Archive for January, 2013

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Itsmyluckyday floors the champ

Itsmyluckyday is an interesting new shooter on the Kentucky Derby 2013 trail following a strong victory over Shanghai Bobby in the G3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan 26.

Itsmyluckyday

Itsmyluckyday earned a 104 BSF in Saturday’s G3 Holy Bull – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The winning BSF in the Holy Bull was 104 and the top two were well clear of the rest. It was definitely a fast race by two quality colts but I do not think we saw the Kentucky Derby winner on Saturday.

Itsmyluckyday was making his 9th career start on Jan 26 and clearly has an affinity for Gulfstream Park following big wins in the GP Derby and Holy Bull. The son of Lawyer Ron is now 4-for-4 in Florida (CRC/GP) conventional dirt races. I like his trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. and the overachiever is easy to root for.

Shanghai Bobby ran well but had no excuses. Inside speed dominates in 8.5f events at the Gulf and he had everything his own way from the rail. I removed him from my top ten after the BC Juvenile because of distance limitations and he backed up my lack of stamina opinion on Saturday.

I am not adding the Holy Bull 1-2 finishers to my top ten because I think this early Derby prep was a simple case of two experienced colts dominating the pace at a speed friendly distance and the winner peaking at the Gulf in January. Highly regarded Holy Bull entrants Frac Daddy (grabbed quarter) and Bern Identity (bumped repeatedly start) found trouble and Dewey Square failed to show up, making things much easier for the Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby as well.

Treasury Bill (Lemon Drop Kid-Menifee) could be worth following. He finished 3rd to highly regarded Baffert colt War Academy in his BHP bow and went last-to-first in his visually impressive 6.5f graduation run at Santa Anita on Sunday. The Ron Ellis trainee is bred to route and will probably show up in a 3yo stakes race in the near future.

This week’s Derby trail races include the G3 Withers at Aqueduct featuring my 5th ranked colt Revolutionary, the G2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park featuring my 10th ranked colt Little Distorted, the compact G2 Robert Lewis Stakes featuring Exciting Prospect Flashback, and the G3 Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.

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. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Ran his record to 3-for-3 in smart, professional stalk/pounce tally in the G1 CashCall Futurity (92 BSF). Two Derby preps are planned, beginning with the Fountain of Youth on Feb 23. Breezed 4f in :48.09 (4/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (10).

2. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad owns a decent late kick and is definitely worth following. The Remsen runner-up breezed 4f in :49.09 (22/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27 and might kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on 2-23. Derby Points (4).

Overanalyze horse

Overanalyze breezed a strong 4f at Palm Meadows on Jan 27 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). He is expected to contest the Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Breezed 4f in :47.88 (2/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (10).

4. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year. He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee packs a nice late kick. Breezed 4f in :49.33 (10/41) at Palm Meadows on 1-28.

5. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Finally put it all together in his fourth lifetime start, romping in a flat mile inner dirt MSW affair on Dec 28. The promising Pletcher/WinStar colt earned a 102 BSF last time and breezed 4f in :48.05 (13/79) at Belmont (dirt training) on 1-20. He is entered in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct on Feb 2.

6. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown. Breezed 4f in :49.33 (10/41) at Palm Meadows on 1-28.

7. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill is having fun with the speedy sort. Fired a 6f bullet in 1:10.20 (1/8) at Santa Anita on 1-26. Derby Points (24).

8. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 5th in the Holy Bull. I’ll draw a line through the Holy Bull and give him another chance. “I don’t know when he did it, whether he did it coming out or the gate or pulling up,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “He’ll probably miss 4 or 5 days, but it could be as long as two weeks, depending on how sore it is.” Derby Points (4).

9. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He is wintering at Palm Meadows and a foot bruise has knocked him out of this week’s Sam Davis at Tampa Bay. Derby Points (10).

10. Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his winning Belmont bow Oct 28. He raced for new connections (Silverton Farm – Darrin Miller) in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at the Gulf on Jan 1 and finished 3rd as the beaten favorite. Fired a 4f bullet in :47.20 (1/15) at Payson Park on 1-25 and is entered in the G2 Hutcheson at GP on 2-3.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He breezed 4f in :49.49 (28/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (2).

Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) – Wired an allowance sprint field at Santa Anita on 12-28 and pulled the same trick in the San Pedro Stakes on 1-21. Not sure how far he wants to run but he sure is fast. Next up is the G2 San Vicente on Feb 17.

Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8. He drilled a 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/20) at Santa Anita on 1-28 and is one of four entrants in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2.

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker returned from an injury to finish a clear 2nd at 7f in the GP slop vs. Optional Claiming company on 1-19.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Was bet down to even money and did not disappoint in his BHP sprint debut on 11-9. Baffert trainee is bred to handle a route of ground and should be heard from this year. Worked 5f in 1:01.40 (3/4) at Santa Anita (turf) on 1-28.

Former Top Ten Members

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. He has moved to the Pletcher barn and breezed 4f in 1:01.90 (13/21) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut win at the Spa followed by a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful, a 3rd in G1 Champagne, and a flat 4th in the BC Juvenile. Lasix-free colt is reportedly wintering in Dubai and has been nominated to the Triple Crown. Derby Points (3).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and desperately needs a freshening. Derby Points (4).

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Zipped a 4f bullet in :46.51 (1/20) at Gulfstream on 1-30 and is entered Saturday’s G2 Hutcheson at the Gulf. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert said he needs time to grow and will probably return next March. Derby Points (10). 

Shanghai Bobby

Shanghai Bobby is expected to make his next start in the G1 Florida Derby on March 30 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull but was hardly disgraced in a clear place finish. I always had my doubts about his stamina and he did nothing to sway my opinion in the Holy Bull. Derby Points (24). 

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

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Hightail (Mineshaft) – BC Juvenile Sprint winner was injured following a recent workout at Oaklawn Park and has been retired.

Joha (Johar) – He was pulled from the Keeneland January sale because of a minor injury. He is expected to resume racing later this year.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. He was reportedly sent to Ocala recently and could return in April if everything goes well.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is sidelined with bucked shins.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Facile 7f tally (97 BSF) under Twin Spires in his 4th start. Bone chip has sidelined the Lukas trainee. He is expected to resume training sometime during the month of March.

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Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Oxbow flatters Violence

Wily veteran conditioner D. Wayne Lukas is firmly on the Kentucky Derby 2013 trail following Oxbow’s facile wire job triumph in the G3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan 19.

Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas

D. Wayne Lukas is on the Derby trail with Lecomte hero Oxbow – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow experienced a comfortable journey through tepid fractions and rolled home much the best over Golden Soul and Fear the Kitten. The BSF came back 91.

I am not ready to place Oxbow in my Top 10 just yet. I would like to see him face a combination of pace pressure and better company next time. The 4th place CashCall Futurity finisher definitely made Violence look good.

I’m not done with Lukas yet because he struck again in Monday’s Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park with Will Take Charge, who dug in gamely to prevail in a 3-horse photo over Texas Bling and Always in a Tiz. The preliminary BSF came back 86.

Brown Almighty finished 5th in his first start on dirt and reportedly exited the Smarty Jones with a lung infection.

A couple of promising colts, Bern Identity and Fury Kapcori, have failed to crack my Top 10 but they are both on my radar screen. The former fired a 5f bullet at Palm Meadows on Jan 20 and is expected to take on Shanghai Bobby and company in the G3 Holy Bull at the Gulf on Jan 26. The latter has been working steadily at Betfair Hollywood Park for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and I guess you could say that Oxbow made the CashCall runner-up look good as well.

I also have my eye on Ky Jockey Club Stakes show finisher Dewey Square. He drilled a 5f Gulfstream bullet on Jan 20 for trainer Dale Romans.

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

Violence beats Fury Kapcori in CashCall Futurity

G3 Lecomte hero Oxbow flatter 1-2 CashCall finishers Violence and Fury Kapcori on Saturday – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Ran his record to 3-for-3 in smart, professional stalk/pounce tally in the G1 CashCall Futurity (92 BSF). Two Derby preps are planned, beginning with the Fountain of Youth on Feb 23. Breezed 4f in :50.90 (35/39) at Palm Meadows on 1-20. Derby Points (10).

2. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Followed up stellar maiden route win with a near miss in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He breezed 5f in 1:01.31 (9/30) at Gulfstream Park on 1-21 and is possible for the Holy Bull Stakes. Derby Points (4).

3. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad owns a decent late kick and is definitely worth following. The Remsen runner-up breezed 4f in :49.93 (34/45) at Palm Meadows on 1-20 and might kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on 2-23. Derby Points (4).

4. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). He is expected to contest the Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Breezed 4f in :51.62 (38/39) at Palm Meadows on 1-20. Derby Points (10).

5. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year. He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee packs a nice late kick. Breezed 4f in :52.11 (32/33) at Palm Meadows on 1-21.

6. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Finally put it all together in his fourth lifetime start, romping in a flat mile inner dirt MSW affair on Dec 28. The promising Pletcher/WinStar colt earned a 102 BSF last time and is targeting the G3 Withers at the Big A on Feb 2. Breezed 4f in :48.05 (13/79) at Belmont (dirt training) on 1-20.

7. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown. Breezed 4f in :52.11 (32/33) at Palm Meadows on 1-21.

8. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill is having fun with the speedy sort. Derby Points (24). 

9. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He is wintering at Palm Meadows and a foot bruise has knocked him out of the Sam Davis. Derby Points (10).  

10. Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his winning Belmont bow Oct 28. He raced for new connections (Silverton Farm – Darrin Miller) in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at the Gulf on Jan 1 and finished 3rd as the beaten favorite. Not sure what is next but I would like to see him try a route of ground.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He returned to the worktab on Jan 20 with a 3f breeze in :38.82 (5/6) at Palm Meadows. Derby Points (2).

Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) – Wired an Allowance sprint field at Santa Anita on 12-28 and pulled the same trick in the San Pedro Stakes on 1-21. Not sure how far he wants to run but he sure is fast. The G2 San Vicente on Feb 17 is next.

Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8. He drilled a 4f bullet in :46.60 (1/35) at Santa Anita on 1-17.

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker returned from an injury to finish a clear 2nd at 7f in the GP slop vs. Optional Claiming company on 1-19.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Was bet down to even money and did not disappoint in his BHP sprint debut on 11-9. Baffert trainee is bred to handle a route of ground and should be heard from this year. Worked 4f in :48.20 (14/43) at Santa Anita on 1-20.

Former Top Ten Members (in alphabetical order)

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. He has moved to the Pletcher barn and breezed 4f in :49.55 (20/39) at Palm Meadows on 1-20. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut win at the Spa followed by a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful, a 3rd in G1 Champagne, and a flat 4th in the BC Juvenile. Lasix-free colt is reportedly wintering in Dubai and the UAE Derby is probably on the agenda. Derby Points (3).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and desperately needs a freshening. Derby Points (4). 

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Breezed 6f in 1:15.80 (1/2) at Gulfstream on 1-18. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert said he needs time to grow and will probably return in March. Derby Points (10).

Shanghai Bobby

Recently named 2yo champ Shanghai Bobby returns in Saturday’s Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 5-for-5 with a determined win in the G1 BC Juvenile (82 BSF). I always had my doubts about his stamina and he does not want to go beyond 8.5f based on his slow Juvenile effort. Newly crowned 2yo champ breezed 5f in 1:00.88 (5/13) at Palm Meadows on 1-20 and is scheduled to make his 3yo bow in the Holy Bull at the Gulf on Jan 26.  Derby Points (20).  

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 (in alphabetical order)

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Hightail (Mineshaft) – BC Juvenile Sprint winner was injured following a recent workout at Oaklawn Park and has been retired.

Joha (Johar) – He was pulled from the Keeneland January sale because of a minor injury. He is expected to resume racing later this year.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. He was reportedly sent to Ocala recently and could return in April if everything goes well.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is sidelined with bucked shins.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Facile 7f tally (97 BSF) under Twin Spires in his 4th start. Bone chip has sidelined the Lukas trainee. He is expected to resume training sometime during the month of March.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Can Goldencents go the distance?

Goldencents continues to make inroads on the Kentucky Derby 2013 trail. He followed up a sharp wire job in the Delta Jackpot with a solid stalk and pounce victory in the one mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park on January 6.

Goldencents

Goldencents wins 2013 Sham Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert trainee Manando carved out the Sham splits with Goldencents parked to his outside. Kevin Krigger pulled the trigger on Doug O’Neill’s charge in the lane and he came home 1-1/2 lengths to the good, earning a rock solid 93 BSF.

Den’s Legacy saved all the ground under Gomez and caught Manando for the place, giving Baffert a 2-3 finish.

Goldencents reminds me of Tapizar and figures to be effective up to a mile and a sixteenth. He has done everything asked of him and owns dangerous early-pressing speed. I will keep an open mind in regards to getting ten panels on the first Saturday in May, but at this point I have my doubts.

Vyjack nipped longshot Siete de Oros in the G2 Jerome at the Big A on 1-5. The big story here is sire Into Mischief is responsible for Vyjack as well as Goldencents. No Derby points were rewarded in the Jerome and I doubt we saw a legit Derby contender but the race did earn a respectable 90 BSF.

Itsmyluckyday romped in the GP Derby on New Year’s Day. He garnered a 95 BSF but still must prove himself over a route of ground against tougher graded rivals. I’ll reserve judgment on him for now.

Merit Man got a disappointing 76 BSF in the Spectacular Bid, beating my 10th ranked colt Little Distorted. The latter broke slow off the shelf in his second lifetime start and grabbed show dough in an inconclusive effort. He has raw talent and deserves another chance.

Demonic (Bernardini) was a solid debut winner at Santa Anita on Jan 13. He ran seven panels in 1:22.89 and paid $4.00 to win. John Sadler’s $400k purchase is definitely worth following.

Another unraced juvenile to watch is Verrazano. The Pletcher trainee was an easy debut winner at the Gulf on New Year’s Day and earned a 94 BSF. El Padrino’s baby brother could be any kind. He breezed 4f in :49.45 (24/45) at Palm Meadows on 1-13.

Uncaptured drops a few pegs after getting knocked out of the Sam Davis Stakes with a foot bruise. He needs to get healthy in a hurry.

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

Violence will probably make 3yo bow in Fountain of Youth Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Ran his record to 3-for-3 in smart, professional stalk/pounce tally in the G1 CashCall Futurity (92 BSF). Two Derby preps are planned, beginning with the Fountain of Youth on Feb 23. Derby Points (10).

2. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Followed up stellar maiden route win with a near miss in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He breezed 5f in :59.89 (3/27) at Gulfstream Park on 1-12 and is possible for the Holy Bull Stakes. Derby Points (4).

3. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad owns a decent late kick and is definitely worth following. The Remsen runner-up breezed 4f in :49.33 (17/45) at Palm Meadows on 1-13 and might kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on 2-23. Derby Points (4).

4. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). He is expected to contest the Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. He breezed 3f in :36.94 (4/15) at Palm Meadows on 1-13. Derby Points (10).

5. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill is having fun with the speedy sort. Derby Points (24).

6. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year. He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee packs a nice late kick.

Uncaptured horse

A foot bruised knocked Uncaptured out of the Sam Davis Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

7. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He is wintering at Palm Meadows and a foot bruise has knocked him out of the Sam Davis. Derby Points (10).

8. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Finally put it all together in his fourth lifetime start, romping in a flat mile inner dirt MSW affair on Dec 28. The promising Pletcher/WinStar colt earned a 102 BSF and should show up in the stakes ranks next.

9. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown.

10. Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his winning Belmont bow Oct 28. He raced for new connections (Silverton Farm – Darrin Miller) in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at the Gulf on Jan 1 and finished 3rd as the beaten favorite. Not sure what is next but I would like to see him try a route of ground.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He will get a breather at WinStar Farm before returning to the Pletcher barn at Palm Meadows. Derby Points (2).

Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) – Ran Super Ninety Nine and company off their feet in an allowance sprint win at Santa Anita on 12-28. Not sure how far he wants to run but he sure is fast. Worked 5f in 1:00.60 (6/41) at Santa Anita on 1-13.

Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8. He worked 5f in 1:00.40 (9/53) at Santa Anita on 1-7.

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker is off the Injured Reserve list (bucked shins) and is currently back in Pletcher’s barn in Florida. He breezed 5f in 1:01.42 (12/21) at Palm Meadows on 1-13.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Was bet down to even money and did not disappoint in his BHP sprint debut on 11-9. Baffert trainee is bred to handle a route of ground and should be heard from in 2013. Worked 4f in :48 (10/33) at Santa Anita on 1-4.

Former Top Ten Members (in alphabetical order)

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. He has moved to the Pletcher barn in Florida and he breezed 3f in :39.22 (4/5) at Palm Meadows on 1-1. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut win at the Spa followed by a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful, a 3rd in G1 Champagne, and a flat 4th in the BC Juvenile. Lasix-free colt is reportedly wintering in Dubai. Derby Points (3).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and desperately needs a freshening. Derby Points (4).

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Zipped a 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/27) at Gulfstream on 1-12. Derby Points (1)

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert said he needs time to grow and will probably return next March. Derby Points (10).

Shanghai Bobby

Shanghai Bobby remains on course for the Holy Bull Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 5-for-5 with a determined win in the G1 BC Juvenile (82 BSF). I always had my doubts about his stamina and he does not want to go beyond 8.5f based on his slow Juvenile effort. He is expected to make his 3yo bow in the Holy Bull at the Gulf on Jan 26. Breezed 5f in 1:01.42 (12/23) at Palm Meadows on 1-13. Derby Points (20).

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 (in alphabetical order)

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Hightail (Mineshaft) – BC Juvenile Sprint winner was injured following a recent workout at Oaklawn Park and has been retired.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. He was reportedly sent to Ocala recently and could return in April if everything goes well.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is sidelined with bucked shins.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Facile 7f tally (97 BSF) under Twin Spires in his 4th start. Bone chip has sidelined the Lukas trainee.

Farm Hopping: Hello, Union Rags!

by Jarrod Horak

Earlier this week, I ventured to Lexington, Kentucky with Candice Curtis and Stacy Edwards to visit with some of our favorite equine stars.

First stop was Lane’s End Farm. We spent some quality time with the likes of After Market, Candy Ride, City Zip, Curlin, Discreetly Mine, English Channel, The Factor, Lemon Drop Kid, Pleasantly Perfect, Quality Road, Smart Strike, and Union Rags.

Seeing these equine legends brought back some handicapping memories. I was in the early stages of my stint with Racing On The Net when Lemon Drop Kid captured the Belmont Stakes, and he was one of my first significant online play of the day winners.

I made my first trek to Santa Anita Park for the 2003 Breeders’ Cup and Pleasantly Perfect won the Classic that year.

Jarrod and rags 2

Fast forward to 2012 and Union Rags was my Derby horse. He had a less than ideal trip that day but redeemed himself in the Belmont Stakes. He retired shortly after the Test of Champions and I relocated to Kentucky just in time to visit the regal looking son of Dixie Union. He was taking a nap when we first arrived but curiosity got the best of him and he came over to see what we were up to. I rubbed his nose a few times and the gentle giant went back to sleep in the blink of an eye.

Some delicious refreshments were offered including chili and quiche. Real men don’t eat quiche but I had some anyway before out next stop — Ashford Stud.

Coolmore America is an impressive operation with an imposing group of young stallions including Cape Blanco, Dunkirk, Hansen, Lookin At Lucky, Stay Thirsty, and Uncle Mo. It was also a pleasure to see veteran sires Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant’s Causeway, Tale of the Cat, and Thunder Gulch.

Candice got her picture taken with her early racing idol Thunder Gulch, and for Stacy it was all about Stay Thirsty.

Hansen horse

Hansen stood out with his soft, light coat. He seemed a bit edgy at first but calmed down nicely once he got outside and allowed us to get up close and personal. Our picture perfect day was not over yet, because we were only a hop, skip, and a jump from Three Chimneys.

Stacy told me to wear my Big Brown hat since she knew we would be visiting the 2008 Derby winner, but before that I had to get a glimpse of my 2001 Derby horse, Point Given.

Point Given horse

I was all over Point Given before, during, and after the 2001 Triple Crown trail, and I even traveled to Big Sandy to watch him romp in the Belmont Stakes. He seemed unaware that I was there but just as I was about to walk away he pranced over and allowed me to share a moment with him. To his right was young stallion Caleb’s Posse. Brilliant Speed was just down the road and Ice Box was in the middle of his meet and greet with the fans.

We journeyed outside and as we walked down the path, a horse handler looked at my hat and said “I know who you want to see.” Actually, Colonel John was my Derby horse that year, but I played along.

Big Brown horse

Big Brown is a magnificent looking bay son of Boundary, standing at 16.1 hands, and he seems to know that he is a Derby winner.

We proceeded to walk a bit further down the path and were greeted by Marketing and Communications Director Jen Roytz. She was very gracious and asked us if we would like to see any horses.

She showed us Exchange Rate, Red Giant, and War Chant, and walked us to the next viewing area to visit with I’ll Have Another’s proud papa Flower Alley, who seemed to set a world record for chowing down his food. Jen was very excited about showing off low profile sire Lewis Michael, and we were more than happy to the share our day with the handsome son of Rahy.

Before we left Three Chimneys, we had a lengthy conversation with a veteran bloodstock consultant and helped ourselves to some food offered during the open house. Chili was on the menu again, and although it was tasty, I have to give the cook-off award to Lane’s End.

Wise Dan

We hopped in the car and headed to our final destination, Keeneland. It was the first day of the January sale but before hitting the pavilion, we toured the grounds, snapped some more photos, and reminisced about last year’s stakes winners through the eyes of the lawn jockeys.

As for the sale, Trip for A. J. (hip 241) went for $310k, and we left after Big Tiz (hip 299) brought down the gavel at a cool $600k.

This was our first of many planned Kentucky farm visits. 2013 is off to a wonderful start and that spring aroma in the not too distant future can only mean one thing – live racing at Keeneland is just around the corner!

If you would like to view more of our farm adventure pictures, please visit Stacy’s Kentucky Horse Racing Photos page.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Violence ends 2012 on top

My former third ranked Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Violence ascends to the top of the heap following a thoroughly professional tally in the Grade I CashCall Futurity at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday, December 15.

Violence horse

Violence is my top ranked Kentucky Derby contender heading into 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Violence, now 3-for-3 lifetime, owns two graded triumphs and is a bright light in an otherwise disappointing juvenile crop.

All of the graded juvenile races are in the books and the CashCall Futurity ranks as one of the stronger early Derby preps, along with a fast renewal of the Remsen.

On the other end of the spectrum, the BC Juvenile was an ugly, slow race, and the jury is still out on the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, which did not look bad visually but came back with a low speed figure.

Todd Pletcher is loaded with promising young runners but his West Coast counterpart Bob Baffert has had a bit of a bumpy ride so far.

Bob Baffert lost Rolling Fog to injury after he captured the G1 Del Mar Futurity. G1 Frontrunner hero Power Broker had an eventful journey in the BC Juvenile and is getting a breather. Baffert unveiled promising runners War Academy and Flashback this fall, but the former got sick and was unable to make the CashCall Fururity, while the latter will not be going in the Sham Stakes on Jan 5 after missing a work last Friday. Super Ninety Nine finished a non-threatening 4th as the strong favorite in an allowance sprint at Santa Anita on 12-28.

One trainer worth following on the Triple Crown trail is Chad Brown. He has a trio of Derby hopefuls including turf specialists Balance the Books and Noble Tune, but his best hope might be Remsen runner-up Normandy Invasion.

That wraps up the juvenile portion of this blog. I’ll be back in January to track the progress of the new sophomore set. Happy New Year!

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. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Ran his record to 3-for-3 in smart, professional stalk/pounce tally in the G1 CashCall Futurity (92 BSF). Two Derby preps are planned next year, beginning with the Risen Star or Fountain of Youth, both on Feb 23. Derby Points (10).

Uncaptured loses the top spot to undefeated colt Violence – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, earning a surprisingly low 76 BSF. He is wintering at Palm Meadows and is targeting the Sam Davis and Tampa Bay Derby. Derby Points (10).

3. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill should have fun with the speedy sort. Drilled a 6f bullet in 1:10.20 (1/14) at Santa Anita on 12-27 and he goes next in the G3 Sham Stakes on Jan 5. Derby Points (14).

4. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation and rallied outside to get up late in the grassy G3 Bourbon (77 BSF). He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee packs a nice late kick.

5. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Followed up facile maiden route win (90 BSF) with a near miss in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He is wintering in Florida and breezed 4f in :49.72 (32/55) at Gulfstream Park on 12-29. McPeek compares him to Skip Away. Derby Points (4).

6. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim (82 BSF) hero finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown.

7. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). Early plans have him contesting the Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct next year. Derby Points (10).

8. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown already has two talented turf runners in my top ten and his Remsen runner-up is certainly worth following. The $230k Keeneland sales grad owns a decent late kick and is wintering in Florida. Derby Points (4).

9. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Finally put it all together in his fourth lifetime start, romping in a flat mile inner dirt MSW affair on Dec 28. The promising Pletcher/WinStar colt earned a 102 BSF and should show up in the stakes ranks next.

10. Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Beat heavy favorite Revolutionary in his 6f Belmont bow Oct 28 and the top two were well clear of the rest. Winning BSF of 101. Sold privately to Silverton Farm. New trainer Darrin Miller. Entered in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at the Gulf on Jan 1.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He will get a breather at WinStar Farm before returning to the Pletcher barn at Palm Meadows. Derby Points (2).

Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) – Ran Super Ninety Nine and company off their feet in an allowance sprint win at Santa Anita on 12-28. Not sure how far he wants to run but he sure is fast.

Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8. He missed a recent work so his next start is undetermined.

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker is off the Injured Reserve list (bucked shins) and is currently back in Pletcher’s barn in Florida. He worked four times at Palm Meadows in December, most recently breezing 5f in 1:01.79 (16/24) on the 30th.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Was bet down to even money and did not disappoint in his BHP sprint debut on 11-9. Baffert trainee is bred to handle a route of ground and should be heard from in 2013.

Former Top Ten Members

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He breezed 3f in :38.56 (20/30) at Palm Meadows on 12-24. Derby Points (1). 

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. He has moved to the Pletcher barn in Florida and is expected to make his 3yo bow in the G2 Hutcehson at 7f on 2-2-13. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut sprint winner at the Spa followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful and a 3rd in G1 Champagne. Lasix-free colt finished a flat 4th in the BC Juvenile and needs time off to grow and mature. Derby Points (3).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and desperately needs a freshening. Derby Points (4).

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. He remains in New York and his last published work was a 4f breeze in :48.07 (4/84) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 12-15.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Breezed 3f in :37.40 (9/28) at Tampa Bay on 12-24. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker horse

There are no longer any BC Juvenile entrants in my top ten – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert said he needs time to grow and will probably return next March. Derby Points (10).

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 5-for-5 with a determined win in the G1 BC Juvenile (82 BSF). I always had my doubts about his stamina and he does not want to go beyond 8.5f based on his slow Juvenile effort. He is expected to make his 3yo bow in the Holy Bull at the Gulf on Jan 26. Worked 5f in 1:01.79 (14/22) at Palm Meadows on 12-30. Derby Points (20).  

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

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

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Facile 7f tally (97 BSF) under Twin Spires in his 4th start. Bone chip has sidelined the Lukas trainee.