Archive for October, 2012

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Shanghai Bobby BC Juvenile bound

This is my third in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders and Fortify remains on top after a solid if unspectacular 3rd place finish in the Grade I Champagne at Belmont Park on October 6.

The key at this stage is not to get carried away with a big performance and not to get discouraged by an average effort. The goal is to stay healthy, learn something from racing experience, and move forward next time.

Shanghai Bobby

Will Shanghai Bobby win the BC Juvenile? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Shanghai Bobby keeps on trucking after another strong effort in the Champagne but the waters get much deeper when he leaves the friendly confines of New York and tries two turns in the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita. So far so good for Pletcher’s undefeated colt.

Goldencents moves up from the exciting prospects list. He made the pace from the inside post in the Champagne and held the place in a rock solid effort. He only had one SoCal synthetic sprint win at 5.5f prior to his strong effort on Saturday and hung in there despite his lack of seasoning. He is an interesting, long term prospect.

Fortify remains my top ranked colt and I firmly believe that he will be much better around two turns next year. Each race has been a learning experience for the McLaughlin trainee and his grinding tactical style should play well over a route of ground.

It is way too early to give up on the likes of Archwarrior and Micromanage. Both Pletcher runners needed the Champagne experience and remain worth following.

Tizracer faded badly in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity but he ran well on dirt prior to that so he may not have cared for synthetic footing.

River Seven upset Uncaptured (5th of 6) in the compact G3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine. The gelded son of Johannesburg earned an 85 BSF for his efforts and secured 10 Derby points. The race did not seem particularly strong and the Ontario-bred winner is probably more likely to show up in next year’s Queen’s Plate if he stays healthy.

The Nov 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the next Derby points race (10-4-2-1). Upcoming points races include the Nov 17 Delta Jackpot, the Remsen on Nov 24, and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes under the Twin Spires on Nov 24.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) 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) – He graduated in 6.5f bow at the Spa and followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful and a 3rd in G1 Champagne. Lasix-free colt should continue to develop for McLaughlin/Godolphin. He is expected to ship to Santa Anita for the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (2).

Power Broker

Power Broker will have the home field advantage in the BC Juvenile – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. Baffert’s improving colt looks like the one to beat in the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (10).

3. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 4-for-4 with a decisive win in the G1 Champagne (94 BSF). I have a feeling that he is just more seasoned that his juvenile rivals at this point and they will catch up with him in the near future. BC Juvenile next. Derby Points (10).

4. Know More (Lion Heart) – Distant 2nd to Power Broker in FrontRunner. That was the first time he stepped on conventional dirt and his initial two turn event so it was not a bad learning experience. He will train for the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita. Derby Points (4).

5. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner. John Sadler’s colt could show up next in BC Juvenile. Worked 4f in :48.60 (9/44) at Santa Anita on 10-8. Derby Points (2).

6. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Sharp debut win (93 BSF) for Doug O’Neill/Leandro Mora on 9-2. Set the pace and gamely held the place in Belmont’s Champagne. The inexperienced colt gets bonus points for shipping across country and running well. Derby Points (4).

7. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation in his second lifetime start for Chad Brown. He scratched out of the Breeders’ Futurity in favor of the grassy G3 Bourbon (77 BSF) and rallied outside to get up late. The BC Juvenile Turf is his next assignment.

8. Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero was hardly disgraced finishing a close-up 4th (beaten 1.5 lengths) in G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He clearly has some talent but might have distance limitations. Derby Points (1).

9. Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th (beaten 7-1/4 lengths) in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He should prosper in future route races. Derby Points (1).

10. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga debut on 9-1 for Pletcher and his lack of seasoning and wide trip cost him dearly in the Champagne (5th, beaten 10 lengths). He is still a promising, long term prospect.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – $340k Keeneland sales grad chased Title Contender around the SA track on 9-29. He won’t be a maiden much longer.

Darwin (Big Brown) – Pletcher’s $1.3 million baby professionally got the job done in his 6f Belmont Park debut (94 BSF) on October 6.

Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – Ran his turf record to 2-for-2 with a visually impressive G3 Pilgrim (82 BSF) tally for Chad Brown. He might be better than stablemate Balance the Books.

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 :48.88 (10/49) at Belmont Park on 10-6.

Title Contender (Pulpit) – Rode the Santa Anita speed bias to perfection and earned identical 90 BSF as stablemate and FrontRunner hero Power Broker on 9-29. Not sure where the promising Baffert runner goes next.

Former Top Ten Members

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – 6th in Del Mar Futurity and a disappointing 7th in FrontRunner. He has raw talent but has yet to put it all together against salty afternoon rivals. Worked 4f in :47.40 (1/4) at Santa Anita (turf) on 10-6.

Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.

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 – Neck ‘n Neck wins Indiana Derby

Neck ‘n Neck, patiently handled while breaking from post eleven under Brian Hernandez Jr., rallied from 10th place to land the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Saturday.

Neck 'n Neck

Neck ‘n Neck is not expected to run in the Breeders’ Cup – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Ian Wilkes trainee clearly enjoys a mile and a sixteenth, and his fondness for Churchill Downs is well documented, so he could end up under the Twin Spires next.

Super Derby hero Bourbon Courage was up for the place and beaten favorite Fed Biz checked in a respectable 3rd.

Gemologist has been retired to WinStar Farm and is one of several high profile sophomores to hit the breeding shed much too early.

Since my last report, Paynter had surgery to remove a growth from his intestines and is on the road to recovery.

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

Alpha

The BC Classic is probably next for Alpha – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Jim Dandy/Travers hero finished a flat 6th in the PA Derby. He is currently gearing up for the BC Classic, most recently breezing 4f in :48.40 (3/4) at Greentree Training Center on 10-5.

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 recovering from recent intestinal surgery and hopefully all of his recent health issues are behind him.

3. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He was clearly second best behind likely BC Classic favorite Game On Dude in the G1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept 29.  Worked 4f in :47.60 (3/55) at Hollywood Park on 10-6.

4. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic but never picked up his feet in the grassy G1 Jamaica. The BC Turf or Classic is next.

5. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Rallied from the back of the pack (post 11) to gamely capture the G2 Indiana Derby (95 BSF). He will probably show up next in a stakes race at Churchill Downs.

6. Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart) He put together a trio of strong efforts in the G2 West Va. Derby (2nd), G2 Super Derby (1st), and G2 Indiana Derby (2nd).

7. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31 and just finished a close-up 3rd in the Indiana Derby on Oct 6.

8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon and  Mandella’s $900k purchase rallied for the show vs. salty older sprinters in G1 SA Sprint Championship on 10-6. The BC Sprint might be next.

9. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee switched to turf and smartly nabbed the G3 Eddie D (92 BSF) over Santa Anita’s downhill course on Sept 28. The BC Turf Sprint is probably next. Worked 4f in :50.40 (35/44) at Santa Anita on 10-8.

10. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. He was 3rd again in the G1 Jamaica and could have won that one with clear sailing.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Fortify runs in Champagne

This is my second in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders and my top ranked colt Fortify goes in the Grade I Champagne at Belmont Park today.

I got off to a decent start last week with top ten players Know More and Capo Bastone running 2-3 in Santa Anita’s FrontRunner.

Power Broker

Power Broker runs away with FrontRunner – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Power Broker, the romping FrontRunner hero (90 BSF), was on my Exciting Prospects list and moves into the top ten. A couple of my other exciting prospects ran well last week with Title Contender beating stablemate Code West at the Great Race Place.

Santa Anita Park had a pronounced speed bias in place on 9-29 so Power Broker’s romp might not be as strong as appears. Runner-up Know More was up close throughout and show finisher Capo Bastone raced against the bias in a better than appears rallying show finish.

Plenty of changes could be forthcoming with 7 of my top 10 running in the Champagne or Breeders’ Futurity.

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 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. Breezed 4f in :47.20 (2/4) at Greentree Training Center on 9-29. He is entered in G1 Champagne on 10-6.

2. Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero continues to train well and is entered in Keeneland’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity on 10-6. Breezed 5f  in 1:00.60 (7/24) at Keeneland on 10-1.

3. Know More (Lion Heart) – Distant 2nd to Power Broker in FrontRunner. That was the first time he stepped on conventional dirt and his initial two turn event so it was not a bad learning experience. He will train for the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita. Derby Points (4).

4. Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. Breezed 5f in 1:00.09 (8/48) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-30. He is entered in the G1 Champagne.

5. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga debut on 9-1. Yet another exciting prospect for Pletcher. Breezed 5f in 1:00.10 9/48) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-30. He entered the G1 Champagne and Dover Stakes at Delaware on 10-6 but is expected to run in the former.

Shanghai Bobby

Shanghai Bobby tries to remain undefeated in G1 Champagne – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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 next and he breezed 4f in :50.07 (68/108) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-30.

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. Breezed 4f in :48.99 (22/70) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 9-22. He is entered the Breeders’ Futurity and Sunday’s grassy Bourbon at Keeneland.

8. Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee breezed 4f in :50.09 (69/208) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-30. He is entered in the Breeders’ Futurity.

9. Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He has a chance to scurry up my list, depending what happens in the Champagne and Breeders’ Futurity. He is a solid BC Juvenile contender. Derby Points (10).

10. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner. John Sadler’s colt could show up next in BC Juvenile. Derby Points (2).

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – $340k Keeneland sales grad chased Title Contender around the SA track on 9-29. He won’t be a maiden much longer.

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – Troubled 6th in Del Mar Futurity and a disappointing 7th in FrontRunner. He has raw talent but has yet to put it all together against salty afternoon rivals. Too early to give up on him.

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

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.

Title Contender (Pulpit) – Rode the Santa Anita speed bias to perfection and earned identical 90 BSF as stablemate and FrontRunner hero Power Broker on 9-29. Not sure where the promising Baffert runner goes next.

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.