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Kentucky Derby News For April 21, 2015

Upstart winning the 2015 Holy Bull (Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin)
Upstart winning the 2015 Holy Bull (Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin)

Kentucky Derby News For April 21, 2015

On Monday afternoon it was revealed that WinStar Farm has bought a minority share of Upstart from owner Ralph Evans. He will remain with trainer Rick Violette Jr.

“Upstart has been on our radar since the Breeders’ Cup,” said WinStar president Elliott Walden in a release. “Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph approached me because he really believes this colt has a big future. We are honored to be partners with such a nice man as Ralph Evans on such an exciting young horse as Upstart.”

Upstart has been ultra consistent since his debut at Saratoga on August 15, 2014. He won his first two races before finishing second in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and then third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to close out his two year old campaign.

At three, he won Grade 2 Holy Bull (pictured above) and was disqualified from first to second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He then ran second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby behind Materiality.

Mounts Starting To Solidify

There were three rider confirmations made on Monday. The first was that John Velazquez will be riding Carpe Diem in the Derby. That leaves Javier Castellano as the rider for Materiality.

Velazquez has ridden Carpe Diem in all five of his starts, guiding him to four wins and a second place finish. Velazquez also rode Materiality in all three of his starts, which were all victories.

In addition, Mike Smith was confirmed as the rider of Far Right in the Derby. Smith has ridden Far Right in each of the last three races, which has been very good for the connections. In those three races, Far Right has two wins and a second place finish.

Kentucky Derby Works and Notes

It was another slow day for works, but one did take place at Arlington Park for the Dubai shipper Mubtaahij. He went three furlongs in 36.20 over the polytrack.

Going for trainer Mike de Kock, Mubtaahij went a mile around the track before going into his work. He will be shipped from Arlington to Churchill Downs on Monday.

No other Kentucky Derby hopefuls worked, but plenty were on the track. American Pharoah galloped a mile and a half as did Danzig Moon. Pharoah will be breezing on Sunday morning. War Story galloped a mile and a quarter early in the morning and is scheduled to work on Wednesday morning.

Bold Conquest simply walked in the shedrow after Monday’s five furlong workout in 1:02.80. Far Right also walked the shedrow.

International Star galloped a mile and a quarter at the Trackside Training Center while Tencendur galloped a mile back at Churchill Downs. Keen Ice also jogged at Churchill during the morning.

Madefromlucky was vanned over to Churchill Downs from Keeneland on Monday morning with Materiality, Itsaknockout, and Stanford all arriving later on Tuesday at Churchill Downs. All four are trained by Todd Pletcher.

Mr. Z is scheduled to workout on Wednesday morning.

Kentucky Oaks News

On hand to watch his horse work this morning was Bob Baffert. He saw Maybellene work four furlongs in :48.40 with fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36.80, and a gallop out at five furlongs in 1:01.80. She worked in company with Holiday Camp.

Two Todd Pletcher horses for the Kentucky Oaks also arrived at Churchill Downs in Angela Renee and Eskenformoney.

Birdatthewire jogged on Monday morning as did Condo Commando. Forever Unbridled galloped a mile and a half while Include Betty galloped the same distance. Luminance, Oceanwave, and Puca all galloped a mile and a half as well while Shook Up walked on Tuesday morning after her work on Monday.

Other Stakes Workers

Baffert was on hand to see his filly Maybellene workout, but two of his other horses worked in company. Those two were Callback and Lord Nelson who went four furlongs in a quick 46.80. The internal fractions were :23, :46.80, and a gallop out in 1:14.60 for six furlongs.

There were some turf workers as well on the grass labeled as good. Golden Soul went five furlongs in 1:03.60, Good Deed went four furlongs in :49.80, Heitai went four furlongs in :51.60, Chocolate Ride went five furlongs in 1:03.60, and I’m Already Sexy went five furlongs in 1:04.20.

2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 Announced

2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 Announced

Churchill Downs has announced the individual horses for the fourth pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. The pool will open at 12 PM Eastern Time on Friday, March 27 and close on Sunday, March 29 at 6 PM Eastern Time.

Trainer Bob Baffert has the top two morning line choices in American Pharoah at 9-2 and Dortmund at 5-1. Carpe Diem is the third choice at 6-1 and “all others” is the fourth choice at 8-1.

Below is a list of each horse in alphabetical order with their morning line odds in parentheses.

1. American Pharoah (9-2)

2. Ami’s Flatter (50-1)  (New entrant in Pool 4)

3. Bold Conquest (50-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

4. Bolo (20-1)

5. Carpe Diem (6-1)

6. Daredevil (30-1)

7. Dortmund (5-1)

8. Dubai Sky (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

9. El Kabeir (20-1)

10. Far From Over (15-1)

11. Far Right (30-1)

12. Firing Line (12-1)

13. Frosted (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

14. International Star (20-1)

15. Itsaknockout (30-1)

16. Keen Ice (50-1)

17. Madefromlucky (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

18. Materiality (20-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

19. Mr. Z (50-1)

20. Mubtaahij (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

21. Prospect Park (15-1)

22. Upstart (15-1)

23. War Story (50-1)

24. All other 3 year olds (8-1)

The seven horses that were part of pool 3, but not in pool 4 are Danzig Moon, Khozan, Lord Nelson, Ocean Knight, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Texas Red, and The Great War.

All other 3 year olds closed as the favorite in pool 1 at odds of 3/5 that ran from November 28 through November 30, 2014. All others again closed as the favorite in pool 2 at odds of 5/2 that ran from February 6 through February 8. The third pool also had all other as the 4-1 favorite with American Pharoah at 8-1 and Dortmund at 9-1.

Bettors can also bet the an exacta with any combination of the 24 entries listed above. Live odds can be seen at KentuckyDerby.com or by clicking here between Friday, March 27 and Sunday, March 29.

There are three Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend. They are all on Saturday, March 28 with the Group 2 UAE Derby, the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. All three races award points to the top four finishers in the amount of 100, 40, 20, and 10 to the first, second, third, and fourth place finishers respectively. The points go towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard and help secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Firing Line Decimates Sunland Park Derby Foes

Firing Line set a track record in his win in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby (Coady Photography/Sunland Park)
Firing Line set a track record in his win in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby (Coady Photography/Sunland Park)


Firing Line Decimates Sunland Park Derby Foes

It was little more than a paid workout for Firing Line as he had zero trouble destroying the field on his way to a 14 1 /4 lengths victory in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby. Perhaps it was just a matter of getting away from Dortmund that allowed him to finally get a win.

The race began with no one dead set on getting the lead, but a hot pace still ensued. Firing Line got the lead early, but was content to maintain the rail position while other horses came wide to press the pace. It was Why Two pressing him on the outside with Malibu Mogul in third, Tiznow R J in fourth by a length and a half, and Pain and Misery in fifth. Sixth place belonged to Where’s the Moon and Dirt Monster was last of seven early on, but the entire field was within 3 1/4 lengths.

Firing Line continued to hold the rail spot and eventually took the lead on the backstretch over Why Two and Tiznow R J. Malibu Mogul was fourth at this point and started to back out of the race while Dirt Monster was fifth. Pain and Misery and Where’s the Moon were the last two horses, but still within contention.

By the time they hit the stretch, it was all over. Firing Line had an 8 length lead and would only make it larger by the end. He won by 14 1/4 lengths en route to a track record for one mile and one eighth. Where’s the Moon got up for second with Pain and Misery finishing third. Tiznow R J ran fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Dirt Monster, Why Two, and Malibu Mogul. Lord Nelson scratched earlier in the week leaving just a field of 7 to contest the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.

Firing Line has pushed his record to 2 wins from 5 starts, but also has three second place finishes. He is by Line of David out of the Hold for Gold mare Sister Girl Blues. He was ridden by Gary Stevens and is trained by Simon Callaghan.

Firing Line paid $2.40 to win as the 1 to 5 favorite, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. He set a track record of 1:47.39 for the 9 furlongs. The fractions for the race were 22.33 for the opening quarter, 45.39 for the half-mile, 1:09.12 for six furlongs, and one mile in 1:34.70.

Firing Line received 50 points for the Sunland Derby win to give him a total of 58 on the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Where’s the Moon earned his first 20 points, but is not Triple Crown nominated. He has until tomorrow, Monday, March 23 to be nominated to the Triple Crown for a fee of $6,000. Pain and Misery earned his first 10 points while Tiznow R J earned 5 points to bring his total to 7 points.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues next week with the stakes even higher. Points will be awarded to the top four places at a higher number from the UAE Derby on March 28 through the Arkansas Derby on April 11. Winners will receive 100 points, second place finishers will receive 40 points, third place will receive 20 points, and fourth place will receive 10 points.

There are three races next weekend with all taking place on Saturday, March 28. The Group 2 UAE Derby from Meydan racecourse in Dubai is the first race. The Grade 1 Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby from the Fair Grounds will be the other 2 races.

2015 Sunland Derby Preview

2015 Sunland Derby Preview

The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes a stop in Sunland Park, New Mexico for the Sunland Derby. The race will be on Sunday, March 22. A field of 8 three year olds is entered in the $800,000 race, but only 7 will run with the announcement that Lord Nelson will not take part in the race.

While the massive purse is wonderful by itself, there are also points awarded to the top four finishers in this race. The winner will receive 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, second place will receive 20 points, third place will receive 10 points, and fourth place will receive 10 points.

The Grade 3 Sunland Derby will be at one eighth and one mile on the main dirt track. Post time is scheduled for 7:40 PM Eastern Time and the Sunland Derby is the 11th of 12 races. Free past performances can be found here.

1. Firing Line (8-5 Morning Line) – The good news for him is that Dortmund is not in this race. Even better news is that he is squarely the one to beat. He was second to start his career and then broke his maiden in his second start. After that win, he was second by a head in back-to-back graded stakes to the aforementioned Dortmund including the Robert B. Lewis on February 7. The other horses in this race will have to be on their “A” game to have a chance.

2. Lord Nelson (3-1 ML) – Scratched.

3. Where’s The Moon (6-1 ML) – He started his career in southern California with three poor performances. A move out here to Sunland Park allowed him to succeed where he finished third in his fourth career race. He broke his maiden in his fifth start by 6 3/4 lengths and then won the Mine That Bird Derby by 2 1/2 lengths. While he clearly likes Sunland, he will need to step up to beat Firing Line.

4. Why Two (8-1 ML) – Another southern California transplant, he fared much better than his counterpart to his left at Santa Anita. He was fourth in his debut and then won his second start by a length and a quarter. His first start around two turns was in the Turf Paradise Derby and he held on for a one length win. He could hang on for a smaller piece in this race.

5. Malibu Mogul (15-1 ML) – His first race was a poor seventh place finish at Fair Grounds, but he has since done very well at Sunland. He broke his maiden by nearly 10 lengths in his second start and then won by a head in his third start. He has not raced beyond 6 furlongs in his career and the blinkers go on for this race. He will be lucky to be around at the end for a small piece of this race.

6. Tiznow R J (5-1 ML) – He began his career with back-to-back third place finishes at Churchill before crushing his foes in his third race by 13 lengths to break his maiden. He then was put in the Grade 3 Lecomte where he finished third after battling for the lead in the stretch. His latest race was the Grade 2 Risen Star where he failed to fire and finished 7th. This race is much softer than the Risen Star, but he will need his best career effort to win.

7. Pain and Misery (6-1 ML) – He debuted at Del Mar with a solid third place finish and was then shipped to Zia Park where he won back-to-back races. His fourth race was back in southern California on turf at Santa Anita. He was second by a neck in a listed stakes race and then tried the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes. He was no match for the top horses, as he finished 7th by 15 lengths. He has talent to hit the board, but there are questions about his two turns ability.

8. Dirt Monster (12-1 ML) – Here we arrive at a consistent, but highly untested runner. He finished third in his debut race, which was a listed stakes race at Albuquerque. He then won his first race in his third race and then made it back-to-back wins in his fourth race. His last two races here at Sunland were in ungraded stakes races where he finished third both times. He has a chance to hit the board and could be a long shot possibility if you are looking for value in a race that does not have a lot of that.


#1 Firing Line is squarely the horse to beat and should have no trouble winning this race. The race for place, show, and fourth are a bit more uncertain. #4 Why Two could hang around for a second or third place finish while #6 Tiznow R J will find this bunch a lot easier to contend with. #8 Dirt Monster is a consistent horse (never missed the board in 7 career sorts) and also offers value underneath.

1. Firing Line

2. Tiznow R J

3. Dirt Monster

4. Why Two

Check back on Sunday evening for a recap of the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.

Dortmund Wires San Felipe Stakes

Dortmund (#3, blue saddle towel) wins the San Felipe Stakes (Zoe Metz/Eclipse Sportswire)
Dortmund (#3, blue saddle towel) wins the San Felipe Stakes (Zoe Metz/Eclipse Sportswire)

Dortmund Wires San Felipe Stakes

Dortmund moved his record to 5 for 5 in his career with an easy win in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes. His gate-to-wire performance as the 4-5 favorite guarantees him a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Dortmund went straight to the lead and set a moderate pace. Sir Samson pressed him from the outside with Lord Nelson protecting the rail position and Bolo in fourth about a length and a half off the lead. Kenjisstorm was fifth, Prospect Park was sixth, Ocho Ocho Ocho was seventh, and Pulmarack was eighth. The Gomper was ninth by 5 lengths with Pain and Misery last by 7 lengths.

There was not much change in the running of the race as Dortmund went through a quarter mile in 23.12, a half mile in 46.98, and six furlongs in 1:11.30. On the far turn, Dortmund was pushed by Bolo who making a strong bid for the lead. Dortmund led by a head at the stretch call over Bolo with Prospect Park making his way into third.

Dortmund continued to pull away from Bolo while Prospect Park came flying up to second to miss by a length and a quarter. Bolo was third and Lord Nelson ran an even race while finishing fourth.

The remaining order of finish was The Gomper in fifth, Pulmarack in sixth, Pain and Misery in seventh, Ocho Ocho Ocho in eighth, Sir Samson in ninth, and Kenjisstorm was last in tenth by 38 lengths. The official chart can be found here via Equibase.

For his first place finish, Dortmund earned 50 to bring him to a total of 70 points and is currently third on the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Prospect Park earned his first 20 points, Bolo earned his first 10 points, and Lord Nelson earned 5 points to bring his total to 6.

Dortmund is by Big Brown out of the Tale of the Cat mare Our Josephina. He was ridden by Martin Garcia and is trained by the venerable Bob Baffert. He ran the one mile and one sixteenth in 1:41.65.

Dortmund and Prospect Park will most likely come back in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, April 4. That race is worth 100, 40, 20, and 10 points to the top four finishers.

2015 San Felipe Stakes Preview

2015 San Felipe Stakes Preview

The final Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday, March 7 will take place at Santa Anita. A quality field of 10 three-year olds will run in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at one mile and one sixteenth on the main track.

The San Felipe carries a purse of $400,000 and 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard for the winner of the race. Second place will receive 20 points, third place will receive 10 points, and fourth place will receive 5 points.

Post time for the San Felipe is 6 PM Eastern Time and is the seventh race on the program. Free past performances for the race can be found here.

1. Lord Nelson (4-1 Morning Line) – He started his career at Del Mar with a half length victory before finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Front Runner. A turn back to a sprint resulted in a six and three-quarters lengths victory in the Speakeasy Stakes. Another try around 2 turns resulted in another off the board finish. Last time out he ran in the Grade 2 San Vincente winning by a neck going 7 furlongs. He has not hit the board in both of his route races and appears to be a sprinter.

2. Ocho Ocho Ocho (4-1 ML) – He started his career with a one length win before winning the off the turf Juvenile Turf Sprint again at Santa Anita. His last race was the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot where he fought to the wire with Mr. Z, winning by a nose. He certainly has a chance to rate and pounce in the stretch.

3. Dortmund (8-5 ML) – We come to the heavy morning line favorite who enters this race 4-4 in his career. He won the first two races easily before taking the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity by a head over firing. The same duo came to the same result in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis. He will undoubtedly be there at the finish.

4. The Gomper (15-1 ML) – This three year old son of Sky Mesa broke his maiden first time out. He followed that up with a second place finish by 2 1/4 lengths. Last time out he finished fourth by 6 3/4 lengths in a loss to fellow entrant Prospect Park. The competition gets far more difficult in this spot.

5. Kenjisstorm (50-1 ML) – By far the longest shot in the race, he has yet to break his maiden. Further more, he has yet to hit the board in any of his 5 races. He is changing trainers from Tim Yakteen to George Papaprodromou, but that will not help his chances much.

6. Prospect Park (4-1 ML) – It took him four starts to break his maiden, but he did so by a neck going a mile and a sixteenth. He followed that maiden win up with a dominating 5 1/4 length win in an optional claimer $80,000. He is another horse that has a chance to win here.

7. Bolo (6-1 ML) – He has run in three consecutive turf races to start his career. He was fifth by 2 1/4 lengths in this first start before breaking his maiden in his second start by 2 3/4 lengths. In his last effort, he won the Eddie Logan by 4 1/2 lengths, but has been off for over two months. He is an intriguing horse given that he never has run on dirt.

8. Pulmarack (20-1 ML) – This California bred son of Lucky Pulpit has faced only fellow California bred horses in his 5 career starts. He broke his maiden in his third start, which was his first on traditional dirt and first around 2 turns. That was a win by 4 1/4 lengths before back-to-back state bred California races. He finished second in both of those, which led him to being placed here. He will need to be even better than his previous races if he is to contend.

9. Sir Samson (12-1 ML) – His career started off with a thud when he was pulled up and walked off in his debut. He finished 75 lengths behind Dortmund, while the two return to meet again today. His second start was much better, a win by half a length before running in the Grade 2 San Vicente. In that race he held the lead in the stretch, but was run down by Lord Nelson. The blinkers are coming off for this race, but he will need to step up to compete here.

10. Pain and Misery (15-1 ML) – He started at Del Mar with a third place finish by a length and a quarter. He then went to Zia Park for his next 2 races with back-to-back wins including in the Governors’ Cup. After a 4 month break, he came to Santa Anita and tried turf for the first time. It was a success, as he finished second by a neck in a listed stakes race. He has never raced at a route distance, but he improve second time off the 4 month layoff.



This race runs through #3 Dortmund, who is the horse to beat here. He will have stiff competition from #2 Ocho Ocho Ocho and #6 Prospect Park. Long shot possibilities underneath include #7 Bolo, #9 Sir Samson, and #10 Pain and Misery.

1. Dortmund

2. Ocho Ocho Ocho

3. Prospect Park

4. Pain and Misery


Check back on Saturday evening to see the recap of the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.