Saturday, January 23, 2010

Derby Trail Stakes Racing Roundup

It’s been quite a while since trainer Nick Zito won Gulfstream Park’s $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3). Zito won the Holy Bull in 1994 and 1995 and he hopes to earn his third win today when he sends Jackson Bend to the starting gate as the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Jackson Bend steps up into graded stakes competition for the first time and makes his first start for Zito who took over as his trainer last October. In his previous six starts, Jackson Bend raced exclusively at Calder Race Course and ships to Gulfstream with a 5-1-0 record. Jackson Bend last raced in October and since then he has recorded several bullet work outs. Despite his impressive record at Calder, I don’t like Jackson Bend as the favorite but he could be competitive and should be used in the bottom of the exotics.

Winslow Homer (6-1) really impressed me when he posted a 12 ½ - length romp in an allowance race last November on a muddy track at Philadelphia Park. Winslow Homer, trained by Tony Dutrow, earned a 106 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort and comes in to the race with 2-0-1 record in three starts. Winslow Homer has never run in a stakes race and steps up into graded stakes competition. However, I believe he has the pedigree and class to be competitive at this level.

With two wins in four starts, Homeboykris (5-1) posted an impressive 1 ½ - length win last October in the 1-mile Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont and earned a 100 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort. In November, Homeboykris stretched out to the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes (G2) and finished fifth, beaten 9 ¾ -lengths by Buddy’s Saint. Homeboykris cuts back today in distance to a mile which I believe is his best distance. He’s been working out good since the Remsen and he should be tough in this spot.

At 12-1 morning line odds, Litigation Risk looks like a very nice long shot. Going gate-to-wire, Litigation Risk looked very impressive breaking his maiden two races back in a 7-furlong maiden sprint at Belmont. Litigation Risk earned a 95 speed figure in that effort for trainer Richard Violette. Since then, Litigation Risk has been working out good and his two recent bullet works suggest that he could be ready to make another big move forward.

Lecomte Stakes

Turf Melody heads a field of eleven 3-year-olds today as the 7-2 morning line favorite in the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. Trained by Graham Motion, Turf Melody comes into the race with a win in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. Although Turf Melody is favored, there are others entered in this race I like better.

Despite a troubled trip, Maximus Ruler (4-1) barely missed breaking his maiden in his debut last November 14 finishing third in a 7-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs. He came back two weeks later and won a 1-mile allowance in 1:35.94 and earned a 93 Brisnet Speed Figure. Since then, he’s been working out good and should be ready for another good effort.

In his last race, Citrus Kid (8-1) led for most of the way in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) before giving way and finishing third, beaten 7-lengths by Buddy’s Saint. Today, Citrus Kid cuts back in distance that he is capable of winning with his on-the-lead running style. His recent bullet work January 13 suggests that he could be ready for a good effort.

With a 1-2-1 record in five starts, Worldly (5-1) has yet to win a stakes or graded-stakes race. Worldly broke his maiden on his third attempt November 8 at Churchill Downs. He came back 20 days later and finished third to Super Saver in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill. Earlier this month, Worldly shortened up and finished second in a 1-mile, 40-yard optional claiming racing at Fair Grounds. Worldly always puts in a good effort and repeat could be a factor in the exotics.

Callide Valley, at 10-1 morning line odds, looks like a nice long shot. Callide Valley adds blinkers and cuts back in distance I believe is more suitable. He’s been working out good and could be a factor in the exotics.


  1. It would seem EVERYONE HAD THE MEMO!

    Not good when the Breeders Cup runners finishes off the board. Disturbing trend!

    The winner pay's dividends for the purchase price at KEE SEP YRLG 08 $310,000,
    Breeding as well Gr/ro.c.3 Unbridled's Song ($115,000) - Summer Raven by Summer Squall - Bred in Kentucky by Overbrook Farm (Jan 30, 2007)

    PASSES THE CLASS TEST. The final hurdle is learning the two turn style of racing. Does the colt remain in town and duck, or head out to easier prey ?

    MY LONG SHOT PLAY! in the Lecomte Stakes
    ROCK HARD - OKAY! the most overlook horse in the field. Rock Hard, no not Rock Hard Ten, we would not be having this discussion at all! I SEE SOMETHING I LIKE, But I have to answer all question with a ? mark. BECAUSE I STILL DON'T BELIEVE WHAT I'M SEEING
    First Start 5 1/2 furlong for a true distance horse ?
    Second Start horse stretches out to 1 1/16 ONE MONTH LATER ? so why was he in a 5 1/2 furlong race ? Answer: setting up for a price $$ you think!
    Horse gives weight in the same race a Maiden CLAIMER 15K or what condition allow the colt to carry 121 pounds to the winner 114 ? are you kidding ! They did everything to keep the colt from winning.
    Third Start - get this, they race for 50K same distance as his previous outing at Maiden Claimers 15 K. Think they knew something ? I do ! The colt RAN POWERFUL, RUNNING A CAREER BEST BEYERS (85) EASILY, CARRYING EQUAL WEIGHT AT 121. Now why didn't anyone see that coming at 37-1 odds ?
    They run the colt right back in a Allowance turf race with a 9 horse field. Knowing the colt hates the turf and synthetic from his 5 1/2 furlong initial outing. But the colt finished 3rd and collect a paycheck for the rent.
    Natural progression from 86 beyers as a second time out on DIRT over two turns, put the colt once AGAIN in a position to make a race of it. He could be any sort and this field is not a stellar above Allowance conditions.


    Your Thoughts!

  2. Okay ROCK HARD was to much to ask for.

    Nevertheless Fairgrounds has done it again. All we had to do was play the horse who's name that match their post position. Number 11 was RON THE GREEK, but did you know it was also the amount of characters in the horses name ? 11

    I KNOW! I'm Crazy! But it all true RIGHT!

    Don't argue. The horse did win. He is a BIG colt.

    Last with ROCK HARD down the backside the colt ran only the last 2 furlongs while racing wide the entire trip to win much the best. I expect upper 90's beyers as his final time was probably better the Freisan Fire race.

    Does the colt get a PROFESSIONAL JOCKEY SWITCH. As the colt was named with his 4th different jockey in four outings. ALL UNNAMED.

    Calvin Borrel has got to be WATCHING!

  3. Barry,

    I'd have to say that today was a head scratcher. I wanted Winslow Homer to win and I glad to see that he did. But I'll have to go back and review the video. Here's what Tony Dutrow had to say in a DRF story before the race:

    "Personally, a one-turn mile is not what my horse wants and I'm not excited about the Holy Bull a little bit," said Dutrow. "It's only January and it's a long year. Naturally I'm hoping he runs better than worse, just so long as he's in good shape for the Fountain of Youth. That's the race I'm looking forward to. We'll know where we stand at that point. If he's not able to get graded earnings in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, then he doesn't belong in the Kentucky Derby."

  4. You think ! Dutrow knows what he talking about. Maybe he knows that if the horse doesn't fire, it clearly a trainer error. Sound like it to me. Pre press option. Let's see what the next commentary will be.

    What about that colt at Fairground. Impressive run, howbeit, it was only a 2 furlong sustained run to make up 15 lengths.

  5. Barry,

    The time for the LeComte was too slow for my liking. I have to admit, though, that his late rally was reminiscent of Mine That Bird. Ron The Greek trailed by 16 lengths at the half and was in eigth place going into the stretch, seven lengths behind the leader. Here’s the chart call:

    “RON THE GREEK devoid of speed, moved up a bit nearing the drive, swung widest entering the lane, rallied determinedly and got up late.”

    I dropped the ball on this one. I didn’t realize until after the race that Ron The Greek’s dam, Flambe’, is a half sister to Musket Man. Whether that would have influenced my handicapping, I can not say at this point. Nevertheless, Ron The Greek, Musket Man and Chelokee (another decent runner) all are bred with the nick of Mr. Prospector and Dixieland Band-Northern Dancer on the distaff portion of the pedigree and that is a nick on which I am keeping a watchful eye. (Champali has a reverse nick of Dixieland Band-Northern Dancer over Mr. Prospector.)

    Another horse with that same nick is Via Verde who is a three-quarter brother to Musket Man. However, in the San Rafael, Via Verde faded in the stretch and finished last in a field of five.

    So we will have to see where Ron The Greek goes from here. He might turn out to be a descent racehorse. Only time will tell.

  6. Barry,

    Correction. I meant to say that Flambe' is a half-sister to the dam of Musket Man.

  7. Barry,

    Flambe' is a full sister not half. It can get confusing at times.

  8. Thanks Calvin. I look for different results next outing as many appeared to be running short. Also, many will ship in for easier prey.

    Also, the RTTR contest will be the first week in Feb. Get your top ten ready. Maybe you know, but Justin was remove from the Kentucky Derby Blog. Recently, I have been posting commentary on Face Book.