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 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
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 (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.