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Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Mohaymen Won Holy Bull, Now It’s Mor Spirit’s Turn

Mohaymen, my top ranked Kentucky Derby 2016 contender since last September, ran his record to 4-for-4 with an easy win in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 30.

Mohaymen was always traveling well in the Holy Bull and nothing seems to bother the McLaughlin trainee. If all goes well, look for his next target to be the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Mor Spirit

Mor Spirit is the one to beat in today’s Bob Lewis Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

G1 Los Al Futurity hero Mor Spirit makes his sophomore bow in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Saturday, Feb 6 and the race shape seems to favor the stalking type. He has been part of my Derby list all along.

The Robert Lewis Stakes is my HRN written play of the day

Graded Recaps (2016 Derby Points Races)

G2 Holy Bull (1-30-16, 95 BSF): Mohaymen lived up to the hype with an easy stalk and pounce win to remain unbeaten after four starts. He cruised up without being asked and cantered across the wire to defeat G1 Champagne hero Greenpointcrusader by 3.5 lengths. The latter was prominently placed in the paceless affair and ran very well in his first start since the BC Juvenile. Fellowship rallied from last and smartly put away Conquest Big E for the show. Big E broke a step slow, stalked, and never seriously threatened in a flat performance.

G3 Withers (1-16-16, 87 BSF): Trip and post position was the key to victory here. Sunny Ridge drew the outside post and sat a clear, tactical trip en route to a gritty win by less than length over pacesetter Vorticity. Adventist outgamed Flexibility by a neck for the show. The latter broke from post two and seemed a bit uncomfortable on the inside as the beaten favorite.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) mohaymen silks 2016

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase went 3-for-3 as a juvenile and rattled off back-to-back graded wins in the G2 Nashua and G2 Remsen, both at Aqueduct. He was training well for his sophomore debut in the Holy Bull and did not disappoint with an easy stalk/pounce victory at the Gulf on Jan 30. I love his professionalism and tactical speed. He has been my top ranked Derby contender since I started my list last September and keeps getting better.

Derby Points (20)  

(2) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) more spirit silks 2016

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Latest Workout: 4f in :49 (22/33) at Santa Anita on Feb 2.

Comments: Last year, Baffert’s $650k purchase was a good 2nd in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and ended his juvenile campaign with a win in the G1 Los Al Futurity. The grinding type drew post five and is the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb 6. He stays put at #2 and needs a strong effort Saturday to maintain his high ranking.

Derby Points (14)

(3) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks 2016

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Latest Workout: 4f in :49.42 (41/63) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 31.

Comments: The patient runner looked good from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden race) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He worked his way through traffic to finish a decent 3rd in the BC Juvenile. He is wintering in Florida and figures to have two Derby preps, beginning with the G2 Tampa Bay Derby March 12 and ending with the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 9. He remains at #3.

Derby Points (14)

(4) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks 2016

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Comments: The well bred colt with low profile connections put it all together from off the pace in a strong 4-1/2 length victory in the G1 Champagne last fall. The BC Juvenile favorite was too far back early and ended up a better than appears 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane at Keeneland Oct 31. He exited the BC Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. He is wintering in Florida, returned to the work tab Dec 28, and resurfaced in the Holy Bull. In the paceless Holy Bull, the patient sort surprisingly took up the running and was clearly second best. He retains his #4 ranking due to his solid return and I still like him as a long term prospect.

Derby Points (14)

(5) GIFT BOX (Twirling Candy – Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song) gift box 2016 silks

Trainer (Chad Brown) – Owner (W. S. Farish)

Latest Workout: 4f in :49 (25/71) at Palm Meadows on Jan 25.

Comments: Beat Matt King Coal by a nose at 8.5f (Belmont Park, Oct 3) and was flattered when that one returned to win impressively four weeks later. He fought restraint in the Remsen and ended up an even 3rd in his first stakes try. He returned to the worktab at Palm Meadows Jan 19 and is reportedly pointing to the Risen Star at Fair Grounds. He moves up one position.

Derby Points (2)   

(6) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry)

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:16.20 (19/22) at Santa Anita on Jan 30.

Comments: The recently named 2-year-old champ ran his record to 5-for-5 and overcame an outer post and wide trip in the BC Juvenile, a race that was more than a second slower than filly counterpart Songbird in the BC Juvenile Fillies. He is in great shape in regards to Derby points and is preparing to make two starts prior to the first Saturday in May. First up is the G2 San Vicente Stakes (non-points race) at Santa Anita on February 15, followed by the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2. He is up one spot.

Derby Points (30)

(7) AIROFORCE (Colonel John – Chocolate Pop, by Cuvee)

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (John C. Oxley)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.35 (2/32) at Palm Meadows on Jan 31.

Comments: His first three turf races produced two wins (MSW, G3 Bourbon) and a second (G1 BC Juvenile Turf). They switched to dirt (wet track) in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Nov 28 and he wrapped up his juvenile campaign with a victory over subsequent graded stakes winners Mor Spirit (Los Al Futurity) and Mo Tom (LeComte). He returned to the worktab Jan 11 but missed his next work with an elevated temperature. He resumed morning activity Jan 25 and is on track for his seasonal debut in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Derby Points (10)

(8) EXAGGERATOR (Curlin – Dawn Raid, by Vindication)

Trainer (Keith Desormeaux) – Owner (Big Chief Racing, LLC)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in :58.20 (1/27) at Santa Anita on Feb 2.

Comments: He had a busy juvenile campaign with six starts and wins in the G2 Saratoga Special and G3 Delta Jackpot. He was also 2nd in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 4th in the G1 BC Juvenile. He is scheduled to begin his Derby march in the San Vicente and got serious with a bullet work on Feb 2.

Derby Points (16)

(9) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City)

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Comments: The Holy Bull was supposed to be his coming out party but it did not work out that way. I thought Mike Smith would send him to the lead in the paceless Holy Bull but he stalked the pace and finished a flat 4th after a bit of a slow start. He does not have the goods to compete at the highest level at this time and drops four spots.

Derby Points (1)

(10) SYNCHRONY (Tapit – Brownie Points, by Forest Wildcat)

Trainer (Donnie K Von Hemel) – Owner (Pin Oak Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (2/45) at Oaklawn Park on Feb 6.

Comments: After finishing 2nd in his career debut, he won back-to-back races at Keeneland and Churchill to end his 2-year-old season. He put in a nice late run to finish 3rd in the Smarty Jones and was gaining on the top two in a promising effort at Oaklawn Jan 18. He goes next in the Southwest on Feb 15.

Derby Points (2)

(11) MATT KING COAL (Cool Coal Man – Donna Marie, by Came Home)

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Lady Sheila Stable)

Comments: Earned two of the better juvenile speed figures in a clear place finish at 8.5 furlongs at Belmont Oct 3 (93 BSF) and a 96 BSF for his easy flat mile wire job maiden win at that same venue Oct 29. Following a respiratory infection, he spiked a fever, missed the G3 Jerome on Jan 3, and went to the farm for a few weeks. He is reportedly back in the Rice barn in NY (along with Seymourdini) and they hope to have him ready for the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct March 5. He clings to the bottom of the list.

Honorable Mention: (12) Mo Tom, (13) Zulu, (14) I Will Score, (15) Rafting, (16) Malibu Sunset, (17) Danzing Candy, (18) Shagaf, (19) Rally Cry, (20) Seymourdini

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Holy Bull Preview Featuring Mohaymen (Video)

My top ranked Kentucky Derby 2016 contender Mohaymen makes his much anticipated 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 30.

Mohaymen

Mohaymen starts his 3yo season in the Holy Bull – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Mohaymen sports an unblemished 3-for-3 record has worked four times at Palm Meadows in preparation for the Holy Bull including a five furlong bullet on Jan. 21.

Six horses will line up in Holy Bull and there is not much pace in the paper race. Mohaymen and Conquest Big E look like the main speed and I would not be surprised if Mike Smith tried to go all the way aboard the latter.

Grade 1 Champagne winner Greenpointcrusader is the other main contender. The race shape of the Holy Bull might play against the patient type and I expect him to get better as the year progresses.

This is my first 2016 Derby contenders update. So far this year, the winners of the Derby Points races have flattered some of the top performers from last year. Flexibility (entered in G3 Withers at Aqueduct Jan 30) flattered Mohaymen with his tally in the Jerome and Mo Tom flattered Kentucky Jockey Club 1-2 finishers Airoforce and Mor Spirit with his win in the LeComte.

Graded Recaps (2016 Derby Points Races)

Smarty Jones (1-18-16, 83 BSF): Discreeetness stalked Gordy Florida and beat his rival by a neck after a lengthy stretch duel. Synchrony rallied from 10th to finish 3rd and odds-on favorite Toews On Ice attended the pace and faded to 6th for Baffert.

G3 LeComte (1-16-16, 88 BSF): Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes show finisher Mo Tom (Uncle Mo) had a troubled beginning, dropped well off the pace, and closed strongly on the outside to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Tom’s Ready, who rallied to the lead in the stretch but could not match strides with the winner. Uncle Walter stalked the pace and ended up an even 3rd.

G3 Sham (1-9-16, 80 BSF): Collected successfully made the turf/dirt move for Baffert. He stalked, pounced, and pulled clear by 1-1/4 lengths as the 3-2 favorite. Let’s Meet in Rio rallied from 8th to land the place and Laoban was best of the rest. This did not look like a strong Derby prep on paper and the speed figure drove that point home.

G3 Jerome (1-2-16, 90 BSF): Remsen runner-up Flexibility was the heavy favorite and did not disappoint his backers with a very easy stalk/pounce score by 4-1/2 lengths. Vorticity dueled on the lead and finished a clear 2nd and In Equality was almost ten lengths ahead of the rest.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) mohaymen silks 2016

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/10) at Palm Meadows on Jan 21.

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase went 3-for-3 as a juvenile and rattled off back-to-back graded wins in the G2 Nashua (89 BSF) and G2 Remsen (96 BSF), both at Aqueduct. He is training well for his sophomore debut. He has been my top ranked Derby contender since I started my list last September.

Derby Points (10)

(2) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) more spirit silks 2016

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.20 (6/37) at Santa Anita on Jan 28.

Comments: $650k purchase was a clear 2nd (83 BSF) in his 6f Santa Anita debut Sept 27 and returned to graduate at a flat mile Oct 23 second time out (92 BSF). He shipped to Churchill Downs and battled hard throughout in a good runner-up performance in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov 28 and wrapped up his fine juvenile season with a nice win in the G1 Los Al Futurity on Dec 19. He continues to prepare for the Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb 6 and stays put at #2.

Derby Points (14)

(3) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks 2016

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Latest Workouts: 5f in 1:01.16 (11/31) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 24. 4f bullet in :47.74 (1/38) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 18.

Comments: The professional runner looked good from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden win) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He worked his way through traffic to finish a decent 3rd in the BC Juvenile and figures to make a nice late run wherever he shows up on the Derby trail. He is wintering in Florida and remains at #3.

Derby Points (14)

(4) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks 2016

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f in 102 (8/16) at Palm Meadows on Jan 24.

Comments: After a pair of solid sprint efforts to begin his career at Saratoga, he put it all together from off the pace in a strong 4-1/2 length victory in the Champagne. The BC Juvenile favorite was too far back early and ended up a better than appears 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane at Keeneland Oct 31. He exited the BC Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. He is wintering in Florida and returned to the work tab Dec 28. I fancy his pedigree and he kicks off his 3-year-old season in the Holy Bull. He retains his #4 ranking and I like him as a long term prospect.

Derby Points (10)

(5) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City) conquest big e silks 2016

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workout: 4f in :49 (39/102) at Palm Meadows on Jan 24.

Comments: Visually impressive maiden win at Keeneland Oct 2. In the BC Juvenile, he chased the pace from the inside pace and faded to finish 8th. He bounced back with a solid stalk/pounce 2-length flat mile Optional Claiming win at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He is wintering in Florida and will be the services of Mike Smith in the Holy Bull. He remains at #5.

(6) GIFT BOX (Twirling Candy – Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song)

Trainer (Chad Brown) – Owner (W. S. Farish)

Latest Workouts: 4f in :49 (25/71) at Palm Meadows on Jan 25. 4f in :48.95 (13/74) at Palm Meadows on Jan 19.

Comments: Beat Matt King Coal by a nose at 8.5f (Belmont Park, Oct 3) and was flattered when that one returned to win impressively four weeks later. He fought restraint in the Remsen and ended up an even 3rd in his first stakes try. He returned to the worktab at Palm Meadows Jan 19. He moves up one position.

Derby Points (2)  

(7) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry)

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:15.60 (14/18) at Santa Anita on Jan 24.

Comments: Ran his record to 5-for-5 and wrapped up the 2-year-old title in the BC Juvenile. To his credit, he was farther back than usual and raced wide from post 13. He gamely held off Swipe for the fourth consecutive race but the final clocking was more than a second slower than filly counterpart Songbird. He seems like a miler type but keeps on winning. At this stage he is in great shape in regards to Derby points and is preparing to make his first 2016 start in the G2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita on February 15. He is up one spot.

Derby Points (30)

(8) AIROFORCE (Colonel John – Chocolate Pop, by Cuvee)

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (John C. Oxley)

Latest Workout: 4f in :48 (3/71) at Palm Meadows on Jan 25.

Comments: His first three turf races produced two wins (MSW, G3 Bourbon) and a second (G1 BC Juvenile Turf). They switched to dirt (wet track) in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Nov 28 and he wrapped up his juvenile campaign with a victory over subsequent graded stakes winners Mor Spirit (Los Al Futurity) and Mo Tom (LeComte). He returned to the worktab Jan 11 but missed his next work with an elevated temperature. He resumed morning activity Jan 25. He makes his debut on the list.

Derby Points (10)

(9) EXAGGERATOR (Curlin – Dawn Raid, by Vindication)

Trainer (Keith Desormeaux) – Owner (Big Chief Racing, LLC)

Latest Workout: 7f in 1:25.80 (2/5) from the gate at Santa Anita on Jan 23.

Comments: He had a busy juvenile campaign with six starts and wins in the G2 Saratoga Special and G3 Delta Jackpot. He was also 2nd in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 4th in the G1 BC Juvenile. He is expected to begin his Derby March in the San Vicente. He is a new addition to the list.

Derby Points (16)

(10) SYNCHRONY (Tapit – Brownie Points, by Forest Wildcat)

Trainer (Donnie K Von Hemel) – Owner (Pin Oak Stable)

Comments: After finishing 2nd in his career debut, he won back-to-back races at Keeneland and Churchill to end his 2-year-old season. He put in a nice late run to finish 3rd in the Smarty Jones and was gaining on the top two in a promising effort at Oaklawn Jan 18. He is new to the list and might go next in the Southwest in Feb 15.

Derby Points (2)

(11) MATT KING COAL (Cool Coal Man – Donna Marie, by Came Home)

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Lady Sheila Stable)

Comments: Earned two of the better juvenile speed figures in a clear place finish at 8.5 furlongs at Belmont Oct 3 (93 BSF) and a 96 BSF for his easy flat mile wire job maiden win at that same venue Oct 29. Following a respiratory infection, he spiked a fever and missed the G3 Jerome on Jan 3. He is getting a 4-6 week vacation on the farm and they hope to have him back for the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct March 5. He remains glued to the bottom of the list.

Honorable Mention: (12) Flexibility, (13) Mo Tom, (14) Zulu, (15) Sail Ahoy, (16) I Will Score, (17) Rafting, (18) Street Vision, (19) Swipe, (20) Seymourdini

Video Race of the Week: G2 San Pasqual Featuring California Chrome

After a holiday break, the video race of the week returns for the first time in 2016 with the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Mohaymen Ends Year at Number 1

When I started my Kentucky Derby 2016 contenders list on September 30, Mohaymen was my top ranked horse and three months later he finishes 2015 on top of the heap.

Mohaymen

Mohaymen ends the year at #1 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Mohaymen is a perfect-3-for-3 and is spending the winter in Florida. He returned to the worktab at Palm Meadows on Dec 31 and is expected to make his next start in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan 30.

This is what my first list looked like on 9-30-15: (1) Mohaymen, (2) Seymourdini, (3) Mor Spirit, (4) Ralis, (5) Street Vision, (6) Sail Ahoy, (7) Conquest Big E, (8) I Will Score, (9) Justin Squared, (10) Greenpointcrusader, (11) Brody’s Cause.

As you can see, eight of my original eleven are still part of the list including my current top five (Mohaymen, Mor Spirit, Brody’s Cause, Greenpointcrusader, Conquest Big E).

In November, I posted a video about Kentucky Derby Pool 1 future wager and suggested playing Conquest Big E, Greenpointcrusader, and Sail Ahoy. For the first ever sire wager, I said to play Bernardini, Eskendereya, and Giant’s Causeway. We will see how all of that plays out next spring.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) mohaymen silks

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Latest Workout: 4f in :49.45 (36/76) at Palm Meadows on Dec 31.

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase beat promising $900k purchase Seymourdini at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15 (87 BSF). In the G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct, he stalked wide, took a clear lead in the stretch, and won nicely by 1.75 lengths (89 BSF) under a hand drive. He wrapped up his juvenile campaign with an effortless stalk/pounce win by 1.5 lengths (96 BSF) in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Nov 28. He retains the top spot, returned to the work tab Dec 31, and might make his sophomore bow in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 30.

Derby Points (10)  

(2) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) mor spirit silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Comments: $650k purchase had a slow start, made a nice inside middle move, took the lead, and ended up a clear 2nd (83 BSF) in his 6f Santa Anita debut Sept 27. He returned at a flat mile Oct 23 and cantered to an easy win (92 BSF) as the 1-2 favorite (geared down under Gary Stevens). He shipped to Churchill Downs and battled hard throughout in a good runner-up performance in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov 28. He wrapped up his fine juvenile season with a win in the G1 Los Al Futurity on Dec 19. He stays put at #2.
Derby Points (14)

(3) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Comments: Looked great from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden win) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He worked his way through traffic to finish a decent 3rd in the BC Juvenile and continues to look like a solid stretch factor on the Derby trail. He remains at #3.
Derby Points (14)

(4) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:02.65 (7/8) at Palm Meadows on Dec 28.

Comments: Put it all together from off the pace in a strong 4-1/2 length victory in the Champagne. I really like his pedigree and he figures to get better with age. The BC Juvenile favorite was too far back early and ended up a better than appears 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane at Keeneland Oct 31. He exited the BC Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. He is wintering in Florida and returned to the work tab Dec 28.  He retains his #4 ranking and I still like him as a long term prospect.

Derby Points (10)

(5) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City) conquest big e silks

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in :48 (1/76) at Palm Meadows on Dec 31.

Comments: Visually impressive maiden win at Keeneland Oct 2. In the BC Juvenile, he chased the pace from the inside pace and faded to finish 8th. He bounced back with a solid stalk/pounce 2-length flat mile Optional Claiming win at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He is wintering in Florida and remains at #5.

(6) SEYMOURDINI (Bernardini – Graeme Six, by Graeme Hall) seymourdini silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Iris Smith Stable)

Comments: $900k purchase battled with Mohaymen throughout and ended up 2nd in his debut. He was clearly second best as the favorite (beaten 1/2 length) in a 6f special weight sprint at Belmont Park Oct 28 on a muddy (sealed) racetrack. In a one mile straight maiden race at Aqueduct on Nov 22, he controlled the pace as the heavy favorite and won by nine lengths under hand urging. He stays put at #6.

(7) GIFT BOX (Twirling Candy – Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song) gift box silks

Trainer (Chad Brown) – Owner (W. S. Farish)

Comments: Beat Matt King Coal by a nose at 8.5f (Belmont Park, Oct 3) and was flattered when that one returned to win impressively four weeks later. He fought restraint in the Remsen and ended up an even 3rd in his first stakes try. He ends the year at #7.

Derby Points (2)   

(9) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) nyquist silks

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.40 (27/110) at Santa Anita on Dec 27.

Comments: Ran his record to 5-for-5 and wrapped up the 2-year-old title in the BC Juvenile. To his credit, he was farther back than usual and raced wide from post 13. He gamely held off Swipe for the fourth consecutive race but the final clocking was more than a second slower than filly counterpart Songbird once again. He still seems like a miler type but keeps on winning. At this stage he is in great shape in regards to Derby points and is expected to have two 2016 preps prior to the first Saturday in May. The deserving juvenile champ returned to the work tab Dec 19, moves up one spot, and is expected to make his 2016 debut in the G2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita on February 15. The plan is to make his final Derby prep in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream.

Derby Points (30)

(9) SAIL AHOY (Bernardini – Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold) sail ahoy silks

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Comments: He did not run a complete race from start to finish and ended up an even 4th in the Champagne. He was last for much of the race and rallied for the show (missed 2nd by a neck) in the G2 Nashua. In the Remsen, he made a decent run from off the pace but flattened out and ended up 4th.  He moves up one spot to #9.

Derby Points (2)

(10) STREET VISION (Street Sense – Emmy’s Storm, by Stormy Atlantic) street vision silks

Trainer (Mark Glatt) – Owner (Norman Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00 (6/39) at Santa Anita on Dec 28.

Comments: Could not match strides with Toews On Ice in the Speakeasy (six furlongs) at Santa Anita Oct 18 but was clearly second best. He failed to threaten when 5th of 7 in the G3 Bob Hope (7f @ DMR on Nov 14), a race in which the top three dominated throughout (Toews On Ice, Mac Daddy Mac, I’malreadythere). I believe he will improve around two turns and hope he gets a chance to route in the near future. He finishes 2015 at #10.

(11) MATT KING COAL (Cool Coal Man – Donna Marie, by Came Home) matt king coal silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Lady Sheila Stable)

Comments: Owns two of the better juvenile speed figures this year in a clear place finish at 8.5 furlongs at Belmont Oct 3 (93 BSF) and a 96 BSF for his easy flat mile wire job maiden win at that same venue Oct 29. Following a respiratory infection, he spiked a fever and will miss the G3 Jerome on Jan 3. He will get a 4-6 week vacation on the farm. He drops to the bottom of the list.

Honorable Mention: (12) Exaggerator, (13) Airoforce, (14) Toews On Ice, (15) Swipe, (16) I Will Score, (17) Riker, (18) Rafting, (19) Flexibility, (20) Mac Daddy Mac

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Mor Spirit retains high ranking after Los Al Futurity

Mor Spirit, ranked #2 on my Kentucky Derby 2016 contenders list since October 24, maintains his high standing after a determined victory in the Grade 1 Los Al Futurity.

Mor Spirit

Mor Spirit wins 2015 Los Al Futurity – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Mor Spirit had every reason to regress a bit after doing all of the pace dirty work and finishing a game 2nd in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He shipped back to SoCal, returned in three weeks, and won yesterday’s Los Al Futurity by a length and a quarter.

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G1 Los Alamitos Futurity (12-19-15, 88 BSF): Mor Spirit stalked the pace in 6th for much of the opening six furlongs before rallying wide in the lane and running down stablemate Toews On Ice. The latter was all over the pace throughout and ended up six lengths clear of show finisher I’malreadythere. The top two ran well and the winner should have more to offer in the speed figure department next year with better spacing.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) mohaymen silks

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase beat promising $900k purchase Seymourdini at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15 (87 BSF). In the G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct, he stalked wide, took a clear lead in the stretch, and won nicely by 1.75 lengths (89 BSF) under a hand drive. He wrapped up his juvenile campaign with an effortless stalk/pounce win by 1.5 lengths (96 BSF) in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Nov 28. He retains the top spot and might make his sophomore bow in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 30.

Derby Points (10)  

(2) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) mor spirit silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Comments: $650k purchase had a slow start, made a nice inside middle move, took the lead, and ended up a clear 2nd (83 BSF) in his 6f Santa Anita debut Sept 27. He returned at a flat mile Oct 23 and cantered to an easy win (92 BSF) as the 1-2 favorite (geared down under Gary Stevens). He shipped to Churchill Downs and battled hard throughout in a good runner-up performance in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov 28. He wrapped up his fine juvenile season with a win in the G1 Los Al Futurity on Dec 19 (see recap above). He has been on my list since the beginning and stays put at #2.

Derby Points (14)

(3) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Comments: Looked great from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden win) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He worked his way through traffic to finish a decent 3rd in the BC Juvenile and continues to look like a solid stretch factor on the Derby trail. He remains at #3.

Derby Points (14)

(4) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Comments: Put it all together from off the pace in a strong 4-1/2 length victory in the Champagne. I really like his pedigree and he figures to get better with age. The BC Juvenile favorite was too far back early and ended up a better than appears 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane at Keeneland Oct 31. He exited the BC Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. His connections are deciding whether to winter in New York or Florida and he will not run again this year.  He retains his #4 ranking and I still like him as a long term prospect.

Derby Points (10)

(5) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City) conquest big e silks

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Comments: Visually impressive maiden win at Keeneland Oct 2. In the BC Juvenile, he chased the pace from the inside pace and faded to finish 8th. He bounced back with a solid stalk/pounce 2-length flat mile Optional Claiming win at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He remains at #5.

(6) SEYMOURDINI (Bernardini – Graeme Six, by Graeme Hall) seymourdini silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Iris Smith Stable)

Comments: $900k purchase battled with Mohaymen throughout and ended up 2nd in his debut.He was clearly second best as the favorite (beaten 1/2 length) in a 6f special weight sprint at Belmont Park Oct 28 on a muddy (sealed) racetrack. In a one mile straight maiden race at Aqueduct on Nov 22, he controlled the pace as the heavy favorite and won by nine lengths under hand urging. He goes from #7 to #6.

(7) GIFT BOX (Twirling Candy – Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song) gift box silks

Trainer (Chad Brown) – Owner (W. S. Farish)

Comments: Beat Matt King Coal by a nose at 8.5f (Belmont Park, Oct 3) and was flattered when that one returned to win impressively four weeks later. He fought restraint in the Remsen and ended up an even 3rd in his first stakes try. He moves up a notch to #7.

Derby Points (2) 

(8) MATT KING COAL (Cool Coal Man – Donna Marie, by Came Home) matt king coal silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Lady Sheila Stable)

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:15.55 (1/1) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on Nov 27.

Comments: Owns two of the better juvenile speed figures this year in a clear place finish at 8.5 furlongs at Belmont Oct 3 (93 BSF) and a 96 BSF for his easy flat mile wire job maiden win at that same venue Oct 29. He is down one peg to #8.

(9) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) nyquist silks

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Latest Workout: 3f in :37 (6/20) at Santa Anita on Dec 19.

Comments: Ran his record to 5-for-5 and wrapped up the 2-year-old title in the BC Juvenile. To his credit, he was farther back than usual and raced wide from post 13. He gamely held off Swipe for the fourth consecutive race but the final clocking was more than a second slower than filly counterpart Songbird once again. He still seems like a miler type but keeps on winning. At this stage he is in great shape in regards to Derby points and is expected to have two 2016 preps prior to the first Saturday in May. The likely juvenile champ stays put at #9 and might make his 2016 debut in the G2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita on February 15.

Derby Points (30)

(10) SAIL AHOY (Bernardini – Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold) sail ahoy silks

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Comments: He did not run a complete race from start to finish and ended up an even 4th in the Champagne. He was last for much of the race and rallied for the show (missed 2nd by a neck) in the G2 Nashua. In the Remsen, he made a decent run from off the pace but flattened out and ended up 4th.  He dropped four spots from #6 to #10 last time and holds position this week.

Derby Points (2)

(11) STREET VISION (Street Sense – Emmy’s Storm, by Stormy Atlantic) street vision silks

Trainer (Mark Glatt) – Owner (Norman Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (8/82) at Santa Anita on Dec 13.

Comments: Could not match strides with Los Al Futurity runner-up Toews On Ice in the Speakeasy (six furlongs) at Santa Anita Oct 18 but was clearly second best. He failed to threaten when 5th of 7 in the G3 Bob Hope (7f @ DMR on Nov 14), a race in which the top three dominated throughout (Toews On Ice, Mac Daddy Mac, I’malreadythere). I believe he will improve around two turns and hope he gets a chance to route in the near future. He clings to the bottom of the list.

Honorable Mention: (12) Exaggerator, (13) Airoforce, (14) Toews On Ice, (15) Swipe, (16) I Will Score, (17) Riker, (18) Rafting, (19) Flexibility, (20) Mac Daddy Mac

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Mohaymen still on top after Remsen

Undefeated Kiaran McLaughlin runner Mohaymen remains the most exciting Kentucky Derby 2016 prospect in the country after a convincing victory in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes.

Mohaymen

Mohaymen rules the Remsen – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Mohaymen has been the head honcho since I started my Derby list Sept 30 and the $2.2 million purchase is certainly living up to lofty expectations. The son of Tapit is growing up fast and is spending the winter in Florida.

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G2 Remsen (11-28-15, 96 BSF): Mohaymen ran his record to 3-for-3 with an easy 1-1/2 length victory over Flexibility. Gift Box was a clear 3rd and Sail Ahoy finished 4th. Mohaymen has been my top ranked Derby contender since I started my list on Sept 30 and he continues to improve for McLaughlin.

G2 Kentucky Jockey Club (11-28-15, 87 BSF): Turf specialist Airoforce loved the wet track at Churchill Downs on Nov 28 and rallied outside to a clear win by 1.75 lengths. He must still prove himself on a fast dirt track for Casse but he is obviously a promising sort heading into 2016. Mor Spirit might have run the best race for Baffert. The latter shipped from SoCal, caught a wet track, did all of the pace dirty work, and gamely held the place over late runner Mo Tom. Stalker Gun Runner lost his punch and ended up 4th.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

(1) MOHAYMEN (Tapit – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union) mohaymen silks

Trainer (Kiaran Mclaughlin) – Owner (Shadwell Stable)

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase beat promising $900k purchase Seymourdini at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15 (87 BSF). In the G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct, he stalked wide, took a clear lead in the stretch, and won nicely by 1.75 lengths (89 BSF) under a hand drive. He wrapped up his juvenile campaign with an effortless stalk/pounce win by 1.5 lengths (96 BSF) in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Nov 28. He retains the top spot.

Derby Points (10)  

(2) MOR SPIRIT (Eskendereya – Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) mor spirit silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Michael Lund Petersen)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (13/43) at Santa Anita on Dec 9.

Comments: $650k purchase had a slow start, made a nice inside middle move, took the lead, and ended up a clear 2nd (83 BSF) in his 6f Santa Anita debut Sept 27. He returned at a flat mile Oct 23 and cantered to an easy win (92 BSF) as the 1-2 favorite (geared down under Gary Stevens). He shipped to Churchill Downs and battled hard throughout in a good runner-up performance in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov 28. He stays put at #2.

Derby Points (4)

(3) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm) brody's cause silks

Trainer (Dale Romans) – Owner (Albaugh Family Stable)

Comments: Looked great from off the pace in back-to-back wins at Churchill (one mile maiden win) and Keeneland (G1 Breeders’ Futurity). He worked his way through traffic to finish a decent 3rd in the BC Juvenile and continues to look like a solid stretch factor on the Derby trail. He remains at #3.
Derby Points (14)

(4) GREENPOINTCRUSADER (Bernardini – Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance) greenpointcrusader silks

Trainer (Dominick Schettino) – Owner (St. Elias Stable)

Comments: Put it all together from off the pace in a strong 4-1/2 length victory in the Champagne. I really like his pedigree and he figures to get better with age. The BC Juvenile favorite was too far back early and ended up a better than appears 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane at Keeneland Oct 31. He exited the BC Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. His connections are deciding whether to winter in New York or Florida and he will not run again this year.  He retains his #4 ranking and I still like him as a long term prospect.

Derby Points (10)

(5) CONQUEST BIG E (Tapit – Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City) conquest big e silks

Trainer (Mark Casse) – Owner (Conquest Stables, LLC.)

Comments: Visually impressive maiden win at Keeneland Oct 2. In the BC Juvenile, he chased the pace from the inside pace and faded to finish 8th. He bounced back with a solid stalk/pounce 2-length flat mile Optional Claiming win at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He remains at #5.

(6) SEYMOURDINI (Bernardini – Graeme Six, by Graeme Hall) seymourdini silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Iris Smith Stable)

Comments: $900k purchase battled with Mohaymen throughout and ended up 2nd in his debut.He was clearly second best as the favorite (beaten 1/2 length) in a 6f special weight sprint at Belmont Park Oct 28 on a muddy (sealed) racetrack. In a one mile straight maiden race at Aqueduct on Nov 22, he controlled the pace as the heavy favorite and won by nine lengths under hand urging. He goes from #7 to #6.

(7) MATT KING COAL (Cool Coal Man – Donna Marie, by Came Home) matt king coal silks

Trainer (Linda Rice) – Owner (Lady Sheila Stable)

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:15.55 (1/1) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on Nov 27.

Comments: Owns two of the better juvenile speed figures this year in a clear place finish at 8.5 furlongs at Belmont Oct 3 (93 BSF) and a 96 BSF for his easy flat mile wire job maiden win at that same venue Oct 29. He is up one peg to #7.

(8) GIFT BOX (Twirling Candy – Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song) gift box silks

Trainer (Chad Brown) – Owner (W. S. Farish)

Comments: Beat Matt King Coal by a nose at 8.5f (Belmont Park, Oct 3) and was flattered when that one returned to win impressively four weeks later. He fought restraint in the Remsen and ended up an even 3rd in his first stakes try. He moves up a notch to #8.

Derby Points (2)  

(9) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) nyquist silks

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) – Owner (Reddam Racing LLC.)

Comments: Ran his record to 5-for-5 and wrapped up the 2-year-old title in the BC Juvenile. To his credit, he was farther back than usual and raced wide from post 13. He gamely held off Swipe for the fourth consecutive race but the final clocking was more than a second slower than filly counterpart Songbird once again. He still seems like a miler type but keeps on winning. At this stage he is in great shape in regards to Derby points and is expected to have two 2016 preps prior to the first Saturday in May. The deserving juvenile champ moves up one position to #9.

Derby Points (30)

(10) SAIL AHOY (Bernardini – Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold) sail ahoy silks

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Comments: He did not run a complete race from start to finish and ended up an even 4th in the Champagne. He was last for much of the race and rallied for the show (missed 2nd by a neck) in the G2 Nashua. In the Remsen, he made a decent run from off the pace but flattened out and ended up 4th.  He drops four spots from #6 to #10.

Derby Points (2)

(11) STREET VISION (Street Sense – Emmy’s Storm, by Stormy Atlantic) street vision silks

Trainer (Mark Glatt) – Owner (Norman Stables, LLC.)

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.80 (21/47) at Santa Anita on Dec 7.

Comments: Could not match strides with Toews On Ice in the Speakeasy (six furlongs) at Santa Anita Oct 18 but was clearly second best. He failed to threaten when 5th of 7 in the G3 Bob Hope (7f @ DMR on Nov 14), a race in which the top three dominated throughout (Toews On Ice, Mac Daddy Mac, I’malreadythere). I believe he will improve around two turns and hope he gets a chance to route in the near future. He clings to the bottom of the list.

Honorable Mention: (12) Swipe, (13) Exaggerator, (14) Airoforce, (15) I Will Score, (16) Riker, (17) Rafting, (18) Flexibility, (19) Toews On Ice, (20) Mac Daddy Mac

Blast From the Past: Preakness 1991 Winner Hansel (Video)

I can check one item off my bucket list after finally getting to visit Hansel, the oldest living Preakness Stakes winner. It is hard to believe that Hansel is 27 and will turn 28 in a few weeks.

Photo by Stacy Edwards

Photo by Stacy Edwards

It seems like it was only yesterday that I was betting on Hansel in the Kentucky Derby and I did not lose faith after he finished 10th that day.

He came to my hometown of Baltimore for the second jewel of the Triple Crown and a funny thing happened on the way to the $50 minimum window. I attended the races on Black-Eyed Susan Day and made an advance wager on the Preakness…or so I thought!

As I was walking away from the window I noticed that my ticket was for a race run on Black-Eyed Susan Day, not the Preakness. I scampered back to the betting window and rectified the situation. One day later, Hansel romped home by seven lengths under Jerry Bailey and paid $20.20 to win. I doubled my win bet in the Belmont Stakes and he held on to beat his late running rival Strike the Gold by a head.

Hansel-2015-1_615x400

Later that summer, Hansel finished 3rd in the Haskell and 2nd in the Travers. He was named Champion American Three-Year-Old of 1991.

Hansel currently resides at Lazy Lane Farm in Upperville, Virginia and he still looks like a champion to this day. He is enjoying his golden years and happily accepted multiple head pats and carrots during my visit.

It was great to see a living thoroughbred legend and I am glad that I got to spend a beautiful December day with him.

Hansel-2015-3

Photos and Video by Stacy Edwards

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