Posts Tagged ‘News Pending’

Coolmore Lexington 2012 Preview: Holiday Promise on upswing

This is the final chance to earn Kentucky Derby 2012 graded cash and morning line favorite Castaway can make the gate on the first Saturday in May with a win in the Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday.

Castaway

Castaway can make the Derby cut with a win in Saturday's G3 Lexington - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#7 Castaway (3-1) had his goose cooked on the front end in the G3 Sunland Derby. The Baffert trainee captured the slower division of the G3 Southwest before that and landed the place in his synthetic bow at Del Mar last summer. He won’t offer much value and could be in trouble if pressured early.

#6 Holiday Promise (6-1) had the light bulb turned on after adding blinkers Feb 20. He exits a fine place finish in the G3 Spiral and is working well at Keeneland. He has enough positional speed to keep the leaders in his sights and should offer a hint of value for Alvarado/Pletcher.

#11 Gold Megillah (10-1) finished 3rd in Turfway’s Rushaway last out and the top two came back to run well. The Graham Motion trainee needs to work out a trip from the outside post under Johnny V.

#10 News Pending (5-1) put his name on the map following a place finish behind Union Rags in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He never got involved in the paceless G1 Florida Derby but has some tactical ability and would not be the first turf horse to handle Polytrack.

#8 Hammers Terror (30-1) rates a longshot look. He ran well in both Polytrack starts last year and showed some ability at Fair Grounds this season. A tactical trip under Albarado is anticipated.

#1 Morgan’s Guerrilla (6-1) was last seen landing the place from post 12 in the G3 Illinois Derby on April 7. The early-pressing type should save all the ground under Leparoux and still has a shot to make the Derby field with a win.

#2 Summer Front (9-2) nabbed all three of his turf starts last year for Clement. The $475k purchase is firing Payson bullets for this and shows up in an ambitious spot off the shelf.

#3 Johannesbourbon (8-1) easily captured his Turfway sprint bow and the distant runner-up came back to tally. He stretches out and looms a pace factor at the very least in this salty spot.

#5 Golden Ticket (6-1) rallied for the place in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. He raced evenly in both local sprints and will try to get involved late.

#4 Skyring (30-1) stumbled at the start, raced wide, and split the field at 45-1 in the Illinois Derby. He will probably stalk the pace under Court with a clean beginning.

#9 All Squared Away (50-1) made a wide move before flattening out in the Spiral. Wesley Ward has him now and he excels with new additions to his barn. This one could end up being a pace casualty.

The Plays:

$16 to win #6

$4 Exacta Box 6-11 ($8)

$4 Exacta 6-11/8-10 ($16)

Florida Derby 2012 Preview: Can El Padrino Beat Union Rags?

The final major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Gulfstream Park will be held March 31 and Union Rags is the strong 6-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags a slam dunk in the Florida Derby? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#6 Union Rags (6-5) has been part of my Derby Top 10 since I started the list last September, and he has occupied my top spot since last November. The uncrowned juvenile champ looked great in his facile G2 Fountain of Youth return but there was not much behind him that day. He has over $1 million in graded earnings and figures to be no worse than 2nd in his final Derby prep.

#8 El Padrino (2-1) might have the tactical edge in here since he drew outside of heavy favorite and fellow stalker Union Rags. Castellano might park him on the flank of the aforementioned fav and bide his time. The G2 Risen Star hero owns the best numbers, has been battle tested, and smartly scored here in January. Should be an interesting chess match between Castellano and Leparoux, and remember that the former gave up the mount on Union Rags earlier this year!

#1 Fort Loudon (20-1) has some tactical speed in a race that came up light on pace and might try to take advantage of the inside post. He showed some ability as a juvenile but has struggled against better graded company in his last three. Jurado rides him well and a minor award is not impossible.

#4 Neck ‘N Neck (20-1) had some early trouble (bumped, steadied) in the FOY (blinkers on). He failed to seriously threaten graded rivals in his last pair but his numbers are on the rise. He has earned triple digit Late Pace Ratings in his last three and should enjoy this longer trip. Edgar Prado rides.

I have always liked #3 Take Charge Indy (5-1) but he has been curiously handled this year. He began his campaign with a clear place finish behind El Padrino but scratched out of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby when he drew post 10. He has not been seen since Jan 29 and has only shows four published times since. He owns dangerous speed but has lost stretch ground in his last four and might fold his tent when Union Rags and El Padrino come running.

#9 Reveron (12-1) has fired Trifecta shots in all six starts including a win in the local GP Derby and a show finish in the G3 Sam Davis. The fresh colt removes the hood and is firing Calder bullets for this but is stuck in the outside post and seems a cut below.

#2 News Pending (8-1) received a smart ride in his FOY place finish. Kent D sensed the slow splits and wisely moved early, but he was no match for Union Rags. His numbers are going the right way but he is 0-for-4 on dirt. He reunites with winning rider Rajiv Maragh and figures to stalk the pace for trainer Dale Romans.

#8 Bartolome (30-1) exits a solid show finish in a course/distance Optional Claiming affair. He faltered badly against El Padrino and Take Charge Indy before that and seems up against it.

#5 Z Camelot (50-1) is a well-bred maiden facing graded company for Dale Romans. The $550k Keeneland sales grad set the pace and weakened to 5th when last seen in a 9f MSW turf route here Feb 23. He is over his head to say the least.

The Plays:

$10 Trifecta 6-8/6-8/1-4 ($40)

 

Grading the 2012 Kentucky Derby Preps: Union Rags Wins Fountain of Youth

Union Rags was the Kentucky Derby 2012 favorite going into the Fountain of Youth Stakes and proved his mettle with a facile score at Gulfstream Park under Julien Leparoux on Sunday.

G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (2-26-12): 95 BSF (Union Rags)

Union Rags horse

Derby favorite Union Rags wins Fountain of Youth - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Union Rags did not have to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes. He already had plenty of Derby graded earnings and was using his sophomore debut as a prep for the Florida Derby. It was nice to see a good prospect score despite not being fully cranked. The Michael Matz runner is the solid Derby favorite at this stage but let’s not get carried away with Triple Crown talk. His main rival and morning line favorite Algorithms scratched due to a bone splint injury and there was not much depth to the FOY field. Discreet Dancer was the controlling speed but spiked a fever earlier in the month and figured to have distance limitations.

Union Rags has been my top ranked Derby hopeful since November 2011 and showed plenty of promise at the Gulf on Sunday but there is still a long way to go and we will learn more when he faces better rivals at nine furlongs in the Florida Derby on March 31.

Dale Romans always seems to find a way to have a Triple Crown trail player and News Pending finished a fine 2nd in the FOY. Kent Desormeaux sensed the slow splits and made a smart early move aboard the 27.50-1 longshot. He was not match for Union Rags but ended up a clear second.

Discreet Dancer set the pace and held the show in a disappointing effort as the favorite. He is best around one turn.

Fountain of Youth Grade: B

Fountain of Youth Stakes 2012 Preview: Pletcher vs. Union Rags

The South Florida sophomores take a serious step on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 at Gulfstream Park in Sunday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and Union Rags makes his much anticipated seasonal debut.

Union Rags

Union Rags is back in action at the Gulf on Sunday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#7 Union Rags was the most accomplished juvenile in the land despite missing the G1 BC Juvenile by a head. He won a pair of graded events in 2011 including a powerful win over Alpha in the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park in October. The talented son of Dixie Union should have caught Hansen under the Twin Spires but he failed to keep a straight course in the stretch. He is in great shape on the Derby graded earnings list and does not have to win this prep for the Florida Derby.

#2 Algorithms (8-5) tries to keep his perfect record intact for Todd Pletcher. This is an important race for him, not from a graded earnings standpoint, but he must prove that he can excel around two turns. He sat perfect outside tactical trips in both local wins against Gotham hopefuls Consortium and Hansen. Early-pressing types from inner posts dominate local 8.5 furlong events and the undefeated son of Bernardini should not have any excuses.

#5 Discreet Dancer (3-1) easily captured both local sprint starts and gets a class/distance test today. He spiked a temperature and missed a planned work on Feb 6 but drilled smartly at Palm Meadows on Feb 13 and Feb 20. He figures to set sail for the lead and will probably offer more value than Algorithms and Union Rags.

#3 Fort Loudon (20-1) lands an advantageous inner post and has enough positional speed to work out a forwardly placed journey at square odds. The Calder specialist got a spin over the local main in needed Holy Bull effort in the slop and can go better today.

#4 Casual Trick (6-1) looked great in his Churchill sprint maiden win last November and began his 3-year-old campaign with a fine 2nd in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan 1. He threw in a clunker against El Padrino last time but may not have cared for the wet footing. His last was too bad to believe and the well bred Zito runner could rebound in a big way.

#1 Neck ‘N Neck (15-1) dons the hood and lands the cozy rail. He played bridesmaid to Discreet Dancer here Jan 7 and exits a slow renewal of the G3 Sam Davis.

#6 News Pending (20-1) is slowly improving for Dale Romans. He showed a nice late kick in a late turf route Feb 5 and might be better on that footing.

#8 Csaba (20-1) won twice in the Calder slop last year and is probably doing a rain dance. He does not have the numbers to compete here.

Here is HorseRacingNation.com handicapper Mike Shutty’s video analysis of the Fountain of Youth Stakes. My FOY wagering strategies can be found at the bottom of this post.

Jarrod Horak’s Fountain of Youth Plays:

$8 to win #3

.50 cent Trifecta 3-4/2-3-4/1-2-3-4-5-7 ($8)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-5-7/3/ALL ($12)

.50 cent Trifecta 2-4-5-7/ALL/3 ($12)