Posts Tagged ‘My Adonis’

Beyond the Crown – Hansen rights his ship

Juvenile champion Hansen rebounded from a 9th place finish in the Kentucky Derby to trounce four overmatched rivals in the G3 Iowa Derby (97 BSF) on June 30. The Michael Maker trainee has his confidence back and will try to make it two straight in the G2 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on August 3.


Hansen got back on the beam at Prairie Meadows – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Teeth of the Dog, stablemate of Union Rags, gamely captured the G2 Dwyer at Belmont Park on June 30. The Michael Matz trainee earned a 92 BSF and will take on Hansen in West Virginia next.

In other 3-year-old stakes action, Bob Baffert sent out Blueskiesnrainbows in the G2 Swaps and he controlled the tempo and kept on finding on the fourth of July. G3 Affirmed winner Nonios rallied for the place and Baffert runner Liaison finished 3rd. The winner earned a 102 BSF.

My Adonis threw his hat into the Haskell following a game ½ length score over Macho Macho in Monmouth’s Long Branch Stakes on July 8.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked sophomore goes next in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 29. The Belmont Stakes hero breezed 5f in 1:00.60 (1/7) at Fair Hill on July 6.


Bodemeister worked five panels on July 8 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid was tuckered out after his 3rd race in 5-weeks at Pimlico. His early speed is especially dangerous up to nine panels and he could prove an elusive target in the Haskell. Worked 5f in 1:01 (11/31) at Santa Anita on 7-8.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – Leg infection after the Wood Memorial probably contributed to his 12th place Derby effort. He spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is currently stabled at Saratoga and fired a 4f bullet in :47.33 (1/16) on July 7.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He is back in Pletcher’s barn with an eye on the Travers. Breezed 5f in 1:04.88 (8/10) at Saratoga (dirt training) on 7-2.

5. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion got back on the beam in facile G3 Iowa Derby victory. The G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4 is up next, followed by the Travers.

6. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt should continue to develop. He zipped 5f in :58.60 (1/19) on July 4 and could resurface in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy on July 28.

7. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Kentucky Derby show finisher flopped in the Belmont. He loves Keeneland’s Polytrack and is a competent turf performer as well. Look for him to resurface in the Haskell. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (2/11) at Churchill Downs on 7-7.

8. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer ran into the likes of Union Rags in Florida earlier this year. He exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16.

9. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – G3 Spiral Stakes hero finished a troubled 4th in the Derby. My Preakness top flopped in the second jewel and seemingly had nothing left to offer after his aforementioned bad trip two weeks earlier. Breezed 4f in :48.40 (1/14) at Fair Hill on 6-23 and 5f in 1:01.20 (4/16) on 6-30.

10. Holy Candy (Candy Ride) – Expecting big things from Sadler’s late developing colt. He exits a needed show finish in the G3 Affirmed and goes next in the Oceanside at Del Mar on July 18. Worked 6f in 1:13.80 (2/7) at Hollywood Park on 7-5.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: My Adonis

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 list concludes with late entrant My Adonis.

Belmont Stakes 2012 logo
My Adonis’s sire Pleasantly Perfect (by Pleasant Colony) won 9 of 18 races from 2001-04 including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in ‘03. The Lane’s End Farm stallion is responsible for Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Account, multiple graded turf route winner Cozi Rosie, 2-time ‘Big Cap runner-up Setsuko, and recent G3 Affirmed hero Nonios.

Pleasantly Perfect’s sire Pleasant Colony (by His Majesty) won 6 of 14 starts including the G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Preakness. His Triple Crown bid came to a halt with a 3rd place finish in the 1981 Belmont Stakes. The late sire is responsible for such prominent runners as Pleasant Tap, Pleasant Stage, St. Jovite, Behrens, and ’93 Belmont Stakes hero Colonial Affair.

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KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Union Rags looks the part

We are less than one week to Kentucky Derby 2012. All of the preps have been run and now we wait for Wednesday’s post position draw.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

The big news on Tuesday was the defection of Mark Valeski and the addition of Wayne Lukas trainee Optimizer.

Mark Valeski, trained by Larry Jones, could resurface in the G2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 12.

My Adonis is on the outside looking in and needs one defection to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Bodemiester and Union Rags figure to vie for favoritism and both are training well leading up to the big dance.

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

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – The G1 Florida Derby show finisher has been in my top three since last September and on top of my list since last November. He breezed a strong 5f in :59.80 (3/53) at Churchill Downs on April 28. Graded Earnings: $1,170,000

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Kept his perfect record intact in game G1 Wood Memorial tally. The WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner likes Churchill Downs, owns fine early-pressing speed, and has a nose for the wire. He breezed a 4f bullet in :50.39 (1/8) at Palm Meadows on April 29. Graded Earnings: $703,855

3. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – The versatile gem of consistency was last seen finishing a close-up 2nd in the G1 Santa Anita Derby (blinkers off). He breezed 4f in :47.80 (3/58) at Churchill Downs on 4-30 . Graded Earnings: $836,000

4. Alpha (Bernardini) – Infection caused by a few small cuts in the Wood Memorial forced him to miss one Derby work. He needed a swift final move and got it with a 5f bullet in :59.54 (1/25) at Belmont Park on April 28. Made a nice appearance at Churchill Downs on May 1. Graded Earnings: $380,000

5. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – G1 Arkansas Derby (108 BSF) wire job winner has history against him under the Twin Spires. Bob Baffert’s unraced juvenile is back in three weeks and faces a tough pace scenario. Excellent 5f breeze in :59.60 (2/10) at Churchill Downs on 4-29. Graded Earnings: $660,000

Daddy Nose Best

Daddy Nose Best is an interesting late running Derby threat - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

6. Daddy Nose Best (Scat Daddy) – Back-to-back nine furlong wins in G3 El Camino Real Derby (92 BSF) and G3 Sunland Derby (100 BSF). He is quietly training well under the Twin Spires and would appreciate a contested early pace.  Breezed 4f in :49.40 (29/58) at Churchill Downs on 4-30. Graded Earnings: $545,558

7. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Stole the Florida Derby but could only muster a 95 BSF despite everything going his way. I have always been fond of this one but he could be a pace casualty on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 5f in 1:00.77 (1/4) at Palm Meadows on 4-26. Graded Earnings: $698,400

8. I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley) – Followed up his surprise G2 Robert Lewis triumph with another tally in the G1 SA Derby. The Doug O’Neill trainee looms an early-pressing factor on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 6f in 1:13.80 (7/22) at Hollywood Park on 4-27. Graded Earnings: $601,000

9. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Won his second Keeneland (Polytrack) Grade 1 from as many starts in the Blue Grass. He is better this year so his conventional dirt task is not impossible. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (9/53) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Graded Earnings: $855,000

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally but was too aggressive early in Blue Grass place finish. I have never thought of him as a ten furlong horse. Dominguez chose him over Alpha. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (2/5) at Churchill Downs (training track) on April 28. Graded Earnings: $1,550,000

The Other Ten

Went The Day Well

Can Went The Day Well give Graham Motion/Team Valor back-to-back Derby wins? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

11. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Graham Motion/Team Valor. Reportedly training well but might not be experienced enough to make a serious Derby run. He breezed 5f in 1:01 (6/53) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Graded Earnings: $282,000

12. Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit) – Rallied for the show in G2 Louisiana Derby and can hit the board in the Derby if a fast pace develops. Decent 5f move in 1:00.40 (2/18) at Churchill Downs on May 1. Graded Earnings: $269,000

13. El Padrino (Pulpit) – G2 Risen Star hero finished a wide 4th in disappointing Florida Derby performance. He moves up on wet footing and breezed a slow 4f in :53.34 (7//8) at Palm Meadows on April 29. Graded Earnings: $250,000

14. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – G2 Tampa Bay Derby hero finished 6th in G1 Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (9/53) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Graded Earnings: $387,952

15. Daddy Long Legs (Scat Daddy) – G2 UAE Derby hero was 12th in last year’s productive BC Juvenile. Graded Earnings: $1,294,030

16. Optimizer (English Channel) – G2 Rebel runner-up is winless in six conventional dirt starts. Wayne Lukas trainee breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (4/10) at Churchill Downs on 4-29.

17. Done Talking (Broken Vow) – Late running G3 Illinois Derby winner breezed 5f in 1:01 (1/17) at Laurel Park on April 28. Graded Earnings: $310,000

18. Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity winner has disappointed in three starts at Santa Anita this year. Breezed 5f in 1:00.80 (7/28) at Churchill Downs on 4-30. Graded Earnings: $393,000

19. Sabercat (Bluegrass Cat) – Finished an improved 3rd in G1 Arkansas Derby. Breezed 4f in :48.40 (10/58) under the Twin Spires on 4-30. Graded Earnings: $701,429

20. Trinniberg (Teuflesberg) – Back to-back sharp 7f wins in G3 Swale and G3 Bay Shore. The likely Derby pacesetter breezed 6f in 1:15.40 (1/1) at Calder on April 23. Graded Earnings: $324,500

On the Graded Earnings Bubble: My Adonis

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.


$20 to win #3

$2 Exacta Box 1-3 ($4)

$4 Exacta 1-3/6-7  ($16)

KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Hansen is back; Out of Bounds injured

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 is full of ups and downs and we recently ran the gamut of emotions, beginning with juvenile champ Hansen’s triumphant New York return and ending with Out of Bounds going to the sidelines.


Hansen goes next in G1 Wood Memorial on April 7 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

First the good news. Hansen overcame post 12 and relaxed beautifully (blinkers off) under Ramon Dominguez to easily capture Saturday’s G3 Gotham Stakes over My Adonis. The Mike Maker trainee took a giant leap in the right direction in regards to making a dent on the first Saturday in May. We will learn much more when he faces better company at nine furlongs in the Wood Memorial.

Jumping over to the West Coast, impressive G3 Sham Stakes hero Out of Bounds is off the Derby trail and out of my top ten after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. The injury was discovered following his 5f bullet drill at Hollywood Park on March 5.

Souper Speedy has not had a published work since Feb 14 and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

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

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender remains at the top of the heap following a strong return tally in the G2 Fountain of Youth (95 BSF). The March 31 Florida Derby is next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,070,000

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – Went back-to-back at the Big A in Count Fleet (85 BSF) and Withers (90 BSF) and was finally on good behavior in the gate Feb 4. Breezed 4f in :49.83 (31/49) at Palm Meadows on March 3. Look for him in Florida Derby. Graded Earnings: $180,000

3. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Gamely captured G2 Risen Star (98 BSF) at Fair Grounds on Feb 25. He handles any footing and goes next in Florida Derby or Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $200,000

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory to end juvenile campaign for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. He fired another 5f bullet in 1:00.22 (1/10) at Palm Meadows on March 3. Begins 3yo season in Oaklawn’s G2 Rebel on March 17. Graded Earnings: $103,855

Creative Cause

Creative Cause returns to route game in San Felipe - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

5. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – BC Juvenile show finisher occupied that same spot in G2 San Vicente on Feb 19. He fired a 4f bullet in :46.40 (1/34) at Hollywood Park on March 6 and goes next in Saturday’s G2 San Felipe.  Graded Earnings: $506,000

6. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He will train at Turfway Park before returning to Aqueduct for the G1 Wood Memorial on April 7. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt passed his second route test in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) at Oaklawn on Feb 20. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he is fast and deserves another route shot. Worked 5f in 1:00.40 (18/66) at Santa Anita on March 3. Graded Earnings: $170,000

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. Drilled a 4f bullet in :47.66 (1/36) at Palm Meadows on March 4. The March 10 Tampa Bay Derby is next. Graded Earnings: $98,400

9. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow. Look for Larry Jones trainee in Louisiana Derby on April 1. Graded Earnings: $60,000

10. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Back-to-back flat mile wins at Santa Anita. Worked 6f in 1:13.40 (3/12) at Santa Anita on Feb 29 but the Baffert trainee tied up recently and will not go in San Felipe as originally planned.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):


Is Bodemeister Bob Baffert's next star? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Impressive dirt route maiden winner (101 BSF) at Santa Anita on Feb 11 replaces stablemate Fed Biz in Saturday’s San Felipe.

2. Castaway (Street Sense) – Baffert trainee won slower division of Southwest (92 BSF) in his first start against winners. Worked 5f in 1:01.20 (25/48) at Santa Anita on March 2. Graded Earnings – $150,000

3. Currency Swap (High Cotton) – G1 Hopeful hero has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 5f in 1:03.80 (18/20) at Gulfstream Park on March 3. Graded Earnings: $150,000

4. Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Seems to be over recent foot bruise after firing a 5f bullet in :58.80 (1/20) at the Gulf on March 3. Sheppard entered him in Saturday’s G2 Swale at seven panels. Graded Earnings: $33,502

5. Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in San Pedro. He worked 4f in :49 (41/61) at Santa Anita on March 4 and will try two turns in Saturday’s San Felipe.

Injured Reserve (in alphabetical order):

1. Algorithms – Missed scheduled Fountain of Youth appearance with bone split injury and is off the Triple Crown trail.

2. B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

3. Consortium (Bernardini) – Ankle chip knocked him out of the Gotham and off the Derby trail. He is expected to return later this year.

4. Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

5. Junebugred (Corinthian) – Smarty Jones Stakes hero is off the Derby trail with a bone chip in his ankle.

6. O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

7. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – G3 Sham hero goes to the sidelines after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front ankle. He is off the Triple Crown trail.

8. Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – According to Bob Baffert via Twitter, Sky Kingdom needs 60 days off and is no longer on the Triple Crown trail.

9. Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He is expected to miss at least two months and could return this summer.

10. Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Hansen’s Gotham Triumph

Juvenile champ Hansen is back in the swing of things on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 after taking a bite out of the Big Apple in Saturday’s Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

Hansen Kentucky Derby contender

Hansen gets back on the beam in Gotham - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

G3 Gotham Stakes (3-3-12): 95 BSF (Hansen)

Hansen did everything right in the Gotham Stakes and Ramon Dominguez gave him a great ride. He relaxed beautifully from an outer post and was much the best over My Adonis, who was well clear of rallying show finisher Finnegans Wake. 4th place finisher Tiger Walk broke from post 13 and just missed rounding out the trifecta.

I have never been a huge Hansen fan in regards to ten furlong success on the first Saturday in May but he did was he was supposed to do at the Big A on March 3. He removed the hood, tracked the pace, and easily toppled a modest group. That has been a recurring theme on the Derby trail so far. Alpha, El Padrino, Hansen, and Union Rags have all captured graded races against suspect company. El Padrino has been running the fastest races and Union Rags wins the visually impressive reward. Alpha and Hansen are chugging right along and it will be interesting to see what happens when the aforementioned sophomore leaders face better company at nine furlongs and beyond.

Gotham Stakes Grade: B

Gotham Stakes 2012 Preview: Hansen seeks redemption

The next-to-last major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep in New York will be run at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday and juvenile champ Hansen tries to get back on the beam in the G3 Gotham Stakes.

Hansen horse

Is Hansen a legit Kentucky Derby contender? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#12 Hansen (6-5) removes the hood in hopes of relaxing a bit in the early going. He used too much early energy after stumbling at the start off the shelf in the G3 Holy Bull and it cost him dearly in the lane. I have always thought the 2-year-old champion was a speedy colt with distance limitations and he figures to take too much action under Dominguez. As of this writing, there is a 100% chance of rain at the Big A on March 3 and the strong morning line favorite handles any type of ground.

#2 Stealcase (12-1) is an interesting price player for Mark Casse. He was favored in all three career starts and smartly moved forward to earn his diploma over a route of ground at Gulfstream Jan 19. Windsurfer, the clear place finisher from his last, came back to break his maiden as the favorite. He finished 4th on Dec 24 and that key heat produced multiple next out winners including Thunder Moccasin in the G2 Hutcheson. The promising sort has faced decent runners and is on the improve.

#5 Maan (15-1) won both sprint starts for Eddie Kenneally (Santiva, Battle Hardened) including a stalk and pounce tally in the slop at the Gulf Feb 9. The $200k purchase is bred to go this far but must avoid a bounce.

#1 My Adonis (5-1) rallied for the show in the G3 Holy Bull. He handles any footing and is capable of stalking the pace or rallying late, depending on the race shape. His only bad race occurred when he dueled on a fast pace and faltered in the G3 Delta Jackpot.

#13 Tiger Walk (12-1) matched his career top number in a show finish behind Alpha in the G3 Withers here Feb 4. The Sagamore Farm colt has some talent and new pilot Eddie Castro will try to work out a tactical trip from a tough post.

#10 Side Road (20-1) replaces injured colt Consortium for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Darley Stable colorbearer is on the upswing and can grab a piece of this with further development.

#9 King And Crusader (15-1) could throw a monkey wrench into Hansen’s theft plans. Rick Dutrow’s fleet colt has rattled off three straight and looms a pace player at the very least. He might not want to go this far against this type of competition.

It would not be a Derby prep without Todd Pletcher and he takes two shots at the top prize. #6 Dan And Shelia (8-1) rallied to finish 4th in a slow renewal of the G3 Lecomte but that was only his second lifetime start so he has upside. Uncoupled stablemate #8 Raconteur (15-1) owns fine tactical speed and exits back-to-back inner track route victories. He is bred for a wet track and gets tested for class.

#3 Finnegans Wake (20-1) is one of two uncoupled longshots entered for Dale Romans. This one is owned by Donegal Racing (Dullahan, Paddy O’Prado) and goes turf-to-dirt. Stablemate #7 Suns Out Guns Out (30-1) is still a maiden for West Point Thoroughbreds. The son of Empire Maker is getting better but this is a tough spot.

#4 Pretension (20-1) has fired Exacta shots in all five lifetime starts. The decent NY-bred projects a tactical trip but might find this group a tad salty.

#11 Done Talking (20-1) was last seen rallying for 4th in the G2 Remsen. He has some ability but might need the outing.

The Plays:

$20 to win #2

$1 Trifecta 2-5/1-2-5-12/1-2-5-10-12-13 ($24)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Plays:

$20 to win Consortium

$10 Exacta Box Consortium, Algorithms ($20)

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

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

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

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

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

The Plays:

$20 to win El Padrino

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

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

Delta Downs Jackpot 2011 Preview: Can Drill Rebound?

The Grade 3, $1 Million Delta Jackpot has the purse power to guarantee the winner a starting spot in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, and headlining the Delta Downs showcase is Grade 1 winner Drill.


Drill puts blinkers back on in Delta Jackpot - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert’s Drill, a juvenile son of Lawyer Ron, finished a non-threatening 8th as the even money favorite in his synthetic sprint bow at Del Mar. He ran two more times at the seaside oval with a maiden victory and a game tally in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

He stretched out in Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Norfolk and was clearly second best behind Creative Cause. He was last seen finishing up the track in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (blinkers off) and he may not have cared for the sticky, drying out track.

The $300,000 Keeneland sales grad returned to Southern California after his failed Kentucky journey and he fired a three furlong bullet in :35.40 at Santa Anita Park on Nov 14. He ran his best three races with blinkers on and Baffert reintroduces him to the hood on Saturday. The Delta Downs bullring is tricky to handle and Drill attempts to rebound after running poorly two weeks ago.

Longview Drive and Seven Lively Sins figure to carve out the fractions from the inside with Basmati, My Adonis, and Dougs Buddy chasing. Tiz Moe, Drill, Sabercat, and Jake Mo should be sitting in the next flight with the latter trying to work out a forwardly placed trip from the outside box. Laurie’s Rocket does his best running late but did show improved positional speed with the addition of blinkers at Churchill Downs last time.

My ideal Delta Jackpot contender will break from post 2-7 and sit a decent tactical trip. Drill fits that bill but will not offer value. My Adonis easily won the local prep for this and is a much better morning line price at 4-1. Tiz Moe was clearly second best in the local Jean Lafitte and has plenty of upside with only two races under his belt. His 15-1 price is right as well.

In the end, I am a fan of Drill and would like to see him run well but from a wagering standpoint I will pick My Adonis to win and play him in an exacta box with Tiz Moe.