Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Violence returns in Fountain of Youth

My top ranked Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Violence makes his much anticipated sophomore debut in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, February 23.

Violence, a perfect 3-for-3 in 2012, is training forwardly for trainer Todd Pletcher. He is drawn comfortably in post position three and his tactical speed should serve him well on Saturday.

The Grade II Risen Star Stakes will also be run on Feb. 23 and my second ranked Derby contender Normandy Invasion is the 5-2 morning line favorite for trainer Chad Brown. He will need racing luck in a full field and the track condition could be on the wet side.

Last Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby had a pace meltdown and sustained runner Dice Flavor took full advantage, giving sire Scat Daddy back-to-back winners in this event. The winning BSF was 88 and he looks like a late running synthetic/turf horse.

Capo Bastone made his first start for Todd Pletcher at the Gulf on Feb. 16 and he raced wide and fought hard to win the 8.5f optional claiming affair by a head. He earned a 69 BSF and is not close to being a legit Derby contender.

Sunday’s G2 San Vicente featured a competitive six pack including a trio of Baffert runners. Belvin was hustled from the rail to set the pace with Caballo Del Cielo chasing.

Baffert’s Shakin It Up got the first run and held off exciting prospect Treasury Bill. The BSF came back 86.

Super Ninety Nine

Super Ninety Nine relishes wet footing in G3 Southwest – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Super Ninety Nine capped off a successful holiday weekend for trainer Bob Baffert. The Oaklawn Park oval came up wet and Baffert’s exciting colt skipped home by the length of the stretch in Monday’s G3 Southwest Stakes. He earned a 101 BSF and takes over the 10th spot my my list. He was my BC Juvenile Sprint top but was scratched after getting cast in his stall.

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 a 5f bullet in 1:00.36 (1/40) at Palm Meadows on 2-17. 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 :47.88 (2/74) at Palm Meadows on 2-17 and will kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on 2-23. Derby Points (4).

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 5f in 1:00.51 (8/40) at Palm Meadows on 2-17. Derby Points (10).

4. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Followed up a big fig maiden win with an adventurous journey in the G3 Withers. The Pletcher trainee has now won two straight and will spend the rest of the winter in Florida. 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 will start his 3yo season in the G3 Palm Beach at the Gulf on 3-3. Breezed 4f in :50.90 (46/54) at Palm Meadows on 2-18.

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 :50.90 (46/54) at Palm Meadows on 2-18.

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 1:13.20 (1/20) at Santa Anita on 2-13. Derby Points (24).

8. Verrazano (More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee looks like any kind after back-to-back romping Gulfstream victories to kick off his career. We will learn more about El Padrino’s brother when he tackles stakes foes in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3-9. Breezed 4f in :48.05 (6/74) at Palm Meadows on 2-17.

9. Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8 and followed that up with an easy wire job vs. three rivals in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2. He worked 4f in :48.80 (15/48) at Santa Anita on 2-18. Derby Points (10).

10. Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Baffert trainee has found his niche in main track routes. Facile G3 Southwest hero reminds me of Secret Circle. Derby Points (10).

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 5f in 1:00.51 (8/40) at Palm Meadows on 2-17. Derby Points (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. Breezed a 5f bullet in 1:00.36 (1/40) at Palm Meadows on 2-17 and is entered in Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Promising Lukas trainee is off the IR list after a bone chip as a juvenile. He breezed a 5f bullet in 1:01.40 (1/20) at Oaklawn Park on 2-15.

Treasury Bill (Lemon Drop Kid) – Followed a visually impressive maiden tally at Santa Anita on 1-27 with a rallying place finish in the G2 San Vicente on 2-17. He owns a promising two turn pedigree.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded debut winner returned with an even 4th place finish in the San Vicente on Feb. 17. He is bred to handle a route of ground and should make some noise late this year.

Former Top Ten Members

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – G1 FrontRunner and G1 BC Juvenile show finisher won an optional claiming route at Gulfstream on 2-16 for his new trainer Todd Pletcher. He only received a 69 BSF in his last and will be hard pressed to make a dent in upcoming stakes races. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – BC Juvenile 4th place finisher finished 6th in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on 2-14. Derby Points (3).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. I’ll draw a line through his last and give him another chance. He breezed 4f in  :49.28 (23/35) at Palm Meadows on 2-9. Derby Points (4). 

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. Worked 5f in 1:02.80 (5/6) at Santa Anita (turf) on 1-31.

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 is currently on vacation. Derby Points (4).

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. Scratched from the Hutcheson Stakes and flopped as the favorite in a 6.5f optional claiming sprint at the Gulf on 2-9. Breezed 4f in :49 (3/15) at Calder on 2-20.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished a disappointing 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year. He seems to prefer synthetic. Breezed 5f in 1:02.20 (4/9) at Tampa Bay on 2-21. 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 trainee worked 4f in :50 (30/40) at Santa Anita on 2-19. Derby Points (10). 

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. Breezed 4f in :49.73 (42/74) at Palm Meadows on 2-17. 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.

Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. His plans have been altered following a foot bruise and popped abscess, and he is now pointing to the Rushaway, Spiral, or Blue Grass. Breezed a 4f bullet in :47.80 (1/4) at Ocala Training Center on 2-19. Derby Points (10).

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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: