Posts Tagged ‘D. Wayne Lukas’

Smarty Jones Stakes Video Analysis featuring Uncontested

Uncontested is the 2-1 program favorite for the 2017 edition of the Smarty Jones Stakes and he looks like the one to catch.

Warrior’s Club finished a head in front of Uncontested in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs Nov 26 and should make his presence felt throughout.

Petrov stretches out in distance after two good dirt sprint tries and projects a ground saving tactical trip under Jose Ortiz.

Rowdy the Warrior is the best finisher and will try to get involved late.

The Smarty Jones Stakes goes as the eighth race at Oaklawn Park on Monday, Jan. 16 with a scheduled post time of 5:38 ET.


2017 FULL CARD SCHEDULE: Daily Santa Anita Full Cards (Jan 15-July 4)

My SANTA ANITA full cards are offered daily from Jan 16 thru July 4 at WinningHorsePicks.com. My SA analysis also includes GOLDEN GATE and/or LAUREL PARK Best Bets plus occasional stakes races from around the country. The SA full cards feature the always popular Pick 5, Early Pick 4, Pick 6, and Late Pick 4 spread tickets.

My Monday Santa Anita Park full card (1-16-17) is ready to purchase at WinningHorsePicks.com

 

Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders

This is my first in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2014 contenders. Once again, I am getting an early start in September, and there will be many twists and turns in the months ahead.

Kentucky Derby 2014 logoEight of the last thirteen Kentucky Derby winners graduated by October 4, including six of the last eight. 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.

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.

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 “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders

1. PURPLE SKY (Pulpit – Tessa Blue, by Awesome Again)          purple sky

Trainer: Al Stall Jr. – Owner: Bruce Lunsford

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :50.80 (81/91) at Churchill Downs on 9-22.

Comments: 3rd behind Honor Code and Misconnect in 8-31 Saratoga debut and raced green that day. He owns a promising route pedigree and is entered in the third race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Sept. 28 (MSW, 8f).

UPDATE: Purple Sky overcame adversity to earn diploma at CD on 9-28.

2. HONOR CODE (A.P. Indy – Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat)

Trainer: Shug McGaughey – Owner: Lane’s End Racing & Dell Ridge Farm

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:01.54 (13/24) at Belmont Park on 9-23.

UPDATE: Honor Code breezed 4f in :47.99 (5/38) at Belmont Park on 9-29.

Comments: Made up more than 20-lengths in his career debut (Saratoga slop) to score by 4-1/2 lengths at 7f on 8-31 (89 BSF). He should get better as distances increase and will run next in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park on 10-5.

3. MISCONNECT (Unbridled’s Song – Summer Raven, by Summer Squall)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Repole Stable

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :49.53 (8/29) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 9-21.

Comments: Battled on the pace throughout and was 2nd best to Honor Code in his 8-31 debut at the Spa. He won’t be a maiden much longer and is entered in the second race at Belmont Park on Saturday, Sept. 28 (MSW, 7f).

UPDATE: Misconnect graduated by a length at Belmont on 9-28 (85 BSF).

4. GRAND ARRIVAL (Harlan’s Holiday – Grandstone, by Grindstone)

Trainer: Nick Zito – Owner: Ameche Jr., Ameche III, & Prancing Horse Enterprises

Latest Workout: 4f bullet in :48.15 (1/29) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 9-21.

UPDATE: Grand Arrival fired a 4f bullet in :48.02 (1/31) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 9-28.

Comments: Distant 3rd to Big Sugar Soda in his 7-22 Saratoga debut (Strong Mandate 5th). Romped by 6-1/4 lengths as the 3-2 favorite at that same venue at 7f second time out on 8-31 (sloppy, sealed).

5. STRONG MANDATE (Tiznow – Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister)

Strong Mandate horse

Hopeful hero Strong Mandate eyes the G1 Champagne – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas – Owner: Baker & Mack

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:01 (5/50) at Churchill Downs on 9-22.

UPDATE: Strong Mandate breezed 4f in :48 (9/48) at Churchill Downs on 9-29.

Comments: Has been sensational since finishing 5th in his 7-22 Saratoga bow. He graduated by 4-1/2 lengths at 6.5f at the Spa on 8-17 and cruised by 9-3/4 in the G1 Hopeful at 7f (mud, sealed) on 9-2 (85 BSF). He will go for back-to-back Grade I wins in the Champagne.

6. HAVANA (Dunkirk – Missy Turtle, by Kyle’s Our Man)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Taber, Magnier, and Smith

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in 1:00.85 (1/17) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-23.

Comments: Went wire-to-wire in his Saratoga debut on 8-23 and earned a 102 BSF. The G1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park is next.

7. KENDALL’S BOY (Sky Mesa – Golden Damsel, by Gold Token)

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Jerry Namy

Latest Workout: Breezed 5f in :59.80 (2/40) at Churchill Downs on 9-23.

Comments: Clearly second best to Havana in his 8-23 debut (94 BSF) at the Spa and rolled by 5-1/4 lengths at 6f under the Twin Spires on 9-13.

8. SCHOOLOFHARDROCKS (Rock Hard Ten – Miss Chapin, by Royal Academy)

Trainer: David Hofmans – Owner: Amerman Racing LLC.

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (32/48) at Santa Anita on 9-25.

Comments: It is not easy to win a route race first time out, but he did just at Del Mar on 8-31. Veteran jockey Victor Espinoza is high on this one. “He’s a very talented horse,” Espinoza said of the son of Rock Hard Ten. “I liked him the first time I saw him. I was impressed with how he ran going a mile and winning from the one hole (at odds of 10-1 Aug. 31 at Del Mar). I feel he’ll get even better.” He is entered in the G1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita on 9-28.

UPDATE: Schoolofhardrocks scratched out of the FrontRunner Stakes. “It’s not too significant,” trainer David Hofmans said of the unrevealed injury. “It’s a problem we’re working on.”

9. GIVE NO QUARTER (Tiz Wonderful – Roadtohanna, by Not for Love)

Trainer: Graham Motion – Owner: Sagamore Farm

Comments: Two races at Presque Isle with a clear place finish in his 5.5f bow on 8-15 and a 22-length romp at one mile on 9-17 (85 BSF).

10. NEW YEAR’S DAY (Street Cry – Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union)

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Gary & Mary West

Latest Workout: Worked 4f in :49.40 (40/49) at Santa Anita on 9-23.

Comments: Rallied for 3rd in his 5.5f Del Mar debut 8-17 and won by 1-3/4 (one mile) at that same venue 8-31.

11. CANDIP (Candy Ride – Indefinable, by Storm Cat)

Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun  – Owner: Sanders and Hirsch

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :51.41 (8/14) at Remington Park on 9-22.

Comments: Coasted home by 4-1/4 lengths in his 5.5f Remington bow on 9-2 (89 BSF).

Pedigree Spotlight: PURPLE SKY

Purple Sky pedigreePurple Sky’s sire Pulpit (A.P. Indy – Preach, by Mr. Prospector) had a short but productive 6-race career in 1997, beginning with a debut maiden win at Gulfstream Park in January.

Pulpit (1994-2012) captured an allowance race in Florida second time out, and followed that up with a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a 2nd in the Florida Derby, and a victory in the Blue Grass Stakes. He chipped his knee during a 4th place finish in the Kentucky Derby and was subsequently retired.

A.P. Indy’s most successful son at stud, Pulpit was responsible for 42 graded stakes winners (11 Grade I winners), including 2010 Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box.

Unfortunately, Pulpit died in his stall at Claiborne Farm at age 18 in late 2012.

Pulpit’s sire A.P. Indy won the G1 Hollywood Futurity in 1991 to end his juvenile season. In 1992, he captured the G2 San Rafael, G1 SA Derby, G2 Peter Pan, and G1 Belmont Stakes. He wrapped up his stellar career with a victory in the G1 BC Classic.

A.P. Indy is a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, out of Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise. She was also the dam of 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall.

Pulpit’s mother Preach (by Mr. Prospector) won the G1 Frizette as a juvenile in 1991. She won the Bourbonette Stakes to kick off her sophomore campaign, and placed in the G2 Prioress, G1 Test, Gallant Bloom, and Aladancer Stakes later that year.

Preach’s papa Mr. Prospector (by Raise a Native) won 7 of 14 starts including the Whirlaway and Gravesend Handicaps in 1974.

Legendary “Sire of sires” Mr. Prospector is one of the most influential horses in the history of thoroughbred racing, siring 181 stakes winners (47 Grade 1 or Group I winners) and 16 champions.

Purple Sky’s mother Tessa Blue, a Maryland-bred daughter of Awesome Again, won the G3 Indiana Oaks and Inside Information Stakes in 2007. She finished 2nd in the G2 Rampart and G3 Sixty Sails Handicaps in 2008.

Tessa Blue’s father Awesome Again (by Deputy Minister) won 9 of 12 races and more than $4 million, capturing such prestigious races as the Queen’s Plete, G2 Jim Dandy, G2 Stephen Foster, G2 Whitney, G2 Saratoga BC ‘Cap, G3 Hawthorne Gold Cup, and G1 BC Classic.

Tessa Blue’s mother Blue Sky Princess (by Conquistador Cielo), a classy Maryland-bred, won the Caesar’s Wish and Twixt Stakes at Pimlico and the Anne Arundel Stakes at Laurel. She also placed in the Hilltop, Pearl Necklace, G2 Cotillion, and G3 Martha Washington.

Purple Sky has class and stamina influences throughout his bloodlines and should continue to improve as distances increase. He has every reason to excel pedigree-wise if he makes it to the gate on the first Saturday in May.

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.

Preakness 2013 Preview: Will Orb overcome inside post?

The field has been set for Preakness 2013 and even money favorite Orb will break from the rail.

Preakness 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

 1. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario  1-1
2. Goldencents, Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger  8-1
3. Titletown Five, D. Wayne Lukas, Julien Leparoux  30-1
4. Departing, Al Stall Jr., Brian Hernandez Jr.  6-1
5. Mylute, Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik  5-1
6. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens  15-1
7. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Mike Smith  12-1
8. Govenor Charlie, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia  12-1
9. Itsmyluckyday, Eddie Plesa Jr., John Velazquez  10-1

Preakness 2013

Jarrod Horak’s Preakness 2013 Preview (in post position order):

1. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Tabasco Cat is the only horse in the last 41 years to win the Preakness Stakes from post one and Orb likes to make wide, sweeping moves. If he is a legit Triple Crown threat the inside post will not bother him and Rosario continues to ride great. I have always liked Shug’s colt but he won’t offer any value in Baltimore.

2. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – SA Derby winner hated the Derby wet track and the pace scenario did not help his cause. He is a quality speed horse but needs everything to go his way to compete vs. these at this distance. Krigger might send him and play catch me if you can.

3. Titletown Five (Tiznow) – He finished in front of Orb in a Saratoga maiden race last summer. He has raw talent but is best as a sprinter at this stage. Interesting that patient rider Leparoux takes over. They are trying to get him to relax.

4. Departing (War Front) – Playing the part of Red Bullet is Departing and taking over the role of Fusaichi Pegasus is Orb. At least that is what trainer Al Stall Jr.  is hoping. He is 4-for-5 lifetime and the LA Derby was a productive prep. He did not beat much in the Illinois Derby but looked good doing it.

5. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – He is winless in seven stakes outings but is usually in the hunt. Napravnik was the queen of Maryland racing when she rode at Laurel/Pimlico and she really wants to win the Preakness.

6. Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Lukas trainee was done in by the quick Derby splits but hung in there to finish a fine 6th. His main problem is that he pulled off wire jobs in both career wins but is not quick enough to grab the early lead in the Preakness.

7. Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner finished a troubled 8th in the Derby. He is a bit interesting if he finds clear sailing under Mike Smith but is not fast enough and has yet to win beyond a mile and a sixteenth.

8. Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – G3 Sunland Derby hero is lightly raced and on the improve. He lacks seasoning and has recovered from the minor hind foot issue that forced him to miss the Derby. Look for him to make some noise later this year.

9. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Eddie Plesa’s colt got the best of the draw based on his preferred outside stalk and pounce style. The Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and may have peaked in January. Orb beat him in his last pair.

Check out my Friday & Saturday (May 17-18) Black-Eyed Susan & Preakness Day full card analysis from Pimlico (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (PIM 8th race, click view sample) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

Upcoming full cards:
Pimlico
(Fri. May 17 – Black-Eyed Susan Day) – available now!
Pimlico (Sat. May 18 – Preakness Day) – available now!
Belmont
(Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day)
Belmont (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day)
Churchill Saturdays (May 25, June 1, June 15, June 22, June 29)

Preakness 2013 Contenders – Will Orb capture second jewel?

Congratulations to Kentucky Derby 2013 hero Orb, and it was nice to see Shug McGaughey saddle his first Derby winner as well. He looks like a runaway locomotive at this point and might be too hot to handle in Preakness 2013.

Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb

Congrats to Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Orb was one of my Exciting Prospects when I posted my first Derby Top 10 list last September. He lacked maturity in his first three outings but has really put everything together since. The Derby was his fifth straight win and he goes to Baltimore on a serious roll. He received a great pace setup in the Derby and it could be more of the same in the Preakness with the likes of Titletown Five and Goldencents on the engine early.

Speaking of rolls, jockey Joel Rosario has been unstoppable since winning the Dubai World Cup. Orb is currently preparing for the second jewel at Belmont Park and will ship to Pimlico early next week.

It is fun to talk about Orb’s Triple Crown chances but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. History is not on his side but he does possess all of the tools to give it a serious run. The son of Malibu Moon wheels back quickly on May 18 and it should be noted that he graduated off two weeks rest last year. I also saw a stat on TVG earlier this week about Shug McGaughey clicking at a 50% rate (6-for-12) when he brings horses back in 14-days. New shooter Departing might be his biggest competition.

Look out if Orb makes it past the Preakness but he will still have to beat fresh, talented rival Revolutionary at Big Sandy. That’s a discussion for another day.

Derby runner-up Golden Soul is pointing to the Belmont Stakes. He finished 2nd in the Derby because of the pace and will be an underlay in the Test of Champions.

My Derby selection Revolutionary, the top ranked contender on my Derby list since February, ran well to land the show on the first Saturday in May. I have not lost faith and he reminds me of my past Derby/Belmont picks Empire Maker and Union Rags.

Oxbow was too close to the rapid Derby pace and Normandy Invasion moved too soon. Both are players in Baltimore, especially the latter if Chad Brown opts to go in that direction.

Mylute took advantage of the fleet fractions and was in the show photo (finished 5th). If he runs in the Preakness, note that jockey Rosie Napravnik has plenty of Pimlico experience.

Will Take Charge was making a move with Orb in the Derby but Verrazano was backing up and stopped his momentum. The Derby was his first start beyond a mile and a sixteenth and he was coming off a layoff so it was not a bad effort finishing 8th.

Goldencents seemingly hated the Derby slop and will be part of the Preakness pace, especially if the track is fast.

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 Preakness 2013 Contenders

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fifth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Kentucky Derby (wet track) and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. Red hot jockey Joel Rosario has been on a roll since the Dubai Gold Cup and he is an obvious major stretch player in Baltimore.

Departing (War Front) – Finished 3rd in the productive Louisiana Derby and overcame a wide draw to smartly take down the Illinois Derby. The Al Stall Jr. runner is a dangerous new shooter and it is nice to see him join the Triple Crown series.

Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt trained aggressively and moved too soon under Javier Castellano in the Derby. He needs to sit back with Orb and make a big late run in the Preakness. He is reportedly much more relaxed since returning to New York. His ultimate goal is the G1 Travers at the Spa in August.

Mylute (Midnight Lute) – LA Derby runner-up rallied to finish 5th on the first Saturday in May under Rosie Napravnik. Trainer Tom Amoss said that his Preakness status would be revealed on Saturday morning.

Oxbow horse

Oxbow was too close to the hot Derby pace – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins. His main problem is that he is usually not quick enough to grab the early lead.

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner finished a respectable 8th in the Derby. He did find some traffic but that is to be expected in a 19-horse field. Mike Smith will ride in the Preakness and he could improve 2nd off the shelf.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Eddie Plesa Jr.’s colt was the talk of Florida earlier this year at the Gulf. The Holy Bull hero played second fiddle to Orb in the Florida Derby and finished a disappointing 15th on the first Saturday in May. John Velazquez will ride in the Preakness.

Preakness Dreamers:

Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Doug O’Neill’s quality early-pressing type seemingly hated the Derby wet track and the pace scenario did not help either. He earned a strong number in the SA Derby and is capable of big efforts on fast ground under the proper race shape.

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but still lacks seasoning. He wisely passed on the Derby and has seemingly recovered from a minor hind foot issue. Worked 6f in 1:11.80 (1/3) at Churchill Downs on 5-7.

Street Spice (Street Sense) – Illinois Derby 5th place finisher seems up against it in the Preakness. He likely needs to find a softer spot to be competitive. Breezed 5f from the gate in 1:03.40 (27/33) at Arlington Park on 5-4.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Has lost all three starts this year and looks like a sprinter at this point. He will attend the Preakness pace before fading. Breezed 4f in :47.60 (5/35) at Churchill Downs on 5-7.

Vyjack (Into Mischief) – 18th place Derby finisher has now dropped two straight. He came out of the Wood Memorial with a lung infection and that hiccup probably cost him under the Twin Spires. He has talent but is not sharp right now.

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).