Month: February 2011

Fountain of Youth & Hutcheson Recaps: Wire to Wire

Going in to Saturday there were questions surrounding Soldat but the betting public didn’t seem to be asking.  Leaving the gate as the 7-5 favorite, anyone who still had their hand up quickly got their answer.  Soldat broke clean, took the lead and never looked back.  Claiming his first win over a fast main track and the second victory of his three year old campaign, Soldat is headed down the right track on the trail to Churchill Downs.  Next up: Florida Derby.

Coming out of the starting gate Soldat was a few steps slow and behind the 80-1 longshot leader El Grayling.  However, as they went into the first turn, he was able to establish his position right with the leader.  Once the time for the first half mile flashed in nearly :48 flat, the race was over.  Soldat drew away, and maintained the moderate pace and as expected, To Honor and Serve was not ready to duel through the stretch.  Gourmet Dinner put a nice run through the stretch but never threatened Soldat for top honors and had to settle for a nice 2nd place finish.  As far as the also rans, Bowman’s Causeway improved to finish a solid fourth but his and many others Derby fortunes are up in the air.

Right now, it looks as if Soldat will push to the Florida Derby and Gourmet Dinner will either stay in town for the Florida Derby or head out to California for the Santa Anita Derby.  Congrats to the winning connections, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and jockey Alan Garcia, good luck moving forward.

  • Soldat                                $4.80     $3.00     $2.20
  • Gourmet Dinner                              $6.00    $3.40
  • To Honor and Serve                                       $2.60

$2 Exacta – $13.80, $1 Trifecta – $18.80

The other big race of the day was won in dominating fashion by Flashpoint.  There is no doubt that Crossbow deciding to skip the race in favor of a later date, possibly the Gotham Stakes in New York, had an affect on the race and most importantly, the pace.  However, we should not take anything away from Flashpoint’s dominating 7 1/4 length victory over Travelin Man.  These two ran away from the rest of the field and never looked back.  Great ride by Cornelio Velasquez who flew into Florida from New York to take the mount for trainer Rick Dutrow.  I don’t think that anyone from this race will be a legit Derby contender but we may see one or two connections wearing rose colored glasses come May.  Congrats and hope to see these two on the Derby undercard.

  • Flashpoint                                $15.80     $5.60     $4.20
  • Travelin Man                                             $2.60    $2.40
  • Little Drama                                                            $10.00

$2 Exacta – $40.20, $1 Trifecta – $392.80

Final note: I would love nothing more than to say that it’s Nacho Business who won the 3rd race at Gulfstream; however, he was only able to grab second prize as his hard charging stretch run came up half a length short.  The winner, Arch Traveler, sat behind the pace setter and was able to hold off Nacho Business and Washington’s Rules.

Written by: Fundanichols


News and Notes

Yesterday’s races in Florida helped to sharpen the derby picture with two impressive victories by Flashpoint and Soldat.  All eyes were focused on Gulfstream Park and the two performances did not disappoint.  I’m sure there was plenty of buzz on the backside, but other horses created a small amount of buzz in the derby world worth mentioning.  East coast racing is gearing up as well as international racing from the French Riviera. 

JJ’s Lucky Train scored a big win in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park.  Runner-up to Toby’s Corner in the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 5, JJ’s Lucky Train headed south to the Old Line State where out dueled favored Bandbox winning by a neck.  The 7 furlong race was a good indication of where JJ’s Lucky Train stands on the road to the derby.  With a speed pedigree, it is likely that he won’t compete in the triple crown races, but things can change.  Look for JJ’s Lucky Train to return to Aqueduct to compete in the G.III Bay Shore Stakes on April 9.

With Crossbow’s defection from the Hutcheson, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed that he would be sending his colt to New York for the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.  Crossbow drew the one hole for the Hutcheson.  McLaughlin did not like the speed factor or the post position and scratched the morning of the race.

Trainer Cristophe Ferland’s dreams of making the derby with his Kentucky bred colt Mount Pelato hit a snag at Cagnes-sur-Mer in the Prix Policeman.  Mount Pelato led for half the race then hit a wall finishing 9th in the contest behind 20-1 winner Inscrutable.  Ferland has not ruled out running in the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland, but his chances of making the derby field look to be slim.

It was another great weekend of racing, and as the calendar changes over to March racing to the derby begins to heat up even more.  We look forward to derby preps this coming weekend from Aqueduct and Turfway Park. 

There are only 69 days until the Kentucky Derby.  Let us know who you like as the road to the derby moves forward.

Written by Big Brink

The Morning Line: Fountain of Youth & Hutcheson Stakes

Picnic on the green

Back to Gulfstream Park in Florida where we will have the first major stakes race since the Holy Bull Stakes was won impressively by the Nick Zito trained Dialed In.  Fountain of Youth winners can be big time contenders on the trail.  The last 2 went on to be the Kentucky Derby favorites with Quality Road and Eskendereya.  Unfortunately, neither one of them actually ran in the KYD and instead were scratched Derby week due to different types of foot/leg injuries. 

Even with Dialed In choosing to skip the Fountain of Youth, the field coming up is very tough.  The noisemakers include To Honor and Serve, Soldat, Gourmet Dinner, Casper’s Touch and Shackleford.  It will be interesting to see how Soldat adapts to his first fast track (essentially dry dirt) as he has mainly run on turf and off-tracks (wet to sloppy).   These are definitely two races to follow closely due to the talent that has passed through them.  Generally, the Hutcheson does not produce as many Derby starters because the short distance is not an ideal setup for the longer distances that follow.  But since it is an important prep race, it must be covered.

Hutcheson | GII $150,000 Purse | 7 Furlongs | 3 yr olds | Race 9, 4:52 p.m.
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1 Crossbow (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, K P McLaughlin 5-1
2 Madman Diaries (FL), J Sanchez, 120, W A Ward 6-1
3 Travelin Man (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, T A Pletcher 5-2
4 Razmataz (KY), J Castellano, 116, T A Pletcher 10-1
5 Flashpoint (FL), C H Velasquez, 116, R E Dutrow, Jr. 4-1
6 Little Drama (FL), J Bravo, 120 D Fawkes 20-1
7 Leave of Absence (FL), R Maragh, 116, R A Violette Jr. 12-1
8 Black N Beauty (ON), K J Desormeaux, 116, D L Romans 8-1
9 Manicero (FL), L Saez, 120, L Azpurua Jr. 12-1
10 Royal Currier (FL), E Trujillo, 118, P Farro 8-1

Fountain of Youth |  GI $400,000 Purse | 1 1/8 Miles | 3 yr olds | Race 10, 5:25 p.m
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Soldat (KY), A Garcia, 120, K P McLaughlin 2-1
2. Gourmet Dinner (FL), R A Dominguez, 120, S W Standridge 5-1
3. El Grayling (KY), R Maragh, 116, M J Maker 15-1
4. Casper’s Touch (KY), A O Solis, 116, K G McPeek 6-1
5. Bowman’s Causeway (ON), J R Leparoux, 116, P L Biancone 20-1
6. Racing Aptitude (FL),   3/C  J Lezcano, 120, H M Tesher 30-1
7. To Honor and Serve (KY), J R Velazquez, 122, W I Mott 8-5
8. Shackleford (KY), J L Castanon, 116, D L Romans 8-1

As a side note, the Fountain of Youth was won by the MC Hammer owned and aptly named colt Dance Floor in ’92.  And this was not Stanley Burrell but Hammertime who had finished era changing songs like U Can’t Touch This and Too Legit Too Quit.  So for the Hammer let’s………Break it down

Hutcheson – Speed, speed and more speed.  It is pretty much the opposite of the Sam F. Davis Stakes.  With the exception of Leave of Absence, it is tough to see who will not be right on the lead.  I expect for the talented Crossbow to get out of the gate as quickly as possible and be followed closely by Madman Diaries and Travelin Man.  However, at the top of the stretch, I think that we will be looking at Travelin Man, Black N Beauty and Royal Currier.  Leave of Absence and Manicero should be coming strong from off the pace and I think one will catch Travelin Man at the line.  Exacta: 3,7,9 and 9 for the win

Fountain of Youth – I think that it may be a race or two before we see the best from To Honor and Serve.  Bill Mott likes a race to shoot for and this is definitely not that race.  I expect To Honor and Serve to challenge but importantly prep and get primed for the Florida Derby.  Even with a lot of early speed, I think we saw something special from Soldat his last time out on a wet track.  If he can get out and keep the pace moderate, I think that everyone else will be running for 2nd.  Of the other challengers I expect U Can’t Casper’s Touch this, Bowman’s Causeway and Gourmet Dinner (may be a little too long for his best late kick) to be in the mix.  Exacta: 1,4,7 and the 1 for the win.   Live Longshot: Bowman’s Causeway at 20-1.  He ran great last time out and could get an earlier jump on Gourmet Dinner and Casper’s Touch.

By: Fundanichols
 It feels no good, when you’re down
Super old boy, betting from A-Town
Stop.  Hammertime
Final note: The 3rd race at Gulfstream on Saturday (Allowance Race) has a few potential Florida Derby runners with the cleverly named Nacho Business, Cool Blue Red Hot, Arch Traveler and Washington’s Rules (was high on before Brethren drew off big in the Sam F. Davis)  Nacho Business…….would be a great name to repeat over and over and over again on May 7th.  Plus, he beat our live longshot in his last race.

A French Connection: Mount Pelato Shoots for Kentucky

Cagnes-sur-Mer Racecourse

The road to the Kentucky Derby takes many twists and turns.  Much like a puzzle, horsemen and horsewomen travel to great lengths looking for the perfect piece (race) to add to their derby picture.  A horse may be based in Florida, but their road to the derby runs through New York.  Or a California bred may run in New Mexico.  Whatever path is paved in front of them, they must take extreme precautions and proceed with delicacy.  For Mount Pelato, his journey begins in France and hopefully ends with a victory on the first Saturday in May.

On Saturday, Mount Pelato, trained by Cristophe Ferland, will attempt 1 1/4 miles, the distance of the Kentucky Derby, at Cagnes-sur-Mer racecourse.  Located on the Southeast coast of France along the Mediterranean Sea, Cagnes-sur-Mer will host the $75,000 Prix Policeman.  Thirteen horses are entered for the contest, but all eyes are on Mount Pelato. Undefeated, the horse already has two wins at 1 3/16, the distance of the Preakness.  So distance should not be a problem for this Kentucky bred colt.  Mount Pelato will be ridden by Thomas Huet.

The Kentucky Derby has not had a foreign raced winner since Canonero II in 1971 and France has not had a classic winner on American soil since Arcagnes scored an upset win in the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Classic at odds of 133-1.  If Mount Pelato wins this weekend, the plan is to ship him to Kentucky for the  Grade I Toyota Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on April 16.  If the horse succeeds in Kentucky, look for him to enter the gate on derby day to represent his country. 

Confidence and experience may be on Mount Pelato’s side, but he has many long strides ahead of him.  We will be paying close attention this weekend as the road to the derby runs through France.  We would like to wish Mount Pelato good luck and we hope to see him on this side of the pond very soon. 

Written by Big Brink

Race Recap: Risen Star Stakes

You have to have something to Let it Ride.  I was wrong.  Mucho Macho Man kept close to the pace, ran the best race, and ultimately won the Risen Star(Race Replay) with relative ease.  It was a great comeback race for him after running a tired 4th in the Holy Bull Stakes 3 weeks earlier.

Rajiv Maragh, who picked up the mount at the last minute due to an injury to Eibar Coa, had Mucho Macho Man in perfect stalking position from the start.  He broke out of the gate well, let the longshots carry a relatively pedestrian pace and took control when he was asked.

Regardless of his form moving forward, Mucho Macho Man likely booked his ticket to Louisville with the $180,000 won in the race.  The other top contenders finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th but have a little more to do(earn $$$) to get on the track to Louisville.

  • Mucho Macho Man          $9.20     $4.80     $2.80
  • Santiva                                              $6.00    $3.40
  • Rogue Romance                                              $2.60

This was a race where many of the top choices looked a little rank (uneasy and unsettled early) and Macho’s previous race in the Holy Bull gave him a slight edge and needed experience.  As it stands, I expect to see improvement from Rogue Romance and Santiva as they were making their first starts of the season.

Also, it looks like most of the top players are the Florida based horses and shippers.  It will be very interesting to see who tackles the Florida Derby and who chooses to find something slightly easier.  $1 earned in Florida is still worth the same $1 earned in Louisiana when it comes to Kentucky.

Congrats to the connections, epecially Kathy Ritvo on her first graded stakes win. 

Also, later this week, we will have a showdown in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream with two of my favorites in Soldat and To Honor and Serve.  It will be very interesting and potentially profitable (hopefully).

Written By: Fundanichols

Southwest Stakes Race Recap: It’s a Family Affair

Southwest Stakes winner Archarcharch

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?  It is when you don’t have the winner.  The  Grade III Southwest Stakes lived up to its billing as a wide open race and a family celebration for the winning connections of Archarcharch as the dark bay colt cruised to a one length victory over favored JP’s Gusto. 

Ridden by regular Ellis Park jockey Jon Court, Archarcharch scored a big win on the derby trail for his father-in-law, trainer William Fires (Race Replay).  It was the first graded stakes win for Archarcharch and his next test may be only a few weeks away in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 19. 

Archarcharch sat off the pace for the majority of the two turn mile contest.  JP’s Gusto, a champion sprinter at 2, defied my logic and did the same.  Opening fractions were 22.6 for the first quarter mile and 46.8 for the first half.  Along the backstretch, Archarcharch passed JP’s Gusto and moved toward the front of the pack.  As they entered the stretch, a wall of horses stretched out across the track.  Second choice Elite Alex was six wide and battled on the outside to make a dent in the final results.  Archarcharch took command over leaders Derivative and Brickyard Fast and never looked back.  JP’s Gusto had a troublesome race, but never seemed to fire until the final stretch finishing second.  Elite Alex was third.  Archarcharch won in a time of 1:38.2 and pocketed $150,000 for owner Robert Yagos.

  • Archarcharch          $31.00     $8.80     $4.80
  • JP’s Gusto                                 $3.60     $2.80
  • Elite Alex                                                  $3.00

Caleb’s Posse, my pick to win on the morning line, broke sharply from the gate and settled in behind horses along the rail.  Jockey Eddie Razo, Jr. put in a strong surge along the backstretch and looked to be making a big move as he guided the horse around the second turn.  However, the wall of horses prevented him from finding a hole for Caleb’s Posse and was never a factor in the final outcome finishing 6th. 

We would like to congratulate the winning connections of the Southwest Stakes and one of our local favorites Jon Court.  We hope that all of the horses returned to their respective stables in good health and we hope to see them competing in future races. 

Written by Big Brink

The Morning Line: Southwest Stakes

As the country celebrates the lives and work of our great presidential leaders today, the derby trail shifts its focus from California and Louisiana to the great state of Arkansas.  Hot Springs, Arkansas is best known for its natural spring water that flows from the ground and the touring locations in Hot Springs National Park.  But, the city is also home to historic Oaklawn Park, site of the Grade III Southwest Stakes. 

Owned by the Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc., Oaklawn officially opened for racing purposes in 1905.  The Southwest Stakes (1 mile) serves as the first leg of the local prep races leading to the G.I Arkansas Derby with the G.II Rebel Stakes serving as the second leg.  The most notable winner to sweep all three races was 2004 Kentucky Derby Champion Smarty Jones.  With a field of 11 horses set to break from the gate this afternoon, the road to Kentucky through Arkansas begins. 

Early favorite is JP’s Gusto, owned by Dr. John Waken.  Dr. Waken created quite a stir in the racing world by transfering JP’s Gusto from David Hoffmans’s stable in California to Joe Petalino in Arkansas earlier this year.  Petalino has a lively horse (he is the only graded stakes winner in the field) and he looks like the one to beat this afternoon.  But, can JP’s Gusto make a smooth transition to dirt and can he win at longer distances?  In his only start on dirt, he finished 6th in BC Juvenile and his biggest wins as a 2 yr old were in sprint races on synthetics.

Caleb’s Posse has a win over the track in the Smarty Jones Stakes at the same distance.  D. Wayne Lukas sends Smarty Jones starters Bonaroo and Derivative.  Also in the field is Elite Alex, son of 2005 Arkansas Derby winner Afleet Alex.  Elite Alex finished second by a head in an optional claiming race at a one-mile distance as well.  Several horses in the field are looking at this race as a springboard to generate graded stakes winnings.  With a large field and several live horses, it looks to be an interesting race that will sharpen the focus of racing in Arkansas as we approach the month of March. 

Horse                             Jockey                       Trainer                 Odds

  1. Caleb’s Posse          E. Razo, Jr.                D. Von Hemel       9-2
  2. Derivative              T. Thompson             D. Lukas                8-1
  3. Ghost Is Clear        C. Lanerie                  M. Maker              8-1
  4. Grant Jack              M. Berry                    W. Calhoun           15-1
  5. JP’s Gusto               R. Dominguez            J. Petalino             9-5
  6. Archarcharch          J. Court                      W. Fires                10-1
  7. Bonaroo                   J. Johnson                  D. Lukas                30-1
  8. Yankee Passion      G. Saez                       J. Jones                  8-1
  9. Elite Alex                 C. Borel                      T. Ritchey             4-1
  10. Brickyard Fast        B. McNeil                   J. Petalino             30-1
  11. Picko’s Pride            I. Ocampo                 M. Robertson       30-1

Look for JP’s Gusto to use his speed up front, but I like Caleb’s Promise to score the win over the favorite.  I’m also anxious to see if Elite Alex can rekindle the magic his father did in Arkansas six years earlier.  We would like to wish all of the owners, trainers, jockeys, and horses a safe trip this afternoon and good luck as they move forward. 

Written by Big Brink

San Vicente Race Recap: Catch Me If You Can

Fast, Fast, Fast

It’s as if that is exactly what The Factor, jockey Martin Garcia, and Trainer Bob Baffert offered to anyone that dare.  Three horses, Indian Winter, Metropolitan Man, and  Oakcrest Drive scratched before post time and the rest of field was left chasing.  Sway Away made a valiant and impressive effort  improving from last to 2nd but it just wasn’t fast enough. 

Coming off a six furlong track record performance on Dec 26th the overwhelming favorite returned to form on Sunday taking home the San Vicente (replay) in his stakes debut.  With the track condition listed as Wet-Fast, he didn’t even blink blistering through the 7 furlong feat in 1:20.34.    Bob Baffert knows his way around Santa Anita and it didn’t take long for him to identify what was trending on Sunday.  Front runners were holding ground all day so after breaking 2nd behind City Cool, Martin Garcia quickly moved him to the lead and never looked back.   As if an opening quarter of 22.20 wasn’t fast enough he turned the next quarter in 21.21 and clipped through the 6 furlong mark at 1:07.31.  Blistering fast folks, just raw speed.

Congratulations are in order for Bob Baffert as this win makes it his record sixth San Vicente Stakes victory.  So Bob, congrats on a dazzling performance but I got to ask you: What’s next for The Factor……can he race at this level at a distance of a 1 1/4 Mile?  After these last two wins we’re about ready to declare him the fastest sprinting 3 yr old in the land so it will be interesting to see just how far he can go.  It’s likely this talented colt will begin training for two turns and will compete in race of over a mile his next time out.  However, it’s too early for Baffert or Owner George Bolton and Fog City Stables to talk about the next steps.  So for the time being, The Factor remains a high-ranking derby contender on our list and we will await anxiously for his next race. 

I stuck to my wagering notes in The Morning Line: San Vicente and came away satisfied.  Even Steven, as my across the board wager on Sway Away and no exotics left me cashing just under my wager total.   With The Factor’s odds as short as they were, I opted for higher amounts on place and show in case it would be too tough to take down the favorite.  Great ride Garrett, I’ll keep my eye on Sway Away as I see derby contender potential. 

  • 7 – The Factor              $3.80  $2.80  $240
  • 3 – Sway Away             $3.60, $2.80
  • 8 – Premeir Pegasus    $3.60

Congratulations to The Factor for a beautiful display of powerful thoroughbred racing, I’m excited to see you compete on the trail to the derby.  We hope that all horses returned to their respective barns in good health and that we will also see you down the road. 

  • Written By: Little Brink                                                                                              

The Morning Line: San Vicente Stakes

Buckle your seat belts, the San Vicente Stakes is going to be moving fast.  While the race won’t have all the hype, glitter and glam of another disappointing Fast & Furious film, this California sprint is sure to please the critics.  At a distance of only 7 Furlongs, things will get interesting with this field as they come out of the only turn and head for home.  Like all sprints, it comes down to who gets a clean break, establishes position, and hits the stretch ready to change gears and roll.

While the race is a shorter distance than almost all Derby Preps, history shows that the winner can excel in longer races.  Silver Charm took home the San Vicente in 97 before moving on to Churchill Downs to show just how good he was.  Overall, there have been 11 San Vicente winners who came back to claim the Santa Anita Derby so we will definitely keep close tabs on Sunday’s winner.

The field is set and the odds on favorite is The Factor.  Trained by Bob Baffert, The Factor made jaws drop at SA in Dec when we he broke his maiden while setting a 6 furlong track record in 1:06.98.  For a 2 yr old to post an unbelievably fast time while racing against good company is just down right commendable.  The young colt is reportedly ready for his first race of 2011 after rest & a full recovery from a minor foot bruise in January.  Couple these factors with a Jockey change (Bob’s top choice rider, Martin Garcia up) and you can see the anticipation building.  Will he return to record form or has the competition closed the gap?

The field has got the potential to upset the California favorite again this weekend so let’s look at the upset bid leaders.  Expect pressure from San Pedro winner Indian Winter and runner up City Cool.  Both look rested and ready to return to form.  Premeir Pegasus, the son of 2000 KYD winner Fusaichi Pegasus, is hot coming in at 3-0 but with no wins on dirt.  Finally, I expect some noise from Sway Away with Garrett Gomez up.

Going out on a limb, I’ll play Sway Away across the board for a good price if The Factor finishes behind him.  In this deep field I’m undecided on exotic wagers.  So, barring any last minute decisions, which happen, I’ll likely be staying out on exacta / trifecta combos.  Last minute decisions could include The Factor, Indian Winter, Sway Away, and Sinai.

San Vicente | GII $150,000 Purse | 7 furlongs | 3 yr olds | Race 8, Post Time 4:07  PT 

  1. Surrey Star (IRE)            M Smith           J Cassidy               8-1
  2. Metropolitan Man            P Valenzuela   V Cerin                  12-1
  3. Sway Away                        G Gomez          J Bonde                4-1
  4. Sinai                                    R Bejarano      B Baffert              8-1
  5. Indian Winter                    M Pedroza      J Hollendorfer     9-2
  6. City Cool                             J Talamo         S Asmussen         8-1
  7. The Factor                         M Garcia         B Baffert               8-5
  8. Premeir Pegasus               A Quinonez     M Cho                   8-1
  9. Oakcrest Drive                  V Espinoza      J Cassidy              15-1

Good luck to all of the owners, trainers, jockeys and other connections in California.  We hope that all of the horses finish strong and return to their barns in good health.

Written By: Little Brink            

The Morning Line: Risen Star Stakes

Things start to get a little more exciting as this weekend opens up two great stakes races.  The first will be tried at the Fair Grounds (home of Jazz Fest in New Orleans) and the second will get things underway at historic Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.  Both have several interesting prospects and have a chance to deliver a better price than the Sam Davis Stakes last weekend.  Anyway you put it, we will not have a 4-5 favorite walking past everyone.

Let’s start in New Orleans where one my last visits left me penniless after running from gentleman’s club to gentleman’s club searching for one of my buddies. Finally, I caught up with him.  He had left the clubs and was enjoying a fine dining experience at one of New Orleans’ finest steak houses.  The problem was after meeting so many “friends” (and I use that term loosely, very loosely) throughout the night, many were dining with him.  If we had not been able to sneak him out the backdoor of the restaurant and provided a sport coat, he would probably be managing the Fair Grounds Race Course by now.  I had to get it back to racing…

A lot of live horses in this one and all have a good shot.  We’ve got the 3rd place finisher from the Breeders Cup, Rogue Romance and Mucho Macho Man who was a disappointing 4th in the Holy Bull Stakes.  Also, The Riot has a live one in the race aboard Machen and Eddie Kenneally brings out his biggest bullet for the spring season with Santiva.

Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), Fair Grounds, $300,000, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, Saturday, Feb. 19, approximate post 4:46 CST.
PP – Horse – Jockey – Trainer – M/L
1 – Rogue Romance (KY) – J Leparoux – K McPeek – 3-1
2 – Liondrive (LA) – C Sutherland – T Ice – 50-1
3 – Decisive Moment (FL) – K Clark – J Arias – 9-2
4 – Pants On Fire (KY) – J Bravo – K Breen – 6-1
5 – Mucho Macho Man (FL) – R Maragh – K Ritvo – 4-1
6 – Machen (KY) – J Theriot – N Howard – 6-1
7 – Santiva (KY) – M Smith – E Kenneally – 6-1
8 – Action Ready (KY) – R Napravnik – W Calhoun – 12-1
9 – Justin Phillip (KY) – S Bridgmohan – S Asmussen – 8-1
10 – Sorgho (KY) – E Martin – W Bennett – 30-1

I am jumping in the boat as far as the #1 and #6.  I think that both will have some pace to run at coming down the stretch and I don’t think that Mucho will pass the tests that I am looking for.  I think that he is an early bloomer that creates the buzz like an over sized 11-year-old (ie me).

Written By: Fundanichols