Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Walk’

Preakness Recap: I’ll Have Another Wins Again

In a virtual repeat of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another ran down Bodemeister to win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

I'll Have Another

Will I’ll Have Another end the Triple Crown drought? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bodemeister set a controlled tempo as expected and briefly appeared home free in the lane but I’ll Have Another put in a relentless rally and stuck his neck out in deep stretch.

It was almost nine lengths back to show finisher Creative Cause.

I’ll Have Another completed his nine and one-half furlong journey in 1:55.94 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice. Once again, Mario Gutierrez rode the son of Flower Alley perfectly for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill.

Bodemeister was game in defeat and has accomplished so much this year for trainer Bob Baffert. The Preakness was his third start in the last five weeks and he is not expected to contest the Belmont Stakes.

I’ll Have Another will attempt a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. If he pulls it off he would be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Let’s recap the entire Preakness field…

1st – I’ll Have Another: Ran down Bodemeister again. He has won four straight and goes for Triple Crown at Belmont on June 9.

2nd – Bodemeister: Looked home free but once again he ran out of gas late. He has been very busy this year and has earned a rest.

3rd – Creative Cause: Did all of the pace dirty work and could not match strides with the top two. He is another in need of a break.

4th – Zetterholm: NY-bred ended up an okay 4th for Dutrow. I would not be shocked if he showed up in the Belmont Stakes.

5th – Teeth of the Dog:  Second stringer for Matz ran about as well as expected and remains a few notches below the best.

6th – Optimizer: Has now dropped eight straight on conventional dirt. He clearly prefers turf or synthetic.

7th – Cozzetti: G2 Tampa Bay Derby show finisher remains eligible for an entry level spot. Lone win in slop at CD.

8th – Tiger Walk: Stalked and faded on Saturday. Graduated on turf and could end up back on that footing.

9th – Daddy Nose Best: Has won on dirt, synthetic, and turf so Asmussen has plenty of options in the coming months.

10th – Went The Day Well: Motion trainee barely lifted a hoof. He handles any ground and is much better than he showed today.

11th Pretension: NY-bred needs a much easier spot.

Wood Memorial 2012 Recap: Gemologist Edges Alpha

Gemologist and Alpha punched their Kentucky Derby 2012 tickets after running 1-2 in an exciting edition of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday.

G1 Wood Memorial (4-7-12): 98 BSF (Gemologist)

Gemologist Alpha Kentucky Derby 2012

Gemologist is undefeated heading into Ky Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Lumber Guy was the headstrong early leader through splits of :23.04, :47.57, and 1:22.54. My Adonis tracked in 2nd, followed by Gemologist on the outside and Alpha along the rail.

The Lumber Guy was getting pressure from My Adonis and Gemologist with three furlongs to go. Gemologist put away his two pace foes but had to deal with a fresh challenge from Alpha. The stage was set for a thrilling finish and Gemologist stuck his neck out on the line with Alpha three clear of rallying show finisher Teeth of the Dog.

Tiger Walk finished 4th and was followed by The Lumber Guy, Street Life, My Adonis, and Casual Trick (more breathing problems).

Gemologist stopped the clock in 1:50.96 and paid $4.40 to win under Javier Castellano. Todd Pletcher’s undefeated colt will return to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.

Gemologist fans should be pleased. He showed he could stalk and pounce and turned back talented colt Alpha in a determined effort. He is 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs and could end up the Derby favorite, depending on what happens with Hansen in the G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14.

Alpha did everything but win under Ramon Dominguez. He was on good gate behavior once again and proved he could take dirt in the face after racing along the rail. The McLaughlin/Godolphin colt finished up nicely and his numbers are on the rise.

This was a solid Derby prep from start to finish.

Wood Memorial Grade: A- (91 out of 100)

Wood Memorial 2012 Preview – Will Gemologist remain unbeaten?

Saturday’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is worth a cool $1 million and provides New York sophomores a final chance to qualify for Kentucky Derby 2012 on graded earnings.

#6 Gemologist (8-5) is 4-for-4 and needs a top two finish to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The sharp early-pressing type exits a romping tally over G3 Illinois Derby favorite Currency Swap in his Gulfstream return and tries to avoid a bounce while returning in three weeks.

#3 MY ADONIS (8-1) might be a cut below but he looks like the value play in this spot. The Kelly Breen trainee should sit a decent tactical journey and his numbers are on the rise. He gets away from Hansen after finishing behind the juvenile champ in the G3 Holy Bull and G3 Gotham.

Alpha horse

Alpha shoots for 3rd straight win on Saturday - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Alpha (5-2) enters fresh and projects a ground saving tactical trip for the productive Dominguez/McLaughlin team. He was my original top ranked Derby contender when I began my list last September and I like the progress he is making this season.

#7 Tiger Walk (15-1) deserves a longshot look. He finished a solid 3rd in the G3 Withers and was hung out to dry from post 13 in G3 Gotham (missed 3rd by head).  His stablemate Millionreasonswhy is a strong contender in the G3 Comely earlier on the Big A program.

#5 Street Life (4-1) showed a nice late kick on the inner dirt in his last pair despite not getting much pace help. The son of Street Sense is on the upswing and will be finishing.

#8 The Lumber Guy (8-1) easily captured a pair of sprints to begin his career and looms a pace player at the very least. He will probably find this company and distance a bit beyond his scope at this stage.

#2 Casual Trick (20-1) is trying to rediscover his GP Derby form for Zito. He reportedly flipped his palate in his last pair and had surgery to correct the breathing problem.

#4 Teeth of the Dog (15-1) is getting better for Matz but this is a tough spot for a horse exiting a head maiden victory.

THE PLAYS:

$20 to win #3

$2 Exacta Box 1-3 ($4)

$4 Exacta 1-3/6-7  ($16)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Hansen’s Gotham Triumph

Juvenile champ Hansen is back in the swing of things on the road to Kentucky Derby 2012 after taking a bite out of the Big Apple in Saturday’s Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

Hansen Kentucky Derby contender

Hansen gets back on the beam in Gotham - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

G3 Gotham Stakes (3-3-12): 95 BSF (Hansen)

Hansen did everything right in the Gotham Stakes and Ramon Dominguez gave him a great ride. He relaxed beautifully from an outer post and was much the best over My Adonis, who was well clear of rallying show finisher Finnegans Wake. 4th place finisher Tiger Walk broke from post 13 and just missed rounding out the trifecta.

I have never been a huge Hansen fan in regards to ten furlong success on the first Saturday in May but he did was he was supposed to do at the Big A on March 3. He removed the hood, tracked the pace, and easily toppled a modest group. That has been a recurring theme on the Derby trail so far. Alpha, El Padrino, Hansen, and Union Rags have all captured graded races against suspect company. El Padrino has been running the fastest races and Union Rags wins the visually impressive reward. Alpha and Hansen are chugging right along and it will be interesting to see what happens when the aforementioned sophomore leaders face better company at nine furlongs and beyond.

Gotham Stakes Grade: B

Gotham Stakes 2012 Preview: Hansen seeks redemption

The next-to-last major Kentucky Derby 2012 prep in New York will be run at Aqueduct Racetrack on Saturday and juvenile champ Hansen tries to get back on the beam in the G3 Gotham Stakes.

Hansen horse

Is Hansen a legit Kentucky Derby contender? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#12 Hansen (6-5) removes the hood in hopes of relaxing a bit in the early going. He used too much early energy after stumbling at the start off the shelf in the G3 Holy Bull and it cost him dearly in the lane. I have always thought the 2-year-old champion was a speedy colt with distance limitations and he figures to take too much action under Dominguez. As of this writing, there is a 100% chance of rain at the Big A on March 3 and the strong morning line favorite handles any type of ground.

#2 Stealcase (12-1) is an interesting price player for Mark Casse. He was favored in all three career starts and smartly moved forward to earn his diploma over a route of ground at Gulfstream Jan 19. Windsurfer, the clear place finisher from his last, came back to break his maiden as the favorite. He finished 4th on Dec 24 and that key heat produced multiple next out winners including Thunder Moccasin in the G2 Hutcheson. The promising sort has faced decent runners and is on the improve.

#5 Maan (15-1) won both sprint starts for Eddie Kenneally (Santiva, Battle Hardened) including a stalk and pounce tally in the slop at the Gulf Feb 9. The $200k purchase is bred to go this far but must avoid a bounce.

#1 My Adonis (5-1) rallied for the show in the G3 Holy Bull. He handles any footing and is capable of stalking the pace or rallying late, depending on the race shape. His only bad race occurred when he dueled on a fast pace and faltered in the G3 Delta Jackpot.

#13 Tiger Walk (12-1) matched his career top number in a show finish behind Alpha in the G3 Withers here Feb 4. The Sagamore Farm colt has some talent and new pilot Eddie Castro will try to work out a tactical trip from a tough post.

#10 Side Road (20-1) replaces injured colt Consortium for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Darley Stable colorbearer is on the upswing and can grab a piece of this with further development.

#9 King And Crusader (15-1) could throw a monkey wrench into Hansen’s theft plans. Rick Dutrow’s fleet colt has rattled off three straight and looms a pace player at the very least. He might not want to go this far against this type of competition.

It would not be a Derby prep without Todd Pletcher and he takes two shots at the top prize. #6 Dan And Shelia (8-1) rallied to finish 4th in a slow renewal of the G3 Lecomte but that was only his second lifetime start so he has upside. Uncoupled stablemate #8 Raconteur (15-1) owns fine tactical speed and exits back-to-back inner track route victories. He is bred for a wet track and gets tested for class.

#3 Finnegans Wake (20-1) is one of two uncoupled longshots entered for Dale Romans. This one is owned by Donegal Racing (Dullahan, Paddy O’Prado) and goes turf-to-dirt. Stablemate #7 Suns Out Guns Out (30-1) is still a maiden for West Point Thoroughbreds. The son of Empire Maker is getting better but this is a tough spot.

#4 Pretension (20-1) has fired Exacta shots in all five lifetime starts. The decent NY-bred projects a tactical trip but might find this group a tad salty.

#11 Done Talking (20-1) was last seen rallying for 4th in the G2 Remsen. He has some ability but might need the outing.

The Plays:

$20 to win #2

$1 Trifecta 2-5/1-2-5-12/1-2-5-10-12-13 ($24)

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)