Posts Tagged ‘Code West’

Preakness 2013 Recap – Oxbow steals show

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

Oxbow wires field in Preakness 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belmont Stakes 2013 logo

Early Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders video featuring Oxbow & Falling Sky

This is our fifth in a five part video series devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders. All of the major prep races have been run and final workouts and the post position draw are all that remain.

In this final Derby contenders video, we discuss Lecomte winner Oxbow, Sam F. Davis hero Falling Sky, Blue Grass show finisher Charming Kitten, Risen Star runner-up Code West, San Felipe show finisher Tiz a Minister, and Lecomte runner-up Golden Soul.

Thanks to Ryan Patterson for joining me in this video series.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Another strong move for Revolutionary

My longtime top ranked Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Revolutionary had another strong workout at Churchill Downs on April 27 and it looks like all systems go for the first Saturday in May.

Revolutionary Kentucky Derby 2013 contender

Revolutionary has impressed clockers with his Churchill Derby works – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Revolutionary has been my top ranked Derby contender since late February, following the retirement of Violence, also trained by Todd Pletcher. I have always liked his pedigree and he started to ascend the ranks after a fast maiden win and visually impressive Withers tally. He maintained his top spot after a late running tally in the LA Derby and has not missed a beat this year. Will lightning strike twice for Borel, Pletcher, and WinStar Farm?

There are still 23 horses possible for the Derby so there are still a few bottom spots up for grabs. Govenor Charlie is supposed to work on Monday but Baffert has already said that he probably won’t run. Code West, also a Baffert trainee, is probably going to the Peter Pan instead, followed  by the Belmont Stakes.

Winning Cause, trained by Todd Pletcher, has enough points but might skip the Derby.

Tiz a Minister just finished 3rd in the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on 4-27 but still might catch a flight to Louisville if his owner decides to shoot for the Derby.

Golden Soul is 23rd on the Derby Points Leaderboard and will definitely go if he gets enough defections.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

1. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Followed up a big fig maiden score with an adventurous winning journey in the G3 Withers. He broke slow, raced wide, and smartly held off Mylute in the G2 LA Derby on March 30. Both of his Churchill moves earned him DRF’s Derby work of the day including his 4f breeze in :48.20 (6/70) on 4-27. Derby Points (110).

Orb horse Kentucky Derby 2013 contender

Orb’s final Derby work is scheduled for Monday, April 29 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fourth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Florida Derby and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. Red hot jockey Joel Rosario has been named to ride on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 5f in 1:02.10 (3/5) at Payson Park on 4-21 and has reportedly looked energetic in his recent Churchill gallops. Derby Points (150).

3. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt ended his juvenile campaign with a runner-up effort in the G2 Remsen and ended up a troubled 5th in his G2 Risen Star return. He bounced back in the Wood Memorial to gain the place late and appears to be sitting on a career top in the Derby. Javier Castellano chose him over Revolutionary and he has been aggressive in his morning activity under the Twin Spires. Breezed a spirited 5f in :59 (2/52) at Churchill Downs on 4-27. Derby Points (44). 

4. Verrazano (More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee cruised in his first three outings but was not nearly as brilliant winning the Wood Memorial. He no longer looks like a dominant force and will probably take too much action under the Twin Spires. No unraced 2yo has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882. Johnny V chose him over Orb. He has been solid if unspectacular in his Derby activity. Breezed 5f in :59.40 (6/52) at Churchill Downs on 4-27. Derby Points (150).

5. Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten) – He is 2-for-2 since Kelly Breen took over the training duties and he smartly won the G3 Spiral Stakes with a wide stalk and pounce trip under Joe Bravo. He was the first Derby contender to arrive at Churchill Downs and has reportedly looked steady in his Derby gallops and works. His high action is better suited to synthetic and turf. Breezed 4f in :48.60 (12/70) at Churchill on 4-27. Derby Points (50).

Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Overanalyze

Overanalyze will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by red hot SoCal jockey Rafael Bejarano – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

6. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely in the Arkansas Derby (88 BSF) and tries to run two alike for the first time at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. He was all square with Palace Malice in a Derby team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (110). 

7. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. He faded to 4th in the San Felipe and bounced back with a big win in the Santa Anita Derby. Ten furlongs is his biggest Derby obstacle. Breezed 6f in 1:16.20 (8/8) at Santa Anita on 4-25. Derby Points (129).

8. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Still not sold on this one as a legit Derby contender because I am skeptical about ten panels and he looks like a Florida specialist. G3 Holy Bull hero finished a solid 2nd in the Florida Derby, his first start in nine weeks. Breezed an easy 4f in :53 (9/9) at Calder on 4-25. Derby Points (50).

9. Vyjack (Into Mischief) – Tasted defeat for the first time in the Wood Memorial but was hardly disgraced with a solid show finish. Garrett Gomez has been named to ride in the Kentucky Derby. He has pedigree questions to answer and came out of the Wood Memorial with a lung infection. Breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (3/32) at Churchill Downs on 4-26. Derby Points (70).

10. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – His sire is on fire and the Amoss runner was 3rd in the Delta Jackpot, 7th in the Risen Star, and 2nd in the LA Derby.  He is on the grounds at Churchill Downs and will reunite with Rosie Napravnik in the Derby. Breezed  4f in :50.60 (59/70) at Churchill on 4-27 with a weak gallop out. Derby Points (42).

Derby Dreamers (in alphabetical order):

Charming Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) – Pletcher’s talented turf runner ended up 3rd in the Blue Grass and seemingly did just enough to quality for a starting gate spot on May 4. Revolutionary dusted him in a team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (20).

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Currently sits 21st on the Derby Points Leaderboard. The Baffert runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. A Derby start is not out of the question but he is expected to use the Peter Pan as his Belmont Stakes prep. Breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (6/42) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Derby Points (20).

Falling Sky (Lion Heart) – G3 Sam Davis winner finished 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby and 4th in the Arkansas Derby. He seems a cut below the best but might have a say in the Derby pace. Fired a 5f bullet in :59.60 (1/32) at Churchill on 4-26. Derby Points (30).

Frac Daddy Kentucky Derby 2013 contender

Frac Daddy is coming up to the Derby in better shape than stablemate Java’s War – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. He finished 7th in the Florida Derby and snuck into the Derby back door with a runner-up effort in the Arkansas Derby. Got the better of Java’s War in a Derby team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (44).  

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher still has a shot to sneak into the Derby field with a couple of defections. Breezed 5f in 1:00.80 (7/32) at Churchill Downs on 4-26. Derby Points (14).

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but the Derby is an ambitious spot considering his lack of experience. He had a hind foot issue but was given the all clear after being examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. He has not worked since April 11 but is expected to return to the worktab on April 29. Look for Baffert to do the right thing and take a Derby pass. Derby Points (50).

Java’s War (War Pass) – G2 Tampa Bay Derby runner-up flattered Verrazano with his late running G1 Blue Grass tally but he only received an 88 BSF. He will try to get involved late under the Twin Spires. Struggled to match strides with stablemate Java’s War in a Derby team move on 4-27. Derby Points (122).

Lines of Battle (War Front) – UAE Derby has never been a successful path to Churchill so it is hard to take this one seriously. Finished 7th in the 2012 BC Juvenile Turf, his lone trek to the states. Derby Points (100).

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and just missed in the G2 Rebel on March 16. Gary Stevens hopped aboard for the Arkansas Derby and he rallied from last to split the field from yet another outer post. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins and can surprise in Derby if he flashes speed. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (7/43) at Churchill Downs on 4-22. Derby Points (36).

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Risen Star show finisher finished a troubled 7th in the Louisiana Derby. He desperately needed Derby points in the Blue Grass and made the cut with a solid place finish. He was all square with Overanalyze in a Derby team drill on 4-27.  Derby Points (50).

Tiz a Minister (Ministers Wild Cat) – The late striding CA-bred has finished in the Top 3 in 9 of 12 lifetime starts. He finished 3rd in the 9f Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood on April 27 and might wheel back in a week. Derby Points (20).

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner is training up to the Kentucky Derby, a rare move for Wayne Lukas. Breezed 8f in 1:41.60 (1/1) at Churchill Downs on 4-21. Derby Points (60).

Winning Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Keeneland specialist ran his Polytrack record to 3-for-3 in the G3 Lexington. If he goes in the Derby it would be his third start in four weeks. Derby Points (20).

Former Top Ten Members (currently in training)

Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Late running turf specialist flopped in his Spiral Stakes return and ran better (6th of 14) but not good enough in the Blue Grass. He has returned to New York and will get back on the sod this summer. Breezed 4f in :48.91 (23/48) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 4-27.

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – G1 FrontRunner and G1 BC Juvenile show finisher won an optional claiming route at Gulfstream on 2-16 for his new trainer Todd Pletcher and ended up 9th from the outside post in the Spiral Stakes. He rallied nicely to finish right behind stablemate Forty Tales in the G3 Derby Trial at CD on 4-27. Derby Points (4).

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher was terribly mismanaged after that effort, most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28. He worked 4f in :50.80 (20/23) at Santa Anita on 4-22. Derby Points (4).

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. Breezed 5f in 1:04.02 (1/2) at Palm Meadows (turf) on 4-19.

Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and flew home to capture a turf allowance event (84 BSF) at Tampa Bay to begin his 3yo season. Chad Brown decided not to enter the Blue Grass. Breezed 4f in :49 (13/52) at Churchill on 4-26.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year and 3rd to Noble Tune in a Tampa Bay turf allowance affair. He finished 6th in the third race (allowance turf route) at Keeneland on 4-14. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee returned in the Santa Anita Derby and finished 5th in that needed effort. Breezed 6f in 1:12.80 (2/3) at Churchill Downs on 4-22. Derby Points (10).

Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Facile G3 Southwest hero finished a flat 5th as the beaten favorite in the Rebel and set the pace and weakened to 3rd in the SA Derby. The Baffert will not run in the Kentucky Derby. Derby Points (30).

Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred finished a solid 2nd in the Spiral but stalked and faded in a disappointing Blue Grass effort. He is back in Canada and will point to the Queen’s Plate. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (3/86) at Woodbine on 4-27. Derby Points (30).

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded debut winner returned with an even 4th place finish in the San Vicente on Feb. 17. He bounced back with a stylish Optional Claiming route win (98 BSF) at Santa Anita on March 15 and was pulled up as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby. He appears to be alright after taking a bad step at Oaklawn Park.

Injured Reserve

On the Sidelines: Archwarrior (Arch), Darwin (Big Brown), Flashback (Tapit), Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song), Hear the Ghost (Ghostzapper), Ive Struck a Nerve (Yankee Gentleman), Joha (Johar), Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday), Zaikov (Distorted Humor).

Missing in Action: Fortify (Distorted Humor), Gabriel Charles (Street Boss), Little Distorted (Distorted Humor), Tizracer (Tiznow).

Retired: Hightail (Mineshaft), Violence (Medaglia d’Oro).

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Orb joins top ten list

Orb threw his hat into the Kentucky Derby 2013 ring with a solid off the pace tally in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes (97 BSF) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 23.

Orb horse

My former Exciting Prospect Orb jumps into my Top 10 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I put Orb on my Exciting Prospects list when I posted my first Derby blog last September. He struggled a bit after a promising debut and has put it all together with three wins in a row for Shug McGaughey.

Orb took advantage of a fast early/slow late race shape at the Gulf on Saturday. He has plenty of promise and will probably make his next start in the Grade I Florida Derby on March 30.

Violence, a perfect 3-for-3 in 2012, did all of the pace dirty work and ran a winning race in his return. Unfortunately, my former number one ranked colt fractured a sesamoid and is off the Derby trail.

Ive Struck a Nerve

Ive Struck a Nerve shocks the world in the Risen Star – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Grade II Risen Star Stakes was also run on Feb. 23 and bomber Ive Struck a Nerve lit up the tote to the tune of $272.40. Keith Desormeaux’s overachiever garnered a 95 BSF and earned 50 precious Derby qualifying points.

Code West and Palace Malice finished 2-3 in the Risen Star and my former second ranked colt Normandy Invasion was a disappointing 5th in his sophomore bow.

The top eight Risen Star finishers were separated by less than four lengths and it is rarely a good sign when the field finishes bunched up at the wire.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

Revolutionary

Revolutionary is my new top ranked Derby contender – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Followed up a big fig maiden win with an adventurous journey in the G3 Withers. The Pletcher trainee has now won two straight and is wintering in Florida. He breezed 4f in :48.43 (13/60) at Palm Meadows on 2-25. Derby Points (10). 

2. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). He is entered in the G3 Gotham at the Big A on March 2. Breezed 4f in :48.75 (17/60) at Palm Meadows on 2-25. Derby Points (10).

3. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill is having fun with the speedy sort. Fired a 6f bullet in 1:10.40 (1/19) at Santa Anita on 2-22. Derby Points (24). 

4. Verrazano (More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee looks like any kind after back-to-back romping Gulfstream victories to kick off his career. We will learn more about El Padrino’s brother when he tackles stakes foes in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3-9. Fired a 5f bullet in :59.21 (1/38) at Palm Meadows on 2-25.

5. Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8 and followed that up with an easy wire job vs. three rivals in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2. He drilled a 6f bullet in 1:11 (1/14) at Santa Anita on 2-25. The G2 San Felipe on 3-9 is next. Derby Points (10).   

6. Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Baffert trainee has found his niche in main track routes. Facile G3 Southwest hero reminds me of Secret Circle. Derby Points (10).

7. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad finished up his juvenile campaign with a runner-up effort in the G2 Remsen. He ended up a troubled 5th in his G2 Risen Star return and will try to rebound in the G1 Wood Memorial at the Big A on 4-6. Derby Points (4).

8. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year and just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf. Chad Brown trainee recently missed a couple of days due to a fever and will miss the G3 Palm Beach at the Gulf on 3-3. He could be rerouted to the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway on 3-23.

9. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his third straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He has plenty of stamina and will go next in the G1 Florida Derby at the Gulf on March 30. Derby Points (50).

10. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown. Breezed 5f in 1:02.55 (4/40) at Palm Meadows (turf) on 2-25.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He breezed 5f in 1:00.09 (4/38) at Palm Meadows on 2-25. Derby Points (2).

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker returned from an injury to finish a clear 2nd at 7f in the GP slop vs. Optional Claiming company on 1-19. He ended up a solid 3rd in the Risen Star on 2-23. Derby Points (10).

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Promising Lukas trainee is off the IR list after a bone chip as a juvenile. He breezed a 4f bullet in :48 (1/14) at Oaklawn Park on 2-26 and is entered in the 6f Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn on 3-2.

Treasury Bill (Lemon Drop Kid) – Followed a visually impressive maiden tally at Santa Anita on 1-27 with a rallying place finish in the G2 San Vicente on 2-17. He worked 4f in :49.40 (10/13) at Betfair Hollywood Park on 2-26.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded debut winner returned with an even 4th place finish in the San Vicente on Feb. 17. He worked 4f in :48.20 (6/38) at Santa Anita on 2-26.

Former Top Ten Members

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – G1 FrontRunner and G1 BC Juvenile show finisher won an optional claiming route at Gulfstream on 2-16 for his new trainer Todd Pletcher. He only received a 69 BSF in his last and will be hard pressed to make a dent in upcoming stakes races. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – BC Juvenile 4th place finisher finished 6th in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on 2-14. Derby Points (3).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. I’ll draw a line through his last and give him another chance. He breezed 4f in  :49.28 (23/35) at Palm Meadows on 2-9. Derby Points (4). 

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and is currently on vacation. Derby Points (4). 

Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his NY bow Oct 28. He raced for new connections (Silverton Farm – Darrin Miller) in the Spectacular Bid at the Gulf on 1-1 and finished 3rd as the beaten favorite. Scratched from the Hutcheson S. and flopped as the favorite in a 6.5f optional claiming sprint at the Gulf on 2-9. Breezed 4f in :49.20 (6/19) at Calder on 2-25.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. Breezed 3f in :39.98 (15/15) at Palm Meadows on 2-26.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished a disappointing 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year. He seems to prefer synthetic. Breezed 5f bullet in 1:00.80 (1/6) at Tampa Bay on 2-27. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee worked 4f in :47.80 (7/42) at Santa Anita on 2-25. Derby Points (10). 

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull but was hardly disgraced in a clear place finish. I always had my doubts about his stamina and he did nothing to sway my opinion in the Holy Bull. Breezed 4f in :49.61 (32/60) at Palm Meadows on 2-25. Derby Points (24).  

Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.

Uncaptured fired a 5f bullet on Feb. 26 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. His plans have been altered following a foot bruise and popped abscess, and he is now pointing to the Rushaway, Spiral, or Blue Grass. Breezed a 5f bullet in :59.80 (1/4) at Ocala Training Center on 2-26. Derby Points (10).

Injured Reserve

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Hightail (Mineshaft) – BC Juvenile Sprint winner was injured following a recent workout at Oaklawn Park and has been retired.

Joha (Johar) – He was pulled from the Keeneland January sale because of a minor injury. He is expected to resume racing later this year.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is sidelined with bucked shins.

Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Was diagnosed with a fractured sesamoid following his game runner-up effort in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 2-23. He is off the Derby trail. Derby Points (10).

Risen Star Stakes 2013 video + written analysis

The 2013 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds is worth 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner. My special video guest this week is Molly Jo Rosen from RacingWithBruno.com. I have also included my written analysis (with wagering strategies) below.

#1 PROUD STRIKE (8-1) has faced decent runners and exits a local key race graduation run at this trip (off the turf). Stevens hops aboard for Asmussen and the $240k purchase should get better with age.

#2 Code West (6-1) invades for Baffert and was flattered when stablemate Super Ninety Nine returned to romp in the G3 Southwest. The consistent stalking type removes the hood.

#9 Normandy Invasion (5-2) makes his first start of 2013 for Chad Brown and will be finishing. He earned a big fig in the Remsen.

#6 Palace Malice (8-1) is a highly regarded Pletcher runner trying two turns for the first time. Napravnik rides.

#4 Golden Soul (20-1) was my G3 Lecomte top and was a distant 2nd that day. He is training well for this and is my longshot underneath key in the Trifecta.

#10 Oxbow (5-1) ran away from his G3 Lecomte foes and will probably try similar front running tactics.

Check out my Saturday (Feb 23) Fair Grounds full card analysis (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (FG 13th race, click view sample) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

#5 Mylute (6-1) exits a runaway local optional claiming route win but leading rider Napravnik abandons.

#13 Circle Unbroken (20-1) looks like a sprinter.

#3 Agent (30-1), #7 Hardrock Eleven (50-1), and #8 Ive Struck a Nerve (30-1) all appear overmatched.

#11 Bethel (50-1) is cross-entered in an optional claiming route earlier in the day (Fair Grounds race 4).

#15 Sunbean (12-1) is cross-entered in the Gentilly Stakes for LA-breds (Fair Grounds race 3).

#12 He’s Had Enough (10-1) will scratch from this spot in favor of the Fountain of Youth Stakes at the Gulf.

#14 Departing (12-1) is expected to scratch out of this event in favor of a stakes spot at Sam Houston next weekend.

THE PLAYS:

#1 to win

Trifecta 1-2-6-9/ALL/4

 

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Revolutionary ousts Big A rivals

Revolutionary made a surprise late attack to overthrow his foes in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct and is the latest Kentucky Derby 2013 flavor of the week for Todd Pletcher.

Revolutionary horse

Revolutionary overcomes troubled trip in G3 Withers – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The winning BSF in the G3 Withers was 86 and there was not much behind Revolutionary but he overcame traffic woes and a slow pace to make the grade in his first start vs. winners. He still has some growing up to do but clearly has talent and is bred to run all day.

Flashback (92 BSF) made it 2-for-2 with a facile wire job against stablemate Den’s Legacy and BC Juvenile runner-up He’s Had Enough in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Baffert’s promising winner has plenty of upside but still has to prove himself in a legitimately run graded route.

Falling Sky (92 BSF) made the pace and stole Dynamic Sky’s thunder in the G3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay. Those two solid colts, along with rallying show finisher My Name Is Michael, could meet again in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Verrazano (105 BSF) jumps into the top ten after his second facile tally in as many starts at the Gulf. El Padrino’s talented brother is conditioned by Todd Pletcher and will likely show up in a stakes race next.

Bob Baffert’s Super Ninety Nine (101) got the best of stablemate Code West in a flat mile allowance affair at the Great Race Place. Both colts are former members of my Exciting Prospects list.

No major shakeups in my top ten with the magnificent seven remaining intact. The bottom of the list took a hit with Verrazano and Flashback replacing Frac Daddy and Uncaptured.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

1. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Ran his record to 3-for-3 in smart, professional stalk/pounce tally in the G1 CashCall Futurity (92 BSF). Two Derby preps are planned, beginning with the Fountain of Youth on Feb 23. Breezed 5f in 1:02.29 (15/24) at Palm Meadows on 2-3. Derby Points (10).

Violence horse

Violence breezed 5f at Palm Meadows on Feb 3 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad owns a decent late kick and is definitely worth following. The Remsen runner-up breezed 5f in 1:01.23 (5/24) at Palm Meadows on 2-3 and might kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on 2-23. Derby Points (4).

3. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). He is expected to contest the Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Breezed 5f in 1:02.29 (5/24) at Palm Meadows on 2-3. Derby Points (10).

4. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Followed up a big fig maiden win with an adventurous journey in the G3 Withers. The Pletcher trainee has now won two straight and will spend the rest of the winter in Florida. Derby Points (10).

5. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year. He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee will start his 3yo season in the G3 Palm Beach at the Gulf on 3-3. Breezed 4f in :50.22 (32/51) at Palm Meadows on 2-4.

6. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown. Breezed 4f in :50.22 (32/51) at Palm Meadows on 2-4.

7. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill is having fun with the speedy sort. Fired a 6f bullet in 1:12.40 (1/17) at Santa Anita on 2-4. Derby Points (24).

8. Verrazano (More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee looks like any kind after a pair of romping Gulfstream victories to kick off his career. We will learn more about El Pardino’s brother when he tackles stakes foes in the near future.

Flashback

Flashback has Baffert smelling the roses again – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

9. Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8 and followed that up with an easy wire job vs. three rivals in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2. Derby Points (10).

10. Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Beat Revolutionary in his Belmont bow Oct 28 (101 BSF). He raced for new connections (Silverton Farm – Darrin Miller) in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at the Gulf on Jan 1 and finished 3rd as the beaten favorite. Scratched from the Hutcheson Stakes and breezed 4f in :50.10 (11/14) at Payson Park on 2-3. He is entered in a 6.5f optional claimer at the Gulf on 2-9.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He breezed 4f in :49.09 (17/28) at Palm Meadows on 2-3. Derby Points (2).

Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) – Wired an allowance sprint field at Santa Anita on 12-28 and pulled the same trick in the San Pedro Stakes on 1-21. Not sure how far he wants to run but he sure is fast. Next up is the G2 San Vicente on Feb 17.

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker returned from an injury to finish a clear 2nd at 7f in the GP slop vs. Optional Claiming company on 1-19. Breezed 4f in :48.19 (6/28) at Palm Meadows on 2-3.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Promising Lukas trainee is off the IR list following a 3f breeze in :37.20 (5/9) at Oaklawn Park on 2-3.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Was bet down to even money and did not disappoint in his BHP sprint debut on 11-9. Baffert trainee is bred to handle a route of ground and should be heard from this year. Worked 6f from the gate in 1:12.90 (2/17) at Santa Anita on 2-4.

Former Top Ten Members

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. He is now trained by Todd Pletcher and breezed 5f in 1:02.90 (22/24) at Palm Meadows on 2-3. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – BC Juvenile 4th place finisher in wintering in Dubai. He has been nominated to the Triple Crown and is expected to begin his 3yo campaign in the UAE 2000 Gunieas at Meydan on 2-7. Derby Points (3).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 5th in the Holy Bull. I’ll draw a line through the Holy Bull and give him another chance. “I don’t know when he did it, whether he did it coming out or the gate or pulling up,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “He’ll probably miss 4 or 5 days, but it could be as long as two weeks, depending on how sore it is.” Derby Points (4).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29. Worked 5f in 1:02.80 (5/6) at Santa Anita (turf) on 1-31.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and desperately needs a freshening. Derby Points (4).

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished a disappointing 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year. He prefers synthetic. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert said he needs time to grow and will probably return next March. Derby Points (10).

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull but was hardly disgraced in a clear place finish. I always had my doubts about his stamina and he did nothing to sway my opinion in the Holy Bull. Derby Points (24).

Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.

Uncaptured

Uncaptured loses his top ten spot after a pair of foot ailments – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. His plans have been altered following a foot bruise and popped abscess, and he is now pointing to the Rushaway, Spiral, or Blue Grass. Derby Points (10).

Injured Reserve

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Joha (Johar) – He was pulled from the Keeneland January sale because of a minor injury. He is expected to resume racing later this year.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. He was reportedly sent to Ocala recently and could return in April if everything goes well.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is sidelined with bucked shins.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – BC Juvenile Edition

This is a busy time for my Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders. Many have shipped to Santa Anita Park to take part in the Breeders’ Cup including my top ranked colt Fortify.

Fortify has been slowly improving for Kiaran McLaughlin. He should adore two turns in the BC Juvenile and he has never been administered lasix, so the no lasix rule for juveniles in the BC will not hurt his chances.

Shanghai Bobby

Shanghai Bobby is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s BC Juvenile – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Shanghai Bobby can clinch the 2yo title with a win in the BC Juvenile. Todd Pletcher’s undefeated colt tries two turns for the first time on Saturday.

Power Broker sports an 8.5f G1 win at Santa Anita and that gives him a home court advantage in the Juvenile. Baffert also has local route winner Title Contender, and he is not without a fighting chance on Saturday.

Other top ten members competing in the BC are Capo Bastone (BC Juvenile), Know More (BC Juvenile Turf), and Balance the Books (BC Juvenile Turf).

Earlier today, Wayne Lukas runner Hightail earned his diploma in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. He snuck up the rail and edged heavy favorite Merit Man in the scratched reduced field of five.

Last week, Uncaptured cruised in the G3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs. He earned a solid 90 BSF in the one turn mile.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

1. Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut sprint winner at the Spa followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful and a 3rd in G1 Champagne. Lasix-free colt should continue to develop for McLaughlin/Godolphin. He is 9-2 in the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (2).

Power Broker

Power Broker is the top local hope in the BC Juvenile – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. Baffert’s improving colt looks like the one to beat in the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (10).

3. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 4-for-4 with a decisive win in the G1 Champagne (94 BSF). I have a feeling that he is just more seasoned that his juvenile rivals at this point and they will catch up with him in the near future. BC Juvenile next. Derby Points (10).  

4. Know More (Lion Heart) – Distant 2nd to Power Broker in FrontRunner. That was the first time he stepped on conventional dirt and his initial two turn event so it was not a bad learning experience. He will switch surfaces and give grass a whirl in the BC Juvenile Turf on Saturday. Derby Points (4).

5. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner. John Sadler’s colt is entered in the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (2).

6. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Sharp debut win (93 BSF) for Doug O’Neill/Leandro Mora on 9-2. Set the pace and gamely held the place in Belmont’s Champagne. Worked 6f in 1:13.60 (8/21) at Santa Anita on 10-28. Derby Points (4).

7. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation and rallied outside to get up late in the grassy G3 Bourbon (77 BSF). The BC Juvenile Turf is his next assignment.

8. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 5-for-6 in the G3 Iroquois. He finished a troubled 5th in his lone two turn outing and still must prove that he can handle a route of ground.

9. Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He should prosper in future route races. Breezed 4f in :47.67 (5/76) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 10-22. Derby Points (1).

10. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga bow for Pletcher and his lack of seasoning and wide trip cost him in the Champagne. He is still a promising, long term prospect. Breezed 4f in :49.12 (15/79) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 10-27.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – $340k Keeneland sales grad chased Title Contender around the SA track on 9-29. He broke his maiden at that same venue on 10-26.

Darwin (Big Brown) – Pletcher’s $1.3 million baby professionally got the job done in his 6f Belmont Park debut (94 BSF) on October 6. He is entered in the G2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov 4.

Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – Ran his turf record to 2-for-2 in visually impressive G3 Pilgrim (82 BSF) tally for Chad Brown. He will take on stablemate Balance the Books in the BC Juvenile Turf.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Blew the break and rallied to finish a strong 3rd in his bow. McGaughey’s promising colt flopped at low odds (fractious gate) going a flat mile at Belmont second time out. He has raw talent but lacks maturity at this stage. Breezed 4f in :49.58 (37/57) at Belmont Park on 10-22.

Title Contender (Pulpit) – Rode the Santa Anita speed bias to perfection and earned identical 90 BSF as stablemate and FrontRunner hero Power Broker on 9-29. He might be the one to catch in the BC Juvenile.

Former Top Ten Members

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – 6th in Del Mar Futurity and a disappointing 7th in FrontRunner. He has raw talent but has yet to put it all together against salty afternoon rivals. He is entered in the 2nd race at Santa Anita on Saturday, a downhill turf sprint.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Derby Points (1).

Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.

Injured Reserve

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Smart second time out maiden tally for Pletcher at the Spa on 8-4. He is out of action with bucked shins.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is out for 60 days with bucked shins.