Posts Tagged ‘Godolphin’

Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders: Carpe Diem New Number One

This is my December 2014 update and fourth in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2015 contenders. Once again, I am got an early start in September, and there will be many twists and turns in the weeks and months ahead.

Kentucky Derby 2015 logo

You will notice a few changes to the list. International Star is no longer the top dog. He drops to 7th after an even 4th in the Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Carpe Diem is the new Number 1.

Frosted is the big upward mover, going from 7th to 2nd after landing the place in the Remsen.

Chief Istan has been inactive since breaking his maiden at Delaware on Sept 3 and has been replaced by Dortmund.

Lord Nelson is 2-for-2 sprinting and 0-for-2 around two turns. His replacement is Imperia.

Graded Recaps

G2 Remsen (90 BSF): Leave the Light On (Chad Brown) rode the inside speed bias to victory over unlucky favorite Frosted. The latter broke from the outside post and was wide throughout in a fine effort. It was another 8 lengths back to show finisher Keen Ice.

G2 Kentucky Jockey Club (94): El Kabeir established the early lead and had just enough left in the tank to hold off Imperia. The latter was making his dirt debut for McLaughlin-Godolphin and seems to want more ground. Eagle, International Star, and Lord Nelson rounded out the top five finishers.

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 2015 Contenders

  1. CARPE DIEM (Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song) carpe diem silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: WinStar Farm & Stonestreet Stables

Last Start: 2nd in G1 BC Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov 1.

Comments: Enjoying some R & R at Winstar Farm.

Derby Points (14)

  1. FROSTED (Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister) frosted silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Last Start: 2nd from the outside post in G2 Remsen.

Comments: He almost certainly would have won the Remsen with a better post position.

Derby Points (4)

  1. BLOFELD (Quality Road – Storm Minstrel, by Storm Cat) blofeld silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Glencrest Farm

Last Start: 1st in G2 Nashua (8f, 93 BSF) at Aqueduct on Nov 2.

Comments: Blew past pacesetter El Kabeir to win G2 Nashua by five. He skipped the Remsen and will winter in Florida.

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in the G1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita on Sept 27.

Comments: Foot bruise knocked him out of the G1 BC Juvenile. He is expected to resurface next February.

Derby Points (10)

  1. SOUPER COLOSSAL (War Front – Soaring Emotions, by Kingmambo) souper colossal silks

Trainer: Eddie Plesa Jr. – Owner: Live Oak Plantation

Last Start: 7th in G1 BC Juvenile on Nov 1.

Comments: Stumbled at the start and dueled 3-wide before slowly fading to 7th in the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov 1.

  1. EL KABEIR (Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song) el kabeir

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Last Start: 1st in G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill on Nov 29.

Comments: Snuck away early in the Remsen and was all out to hold on. I stand by my November comment that he is fast but might have distance limitations.

Derby Points (11)

  1. INTERNATIONAL STAR (Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy) international star silks

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Last Start: 4th in G2 Ky Jockey Club at Churchill on Nov 29.

Comments: Still searching for his best footing. He needs to kick it up on dirt in the near future.

Derby Points (11)

  1. TEXAS RED (Afleet Alex – Ramatuelle, by Jeune Homme) texas red silks

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Last Start: 1st in G1 BC Juvenile on Nov 1 (104 BSF).

Comments: Big, romping off the pace win in G1 BC Juvenile for Team Desormeaux. I like his pedigree moving forward but note that the pace sort of fell apart in the Juvenile and the top four finishers rallied from 11th, 10th, 8th, and 7th.

Derby Points (12)

  1. IMPERIA (Medaglia d’Oro – Cocoa Beach, by Doneraile Court) Imperia silks

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Last Start: 2nd by a head in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill on Nov 29.

Comments: Handled dirt just fine under the Twin Spires on Thanksgiving weekend.

Derby Points (4)

  1. DAREDEVIL (More Than Ready – Chasethewildwind, by Forty Niner) Daredevil silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Let’s Go Stable

Last Start: 11th and last in G1 BC Juvenile.

Comments: Was hung out to dry (wide throughout from outer post) in BC Juvenile and retreated to last in a throw out effort. Enjoying some R & R at Winstar Farm.

Derby Points (10)

  1. DORTMUND (Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat) Dortmund silks

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

Latest Published Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (7/19) at Santa Anita on Dec 9.

Comments: 2-for-2 including a visually impressive optional claiming victory at Churchill Downs (8f, 97 BSF) on Nov 29. The G1 Los Al Futurity might be next.

Honorable Mention: (12) Upstart, (13) Ocho Ocho Ocho, (14) Calculator, (15) Lord Nelson, (16) Mr. Jordan, (17) Eagle, (18) Leave the Light On, (19) Startup Nation, (20) Chief Istan

Injured Reserve

Competitive Edge – Hairline fracture (9-17-14). Out for rest of 2014. Back in Pletcher barn at Palm Meadows.

Hashtag Bourbon – Ankle chip (left front). Could show up at Oaklawn Park in 2015.

Om – Hock injury. Out for rest of 2014.

 

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: Alpha

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list starts with graded winner Alpha, and you would be hard pressed to find better bloodlines.

Alpha

photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Alpha’s sire Bernardini raced just one season but he certainly made a splash in 2006. In his 3rd career start, he won the G3 Withers and followed that up by capturing the G1 Preakness, G2 Jim Dandy, G1 Travers, and G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He finished his career with a runner-up effort behind Invasor in the G1 BC Classic.

As a sire, Bernardini was represented by three grade one winners in his first crop, including his son Stay Thirsty, who finished 2nd in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Bernardini’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.

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)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Alpha’s Withers

The first New York graded route on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 was run at Aqueduct on Saturday and overwhelming favorite Alpha did not disappoint in a facile G3 Withers tally.

G3 Withers (2-4-12): 90 BSF (Alpha)

Alpha was my original number one Derby contender when I posted my first blog about the current sophomore class last September and he is on the upswing for Godolphin and Kiaran McLaughlin.

Alpha horse

Alpha is on the upswing for Godolphin - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Alpha began his career with a facile extended sprint win at Saratoga last summer before rallying for the place behind Union Rags in the G1 Champagne. He lost his top ranking on my list after coming apart at the gate and finishing up the track in the G1 BC Juvenile but he always remained in my top ten.

I gave the Count Fleet hero a C+ grade for his win on Jan 7 and thought he was more professional in the Withers. He behaved in the gate, sat a wide stalking trip from the outside post, and was hand urged while clearly best under Ramon Dominguez on Feb 4.

Alpha has all of the tools to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. He is bred top and bottom (Bernardini-Nijinsky II) to improve as distances increase and his sharp conditioner has Kentucky Derby experience. Godolphin wants to win the Derby and they are going about it the right way this time after buying young talent and unsuccessfully shipping to/from Dubai in the past.

The promising son of Bernardini is making nice progress on the Beyer scale, going from an 85 in the Count Fleet to a 90 in the Withers. I love his tactical speed and top notch jockey Ramon Dominguez rides him well. He needs to run faster to be considered a serious Derby player but he is only getting warmed up at a mile and a sixteenth and is clearly moving in the right direction.

There was not much depth in the Withers. Outsider Speightscity completed the exacta at 44-1.Rallying show finisher Tiger Walk has potential for Sagamore Farm. He was making his first start of the year and handles turf/dirt.

Withers Stakes Grade: B-

Withers Stakes 2012 Preview: Alpha Looms Large

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 continues at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday with the G3 Withers Stakes and even money favorite Alpha drew the outside post against six rivals.

I have always been fond of #7 Alpha (1-1). He was my top ranked Derby contender when I started tracking the current sophomores last September. Kiaran McLaughlin’s exciting son of Bernardini was a sharp winner right out of the box in his extended sprint bow at the Spa last summer and came right back to land the place behind highly regarded colt Union Rags in the G1 Champagne.

Alpha

Alpha seeks graded glory in Withers - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Alpha came unglued at the gate in the G1 BC Juvenile and ended up a disappointing 11th after stalking the pace. He resumed training in Florida during the month of December before returning to the Big Apple to impressively snare his 3-year-old debut in the Count Fleet Stakes on Jan 7.

Once again, Alpha had some gate issues in the Count Fleet and has been successfully schooling at the Big A ever since. He fired a best of 14 Belmont training track bullet for this engagement on Jan 30 and looms large at low odds.

#1 Hakama (5-1) is the one to catch from the rail and might be dangerous if the inner dirt track is favoring speed. The Michael Trombetta runner exits back-to-back route wire jobs including a local maiden win Dec 10.

Sagamore Farm runner #6 Tiger Walk (6-1) is firing bullets for his first start of the season. He ended his juvenile campaign with back-to-back wins on turf and dirt at Laurel Park and should offer value at 6-1. He’s the wildcard.

#2 Speightscity (20-1) was dusted by Alpha in the Count Fleet but he was bumped at the start and raced wide from an outer post that day. He lands a better post and can grab a piece of this with better racing luck.

#4 King Kid (4-1) was sharp in his extended sprint bow and finished a solid 3rd in the Gulfstream Park Derby last time. He has upside with only two races under his belt. His pedigree screams turf (Lemon Drop Kid-Royal Academy).

#3 Swag Daddy (10-1) owns running style versatility and captured his last two inner dirt routes against NY-breds. He faces open company for the first time and shows an improving numbers pattern.

Pace factor #5 How Do I Win (10-1) faded to 4th after tracking the leader in the Count Fleet and it might be deja vu all over again with early runner Hakama breaking from the rail.

The Plays:

$4 Exacta 7-2

$1 Trifecta 7/1-6/ALL ($10)

$1 Trifecta 7/ALL/1-6 ($10)

$1 Trifecta 1-6/7/ALL ($10)

$1 Trifecta 1-6-7/1-6-7/2 ($6)

Count Fleet Stakes 2012 Preview: Time for Alpha to Shine

The $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and seventy yards begins the Kentucky Derby 2012 journey for the newly turned 3-year-olds based in New York and it is put up or shut up time for Alpha.

The promising son of flashy stallion Bernardini, out of Nijinsky II mare Munnaya, began his career with an eye catching seven panel graduation run at Saratoga last September. Alpha chased talented colt Union Rags in the G1 Champagne in his second career start before coming apart at the gate in a disappointing G1 BC Juvenile showing.

Alpha shipped to Florida during the month of December before firing a four furlong bullet in his Big Apple return Jan 3. The highly regarded Godolphin colorbearer adds lasix and attracts top notch jock Ramon Dominguez. He was my top ranked juvenile following his debut maiden win and can start living up to his vast potential with a big effort at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is the strong 4-5 morning line favorite.

Count Fleet 2012 field with morning line odds

Last year’s Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion has well bred colt Stephanoatsee ready to rumble at the Big A on Jan 7. Shackleford’s baby brother rallied from far back to land the place in his Laurel bow before earning his diploma in Maryland last October. He got no pace help in 7th place G2 Remsen effort and could put his best foot forward at 6-1 odds on Saturday.

Il Villano has rattled off three straight sprints and will take them as far as he can from the rail. He figures to face stern pace pressure from Todd Pletcher trainee and fellow sprint/route runner How Do I Win.

Shkspeare Shaliyah won a graded turf route as a juvenile but is an unknown commodity on conventional dirt. He can always go back to the sod if this dirt experiment goes awry.

Speightscity is a 2-time route winner exiting a sharp stalk and pounce inner track tally. He was trounced in both graded outings and might be up against it from a class standpoint.The son of Speightstown owns plenty of two turn experience, should sit a decent tactical trip, and could grab a piece of this.

Whistleblower earned a decent number in his local inner dirt sprint maiden victory Dec 3. He gets the acid test in his first route try against winners.

The Plays:

$20 Exacta Alpha over Stephanoatsee
$5 Trifecta Key Alpha over Stephanoatsee, Speightscity ($10)