Month: January 2012

Holy Bull, Algorithms Upsets Hansen

Todd Pletcher Scores His First Ever Holy Bull Win

The Derby Trail is littered with challenges and today Hansen faced his first. Coming in as the undefeated 2-yr-old champion, Hansen entered the starting gate as the overwhelming 4-5 favorite. But as it is on the road to the derby, there are no safe bets.

The headline coming in was Hansen’s 3-yr-old debut but right behind it was his running style – Front Runner. Until today it hadn’t been touched regardless of the distance in each of his first three races. But in the Holy Bull his pace was just too hot and Algorithms was there to reap the benefits. After creeping up on the pace setter little by little the race was already in hand by the time they reached the eighth pole. Once Alogrithms passed is when he put Hansen away and soared home for the convincing win.

G3 Holy Bull Stakes | Purse $400,000 | 1 Mile | Dirt | 1:36.17 – Track Sloppy

  1. Algorithms               $7.00    $2.80    $2.40
  2. Hansen                                    $2.40    $2.10
  3. My Adonis                                             $4.00

$2 Exacta $16.20      $1 Trifecta 50.70     $1 Superfecta $158.50

  • Also Ran (in order of finish) Fort Loudon, Silver Max, Consortium – Equibase Chart

So the Holy Bull results are in the books but the derby trail is anything but. Let’s begin with our winner.  (more…)

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Holy Bull, the 2-yr-old Champ Returns

The Morning Line: Holy Bull Stakes

The Derby trail will be turned up a notch in the Holy Bull stakes as our reigning 2-yr-old champion Hansen begins his march towards the 138th Kentucky Derby. After capping off a sensational sophomore year by winning the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Hansen looks poised to hold form and his top contender status in the field of 2012 Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

In this competitive field of 6 all eyes will be on Hansen but before we get there, let’s take a look at his profile so far. 

Son of Tapit, out of the Sir Cat mare Stormy Sunday and trained by Mike Maker, Hansen is a beautiful gray / roan colt who challenges his contenders from the front of the pack. His racing career began in September 2011 at Turfway Park when he dominated in back to back wins by a combined margin of over 25 lengths. His 5 ½ F MSW debut ended with a bang after he turned in a 12 ¼ length victory and final time of 1:05.12. Maker returned him 15 days later in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile and it was like watching replay. Breaking right to the front once again, Hansen put the field away in the 1 1/16 mile race by over 13 lengths and a final time of 1:45.82. Pretty Impressive.

As it is in sports and horse racing especially, you have to win against the best before you’re given too much credit.  Entering the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starting gate at 7-1 Hansen was definitely a contender in the eyes of the betting public. But the doubts looming over his transfer to dirt, his front running style and the competition he had romped all over were not enough to make him the favorite.  So the stage was set for Hansen to prove his talent and that’s exactly what he did.  (more…)

Mr Bowling Holds on in Lecomte Thriller

It was Jockey Robby Albarado’s intent to give his colt a clear shot down the stretch and let him work for home.  And that’s exactly what Mr. Bowling did. Never trailing far back from the pace set by Alexander TheGreat who clocked early fractions 23.21 and 47.22, Mr. Bowling was in a great position to make a move. At the top of lane is where Robby Albarado made that move and cleared Mr. Bowling for home.

At the final sixteenth mark Mr. Bowling had established the lead by a half-length over Z Dager to his near outside. His gutsy hold on the lead and Z Dager’s failed attempt to pass is what led to Mr. Bowling scoring the win by a head.  Shared Property, who overcame the hardest post (13) was storming down the stretch on the far outside but flamed out in the final yards. It left him a half-length behind Z Dager for a 3rd place finish.

G3 LeComte Stakes | Purse $175,000 | 1 Mile, 70 yards | Dirt | 143.49 – Track: Fast

  1. Mr. Bowling          $9.20    $4.80    $4.00
  2. Z Dager                                 $4.80    $3.60
  3. Shared Property                                 $3.80

$2 Exacta $43.20      $2 Trifecta 242.40     $2 Superfecta $4,552.20

  • Also ran (in order of finish) Dan and Sheila, Hero of Order, Hammers Terror, Capetown Devil, Alexander TheGreat, Ted’s Folly, Adena’s Chance, Exfactor, Seven Lively Sins, Chalybeate Springs – EQUIBASE CHART             (more…)

The Morning Line: Lecomte Stakes

The Derby Trail shifts to the Fair Grounds

Shared Property winning the Arlington-Washington Futurity

And so the trail from the Big Easy to the Kentucky Derby begins. Kicking things off from its customary starter position is the G3 Lecomte Stakes. Raced at a distance of 1 Mile, 70 yards this stop on the trail has all the fixin’s for a new derby contender to emerge from the field of 13.  It is only January but the journey has to start somewhere

For those that have never made it, New Orleans is a city that you have to visit – trust us there are plenty of good times, good food and great places to see.  But while the city has been good to most of its visitors, the Big Easy hasn’t been so satisfying for 3-yr-old winners of the Lecomte Stakes.  In over 40 years, we have still yet to see a winner move on to capture the Kentucky Derby. The closest attempt at becoming the first was in 2007 when Hard Spun fought gamely before finishing 2nd to Street Sense.

Inaugurated in 1970 at the Fair Grounds, it is a very early and opportune time for trainers to test their young colts. Like many of years past, this field is sure to include quite a few that will flame out on the road to the Derby but will it also include even fewer that make a solid run at qualifying.    

Based on the Morning Line odds let’s begin breaking down the field with our top three. (more…)

The Morning Line: Smarty Jones

Smarty Jones will always be remembered for one of the most spectacular Triple Crown bids that ended just short of legendary. For a horse that was wasn’t on the experts radar for the better part of the Derby Prep season, he came storming through the first two legs before being denied by the slimmest of heart breaking margins. Smarty Jones is a true thoroughbred champion and very deserving of the derby prep race named in his honor.  The Smarty Jones Stakes is scheduled for Monday January 16. 

Looking back

His racing career officially got underway late sophomore season when he scored back to back wins by no less than 7 ½ lengths. By then, Owners Roy and Patricia Chapman must have had a good feeling about their colt. After that it was Trainer John Servis who gets applause for his approach towards the first Saturday in May.   (more…)

Alpha Rebounds, Out of Bounds Upsets

Alpha Rebounds in the Count Fleet

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha put himself back into the early 2012 Kentucky Derby contender conversation with an easy and impressive win on Saturday in the $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.  The 3-yr-old debut for the Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt was a huge rebound after his sophomore season ended with a disappointing 11th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. 

Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Jockey Ramon Dominguez placed Alpha just off the leaders in third before making his move at the top of the lane.  After a short-lived duel with pace setter II Villano, Alpha moved by comfortably to score a 2 ½ victory, his first ever graded stakes win.  Racing on Lasix for the first time, he covered 1 Mile and 70 yards in 1:42.83 over the Fast inner track at Aqueduct behind slow fractions of 24.48, 49.06, 1:13.91.

The Son of Bernadini looked like the horse that many expected to see in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he entered after finishing 2nd to the eventual winner Union Rags in the G1 Champagne last October.  Besides an easy win against a viable field of 7, his stretch run and gallop out after the wire is what impressed me the most. Alpha looked very much like a horse that is bred for distance and he looked very strong down the stretch, the place where the Triple Crown champions win.  Expect Alpha to remain on the New York circuit where he will likely return for the Withers Stakes on Feb. 4th before moving on to the Wood Memorial on 4/7. 

Raced since it’s inauguration in 1975 only one Count Fleet Stakes winner has ever gone on to win the Kentucky Derby – Smarty Jones in 2004.  Of course it’s premature but Alpha has put himself in a nice position to attempt to become the second Count Fleet winner to wear the Roses on the first Saturday in May.  (more…)

The Morning Line: Sham Stakes

Secret Circle, Sham Stakes 4-5 Favorite

Santa Anita kicks off the 2012 Kentucky Derby preps with the Grade 3 Sham Stakes this afternoon.  It is the third race in today’s 9 race card with the post time listed at 1:32 local time.  After winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint as the 2-5 favorite, Secret Circle returns to Santa Anita where he won the Jack Goodman stakes last October.  Although this will be his first career race at a distance of 1 mile, Secret Circle is still the 4-5 favorite on the Morning Line.

Standing in his way is a field of 5 other horses.  Here is the line-up for the 2012 Sham Stakes.   (more…)

Saddle Up – Trail to the Derby Begins with the Sham Stakes

Secret Circle wins the BC Juvenile Sprint

Welcome to the New Year.  The trail to the 138th Kentucky Derby has begun at the The Derby Post and we commence with the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. 

Inaugurated in 2001, this official G3 Derby Prep is named in honor of one of the greatest 3 year olds to never win a Triple Crown race.  After his triumphant victory in the 1973 Santa Anita Stakes, Sham moved on to the Kentucky Derby where he met a challenge that no other horse would choose; Secretariat.  Because of his gutsy 2nd place finishes to Big Red in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Sham will quite possibly be remembered as: The Greatest Second Best. Although their rivalry was one-sided, Sham still holds one of the top 4 fastest times in Kentucky Derby history (Behind Secretariat, Monarchos, and Northern Dancer). 

 And that race fans is a horse worth naming a Derby Prep after.  Riders up, let’s hit the road to the 138th Kentucky Derby. 

(more…)