Posts Tagged ‘Speightscity’

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Alpha’s Withers

The first New York graded route on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 was run at Aqueduct on Saturday and overwhelming favorite Alpha did not disappoint in a facile G3 Withers tally.

G3 Withers (2-4-12): 90 BSF (Alpha)

Alpha was my original number one Derby contender when I posted my first blog about the current sophomore class last September and he is on the upswing for Godolphin and Kiaran McLaughlin.

Alpha horse

Alpha is on the upswing for Godolphin - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Alpha began his career with a facile extended sprint win at Saratoga last summer before rallying for the place behind Union Rags in the G1 Champagne. He lost his top ranking on my list after coming apart at the gate and finishing up the track in the G1 BC Juvenile but he always remained in my top ten.

I gave the Count Fleet hero a C+ grade for his win on Jan 7 and thought he was more professional in the Withers. He behaved in the gate, sat a wide stalking trip from the outside post, and was hand urged while clearly best under Ramon Dominguez on Feb 4.

Alpha has all of the tools to make a splash on the first Saturday in May. He is bred top and bottom (Bernardini-Nijinsky II) to improve as distances increase and his sharp conditioner has Kentucky Derby experience. Godolphin wants to win the Derby and they are going about it the right way this time after buying young talent and unsuccessfully shipping to/from Dubai in the past.

The promising son of Bernardini is making nice progress on the Beyer scale, going from an 85 in the Count Fleet to a 90 in the Withers. I love his tactical speed and top notch jockey Ramon Dominguez rides him well. He needs to run faster to be considered a serious Derby player but he is only getting warmed up at a mile and a sixteenth and is clearly moving in the right direction.

There was not much depth in the Withers. Outsider Speightscity completed the exacta at 44-1.Rallying show finisher Tiger Walk has potential for Sagamore Farm. He was making his first start of the year and handles turf/dirt.

Withers Stakes Grade: B-

Withers Stakes 2012 Preview: Alpha Looms Large

The road to Kentucky Derby 2012 continues at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday with the G3 Withers Stakes and even money favorite Alpha drew the outside post against six rivals.

I have always been fond of #7 Alpha (1-1). He was my top ranked Derby contender when I started tracking the current sophomores last September. Kiaran McLaughlin’s exciting son of Bernardini was a sharp winner right out of the box in his extended sprint bow at the Spa last summer and came right back to land the place behind highly regarded colt Union Rags in the G1 Champagne.

Alpha

Alpha seeks graded glory in Withers - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Alpha came unglued at the gate in the G1 BC Juvenile and ended up a disappointing 11th after stalking the pace. He resumed training in Florida during the month of December before returning to the Big Apple to impressively snare his 3-year-old debut in the Count Fleet Stakes on Jan 7.

Once again, Alpha had some gate issues in the Count Fleet and has been successfully schooling at the Big A ever since. He fired a best of 14 Belmont training track bullet for this engagement on Jan 30 and looms large at low odds.

#1 Hakama (5-1) is the one to catch from the rail and might be dangerous if the inner dirt track is favoring speed. The Michael Trombetta runner exits back-to-back route wire jobs including a local maiden win Dec 10.

Sagamore Farm runner #6 Tiger Walk (6-1) is firing bullets for his first start of the season. He ended his juvenile campaign with back-to-back wins on turf and dirt at Laurel Park and should offer value at 6-1. He’s the wildcard.

#2 Speightscity (20-1) was dusted by Alpha in the Count Fleet but he was bumped at the start and raced wide from an outer post that day. He lands a better post and can grab a piece of this with better racing luck.

#4 King Kid (4-1) was sharp in his extended sprint bow and finished a solid 3rd in the Gulfstream Park Derby last time. He has upside with only two races under his belt. His pedigree screams turf (Lemon Drop Kid-Royal Academy).

#3 Swag Daddy (10-1) owns running style versatility and captured his last two inner dirt routes against NY-breds. He faces open company for the first time and shows an improving numbers pattern.

Pace factor #5 How Do I Win (10-1) faded to 4th after tracking the leader in the Count Fleet and it might be deja vu all over again with early runner Hakama breaking from the rail.

The Plays:

$4 Exacta 7-2

$1 Trifecta 7/1-6/ALL ($10)

$1 Trifecta 7/ALL/1-6 ($10)

$1 Trifecta 1-6/7/ALL ($10)

$1 Trifecta 1-6-7/1-6-7/2 ($6)

Count Fleet Stakes 2012 Preview: Time for Alpha to Shine

The $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and seventy yards begins the Kentucky Derby 2012 journey for the newly turned 3-year-olds based in New York and it is put up or shut up time for Alpha.

The promising son of flashy stallion Bernardini, out of Nijinsky II mare Munnaya, began his career with an eye catching seven panel graduation run at Saratoga last September. Alpha chased talented colt Union Rags in the G1 Champagne in his second career start before coming apart at the gate in a disappointing G1 BC Juvenile showing.

Alpha shipped to Florida during the month of December before firing a four furlong bullet in his Big Apple return Jan 3. The highly regarded Godolphin colorbearer adds lasix and attracts top notch jock Ramon Dominguez. He was my top ranked juvenile following his debut maiden win and can start living up to his vast potential with a big effort at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is the strong 4-5 morning line favorite.

Count Fleet 2012 field with morning line odds

Last year’s Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion has well bred colt Stephanoatsee ready to rumble at the Big A on Jan 7. Shackleford’s baby brother rallied from far back to land the place in his Laurel bow before earning his diploma in Maryland last October. He got no pace help in 7th place G2 Remsen effort and could put his best foot forward at 6-1 odds on Saturday.

Il Villano has rattled off three straight sprints and will take them as far as he can from the rail. He figures to face stern pace pressure from Todd Pletcher trainee and fellow sprint/route runner How Do I Win.

Shkspeare Shaliyah won a graded turf route as a juvenile but is an unknown commodity on conventional dirt. He can always go back to the sod if this dirt experiment goes awry.

Speightscity is a 2-time route winner exiting a sharp stalk and pounce inner track tally. He was trounced in both graded outings and might be up against it from a class standpoint.The son of Speightstown owns plenty of two turn experience, should sit a decent tactical trip, and could grab a piece of this.

Whistleblower earned a decent number in his local inner dirt sprint maiden victory Dec 3. He gets the acid test in his first route try against winners.

The Plays:

$20 Exacta Alpha over Stephanoatsee
$5 Trifecta Key Alpha over Stephanoatsee, Speightscity ($10)

 

 

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Analysis: Can Alpha Step Up?

The winner of Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile will immediately be made the favorite for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

Unbeaten colt Union Rags or Creative Cause can virtually wrap up the 2-year-old title if they come out on top. They both exit grade one wins and have the pedigrees to be classic players next year.

{Check out my latest 2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders Top 10 list}

Hansen exits back-to-back facile Polytrack wire jobs and is probably the one to catch under Ramon Dominguez. He gets the acid test in his first conventional dirt start.

Take Charge Indy has flashed talent on synthetic and is training well at Churchill Downs. He can spice up the exotics.

Drill traded grade one decisions with Creative Cause in his last two SoCal starts and should have gotten plenty out of the Norfolk for trainer Bob Baffert.

Finally, Alpha looked great in his Saratoga debut and rallied for the place in the G1 Champagne last time. He has plenty of upside and should excel over a route of ground.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile field (in post position order with morning line odds)

1. Take Charge Indy (30-1): Bred for dirt and training well under the Twin Spires.

2. Dullahan (8-1): Broke maiden in G1 Breeders’ Futurity. Better on synthetic/turf?

3. Crusade (12-1): British invader tries dirt route for first time.

4. Drill (8-1): G1 Del Mar Futurity winner was clearly second best in Norfolk.

5. Hansen (10-1): Romped in both Turfway synthetic starts.

6. Prospective (30-1): Improving sort exits solid score in G3 Grey.

7. Creative Cause (7-2): Stomped Drill in G1 Norfolk.

8. Speightscity (30-1): Graduated in style at nine furlongs.

9. Alpha (15-1): G1 Champagne runner-up is bred to run all day.

10. Union Rags (2-1): Overcame trouble to remain undefeated in G1 Champagne.

11. Daddy Long Legs (12-1): Captured 2 of 3 overseas turf starts.

12. Fort Loudon (20-1): Rolled through Florida Stallion Series.

13. Optimizer (15-1): Placed in both graded routes on turf/synthetic.

The Plays:

$20 to win #9

$5 Exacta Box 9-10 ($10)

.50 cent Trifecta 9-10/4-7-9-10/1-4-5-7-9-10 ($12)

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Preview

Post positions were drawn for the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Monday and hopefully a few of horses entered will make it to the starting gate in the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Below is the advance I wrote on Horse Racing Nation.

It’s East vs. West as Champagne hero Union Rags takes on Norfolk winner Creative Cause in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

Union Rags

Union Rags tries to stay unbeaten in BC Juvenile - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Morning line favorite Union Rags made it 3-for-3 in his promising career as he overcame trouble to impressively capture the G1 Champagne at Belmont Park. On Saturday, he will try to navigate two turns for the first time from post ten.

Creative Cause is 3-for-4 so far with his lone setback a troubled 3rd (place 2nd via DQ) in the G1 Del Mar Futurity. He exits a smart triumph in the G1 Norfolk and is proven over a route of ground.

Champagne runner-up Alpha could easily move forward in this spot. Kiaran McLaughlin’s well-bred son of Bernardini romped in his Saratoga debut before rallying for the place behind Union Rags last time. The Godolphin colorbearer should excel around two turns and has plenty of upside with only two races under his belt.

Drill has traded decisions with Creative Cause in his last pair. The Bob Baffert runner owns fine tactical speed and is a grade one winner.

The mystery horse in this affair is undefeated colt Hanson. Tapit’s juvenile son crushed his rivals in both synthetic starts including the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park last time. He looms a pace factor at the very least but must prove he can handle conventional dirt against a full cast of classy rivals.

G1 Breeders’ Futurity 1-3 finishers Dullahan and Optimizer will try dirt after doing the bulk of their damage on turf and/or synthetic. The former is a 1/2 brother to Mine That Bird, and the latter has run well over a route of ground in all three turf/synthetic starts for Wayne Lukas.

The BC Juvenile baker’s dozen is completed by Take Charge Indy, Crusade, Prospective, Speightscity, Daddy Long Legs, and Fort Loudon.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile 2011

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Odds