Posts Tagged ‘Horse Racing Nation’

HRN Video Race of the Week: G1 Manhattan with Beach Patrol, Divisidero, World Approval

It’s Belmont Stakes Day 2017 and my video race of the week is the Grade 1 Manhattan featuring Beach Patrol, Divisidero, and World Approval.

 

June 10 at Winning Horse Picks: BELMONT STAKES DAY FULL CARD FROM BELMONT PARK.  

My Saturday BELMONT STAKES DAY full card (6-10-17) is ready to purchase at WinningHorsePicks.com – Weekly Packages Now Available!

HRN Video Race of the Week: Elusive Quality Stakes from Belmont Park

Jarrod Horak analyzes the 2017 Elusive Quality Stakes from Belmont Park for Horse Racing Nation.

HRN Video Race of the Week: Charles Town Classic with Stanford and Imperative

Kentucky Derby 2015 Contenders

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

Kentucky Derby 2015 logo

Kentucky Derby 2015 logo

9 of the last 14 Kentucky Derby winners graduated by October 4, including 6 of the last 8. Kentucky Derby 2012 hero I’ll Have Another captured his career debut at Hollywood Park on July 3 of his juvenile season.

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

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

Some of my original September Derby blog juvenile contenders panned out, like my early 2010-2011 Number 1’s Stay Thirsty and Alpha. Both won the G1 Travers during their 3-year-old seasons. Others turn out to be disappointments, such as Fortify and Purple Sky, my 2012 and 2013 original Number 1’s. The latter recently returned to action in a $40k claimer at Churchill Downs for Al Stall Jr.

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

Graded Recaps

G1 Hopeful (90 BSF): Competitive Edge ran his record to 2-for-2 with an easy win over I Spent It, who was nine clear of the rest.

G1 Del Mar Futurity (101 BSF): The fastest of the early graded juvenile events was dominated by maidens (American Pharoah, Calculator, Iron Fist) exiting the same August 9 Del Mar affair (Om won by 7.25 lengths). American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert, was sired by my 2009 Derby horse Pioneerof The Nile.

G3 Iroquois (82 BSF): The first Derby points race was captured by Lucky Player and it was not an impressive race visually or by clocking standards. The winner defeated stablemate Bold Conquest (both trained by Steve Asmussen). Hashtag Bourbon was a troubled 3rd and might have been best. 4th place finisher Danny Boy was well clear of beaten favorite Mr. Z.

G3 Arl-Wash Futurity (85 BSF): Recount turned the tables on Private Prospect by a head with One Go All Go another head back in 3rd. The winner is a decent Illinois-bred.

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

Trainer: Michael Maker – Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Comments: Romped in his turf sprint bow and was clearly second best in the Rockville Centre on dirt at Belmont second time out. He stretched out on turf in the G2 With Anticipation on Aug 28 at Saratoga and finished a troubled 2nd behind Startup Nation. International stallion Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Kentucky Derby. Dam Parlez won a couple of 2003 dirt routes in Maryland, and dam sire French Deputy won the G2 Jerome in ’95.

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :48.60 (11/40) at Monbmouth on Sept 14.

Comments: 3-for-3 at Monmouth Park including stakes tallies in the Tyro and Sapling (86 BSF). War Front, sire of 31 stakes winners, captured the G2 Vanderbilt in ’06 and placed in numerous other graded sprints. Dam Soaring Emotions won a flat mile allowance turf race at Tampa Bay in ’09 for Clement, and dam sire Kingmambo won a couple of overseas Group 1’s in ’93.

3. STARTUP NATION (Temple City – Pennyrile, by Wagon Limit)startup nation silks

Trainer: Chad Brown – Owner: Klaravich Stables

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :50.24 (6/12) at Saratoga (dirt training) on Sept 10.

Comments: Back-to-back late striding turf wins at 8.5f to begin his career including the G2 With Anticipation (85 BSF) at the Spa. His sire Temple City won the 2010 Cougar II at a mile and a half (Del Mar). Dam Pennyrile was stakes placed and dam sire Wagon Limit captured the ’98 G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

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

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Glencrest Farm

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:03.98 (6/7) at Saratoga (dirt training) on Sept 15.

Comments: A length best (88 BSF) in his Aug 14 debut at Saratoga as the heavy favorite. Freshman sire Quality Road won multiple graded races including the G1 Florida Derby, G1 Donn, G1 Met Mile, and G1 Woodward. Dam sire Storm Minstrel was a multiple stakes winner in the Mid-Atlantic, and legendary dam sire and Grade 1 winner Storm Cat was 2nd in the ’85 BC Juvenile.

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :48.64 (8/55) at Belmont (dirt training) on Sept 15.

Comments: Won like a good thing in his 5.5f bow from the rail at Saratoga on Sept 1. Champion stallion and 2000 BC Classic runner-up Giant’s Causeway sired 12 GSW’s in ’13. Dam sire Rebridled Dreams was graded stakes placed in ’03 and dam sire Unbridled’s Song won the G1 BC Juvenile in ’95, and the G1 Florida Derby and G2 Wood Memorial in ‘96.

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Workout: 4f in :47.80 (7/53) at Santa Anita on Sept 15.

Comments: A fading 5th as the beaten favorite in his Del Mar bow but was a different horse when handed a clear lead from the inside post in the G1 Del Mar Futurity (101 BSF). Sire Pioneerof The Nile finished 2nd in the ’09 Kentucky Derby and sprinting dam sire Yankee Gentleman was 5th in the ‘03 BC Sprint.

7. COMPETITIVE EDGE (Super Saver – Magdalena’s Chase, by Cape Town)competitive edge silks

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Favreau, Psoinos, and Tabor

Comments: Cruised in both Saratoga starts including the G1 Hopeful (90 BSF). Freshman sire Super Saver won the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Dam sire Magdalena’s Chase was multiple stakes placed and dam sire Cape Town’s biggest score was the G1 Florida Derby in ’98.

INJURY UPDATE: On Sept 17, Competitive Edge sustained a a hairline fracture to his left foreleg.
He is done for the year and is expected to be out of training for 60 days.

8. CHIEF ISTAN (Istan – My Indian, by Indian Charlie)chief istan silks

Trainer: Larry Jones – Owner: Brereton C. Jones

Comments: Shook off pace foe and drew off in romping DelPark debut Sept 3. Multiple graded winning sire Istan is responsible for ’14 graded stakes winners Istanford and Albano. Dam sire Indian Charlie won his first four starts including the G1 SA Derby and his show finish in the ‘98 G1 Kentucky Derby was his career finale.

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

Trainer: John Terranova II – Owner: Zayat Stables

Latest Workout: 5f breeze in 1:00.22 (2/28) at Belmont on Sept 13.

Comments: 3rd to Blofeld in his Spa debut and was fast throughout in 10.75 length romp (93 BSF) at 7f on Aug 30. Stallion Scat Daddy sired 5 GSW’s in ’13. He won multiple graded races including the G1 Champagne, G2 Fountain of Youth, and G1 Florida Derby. Dam sire Unbridled’s Song won the G1 BC Juvenile in ’95 and the G1 Florida Derby and G2 Wood Memorial in ‘96.

10. I SPENT IT (Super Saver – Rateeba, by Sky Mesa)i spent it silks

Trainer: Anthony Dutrow – Owner: Alex and JoAnn Lieblong

Comments: Won first two outings including a professional effort in the G2 Saratoga Special (85 BSF). He could not keep up with Competitive Edge in the Hopeful and was clearly second best that day. Freshman sire Super Saver won the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Dam Rateeba went 1-for-10 in ’08 and dam sire Sky Mesa won the G1 Hopeful and G2 Breeders’ Futurity as a juvenile in ’02.

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

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Godolphin Racing

Latest Workout: 4f bullet in :48.48 (1/37) at Saratoga (dirt training) on Sept 12.

Current Entries: Frosted is entered in a MSW event (race 9, 6.5f) at Belmont Park on Sept 20.

Comments: 2nd to runaway winner Bayerd in his Saratoga debut Aug 23. Now stallion and multiple graded winner Tapit is responsible for ’14 Belmont Stakes hero Tonalist and G1 Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable. Dam Fast Cookie took the G2 Cotillion in ’03 and dam sire Deputy Minister won numerous graded races and was Champion 2-Year-Old in Canada and the U.S. in 1981.

Honorable Mention: (12) Om, (13) Bayerd, (14) Pride of Stride, (15) Iron Fist, (16) Wild Zambesi, (17) Calculator, (18) Today’s Agenda, (19) Bustin It, (20) Upstart

 

 

Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders – Honor Code’s Odd Remsen

My top ranked Kentucky Derby 2014 contender (since Nov. 12) Honor Code won a strange renewal of the Grade II Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.

Honor Code nips Cairo Prince in 2013 Remsen

The Remsen photo goes to Honor Code – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Honor Code, typically a sustained runner, was all over pedestrian fractions in the Remsen, with his main foe Cairo Prince stalking 3-wide while conceding six pounds. The latter began to inch away in the lane but was confronted again by Honor Code. The final margin was a nose, and the 88 BSF was pure conjecture.

What do we make of the Remsen? The best two horses ran 1-2 but we learned little due to the complete lack of pace. A quality speed horse like Havana probably would have romped in the Remsen.

Honor Code gets points for altering his running style and coming again, and Cairo Prince gave the winner weight and raced wide. They came home fast but that was to be expected given the soft early splits. Both well-bred colts have talent but we will have to wait for them to resurface to learn more.

In the Grade III Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Nov. 23, Rise Up cruised to an easy wire job win for trainer Tom Amoss. He also dusted his Delta opponents a few weeks earlier in the local Jackpot prep and must prove that he can run that same quality race at another venue.

My 11th ranked Derby contender Give No Quarter drops off the list after finishing 3rd as the favorite in a Laurel Park allowance on Nov. 20. According to the Equibase chart, he went to the gate with blood in his mouth, stumbled at the start, and raced wide. The Graham Motion trainee is owned by Sagamore Farm and is better than his recent form suggests.

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

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

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 rallied to miss by a neck in the G1 Champagne on 10-5. McGaughey’s plan to skip the G1 BC Juvenile in favor of the G2 Remsen worked out well. He will winter in Florida.

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Gary & Mary West

Comments: Rallied for 3rd in his 5.5f Del Mar debut 8-17 and beat next out G1 FrontRunner winner Bond Holder in a one mile maiden race at that same venue 8-31. He came off the bench and showed his talent with a professional score in the G1 BC Juvenile and is an exciting long term prospect.

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

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

Comments: Went wire-to-wire in his Saratoga debut on 8-23 and earned a 102 BSF. Put away Debt Ceiling and Grand Arrival early, and held off Honor Code by a nose in the G1 Champagne (93 BSF) at Belmont on 10-5. Stalked and pounced from post 13 in BC Juvenile but could not hold off New Year’s Day.

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

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

Comments: Finished 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 never got untracked in 7th place Champagne puzzler. He shot to the front from post 14 and finished an improved 3rd in the BC Juvenile.

5. SHARED BELIEF (Candy Ride – Common Hope, by Storm Cat)

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer – Owner: Jungle Racing (Jim Rome)

Latest Workout: 6f bullet in 1:12.60 (1/20) at Hollywood Park on 12-1.

Comments: Cruised in his 10-19 Golden Gate debut and crushed four rivals in the G3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes on 11-10. The exciting gelding shows up next in the CashCall Futurity (Dec. 14).

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :49.90 (9/16) at Palm Meadows on 12-5.

Comments: Distant 3rd 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). Attended pace and retreated to 8th in Champagne. He should get better with age.

7. PURPLE SKY (Pulpit – Tessa Blue, by Awesome Again)

Trainer: Al Stall Jr. – Owner: Bruce Lunsford

Latest Workout: 4f breeze in :48.80 (26/63) at Churchill Downs on 11-22.

Comments: 3rd behind Honor Code and Misconnect in Aug. 31 Saratoga debut and raced green that day. He overcame adversity to earn diploma at Churchill Downs (one mile) on 9-28. Never got involved in allowance route at Churchill on Nov. 9.

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

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Repole Stable

Latest Workout: 4f in :51.08 (41/45) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 10-14.

Comments: Battled on the pace throughout and was 2nd best to Honor Code in his 8-31 debut at the Spa. He graduated by a length at Belmont on 9-28 (85 BSF).

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

Trainer: David Hofmans – Owner: Amerman Racing LLC.

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.” 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.”

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

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Jerry Namy

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.80 (8/44) at Churchill Downs on 10-14.

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. He never appeared comfortable on synthetic footing and was not persevered with in 11th place Breeders’ Futurity effort.

11. CAIRO PRINCE (Pioneerof The Nile – Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull)

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Namcook Stables

Comments: Won his first two races including the G2 Nashua. Just missed in a strange renewal of the Remsen and will winter in Florida.

Pedigree Spotlight: Honor Code

Honor Code’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. As a sire, he was responsible for well over 100 stakes winners.

honor code pedigree

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.

Honor Code’s dam Serena’s Cat (Storm Cat – Serena’s Tune, by Mr. Prospector) went 4-for-12 in 2005-07 and won the Klassy Briefcase Stakes at Monmouth in ’07. She is also the dam of Grade II turf winner Noble Tune.

Grade I winner Storm Cat (Storm Bird – Terlinga, by Secretariat) captured 4 of 8 lifetime starts and was 2nd in the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at the Big A. The legendary stallion stood for 20 years and sired more than 100 graded stakes winners. He died earlier this year at age 30 and is buried at Overbrook Farm.

Storm Cat’s sire Storm Bird (Northern Dancer) was a European champion. He sired 63 stakes winners (Summer Squall, Bluebird) before his death in 2004 at age 26.

Serena’s Tune (Mr. Prospector – Serena’s Song, by Rahy), foaled in 1998, was a stakes winner at age 3 and 4. The late mare was a half-sister to graded and/or group winners Grand Reward, Harlington, and Sophisticat.

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.

Hall of Famer Serena’s Song (Rahy – Imagining, by Northfields) won 13 Grade I races and was Champion U.S. 3YO Filly in 1995.

Honor Code ran three quality races during his productive juvenile campaign and already owns a graded win at nine panels. He should continue to develop for patient trainer Shug McGaughey and ten furlongs should be well within reach on the first Saturday in May.

Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders – New Year’s Day Comes Early

It was a big day for my Kentucky Derby 2014 contenders in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, November 2.

New Year's Day

New Year’s Day wins 2013 BC Juvenile – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Three of my original exceptional eleven Derby contenders competed in the BC Juvenile, and they took down the top three spots.

New Year’s Day rose to the occasion for Bob Baffert, coming off a layoff and running down G1 Champagne hero Havana. They both finished in front of front runner Strong Mandate.

New Year’s Day owns a promising pedigree and might have the most potential. Havana has a ton of raw talent but might have distance limitations. D. Wayne Lukas will give Strong Mandate every opportunity to make the Derby starting gate.

The winning 2013 BC Juvenile BSF was a respectable 88. Last year’s Juvenile was a negative prep. The 2011 BC Juvenile was a key race. The 2013 edition probably falls somewhere in between.

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)

Trainer: Al Stall Jr. – Owner: Bruce Lunsford

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :50.80 (75/97) at Churchill Downs on 11-2.

Comments: 3rd behind Honor Code and Misconnect in Aug. 31 Saratoga debut and raced green that day. He overcame adversity to earn diploma at Churchill Downs (one mile) on 9-28.

UPDATE: Purple Sky is entered in the 7th race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Nov. 9. He is the 5-2 morning line favorite vs. nine optional claiming rivals at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track.

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: 4f bullet in :47 (1/24) at Belmont Park on 10-27.

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 rallied to miss by a neck in the G1 Champagne on 10-5. He  skipped the G1 BC Juvenile in favor of the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert – Owner: Gary & Mary West

Comments: Rallied for 3rd in his 5.5f Del Mar debut 8-17 and beat next out G1 FrontRunner winner Bond Holder in a one mile maiden race at that same venue 8-31. He came off the bench and showed his talent with a professional score in the G1 BC Juvenile.

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

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

Comments: Went wire-to-wire in his Saratoga debut on 8-23 and earned a 102 BSF. Put away Debt Ceiling and Grand Arrival early, and held off Honor Code by a nose in the G1 Champagne (93 BSF) at Belmont on 10-5. Stalked and pounced from post 13 in BC Juvenile but could not hold off New Year’s Day.

Strong Mandate

Strong Mandate bounced back with a solid show finish in the BC Juvenile – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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

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

Comments: Finished 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 never got untracked in 7th place Champagne puzzler. He shot to the front from post 14 and finished an improved 3rd in the BC Juvenile.

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

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Repole Stable

Latest Workout: 4f in :51.08 (41/45) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 10-14.

Comments: Battled on the pace throughout and was 2nd best to Honor Code in his 8-31 debut at the Spa. He graduated by a length at Belmont on 9-28 (85 BSF).

7. 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.” 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.”

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

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

Latest Workout: 4f bullet in :47.98 (1/24) at Saratoga on 10-26.

Comments: Distant 3rd 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). Attended pace and retreated to 8th in Champagne. He should get better with age.

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

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Jerry Namy

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.80 (8/44) at Churchill Downs on 10-14.

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. He never appeared comfortable on synthetic footing and was not persevered with in 11th place Breeders’ Futurity effort.

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

Trainer: Graham Motion – Owner: Sagamore Farm

Latest Workout: 4f in :49.20 (5/11) at Fair Hill on 10-30.

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). He was eased without an apparent excuse in the G3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine on Oct. 6. From Graham Motion’s Twitter account: @GrahamMotion – I’m afraid I can’t give an explanation for Give no Quarter’s poor performance at Woodbine today. He seems to have cooled out fine.

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: New Year’s Day

new year's day pedigree

New Year’s Day’s sire Street Cry (Machiavellian – Helen Street, by Troy) went 5-for-12 from 2000-02 and won such prestigious stakes races as the G1 Dubai World Cup and G1 Stephen Foster. He has sired multiple stakes winners including Desert Party, Street Boss, and Zenyatta.

Machiavellian (Mr. Prospector – Coup de Folie, by Halo) was a group one winner in France. He retired with four wins from seven starts and earnings of $355,790. In addition to Street Cry, he sired 47 stakes winners including Dubai World Cup winner Almutawakel.

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.

Street Cry’s dam Helen Street (GB) was a group one winner in Ireland in 1985. Her sire Troy (GB) won 8 of 11 races in 1978-79 including the Epsom Derby.

New Year’s Day’s dam Justwhistledixie (Dixie Union – General Jeanne, by Honour and Glory) won the G2 Davona Dale and G2 Bonnie Miss at Gulfstream Park in 2009. She was 2nd in the G1 Acorn at Belmont P:ark later that year.

Dixie Union (Dixieland Band – She’s Tops, by Capote) won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee Brew. He also captured the G1 Malibu in his final career start and sired 39 stakes winners from his first eight crops including Gone Astray, Grasshopper, and G1 Belmont Stakes hero Union Rags.

Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first started following racing in the early 1980′s. Dixieland Band won the G2.

New Year’s Day has a nice blend of speed and stamina throughout his pedigree, and ten furlongs on the first Saturday in May could easily be within his grasp. He is lightly raced, improving, and has plenty of upside for Bob Baffert.

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.