Derby 2012 road in Sunday’s Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Mark Valeski tries to prove that he is a worthy morning line favorite.

Pace

Early-Pressers:

Cigar Street
Mark Valeski
Arm Force
Comisky’s Humor
Hero of Order

Stalkers:

Fire Alarm
Windsurfer
Mr. Bowling
Z Dager
Afford

Late Runners:

Finnegans Wake
Flashy Sunrise
Shared Property
Rousing Sermon

Analysis:

#7 SHARED PROPERTY (10-1) experienced wide trips in the G3 Lecomte (3rd from post 13) and G2 Risen Star (4th from post 10). He captured a Graded event as a juvenile, gets a much better draw (post 6), fired a local bullet March 19, and dons the hood for sharp trainer Tom Amoss. #3 Windsurfer (12-1) is on the upswing for Pletcher/Winstar Farm. The talented colt won despite a wide trip at the Gulf Feb 18 and was flattered when the runner-up returned to score. The $190k purchase fired a Palm Meadows bullet for this March 18 and projects an inner tactical trip under Johnny V. #1a Mark Valeski (2-1) did everything but win the G2 Risen Star. He stalked, pounced, and was nipped on the line by favorite El Padrino in his first route try for Larry Jones. The improving son of Proud Citizen should make his presence felt throughout under Napravnik.

Wagering Strategies:

$15 to win #7
$5 to win #3
$5 Exacta 7/1-3 ($10)
$5 Exacta 1-3/7 ($10) 

Florida Derby 2012 Preview: Can El Padrino Beat Union Rags?

The final major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Gulfstream Park will be held March 31 and Union Rags is the strong 6-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags a slam dunk in the Florida Derby? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#6 Union Rags (6-5) has been part of my Derby Top 10 since I started the list last September, and he has occupied my top spot since last November. The uncrowned juvenile champ looked great in his facile G2 Fountain of Youth return but there was not much behind him that day. He has over $1 million in graded earnings and figures to be no worse than 2nd in his final Derby prep.

#8 El Padrino (2-1) might have the tactical edge in here since he drew outside of heavy favorite and fellow stalker Union Rags. Castellano might park him on the flank of the aforementioned fav and bide his time. The G2 Risen Star hero owns the best numbers, has been battle tested, and smartly scored here in January. Should be an interesting chess match between Castellano and Leparoux, and remember that the former gave up the mount on Union Rags earlier this year!

#1 Fort Loudon (20-1) has some tactical speed in a race that came up light on pace and might try to take advantage of the inside post. He showed some ability as a juvenile but has struggled against better graded company in his last three. Jurado rides him well and a minor award is not impossible.

#4 Neck ‘N Neck (20-1) had some early trouble (bumped, steadied) in the FOY (blinkers on). He failed to seriously threaten graded rivals in his last pair but his numbers are on the rise. He has earned triple digit Late Pace Ratings in his last three and should enjoy this longer trip. Edgar Prado rides.

I have always liked #3 Take Charge Indy (5-1) but he has been curiously handled this year. He began his campaign with a clear place finish behind El Padrino but scratched out of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby when he drew post 10. He has not been seen since Jan 29 and has only shows four published times since. He owns dangerous speed but has lost stretch ground in his last four and might fold his tent when Union Rags and El Padrino come running.

#9 Reveron (12-1) has fired Trifecta shots in all six starts including a win in the local GP Derby and a show finish in the G3 Sam Davis. The fresh colt removes the hood and is firing Calder bullets for this but is stuck in the outside post and seems a cut below.

#2 News Pending (8-1) received a smart ride in his FOY place finish. Kent D sensed the slow splits and wisely moved early, but he was no match for Union Rags. His numbers are going the right way but he is 0-for-4 on dirt. He reunites with winning rider Rajiv Maragh and figures to stalk the pace for trainer Dale Romans.

#8 Bartolome (30-1) exits a solid show finish in a course/distance Optional Claiming affair. He faltered badly against El Padrino and Take Charge Indy before that and seems up against it.

#5 Z Camelot (50-1) is a well-bred maiden facing graded company for Dale Romans. The $550k Keeneland sales grad set the pace and weakened to 5th when last seen in a 9f MSW turf route here Feb 23. He is over his head to say the least.

The Plays:

$10 Trifecta 6-8/6-8/1-4 ($40)

 

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – 5 weeks and counting

Went The Day Well did his older stablemate Animal Kingdom proud by winning the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24, and Daddy Nose Best solidified his Kentucky Derby 2012 contender status with a late running victory in the G3 Sunland Derby (March 25).

Daddy Nose Best

Daddy Nose Best captures Sunland Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

In other Derby prep news, Dullahan had his second setback but is still expected to make the G1 Blue Grass Stakes. He had a cough during the winter and recently missed several days of training with a splint injury No published works since 3-3 but he did gallop over the muddy main track at Gulfstream Park on 3-28. I am dropping him off my list again because he has only raced once this year with a pair of setbacks.

Castaway drops off the Exciting Prospects list after dueling and fading as the favorite in the Sunland Derby.

Discreet Dancer is not injured but is off the Derby trail. He will go to Ocala for some rest and is expected to resume his career later this year.

G2 San Vicente hero Drill, an original member of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 list from last September, will make his next start in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.

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 squares off against El Padrino in Saturday's Florida Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender looked great in G2 Fountain of Youth. He breezed 4f in :49.10 (13/41) at Palm Meadows on March 24. 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. Breezed 4f in :49.17 (6/21) at Palm Meadows on March 30. The G1 Wood Memorial on 4-7 is next. 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. Breezed 4f in :49.11 (9/22) at Palm Meadows on March 25. Graded Earnings: $200,000 

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – G2 Ky Jockey Club hero returned in the pink at the Gulf on March 16. The undefeated WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner will have his final Derby prep in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7. 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 worked 6f in 1:12.80 (2/9) at Hollywood Park on 3-28 and 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 breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (6/6) at Churchill (training track) on 3-24. His new target is the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Captured back-to-back graded routes at Oaklawn in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) and G2 Rebel (92 BSF). He drilled a 5f bullet in :58.40 (1/37) at Santa Anita on 3-29 and is expected to return to Hot Springs for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14. Graded Earnings: $470,000

8. 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. Worked 5f in 1:01.57 (6/20) at Palm Meadows on March 24. Graded Earnings: $98,400  

9. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Fired 5f bullet in 1:00.60 (1/14) at Fair Grounds on 3-27. Sunday’s G2 Louisiana Derby is next. Graded Earnings: $60,000 

10. Daddy Nose Best (Scat Daddy) – Back-to-back nine furlong wins in G3 El Camino Real Derby and G3 Sunland Derby (100 BSF). Late running Asmussen trainee can run on anything. Graded Earnings: $545,558

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 worked 4f in :46.80 (2/41) at Santa Anita on 3-23 and looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Arkansas Derby on 4-14. Graded Earnings: $60,000 

2. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero was clearly second best behind romping, undefeated colt Gemologist at the Gulf on 3-16. Worked 5f in 1:00 (2/9) at Gulfstream on 3-27 and could go next in G3 Illinois Derby on 4-7. Graded Earnings: $150,000  

Went The Day Well

Is Went The Day Well the next Animal Kingdom? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Ended up a respectable 3rd in his G2 San Felipe, his first start around two turns. He fired a 6f bullet at Santa Anita on March 30 and goes next in the G1 SA Derby on April 7.  Graded Earnings: $36,000

4. 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 in Wood Memorial or Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:03 (3/4) at Churchill Downs on 3-27. Graded Earnings: $365,452

5. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Motion/Team Valor. He was green in the stretch and might run one more time before the Derby, with the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on 4-21 a logical target. Graded Earnings: $282,000Injured 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.”