2015 FrontRunner Stakes Preview

2015 FrontRunner Stakes Preview

The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby makes its second stop on Saturday, September 26 at Santa Anita. The Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes will be front and center for the 2 year old males.

The FrontRunner Stakes will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main dirt track with a purse of $300,000. The winner will receive 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard while second, third, and fourth will receive 4 points, 2 points, and 1 point, respectively.

Post time is scheduled for 5:30 PM Eastern Time and the race is carded as the fifth race of a 11 races. Free past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, September 26 and race 5. The entires have been listed in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Go LongFernando PerezKeith Desormeaux20-1
2On FireGary StevensSimon Callaghan12-1
3BlameitonthelawTyler BazeJohn Sadler5-1
4NyquistMario GutierrezDoug O'Neill6-5
5Hollywood DonBrice BlancPeter Miller4-1
6Rare CandyJoseph TalamoDavid Hofmans15-1
7SwipeKent DesormeauxKeith Desormeaux5-1
8Mt VeederMartin GarciaBob Baffert6-1

1. Go Long – He started his career from the dreaded rail spot in his debut and had a decent effort. He showed speed and tired to finish fourth by 4 3/4 lengths. He went to the lead again in his second start and had plenty of company, but was able to pull away near the wire for a 3/4 length victory. In his last start, he went long, but on the grass at one mile in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. It was a dull effort where he sat well of the pace before passing tiring horses and finished sixth. The return to dirt will help, but he has to step up in a big way to contend in this spot.

2. On Fire – In his debut going 6 furlongs, he went to contend for the lead shortly after the break, but was no match for the top two. He did, however, hang on for third and lost by 5 1/4 lengths. He was given more distance in his second race going a mile. He had a wide trip for most of the race and prompted the pace three wide on the backstretch and far turn. He took the lead in the stretch, but had to hold on for the win by a half-length. The connections are appealing, but he too will have to run better in this spot to contend for the win honors.

3. Blameitonthelaw – He began his career at Del Mar going 5.5 furlongs where he got a wonderful trip behind the leaders. He was able to pull away in that one to win by 4 1/4 lengths before taking on Grade 1 competition in the Del Mar Futurity. In that race, he had a similar trip behind the leaders while wide. However, he was no match for the to two and he finished third by eight. Both of those horses he lost to return here (Nyquist and Swipe). He will have to get better in this spot, which he could with is pedigree and the blinkers going on. He has a good chance of hitting the board.

4. Nyquist – We arrive at the favorite for this race, a colt who has done little wrong. He won his debut in a game effort by a head before waiting for graded stakes competition at Del Mar. His second race was in the Grade 2 Best Pal where he improved dramatically with a 5 1/4 length win while pressing the pace. His latest race was the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity where he battled for the lead and then had a nice bid entering the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths. He has not raced at two turns, but being by Uncle Mo, it should not be an issue. He is the deserving favorite and is the one to beat.

5. Hollywood Don – He began his career going a mile on the turf, but had a slow start and then was wide for most of the running of the race. He made no impact on the race late, as he finished seventh by 4 1/4 lengths. He came back in his second start to go gate-to-wire in an impressive race where he set fast fractions early on and was tracked all the way around the turf course. His last race was the Del Mar Juvenile Turf at one mile where he employed a new winning tactic. He sat over four lengths off the lead in the first two calls, but made his move on the far turn. He went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths for his second victory in a row. He has not raced on dirt and clearly has an affinity for turf. He has a running style that will help, but he will need to be more competitive to have a chance to win though he could hit the board.

6. Rare Candy – He started his career in New York with a five furlong turf dash at Belmont. He took a while to get going, but closed determinedly to finish only three quarters of a length back in second. He was then shipped to California where he was sent a mile on the turf in another maiden race. He went gate-to-wire that day in a game performance where he won by 2 1/4 lengths after setting comfortable fractions. He then took on stakes competition in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf, but was outrun early. He made a solid rally in the lane and just missed third place. He has had some really good works on the Santa Anita main track, but the question is can he be good enough?

7. Swipe – He is the most experienced horse in this race with five starts. His first start was in May at 4.5 furlongs where he broke poorly, but rallied strongly to finish second by 2 1/4 lengths. His second start was in the Tremont, but he could not rally again and finished third by 4 1/4 lengths. He broke his maiden in his third start in the Summer Juvenile Championship with a driving finish to win by a head. His next two starts were at Del Mar where he finished second both times to the favorite, Nyquist. He is out of Birdstone so the two turns is not an issue. He is a top candidate to round out the exacta.

8. Mt Veeder – He debuted at Del Mar going 5.5 furlongs where he dueled on the lead before pulling away to win by 2 1/4 lengths. He stepped up into stakes competition where he went gate-to-wire and won by 4 3/4 lengths. He has not raced beyond six furlongs, but he is by Ghostzapper so two turns should not be a big issue. He is probably going to try and wire the field again and has a solid chance here.


#4 Nyquist is the clear favorite here and is decisively the one to beat. He should be able to rate off the speed, which makes him incredibly dangerous, but he will be a short price. #8 Mt Veeder will be going to the lead and could be good enough to make this a very good race. #7 Swipe has been consistent in his career never missing the board, but has not beat Nyquist in the previous two races. #3 Blameitonthelaw is going both long and getting blinkers on, which could improve his chances while #5 Hollywood Don could take a liking to dirt though he will probably have short odds.

Top selection – #4 Nyquist

2nd selection – #8 Mt Veeder

3rd selection – #7 Swipe

4th selection – #3 Blameitonthelaw

A recap of the Grade 1 FrontRunner will be posted on Saturday so be sure to come back and check it out.

2015 Chandelier Stakes Preview

2015 Chandelier Stakes Preview

The second race on the long Road to the 2016 Kentucky Oaks will take place on Saturday, September 26. The Grade 1 Chandelier will be held for 2 year old fillies.

The Chandelier will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Santa Anita with a purse of $300,000. As part of the 2016 Kentucky Oaks prep schedule, the race will award points to the top four finishers that will help determine the starters for the 2016 Kentucky Oaks.

The winner will receive 10 points, second place will receive 4 points, third place will receive 2 points, and fourth place will receive 1 point.

Post time for the Chandelier is scheduled for 7 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the eight race on an eleven race program at Santa Anita. Free past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, September 26 and going to race 8 at Santa Anita. The entries have been provided in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Pretty N CoolMartin GarciaBob Baffert4-1
2Halo DarlinTyler BazeMike Puype12-1
3Vieja LunaJuan LeyvaGustavo Amaya15-1
4YodelsongFernando PerezMike Harrington20-1
5SongbirdMike SmithJerry Hollendorfer3-5
6Sheeza Milky WayRafael BejaranoPeter Eurton12-1
7Land Over SeaMario GutierrezDoug O'Neill9-2
8Jade PrincessVictor EspinozaBob Baffert9-2
9Right ThereKent DesormeauxKeith Desormeaux20-1

1. Pretty N Cool – She is the first of two fillies entered here for trainer Bob Baffert. She broke well in her debut, went to the lead, and put away her competition in the slop to win by 4 1/2 lengths going five furlongs. Next out, she faced the Grade 2 Sorrento field going 6.5 furlongs. She was rated that day off the speed, but the outcome was the same with a winning move on the turn to win by 2 3/4 lengths. She fought for the lead in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, but ultimately was second best by 5 1/4 lengths to Songbird, who also returns in this race. The stretch out to 8.5 furlongs should not be an issue, but she may find herself going head to head again with Songbird for much of this race. She is a major factor in this race.

2. Halo Darlin – She has only one start in her career and it was a nice performance. She faced fellow California maidens at Del Mar early in September. She broke well, sat off the pace in fifth while wide, and then came wide into the stretch. She was able to pull away that day in the stretch to win by five lengths. She will be moving way up in class and also has to tackle two turns for the first time in her career. She will be solid odds, but needs much more to win here.

3. Vieja Luna – She has made all her career starts in Florida at Gulfstream prior to this race. She debuted in the Cassidy Stakes where she broke awkwardly and made a modest rally to grab fourth, but was beaten 11 lengths. She broke better in her second start, but was content to run in last early on before going very wide on the far turn. She was unable to sustain that rally as she finish third by five lengths. She finally broke her maiden in her third start at Gulfstream. She broke well again, sat much closer to the pace, made her move on the far turn, and took over in the stretch to win by 9 1/4 lengths in the slop. She will be trying a route distance and two turns for the first time as well as shipping to a new circuit. She will need a major boost in her running to have a chance in this race.

4. Yodelsong – In her debut at Del Mar on July 31, it appeared she wanted to be on the lead or pressing it, but she ended up getting the perfect trip behind the trio of dueling leaders. She went wide leaving the far turn and entering the stretch while pulling away to win by 6 1/2 lengths. Next up was the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar on September 7 with far different results. She went a mile on the turf and got another good trip in the middle of the pack on the rail. However, she gave way on the far turn and finished eighth by 5 3/4 lengths. It is difficult to tell if she did not like the turf, the distance, or the competition and this spot is not much easier. A big effort is needed for her to contend.

5. Songbird – The clear and overwhelming favorite here began at Del Mar in a maiden special weight race. The rail did not cause her any trouble as she broke like a shot and ran away from the field to win by 6 1/2 lengths. Up next was the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and she had to fight with fellow entrant Pretty N Cool for much of that race. She was able to put her away and win by 5 1/4 lengths in the end. It appears that those two will battle once again on the front end and history favors her again in this race.

6. Sheeza Milky Way – She is the only maiden in this race. She began at Los Alamitos where she tried to stalk the pace three wide, but could not hang on for third as she finished fourth by two lengths in a five horse field. Her second start was on turf at a mile at Del Mar where she tried stalking the pace again. She had a decent rally in the stretch, but was no match for the top two. She finished third by 4 1/2 lengths, but was well clear of the rest of the field by 5 1/4 lengths to fourth. Her latest start was the Juvenile Fillies Turf and once again she tried a come from behind tactic. She was very wide entering the stretch, but once again could not close fast enough, finishing fourth by three lengths. It is hard to endorse her in this spot especially with the top two fillies holding a massive edge on her.

7. Land Over Sea – She debuted in the same race as Sheeza Milky Way at Los Alamitos. She too sat off the pace, made a nice move on the rail, and finished second by 1 3/4 lengths. Her second start came on the turf course at Del Mar where she sat in the middle of the pack off the pace and then exploded on the turn and into the stretch for a 3 3/4 lengths win. Her latest race was in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante back on dirt at 7 furlongs. It was another off the pace effort as she came very wide into the stretch, but could not pull in the top two. She finished third by six lengths. We know she can rate, likes the dirt, and distance, but she was well beaten by Songbird in the last. If she can get the top two to take each other out on the front end, she could make some noise.

8. Jade Princess – Her debut, simply put, was a disaster. She was bumped at the break on top of it being a slow break and then found herself near the rear of the field. She came out wide in the stretch, but was never a threat finishing fifth by 16 lengths. Her second start was the complete opposite. She broke much better, found herself wide for most of the running, but still up close to the leaders. She began move up on the far turn and pulled away from the field in the stretch to win by 5 1/4 lengths. If she can run off the pace again in this race, she has a solid chance to upset the top two horses.

9. Right There – She made her debut at Santa Anita in May with a solid run late to finish second by 3 1/2 lengths. The second race for her was even better in the Landaluce. She a bit slow, but made a great run on the turn and into the stretch to break her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths. Her last two races were the same with poor results. She broke slow both times, but could not produce a run in the stretch and finished fourth in the stretch. She should appreciate the two turns and could be better suited for this distance at a nice price. Interesting angles on this one despite the previous two poor performances.


This race will go through #5 Songbird, who is 2 for 2 in her career. She will have to contend with #1 Pretty N Cool on the front end, but the top choice here is #8 Jade Princess. She will be able to rate off the those two horses and go by them in the stretch. #5 Songbird has shown the ability to put away other speed horses including #1 Pretty N Cool. For fourth, #7 Land Over Sea could easily close for fourth while #9 Right There is a nice price play underneath in the exotics.

Top selection – #8 Jade Princess

2nd selection – #5 Songbird

3rd selection – #1 Pretty N Cool

4th selection – #9 Right There

Check back on Saturday night for a recap of the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes.