©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California this Saturday where McKINZIE has been tabbed as the 6-5 morning line favorite in the $300,000 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course. Post time is 4:28 p.m. ET.
McKinzie comes into this race for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert off a maiden win at Santa Anita Park on October 28. Here’s the video and chart call or that race:
McKINZIE stalked between horses, bid four wide into the turn then three deep, took the lead outside the runner-up into the stretch and kicked clear under some left handed urging and steady handling late.
McKinzie tracked the leaders until the far turn and pulled away to win by and easy 5½ lengths. McKinzie has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and that makes him competitive in this small herd of runners.
Street Sense, the sire of McKinzie, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 6-4-2 record in 13 starts with $4,383,200 in career earnings.
As a two year old, Street Sense finished third in both the Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity (G3) and the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1). He followed that with a win in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and was tabbed as the Eclipse Champion Two Year Old.
Street Sense won his season debut as a three year old in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) en route to a 2¼ length win over Hard Spun in the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
McKinzie is taking a big step up in class and it remains to be seen if he can earn graded stakes honors. He has room to improve in his second career start and three bullet works since his last race could have him ready to take a big step forward.
I look for McKinzie to run a good race.
SOLOMINI (7-5) is also trained by Baffert and, of the pair, I like him best. He’s yet to earn graded stakes honors and comes into this race with a 1-2-0 record in three starts including second-place finishes in both the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of the Juvenile:
SOLOMINI disputed the pace four wide, was unable to go on with the winner through the final furlong, but kept on well following a long drive and preserved the runner-up spot
Chasing fast fractions, Solomini tracked pacesetting U S Navy Flag and briefly took the lead at the three quarters pole but gave way to Good Magic in the stretch to finish a respectable second.
Curlin, the sire of Solomini, was an outstanding racehorse that compiled an 11-2-2 record in 16 career starts with $10,501,800 in career earnings.
Curlin did not start as a two year old. But, at the age of three, Curlin was 6-1-2 in nine starts with $5,102,800 in earnings including wins in the Rebel Stakes (G3) and Arkansas Derby (G2) en route to a third-place finish in the 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1). He went on to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) and he finished second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
Other important stakes wins include the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), twice, Dubai World Cup (G1), Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), Woodward Stakes (G1), and the UAE Jaguar Trophy Handicap.
With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Solomini was a yearling (Hip 662) I liked in session four at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He’s is the best-bred colt in this herd and I look for him to run another good race.
RUNAWAY GHOST (8-1) comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in three starts for trainer Michael Machowsky including a win in the Golden Nugget Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on November 11. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
RUNAWAY GHOST was pushed in early, hustled to the front, set the pace three wide to the stretch then pushed clear and was kept to task.
Runaway Ghost took the lead at the quarter pole and continued increased his lead to win by an impressive 7½ lengths.
Ghostzapper, a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee and the sire of Runaway Ghost, was an incredibly talented, multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 9-0-1 record in 11 starts with $3,466,120 in career earnings.
As a two year old, Ghostzapper won his maiden special weight debut by nine lengths and was 1-0-0 in two starts. At the age of three, Ghostzapper won the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) and finished third in the King’s Bishop (G1), compiling a 3-0-1 record in four starts.
As a four year old, Ghostzapper was undefeated in four starts winning the Tom Fool Handicap (G2), Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G3), Woodward Stakes (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (G1). In addition, Ghostzapper was selected as the 2004 Eclipse Horse of the Year and Eclipse Champion Older Horse.
In his only start as a five year old, Ghostzapper was a 6¼ length winner of the one mile Metropolitan Handicap (G1).
Runaway Ghost has a D Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but, despite his low ranking, his Behavior Index potentially makes him competitive and I look for him to run a good race.
This is the sixth consecutive year for Churchill Downs to use a point system to determine eligibility to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. A total of 36 races comprise the Road to the Kentucky Derby and a significant change to the schedule is the addition of the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on December 17.
In addition to the Japan road to the Derby which features the Cattleya Sho Stakes (November 25), Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushan Stakes (December 13) and Hayacinth Stakes (February 2018), Churchill Downs has added a European road to Derby glory consisting of seven races: Juddmonte Beresford (September 24), Juddmonte Royal Lodge (September 30), Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (October 1), Racing Post Trophy (October 28, Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes (March 1), Patton (March 2) and the Burradon (March 30).
2017/2018 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. +Good Magic, 24, Chad Brown, $1,200,000
2. Bolt d’Oro, 14, Mick Ruis, $540,000
3. +Solomini, 12, Bob Baffert, $400,000
4. Enticed, 12, Kiaran McLaughlin, $164,080
5. Firenze Fire, 10, Jason Servis, $407,500
6. +Free Drop Billy, 10, Dale Romans, $400,000
7. Catholic Boy, 10, Jonathan Thomas, $290,000
8. The Tabulator, 10, Larry Rivelli, $126,750
9. Avery Island, 4, Kiaran McLaughlin, $170,000
10. Bravazo, 4, D. Wayne Lukas, $109,913
11. +Hollywood Star, 4, Dale Romans, $68,500
12. Tiz Mischief, 4, Dale Romans, $36,800
13. Givemeaminit, 2, Dallas Stewart, $152,000
14. Lone Sailor, 2, Tom Amoss, $71,347
15. Take the One O One, 2, Brian Koriner, $36,345
16. Promises Fulfilled, 2, Dale Romans, $18,400
17. Promises Fulfilled, 2, Arnaud Delacour, $25,000
18. Kowboy Karma, 1, Larry Jones, $70,000
19. Lionite, 1, Steve Asmussen, $25,000
20. Ayacara (GB), 1, Keith Desormeaux, $18,000
+ = Horses picked as yearlings on my 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sales list.
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
1. Saxon Warrior (JPN), 20, Aidan O’Brien, $245,017
2. Roaring Lion (USA), 14, John Gosden, $136,807
3. f-Happily (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $543,648
4. Olmedo (FR), 4, Jean-Claude Rouget, $113,505
5. Nelson (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $99,826
6. Delano Roosevelt (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $38,074
7. Masar (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $101,264
8. The Pentagon (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $71.981
9. Mildenberger (ENG), 2, Mark Johnston, $64,634
10. Warm the Voice (IRE), 2, Brendan Duke, $12,904
11. Verbal Dexterity (IRE), 1, Jim Bolger, $280,269
12. Kew Gardens (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $28,605
13. Woodmax (GER), 1, Nicolas Clement, $23,610
14. Petrus (IRE), 1, Brian Meehan, $7,182
JAPAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Ruggero (JPN), 10, Yuichi Shikato, $114,835
2. Mic Ben Hur (JPN), 4, Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, $36,360
3. Meiner Yukitsubaki (JPN) 2, Noboru Takagi, $36,070
4. Bronze Kay (JPN), 1, Koichi Tsunoda, $13,440