Posts Tagged ‘American Pharoah’

Kentucky Derby 2016 Contenders

It seems impossible but it is that time again, and the September tradition continues. This is my first in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2016 contenders. This is just the beginning and there will be many twists and turns in the weeks and months ahead.


10 of the last 15 Kentucky Derby winners graduated by October 4, including 7 of the last 9. Kentucky Derby 2012 hero I’ll Have Another captured his career debut at Hollywood Park on July 3 of his juvenile season.

Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb lost his first three juvenile outings. He graduated at the Big A on November 24, 2012, his first of five straight wins, culminating in a scintillating off the pace tally under the Twin Spires on May 4.

Kentucky Derby 2014 winner California Chrome earned his diploma in his second career start ($100k Graduation – 5.5f) at Del Mar on July 31, 2013. He ended his juvenile season with an easy win in the King Glorious, the beginning of a 6-race winning streak that ended with a dead-heat for 4th in the Belmont Stakes.

Triple Crown 2015 winner American Pharaoh graduated in the G1 Del Mar Futurity on 9-3-14, the beginning of an 8-race win streak (7 Grade 1‘s and a Grade 2).

Some of my original September Derby blog juvenile contenders panned out, like my early 2010-2011 Number 1’s Stay Thirsty and Alpha. Both won the G1 Travers during their 3-year-old seasons. Others turn out to be disappointments, such as Fortify and Purple Sky, my 2012 and 2013 original Number 1’s.

International Star was my original number one Kentucky Derby 2015 contender and he was scratched the morning of the Derby. 3 of my original 11 Derby contenders made it to the starting gate including winner American Pharoah. The other two were Frosted and Carpe Diem.

An ideal Kentucky Derby contender would have a solid juvenile foundation, a long-winded pedigree, sharp graded stakes form, running style versatility, and winning connections. Strong pre-Derby works are the icing on the cake.

Graded Recaps (Derby Points Races)

G1 FrontRunner (79 BSF): American Pharoah won the FrontRunner last year. This time around, Nyquist was the overwhelming favorite and he remained undefeated with yet another win over Swipe. His margin of victory dipped and talented juvenile filly Songbird ran much faster in the G1 Chandelier. Nyquist looks like a miler and will not make my Derby list at this time.

G3 Iroquois (81 BSF): Cocked and Loaded stalked, pounced, and kicked clear to win by 2-lengths over Rated R Superstar, Unbridled Outlaw, and Conquest Windycity. The Iroquois has not been a productive race in regards to Derby contenders in recent years.

There are three Derby points races this weekend: G1 Champagne (Belmont Park, Oct 3), G1 Breeders’ Futurity (Keeneland, Oct 3), and G3 Grey (Woodbine, Oct 4).

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 was a determined 1/2 length winner (87 BSF) at six furlongs in his Belmont Park debut on 9-19-15. Dam Justwhistledixie won the G2 Davona Dale and G2 Bonnie Miss at GP in 2009.
The G2 Nashua on Nov 4 at Aqueduct might be next.

(2) 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 is one of three Bernardini freshman to make the initial list.

(3) 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 will not be a maiden much longer.

(4) RALIS (Square Eddie – Silar Rules, by Ten Most Wanted) ralis silks

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

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:01.60 (53/87) at Santa Anita on Sept 26.

Comments: His five starts include a second time out maiden win at Santa Anita, a 2nd in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar, and a romping win in the G1 Hopeful (93 BSF) at Saratoga Sept 7. He is entered in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Saturday, Oct 3.

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

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

Comments: Followed up a distant 4th behind a runaway winner in his Del Mar bow with a professional stalk/pounce win under Bejarano at Santa Anita Sept 27 (87 BSF).

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

Trainer (Shug McGaughey) – Owner (Phipps Stable)

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :47.66 (5/40) at Belmont Park on Sept 27.

Comments: Rallied to finished a distant 3rd (17-1 odds) behind Ready Dancer & Condominium in his six furlong debut at Saratoga Aug 29. He was ready to roll in his second start at Belmont Park (one mile, Sept 12), going last-to-first by a head at 3.95-1 odds. He is entered in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Saturday, Oct 3.

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f in :47.20 (2/32) at Churchill Downs Sept 25.

Comments: Broke in the air, rallied wide to take the lead, and was run down by Brody’s Cause in his flat mile debut at Churchill Sept 11. His is still immature and needs to get over his gate issues.

(8) I WILL SCORE (Roman Ruler – Grassy Nellie, by Belong to Me) i will score silks

Trainer (Jerry Hollendorfer) – Owner (Hans Poetsch)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.60 (4/13) at Los Alamitos Sept 25.

Comments: Romped in his Los Alamitos debut Sept 11.

(9) JUSTIN SQUARED (Zensational – Graciously Soft, by Vindication) justin squared silks

Trainer (Bob Baffert) – Owner (Zayat Stables LLC.)

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in :59.20 (1/55) at Santa Anita Park Sept 28.

Comments: Went all the way in an easy wire job debut at Del Mar Sept 5 (86 BSF).

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

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

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.85 (5/31) at Belmont Park Sept 26.

Comments: Missed by a neck in his Saratoga debut July 25 and scored by a neck at that same venue (seven furlongs) second time out Sept 5. He is entered in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on Saturday, Oct 3.

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

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

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:01.80 (21/43) at Churchill Downs Sept 26.

Comments: Finished 8th in his Ellis Park debut and went last-to-first (paid $69.20) to beat well-meant first timer Conquest Big E at a flat mile (Churchill Downs) Sept 11. He is entered in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct 3.

Honorable Mention: (12) Nyquist, (13) Swipe, (14) Exaggerator, (15) Who’s Out, (16) Gametown, (17) Wild Man, (18) King Kranz, (19) Arabian Leopard, (20) Rafting

Travers Stakes 2015 Video Analysis featuring American Pharoah

Haskell 2015 Video Analysis Featuring American Pharoah

Triple Crown 2015 winner American Pharoah makes his first start since turning the racing world upside down in the Belmont Stakes on June 6.

haskell 2015 odds

American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert, owned by Zayat Stables, and ridden by Victor Espinoza, puts his 7-race win streak on the line in Sunday’s Haskell at Monmouth Park.


Belmont Stakes Day 2015 Preview + Met Mile Video

Belmont Stakes Day Preview (Saturday, June 6, 2015):

G1 Ogden Phipps (race 5)

phipps 2015

Untapable is the overwhelming morning line favorite and Wedding Toast might be the only one with a shot to beat her.

G1 Acorn (race 7)

acorn 2015

This is a wide open race. Kentucky Oaks runner-up Shook Up is the tepid 7-2 morning line favorite. Other contenders include Promise Me Silver, 8-for-8 lifetime, and wire job threat Condo Commando.

G1 Met Mile (race 9)

met mile 2015

This might be the race of the day with Tonalist, Wicked Strong, and Bayern in the field.

G1 Manahttan (race 10)

manhattan 2015

Quite possibly the toughest race on the program. Twilight Eclipse and Finnegans Wake figure to vie for favoritism.

G1 Belmont Stakes (race 11)

belmont draw 2015

Will American Pharoah become the first horse to sweep the Triple Crown since 1978? History is against him but he seems to be coming up to the race as good as possible and should have every chance to succeed. The expected tepid pace should help his cause but it will not be an easy task with the likes of Grade 1 winners Frosted and Materiality in the field.

belmont odds 2015

SATURDAY’S BELMONT STAKES DAY (JUNE 6) full card analysis from Belmont Park is now available to purchase for $15 at:

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Triple Crown 2015: Belmont Stakes Preview (Video)

Is American Pharoah the next Triple Crown winner? The last 9 Belmont Stakes winners did not compete in the Preakness, and the final leg of the Triple Crown series has been dominated by fresh horses since the early 2000’s.

In the video below, Handicapper Jarrod Horak takes a look back at the Preakness Stakes and previews the Belmont Stakes.

Preakness 2015 Recap + Belmont Stakes Triple Crown Preview

Once again, 2-Year-Old Champion and post time favorite American Pharoah lived up to the hype with a romping victory in Preakness 2015.

American Pharoah

American Pharoah wins Preakness 2015 – Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

A beautiful day turned ugly in a hurry with heavy rains pelting the Pimlico oval shortly before the running of the Preakness Stakes.

Jockey Victor Espinoza changed tactics and the race was over before it started. He was planning on rating from the inside post on a fast track, but when the rains came, he decided to send and play catch me if you can. The competition never stood a chance as the Derby winner floated over the wet footing and was never headed in his fourth triumph from as many 2015 starts.

Longshot Tale of Verve was up for the place for trainer Dallas Stewart, who also saddled Kentucky Derby runner-ups Golden Soul (2013) and Commanding Curve (2014).

Divining Rod finished 3rd for Lael Stable, the owners of 2006 Kentucky Derby hero Barbaro.

American Pharoah goes for the Triple Crown sweep at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 6, and it will almost certainly be the biggest test of his career.

Can American Pharoah win the Triple Crown? Affirmed in 1978 was the last horse to sweep the series and an unlucky thirteen horses have failed to complete the hat trick since. The last nine Belmont Stakes winners did not compete in the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes will be Pharoah’s fifth start in twelve weeks.

A talented group of fresh, graded winners will be waiting for Pharoah in New York, including G1 Wood Memorial winner Frosted, G1 Florida Derby hero Materiality, G1 Blue Grass winner Carpe Diem, G1 UAE Derby romper Mubtaahib, and G2 Peter Pan winner Madefromlucky.

Kentucky Derby 2015 Recap + Preakness Preview

Two-Year-Old Champion and post time favorite American Pharoah lived up to the hype with a game tally in Kentucky Derby 2015.

American Pharoah

Kentucky Derby 2015 winner American Pharoah – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

A moderate pace made the race and the top three Derby finishers dominated from the opening bell.

In an uneventful renewal under the Twin Spires, Dortmund showed the way early, closely followed by Firing Line and American Pharoah.

Firing Line grabbed a brief lead in the lane but Dortmund was not quite finished and American Pharaoh was widest of all and making a determined run.

In the end, American Pharoah prevailed by a hard fought length with Firing Line a clear 2nd.

American Pharoah was part of my original Derby contenders list when I started my annual blog last September and he got some sweet Derby revenge for his sire line (PioneeroftheNile, Empire Maker).

Firing Line was fresh and ran to his strong pre-Derby works. He has a nice rivalry going with previously undefeated Dortmund.

Dortmund weakened a bit in the final furlong but held the show by a neck over Frosted, the only stretch running making up any ground. The latter might have made some serious noise if he got a bit more pace help. Look for the McLaughlin-Godolphin runner in the Belmont Stakes.

Danzig Moon ended up an even 5th under Julien Leparoux.

Materiality was supposed to attend the pace but his lack of seasoning was evident following a tardy beginning. He did will to finish 6th and the Belmont Stakes is next.

Dubai shipper Mubtaahij finished a respectable 8th. He is pointing to the Belmont Stakes.

Carpe Diem slowly faded to 10th and is also targeting the Belmont Stakes.

Preakness 2015 Probables

AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof The Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) american pharoah silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G1 Kentucky Derby.

Comments: The 2YO Champ laid it all on the line in the Derby to extend his winning streak to five. The Preakness will be his fourth start in nine weeks.

FIRING LINE (Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold for Gold) firing line silks

Trainer: Simon Callaghan – Owner: Arnold Zetcher

Last Start: 2nd in G1 Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Comments: Finally got the best of Dortmund but Baffert still beat him with American Pharaoh. He is still fresh for the rest of the Triple Crown series but Derby runner-up finishers frequently flop in the Preakness. He has looked energetic in his Churchill gallops leading up to the Preakness.

DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) dortmund silks

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc.

Last Start: 3rd in G1 Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Comments: His unbeaten streak came to an end in the Derby but he was hardly disgraced finishing 3rd. He might be the one to catch in the Preakness.

Danzig Moon (Malibu Moon – Leaveminthedust, by Danzig)

Trainer: Mark Casse – Owner: John C. Oxley

Last Start: 5th in G1 Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Comments: The wiseguy longshot in the Derby completed the Super High 5 under the Twin Spires. He should offer wagering value in Maryland.


Trainer: Arnauld Delacour – Owner: Lael Stables

Latest Published Workout: 4f in 51.60 (31/32) at Fair Hill on May 9.

Last Start: 1st in G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 11.

Comments: Showed nice maturity and development in the Lexington Stakes. He might be getting good at the right time and Javier Castellano will ride in Baltimore.

BODHISATTVA (Student Council – Dr. Cheryl P, by Talk Is Money)

Trainer: Jose Corrales – Owner: Jose Corrales

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:04 (9/10) at Laurel on May 10.

Last Start: 1st in Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 18.

Comments: The local hope meets some salty company.

TALE OF VERVE (Tale of Ekati – Verve, by Unbridled)

Trainer: Dallas Stewart – Owner: Charles E. Fipke

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:00.40 (5/25) at Churchill Downs on May 10.

Last Start: 1st in Keeneland MSW at 9.5f on April 23.

Comments: Kentucky Derby also-eligible won’t have any problem making the gate at Pimlico. He faces the big boys in his first start vs. winners.

SATURDAY’S PREAKNESS DAY (MAY 16) full card analysis from Pimlico will be available to purchase later this week at:

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