Posts Tagged ‘Orb’

Saturday Saratoga Race Course Free Play for Travers Day – Aug. 24

I am offering full card analysis from Saratoga Race Course each Saturday on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper page. For the August 24 Travers program, I have posted a free play below. I also posted my August 17 analysis from Saratoga at the bottom of this post, along with full card highlights.

Check out my free analysis of the King’s Bishop at HorseRacingNation.com.

Saratoga Race Course Free Play for Saturday, August 24

Saratoga Race 6 (MSW, 8.5f inner turf) #6 BIRCHWOOD ROAD (3-1) missed by a neck vs. similar local rivals July 19. He attracts Rosario, dons the hood, and could be sitting on a new top 3rd off the shelf. #10 Hudson Miracle (7-2) finished 3rd, a neck behind Birchwood Road last time after racing rank and wide. Brown reaches out for $$ rider Castellano. #1 Grahamandwithers (4-1) and #7 Irish Jade (5-1) finished 2-3 here July 28. The former should flash speed from the rail and the latter dons the hood. THE PLAYS: #6 to win, Exacta Box 6-10, Exacta 6-10/1-7

Check out my Saturday (August 24) Saratoga full card analysis (available now) at TodaysRacingDigest.com. For bonus free pick (SAR 14th race), click view sample. DRF TicketMaker Pick 6 tickets included in Travers Day full card analysis.

Upcoming full cards:
Saratoga Race Course (Sat. August 24) – available now!

Saratoga Saturdays (Aug. 31)
Belmont Park: Jockey Club Gold Cup Day (Saturday, Sept. 28)
Keeneland: Fall Stars Saturday (Saturday, October 5)
Breeders’ Cup from Santa Anita (Friday, Nov. 1 & Sat., Nov. 2)

Orb horse

Derby winner Orb returns in Saturday’s Travers – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Saratoga full card analysis for Saturday (8-17-13)
By Jarrod Horak (horseracingnation.com, pick6blog.com)
Weather
: Mostly Sunny. High 82.  Best Bets (races 4, 6, 9, 11)
Pick 6:  Races 7-12 (see DRF Ticketmaker P6 tickets below)

Highlights:

SAR 5 Westside Corral/Annawon EXACTA ($84.50)
SAR 7 Lawyer Jim ($13.20), EXACTA w/Tater Downs ($79)
SAR 9 Big Blue Kitten/Twilight Eclipse EXACTA (best bet #3, $36.20)
SAR 10 Princess of Sylmar ($3)
DAILY DOUBLE (race 9-10, $11.20)
SAR 11 So Outspoken/Tiu EXACTA (best bet #4, $25.20)
PICK 3 (race 9-11, $52.50)
DAILY DOUBLE (race 10-11, $14)
PICK 3 (race 10-12, $116)
PICK 4 (race 9-12, $443)

The Fast Track with Steve Borstein

For Travers Day best bets, check out The Fast Track with Steve Bortstein on Saturday morning at 10am eastern

SAR 1 (Clm-20k, 5.5T) #3 DISSENSION (4-1) overcame trouble to beat similar course/distance rivals July 28 and Gary Gullo is good (25%) with his recent claiming winners attempting a repeat. #6 Ideal Place (3-1) won her Maiden Claiming turf sprint bow before fading to last vs. state bred stakes sprinters on the lawn second time out. Chas Brown excels with 46-90 day layoff runners and she reunites with winning pilot Javier Castellano. #8 Tapit to Me (8-1) has fired Trifecta shots in 5 of 7 turf starts at 7.5f or shorter including her last three outings. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-6, Trifecta 3-6/ALL/8

SAR 2 (MSW, 6.5f) #3 TAPITURE (3-1) is by 13% debut sire Tapit and dam has tossed three winners from as many starters (2 Stakes winners). Steve Asmussen is clicking here and this one fired a local 5f gate bullet Aug. 12. #4 Crescent (5-2) finished a solid 3rd in his bow and winner Corfu came back to take the G2 Saratoga Special. The $215k Keeneland sales grad can improve for patient trainer Bill Mott. #1 Rebranded (7-2) is a $350k son of Tiznow debuting from the intimidating rail for the profitable Johnny V/Pletcher team. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Quinella 3/1-4   

SAR 3 (Mcl-20k, 6f) #5 MY ITALIAN ICES (9-2) dueled and faded as the beaten favorite in his debut and the clear place finisher came back to score. Jason Servis excels first off the claim. #6 Ocala Jim (2-1) turns back, switches surfaces, and drops in for a tag. He has solid connections (Castellano/Levine) in his corner. Levine also trains #3 Pete and David (4-1), and he is back at his claimed level. Trainer George Weaver is sending out live wires here and he has first timer #1 John Silver (5-1).  THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/1-3-6, Exacta 1-3-6/5  

SAR 4 (OC-25k/1x, 9f) #8 INDY’S ILLUSION (5-1) needed his last 7f prep and ran well at 9f in Florida earlier this year. The highly regarded A.P. Indy colt ran in the G2 Remsen as a juvenile and hooked Orb twice at the Gulf this winter. Tagg shows a profit sprint-to-route. #6 Sliver and Onions (3-1) exits a sharp course/distance graduation run for high % trainer Hushion. THE PLAYS: #8 to win, Quinella 6-8  

SAR 5 (Clm-20k, 8.5f inner turf) #10 ANNAWON (12-1) rates a look at a price for solid trainer Jack Fisher. The realistically spotted Virginia shipper won here before and attracts sharp turf rider Lezcano. #11 Livingston Street (7-2) drops into a winning spot in his third start off the Trombetta claim. Johnny V hops aboard the fresh, tactical gelding. #12 Yankee Fourtune (10-1) can improve in his second start off the Servis claim. He has won twice here and three times at this trip. #9 Westside Corral (3-1) drops off the claim but Galluscio is winning here and Castellano has booted him home before. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 10/9-11-12, Exacta 9-11-12/10

SAR 6 (Alw-1x, 5.5T) #2 IRON POWER (6-1) split a 12-horse field off a layoff after breaking last and making a wide move under Rosario at this course/distance July 29. Hushion excels 2nd off the shelf and quality turf rider Lezcano takes the call. #3 Countknickerboker (3-1) proved once again that he likes local turf sprints with a place finish from post 10 vs. this kind July 29. #5 River Tune (4-1) ran well at 6f on turf May 26 but not nearly as good in two longer starts since. Castellano sticks and he may regain his punch at this abbreviated trip. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/3-5, Exacta 3-5/2  

SAR 7 (OC-35k, 8.5f inner turf) #5 LAWYER JIM (10-1) is versatile for profitable turf trainer Lisa Lewis and I like the rider switch to Jose Lezcano. He lands a better post and should offer value. #3 Liquidity Trap (9-2) ran well off the Jacobson claim in a slow early/fast late turf route at Belmont July 7. He has fired Trifecta shots in 6 of 8 turf tries. #6 Gold Megillah (7-2) and #12 Tater Downs (4-1) both figure for Mike Maker. The former enters fresh after a pair of close-up 4th place finishes at Belmont and the latter has won twice on turf and is usually thereabouts. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta Box 3-5, Exacta 3-5/6-12

SAR 8 (OC-35k, 9.5T) #8 MASTER WESLEY (5-1) ran well at Monmouth Park July 6 and the show finish came back to score. Castellano hops aboard 3rd off the shelf. #5 Now and Then (7-2) tries turf for McLaughlin and is the likely target. #6 Royal Blessing (4-1) reunites with winning pilot Saez but might be better at 8.5f. #2 Ampersand (4-1) won here last year and will try to get involved late under Lezcano. THE PLAYS: #8 to win, Exacta Box 5-8, Exacta 5-8/2-6

SAR 9 (G1 Sword Dancer, 12f inner turf) #4 TWILIGHT ECLIPSE (5-1) ran well despite some give in the ground in the G1 Man o’ War last time. He prefers firm turf and can turn the tables on Boisterous if he gets the right ground. He is 2-for-2 at this trip. #10 Boisterous (5-2) has fired Exacta shots in six straight and exits back-to-back Graded wins for Shug. He has won here before and moves up with some give in the ground. #1 Big Blue Kitten (4-1) exits a smart win in the G1 U.N. at Monmouth at 11f and was 2nd to Boisterous at 9f before that. He is 1-for-1 over the Saratoga turf course. THE PLAYS: #4 to win, Exacta 4/1-10, Exacta 1-10/4

SAR 10 (G1 Alabama, 10f) #4 PRINCESS OF SYLMAR (3-5) is 6 for 7 in routes and the G1 Kentucky Oaks heroine easily won the local prep for this, the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks at 9f. Pletcher’s versatile miss probably seals the Eclipse Award deal with a victory in this spot. #6 Fiftyshadesofhay (2-1) has the breeding (Pulpit-Real Quiet) to handle this trip and exits back-to-back Graded route tallies. Baffert’s filly is fresh, attracts Johnny V, and is expected to attempt a wire job. #5 Carnival Court (15-1) offers Exacta value. McLaughlin excels first lasix and Royal Delta’s $650k half-sister has won two straight. Barn won this with Questing last year. THE PLAYS: Exacta 4-6/5  

SAR 11 (Mcl-25k, 8.5f inner turf) #12 TIU (3-1) drops to a new low and should be very competitive in this spot based on his last two turf numbers. #6 Ryvit (6-1) found the pace at a flat mile a bit too quick for his liking here Aug. 3 and he probably regressed 2nd off the shelf as well. He fits off his July 21 place finish here and should be much closer to softer splits this time. He is 0-for-15. #9 So Outspoken (5-2) is the obligatory favorite for Johnny V/Pletcher. He ran into multiple next out winners in both turf starts and finished 2nd in a local 9f dirt route on the drop July 28. THE PLAYS: #12 to win, Exacta 12/6-9, Exacta 6-9/12

SAR 12 (MSW, 7f) #10 SHOT TO WIN (4-1) hails from a profitable debut outfit and sports two bullets for this. #4 Summer Place to Be (6-1) is a $100k purchase and Tony Dutrow can click with a first time starter. #6 Bottleofredorwhite (7-2) is a $135k purchase debuting for the recently hot Johnny V/Pletcher team. #3 Native Singer (3-1) dons the hood after back-to-back place finishes. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 4-6-10/3     

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4 contenders – in order of preference

Race

1   (3-6-8)
2   (3-4-1)
3   (5-6-3-1)
4   (8-6)
5   (10-11-12-9)
6   (2-3-5)
7   (5-3-6-12)
8   (8-5-6-2)
9   (4-10-1)
10 (4-6-5)
11 (12-6-9)
12 (10-4-6-3)

Beyond the 2013 Triple Crown: Summer Stakes Preview

The 2013 Triple Crown series is in the books and the 3-year-old calendar will heat up again in July when racing moves to Saratoga.  

Derby winner Orb, Preakness hero Oxbow, and Belmont Stakes upsetter Palace Malice all figure to point to the G1 Travers, the mid-summer Derby at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24.

The G1 Jim Dandy Stakes, the local prep for the Travers, will take place on Saturday, July 27.

Verrazano tops the list of G1 Haskell Invitational contenders following a facile win in the G3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park on July 16. Itsmyluckyday was supposed to test him in the Pegasus but was pulled up with an injury and is out for four months. The Haskell is set for Sunday, July 28.

In the video below, I recap the Triple Crown series, as well as the Matt Winn and Pegasus Stakes. Finally, I look at five horses to watch this summer/fall.

Belmont Stakes 2013 Preview: Orb 3-1 Favorite

The field has been set for Belmont Stakes 2013 and 3-1 morning line favorite Orb will break from post position five.

Belmont Stakes 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

1. Frac Daddy, Ken McPeek, Alan Garcia  30-1
2. Freedom Child, Tom Albertrani, Luis Saez  8-1
3. Overanalyze, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez  12-1
4. Giant Finish, Tony Dutrow, Edgar Prado  30-1
5. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario  3-1
6. Incognito, Kiaran McLaughlin, Irad Ortiz Jr.  20-1
7. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens  5-1
8. Midnight Taboo, Todd Pletcher, Garrett Gomez  30-1
9. Revolutionary, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano 9-2
10. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Jon Court 20-1
11. Vyjack, Rudy Rodriguez, Julien Leparoux 20-1
12. Palace Malice, Todd Pletcher, Mike Smith 15-1
13. Unlimited Budget, Todd Pletcher, Rosie Napravnik 8-1
14. Golden Soul, Dallas Stewart, Robby Albarado 10-1

Recent Belmont Stakes History

12 of last 14 Belmont Stakes winners skipped Preakess (exceptions – Afleet Alex, Point Given).

Since 2000, 6 Derby losers skipped Preakness and won Belmont Stakes (Union Rags, Summer Bird, Jazil, Birdstone, Empire Maker, Commendable).

Fast Track Radio Show

For Belmont Stakes Day best bets and more, tune in to The Fast Track with Steve Borstein radio show on Saturday (June 8) morning at 10am (Eastern Time). Saturday’s guests include Joe DePaolo, Jarrod Horak, and Molly Jo Rosen.

Click here to listen to Saturday’s show.

Belmont Stakes Day Full Card Analysis

My Belmont Stakes Day analysis is available on my Handicapper page at Today’s Racing Digest.

Click here to visit my TRD Handicapper page. For bonus free pick, click view sample.

 

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2013 Video Preview

We are less than a week away from Belmont Stakes 2013. In the video below, I discuss the recent history, projected pace scenario, and pedigrees. I have also included a written preview of all fifteen Belmont hopefuls.

Belmont Stakes 2013 hopefuls

Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Always in a Tiz (Tiznow) – Wood Memorial also-ran breezed 5f in 1:01.12 (2/8) at Belmont Park on 6-1. I fancied him earlier this year but the Test of Champions looks like an ambitious placement.

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Arkansas Derby runner-up was last seen finishing 16th on the first Saturday in May. He sports back-to-back bullets at Churchill Downs, most recently traveling 4f in :47.80 (1/42) on May 31.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November. Has reportedly looked good in his Belmont gallops and breezed 5f in :59.87 (5/28) at Big Sandy on 5-27.

Giant Finish (Frost Giant) – New York bred son of Frost Giant finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :49.20 (4/9) at Fair Hill on 5-27.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (3/13) at Churchill Downs on 5-30.

Incognito (A.P. Indy) – McLaughlin trainee is by a Belmont Stakes winner and was last seen finishing 5th in the Peter Pan. He breezed 4f in :48.25 (13/57) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 6-2.

Midnight Taboo (Langfuhr) – Lightly raced Pletcher/Repole runner breezed 5f in 1:00.88 (10/26) at Belmont Park on 6-2.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He was confirmed for the Belmont Stakes after a 4f breeze in :48.30 (11/46) at Belmont on 6-2.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – 3-time graded winner (G2 Futurity, G2 Remsen, G1 Arkansas Derby) ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. He wins every other race and June 8 could be his day if that pattern holds. Breezed 4f in :48.01 (7/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2 and gets the services of 2-time Belmont Stakes winning rider John Velazquez (Union Rags, Rags to Riches).

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He breezed 6f in 1:14.60 (1/2) at Churchill Downs on 5-30.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He breezed 4f in :47.56 (4/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He breezed 4f in :48.51 (14/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly fired a 4f bullet in :47.55 (1/46) at Belmont Park on 6-2 and Rosie Napravnik will ride in the Belmont Stakes.

Vyjack (Into Mischief) – Overachiever does not own a strong marathon pedigree. The Kentucky Derby also-ran is scheduled to have his final Belmont Stakes workout on June 4.

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – 2-time stakes winner (Smartly Jones, G2 Rebel) was a troubled 8th in the Derby and 7th in the Preakness. Breezed 6f in 1:15.80 (2/2) at Churchill Downs on 5-30.

Check out my Saturday (June 8) full card analysis from Belmont Park (available soon) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

Upcoming full cards:

Belmont (Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day) – coming soon!
Belmont (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day) – coming soon!


Preakness 2013 Recap – Oxbow steals show

Congratulations to Preakness 2013 hero Oxbow. Nobody wanted the early lead and Gary Stevens was more than happy to canter around the track and win this second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Oxbow wires field in Preakness 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, is a war horse for throwback connections Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens. The Preakness Stakes was his 11th lifetime start and there is no rest in sight with the Test of Champions squarely on his radar screen.

Did Lukas scare everyone from a pace perspective? He entered sprinter Titletown Five and possibly fooled jockey Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents.

Titletown Five did not go for the lead under Leaproux, and Goldencents failed to take advantage so Stevens and Oxbow walked the dog from start to finish.

I knew that Oxbow was best on the lead but did not think he was quick enough to get there. The pace figured to be slower than the Derby but I did not see the crawling Preakness pace coming.

Runner-up Itsmyluckyday was making his 12th career start in Baltimore so chalk another one up for experience. He got the best of the draw as an outside stalker and rediscovered his sharp Florida form.

Mylute picked up another minor check in stakes race. He was the only one making up any ground and the Preakness was his fifth place/show finish in the stakes ranks.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb seemed to be living a charmed life until he drew the dead rail. The outside closer never looked comfortable and went through the motions in a flat 4th place finish.

Granted, before the Preakness, Orb handled wet/fast footing and various pace scenarios but the Derby fell into the lap of a closer and everything went perfectly for Shug and company on the first Saturday in May.

Goldencents had one shot and that was to attempt a wire job but was ridden passively. He is a quality early runner with distance limitations and his best weapon was taken away at Pimlico.

Departing sat right outside of Orb and made a top three bid along the inside turning for home. He flattened out to finish 6th and was not disgraced in his toughest test to date.

Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five trailed.

It is on the Belmont Stakes in 20-days and my top ranked sophomore Revolutionary looms large in the Test of Champions.

Belmont Stakes 2013 logo

Early Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Baffert’s runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. He finished 2nd on the Derby undercard and beat older allowance rivals to cap the Preakness Day card.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner is scheduled to work at Churchill next Wed. or Thurs.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and rebounded with a place finish in the Preakness. The Monmouth Park based colt is targeting the Haskell this summer but is still possible for the Belmont Stakes.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished 10th in the G2 Remsen to end his juvenile campaign. Returned with a game neck victory (wide trip) vs. allowance rivals at Monmouth May 11 and could go next in the Belmont Stakes.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He may try to rebound in the Belmont Stakes but there is talk of resting him and waiting for Saratoga.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely to win the Arkansas Derby and ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :47.50 (3/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He shows up for every dance so expect him to complete in the final leg of the Triple Crown series.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby and is now targeting the Belmont. He breezed 4f in :47.49 (2/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee finished 5th in his SA Derby return and won an allowance race at Churchill on May 10. The Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He will work twice for the Belmont beginning Sunday, May 26.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly breezed 4f in :49.07 (14/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Black-Eyed Susan Day 2013 Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Black-Eyed Susan Day analysis from Pimlico on Friday, May 17. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below. My 2013 Preakness Day full card is complete and ready to purchase.

Check out my Saturday (May 18) Preakness Day full card analysis from Pimlico (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (PIM 13th race, click view sample) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

Upcoming full cards:

Pimlico (Sat. May 18 – Preakness Day) – available now!
Belmont
(Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day)
Belmont (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day)
Churchill Saturdays (May 25, June 1, June 15, June 22, June 29)

Black-Eyed Susan Day analysis highlights:

PIM 3 HEART OF ROME ($6.40), Exacta ($16.60)
PIM 4 HAYWIRED ($6.20), Exacta ($24.60)
Pick 3 (2-4, $41.30)
PIM 10 FIFTYSHADFESOFHAY ($6.60)
Pick 3 (8-10, $9.95)
Pick 3 (9-11, $23.70)
PIM 12 LAST GUNFIGHTER, best bet #2, $3.20), Exacta ($7)
Pick 3 (race 10-12, $21.30)
Pick 4 (race 9-12, $47.10)
Pick 5 (race 8-12, $60.20)

Orb Kentucky Derby 2013

Can anybody topple Orb in Preakness 2013? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Black-Eyed Susan Day full card analysis from Pimlico (5-17-13)
By Jarrod Horak (horseracingnation.com, pick6blog.com)  
Weather
:  Mostly Sunny. High 84.  Best Bets (races 8, 12, 13)

PIM 1 (Str-Hcp, 8.5f) #2 FRANSTEIN (5-2) can spring forward 3rd off the shelf. She hails from a profitable barn, has won here before, and is a 6-time winner at this trip. #8 Bayonne (2-1) gets pace to chase in the paper race and does some of her best work at this distance. #4 Side by Side (9-2) was nabbed out her last by claiming artist Cathal Lynch. She exits a sharp Parx sprint win and should be forwardly placed but I’m not sure she wants to go this far. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/4-8, Exacta 4-8/2

PIM 2 (MSW, 8.5T) #3 YUZURU (5-1) makes her first start in more than seven months for profitable layoff trainer Matz. Dam has tossed two turf winners and she looks ready to roll off the shelf. #7 More Than Sweet (7-2) broke last from post 1 in her Keeneland sprint bow and ended up a respectable 4th that day. Motion excels first turf and dam has tossed five turf winners. She is by More Than Ready so there is turf breeding on top as well. #2 Queen Jezebel (15-1) is bred for turf but did not handle the sod for Shirreffs in her SoCal bow. She finished a decent 3rd here (off the turf) April 13 and current trainer Corrales excels 2nd off the shelf. #8 Jessica C (10-1) ran out of ground as the beaten favorite in her 5f turf sprint bow here April 14. Dam has tossed three turf winners and she is bred to handle today’s added ground. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Exacta 3-7/2-8

PIM 3 (OC-50/1x, 6f) #5 HEART OF ROME (7-2) landed the place in both starts since the Dilodovico claim. She had more speed before her last pair and owns running style versatility in a race with plenty of early zip. She seems to enjoy completing the Exacta so I will tread a bit lightly on the win end. #3 Orlyana Queen (9-2) exits a sharp course/distance wire job and Vazquez excels with his recent grads trying winners for the first time. #7 Talent n Passion (8-5) has speed to burn and Rodriguez excels with shippers. She is not the only early runner and won’t offer any value. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/3-7, Exacta 3-7/5  

PIM 4 (Alw-1x, 6f) #3 HAYWIRED (6-1) is dangerous when he grabs the early lead. He was bumped at the start in a turf sprint last time and can rebound on preferred footing with a clean start. #8 Outbacker (4-1) finished 2nd in a fast Laurel race when last seen more than six months ago. Wolfendale excels with 90+ day layoff runners and he is 2-for-2 at this distance. #1 Dance With Bull (7-2) disappointed here last out but is another rebound threat if he gets involved early. #7 Grain (5-2) was competitive in all four starts last year. Voss struggles with this type of layoff runner but the profitable low profile trainer is having some success at the current stand. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-8, Exacta 3-8/1-7

PIM 5 (Alw-1x, 8.5T) #3 HEAR THE WORD (5-1) makes his first start in 8+ months and new trainer Wyatt excels with 90+ day layoff runners. #5 Locche (8-1) exits a troubled 4th vs. this kind April 21 and he rallied nicely after falling way behind early. He hails from a profitable low profile barn and can go better following a spin over the local green. #8 Fly’n Bayou (9-2) finished a nose in front of Locche last time and he also rallied from far back. He can move up 2nd off the shelf. #12 Readyshakego (4-1) was competitive in both Gulfstream turf starts and barn shows a profit with layoff runners. It won’t be easy from this post and the 3yo takes on older. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-5, Exacta 3-5/8-12

PIM 6 (Skipat, 6f) #2 FUNNYS APPROVAL (9-2) lost for the first time on dirt in the G2 Ruffian (one mile) at Aqueduct April 6. Today’s shorter trip helps and this is a softer spot as well. I like her early-pressing versatility. #5 Dance to Bristol (7-5) has fired Exacta shots in 13 of 14 starts and shoots for a four-bagger today. #3 Winning Image (3-1) likes to win races and runs well fresh. She is a need to lead type. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/3-5, Exacta 3-5/2

PIM 7 (OC-25k/2x, 8.5T) #3 ROCK IN BAGE (10-1) exits a romping $10k synthetic route win at Keeneland and McMahon excels first off the claim. The 8yo horse was once this good on turf. #7 Livingston Street (9-2) also goes first off the claim (Trombetta) and he has been part of the Exacta in 7 of last 9. #5 Humble and Hungry (7-2) finished 2nd in the G2 Dixie here last year. The lightly raced 5yo horse needed his last start and attracts Napravnik. He has had physical problems since his 2011 sophomore season. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta 3/5-7, Exacta 5-7/3   

PIM 8 (Miss Preakness, 6f) #5 BLUEEYESINTHEREIN (3-1) found Grade 3 foes and seven panels a bit too much at CD May 3. She won her first 3 starts (2 at 6f) and earned a quality number April 12. #9 Lighthouse Bay (8-1) needed her Gulfstream return April 4. She is best as a stalker and reunites with winning pilot Carmouche. #8 I’m Mom’s Favorite (8-5) exits a romping course-distance tally and earned a strong number for sharp trainer Tony Dutrow. #2 Tread (9-2) showed fighting spirit in 2 wins and a nose defeat at Fair Grounds this winter. Rosario hops aboard Stall’s pace player. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta Box 5-9, Exacta 5-9/2-8

PIM 9 (Jim McKay Turf Sprint, 5T) #6 KENS CAPE (12-1) beat stablemate Ben’s Cat here last April and enters in decent form. He is a prominent throughout threat in his 3rd start off the shelf. #1 Spring to the Sky (10-1) won his lone turf sprint try last year and was competitive vs. the likes of Summer Front. Castellano has booted him home twice. #7 Ben’s Cat (9-5) is a 20-for-30 win machine for Leatherbury. The 7yo gelding won his local return April 6. #2 Bridgetown (8-5) usually fires a fresh shot so the 6-month layoff is not a big deal. He hits hard at five panels. THE PLAYS: #6 to win, Trifecta 1-6/1-2-6-7/1-2-6-7

PIM 10 (G2 Black-Eyed Susan, 9f) #3 FIFTYSHADESOFHAY (2-1) ran into 2yo champ and Kentucky Oaks runner-up Beholder in her last pair. The Baffert trainee dons the hood and drilled a strong bullet at CD May 10. #7 Emollient (9-5) controlled proceedings throughout in facile G1 Ashland wire job at Keeneland April 6. She meets other speed on different footing and figures to take a ton of action. She handles conventional dirt and is not a need to lead type. #5 Walkwithapurpose (5-1) has been pointing to this event for quite some time. The Sagamore Farms filly has been stabled here since March and has a nose for the wire. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta 3/5-7, Exacta 5-7/3

PIM 11 (Very One, 5T) #14 THERE IS NO LIMIT (8-1) is a decent turf sprinter and Napravnik booted her home at Keeneland April 18. #3 Sensible Lady (6-1) is 2-for-2 here and can move up 2nd off the shelf. #13 Sweet Cassiopeia (5-2) has won 5 straight and is 3-for-3 at this trip. #10 Spun Cat (5-1) is a sharp pace factor under Rosario. #7 Sounds of the City (6-1) is usually in the hunt. THE PLAYS: #14 to win, Trifecta 3-14/3-7-10-13-14/3-7-10-13-14

PIM 12 (G3 Pimlico Special, 9.5f) #7 LAST GUNFIGHTER (7-5) has rattled off five straight for Chad Brown and should sit a nice tactical trip. Castellano is 2-for-2 with him and he runs well fresh. #4 Eighttofasttocatch (9-5) will take them as far as he can. The 7yo gelding cruised here April 20 and faded badly in this event last year when he failed to get the early lead. #5 Richard’s Kid (7-2) has dropped nine straight and has lost a step at age 8. The classy MD-bred will almost certainly take too much win action under Napravnik. THE PLAYS: Exacta 7-4

PIM 13 (Hilltop, 8.5T) #10 SUMMER OF FUN (4-1) rallied to land the show in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf last year and winner Flotilla just captured the French 1,000 Guineas. She cruised in her March return at the Gulf and was flattered when the 2-3 finishers from that heat both came back to score. The versatile filly is a neck shy of a 3-for-3 record at this distance. #1 Kitten’s Point (5-2) won a Grade 3 turf route at GP this winter and beat my top in Kentucky last year. #4 Birdlover (5-1) is a pace player for Krigger/O’Neill.  Look out if she sneaks away early. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 10/1-4, Exacta 1-4/10

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4/Pick 5 contenders – in order of preference

Race

1   (2-8-4)
2   (3-7-2-8)
3   (5-3-7)
4   (3-8-1-7)
5   (3-5-8-12)
6   (2-5-3)
7   (3-7-5)
8   (5-9-8-2)
9   (6-1-7-2)
10 (3-7-5)
11 (14-3-13-10-7)
12 (7-4)
13 (10-1-4)

Preakness 2013 Preview: Will Orb overcome inside post?

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

Preakness 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

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

Preakness 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preakness 2013 Contenders – Will Orb capture second jewel?

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

Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Preakness 2013 Contenders

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

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

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

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

Oxbow horse

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

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

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

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

Preakness Dreamers:

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

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

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

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

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

Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders video featuring Orb & Verrazano

This is our first in a five part video series devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders. All of the major prep races have been run and final workouts and the post position draw are all that remain.

Each video will consist of four contenders. In this first video, we discuss Santa Anita Derby hero Goldencents, Blue Grass Stakes winner Java’s War, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby winner Orb, and Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial hero Verrazano.

Thanks to Ryan Patterson for joining me in this video series. We will release each video in the coming days and the second one should be posted later in evening on Tuesday, April 23. The second video will feature Lines of Battle, Overanalyze, Revolutionary, and Vyjack.

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Overanalyze back on the beam

Longtime Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Overanalyze is used to rebounding from below par efforts and he did it again in the Grade I Arkansas Derby.

Overanalyze horse

The Derby would be a great time for Overanalyze to run two alike – photo by Eclipse sportswire

Overanalyze earned a less than inspiring 88 BSF at Oaklawn Park but he won easily and Bejarano seemingly saved something for the Derby. He has been in my top ten since last November but never won two straight and the Derby looks like a tall order.

Former top ten member Frac Daddy ran his best race since the 2012 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes with a place finish in Hot Springs. He still lacks mental maturity and would be a big surprise on the first Saturday in May.

Oxbow inexplicably dropped back to last early under Gary Stevens before splitting the 10-horse Arkansas Derby field. He has speed and figures to use it at Churchill Downs.

War Academy pulled up after four furlongs but appears alright after going through a battery of tests at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.

Java’s War is 1 of 2 Derby hopefuls for Ken McPeek – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

In the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Java’s War flattered Verrazano with a late running score over Palace Malice. The BSF was only a tick better than the Arkansas Derby and this looked like a Polytrack special.

Charming Kitten rallied to garner the show and is going to the big show if he has enough points.

Disappointments included Rydilluc (4th), Balance the Books (6th), My Name Is Michael (7th), Dymanic Sky (9th), and Uncaptured (10th). The last two are both Ontario-breds and will probably target the Queen’s Plate.

That’ll do it for the major Derby preps. The Grade III Lexington Stakes will go on Saturday, April 20 and could produce a Derby starter. A win is worth 20 points and that looks like the Derby cutoff at this stage.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

Revolutionary horse

Revolutionary has been my top ranked Derby contender since Feb. 28 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Followed up a big fig maiden score with a winning adventure in the G3 Withers. He broke slow, raced wide, and smartly held off Mylute in the G2 LA Derby on March 30. He arrived at Churchill Downs on April 12 and Calvin Borel will be the passenger on Derby Day. Derby Points (110). 

2. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fourth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Florida Derby and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. Joel Rosario has been named to ride on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 4f in :48 (2/8) at Payson Park on 4-14. Derby Points (150).

3. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt ended his juvenile campaign with a runner-up effort in the G2 Remsen and ended up a troubled 5th in his G2 Risen Star return. He bounced back in the Wood Memorial to gain the place late and appears to be sitting on a career top in the Derby. Javier Castellano chose him over Orb. Derby Points (44).

4. Verrazano(More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee cruised in his first three outings but was not nearly as brilliant winning the Wood Memorial. He no longer looks like a dominant force and will probably take too much action under the Twin Spires. No unraced 2yo has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882. Derby Points (150).

Black Onyx has quietly crept into my Top 5 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

5. Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten) – He is 2-for-2 since Kelly Breen took over the training duties and he smartly won the G3 Spiral Stakes with a wide stalk and pounce trip under Joe Bravo. He was the first Derby contender to arrive at Churchill Downs and posted his initial Louisville move on April 13, breezing 5f in 1:00.60 (3/26). Derby Points (50). 

6. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely in the Arkansas Derby (88 BSF) and tries to run two alike for the first time at Churchill in three weeks. Derby Points (110).

7. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. He faded to 4th in the San Felipe and bounced back with a big win in the Santa Anita Derby. Ten furlongs is his biggest Derby obstacle. Worked 4f in :48.40 (6/24) at Santa Anita on 4-17. Derby Points (129).

8. Vyjack (Into Mischief) – Tasted defeat for the first time in the Wood Memorial but was hardly disgraced with a solid show finish. Garrett Gomez has been named to ride in the Kentucky Derby. He has pedigree questions to answer. Derby Points (70).

9. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Still not sold on this one as a legit Derby contender because I am skeptical about ten panels and he looks like be a Florida specialist. G3 Holy Bull hero finished a solid 2nd in the Florida Derby, his first start in nine weeks. Breezed a 5f bullet in 1:01 (1/9) at Calder on 4-11. Derby Points (50).

10. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – His sire is on fire and the Amoss runner was 3rd in the Delta Jackpot, 7th in the Risen Star, and 2nd in the LA Derby.  He is on the grounds at Churchill Downs and will reunite with Rosie Napravnik in the Derby. Breezed a 6f bullet in 1:12.20 (1/6) at Churchill on 4-14. Derby Points (42).

Derby Dreamers (in alphabetical order):

Charming Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) – Pletcher’s talented turf runner ended up 3rd in the Blue Grass and seemingly did just enough to quality for a starting gate spot on May 4. Derby Points (20).

Falling Sky (Lion Heart) – G3 Sam Davis winner finished 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby and 4th in the Arkansas Derby. He seems a cut below the best. Derby Points (30).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. He finished 7th in the Florida Derby and snuck into the Derby back door with a runner-up effort in the Arkansas Derby. Derby Points (44).

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but the Derby is an ambitious spot considering his lack of experience. He has a hind foot issue and is being examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. Derby Points (50).

Java’s War (War Pass) – G2 Tampa Bay Derby runner-up flattered Verrazano with his late running G1 Blue Grass tally but he only received an 89 BSF. He will try to get involved late under the Twin Spires. Derby Points (122).

Lines of Battle (War Front) – UAE Derby has never been a successful path to Churchill so it is hard to take this one seriously. Finished 7th in the 2012 BC Juvenile Turf, his lone trek to the states. Derby Points (100).

Oxbow horse

Oxbow is the one Derby pretender who scares me – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and just missed in the G2 Rebel on March 16. Gary Stevens hopped aboard for the Arkansas Derby and he rallied from last to split the field from yet another outer post. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins and can surprise in Derby if he flashes speed. Derby Points (36).

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Risen Star show finisher finished a troubled 7th in the Louisiana Derby. He desperately needed Derby points in the Blue Grass and made the cut with a solid place finish. Derby Points (50).

Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Facile G3 Southwest hero finished a flat 5th as the beaten favorite in the Rebel. Baffert trainee set the pace and weakened to 3rd in the SA Derby and appears to have distance limitations. Derby Points (30).

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner is training up to the Kentucky Derby, a rare move for Wayne Lukas. Breezed 8f in 1:40.80 (1/1) at Oaklawn Park on 4-12. Derby Points (60).

Former Top Ten Members

Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Late running turf specialist flopped in his Spiral Stakes return and ran better (6th of 14) but not good enough in the Blue Grass. He will return to New York and get back on the sod this summer.

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – G1 FrontRunner and G1 BC Juvenile show finisher won an optional claiming route at Gulfstream on 2-16 for his new trainer Todd Pletcher and ended up 9th from the outside post in the Spiral Stakes. Breezed 4f in :51.20 (34/43) at Churchill Downs on 4-14. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – BC Juvenile 4th place finisher finished 6th in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on 2-14. He scratched out of the Al Bastayika at Meydan on 3-9. Derby Points (3).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29. No published works since 1-31.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher was terribly mismanaged after that effort, most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28. He worked 4f in :50.40 (28/35) at Santa Anita on 4-15. Derby Points (4).

Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his NY bow Oct 28 and looks like a one hit wonder after three disappointing efforts since. He raced for his third trainer (Marty Wolfson) in the G3 Swale Stakes (finished 6th) on 3-2. They should probably regroup and give this one a breather.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. Breezed 5f in 1:00.16 (3/10) at Palm Meadows (turf) on 4-8.

Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and flew home to capture a turf allowance event (84 BSF) at Tampa Bay to begin his 3yo season. Chad Brown decided not to enter the Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.60 (11/26) at Keeneland on 4-14.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year and 3rd to Noble Tune in a Tampa Bay turf allowance affair. He finished 6th in the third race (allowance turf route) at Keeneland on 4-14. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee returned in the Santa Anita Derby and finished 5th in that needed effort. Worked 4f in :47.60 (2/35) at Santa Anita on 4-15. Derby Points (10).

Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.

Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred finished a solid 2nd in the Spiral but stalked and faded in a disappointing Blue Grass effort. He will regroup and likely point to the Queen’s Plate. Derby Points (30).

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded debut winner returned with an even 4th place finish in the San Vicente on Feb. 17. He bounced back with a stylish Optional Claiming route win (98 BSF) at Santa Anita on March 15 and was pulled up as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby. He appears to be alright after taking a bad step at Oaklawn Park.

Injured Reserve

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Flashback (Tapit) – Came out of his 2nd place finish in the Santa Anita Derby with a bone chip but is expected to make a full recovery. Derby Points (70).

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Hear the Ghost (Ghostzapper) – Injured his right front leg preparing for the SA Derby and if off the Triple Crown trail.

Hightail (Mineshaft) – BC Juvenile Sprint winner was injured following a recent workout at Oaklawn Park and has been retired.

Ive Struck a Nerve (Yankee Gentleman) – Surprising G2 Risen Star winner had ankle surgery on 3-12 and is off the Derby trail.

Joha (Johar) – He was pulled from the Keeneland January sale because of a minor injury. He is expected to resume racing later this year.

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull and faded to 5th in the nine furlong Florida Derby. He came out of the Florida Derby with a pelvic stress fracture and will need at least three months rest. Derby Points (24).

Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Was diagnosed with a fractured sesamoid following his game runner-up effort in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 2-23. He has been retired. Derby Points (10).