Posts Tagged ‘Sham Stakes 2012’

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Count Fleet, Sham

The ungraded, $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct was one of two Kentucky Derby 2012 prep races to be run on Jan 7 and strong favorite Alpha did not disappoint in New York. On the West Coast, Out of Bounds upset Secret Circle in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes.

Count Fleet Stakes (1-7-12): 85 BSF (Alpha)

I have always been fond of Alpha but was concerned about his gate behavior after his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile flop. His starting gate antics were on full display once again in the Count Fleet Stakes but he was able to overcome them this time. He stalked, pounced, and cruised home over late runner Stephanoatsee in a solid performance. He received an 85 BSF for his victory on Saturday and is clearly back on the right track.

Alpha has the breeding, connections, and talent to be a legitimate Derby contender but he must work out his gate issues.

Stephanoatsee is no slouch for Graham Motion and should continue to progress. The son of AP Indy is out of Unbridled mare Oatsee, which makes him a 1/2 brother to 2011 Preakness hero Shackleford.

Count Fleet Stakes Grade: C+

Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds makes the grade in Sham Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

G3 Sham Stakes: 99 BSF (Out of Bounds)

Out of Bounds showed promise in his seven furlong maiden win at Hollywood Park on Dec 10 and took another step forward in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The son of Discreet Cat, out of 2001 BC Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, sat a nice stalking trip and wore down highly regarded Bob Baffert runner Secret Circle.

Secret Circle is no longer undefeated but was hardly disgraced in his two turn debut. He intently tracked Longview Drive and took the lead in the lane only to be tagged by Out of Bounds. The fleet colt probably would have won on Saturday if he tried to run his rivals into the ground but the goal was to relax and learn something about his distance prowess. We now know he can go a flat mile but he could end up turning back in distance sooner rather than later. He does deserve another route start but as of this writing there is no word on his next outing.

G3 Sham Stakes Grade: B-

Sham Stakes 2012 Preview: Secret Circle Tries Two Turns

Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint hero Secret Circle seeks to join the serious Kentucky Derby 2012 chase as he navigates two turns for the first time in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Secret Circle

Will Secret Circle remain undefeated? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bob Baffert’s fleet colt is the fastest 3-year-old in the West but if he wants to remain on the Derby trail he will need to learn how to ration his speed. The talented son of Eddington, out of Dixieland Band mare Ragtime Hope, figures to get a pace test from G1 CashCall Futurity 7th place finisher Handsome Mike.

Hierro could be the goods for Steve Asmussen. The Hard Spun colt hooked G1 Champagne runner-up Alpha in his bow and was 2nd to G2 Remsen runner-up Souper Speedy second time out. It was his turn to shine in facile maiden breaker under the Twin Spires Nov 9 and he is training well at the Great Race Place.

Out of Bounds is another exiting a sharp graduation run. He earned his diploma in a Cushion Track extended sprint at Hollywood Park Dec 10 and his dam Unbridled Elaine captured the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Longview Drive adds blinkers and might be part of the pace under Joel Rosario. He rallied for the show when last seen in a weak renewal of the G3 Delta Jackpot.

Senor Rain will break from the rail and doesn’t seem to class up. He graduated in a maiden claiming sprint and his other win was in the starter allowance ranks. He did finish 3rd behind subsequent 1-2 CashCall Futurity finishers in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood in November.

The Plays:

$20 to win Hierro
$10 Exacta Box Hierro, Out of Bounds