Archive for the ‘Kentucky Derby 2012’ Category

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Creator Storms Home in Final Points Race

The long and winding road to Kentucky Derby 2016 made a final stop at Oaklawn Park on April 16 and Creator roared home from off the pace to capture the Arkansas Derby.

Kentucky-Derby-logo-2016_615x400

Now that all of the points races are complete, it is time to focus on final workouts and the post position draw. The horses are beginning to gather under the Twin Spires and the excitement is starting to build.

Graded Recaps (2016 Derby Points Races)

G1 Arkansas Derby (4-16-16, 96 BSF): Creator’s late rally fell short in the G2 Rebel but the extra distance helped propel him to victory in the Arkansas Derby. He is clearly on the upswing for Steve Asmussen and I like it when closers rally through traffic, something fellow Derby hopeful Mo Tom has not been able to do. Suddenbreakingnews seemed to be struggling but kept plugging away, found his best stride in the lane, and was up for the place in a solid effort. Whitmore hit the board in the Southwest and Rebel and grabbed show dough on Saturday. To give us a gauge on the LA Derby, the show finisher in that heat, Dazzling Gem, finished an even 4th (beaten 4.75 lengths) in this affair. As for post time favorite Cupid, the wheels fell off the cart in the Arkansas Derby. His race was basically over after a less than ideal break. Garcia tried to push him forward but he was squeezed a bit and was chasing fast fractions before fading badly and crossing the line in 10th place. He surprisingly set the pace in the Rebel and they seemed intent on using the same tactics again but to no avail this time. He exited the Oaklawn showcase with an entrapped epiglottis and will miss the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness is still an option for the Baffert trainee. The pace fell apart in this race, something that has happened quite a bit on the Derby trail recently.

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: 4f bullet in :46.80 (1/27) at Churchill Downs on April 20.

Comments: I thought he was the best 3-year-old in the country prior to the G1 Florida Derby and I am sticking to my guns for several reasons. In the G1 Florida Derby, he made a mild bid before ending up a well beaten 4th but that does not begin to tell the story. He never looked happy, raced wide from an outer post, was not handling the wet surface, and had to be coaxed to keep up instead of cruising along like he usually does. I will toss-out his final Derby prep and look for him to run a much better race on the first Saturday in May. He shipped to Churchill Downs April 17, uncorked a strong four furlong bullet April 20, and galloped out with interest. He maintains his #1 ranking, a spot he has occupied since I first started my 2016 Derby contender list more than six months ago.

Derby Points (80)  

(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 1:01.60 (39/55) at Santa Anita on April 21.

Comments: Exaggerator really turned the tables on him in the SA Derby but the first Saturday in May is the big prize. He has never finished out of the Exacta, handles any footing, and was 2nd in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last fall. The one-paced, grinding type lacks explosiveness and that is a major concern but he is a gem of consistency and might be the most reliable of the Derby contenders. He stays put at #2, a spot he has occupied for more than five months.

Derby Points (84)

(3) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) Nyquist

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

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:02.60 (22/28) at Keeneland on April 15.

Comments: With Mohaymen swimming upstream, the undefeated, two-year-old champion had a very easy time of it on the front end against severely overmatched pace rivals in the G1 Florida Derby. I never liked his one sprint/one route path to the Kentucky Derby and he will take more money than he should on the first Saturday in May. Many question his ability to get ten furlongs based on his pedigree and that might be the case but I just don’t think he is fast enough around two turns to win the Derby. His best career number was earned in the G2 San Vicente at seven furlongs earlier this year and his Florida Derby speed figure was nothing special. He shipped to Keeneland to begin Derby preparations April 3 and is scheduled to work next on April 23.

Derby Points (130)

(4) EXAGGERATOR (Curlin – Dawn Raid, by Vindication) exaggerator silks

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

Comments: Both of his two turn wins (Delta Jackpot, SA Derby) were accomplished on wet tracks and he totally freaked at Santa Anita last time. He has turned into a strong late runner, has plenty of seasoning, and I love the way trainer Keith Desormeaux has handled him this year in regards to distance progression (7f San Vicente, 8.5f San Felipe, 9f SA Derby). Kent Desormeaux was more patient with him in the SA Derby and his well-timed ride resulted in a strong finish in his final Derby prep. A wet track at Churchill Downs would make him the one to beat but I am not sure what he will do on dry land. He stays put at #4.

Derby Points (126)

(5) DESTIN (Giant’s Causeway – Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer) destin silks

Trainer (Todd Pletcher) – Owner (Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.94 (1/2) at Palm Beach Downs on April 16.

Comments: He was impressive in his final Derby prep (Tampa Bay Derby) and was flattered when a pair of his vanquished foes from that race (Outwork, Brody’s Cause) returned to win the G1 Wood Memorial and G1 Blue Grass. I like his positional speed and improving form but he still needs to prove he can run a big race away from Tampa Bay Downs. His connections were worried about a bounce so they decided to skip his final prep and train up to the Derby. He won the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12, returned to the work tab April 2, has never raced beyond a mile and a sixteenth, and the Kentucky Derby will be his first start in two months. He has positives and negatives like many top Derby contenders this year.

Derby Points (51)

(6) SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (Mineshaft – Uchitel, by Afleet Alex)

Trainer (Donnie K Von Hemel) – Owner (Samuel F. Henderson)

Comments: The impressive Southwest winner could not overcome a troubled trip from the outside post in the Rebel Stakes but bounced back with a much better performance in the Arkansas Derby. It looked like he was going nowhere in his final Derby prep but eventually started advancing in the middle of the track and got up for the place to secure a spot on the first Saturday in May. He has plenty of stamina and is one of several quality late runners but has shown some running style versatility in the past.

Derby Points (50)

(7) CREATOR (Tapit – Morena, by Privately Held)

Trainer (Steve Asmussen) – Owner (WinStar Farm)

Comments: He broke his maiden in his sixth career start Feb 27, rallied for the show in the G2 Rebel Stakes March 19, and went last-to-first while working his way through traffic to capture his first graded stakes race in the G1 Arkansas Derby April 16. He is getting good in a hurry, has stamina influences throughout his pedigree, and could be heard from late on May 7.

Derby Points (110)

(8) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm)

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

Comments: The G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner proved once again that Keeneland is his favorite venue after a solid off the pace effort in the G1 Blue Grass. The G1 BC Juvenile show finisher threw in a clunker in his G2 Tampa Bay Derby return on March 12 but some horses do not handle the Tampa Bay surface and he bounced back as expected on April 9. He broke his maiden at Churchill so a return to Kentucky was definitely what the doctor ordered. The Blue Grass pace fell apart and the number did not come back strong. He has been part of my Derby list all along so I have obviously liked him for quite some time.

Derby Points (114)

(9) GUN RUNNER (Candy Ride – Quiet Giant, by Giant’s Causeway)

Trainer (Steve Asmussen) – Owner (Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimney Farms)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in 1:00 (1/16) at Churchill Downs on April 18.

Comments: He looked good in a pair ground saving, stalk and pounce wins this year in the G2 Risen Star and G2 Louisiana Derby. He did not run fast in either race but jockey Florent Geroux put him in the right spot and gave him every chance to succeed both times. His tactical speed and ability to get the jump on his opponents are big assets when it comes to a race like the Kentucky Derby but he will need to run quite a bit faster to be considered a serious threat to wear the blanket of roses.

Derby Points (151)     

(10) DANZING CANDY (Twirling Candy – Talkin and Singing, by Songandaprayer)

Trainer (Clifford Sise Jr.) – Owner (Halo Farms)

Comments: The sharp wire-to-wire San Felipe winner did not show the same brilliance in the SA Derby. In the latter race, he was sent to the lead and faded badly in the mud. He whipped Mor Spirit and Exaggerator in the San Felipe but finished more than thirteen lengths behind that latter this time. What a difference four weeks and a longer distance can make on the Derby trail. Prior to the SA Derby, his biggest obstacle was his ability to relax and finish. Exaggerator clearly passed his test but not this colt. He is fast and talented but looks like a one-dimensional speed horse with stamina issues. He is better than his last and would appreciate a fast, speed favoring track but ten furlongs looks like a daunting trip.

Derby Points (60)

(11) MO TOM (Uncle Mo – Caroni, by Rubiano)

Trainer (Tom Amoss) – Owner (G M B Racing)

Latest Workout: 4f in :47 (2/27) at Churchill Downs on April 20.

Comments: Everything went right to kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 LeComte but he has become the poster child for bad racing luck ever since. He was a troubled 3rd in the Risen Star and an even more unlucky 4th in the LA Derby. Closers frequently find trouble but a pair of questionable rides by jockey Corey Lanerie did not help matters. He is very close in ability to Gun Runner but the latter has tactical speed and some quickness to help him avoid traffic woes. He has not run fast yet and the main reason he keeps getting into trouble is because he is not nimble enough to avoid it. He is due for some good luck but finding clear sailing on the first Saturday in May will not be easy.

Derby Points (32)

THE NEXT NINE +1: (12) Outwork, (13) My Man Sam, (14) Whitmore, (15) Shagaf, (16) Tom’s Ready, (17) Lani, (18) Majesto, (19) Oscar Nominated, (20) Trojan Nation, (21) Fellowship

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Louisiana Derby video analysis

My top ranked Kentucky Derby 2016 contender Mohaymen is getting closer to his final prep race before his date with destiny on the first Saturday in May.

Mohaymen

Mohaymen is ready for the Florida Derby – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Mohaymen completed his Florida Derby preparations with an easy four furlong breeze on March 24. In the Florida Derby on Saturday, April 2, he will meet undefeated Juvenile Champion Nyquist in what is shaping up as the most anticipated prep race of the Derby season.

The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at nine furlongs is the Kentucky Derby prep this week and it is worth a total of 170 Derby qualifying points (100-40-20-10). A competitive field of eleven will line up in what promises to be a very good betting race.

Graded Recaps (2016 Derby Points Races)

G2 Rebel Stakes (3-19-16, 95 BSF): Martin Garcia took no chances aboard Cupid. He shot straight to the front after breaking a bit slow and kicked away from Whitmore when that one came after him in the lane. He won by a comfortable 1-1/4 lengths and galloped out strong. Bob Baffert’s exciting $900k son of Tapit figures to return to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby. He did not quite make it into the Top 11 this week but moved up from #20 to #14. Southwest Stakes runner-up Whitmore played second fiddle again and Creator was 3rd, followed by Cherry Wine and a troubled Suddenbreakingnews.

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: 4f breeze in :48.95 (9/46) at Palm Meadows on March 24.

Comments: The $2.2 million purchase ran his record to 5-for-5 after comfortably beating Zulu the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb 27. He took the G2 Nashua and G2 Remsen as a juvenile (both at Aqueduct) and easily captured his sophomore debut in the Holy Bull at the Gulf on Jan 30. He had his final Florida Derby breeze on March 24 remains at number one, a spot he has occupied since I started my list September 30, 2015. At this stage it looks like a field of six for the Florida Derby: Mohaymen, Nyquist, Fellowship, along with longshots Ifyousnoozeyoulose, Sawyers Mickey, and Majesto.

Derby Points (70)

(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 :47.80 (2/27) at Santa Anita on March 24.

Comments: Bob Baffert’s $650k purchase is a 2-time graded winner (G1 Los Al Futurity, G3 Robert Lewis) and he got valuable shipping experience in a place finish over wet footing in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill last fall. He has never finished out of the exacta including a better than appears place finish behind wire job winner Danzing Candy in the G2 San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 12. In the San Felipe, jockey Gary Stevens said he was too fresh and eager to go early and after settling he passed Exaggerator for the place and galloped out nicely. Baffert and company keep learning more about him and the versatile sort will take on Danzing Candy again in the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, April 9. He had his first SA Derby work on March 24 and stays put at #2, a spot he has occupied since Oct 24.

Derby Points (44)

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

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

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:02.30 (6/10) at Palm Meadows on March 18.

Comments: The G1 Champagne winner was too far back early as the favorite in the BC Juvenile and ended up 7th after getting fanned very wide in the lane. He exited the Juvenile with an eye ulcer, probably caused by flying dirt during the running of the race. He resurfaced in the Jan 30 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park and the patient sort surprisingly took up the running in the paceless affair and was clearly second best to Mohaymen. He drew post 2 and is listed at 7-2 on the morning line in the G2 Louisiana Derby on March 26 at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Derby Points (14)

(4) NYQUIST (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) Nyquist

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

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:01.40 (21/53) at Santa Anita on March 18.

Comments: The 2-year-old champion looked like the real deal in his sophomore debut in the G2 San Vicente at seven furlongs. He ran fast throughout at Santa Anita on Feb 15, stopping the timer in 1:20.71 (100 BSF) and winning by 1.5 lengths over Exaggerator. He keeps on winning but I am not sure he wants to go ten furlongs and I do not like his one sprint/one route path to the Derby. He will have his final Derby prep in the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2 and is eligible for a $1 million bonus.

Derby Points (30)

(5) EXAGGERATOR (Curlin – Dawn Raid, by Vindication) exaggerator silks

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

Comments: He uncorked a new career top BSF (98) in his San Vicente return but so did Nyquist and he had to settle for a clear place finish after giving the champ a scare in mid-stretch. In his second sophomore start in the San Felipe, he was much farther back than normal after a less than ideal start and unleashed a strong, premature run at Danzing Candy before understandably flattening out and finishing 3rd (96 BSF). Trainer Keith Desormeaux is concerned that he is a miler but will give him another Derby prep race shot in the Santa Anita Derby. I am not sure if he wants to go run longer distances but he is tough, durable, battle-tested, and deserves every chance to make the Derby. If he does not want to go that far, there is always races like the G1 King’s Bishop (seven furlongs) at Saratoga this summer. He remains at #5 for now.

Derby Points (26)

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

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

Latest Workout: 6f breeze in 1:13.06 (1/1) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on March 19.

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 vacation. He returned to the work tab Feb 7 and made his first 2016 start in the third race on Sunday, March 6 at Aqueduct (inner dirt). In that Optional Claiming event at a mile and a sixteenth, he went wire-to-wire and earned a 97 BSF, a number much faster than the G3 Gotham a day earlier. The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9 is next.

(7) DESTIN (Giant’s Causeway – Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer)

Trainer (Todd Pletcher) – Owner (Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC)

Comments: The improving son of Giant’s Causeway responded with back-to-back stakes wins in the Sam F. Davis (91 BSF) and G2 Tampa Bay Derby (100 BSF). Creative Cause’s brother owns fine positional speed and is getting good at the right time but still needs to prove his worth away from the friendly confines of Tampa Bay Downs.

Derby Points (51)

(8) DANZING CANDY (Twirling Candy – Talkin and Singing, by Songandaprayer)

Trainer (Clifford Sise Jr.) – Owner (Halo Farms)

Comments: Ran his win streak to three with a sharp wire-to-wire score in the G2 San Felipe, smartly beating quality Derby contenders Mor Spirit and Exaggerator. He is fast and talented but he still has some stamina and versatility questions to answer. I would consider him a very serious Kentucky Derby contender if he relaxes and finish strongly in the SA Derby at nine furlongs. He is scheduled to work five furlongs under Mike Smith at Santa Anita on Saturday, March 26.

Derby Points (50)

(9) SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (Mineshaft – Uchitel, by Afleet Alex)

Trainer (Donnie K Von Hemel) – Owner (Samuel F. Henderson)

Comments: He made his way onto my list after a strong last-to-first score in the G3 Southwest, his sixth exacta finish from as many starts up to that point. In the Rebel Stakes on March 12, he was wide early from post 14, raced in traffic, briefly lost action, steadied, and missed 4th by a head in a troubled, inconclusive effort. He drops three spots and gets a shot at redemption in the Arkansas Derby.

Derby Points (10)

(10) JENSEN  (Haynesfield – Spun Lake, by Hard Spun)

Trainer (Larry Jones) – Owner (Larry and Cindy Jones)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (3/25) at Fair Grounds on March 21.

Comments: Fired exacta shots in all four starts at Fair Grounds including a romping two turn entry level wire job Feb 25 (89 BSF). He seems to be developing at the right time. The Louisiana Derby was being discussed but they opted to target the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on April 2. Larry Jones trained 2007 Spiral winner Hard Spun (Jensen’s dam sire). He will likely have to win the Spiral to have enough Derby points to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. He stays put at #10.

(11) BRODY’S CAUSE (Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna, by Sahm)

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

Comments: The G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner threw in a dud in his G2 Tampa Bay Derby return on March 12. Some horses do not handle the Tampa Bay surface so he gets a mulligan and is expected to have his final Derby prep in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 9. We know he likes Keeneland (1st Breeders’ Futurity, 3rd BC Juvenile) and he broke his maiden at Churchill so a return to Kentucky might be just what the doctor ordered. He will remain on the list until he runs in the Blue Grass.

Derby Points (14)

THE NEXT NINE: (12) Mo Tom, (13) Gun Runner, (14) Cupid, (15) Zulu, (16) Shagaf, (17) My Man Sam, (18) Kasseopia, (19) Outwork, (20) Malibu Sunset

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: G2 Risen Star Stakes Video Analysis

The Kentucky Derby 2016 points chase gets serious with the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Saturday, February 20.

The Risen Star is the first Derby prep race to award 85 points (50-20-10-5). All of the points races up to this point were worth 17 points (10-4-2-1).

Airoforce is the 5-2 morning line favorite at Fair Grounds. He won 3 of 4 starts as a juvenile including the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in November. The $350k son of Colonel John is training forwardly in preparation for his sophomore debut and he will by rallying from off the pace under Julien Leparoux.

Graded Recaps (2016 Derby Points Races)

G3 Southwest (2-15-16, 93 BSF): Suddenbreakingnews, coupled in the wagering with Synchrony, went from 14th (5+ lengths behind next-to-last horse) to 1st (by 2.75 lengths) to win going away at Oaklawn Park on Monday. Whitmore rallied for the place and had a less than ideal trip. American Dubai stalked, took the lead, and was passed by the top two late. Post time favorite Collected ran to his paper race expectations and finished 4th. Synchrony started out 12th and passed tired rivals to finish a flat 6th. Discreetness could not overcome post 14 (8 wide first turn) and ended up 7th.

G3 El Camino Real Derby (2-13-16, 86 BSF): Frank Conversation sure loves the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields. The Doug O’Neill trainee followed up an easy win in the California Derby with a gritty score by less than a length on Saturday. Graham Motion saddled 2-3 finishers Tusk and Kasseopia. The latter probably needed the race (bad start) and is worth following.

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: 4f bullet in :47.75 (1/31) at Palm Meadows on Feb 12.

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, which keeps him out of trouble, an important trait on the Derby trail. He has been my top ranked Derby contender since I started my list last September and appears to be in peak form in advance of the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

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 :48.60 (21/49) at Santa Anita Park on Feb 17.

Comments: Last year’s G1 Los Al Futurity picked up where he left off with another graded win in the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 6. Baffert’s improving stalker keeps collecting Derby points. The G2 San Felipe on March 12 at Santa Anita Park might be next. He stays put at #2, a spot he has occupied since Oct 24.

Derby Points (24)

(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: 5f bullet in :58.71 (1/27) at Gulfstream Park on Feb 14.

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)

Latest Workout: 4f in :50.80 (42/56) at Palm Meadows on Feb 14.

Comments: The G1 Champagne winner was too far back early as the favorite in the BC Juvenile 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 resurfaced in the Holy Bull and the patient sort surprisingly took up the running and was clearly second best. He retains his #4 ranking and his next start is undecided.

Derby Points (14)

(5) AIROFORCE (Colonel John – Chocolate Pop, by Cuvee) airoforce silks

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

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.30 (2/31) at Palm Meadows on Feb 12.

Comments: He won a productive renewal of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last year, beating subsequent graded stakes winners Mor Spirit (Los Al Futurity, Robert Lewis Stakes) and Mo Tom (LeComte). He returned to the worktab Jan 11, missed his next work with an elevated temperature, and resumed morning activity Jan 25. His sire Colonel John was my Derby horse in 2008. He is entered in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb 20 and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. He needs a strong performance on Saturday to remain in the top five.

Derby Points (10)

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

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

Comments: The 2-year-old champion looked like a champ in his sophomore debut in the G2 San Vicente at seven furlongs. He ran fast throughout at Santa Anita on Feb 15, stopping the timer in 1:20.71 (100 BSF) and winning by 1.5 lengths over Exaggerator. He is expected to have his final Derby prep in the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2.

Derby Points (30)

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

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

Comments: He came back ready to roll in the San Vicente but so did Nyquist and he settled for a clear place finish after giving the champ a scare in mid-stretch. It was a solid beginning to his 3-year-old campaign and should set him up nicely for the San Felipe.

Derby Points (16)

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

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

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:17.66 (1/1) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on Feb 15.

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 vacation. He returned to the work tab Feb 7 and is pointing to the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct March 5.

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.40 (3/50) at Palm Meadows on Feb 13.

Comments: The Holy Bull disappointment is behind him and it is put up or shut up time. He needs to step up and prove that he belongs in the graded ranks and must run big in his next start.

Derby Points (1)

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

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 missed a couple of recent works and took a pass on the Risen Star. He should be back on the work tab shortly and needs to get fit and find a race in a hurry.

Derby Points (2)

(11) SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (Mineshaft – Uchitel, by Afleet Alex)

Trainer (Donnie K Von Hemel) – Owner (Samuel F. Henderson)

Comments: He replaces stablemate Synchrony on the list after rallying powerfully and going last-to-first in the G3 Southwest. He has fired Exacta shots in all six career starts and has a smart route-oriented pedigree. The G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 19 is next.

Derby Points (10)

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

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

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders: Derby Future Pool 1 Preview (Video)

The first Kentucky Derby 2016 Future Wager pool is open now through Sunday, November 29 and includes a sire wager for the first time.

Kentucky-Derby-logo-2016_615x400

Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager field (with betting number and morning line odds):
Awesome Again (#1, 50-1)
Bernardini (#2, 30-1)
Blame (#3, 30-1)
Candy Ride-ARG (#4, 30-1)
Curlin (#5, 30-1)
Distorted Humor (#6, 20-1)
Eskendereya (#7, 30-1)
Ghostzapper (#8, 30-1)
Giant’s Causeway (#9, 20-1)
Hard Spun (#10, 30-1)
Harlan’s Holiday (#11, 30-1)
Kitten’s Joy (#12, 30-1)
Malibu Moon (#13, 20-1)
Medaglia d’Oro (#14, 20-1)
Pioneerof the Nile (#15, 15-1)
Scat Daddy (#16, 30-1)
Street Sense (#17, 30-1)
Super Saver (#18, 50-1)
Tapit (#19, 15-1)
Tiznow (#20, 20-1)
Unbridled’s Song (#21, 20-1)
Uncle Mo (#22, 20-1)
War Front (#23, 20-1)
 “All Other Sires” (#24, 1-1)

Kentucky Derby 2016 Future Wager Field Pool 1 (with betting number and morning line odds):

Airoforce (#1, 20-1)    
Annual Report (#2, 30-1)    
Brody’s Cause    (#3, 15-1)    
Cocked and Loaded (#4, 30-1)    
Conquest Big E (#5, 50-1)    
Drefong (#6, 30-1)    
Exaggerator (#7, 30-1)    
Flexibility (#8, 30-1)    
Gift Box (#9, 30-1)    
Greenpointcrusader (#10, 30-1)    
Gun Runner (#11, 30-1)    
Matt King Coal (#12, 20-1)
Mohaymen (#13, 15-1)    
Mor Spirit (#14, 20-1)    
Nyquist (#15, 10-1)    
Rated R Superstar (#16, 50-1)    
Riker (#17, 30-1)    
Sail Ahoy (#18, 30-1)    
Sunny Ridge (#19, 50-1)    
Swipe (#20, 15-1)    
Synchrony (#21, 30-1)    
Toews On Ice (#22, 30-1)    
Unbridled Outlaw (#23, 30-1)    
Mutuel Field – “All Others” (#24, 7-5)        
Morning Line Odds by Mike Battaglia

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G3 Delta Jackpot (11-21-15, 92 BSF): The Jackpot is run on a tricky six furlong bullring in Louisiana and rarely has a big impact on the Derby. In this year’s renewal, strong favorite Exaggerator was content to stalk the pace but nobody really wanted the lead so Kent D was able to secure a short lead throughout on a muddy, sealed surface. G1 Champagne runner-up Sunny Ridge took up the chase after six furlongs and fell a neck short while well clear of show finisher Harlan Punch. The 1-2 Jackpot finishers are solid horses but seem a cut or two below the top juveniles in the country.

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: 5f in 1:01.12 (2/4) at Belmont Park on Nov 18.

Comments: The $2.2 million yearling purchase was a determined 1/2 length winner (87 BSF) at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15. 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 is entered in the G2 Remsen (race 5) at Aqueduct on Nov 28. He retains the top spot.

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

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

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:16.20 (10/10) at Santa Anita Park on Nov 22.

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 is entered in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (race 11) at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He stays put at #2.

(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 moved up one notch to #3 last time and stays right there.

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.)

Latest Workout: 4f bullet in :47.20 (1/68) at Churchill Downs on Nov 20.

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. I thought the Juvenile might be a bit too much too soon, but he is still learning and remains a promising sort. He is entered in a one mile Optional Claiming event (race 10) at Churchill Downs on Nov 28. He is still ranked #5.

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

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Latest Workout: 4f in :47.83 (6/62) at Belmont Park on Nov 22.

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. As stated before, he figures to improve around two turns and should get better next year for patient trainer Shug McGaughey, who saddled Kentucky Derby winner Orb in 2013. He is entered in the G2 Remsen (race 5) at Aqueduct on Nov 28. He holds his #6 position.

Derby Points (1)

(7) 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 #7.

(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: 5f in 1:03.06 (19/40) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on Nov 14.

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 remains at #8.

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

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

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:01.85 (13/35) at Belmont Park on Nov 14.

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. Also, the show finisher was another 18 lengths back Oct 3 so the top two were much the best. He is entered in the G2 Remsen (race 5) at Aqueduct on Nov 28. He stays at #9.

(10) 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 on position to #10.

Derby Points (30)

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

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

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) I Will Score, (15) Riker, (16) Rafting, (17) Annual Report, (18) Flexibility, (19) Toews On Ice, (20) Mac Daddy Mac

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