Archive for September, 2012

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

This is my first in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders. Once again I am getting an early start in September and there will be many twists and turns in the months ahead.

Kentucky Derby 2013

Eight of the last twelve Kentucky Derby winners graduated by October 4 including six of the last seven. Kentucky Derby 2012 hero I’ll Have Another captured his career debut at Hollywood Park on July 3 of his juvenile season.

My list below is based on a combination of promise shown and distance breeding. Stay Thirsty occupied the top spot at this stage two years ago and Alpha was my early top dog for Derby 138. They finished up the track on the first Saturday in May but both blossomed in the summer with wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga. Maybe I should call this the Travers 2013 contenders blog!

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 Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

1. Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Reminds me of Stay Thirsty and Alpha. Love the long winded pedigree. He graduated in 6.5f bow and finished solid 2nd in G2 Hopeful. Sprinting is probably not his game and he should continue to develop for McLaughlin/Godolphin. The G1 Champagne on 10-6 is his next target. Breezed 5f in :59 (1/3) at Greentree Training Center on 9-22.

2. Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero continues to train well and will probably show up in Keeneland’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity. Garrett Gomez rode him last time for Tom Proctor. Fired a 5f bullet in 1:00 (1/13) at Arlington Park on 9-24.

3. Know More (Lion Heart) – From same connections as I’ll Have Another. Debuted a winner in G2 Best Pal and rallied for the place in G1 Del Mar Futurity. Entered in the G1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita on 9-29.

4. Archwarrior(Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He is listed as definite for the G1 Champagne. Breezed 5f in 1:00.22 (3/23) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24.

5. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga debut on 9-1. Yet another exciting prospect for Pletcher. Breezed 5f in 1:00.22 (3/23) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24. He could show up next in the G1 Champagne or Dover Stakes at Delaware.

6. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 3-for-3 with a decisive win in the G2 Hopeful (88 BSF). Not sure how far he wants to go but he is off to a flying start for Pletcher. The Champagne is probably next and he breezed 4f in :49.47 (16/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24.

7. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation in his second lifetime start for Chad Brown. He has only run on turf so far but seems like the type to run all day. Brown is considering the Oct 7 Pilgrim at Belmont on turf or the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on synthetic ground. Brown also has sharp debut winner Noble Tune for the Pilgrim.

8. Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8 (exciting prospect Orb was 4th). Todd Pletcher trainee breezed 4f in :49.48 (17/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24. He might be headed to the Breeders’ Futurity.

9. Gabriel Charles (Street Hero) – Game nose victory in Del Mar bow and ended up a troubled 6th in Del Mar Futurity. He looks to rebound in the FrontRunner for Jeff Mullins.

10. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed smartly in Del Mar sprint bow and followed that up with an even 4th in the Del Mar Futurity. He goes next in the FrontRunner for John Sadler.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – $340k Keeneland sales grad rolled a pair of 3’s to begin his career at Del Mar. Baffert runner owns a promising route pedigree and is entered in the 1st race at Santa Anita on 9-29.

Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Sharp debut win (93 BSF) for Doug O’Neill/Leandro Mora on 9-2. He is expected to contest the G1 Champagne at Belmont on 10-6. Worked 6f in 1:16.20 (2/3) at Hollywood Park on 9-26.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Blew the break and rallied to finish a strong 3rd in his bow. McGaughey’s promising colt flopped at low odds (fractious gate) going a flat mile at Belmont second time out. He has raw talent but lacks maturity at this stage. Breezed 4f in :51.03 (18/23) at Belmont Park on 9-26.

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase is still a maiden after three starts but he keeps improving for Baffert. G1 FrontRunner is next and he might get brave if able to sneak away early.

Title Contender (Pulpit) – Set the pace and held the show behind subsequent stakes winner Dry Summer in his Del Mar bow July 28. Baffert’s $310k purchase is entered in the opening race at Santa Anita on 9-29.

Injured Reserve

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Smart second time out maiden tally for Pletcher at the Spa on 8-4. He is out of action with bucked shins.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is out for 60 days with bucked shins.

Beyond the Crown – Alpha shares Travers trophy

Last Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, it appeared as though Golden Ticket was going to shock the world at 33-1 in the Travers but post time favorite Alpha wanted to be part of the party as well and surged late to share in the spoils.

Alpha and Golden Ticket

Alpha & Golden Ticket put on a show in Travers- photo courtesy of NYRA

Golden Ticket saved all of the ground under David Cohen and needed every advantage to tie with my top ranked sophomore Alpha, who sat an outer stalking trip under Ramon Dominguez. Golden Ticket will have to prove that he is more than a one-hit wonder before he joins my top ten.

I began my Derby Top 10 list right after Del Mar/Saratoga in September in 2010 and 2011 and will do the same this year. In an interesting side note, my initial number one in 201o was Stay Thirsty and Alpha was the early juvenile boss this time around. Both Bernardini colts went on to capture the Jim Dandy and Travers during their sophomore campaigns. Maybe I should rename my future road to the Derby blogs for the Travers trail!

Dullahan traveled west and toppled salty older foes Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid in the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug 26. He sure adores synthetic, specifically Polytrack, and is probably the best in the business on that footing. He crashes back to earth on conventional dirt so if he ends up in the Breeders’ Cup it will likely be on turf.

Since my last report, Paynter resumed training at the Spa but got sick again and is fighting colitis at a clinic in New York. Bodemeister, Hansen, and Street Life have all been retired. It has been a tough year for the sophomore class with numerous injuries and premature retirements.

Checking in with former top ten members, B Shanny won a sprint at the Spa on 8-12. Consortium recently returned to the worktab for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Fire On Ice and O’Prado Again are getting close to a race.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Controlled the pace in Jim Dandy and stalked/pounced his way to a share of the Travers (100 BSF) title on Aug 25. The Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on 9-22 could be next.

2. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions and looked great capturing his first graded stakes in the Haskell. He is currently battling colitis at a clinic in NY…get well soon.


What’s next for synthetic specialist Dullahan? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic (111 BSF). Let’s see if Romans and company can avoid the temptation to try dirt again.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – He came out of the Derby with a foot bruise and spit the bit in his disappointing Haskell return. He breezed 4f in :48.15 (6/54) at Saratoga on 8-26 and could meet up with Alpha in the PA Derby.

5. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31. He could be a major player in the Strub Series this winter at Santa Anita.

6. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He handles dirt but might be better on synthetic.

7. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer gamely chased Alpha home in the Jim Dandy and finished 6th in the Travers. He does his best work at Churchill Downs.

8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon. Mandella’s $900k purchase appears tailor-made for Santa Anita’s G1 Malibu on Dec 26.

9. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. Look for him to cut back in distance next time as ten panels is a bit beyond his range at this point.

10. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee looks like and up and coming sprinter.