Posts Tagged ‘Russian Greek’

Dullahan Runs Down Hansen in Blue Grass Stakes

Keeneland’s marquee Kentucky Derby 2012 prep was run on Saturday and Dullahan beat juvenile champ Hansen in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.

G1 Blue Grass (4-14-12): 98 BSF (Dullahan)

Dullahan

Dullahan is 2-for-2 in Grade 1 races at Keeneland - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Hansen relaxed from an outer post in the G3 Gotham but went straight to the front from post 4 on Saturday, carving out solid fractions of :23.10, :46.64, and 1:11.32. Outsiders Politicallycorrect, Midnight Crooner, and Hero of Order gave futile chase.

The 2-year-old champion opened up a commanding 2-1/2 length lead in the stretch but Dullahan was slowly creeping up from 11th after a 1/4, 10th, after a 1/2, and 9th after six panels. The son of Even The Score made a sustained three furlong run under Kent Desormeaux and had dead aim on Hansen in the lane.

Dullahan had the momentum and swept past Hansen to win by 1-1/4 lengths for trainer Dale Romans. He completed his nine furlong trip in 1:47.94 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice. Hansen was clearly second best, followed by longshot stablemate Gung Ho and late runner Holy Candy.

Howe Great was an even 5th for Graham Motion, followed by Tampa Bay Derby hero Prospective, Heavy Breathing, Midnight Crooner, Scatman, Ever So Lucky, Russian Greek, Politicallycorrect, and Hero of Order.

Dullahan seems as though he can run all day and continues to improve for Romans. He has two solid nine furlong preps under his belt this year and looms a late running threat on the first Saturday in May. Both of his career wins occurred in Grade 1 races at Keeneland and his 0-for-3 conventional dirt record under the Twin Spires does not seem to bode well for his Kentucky Derby chances.

Hansen dropped two of his three Derby preps this year after going 3-f0r-3 as a juvenile. He surprisingly seemed willing to relax a bit in the G3 Gotham but was back to aggressive early tactics in Lexington on Saturday. The Derby pace could be on the quick side with the likes of Bodemeister, Hansen, I’ll Have Another, Secret Circle, and Take Charge Indy mixing it up early.

Blue Grass Stakes Grade: B (85 out of 100)

Blue Grass Stakes 2012 Preview: Hansen’s final Derby prep

The Keeneland sophomores try to make their mark on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 in Saturday’s Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes and juvenile champ Hansen is the strong 6-5 morning line choice.

Pace Scenario:

Early Speed– Hansen, Hero of Order, Scatman

Pressers – Heavy Breathing, Politicallycorrect, Midnight Crooner, Howe Great, Ever So Lucky

Closers – Gung Ho, Prospective, Russian Greek, Dullahan, Holy Candy

Analysis:

#9 Holy Candy (30-1) could be poised to surprise this field. He scratched out of the SA Derby in favor of this and Candy Ride is a fine synthetic sire. He has done the bulk of his training on Cushion Track and ran well in his Hollywood Park synthetic sprint bow last fall. The promising Sadler trainee looked great in March 23 graduation run and has faced some decent sorts in SoCal (Empire Way, Castaway, Stirred Up). Did you know that Drew Brees might have a Kentucky Derby horse?

#3 Prospective (10-1) is 2-f0r-2 on Polytrack (Woodbine) and exits a good looking tally in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (blinkers on). The improving sort owns a pair of graded route wins and should get pace to chase.

#6 Dullahan (6-1) won the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last year and fired a strong local bullet for this April 8. He has had a few setbacks this year (fever, minor splint injury) but ran well in the grassy G3 Palm Beach and appears to be back on track.

#4 Hansen (6-5) is an obvious prominent throughout threat but he meets other speed and gets a stamina test at low odds. He is 2-for-2 on Polytrack (Turfway Park) but My Adonis, the horse he beat in his last pair, came back to disappoint in the G1 Wood Memorial last weekend. I woulf not be shocked if he won or finished up the track.

The Plays:

$5 Exacta Box 3-6-9 ($30), $10 to win #9

Spiral Stakes 2012 Recap – Went The Day Well rolls home

The lone graded Kentucky Derby 2012 prep at Turfway Park was run on Saturday and Went The Day Well emerged as a contender on the first Saturday in May after cruising home in the G3 Spiral Stakes for Graham Motion and Team Valor.

G3 Spiral (3-24-12): 92 BSF (Went The Day Well)

Went The Day Well

Is Went The Day Well the next Animal Kingdom? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Heavy Breathing carved out the early splits for Todd Pletcher, with Went The Day Well positioned perfectly behind the speed along the rail under John Velazquez.

Pletcher’s other colt Holiday Promise was sitting midpack at almost 26-1 and expected early runner Handsome Mike broke 12th and last after losing his footing and getting bumped at the start.

Heavy Breathing put away overmatched pace rivals Ill Conceived and Coach Royal but Went The Day Well was always traveling smoothly and passed the front runner after six furlongs.

Holiday Promise made a wide move and tried to gain on the new leader but got a bit weary in late stretch while settling for runner-up honors.

Heavy Breathing was a comfortable 3rd and was followed across the line by Handsome Mike, Stealcase, All Squared Away, Ill Conceived, Russian Greek, Tizanexpense, Red Jack, Mr. Prankster, and Coach Royal.

Went The Day Well picked up $282,000 in graded earnings on March 24, which should be more than enough to make the Derby gate. The promising son of Proud Citizen handles dirt, turf, and synthetic, and Motion/Team Valor have plenty of options with the versatile sort this year. He was green in the Turfway stretch before kicking away to win by 3-1/2 lengths. He has some catching up to do and seems a cut or two below the best at this stage. The G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 21 could be next.

It should be noted that Animal Kingdom won the Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby for Graham Motion, Team Valor, and John Velazquez last year…deja vu all over again?

Spiral Stakes Grade: C+ (78 out of 100)

 

 

Spiral Stakes 2012 Preview – Wide Open Kentucky Derby Prep

Will the next Animal Kingdom emerge from the shadows at Turfway Park on Saturday? One thing is for sure. The Grade 3 Spiral Stakes is a wide open Derby prep race and the winner will have the necessary graded earnings to make the starting gate in Kentucky Derby 2012.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

#11 Stealcase (10-1) is worth a stab at double digit odds. He had a troubled start in a 6th of 13 performance behind Hansen in the G3 Gotham Stakes. He ran into multiple next out winners in his first few starts including promising runners Thunder Moccasin, Ender Knievel, and Windsurfer. He looked good in Gulfstream dirt route maiden tally Jan 19 and can compete here if he handles the footing. The Mark Casse runner dons the hood and sports a bullet for this engagement.

#4 Went The Day Well (4-1) is an interesting contender for Graham Motion/Team Valor. He landed the place in both Great Britain turf starts last year and graduated in a flat mile special weight affair at Gulfstream Park March 3.

#12 Handsome Mike (4-1) dueled and held the show in the G3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb 18. He handles any footing but appears best on turf. Joel Rosario rides.

#1 Russian Greek (10-1) captured two synthetic route stakes events at Golden Gate Fields and was last seen splitting a 10-horse field in the aforementioned El Camino Real Derby. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee dons the hood and attracts Nakatani.

#3 Heavy Breathing (3-1) easily captured both Gulfstream starts for Todd Pletcher. He is an obvious threat if he handles synthetic ground but probably won’t offer much value.

Pletcher also has #5 Holiday Promise (12-1). He donned the hood and landed the place when last seen at Laurel Park Feb 20.

#7 Ill Conceived (8-1) just missed in the Battaglia, the local prep for this. He will not get away with an easy lead this time and might find nine panels a bit much.

#9 Tizanexpense (15-1) failed to fire from post 11 in the G2 Risen Star last time. He was making steady progress before that and is not without a chance in a tough handicapping puzzle. Michael Maker conditions the son of Tiznow.

Maker also saddles #10 Mr. Prankster (12-1) and leading Fair Grounds jockey Rosie Napravnik is in to ride. He flopped in the Battaglia but won back-to-back local stakes races before that.

#8 Coach Royal (15-1) dons the hood and goes turf/synthetic. The is ambitious spot for the well-bred maiden.

#6 All Squared Away (30-1) will likely attend the pace for sharp SoCal trainer Peter Miller. He faded in the El Camino Real and will probably do the same today.

#2 Red Jack (30-1) has dropped all four starts this year for Wayne Lukas. He graduated in a turf route and failed to fire in lone all-weather route last year.

The Plays: $20 to win/place #11 Stealcase

El Camino Real Derby 2012 Preview: Daddy Nose Best

Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby is the lone graded route in Northern California’s road to Kentucky Derby 2012 and Daddy Nose Best should offer a hint of value for Steve Asmussen.

Kentucky Derby 2012

#1 Daddy Nose Best (9-2) began his career splitting a pair of subsequent stakes winners (Exfactor, Dullahan) in a Churchill dirt sprint. He disappointed second time out but started to hit his best stride with added ground on the turf. Asmussen won this with Silver Medallion last year and that one also exited Santa Anita’s grassy Eddie Logan Stakes. Leparoux strings along and he shows five works for this.

#6 Lucky Chappy (7-2) brought strong Italian form to Keeneland for his US bow last fall and was hardly disgraced in a G3 Bourbon show finish. He followed that up with a troubled 4th from post 11 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and prepped for this with a runner-up effort in the Jan 21 Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream. The Graham Motion trainee is a late running threat if he handles the Tapeta footing.

#7 Handsome Mike (8-1) is an interesting price player. The versatile SoCal shipper finished 4th in the G3 Sham (dirt), 7th in the G1 CashCall Futurity (synthetic), and 2nd in the G3 Generous (turf). He dons the hood and looms a pace factor at the very least.

#10 Lady of Fifty (5-1) is a filly taking on the boys and she might be the best local hope. She ran faster than the gents in the Cal Oaks but seems most effective on the lead and meets other speed. She must overcome the outside post but her task is not impossible.

#4 Russian Greek (5-2) is 2-for-2 in local routes and exits a fine late running score in the $100,000 Cal Derby. His numbers are a bit light but the $100k Keeneland sales grad packs a decent late kick and will be finishing for the productive Gryder-Hollendorfer team.

#3 Cahill Chrome (10-1) was tagged in a surprise place finish in the Cal Derby. He owns fine early-pressing speed and likes this oval but is probably a cut below the best in here.

#2 Senor Rain (12-1) finished an even 3rd in the Cal Derby and will need to show more to make a dent in this tougher event.

#8 Rockinarz Recruit (20-1) stretches out in distance and will probably show speed. He remains eligible for an entry level spot and is probably in over his head today.

#5 Unveiled Heat (20-1) broke his maiden on turf in his 9th career start. He finished 5th in the Cal Derby at 18-1 and looks like an outsider in this spot.

#9 All Squared Away (20-1) broke his maiden in a local route Jan 22 but he controlled the pace that day and did not earn much of a number. He is overmatched in the paper race.

The Plays:

$24 to win #1

$10 Quinella 1-6

$6 Quinella 1-7