Last Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, it appeared as though Golden Ticket was going to shock the world at 33-1 in the Travers but post time favorite Alpha wanted to be part of the party as well and surged late to share in the spoils.
Golden Ticket saved all of the ground under David Cohen and needed every advantage to tie with my top ranked sophomore Alpha, who sat an outer stalking trip under Ramon Dominguez. Golden Ticket will have to prove that he is more than a one-hit wonder before he joins my top ten.
I began my Derby Top 10 list right after Del Mar/Saratoga in September in 2010 and 2011 and will do the same this year. In an interesting side note, my initial number one in 201o was Stay Thirsty and Alpha was the early juvenile boss this time around. Both Bernardini colts went on to capture the Jim Dandy and Travers during their sophomore campaigns. Maybe I should rename my future road to the Derby blogs for the Travers trail!
Dullahan traveled west and toppled salty older foes Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid in the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug 26. He sure adores synthetic, specifically Polytrack, and is probably the best in the business on that footing. He crashes back to earth on conventional dirt so if he ends up in the Breeders’ Cup it will likely be on turf.
Since my last report, Paynter resumed training at the Spa but got sick again and is fighting colitis at a clinic in New York. Bodemeister, Hansen, and Street Life have all been retired. It has been a tough year for the sophomore class with numerous injuries and premature retirements.
Checking in with former top ten members, B Shanny won a sprint at the Spa on 8-12. Consortium recently returned to the worktab for Kiaran McLaughlin, and Fire On Ice and O’Prado Again are getting close to a race.
Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds
1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Controlled the pace in Jim Dandy and stalked/pounced his way to a share of the Travers (100 BSF) title on Aug 25. The Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on 9-22 could be next.
2. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions and looked great capturing his first graded stakes in the Haskell. He is currently battling colitis at a clinic in NY…get well soon.
3. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic (111 BSF). Let’s see if Romans and company can avoid the temptation to try dirt again.
4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – He came out of the Derby with a foot bruise and spit the bit in his disappointing Haskell return. He breezed 4f in :48.15 (6/54) at Saratoga on 8-26 and could meet up with Alpha in the PA Derby.
5. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31. He could be a major player in the Strub Series this winter at Santa Anita.
6. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He handles dirt but might be better on synthetic.
7. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer gamely chased Alpha home in the Jim Dandy and finished 6th in the Travers. He does his best work at Churchill Downs.
8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon. Mandella’s $900k purchase appears tailor-made for Santa Anita’s G1 Malibu on Dec 26.
9. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. Look for him to cut back in distance next time as ten panels is a bit beyond his range at this point.
10. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee looks like and up and coming sprinter.