Posts Tagged ‘Casual Trick’

Wood Memorial 2012 Recap: Gemologist Edges Alpha

Gemologist and Alpha punched their Kentucky Derby 2012 tickets after running 1-2 in an exciting edition of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday.

G1 Wood Memorial (4-7-12): 98 BSF (Gemologist)

Gemologist Alpha Kentucky Derby 2012

Gemologist is undefeated heading into Ky Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Lumber Guy was the headstrong early leader through splits of :23.04, :47.57, and 1:22.54. My Adonis tracked in 2nd, followed by Gemologist on the outside and Alpha along the rail.

The Lumber Guy was getting pressure from My Adonis and Gemologist with three furlongs to go. Gemologist put away his two pace foes but had to deal with a fresh challenge from Alpha. The stage was set for a thrilling finish and Gemologist stuck his neck out on the line with Alpha three clear of rallying show finisher Teeth of the Dog.

Tiger Walk finished 4th and was followed by The Lumber Guy, Street Life, My Adonis, and Casual Trick (more breathing problems).

Gemologist stopped the clock in 1:50.96 and paid $4.40 to win under Javier Castellano. Todd Pletcher’s undefeated colt will return to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.

Gemologist fans should be pleased. He showed he could stalk and pounce and turned back talented colt Alpha in a determined effort. He is 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs and could end up the Derby favorite, depending on what happens with Hansen in the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14.

Alpha did everything but win under Ramon Dominguez. He was on good gate behavior once again and proved he could take dirt in the face after racing along the rail. The McLaughlin/Godolphin colt finished up nicely and his numbers are on the rise.

This was a solid Derby prep from start to finish.

Wood Memorial Grade: A- (91 out of 100)

Wood Memorial 2012 Preview – Will Gemologist remain unbeaten?

Saturday’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is worth a cool $1 million and provides New York sophomores a final chance to qualify for Kentucky Derby 2012 on graded earnings.

#6 Gemologist (8-5) is 4-for-4 and needs a top two finish to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The sharp early-pressing type exits a romping tally over G3 Illinois Derby favorite Currency Swap in his Gulfstream return and tries to avoid a bounce while returning in three weeks.

#3 MY ADONIS (8-1) might be a cut below but he looks like the value play in this spot. The Kelly Breen trainee should sit a decent tactical journey and his numbers are on the rise. He gets away from Hansen after finishing behind the juvenile champ in the G3 Holy Bull and G3 Gotham.

Alpha horse

Alpha shoots for 3rd straight win on Saturday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Alpha (5-2) enters fresh and projects a ground saving tactical trip for the productive Dominguez/McLaughlin team. He was my original top ranked Derby contender when I began my list last September and I like the progress he is making this season.

#7 Tiger Walk (15-1) deserves a longshot look. He finished a solid 3rd in the G3 Withers and was hung out to dry from post 13 in G3 Gotham (missed 3rd by head).  His stablemate Millionreasonswhy is a strong contender in the G3 Comely earlier on the Big A program.

#5 Street Life (4-1) showed a nice late kick on the inner dirt in his last pair despite not getting much pace help. The son of Street Sense is on the upswing and will be finishing.

#8 The Lumber Guy (8-1) easily captured a pair of sprints to begin his career and looms a pace player at the very least. He will probably find this company and distance a bit beyond his scope at this stage.

#2 Casual Trick (20-1) is trying to rediscover his GP Derby form for Zito. He reportedly flipped his palate in his last pair and had surgery to correct the breathing problem.

#4 Teeth of the Dog (15-1) is getting better for Matz but this is a tough spot for a horse exiting a head maiden victory.

THE PLAYS:

$20 to win #3

$2 Exacta Box 1-3 ($4)

$4 Exacta 1-3/6-7  ($16)

Fountain of Youth Stakes 2012 Preview: Pletcher vs. Union Rags

The South Florida sophomores take a serious step on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 at Gulfstream Park in Sunday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and Union Rags makes his much anticipated seasonal debut.

Union Rags

Union Rags is back in action at the Gulf on Sunday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#7 Union Rags was the most accomplished juvenile in the land despite missing the G1 BC Juvenile by a head. He won a pair of graded events in 2011 including a powerful win over Alpha in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park in October. The talented son of Dixie Union should have caught Hansen under the Twin Spires but he failed to keep a straight course in the stretch. He is in great shape on the Derby graded earnings list and does not have to win this prep for the Florida Derby.

#2 Algorithms (8-5) tries to keep his perfect record intact for Todd Pletcher. This is an important race for him, not from a graded earnings standpoint, but he must prove that he can excel around two turns. He sat perfect outside tactical trips in both local wins against Gotham hopefuls Consortium and Hansen. Early-pressing types from inner posts dominate local 8.5 furlong events and the undefeated son of Bernardini should not have any excuses.

#5 Discreet Dancer (3-1) easily captured both local sprint starts and gets a class/distance test today. He spiked a temperature and missed a planned work on Feb 6 but drilled smartly at Palm Meadows on Feb 13 and Feb 20. He figures to set sail for the lead and will probably offer more value than Algorithms and Union Rags.

#3 Fort Loudon (20-1) lands an advantageous inner post and has enough positional speed to work out a forwardly placed journey at square odds. The Calder specialist got a spin over the local main in needed Holy Bull effort in the slop and can go better today.

#4 Casual Trick (6-1) looked great in his Churchill sprint maiden win last November and began his 3-year-old campaign with a fine 2nd in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan 1. He threw in a clunker against El Padrino last time but may not have cared for the wet footing. His last was too bad to believe and the well bred Zito runner could rebound in a big way.

#1 Neck ‘N Neck (15-1) dons the hood and lands the cozy rail. He played bridesmaid to Discreet Dancer here Jan 7 and exits a slow renewal of the G3 Sam Davis.

#6 News Pending (20-1) is slowly improving for Dale Romans. He showed a nice late kick in a late turf route Feb 5 and might be better on that footing.

#8 Csaba (20-1) won twice in the Calder slop last year and is probably doing a rain dance. He does not have the numbers to compete here.

Here is HorseRacingNation.com handicapper Mike Shutty’s video analysis of the Fountain of Youth Stakes. My FOY wagering strategies can be found at the bottom of this post.

Jarrod Horak’s Fountain of Youth Plays:

$8 to win #3

.50 cent Trifecta 3-4/2-3-4/1-2-3-4-5-7 ($8)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-5-7/3/ALL ($12)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-5-7/ALL/3 ($12)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Holy Bull Stakes + El Padrino

The G3 Holy Bull Stakes was the first graded prep for Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders in South Florida and Algorithms spoiled juvenile champ Hansen’s much anticipated return.

G3 Holy Bull Stakes (1-29-12): 98 BSF (Algorithms)

Algorithms

Algorithms stays undefeated in Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms remained undefeated with his first graded score for Todd Pletcher. The promising son of Bernardini is out of Cryptoclearance mare Ava Knowsthecode. He has yet to try two turns and that has me concerned because serious Derby contenders usually have route races under their belts at this stage.

Hansen always seemed a bit  suspect on stamina based on his pace to late pace ratio, also knows as energy distribution. He stumbled at the start on Sunday but failed to relax on the lead and he paid the price late. It is too early to give up on him but he needs to relax early if he is going to be competitive in upcoming graded Derby route preps.

Consortium never lifted a hoof in a puzzling effort. He may not have cared for wet footing.

Holy Bull Stakes Grade: B-

Earlier on the Gulfstream program, El Padrino captured an allowance route in fast time and stole the thunder from the aforementioned Holy Bull runners.

Gulfstream Allowance Optional Claiming (1-29-12, 7th race): 100 BSF (El Padrino)

Sunday’s 7th race from Gulfstream Park was the most impressive Derby prep I have seen up to this point. Eventual winner El Padrino stalked, pounced, and rolled past pacesetter Take Charge Indy, and it was more than thirteen lengths back to the rest.

{Keep up with the latest Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

El Padrino has all the tools you want to see in a Derby contender. He has a Kentucky Derby winning trainer (Pletcher) in his corner and a long winded pedigree (Pulpit-Giant’s Causeway). He also owns running style versatility and proved he could break open a race in his sharp maiden win last year. The only knock is that both of his wins were accomplished on wet footing.

Take Charge Indy figured to improve as a sophomore and he got off to a fine start at the Gulf on Sunday.

Casual Trick was a huge disappointment for Nick Zito. The post time favorite stalked the pace after stumbling at the start but faltered badly on the sealed wet track and finished 8th. He may not have cared for the footing.

El Padrino and Take Charge Indy have both been part of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 list since last October.

Gulfstream Allowance/Optional Claiming Grade: A-

Holy Bull Stakes 2012 Preview: Let’s Topple Hansen + El Padrino Returns

Juvenile champ Hansen begins his quest for Kentucky Derby 2012 in the G3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sunday and he is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the one mile test.

Hansen has never been headed in three lifetime starts and is the one to catch in the Holy Bull (10th race) but I have never been a huge fan of the undefeated colt. The Mike Maker trainee easily captured his first two synthetic starts at Turfway Park and caught a funny drying out track in the G1 BC Juvenile. He controlled the pace under the Twin Spires and was fortunate to just last over Union Rags, who failed to keep a straight course in the lane.

Hansen

2YO Champ Hansen returns in G3 Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The speedy son of Tapit has only worked five times for this engagement. His first four furlong drill was timed in a slow :53 so he probably did not get much out of that one, and he went fast early and got tired late in latest five furlong move. He makes his first start since early November and does not have to win this at low odds. Ramon Dominguez rides.

Consortium is an interesting contender for Kiaran McLaughlin. The promising son of Bernardini, out  of Machiavellian mare Marietta, is bred to run all day. He looked great rallying in his Big A Bow and did all of the pace dirty work in a better than appears place finish behind today’s rival Algorithms in a Gulfstream optional claiming sprint Dec 16. He adds first lasix and there is other speed in here this time, so look for Johnny V to employ patient tactics.

Algorithms sat the perfect outside tactical trip against Consortium last time and it could be deju vu all over again. The Todd Pletcher trainee is also out of hot sire Bernardini and he sports a Palm Meadows bullet for this. Castellano is enjoying a fine meet and he looms large as the 5-2 second choice on the line.

Fort Loudon was last seen finishing 7th in the BC Juvenile from post 12. He raced eight times as a juvenile and all of his wins and works were recorded at Calder. He will likely press the pace under Maragh.

Silver Max goes turf/dirt for Dale Romans. He has fired Exacta shots in all six lifetime starts and finally earned his diploma in a local flat mile turf affair Jan 13. He likes to show speed and should be hustled away from the rail under Leparoux.

My Adonis dueled through strong splits before spitting the bit in a weak renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot. The Kelly Breen trainee is shooting bullets for this but will have to deal with serious pace rival Hansen early and often.

The Plays:

$20 to win Consortium

$10 Exacta Box Consortium, Algorithms ($20)

Earlier on the Gulfstream Park program, a trio of promising 3-year-olds will hook up in an allowance route (7th race), and El Padrinolooms the value play at 4-1.

El Padrino was originally slated to go in the G3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds last weekend, but trainer Todd Pletcher felt he needed another work and his latest five furlong morning move was accomplished in 1:02 and change at Palm Meadows on Jan 23. I love his distance oriented pedigree (Pulpit-Giant’s Causeway) and early-pressing types from inner posts perform well in 8.5 furlong races at the Gulf. Look for the G2 Remsen show finisher to track the pace under new rider Castellano.

{Keep up with the latest Kentucky Derby 2012 trail workouts}

Take Charge Indy, the 5th place finisher in the BC Juvenile, is another with strong distance breeding (A.P. Indy). He has only worked four times for this but did fire a Palm Meadows bullet on Jan 24 and should stalk the pace under Borel.

Finally, Casual Trick is the one to beat as the 5-2 morning line favorite. Nick Zito’s charge exits a solid place finish in the Gulfstream Park Derby and owns a recency edge over his aforementioned rivals. He is yet another promising runner out of Bernardini, and this entry level route could top the Holy Bull in terms of producing Kentucky Derby contenders.

The Plays:

$20 to win El Padrino

$7 Exacta Box El Padrino, Casual Trick ($14)

$3 Exacta Box El Padrino, Take Charge Indy ($6)

Grading the 2012 Kentucky Derby Preps: GP Derby

The ungraded, $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby was the first stakes route opportunity for Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders to square off and newly turned three-year-old Reveron got the best of highly regarded Nick Zito runner Casual Trick.

Gulfstream Park Derby (1-1-12) – 87 BSF (Reveron)

Reveron

Is Reveron a legit Ky Derby contender? - photo by Eclipse Sportwire

Early-pressing types from inner posts perform well in routes at the Gulf and Reveron took advantage of his inner draw and made his presence felt throughout in a game 1/2 length victory. I am not sure that the son of Songandaprayer is a serious Derby contender but he can do some damage in two turn stakes races in Florida this winter.

Casual Trick ran a nice race for Zito. He sat a decent tactical trip and gave the winner a scare while clearly second best. He was making his third lifetime start and first try around two turns on Sunday and should continue to develop. He is yet another hot Bernardini commodity, and he gets more stamina from dam sire Red Ransom. Interesting long range prospect.

{Check out the latest Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders workout report}.

King Kid appeared to have run along the rail but could not match strides with the top two in the stretch. He was best of the rest in 3rd and has plenty of upside with only two races under his belt. The son of Lemon Drop Kid, out of a Royal Academy mare, might have turf routes in his future. Dale Romans trains.

Gulfstream Park Derby Grade: c+

Gulfstream Park Derby 2012 Preview

The $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby is the first 3-year-old-prep for Kentucky 2012 hopefuls and there is value to be found if we can knock morning line favorite Ancient Rome out of the top spot.

#2 Reveron (4-1) owns a rising numbers pattern and appears poised to try a route after running 5.5f, 6f, and twice at seven furlongs. All of his works/races at Calder so there is no guarantee he will handle the Gulf. A ground saving tactical trip for profitable low profile connections is anticipated.

#1 King Kid (12-1) captured his Churchill bow and it is not easy to post a debut tally at seven panels. The Romans trainee is bred to route (Lemon Drop Kid-Royal Academy) and could show up on the sod at some point.

#7 Ancient Rome (3-1) fired in all three sprint starts including determined Spectacular Bid tally here Dec 3. The speedy son of Roman Ruler will not offer much value in his first route attempt.

#9 Ravelo’s Boy (12-1) finished nicely in local optional claiming route win Dec 3. He will be closing at a price and could sneak into the Trifecta.

#11 Yourhonorandglory (10-1) brings strong Parx form to the table and has the productive Carmouche-Servis team in his corner. The early-pressing type must work out a trip from post 11.

#5 Casual Trick (6-1) exits a visually impressive maiden win at Churchill but did not earn much of a number. Yet another promising sort out of Bernardini.

#3 Gold Megillah (8-1) freaked under the Twin Spires Nov 16 but that race was in the goo and it looks like a fast track today.

#6 Silver Menace (6-1) is undefeated in two starts and now goes for the Mucho Macho Man team.

#8 Politicallycorrect (8-1) earned a decent number in his course/distance maiden breaker Dec 4 but was part of below par fractions that day and will have to run harder throughout in this spot.

#4 Nachas And Joy (12-1) brings fine Illinois form to the table but has never raced on fast conventional dirt.

#10 Rex’s Last Tour (30-1) makes his 11th lifetime start for low percentage connections and tries a route for the first time. He appears overmatched.

The Plays:

$12 to win #2
.50 cent Trifecta 1-2/7/ALL ($9)
.50 cent Trifecta 1-2/ALL/9 ($9)