2015 Derby Preps

 

Preps, Performances and Real Contenders

Scatcat will be posting some thoughts, selections, and comments on the 3-year-old preps as they ready for Kentucky. So, bookmark this page and check back often.

If you are interested in Nick’s system for picking the Derby Winner, you can buy it here.

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April 11, 2015 Lexington Grade III 1 1/16 Keeneland

10-4-2-1

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
1 Divining Rod $7.80 $3.60 $2.40
7 Donworth $3.60 $2.60
6 Fame And Power $2.60

 

Pre-race Thoughts

Only 1-1/6 and only worth 40 points to the winner, the Lexington at least doesn’t have a preordained winner as many of the preps this year have had. However, not sure this will be that great a betting race either as there are some who stand out more in this weaker field.  Divining Rod took a step backwards in the Tampa Bay Derby last out after a somewhat troubled trip. Will improve on that effort.  Comfort goes out for his new trainer, Pletcher, and has been off since mid February. Steps up in class here. Is by Indiana Charlie and should have more speed than he has shown to date.  Quimet caved under the pressure of running with the big boys in the Florida Derby. Nick Zito gives him another chance here just two weeks later and gets blinkers added. Showed slight improvement in the 3/20 work which may have been with blinkers.   Tiznow RJ’s last two starts have been lesser efforts than his Lecomte in January. Don’t see anything that would indicate the return to that unless you think a two off and one on pattern is at play here.  Henry Jones Not much to go on with this one. Ran well last time out at 6F for his first off a long layoff. Stretches back out where he faltered in his last attempt at the distance. Paco Lopez rides. Fame and Power goes out for Bob Baffert with Irad Ortiz aboard. Last ran at 7F for his first off a layoff and showed improvement. Seems like a horse heading in the right direction. Figures to compete with these.  Donworth Won at first asking for Graham Motion and had been cross-entered on APril 9th at Keeneland. He scratched out of that race and connections obviously feel he has a shot in here. And, with this group it looks like they are probably right.

I’ll play a tri with Divining Rod and Donworth on top with Divining Rod and Donworth and Fame and Power, with Divining Rod and Donworth and Fame and Power and Quimet   Trifecta paid $81.80

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April 11, 2015 Arkansas Derby Grade I 1 1/8 M Oaklawn

100-40-20-10

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
6 American Pharoah $2.20 $2.20 $2.10
7 Far Right $2.80 $2.40
2 Mr. Z $3.80

Time :22-3, :45-4, 1:10-2, 1:35-4, 1:48-2
Time in 100ths :22.77, :45.99, 1:10.54, 1:35.94, 1:48.52

 

Post-race Thoughts

American Pharoah looked very impressive winning this with ease. He did hang back and didn’t chase the pace and then when asked went for the lead and didn’t look back.

Pre-Race Thoughts

The Truth or Else This horse has had 9 lifetime starts and 4 of them have been on a wet track. His only win came at a mile on a fast track so might appreciate getting a break from the slop. Not sure he can compete with a lot of these in here.  Mr. Z I will not be picking Mr. Z in this spot so he will most likely win, finally. His connections are clearly desperate to get him into the derby when a smarter move may be to point him toward the Preakness. Not sure what happened to him in the LA Derby as he regressed. Starting him on 2 weeks rest seems questionable since even if he gets into the Derby not sure how much effort he would be able to put out.  Bridget’s Big Luvy Another horse in here that seems like throwing darts at the wall. The horse stepped up big time last out after a layoff stretching out to 1-1/8 on a muddy track. Can definitely improve from here but not sure if he just loves the mud or is really a contender.  MadefromLucky was no match for American Pharoah in the Rebel on a sloppy track. Seemed to be tiring and the added distance may not help him against Pharoah. An improving horse. One to watch.  Bold Conquest another in here stuck on the sloppy tracks. Looks like he has leveled off. Don’t see him moving forward from here. Nice 6F work on March 30 is one bright spot.  American Pharoah the one to beat. Goes for his 2nd off the layoff and expect improvement from an already nice race in the Rebel. All bullet works since the end of February. Seems like he is primed.  Far Right is well regarded but when looking at the horses he beat in the Southwest and who he lost to as a 2 yo, I am not filled with confidence. Comes in off a layoff which he does run well from. Has the ability to close and will appreciate a faster pace.  Mike Smith rides but not convinced.  Win the Space stretches out from 7F to 1-1.8. A Pulpit colt seems like he could improve with the added distance but don’t see him getting near Pharoah.

American Pharoah, single in multi-race exotics around this race.

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April 4, 2015 Blue Grass Grade I 1 1/8 Keeneland

100-40-20-10

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
5 Carpe Diem $2.80 $2.40 $2.10
8 Danzig Moon $7.80 $5.00
1 Ocho Ocho Ocho $3.20

Time in 5ths :24, :48, 1:12, 1:36-4, 1:49-3
Time in 100ths :24.15, :48.05, 1:12.18, 1:36.94, 1:49.77

Post-race Thoughts
Carpe Diem
once again came through racing up on the pace. No knocks against this horse. Danzig Moon ran just off the pace and finished well and seemed ready for this one. Might have the right closing style.

Pre-Race Thoughts

Ocho Ocho Ocho Know he is much more capable than he showed in the San Felipe. Has been working well and definitely figures to move forward in his second start of the year. He will be happy to avoid going against Dortmund though he has a few tough foes in here to contend with. Finished in front of Far Right as a two year old. Gorgeous Bird did not seem ready to run in the Fountain of Youth. Goes back to Brian Hernandez. Has the ability to stay a little off the pace and close.Has two nice 5F works coming here. Possibility. Pepper Roani Did not show much in lone start on dirt as two year old. Works don’t provide much enthusiasm will pass. Unrivaled is one of these horses that you don’t know much about. Just missed as a two year old on this track but in an unimpressive time. This will be his second start of the year and has run well in his last two starts on a dirt track. A Super Saver son, he has been training at Fair Hill. Could jump up and surprise at a price. Carpe Diem the deserved favorite in here. Did nothing wrong in his first start back this year in the Tampa Bay Derby. Has won at this track before. I’m interested in the cut back to 4F works leading up to this race. Can’t not play him on top. Classy Class expected more from him last out in the Gotham. Did have a somewhat troubled trip and may not have liked the muddy going. Perhaps getting out of New York will do him good though not feeling very confident in him. Danzig Moon threw in the towel in the Tampa Bay Derby. Never seemed to get in the race. He did have one of his best 5 F works in late March so maybe he is more tuned up for this one. Frammento put in a late run in the Fountain of Youth from 15 lengths off the pace. Not sure why it took him quite so long to get going and the horses on the front end were staggering home. He does seem to be a legit closer in here. Figures for a piece.

Playing an exacta box of: Ocho Ocho Ocho, Carpe Diem, Unrivaled

Playing a superfecta box of: Ocho Ocho Ocho, Carpe Diem, Unrivaled, Frammento.

 

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April 4, 2015 Santa Anita Derby Grade I 1 1/8 M Santa Anita Park

100-40-20-10

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
1 Dortmund $3.20 $2.40 $2.10
2 One Lucky Dane $4.80 $2.80
4 Bolo $3.00

Time in 5ths :22-1, :46-2, 1:10-1, 1:35-3, 1:48-3
Time in 100ths :22.46, :46.36, 1:10.57, 1:35.68, 1:48.73

Post-race Thoughts:

No knocks against Dortmund here but he was never challenged her set and controlled the pace throughout. Prospect Park had nothing left in the tank. It now appears PP may have been sick so perhaps that explains it.

Pre-Race Thoughts

Dortmund, Prospect Park, and Bolo are in for a rematch of the San Felipe with Dortmund’s undefeated streak on the line. Dortmund looks strong, however his last three races he has not beaten the second place finisher in overwhelming fashion and the added distance could make him slightly vulnerableOne Lucky Dane returns to the graded stakes rank since his last start in the BC juveinile where he finished 9-1/2 lengths behind Texas Red.  Won convincingly in his first race of 2015. Beat Prospect Park as a two year old.  Has been working well at 6 furlongs. Cross the Line comes over from Golden Gate after finishing second to Meta Boss in the El Camino. Meta Boss did not fare well in his switch to dirt and there is no telling how Cross the Line will do.  His sire did run well in the Arkansas Derby so there is some potential. If he were to take a step forward as Bolo did last time on the switch to dirt he could be right there at the wire. Likes to come from just off the pace and has run 1-1/8 distance. Bolo ran the biggest race of his life last out and seems to be likely one who could bounce. However, he does get Mike Smith back. He will go for the lead. Prospect Park seems to have had the light bulb go off particularly since the switch to Desormeaux. Like the steady improvement but am slightly concerned about the added distance though that may be the distance he needs to catch Dortmund. Added a 6F work prior to this race. Will take a pass on Big Read Sanchez.

Eaxacta Box: Prospect Park, Dortmund, One Lucky Dane.  Exacta $6.70


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April 4, 2015 Wood Memorial Grade I 1 1/8 M Aqueduct

100-40-20-10

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
4 Frosted $6.40 $4.50 $3.00
7 Tencendur $15.40 $5.60
5 El Kabeir $2.70

Time in 5ths :24-2, :49, 1:13-2, 1:37-3, 1:50-1
Time in 100ths: :24.50, :49.04, 1:13.41, 1:37.76, 1:50.31

 

Post-Race Thoughts

Frosted looked very good winning this and seems to have recovered well from his last. There was something odd about the race El Kabeir ran. Some say the dirt kick up was bad and some say he just reached his top. I’m not ready to throw in the towel on El Kabeir just yet. He did come back a bit and was still running at the end. He has had a hard campaign and since he was assured of a derby spot there was no need to push him in this one. Tencendur was the right running style for the derby and may be one to watch.

Pre-Race Thoughts

Tiz Shea D ran well last out in the Gotham running for his new connections for the first time. No reason to think he won’t improve off of that race but still don’t think he will catch El Kabeir. He ran just off the pace last time and will probably do so again but did not have quite enough to keep it going. Toasting Master will most likely go out for the lead as he did  in the Gotham where he finished 4th. I expect him to fade as he reaches his distance limit. Lieutenant Colonel did not run well in the Gotham. They were asking a lot of him last time out and he did not rise to the occasion. I expect improvement today with Irad Ortiz in the irons, but not sure it will be enough. Frosted finished 4th in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream where he tried to take the field gate to wire but ended up fading to 4th. Interesting that Rosario is on board here and Ortiz switches to Lieutenant Colonel. Has been working very well. Could contend with these. El Kabeir is the horse to beat here. He looked impressive last out coming from off the pace. Has been working well and has the ability to run tactically as needed. Figures to set off the early pace and close strongly on his home track. Daredevil First start of the year was last out in the Swale at GP at 7F. Had no closing kick for the end of that race. Figures to improve off of that start but don’t see him fully ready to compete with these. Tencendur 5th in the Gotham ran steadily throughout but had no late run. Figures to improve if the track is drier though it will have moisture in it after the Friday rains.

Win/Pace El Kabeir
Exacta Box: El Kabeir/Frosted /Tiz Shea D
Superfecta: Key El Kabeir with  El Kabeir/Frosted /Tiz Shea D with
El Kabeir/Frosted /Tiz Shea D/Daredevil/Lieutenant Colonel with
El Kabeir/Frosted /Tiz Shea D/Daredevil/Lieutenant Colonel /Tencendur.

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March 28, 2015 Louisiana Derby II Grade 1 1/8 M Fair Grounds

100-40-20-10

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
9 International Star $6.60 $3.60 $2.60
1 Stanford $7.00 $4.80
6 War Story $2.80

Time in 5ths :24, :48-3, 1:13-1, 1:37-4, 1:50-3
Time in 100ths: :24.03, :48.59, 1:13.27, 1:37.94, 1:50.67

Post-race Thoughts:
Stanford tried to take the field wire-to-wire and put up a good fight with International Star finally losing by half a length. Now that we’ve all officially given up on Mr. Z, he will probably come back to surprise at a big price later this summer, but for now he is just not up for the task. International Star ran well coming from off the pace. Does not seem to have any fear of shooting through small openings which will serve him well come Derby day.  He may be a notch below the top echelon Derby contenders but he knows how to get it done so can’t be discounted as some have done.
Pre-race Thoughts:
Competitive field of 8 take on the 1-1/8 race at Fairgrounds. International Star and War Story look to go off as the top two. They finished one/two in the Risen star last out. Since then International Star has had a couple of easy works. Did the last take a lot out of him or is he primed for this race? Star has done nothing wrong so far as a 3 year old. He does what he needs to do to win without doing anything flashy. War Story closed very well in the Risen Star. Not sure why the Jockey switch to Talamo but figures to be still improving. Mr. Z seems like a horse who just never can quite get it done. He gets the blinkers off for today’s trip but not sure that will help him too much. Definitely seems like he can contend with these but will have to put it all together today. Keen Ice also closed well in the Risen Star and can still move forward from that race. Stanford has run at the 1-1/8 distance before but finished well behind the leader before being DQ’d. Picks up Geroux in place of Castellano. Will have to step up to finish in the money with these. St. Joe Bay, who I gave no shot to in the Risen Star, held on to the fourth spot after leading the way  Has had a couple of nice 6F works and could be one to step forward here, as well. A Day in Paradise has been working well for Larry Jones and fished 2nd to War Story, two back.

Boxing: International Star, Mr. Z, St. Joe Bay, and War Story in a trifecta and superfecta. Did not include Stanford.

 

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March 28, 2015 Florida Derby I 1 1/8 M Gulfstream Park

100-40-20-10

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
7 Materiality $5.60 $3.00 $2.40
9 Upstart $2.60 $2.20
1 Ami’s Flatter $3.00

Time in 5ths: :23-4, :48-1, 1:12-2, 1:38-2, 1:52-1
Time in 100ths: :23.89, :48.24, 1:12.51, 1:38.57, 1:52.30

Post-race Thoughts:
Another weird playing Gulfstream track had this race come down to a two horse race between Materiality and Upstart. Both looked pretty tired coming down the stretch.  Upstart had every opportunity to go by but just could not. Not sure his running style will suit the Derby, but Materiality looks like the better able to go the 1-1/4 distance of these two. I would say he is a top contender.

Pre-race Thoughts:

Looks like a rematch between Upstart and Itsaknockout who battled it out in the Fountain of Youth last time out. Though Upstart was DQd to second, I think he ran the better race and had more left than Itsaknockout. The track at Gulfstream that day seemed dead and all the runners from that race have the opportuntiy to move forward from there. Indianaughty seemed to want no part of the 1-1/8 distance in the El Camino Royal but perhaps it was an issue of the golden gate surface.  If he is able to return to the running style he displayed on the Gulfstream turf course where he came from off the pace, he has a shot to finish in the top three. Ami’s Flatter picked up the pieces behind Carpe Diem in the Tamp Bay Derby. Improved with the added Lasix and seems possible for a piece in here. Quimet did finish second to MadefromLucky at Gulfstream on February 4th. He then showed nothing in his follow-up performance, finishing far behind Materiality. Materiality by Afleet Alex will be going out for only his 3rd lifetime start. He has won easily in both starts, earning a 104 beyer in his last. I am a fan of Afleet Alex horses and think he may be special, but it may be too soon to tell. He is due to regress, but I will play him as one of the top contenders, nonetheless. He will be running on or near the front similar to Upstart.  I’ll take a pass on Dekabrist and My point Exactly.

Keying Upstart top and bottom in exactas with Itsaknockout, Materiality, Indianaughty. Exacta paid:$11.00

Super: key Upstart on top of Itsaknockout, Materiality, Indianaughty, over Itsaknockout, Materiality, Indianaughty,  Quimet, Ami’s Flatter

 

 

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March 22, 2015 Sunland Derby I 1 1/8 M Sunland

50 -20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
1 Firing Line $2.40 $2.10 $2.10
3 Where’s The Moon $4.40 $3.00
7 Pain And Misery $4.80

Time in 5ths: :22-1, :45-2, 1:09, 1:34-3, 1:47-2
Time in 100ths: :22.33, :45.39, 1:09.12, 1:34.70, 1:47.39

Post-race Thoughts:
No surprises here.

Pre-race Thoughts
Firing Line Finished to 2nd last two times out. Moves away from him and has the chance to pick up the win he needs. Quick turnaround for Lord Nelson who finished fourth to Dortmund last out in the San Felipe. Think Firing Line will be better but figures to run well and be there at the end. Where’s the Moon Sunland horse may be a sneaky play but seems a bit slower than these. Why Two Bob and John horse that has an interesting work tab. Trainer does well with horses winning last out. Victor Espinoza back aboard. Malibu Mogul stretches out and gets blinkers. Seems like this is a tall order for his first route distance. Tiznow R J Assmussen Albarado. Took a step backward in the Risen Star or the competition was just too tough. Speed doesn’t seem to be his strong point.  Pain and Misery did not do well in his first effort stretching out. Returns to his previous trainer. Has speed but don’t think it will carry him through this distance. Dirt Monster will be making his second start at s longer distance and is eligible to improve. May round out the exotics.

Boxing Firing Line, Lord Nelson and Why Two in exactas. In place of Lord Nelson who will not run, will add Where’s the Moon. Box a superfecta with these three plus Dirt Monster. Exacta paid $6.10

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March 21, 2015 Spiral Grade III 1 1/8 M Turfway Park

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
12 Dubai Sky $16.80 $7.40 $6.00
9 Conquest Typhoon $5.40 $3.60
10 Firespike $11.80

Time in 5ths:  :22-4, :47-2, 1:12, 1:36-4, 1:50-1
Time in 100ths: :22.99, :47.57, 1:12.09, 1:36.98, 1:50.26

Post-race Thoughts
Dubai Sky looked impressive winning fairly easily. I think if this horse can translate a performance like this to dirt he will be a top contender. Firespike was closing well. Might be one to keep an eye on for down the road.

Pre-race Thoughts
12 3 year.olds signed on for this year’s edition of the Spiral at 1-1/8th on the Turfway synthetic surface. Royal Son goes out for the Pletcher/Prescott combo. Won last time out on this same course at 1-1/16. Steps up today but looks well meant. Big Family Ships up from Gulfstream. Not particularly fast there and doesn’t look to appreciate the longer distance. Watchyourownbobber  aHard Spun colt goes out for Maker/maragh. Has been running on Turf and form should translate over to the synthetic surface. Has been working well for his new trainer. Interesting. Wireless Future for Amoss/Geroux  by ScatDaddy. Has mostly been running on Turf but seems like he may be a bit outclassed here. Another Lemon Drop finished very well last time out on turf at 7-1/2F. Stretches back out and could come up for a piece. Imperia disappointed last time out in the Risen Star. Has only one work since that effort. Rosario onboard may help him step forward but he may have capped his abilities in the KY JC last year. Magic of Believing ships in from Oaklawn for McPeek. Steps up in class and doesn’t seem like he will want to keep up with these. Task Force Glory is another that goes out for Maker. Got off to troubled start last time out which may have been his excuse but think he is well behind these.  Conquest Typhoon ran last in the El Camino at Golden Gate for his first start of the new year where he finished 3rd as the favorite. May have needed that race and looks to move forward off of it. Firespike another for Maker, but don’t like his chances either. Metaboss the winner of the El Camino seems to have put things together as a 3 year old and looks like the one to beat. Dubai Sky for the Mott barn with Lezcano aboard ran nicely in the Kitten’s Joy last out at Gulfstream. Another turf horse in here looks interesting to me and may offer some more appealing post time odds than others in here.

Top Contenders: Royal Son, Conquest Typhoon, Metaboss, Dubai Sky  Second Tier: Imperia, Watchyourownbobber. Will box top contenders in a trifecta. (Exacta paid $83. Should have played it rather than the tri.)

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March 14, 2015 Rebel Grade II 1 1/16 M Oaklawn Park

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
4 American Pharoah $2.80 $2.20 $2.10
2 Madefromlucky $3.40 $2.80
5 Bold Conquest $2.80

Time in 5ths :24-2, :49-3, 1:15-1, 1:39-3, 1:45-3
Times in 100ths: :24.41, :49.63, 1:15.22, 1:39.76, 1:45.78

Post-Race Thoughts:
American Pharoah looks like the real deal.

Pre-Race Thoughts
This seems like it will be American Pharoah‘s race to win or lose. Based on his 2-year old form, he should win easily. However, he has been off since September and the track will be moist so there are things that may not work out. If it’s not Pharoah, the horses I think could pull the upset are The Truth or Else who ran well last out in the Southwest finishing second on a sloppy track. He can move forward off of that race. Made from Lucky has been working very well and has already run at the 1-1/8 distance and won. Bold Conquest could improve 2nd off the layoff for Assmussen but he seems a step slower than these. The same can be said of Sakima, another Curlin colt. They both could fill out the back end of the exotics.

I’ll box American Pharoah, Truth or Else and Made from Lucky in an Exacta Exacta paid $8.60

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March 7, 2015 San Felipe Grade II 1 1/16 M Santa Anita Park

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
3 Dortmund $3.60 $2.60 $2.20
6 Prospect Park $3.80 $3.40
7 Bolo $4.60

Times in 5ths: :23   :46-4   1:111   1:35-2   1:41-3

Times in 100ths: :23.12   :46.98   1:11.30   1:35.51   1:41.65

 

Post-Race Thoughts

 

Pre Race Thoughts
Lord Nelson won the San Vincente with Rafel Bejarano beating Texas Red. Has been working a lot. A contender. Ocho Ocho Ocho off since last year. has an excellent work tab. Likes to be near the pace and also figures well in here. Dortmund is the most accomplished in here. Looked impressive beating Firing Line last out. Will see how he bounces back from that race. Carrying 5 extra pounds. The Gomper  seems a bit overmatched in here.  Kenjisstorm goes out for new connections for the first time. Trainer/Jockey win at a 30% clip. Has shown great improvement in his works. I feel he is a wild card in here. Prospect Park has not faced much in his previous races but does sport a 93 beyer. Bolo gets his first start since December and first start on dirt, working well, and knows how to win. Pullmarack has been running against state breds. Might get a minor piece. Sir Samson finished third in San Vincente. Gets the blinks taken off today which may help him stay back a bit, however, based on his recent works, he looks like he will be going straight to the front. Pain and Misery ran well on Turf last out. Tries a route for the first time and feel like he will not appreciate the added distance

Playing Superfecta: Dortmund/Ocho Ocho Ocho/Lord Nelson over Dortmund/Ocho Ocho Ocho/Lord Nelson over Dortmund/Ocho Ocho Ocho/Lord Nelson, Prospect Park and Kenjisstorm.

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March 7, 2015 Tampa Bay Derby Grade II 1 1/16 M Tampa Bay

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
3 Carpe Diem $4.00 $3.00 $2.40
4 Ami’s Flatter $9.00 $6.80
1 Divining Rod $5.60

Times in 5ths: :23   :46-3   1:11-1   1:37-1   1:43-3
Times in 100ths: :23.10   :46.65   1:11.35   1:37.22   1:43.60

Post-Race Thoughts
Carpe Diem
did not disappoint in his first start of the year. Ami’s Flatter improved with the Lasix added. Not sure this was the toughest prep so will hold judgment on Carpe.

Pre-Race Thoughts
Divining Rod just lost the SF Davis to Ocean Knight after leading most of the way. That seems to be his best running style and it may not suit him well here. Ocean Knight sat just off the early pace and was able to just get a head in front. Eligible to improve 2nd off the layoff. Carpe Diem makes his first start of the year since finishing 2nd to Texas Red in BC juvenile. Has been working well and figures to be the top contender here. Will want to be up close to the early speed. Ami’s Flatter disappointed in the Davis last out but gets blinkers added and Lasix for the first time. Thinking he will be able to move forward from his last and figures in the exotics. My Johnny Be Good was tiring in the Davis. Think he may be distanced limited. Souper Colossal is 4 of 5 in his starts and comes in of a 5F Turf win. Not feeling very confident in his chances at this distance. Will wait and see. Great Stuff closed a bit in his last start. Takes a big step up. Will be looking elsewhere. Moonlight Bandit goes for his 2nd start of the year after his Turf debut. Has been working very well but think just may be a step slower than these in here. Also going out for Mark Casse is Danzig Moon and though his works are slightly slower than Moonlight’s, I think he has more ability and look for him get a piece.

Playing a trifecta with Carpe Diem, Ocean Knight, over Carpe Diem, Ocean Knight,  Danzig Moon, Ami’s Flatter, Divining Rod Trifecta paid 147.20

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March 7, 2015 Gotham Grade III 1 1/16 M Aqueduct

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
4 El Kabeir $4.60 $3.10 $2.50
6 Tiz Shea D $8.00 $4.60
3 Classy Class $3.80

Times in 5ths: :23   :46-3   1:12   1:38-4   1:45-2
Times in 100ths: :23.00   :46.63   1:12.01   1:38.89   1:45.56

Post-race Thoughts

Thought El Kabeir looked good winning this one coming from well back. This was a different running style for him and it may prove an effective change in tactics.  The mysterious Tiz Shea D also looked impressive coming in for second. Finish was a bit slow but track was deep.

Pre-race Thoughts
There are a number of horses in here that just seem to be a step too slow for the rest even though they may be improving 3 year olds. Combat Diver, Don’t Bet with Bruno, Toasting Master and Uninfluenced are that for me and I will be leaving off my tickets. The top contenders are El Kabeir going out for Terranova/Lopez who lost as the favorite in the Withers. His best effort so far has been in the Jerome on a good track which he might get today. Classy Class finished just behind El Kabeir in the Withers and is eligible to move forward. I am concerned that he only has one work since. Blame Jim for Pletcher/J. Ortiz comes in for his second off the layoff and has a lot of speed. Has never gone beyond 6F but could get the distance and steal it on the front end if the track isn’t kind to closers. Tiz Shea D goes out for Mott for the first time. This is a huge step forward. Not impressed with the latest work out, and not sure what the new connections see, but somewhat intriguing. Lieutenant Colonel is also making his second start. Trained by Chad Brown with Caramouche aboard.  I think he needs more time. Tencendur gets blinkers on. Has some nice recent works and looks to improve. I don’t see him winning but could definitely figure underneath. Note 3 horse entry from Pletcher

Box: El Kabeir , Tencendur Classy Class in an exacta.
Key El Kabeir on top in tri with Tencendur, Tiz Shea D, Classy Class underneath  PAID $195.50

 

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February 21, 2015 Fountain of Youth Grade II 1 1/16 M Gulfstream Park

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
5 Itsaknockout $12.80 $5.00 $4.00
7 Upstart $2.60 $2.10
3 Frammento $12.80

Time in 5ths: 24-1, :47-4, 1:11-3, 1:38-4, 1:46-1
Time in 100ths: 24.27, :47.87, 1:11.65, 1:38.98, 1:46.28

Post-race Thoughts
Really hated the DQ in this one. I’ve seen far worse and Upstart was forced into the initial bump by Frosted. In addition, Itsaknockout, however well he ran, was not going by Upstart. I keep Upstart as a top contender. Track was very slow and dull so cannot rely on times for gauging the performances in this race. I did think Frammento was going to improve and he sure came with a strong late run. Will see if he continues to step forward. Gorgeous Bird never showed much. Not sure if the track was the problem.

Pre-race Thoughts
Juan and Bina Castellano/Delgado J/T combo winning at .21 Blinkers off -if work on Feb 14 was blinkers off, great improvement. Unlikely but could step forward. Also has the one good, one bad pattern, which doesn’t bode well. Bluegrass Singer Paco Lopez/Vitali  3rd behind Upstart in Holy Bull Only 3F works and needs to get extra distance. Not liking. Frammento Velazguez/Zito Blinkers on. Ran well last time Velazquez had the mount. Will have to make a big leap forward, but could figure in the trifecta. Gorgeous Bird Wilkes/Rosario This horse seems to be improving. Like the move to 5F works. Should improve 2nd off the layoff. Contender. Itsaknockout Pletcher/Saez Lightly raced. Similar form as Gorgeous Bird. Almost same finishing times. Frosted McLaughlin/I. Ortiz This horse may have a bit of seconditis as 4 of 5 starts he has finished 2nd. Goes against Upstart again but could improve with a better start from a post away from the rail. Upstart Violette/J. Ortiz Has already shown he is a top contender. See no reason for him to regress here. Danny Boy Romans/Lanerie. First start since October. Don’t see anything that shows he will be taking a big step forward. Perhaps could get a piece at the back end of the exotics.

This seems to be Upstart’s race but there are a couple who could possibly upset.  I will try a trifecta  box of Upstart, Gorgeous Bird, Frosted, and Frammento. Will play a Super with Upstart and Gorgeous Bird on top with  UpstartGorgeous Bird,  Frosted, Itsaknockout and Frammento with UpstartGorgeous Bird,  FrostedItsaknockout, Frammento, and Danny Boy.

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February 21, 2015 Risen Star Grade II 1 1/16 M Fair Grounds

50-20-10-5

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
10 International Star $9.60 $4.60 $3.40
6 War Story $4.80 $3.40
8 Keen Ice $4.00

Time in 5ths :23-1, :47, 1:12, 1:37-1, 1:43-4
Time in 100ths :23.29, :47.08, 1:12.16, 1:37.36, 1:43.82)

 

Post-race Thoughts

Thought International Star looked good winning this one and War Story was coming late but tired and looked better than I expected he would. Not sure this was the toughest caliber field as St. Joe Bay still held on for 4th after leading the whole way. Will keep my eye on the top two finishers.

Pre-race Thoughts

St.Joe Bay Geroux/Miller Don’t see any reason to like this horse. Seems to not like running at a mile, won’t like the longer distance. Tizonow R J  - Albarado, Asmussen Ran well last time out in the Lecomte but came up short to two others in here. Possible for underneath but don’t think there will be much of a move forward from last. Bluff Clark/Jones Tapit colt Won easily last out but was untested. Working very well and has shown improvement each time out.. Looks like he will need to be near the lead to suit his running style. JS Bach Pletcher Velasquez Was previous entered in the Southwest. Ran well last time out at Gulfstream at a lower level. Tale of the Cat sire. Good speed a definite contender. Won in front running style. Imperia Smith McLaughlin – Ran well back in November and just lost to El Kabeir by a head. El Kabeir disappointed slightly in his last so that may not flatter Imperia. Think may not be primed for best run. Figures underneath. War Story goes out for Amoss.  ran well in the LeComte last out at Fairgrounds. Has been working well. Gets Desormaux for this race and has a shot to step forward off last but concerned distance may hurt him. Hero of Humor Sharp Humor colt. Won last time out beating only 4 others after a poor showing in the Lecomte after bumping at the break in that one. Would normally pass over this horse, but  after the shocker he pulled in the 2012 Lousiana Derby, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Likes to be on or near the lead. Keen Ice Romans/Graham Curlin colt This will be his 2nd off the layoff having had a hard time of it in the Holy Bull. Gets Graham to ride but I don’t see anything in his works or his previous races to sprovide much enthusiasm. The best thing he has going for him is running already at 1-1/8 and finishing 3rd at Aqueduct last November. Best he might do here is pick up a minor piece. Big Big Easy Asmussen/Eramia  Has been off since last October and based on his previous performances I would pass. He has been working well though with a variety of distances which may move him forward. Will want to be near the pace. International Star Maker/Mena Fusaichi Pegasus sire. Won the Lecomte after the layoff. Has been working well. Figures to improve off last and will like the added distance. Top Contender.

I’m playing a superfecta:
International Star, JS Bach over Imperia, Bluff, International Star, JS Bach over Imperia, Bluff, International Star, JS Bach, Keen Ice over  Imperia, Bluff, International Star, JS Bach, Hero of Humor, Keen Ice.
 Playing International Star to Win and Place.

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February 22, 2015 Southwest III 1 1/16 M Oaklawn Park

10-4-2-1

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
6 Far Right $7.40 $3.40 $2.80
8 The Truth Or Else $14.00 $7.60
11 Mr. Z $3.40

Time in 5ths: 23-3, :47-4, 1:14-1, 1:40-4, 1:47-2
Time in 100ths: :23.61, :47.90, 1:14.33, 1:40.86, 1:47.50)

Post-race Thoughts

The track was sloppy and probably impacted some of the runners in here.

Pre-race Thoughts race rescheduled with slightly different entrants:

Bayerd gets Ramon Vazquez on board trained by Steve Asmussen. Finished second to Far Right last time out but seemed to be losing ground at the end. Thinking he’s going to regress off of that race.  Majestico Gets blinkers added today, but I don’t think they will put him in the winners’ circle. This horse may be more of a grass course horse. Prefer Lukas’ other horse Mr Z.  Hillbilly Royalty Donnie Von Hemmel/Quinonez Originally not entered in the Southwest but extra week between starts makes this possible. Ran extremely well lasttime out and could be the one to beat. Front running style. Private Prospect Campbell/ Birzer 4th to 3 others in here in the Smarty Jones with his first off the layoff. Looks to improve second time out.  Bold Conquest Has been off since October. Has some nice sharp works but probably needs a race. Gets Borel and a nice work in on Feb 13. Far Right ran well last time out at Oaklawn which was his first off a layoff. Figures to improve off of that race. Top contender. Closed well. Phenominal Phoenix Summer bird colt trained by Donnie Von Hemmel with Matt Berry aboard. Gets the blinkers today. Which may keep him more focused but will have to step up big time to contend with most of these. Closed well last time out.  The truth or else Kenny McPeek trainer. Did not run well last out in the Remsen at Aqueduct. I’ll be looking elsewhere. Kantune battled it out in his last race at Oaklawn park and came out the winner. Think this horse has good potential. Likes Bridgmohan as the rider. A live long shot in here. Stays up near the pace. Bold Animaux tries dirt for the first time for new trainer Blehler. Feel this may be a bit too big of a step up from the levels he’s been running but it is quite a vote of confidence from his new connections. Let’s watch and see. Mr. Z has run consistently but always comes up a bit short. Feel he is due to take a step forward and Nakatani may be the one to help him do that. Was right up there with Dortmund in the Los Al futurity and Dortmund came back to run very well.

Playing an exacta of: Mr. Z,  Hillybilly Royalty over Mr. Z,  Hillybilly RoyaltyKantune, and Far Right.

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February 14, 2015 El Camino Real Derby III 1 1/8 M Golden Gate

10-4-2-1

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
3 Metaboss $15.20 $7.80 $4.80
5 Cross The Line $6.00 $3.60
9 Conquest Typhoon $2.80

Time in 5ths :25-1, :49-1, 1:13-4, 1:38, 1:49-4
Time in 100ths: 25.29, :49.25, 1:13.98, 1:38.06, 1:49.92

Post-race Thoughts
Metaboss looked like the real deal coming from way back to win easily. One to keep an eye on. Will have to see whether form on synth and turf can translate to dirt.  Conquest Typhoon seemed to fold up his tent when passed. May not be a fighter.

Pre-race Thoughts

10 horses entered. Donji New Trainer but will be a surprised if much improvement is made. Indianaughty by Indian Charlie, Dale Romans trainer Corey Lanerie rides, is a top contender. Ran well in his first US start on Turf at Gulfstream. May like the return to synthetic. Has been working well. Has ability to close. Metaboss goes out for Bonde/Solis. Stays near the pace. Improved last time out with added distance. Ernest Shackleton Doug O’neill/Drayden Van Dyke. Duke of Marmalade sire good stats and trainer/jockey combo is good. Cross the Line by Line of David Hollendorfer Juan Hernadez, seems to be improving with every race. Harmonic Has already run at this distance though at an unimpressive time and a very low level. No Russell Baze. Will pass. Soul Driver Mullins/Denis Carr Beaten by Cross the Line last out. Stand and Salute Hollendorfer/Baze Has been improving. Forced wide last time out. Can definitely step forward. Closer. Conquest Typhoon Mike Smith Mark Casse Seems to have the ability to adapt to different race situations. Can be on the lead or off the pace. Not much speed in this race will probably appreciate the longer distance and can run on synthetic. Mischief Clem for Desormaux/Hess. Probably will be front runner in a race without much early speed. Will need to finish well to the end.

A hard race to figure and don’t have a strong opinion here. If I were to take a shot, I’d try and exacta box of Mischief Clem and Conquest Typhoon.

 

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February 7, 2015 Robert B. Lewis Grade II 1 1/16 M Santa Anita Park

10-4-2-1

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
6 Dortmund $3.20 $2.10 $2.10
5 Firing Line $2.20 $2.10
2 Rock Shandy $2.10

Times in 5ths: :23   :46-4   1:10-3   1:35-2   1:42-1
Times in 100ths: :23.18   :46.80   1:10.70   1:35.54   1:42.20

Post-Race Thoughts

Sharing the card with California Chrome and Shared Belief this turned out to be an even more thrilling race. Firing Line did seem to have the race won when Dortmund battled back to win by a neck. Dortmund does seem to have the grit for these close races as he was beaten Firing Line twice in a row. Rock Shandy was third but no match for either of these two.

Pre-Race Thoughts
Field of 6 signed on for this prep and not the most stellar field. The two most likely to duel it out are Dortmund and Firing Line. I’ll give the nod to Firing Line who finished 2nd toDortmund last out in the Los Al Futurity back in December. Behind these two, Rock Shandy looks to improve off his performance in the Sham which was his first on dirt. Sebastian Heart comes in off a string of mediocre works and finishing well behind Rock in the Sham. Tizcano tries a route for the first time but takes a big step up.  The only thing of interest here is his last two 7F works and his return to the Peter Miller barn. Hero Ten All has the ability to close but will need a very fast pace with horses who are tiring. I am not sure he will get that here.

I’ll play an Exacta with Firing line on top and DortmundRock Shandy, and Tizcano underneath.

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February 7, 2015 Withers Grade III 1 1/16 M Aqueduct

10-4-2-1

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
2 Far From Over $14.40 $4.20 $2.60
7 El Kabeir $2.50 $2.10
1 Classy Class $2.40

Times in 5ths: :24-2   :47-4   1:12   1:37-2   1:43-4
Times in 100ths: :24.40   :47.95   1:12.01   1:37.56   1:43.93

Post-race Thoughts
Far From Over looked impressive coming from last to first after his bad stumble out of the gate. However, El Kabeir did run well and the Aqueduct track was favoring closers all day. Times are not that impressive. Not sure that bodes well for any of these horses, however, I still like El Kabeir more than Far From Oer.

 

Pre-race Thoughts
Another small field for this year’s running of the Withers. Terranova’s El Kabeir looks to be the one to beat coming in off his win in the Jerome.   A few in here could move forward today. Classy Class for McLaughlin and Irad Ortiz has been working consistently and comes in off a layoff. Ortiz seems to excel in races like this. Far From Over goes out for Pletcher and Manuel Franco after having been ridden by Irad Ortiz in his first start. March another offspring of Blame goes out for Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz. Was tiring last out but added some 5F works to help with his conditioning. Unrivaled is a Super Saver who has been doing well as a sire. Shows a nice work at Fair Hill. He won his last race handily and steps up today. General Bellamy gets Lasix for the first time. He finished 3rd in the Jerome well behind El Kabeir but definitely could move forward today. Tencendur ran well last out but may prefer a muddy track.

Boxing in an exacta: El Kabeir, Classy Class, Unrivaled
Unrivaled to Show

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January 25, 2014 Holy Bull 1 1/16 M Gulfstream Park

10-4-2-1

Post-race Thoughts

Pre-race Thoughts

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January 19, 2015 Smarty Jones 1 Mile Oaklawn

Points: 10 4 2 1

 

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Jan. 3, 2015 Jerome, Aqueduct, 1 Mile 70 Yards, Grade II

Points: 10 4 2 1 

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
9 El Kabeir $4.90 $3.20 $2.60
8 Nasa $4.60 $4.20
6 General Bellamy $6.00

Post-race Thoughts

Note: General Bellamy got off to a very bad start and finished well.

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Jan. 10, 2015 Sham, Santa Anita, 1 Mile, Grade III

Points: 10 4 2 1

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
7 Calculator $3.20 $2.40 $2.20
5 Rock Shandy $10.60 $5.40
2 Pioneerof The West $6.00

 

Post Race Thoughts:

Easy win for Calculator. Looked impressive. Will have to see if he can bring the same form to a longer distance.

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Jan. 17, 2015 Lecomte, Fair Grounds, 1 Mile 70 Yards, Grade III

Points: 10 4 2 1

 

PG# HORSE WIN PLACE SHOW
1 International Star $20.40 $8.80 $5.20
4 War Story $7.20 $4.60
2 Tiznow R J $4.20

 

Post Race Thoughts: 

International Star won coming nicely from off the pace. He did look rather ungainly in the stretch. Hero of Humor who faded to 7th at the end, ran an interesting race for 3/4s. Fell back and was able to recapture the lead. Looks like he is a horse with a lot of fight. Will keep an eye on him.

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