Tag Archives: 2015-16 Road to the Kentucky Derby

Riker Wires Grey Stakes Field

Riker Wires Grey Stakes Field

The even money favorite in Riker was able to take his competition gate-to-wire in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes. He was aided by a scratch of Ultraflame earlier in the day and that would have been his company on the lead had he entered.

Riker went straight to the lead from the start as he built an early 4 lengths lead over Kasseopia. Ruck sat third, Tizzarunner was fourth, and Van Damme was fifth about 8 1/2 lengths off the lead.

Riker lead the field through comfortable fractions of 24.18 for the first quarter and 48.92 for the opening half-mile. As they rounded the far turn, Riker was asked to pick it up slightly and Kasseopia loomed the biggest threat with Tizzarunner on the inside and the duo of Van Damme and Ruck not threatening to make an impact.

Down the stretch, Riker was able to keep Kasseopia at bay and win by 1 1/2 lengths. Tizzarunner was third by three lengths, Van Damme finished fourth, and Ruck was last in the field of five. The entire chart can be found here via Equibase.

A video replay can be found on Blood-Horse by clicking here.

Riker is by Include out of the Unreal Zeal mare Desviacion. He paid $4.00 to win and $2.30 to place in a race that did not allow show wagering. He ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.31, was ridden by Jesse Campbell, and trained by Nicholas Gonzalez.

For the victory, Riker also earned 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Kasseopia earned 4 points, Tizzarunner earned 2 points, and Van Damme earned 1 point.

The next race coming up in the Road to the Kentucky Derby is the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland on October 31.

2015 Grey Stakes Preview

2015 Grey Stakes Preview

The final stop in this weekend’s Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby is at Woodbine with the Grade 3 Grey Stakes. A field of six is entered for this Grade 3 race at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The purse for the Grey Stakes is $150,000 while there is another perk for winning this race. The top four finisher will receive points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. First place 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 Grade 3 Grey Stakes is scheduled for 4:25 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the eighth race of a 10 race card at Woodbine. Free past performances can be found here by going to Sunday, October 4, 2015 and going to Woodbine – Race 8. Entries have also been provided in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1TizzarunnerPatrick HusbandsMark Casse3-1
2Van DammeT.D. HoughtonRobert Gorham20-1
3RuckJames McAleneyReade Baker8-1
4RikerJesse CampbellNicholas Gonzalez4-5
5UltraflameGary BoulangerJohn Ross10-1
6KasseopiaAlan GarciaCharlie Fellowes6-1

1. Tizzarunner – He debuted on July 25 going six furlongs here at Woodbine in the Colin Stakes. He stalked the pace from a few lengths behind, but could not rally in the stretch. He was third by 3 3/4 lengths behind Riker before dropping down to the maiden ranks. His second start was at 7 furlongs and he employed the same tactics. This time, he was able to rally and got up to win by a nose. His latest start was in the Swynford at 7 furlongs again. He stalked the pace yet again and once more, he could not get by Riker, who shows up here as well. The blinkers are taken off for this race and he is the main threat to the overwhelming favorite.

2. Van Damme – His first two races were at Indiana Grand (3rd place) and Thistledown (4th place) before a switch to synthetic tracks. His third start came at Presque Isle going a mile and he responded with a rally to win by a length. He was then sent to Arlington for the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. He came off the pace to grab second by 2 1/2 lengths. He exits the Swynford Stakes here at Woodbine where he stalked the pace and failed to rally in the stretch, finishing fourth by 7 1/4 lengths. He will need to step up to compete here.

3. Ruck – He debuted on August 9 going five furlongs in an open maiden special weight race. He had a poor break and was forced to settle near the rear of the field. He had some run in the stretch, but was no match for the top three with a fourth place finish by 7 1/4 lengths. His second start came at a mile and 70 yards and he had a better break that allowed him to sit closer to the pace. He had a wide trip in that race, but was still able to hold the lead on the turn. He continued on, but could not catch the winner and finished second by a length. A trip closer to the rail could be more beneficial, but he will have to be even better to threaten the top two.

4. Riker – His debut was on July 5 going five furlongs where he pressed the pace and was able to edge in front at the wire to win by a half-length. His second race was in the Colin where he had a similar race of battling for the lead and he hung on to win by a half-length once more. His latest race was a bit easier as he set a clear lead and was able to win by 2 1/2 lengths. He will be in front again and they will have to catch him if they want to beat him. The solid choice here.

5. Ultraflame – He debuted in the Clarendon Stakes, but had a slow break and was left with a lot of running. He rallied to finish fifth by 4 1/4 lengths and joined the maiden ranks in his second start. In that race, he went straight to the lead and ran the field of their feet to win by 7 1/4 lengths. He stepped back up to stakes company in his latest start where he tried to duel for the lead. It eventually cost him as he finish third by 5 3/4 lengths. If he goes to the lead, he will have to contend with Riker, who simply does not lose. Tough to like him if he wants to try and wire this field.

6. Kasseopia – He has ran in only Great Britain prior to this race. He debuted going 7 furlongs at Doncaster, but did not have any rally finishing sixth by 8 1/4 lengths. A move over to the synthetic track saw him finish second by six lengths before a crushing maiden victory by 9 lengths last time out. There are concerns about the trip across the Atlantic and the class level, but he is intriguing nonetheless.

Selections

This race will go through #4 Riker on the front end. He has yet to lose a race and it will take a big effort to do it again in this spot. #1 Tizzarunner has not been able to pass #4 Riker in two of his three starts, but could end up with a great trip if a speed duel occurs. He is the top threat to the favorite. #6 Kasseopia is the ultimate wild card worth a chance underneath.

Top selection – #4 Riker

2nd selection – #1 Tizzarunner

3rd selection – #6 Kasseopia

Check back on Sunday night for a recap of the Grade 3 Grey Stakes.

Brody’s Cause Flies Home To Win Breeders’ Futurity

Brody’s Cause Flies Home To Win Breeders’ Futurity

Brody’s Cause flew home in the stretch to win an exciting rendition of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity. He beat the favored Exaggerator by a length.

The race began with several horses wanting the lead, but it was Sheikh of Sheikhs that put his head in front with Rated R Superstar protecting his rail position in second. Gametown was in a good spot third, Sticksstatelydude was fourth, Threefiveindia sat fifth, and Exaggerator was sixth. Pinnacle Peak sat in seventh, Uncle Vinny was eighth, Wild Man was ninth, Brody’s Cause was tenth early by 9 lengths, and in last was Uncle Jerry by ten lengths.

There was not much action on the backstretch, but on the turn Sheikh of Sheiks started to pull clear, which caused the rest of the field to react. The duo of Rated R Superstar and Exaggerator both moved away from the rail and were asked for their runs.

Exaggerator made an explosive move between Sheikh of Sheikhs on his inside and Rated R Superstar on this outside. Further back was Brody’s Cause, who was starting to kick it into high gear about 5 lengths behind the leader.

Brody’s Cause was able to continue his run through the stretch and pass Exaggerator near the finish line to win by a length. Exaggerator ran very well in defeat and was ahead of Rated R Superstar in third. Sticksstatelydude ran an even race to finish fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Uncle Vinny fifth, Sheikh of Sheikhs tired to finish sixth, Threefiveindia finished seventh, Uncle Jerry was eighth, Gametown was ninth, Pinnacle Peak finished tenth, and Wild Man was last of 11. Hawkbill was scratched earlier in the day to make it a field of 11 in the race. The entire chart can be found here via Equibase.

Brody’s Cause paid an excellent $25.60 to win, $10.60 to place, and $5.40 to show. He ran the 1 1/16 miles on the muddy main track in 1:43.27. He is by Giant’s Causeway out of the Sahm mare Sweet Breanna. He was ridden by Corey Lanerie and trained by Dale Romans.

In addition to the win, Brody’s Cause earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland later in October. He also received 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Exaggerator received four points, Rated R Superstar earned 2 points for a total of 6 to this point, and Sticksstatelydude earned 1 point.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Sunday with a the Grey Stakes from Woodbine.

Greenpointcrusader Overcomes Trouble To Win Champagne

Greenpointcrusader Overcomes Trouble To Win Champagne

The Grade 1 Champagne Stakes looked like an easy win for the eventual winner Greenpointcrusader, however, it was anything but that.

It was a good start for Tale of S’avall and Ralis with Sunny Ridge up close in third. Magna Light was fourth early, Portfolio Manager broke best, but was reigned back in fifth. Greenpointcrusader had a terrible start as he stumbled, but was rushed up into sixth, Ready Dancer was seventh, and Sail Ahoy was last by 6 1/2 lengths.

Tale of S’avall continued to lead the field with Ralis edging closer in second and Sunny Ridge in third. Magna Light was fourth after steadying a bit on the backstretch, Portfolio Manager was fifth, Greenpointcrusader was still in sixth, Sail Ahoy seventh, and Ready Dancer was already relegated to last and quickly losing touch with the field.

On the turn, the trio of Tale of S’avall, Sunny Ridge, and Ralis began their battle for the lead while Portfolio Manager was ranging up on the outside and Greenpointcrusader was put under stringent pressure to continue his move while fifth. The remainder of the field was not a threat with Ralis, Magna Light, and Ready Dancer already backing out of the race.

As the field straightened for home, Sunny Ridge took the lead, but was quickly tackled by Greenpointcrusader, who found his stride. He went on to pull away and win by 4 1/2 lengths over Sunny Ridge with Portfolio Manager another two lengths behind in third. Sail Ahoy rallied to finish fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Tale of S’avall, Ralis, Magna Light, and Ready Dancer. Rafting was scratched earlier in the day and did not participate. The entire chart can be found here courtesy of Equibase.

Greenpointcrusader is by Bernardini out of the Cryptoclearance mare Ava Knowsthecode. He paid $15.00 to win, $7.30 to place, and $4.80 to show. He was ridden by Joe Bravo and trained by Dominick Schettino. He ran the one mile in 1:36.25 over a sealed and sloppy track.

In addition to the $300,000 winner’s share, Greenpointcrusader also earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland later this month. He also earned 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Sunny Ridge earned four points, Portfolio Manager received two points, and Sail Ahoy earned one point.

The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby continues on Sunday with the Grey Stakes from Woodbine.

2015 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes Preview

2015 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes Preview

The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby will continue on Saturday, October 3 with the second of two races on the day. The Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes will take place at Keeneland with a full field of 12 horses.

The Grade 1 event will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track and will be around two turns. The race has a purse of $500,00 and also awards points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.

The winner will receive 10 points for the victory, second place will receive 4 points, third place will receive 2 points, and fourth place will receive one point.

The Breeders’ Futurity is scheduled for 5:10 PM Eastern time and is carded as the eighth of 10 races. Free Past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, October 3 and going to Keeneland – Race 8. Entries have also been provided in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Rated R SuperstarCalvin BorelKen McPeek6-1
2Uncle JerryJames GrahamEoin Harty30-1
3HawkbillMike SmithCharles ApplebySCRATCHED
4GametownJulien LeparouxMark Casse12-1
5Brody's CauseCorey LanerieDale Romans6-1
6SticksstatelydudeBrian Hernandez Jr.Greg Burchell10-1
7ExaggeratorKent DesormeauxKeith Desormeaux7-2
8Sheikh of SheikhsEdgar PradoWesley Ward5-1
9Wild ManRicardo Santana Jr.Steve Asmussen15-1
10ThreefivendiaChris LanderosStephen Lyster30-1
11Pinnacle PeakVictor EspinozaMichael Stidham15-1
12Uncle VinnyLuis SaezTodd Pletcher9-2

1. Rated R Superstar – His debut came on July 25 at Ellis Park. He pressed the pace throughout, but could not fend off the eventual winner losing by only a half-length. He came back last out to press the pace again, but this time he drew off to win by 5 lengths again at Ellis Park. In the latest race, he had a slow break in the Grade 3 Iroquois. He sat about 10 lengths off the lead early on, but went up on the backstretch and far turn to move all the way from seventh to second. He continued to run evenly in the stretch and finished second by 2 lengths. He will probably be closer to the pace today and has a good look from the rail to make some noise underneath at a price.

2. Uncle Jerry – His debut came at Presque Isle going 6 furlongs in early August. He was close to the pace and tried to run them down in the stretch, but could not get there. He finished third by 2 in a pretty solid debut. He came back about 6 weeks later going a mile. He had an unfortunate start where he was left near the rear of the field and had to come from off the pace. He made up his ground on the far turn and in the stretch he pulled away to win by 3 lengths. The waters get much deeper here and he will need to improve drastically to have a chance.

3. Hawkbill – Scratched.

4. Gametown – He is a still a maiden, but he has two solid efforts on his resume. His debut came at Saratoga on the lawn going 5.5 furlongs. He had a slow start and was forced to close in the stretch, but he did stoutly despite some weaving in and out in the stretch. He finished second by three lengths and was then sent to Churchill to try the main track. He went a mile on September 11 where he had a much better start and close to the pace. He took the lead in the stretch, but was caught late and finished second again, this time by 3/4 of a length. He has some talent, despite not winning  yet and could hit the board.

5. Brody’s Cause – His debut was horrendous on August 1 at Ellis Park. He went a mile on the turf, but did not lift a hoof finishing eighth by 25 lengths. His latest race was at Churchill Downs on the main track going a mile as well. He broke near the back of the field, but was within five lengths. He made a move on turn and continued his run in the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He has a decent chance in this spot.

6. Sticksstatelydude – He debuted here at Churchill where he tracked the pace in second. He was unable to pass the leader and had to settle for second by a length and a half. He then went up to Saratoga where he sat off the pace and had to go wide in the stretch. He closed well enough to win by 2 lengths. He should get another good trip, but is making his first start around two turns in this spot. Intriguing longshot in this race…

7. Exaggerator – His debut at Santa Anita in early June was not very good. He was fifth by 9 1/2 lengths and was always well behind, but lost a talented horse in Nyquist. His second race was far better with him coming off the pace and was just able to get up for the win by a nose. He was then shipped to Saratoga for the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. He had a similar off the pace style and was able to close and win again by 3/4 of a length. He is a big threat in this race.

8. Sheikh of Sheikhs – He has only one start and it was a good one. He went straight to the lead and never looked back winning by 1 3/4 lengths at six furlongs at Saratoga. He will probably be on the lead again in this race and will be making his first start at a route. Interestingly, his latest workout was on the turf, which may be a signal if things do not go well here. Tough call on him.

9. Wild Man – Another horse who has yet to break his maiden, he made his debut on August 29 at Saratoga. Going six furlongs, he sat in a good spot behind the leaders, but could not make up much ground in the stretch, as he finished third by four lengths. His second start was at Belmont going a mile. Once again, he sat off the pace and he closed well in stretch. He was bumped and finished third by a neck in another solid effort. He does appear to be a touch below the top horses in here, but he has gone a route distance.

10. Threefiveindia – He debuted at Ellis Park in late August going 5.5 furlongs. He had an awkward start and was able to get a spot behind the leaders. He made his move on the turn and in stretch to win by 2 lengths. His workouts have been solid and he should like the extra ground. However, he will need to step way up to contend in this spot.

11. Pinnacle Peak – He debuted at Prairie Meadows in Iowa with a solid second place finish by 3 1/2 lengths. He broke inward and then came on in the stretch. His second start was a stretch out to a mile and he responded with a crushing victory. He went gate-to-wire and won by 10 lengths in an easy performance. He next start was in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth and he had to go wide for much of the race. That took its toll on him as he weakened to finish third by 8 3/4 lengths. He will probably have another wide trip in here again if he wants the lead and that makes it tough to endorse him.

12. Uncle Vinny – He ran his debut at Belmont going 5 furlongs and he took over after a bit of a tough start. He won by 4 1/2 lengths and then had a quick turnaround to run in the Tremont Stakes two weeks later. It may have been too quick as he was never close to threatening and finish sixth by 7 1/2 lengths. After a slight break, he returned in the Grade 3 Sanford where he tracked and pounced in the stretch, but could not get to the winner. He was second by 3/4 of a length, but was put up to first after a disqualification. His next race was the Grade 1 Hopeful and he had a bit of a wide trip. He ended up third by 8 3/4 lengths, but was never seriously threatening to win. He will have a wide trip out here, but could find the distance more to his liking.

Selections

This race was tough to figure out due to post positions and a lot horses trying this distance for the first time. #5 Brody’s Cause went this distance in his last race (around one turn), but he improved drastically from his turf try. #1 Rated R Superstar ran a solid second in the Grade 3 Iroquois and should have a good trip from the rail. #7 Exaggerator is talented and should appreciate the stretch out around two turns. #6 Sticksstatelydude is worth a shot underneath in the exotics.

Top selection – #5 Brody’s Cause

2nd selection – #1 Rated R Superstar

3rd selection – #7 Exaggerator

4th selection – #6 Sticksstatelydude

Check back for a recap of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes.

2015 Champagne Stakes Preview

2015 Champagne Stakes Preview

The Grade 1 Champagne Stakes will be at Belmont Park on Saturday, October 3, 2015. The race is for 2 year olds and is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The Champagne will be run at one mile on Belmont’s main track, just like the sister race of the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes a race earlier. The purse is $500,000 and there are points awarded to the top four finishers towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.

The winner will receive 10 points, second place will receive four points, third place will receive two points, and the fourth place finisher will receive one point.

Post time for the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes is scheduled for 4:18 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the eighth of 11 races on Saturday. Free past performances can be found here by going to Saturday, October 3 and Belmont Park race 8. Entries have been provided in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Magna LightJose OrtizRudy Rodriguez6-1
2GreenpointcrusaderJoe BravoDominick Schettino5-1
3Ready DancerJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher5-1
4Sail AhoyJoel RosarioShug McGaughey12-1
5RalisJavier CastellanoDoug O'Neill3-1
6RaftingIrad Ortiz JrGraham Motion8-1
7Tale of S'avallCornelio VelasquezBarclay Tagg7-2
8Sunny RidgeJunior AlvaradoJason Servis20-1
9Portfolio ManagerManuel FrancoChad Brown12-1

1. Magna Light – His debut came here at Belmont on June 28. He battled for the lead and drew off to by 4 1/2 lengths in the five furlong dash over a sloppy track. He then raced in the Grade 3 Sanford at Saratoga where he once again battle for the lead and held on for 3/4 length win. However, he was disqualified from first to third for bothering another horse in the stretch. His latest race was the Grade 1 Hopeful also at Saratoga. He got a clear lead, but was no match for the winner in Ralis. He finished second by 5 3/4 lengths and will be trying to go all the way again in this race. There is other speed in the race, but he has the rial, which will help him to save ground. He can hang around for a piece of the exotics underneath.

2. Greenpointcrusader – He debuted at Saratoga going 5.5 furlongs where he sat in the middle of the field. He came out in the stretch and made a big run to the wire, but just missed by a neck. His second race was very similar in that the stalked the pace and closed ground in the stretch. This time, he was able to win by a neck going 7 furlongs. He will probably have a similar type of trip and is a big threat in this race with the extra furlong.

3. Ready Dancer – His first start was at Belmont going five furlongs in early July. He dueled for the lead, but weakened to finish third by 4 1/4 lengths in a field of five. He then ran at Saratoga where, again, he dueled for the lead, but could not hang on in the stretch. He was second by two lengths in a field of 10 going 6 furlongs. His latest race was also at Saratoga going 6 furlongs. This time he was just off the speed by a length and had to go wide for most of the race. That did not matter as he was able to finally pull away and break his maiden by 2 1/2 lengths. He is likely to track the speed again and will like the extra two furlongs. Interesting 5-1 shot for Todd Pletcher.

4. Sail Ahoy – His first start came at Saratoga in late August going six furlongs. He was off slow and sat well of the pace. He closed to finish third in that race, but was not close to the top two as he finished 9 1/4 lengths behind Ready Dancer. His second start was here at Belmont going a mile over the main track. He was off the pace again that race, but this time his kick was more effective. He came wide into the stretch and began to eat up ground to win by a head. It was a solid win, but he will have to step up his game to have a chance to win here.

5. Ralis – He ran in a May 4.5 furlong dash at Santa Anita. He tried to come off the pace, but could only manage an even effort finishing fourth by 2 lengths. A drop in to Cal-bred MSW was him duel for the lead and win going away by 4.5 lengths about 3 weeks later. His third start was in a stakes race, but he was overmatched in that race finishing fifth by 9 lengths in a field of six. He ran a solid second in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar on August 5 before traveling to the East coast for the Grade 1 Hopeful. He sat right off the pace in that race and blew by Magna Light to win by 5 3/4 lengths. A repeat of that race puts him right there in this race.

6. Rafting – He debuted at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. He sat well off the pace near the rear of the field and did not have much kick in the stretch. He finished seventh by 11 lengths and was then moved back to one turn on the dirt in his second start. Going 7 furlongs, he was much closer to the pace and sat right off the top leaders. On the turn, he started to move up and came out wide in the stretch to pull away and win by 2 1/4 lengths. It was a much better effort that will have to be replicated in this spot to have a chance of hitting the ticket.

7. Tale of S’avall – He has one start and one win. His lone race was August 29 at Saratoga where he sat off the pace by a few lengths, came out in the stretch, and then pulled away to win by 2 lengths. That race was at 6 furlongs, but the extra distance in this race should not bother him. He also adds lasix and his works have been solid in the morning. He has a big chance here with another off the pace move.

8. Sunny Ridge – His first race came in a $40K maiden claimer at Monmouth in June. He pressed the pace and was able to get up for the win by a neck going 4.5 furlongs. A move to Saratoga in his next start did not prove fruitful as he was hard to handle early in the Grade 3 Sanford. He came wide in the stretch as well, but was not close to contending for the top spots. He finished seventh by 3 3/4 lengths. His last race was back at Monmouth in the Sapling Stakes going a mile on the main track. He sat off the pace by a few lengths and then came wide in the stretch for his run. He closed stoutly and won by 2 1/4 lengths and will not try another New York stakes race. This is a tough spot for him and is considered an outsider here.

9. Portfolio Manager – The lone maiden in this race, he has run one race thus far. It was not a bad race by any means at Saratoga on August 22. He sat in the middle of the pack about two lengths off the leader and then started to make is move entering the stretch. He made up solid ground, but could not catch the winner, as he finished second by 1 3/4 lengths. It is a positive sign to see him entered here despite not winning his maiden race. He deserves a look at a nice price for the underneath slots.

Selections

There are plenty of choices for the win end in the Champagne Stakes. #2 Greenpointcrusader has improved both starts and should end up with a good spot behind the leaders. #3 Ready Dancer could press the pace or sit just off of it, which makes him a threat for the duo John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. #5 Ralis really exploded in the lane last out in an impressive performance in the Grade 1 Hopeful. He must not be forgotten about here. For fourth, #9 Portfolio Manager is worth throwing in at a nice price. He may be a maiden, but has every reason to improve. Also worth including underneath are #1 Magna Light, #6 Rafting, and #7 Tale of S’avall. This is a very deep race with some good quality to it.

Top selection – #2 Greenpointcrusader

2nd selection – #3 Ready Dancer

3rd selection – #5 Ralis

4th selection – #9 Portfolio Manager

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

Nyquist Survives In FrontRunner

Nyquist Survives In FrontRunner

Nyquist had to survive a run from Swipe in the stretch, but also had to survive him after the Grade 1 FrontRunner in the form of an inquiry. He was successful in both, as he won his fourth straight race to being his career and also made it back-to-back Grade 1 victories.

Go Long went to the lead from the rail, but he was trailed closely by Nyquist and Mt Veeder. Blameitonthelaw was also close in fourth while further back was Swipe, Hollywood Don, Rare Candy, and On Fire was in last by 10 lengths.

Go Long continued to lead on the backstretch with Nyquist and Mt Veeder close in tow, but Blameitonthelaw and Swipe also started to get closer. Behind them were Hollywood Don and Rare Candy while On Fire continued to be well at the back of the field.

Nyquist went to the lead on the far turn along with Mt Veeder, as Go Long was clearly done. Swipe started to move up as well and took over the rail position entering the stretch. Nyquist was able to hold off Swipe, who really had no excuse for not passing the winner. Those two were well clear of Hollywood Don in third by 5 3/4 lengths.

The rest of the field in order of finish was Rare Candy, Blameitonthelaw, Mt Veeder, Go Long, and On Fire. The stewards inquired about the stretch run between Nyquist and Swipe, but determined there was nothing affecting the order of finish. A full chart can be found here via Equibase.

Nyquist is a two year colt by Uncle Mo out of the Forestry mare Seeking Gabrielle. He was ridden Mario Gutierrez and trained by Doug O’Neill. He ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.89 and paid $3.00 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show.

Nyquist received 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard for his victory. Swipe received four points, Hollywood Don received 2 points, and Rare Candy earned 1 point.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues next weekend with three races. Two will be run on Saturday and one will take place on Sunday.

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.

Selections

#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.

Cocked And Loaded Wins Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes

Cocked And Loaded Wins Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes

Cocked and Loaded sat off the dueling leaders and made his move on the turn while having enough in the stretch to win the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Iroquois Stakes is the first race on the Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

The pair of Condominium and Expected Ruler went off to the lead right away with Missle Bomb and Cocked and Loaded behind by 5 1/2 lengths. Unbridled Outlaw was sixth, Rated R Superstar was seventh, Star Hill was eighth, and Baychimo was ninth. Conquest Windycity was settled in tenth early on while Meeteetse Fly was biding his time in 11th, about 18 lengths off the lead.

The duo of Condominium and Expected Ruler sped out to an opening quarter in 22.69 and a half mile in 46.29 by themselves. As the two leaders began to tire, Cocked and Loaded took over with Rated R Superstar making a big move from seventh to move up to second. Conquest Windycity also made a big move going from tenth to third on the far turn while wide.

The rest of the field was not a threat expect for one glaring horse. That was Unbridled Outlaw who was completely stopped on the far turn due to a tiring Expected Ruler. He took up sharply, but was able to re-rally to finish third in an impressive race. Conquest Windycity could not sustain his bid and finished fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Baychimo in fifth, Star Hill sixth, Meeteetse Fly seventh, Twirling Cinnamon eighth, Missle Bomb ninth, Condominium tenth, and Expected Ruler last of 11. Dothat Dance was scratched early in the morning and did not run. The full chart can be found here courtesy of Equibase.

Cocked and Loaded is out of Colonel John by the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon. He paid $21.00 to win, $10.00 to place, and $6.00 to show. He was ridden by Emmanuel Esquivel and trained by Larry Rivelli.

The top four from this race will also occupy the top four spots of the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Cocked and Loaded received 10 points, Rated R Superstar received 4 points, Unbridled Outlaw received 2 points, and Conquest Windycity received 1 point.

The Iroquois Stakes is also a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in October.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby will make its next stop at Santa Anita in two weeks with the Grade 1 Front Runner on September 26.

2015 Iroquois Stakes Preview

2015 Iroquois Stakes Preview

The Road the 2016 Kentucky Derby gets underway with the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes from Churchill Downs. The Iroquois Stakes is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series. The winner will be guaranteed a spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in October.

The Iroquois Stakes will award 10 points to the winner, 4 points to second, 2 points to third, and one point to the fourth place finisher. The race will be run at 1 1/16 miles over Churchill’s main track with a purse of $150,000.

Post time is scheduled for 4:49 PM Eastern with the race carded as the ninth of 11 races and is right after the Pocahontas Stakes. Free past performances can be found here under Saturday, September 12 and race number 9.  Entries are listed below in the table.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Conquest WindycityShaun BridgmohanMark Casse7-2
2Meeteetse FlyJoe JohnsonKenneth McPeek15-1
3Expected RulerWilmer GarciaLiam Benson5-1
4CondominiumJon CourtD. Wayne Lukas8-1
5Unbridled OutlawCorey LanerieDale Romans4-1
6Cocked and LoadedEmmanuel EsquivelLarry Rivelli6-1
7Star HillJose OrtizGeorge Arnold10-1
8Dothat DanceMarcelino PedrozaJimmy Corrigan20-1
9Missle BombVictor LebronDarrin Miller15-1
10Rated R SuperstarCalvin BorelKenneth McPeek8-1
11Twirling CinnamonBrian Hernandez Jr.Brad Cox12-1
12BaychimoPaco LopezKelly Breen30-1

1. Conquest Windycity – He has only one start and it was a good one. He went 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga over the turf from the rail. He had a good trip midpack for most of the race and ran on in the stretch to get second only 1 1/4 lengths off the winner. He is bred to love the turf out of Tiznow and an A.P. Indy mare. He is the tepid favorite here and has a good chance like many others in this race.

2. Meeteetse Fly – Like the horse to his inside, he too has only one start and that came on the turf course over at Ellis Park. He went one mile that day and was stuck in the outside post from the nine hole. He settled at the back of the field before moving up on the backstretch, he went 5 five entering the stretch, and then started to pull away in the final sixteenth of a mile. There is dirt influence in the pedigree, but the question is can he up his game against better horses in this spot? The feeling here is probably not.

3. Expected Ruler – He is yet another that made his debut on turf, but he did so going only 5 furlongs and also in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth. He sat in the middle of the field off a fast pace of 21 2/5 and 44 4/5 while finding his way through on the rail. He blew up the tote board at a massive 47-1 and his price will not be anywhere close to that today. He seems more suited towards the turf with his pedigree, but the distance should not be an issue. Interesting horse, but also has some question marks.

4. Condominium – We arrive at our first horse in the field to have made a start on dirt. His debut was a poor one up at Saratoga going 5.5 furlongs. He pressed the pace and then faded badly to finish 8th by 16 lengths. His second race was far better as he broke from the rail and tried to wire the field. He had a clear lead, but could not hold off his foe in the final furlong finishing second by 2 1/2 lengths. He was nearly 7 lengths clear of third as well. His pedigree says there will be no issues with the distance. We know he will be going straight to the front, but can he hold them off for 8.5 furlongs?

5. Unbridled Outlaw – His debut was here at Churchill Downs going 6 furlongs in late June. He broke well in that debut, but was soon near the back of the field and had to rally in the stretch. He made a solid rally in the stretch to finish 3rd by 3 1/4 lengths. He was then sent to Ellis Park next out where he got the job done. He had an odd start where he broke from the rail and ended up hitting the rail, but he was able to sit off the pace and rally to win by half a length. Once again, he is another that is bred to go long and has a solid chance in this race.

6. Cocked and Loaded – He made a very early start in his career with an April debut at Keeneland. He had a poor start to that race when he broke outward, but was able to rally on the turn and in the stretch to win by a length. He made his second start at Belmont in the Tremont where he broke on top of the field, but ended up sitting behind the leaders and rallying to win by a half-length. Up next was the Grade 3 Sanford where sat midpack, but had nothing in the lane while finishing 6th beaten 3 1/2 lengths. His latest start was at Arlington in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. There, he had another good trip off the speed, but offered little in the lane finishing fifth by 7 1/2 lengths. He is bred to go long, which may do the trick for him, but he has also been trending the wrong way on numbers and form.

7. Star Hill – He has a lone maiden race at Saratoga to his credit. He settled midpack, but was more than five or six lengths off the lead until the turn when he made his move. He moved up in the stretch, switched out, and just missed second while finishing 3rd by 2 1/4 lengths. He is bred to go long, but may find the turf more suitable for his breeding. However, he is an interesting long shot and cannot be discounted underneath in the exotics.

8. Dothat Dance – His career started here at Churchill Downs going five furlongs. he was off slow and made a mild rally in the stretch to finish 5th in a field of 6 by 7 1/4 lengths. The connections decided to enter him in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in his next race where he broke slow and had another mild finish in the stretch. He managed to finish fourth, but was beaten 11 lengths. His most recent start came late in August at Indiana Grand where he was entered on turf going 7.5 furlongs in a maiden race. He broke awkwardly and slow again in this race before finishing fourth by 5 1/2 lengths. He will need to break better and have a much better rally to even contend here.

9. Missle Bomb – His only two races came at Arlington Park. In his debut, he broke from the rial and managed to rally for second in the shadow of the wire, but was no match for the winner losing by 7 3/4 lengths. His next start was against stakes company in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and he sat off the pace, but once again was no match for the winner. He finished third by 5 lengths that day and will now make is first start around two turns. His last workout was excellent going four furlongs in 47 4/5, but he is also facing some good competition. Tough call to make on him…

10. Rated R Superstar – His debut came in the same race as Unbridled Outlaw’s maiden breaking score. He pressed the pace throughout, but could not fend off the eventual winner losing by only a half-length. He came back last out to press the pace again, but this time he drew off to win by 5 lengths again at Ellis Park. He will be sent to the front in this spot and will have some company in the form of Condominium. Can he put him away as well as the others from out here?

11. Twirling Cinnamon – He made his debut here at Churchill in mid-June. He broke well, sat off the pace behind the dueling leaders, encountered some slight traffic issues, and came on late to grab the win by a nose. He was then sent to Saratoga for the Grade 3 Sanford, but he was unable to make an impact while racing wide most of the way. He finished 8th of 10 that day by 6 3/4 lengths. He will need to work out a good trip from this post.

12. Baychim0 – He made his only two appearances at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. He was outrun early in his debut, but made a decent rally in the stretch. He was no match for the top two as he finished third by 8 1/4 lengths, but he was 5 3/4 lengths clear of the fourth place finisher. In his second start, he was off the pace early on, but made a nice sweeping four wide move on the turn and into the stretch to give him a lead he was able to hold on to. He won by 3/4 of a length in the end. He has the pedigree to run long, but the far outside post does not help his chances.

Selections

This is a tough race to decipher due to many variables. Some horses are making their dirt debut while others have not been longer than six furlongs. It is hard to take a favorite here, but there are not as many worries regarding #1 Conquest Windycity from the rail. We will not want too short of a price, but given the field, this is not too much of a worry. For second we will look to #9 Missle Bomb. He ran evenly in his two races, but the extra distance should help him and he will be a solid price. #5 Unbridled Outlaw should be able to work out a good trip in here and has the credentials to win this race. #7 Star Hill ran a sneaky good race in his debut and despite finishing third, has a chance to make noise on the stretch out. #4 Condominium will certainly take them as far as he can, which makes him a must include on the tickets if he can get a clear lead again.

Top selection – #1 Conquest Windycity

2nd selection – #9 Missle Bomb

3rd selection – #5 Unbridled Outlaw

4th selection – #7 Star Hill

Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes.