Archive for May 19th, 2013

Preakness 2013 Recap – Oxbow steals show

Congratulations to Preakness 2013 hero Oxbow. Nobody wanted the early lead and Gary Stevens was more than happy to canter around the track and win this second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Oxbow wires field in Preakness 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, is a war horse for throwback connections Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens. The Preakness Stakes was his 11th lifetime start and there is no rest in sight with the Test of Champions squarely on his radar screen.

Did Lukas scare everyone from a pace perspective? He entered sprinter Titletown Five and possibly fooled jockey Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents.

Titletown Five did not go for the lead under Leaproux, and Goldencents failed to take advantage so Stevens and Oxbow walked the dog from start to finish.

I knew that Oxbow was best on the lead but did not think he was quick enough to get there. The pace figured to be slower than the Derby but I did not see the crawling Preakness pace coming.

Runner-up Itsmyluckyday was making his 12th career start in Baltimore so chalk another one up for experience. He got the best of the draw as an outside stalker and rediscovered his sharp Florida form.

Mylute picked up another minor check in stakes race. He was the only one making up any ground and the Preakness was his fifth place/show finish in the stakes ranks.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb seemed to be living a charmed life until he drew the dead rail. The outside closer never looked comfortable and went through the motions in a flat 4th place finish.

Granted, before the Preakness, Orb handled wet/fast footing and various pace scenarios but the Derby fell into the lap of a closer and everything went perfectly for Shug and company on the first Saturday in May.

Goldencents had one shot and that was to attempt a wire job but was ridden passively. He is a quality early runner with distance limitations and his best weapon was taken away at Pimlico.

Departing sat right outside of Orb and made a top three bid along the inside turning for home. He flattened out to finish 6th and was not disgraced in his toughest test to date.

Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five trailed.

It is on the Belmont Stakes in 20-days and my top ranked sophomore Revolutionary looms large in the Test of Champions.

Belmont Stakes 2013 logo

Early Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Baffert’s runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. He finished 2nd on the Derby undercard and beat older allowance rivals to cap the Preakness Day card.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner is scheduled to work at Churchill next Wed. or Thurs.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and rebounded with a place finish in the Preakness. The Monmouth Park based colt is targeting the Haskell this summer but is still possible for the Belmont Stakes.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished 10th in the G2 Remsen to end his juvenile campaign. Returned with a game neck victory (wide trip) vs. allowance rivals at Monmouth May 11 and could go next in the Belmont Stakes.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He may try to rebound in the Belmont Stakes but there is talk of resting him and waiting for Saratoga.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely to win the Arkansas Derby and ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :47.50 (3/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He shows up for every dance so expect him to complete in the final leg of the Triple Crown series.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby and is now targeting the Belmont. He breezed 4f in :47.49 (2/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee finished 5th in his SA Derby return and won an allowance race at Churchill on May 10. The Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He will work twice for the Belmont beginning Sunday, May 26.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly breezed 4f in :49.07 (14/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Preakness 2013 Day Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Preakness Day analysis from Pimlico on Saturday, May 18. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below.

Upcoming Today’s Racing Digest full cards:

Churchill Saturdays (May 25, June 1, June 15, June 22, June 29)
Belmont Park (Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day)
Belmont Park (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day)

Preakness Day analysis highlights:

Daily Double (race 2-3, $13.60)
Daily Double (race 3-4, $55.60)
Pick 3 (race 2-4, $34.65)
PIM 5 JOY ($10.80)
Daily Double (race 4-5, $74.60)
Pick 3 (race 3-5, $110.05)
Daily Double (race 5-6, $37.60)
Pick 3 (race 4-6, $105.35)

Oxbow horse

Congrats to Preakness 2013 hero Oxbow – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Preakness Day full card analysis from Pimlico (5-18-13)
By Jarrod Horak (,  
:  AM Clouds/PM Sun. High 75.
Best Bets (races 7, 10, 11,12)

PIM 1 (OC-25k/2x, 8.5f) #5 BENNY THE LOCAL (7-2) exits back-to-back local claiming route wins and his April 19 number works well in this spot. He gets pace to chase in the paper race and Kobiskie’s $$ rider Cruise strings along. #6 Hakama (7-2) missed by a nose in a similar course/distance spot April 18. He likes this distance and could move forward 3rd off the shelf. #1 Aussi Austin (3-1) earned a triple digit number in the Big A slop April 12 and the show finisher came back to score. Rosario hops aboard the ground saving off the pace threat but he is 0-for-8 on a fast track. #3 Jarrod’s Commando (10-1) was re-claimed out of his last by Carlos Garcia. He earned a quality number at Tampa Bay March 9 and can be a factor here if he handles two turns. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta Box 5-6, Exacta 5-6/1-3  

PIM 2 (Str-Hcp, 8.5f) #5 WHO DAT BOY (7-2) enters in fine form and has fired Trifecta shots in 8 of 9 starts at this distance. Napravnik hops aboard the sharp tactical threat. #7 No Brakes (5-1) exits a place finish behind my first race top choice Benny the Local so give him extra credit if that one runs well in the opener. The 2-time local winner will try to get involved late. #9 Hello Lover (7-5) makes his first start in 4+ months for profitable trainer Reid. He fired Trifecta shots in five straight to end his 2012 campaign.  #3 Love Talk (6-1) was re-claimed out of his last by McMahon and he is a pace player in his first start at 8.5f. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta Box 5-7, Exacta 5-7/3-9

PIM 3 (Alw-1x, 5T) #7 RELENTLESS MOVE (4-1) has fired Exacta shots in all six turf sprints and Pimentel chose him over Bowman’s Boy. McMahon excels 2nd off the shelf. #5 Bowman’s Boy (9-2) exits a course/distance claiming win off the shelf. Russell has booted him home before. #8 Brooklyn Cowboy (7-2) is a pace player under Rosario for a sharp first grass barn (Mike Pino) but his pedigree does not scream turf. #6 Inflamed Spirit (5-1) won a downhill sprint April 21 and O’Neill excels dirt/turf. THE PLAYS: #7 to win, Exacta Box 5-7, Exacta 5-7/6-8

PIM 4 (Rollicking, 5f) #3 DEBT CEILING (8-1) easily won his Laurel bow and Robb shows a profit with 46-90 day layoff runners. He needs to improve but has two bullets in his holster and barn is sending out love wires here. #6 Sweet Emma Rose (7-5) lived up to her advanced billing with a facile wire job at low odds in her Keeneland bow April 5. Ward’s $$ rider Rosario hops aboard. Uncoupled stablemate #4 No Nay Never (5-2) also won her Polytrack bow but Rosario chose Sweet Emma Rose. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta 3/4-6, Exacta 4-6/3

PIM 5 (Alw-1x, 8.5T) #7 JOY (6-1) raced evenly behind honest splits in a similar local spot April 27. She deserves another shot on turf and Motion switches to profitable turf rider Prado. #9 Nokaze (4-1) makes her first start in 7+ months for profitable layoff trainer Matz. She won her turf route bow last June and Stevens hops aboard. #14 Marataya’s Tune (9-2) is 3-for-3 at 8.5f and went all the way here April 25. Rose rides the early runner well. #5 Moral High Ground (8-1) rallied to finish 2nd behind Marataya’s Tune last time and has fired Exacta shots in all four tries at this trip. THE PLAYS: #7 to win, Exacta Box 7-9, Exacta 7-9/5-14

PIM 6 (Chick Lang, 6f) #7 CITY OF WESTON (6-1) has rattled off 3-in-a-row and new pilot Castellano is 2-for-2 with Sano recently. The consistent sort will be finishing. #9 Undrafted (3-1) faltered in the G1 Blue Grass. He hit the board in back-to-back graded sprints before that and projects a tactical trip under Rosario. #2 Zee Bros (2-1) is very fast but could not keep in together at a flat mile in the G3 Derby Trial. This distance is better but the inside pace player meets other speed (Bobcat Jim, Brave Dave) again. THE PLAYS: #7 to win, Exacta 7/2-9, Exacta 2-9/7

PIM 7 (James W. Murphy, 8T) #9 CHINA HOLIDAY (8-1) finished 5th in his first turf race March 9 and winner (Noble Tune) came back to capture the G2 American Turf at Churchill on May 3. He just missed in a state bred stakes affair at Tampa Bay April 6 and Carlos Garcia excels with shippers. #1 Notacatbutallama (9-5) makes his first start in 4+ months for Pletcher and is back on preferred footing (3 turf wins).  He reunites with winning rider Johnny V. #4 Heat Press (6-1) is out of hot sire Malibu Moon (Orb) and dam has tossed two turf winners. The Tesio runner-up looms a pace factor at the very least for Prado/Motion.  THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/1-4, Exacta 1-4/9

PIM 8 (G3 Allaire DuPont Distaff, 8.5f) #3 MOON PHILY (7-2) cruised in her last pair and has been 1-2 in seven straight. The fresh filly is a tight fit on numbers and projects a tactical trip. #7 Brushed by a Star (2-1) is usually in the mix vs. this kind and has banked more than $600k. Rosario hops aboard the versatile sort. #6 Summer Applause (9-5) was last seen finishing 4th in the G1 Apple Blossom. She owns two graded route wins and is a low odds tactical threat. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta 3/6-7, Exacta 6-7/3     

PIM 9 (G3 Gallorette, 8.5T) #1 HARD NOT TO LIKE (10-1) goes outside to inside and I like the rider switch to Johnny V. She has struck twice at this distance and can go much better with a ground saving tactical trip. #5 Old Tune (4-1) can rebound if she reverts to her preferred early style, which led to two wins at Tampa. #4 Samitar (5-2) keeps running the same race and her numbers are stuck in the mid-90s. She gets away from Centre Court & Dayatthespa and can go better 3rd off the shelf. #3 Pianist (4-1) runs well fresh and will offer more value than her stablemate Samitar. Mike Smith hops aboard the early-pressing sort. THE PLAYS: #1 to win, Exacta Box 1-5, Exacta 1-5/3-4

PIM 10 (G3 Maryland Sprint ‘Cap, 6f) #4 HARDENED WILDCAT (4-1) has won his last four at this trip including a game score off a layoff at Aqueduct April 19. He has the productive Castellano/Brown team in his corner. #8 Laurie’s Rocket (6-1) does some of his best work at 6f and gets Rosario, who excels with early-pressing types. #7 Candyman E (6-1) is 6-for-10 at this trip. Bravo sticks with the tactical type and his usual number puts him squarely in the mix. #10 Sage Valley (5-2) has won three straight in NY and figures in the hunt throughout under Johnny V. He is not a need to lead type. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta Box 4-8, Exacta 4-8/7-10

PIM 11 (G2 Dixie, 9T) #5 DOUBLES PARTNER (6-1) can fire a fresh shot and reunites with winning pilot Leparoux. I have always liked this one and he should offer value. #4 Imagining (5-1) looked like a future stakes horse after his winning Keeneland return April 13. #9 Swift Warrior (4-1) exits two straight G3 turf route wins and attracts sharp grass pilot Napravnik. #2 Optimizer (7-2) is a G3 iron horse with Rosario. #1 Willcox Inn (6-1) fits on class/numbers. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Trifecta 4-5-9/1-2-4-5-9/1-2-4-5-9

PIM 12 (G1 Preakness, 9.5f) #4 DEPARTING (6-1) had the points (20) to make the Derby starting gate but his connections always had this race in mind. He earned triple digit Late Pace Ratings in all three route wins and overcame a wide trip from post 13 in the Illinois Derby. Al Stall Jr. knows how to get a horse ready for a big race (Blame over Zenyatta) and his Preakness entrant appears poised to strike. #1 Orb (1-1) has won five straight and is 4-for-4 around two turns. The razor sharp patient type adapts to various pace scenarios and wins this with anything resembling his Derby triumph. The rail post is the wild card because he likes to circle the field and might not get that luxury this time.  #5 Mylute (5-1) is 0-for-7 in the stakes ranks (4 placings) and was hardly disgraced rallying for 5th in the Derby. Napravnik knows this oval well and the LA Derby runner-up can easily land a share. #6 Oxbow (15-1) was too close to the fast Derby pace and held well for 6th considering the demanding fractions. He should stalk the pace under Stevens and could grab a piece. #9 Itsmyluckyday (10-1) was fast in Florida (January) but failed to fire in the Derby despite strong training sessions. He drew perfectly (outside stalker) and I like the rider switch to Johnny V. Orb beat him in his last pair. #7 Will Take Charge (12-1) finished a troubled 8th in the Derby and can move up 2nd off the shelf. He has yet to win beyond 8.5f. #2 Goldencents (8-1) flopped in the Derby and probably hated the wet track. He fits off his SA Derby win but meets other speed and is a bit suspect on stamina. #8 Govenor Charlie (12-1) has plenty of upside with only three races. He has a bright future but this is a tough spot. #3 Titletown Five (30-1) beat Orb in a Saratoga sprint last summer and looks best around one turn. He is eligible for an entry level spot and figures to attend the pace before weakening. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta Box 1-4, Trifecta 1-4/ALL/5, Trifecta 1-4/1-4-5-6-9/1-4-5-6-9, Trifecta 2-4-9/1/ALL

PIM 13 (Alw-1x, 8.5f) #10 CROWN POLIS (6-1) exits a romping course/distance claiming win and McMahon excels first off the claim. He projects a tactical trip. #4 Mabroom (20-1) handles any footing, is bred to route, and has won around two turns before (turf). New trainer Leatherbury shows a profit first off the claim. #8 Code West (4-5) missed by a neck as the heavy favorite on the Derby undercard and is surprisingly back facing older two weeks later. He is 1-for-8 and has lost as the favorite three times. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Trifecta 4-10/4-8-10/ALL

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4/Pick 5 contenders – in order of preference


1   (5-6-1-3)
2   (5-7-9-3)
3   (7-5-8-6)
4   (3-6-4)
5   (7-9-14-5)
6   (7-9-2)
7   (9-1-4)
8   (3-7-6)
9   (1-5-4-3)
10 (4-8-7-10)
11 (5-4-9-2-1)
12 (4-1)
13 (10-4-8)