Saturday, February 25, 2012

Risen Star Stakes Racing Roundup

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send El Padrino to the starting gate today as the 2-1 morning line favorite in the 39th running of the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course.

In four career starts, El Padrino has established an impressive racing record – he has two first-place finishes, one second- and third-place finish. El Padrino has never lost by more than three-quarters of a length and his worst effort was a third-place finish in the Remsen Stakes (G2) last November at Aqueduct.

His win margin for the two races he’s won is a combined 14¾-lengths – both on sloppy tracks – and in his 3-year-old debut last month at Gulfstream Park, El Padrino scored a 2-length win in an 8½-furlong optional claiming race.

That performance earned El Padrino a whopping 111 Brisnet Speed Figure which is the highest of any 3-year-old on the Derby trail and he looms as the colt to beat in today’s race.

Trainer Larry Jones will send the coupled entry of Mr. Bowling and Mark Valeski to the starting gate as the 4-1 morning line second-choice. With a third-place finish in the Iroquois Stakes, a win in the Dover Stakes and Lecomte Stakes (G3), Mr. Bowling is the more accomplished of the two.

Mark Valeski has two wins in three career starts, he’s never run in a route race and he’s taking a big step up to graded-stakes competition. However, Jones must have a lot of faith in this young colt and high percentage jockey Anna Napravniks picks up the mount for today’s race.

The pedigree of Mark Valeski indicates that he should be able to handle the jump in class and stretch out to route racing.

Proud Citizen, the sire of Mark Valeksi, won the Lexington Coolmore Stakes (G2) en route to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Fortunate Prospect, the damsire of Mark Valeski, is also the damsire of Musket Man who proved to be a good middle-distance runner that finished third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).

The tail-female line (family A1) of Mark Valeski also has some good influence. Silver Fog, the fourth dam of Mark Valeski, was the fourth dam of Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol and the line traces to Ballet who was the ancestress of the classic champions Exterminator and Regret.

Shared Property (6-1) is a young colt I liked in the Lecomte Stakes where he finished third – a half-length behind Mr. Bowling. Shared Property traveled wide the entire race and I look for him to run better in the second start of his 3-year-old season.

Scat Daddy, the sire of Shared Property, was a precocious 2-year-old colt that won the Champagne Stakes (G1) and Sanford Stakes (G2). As a 3-year-old, Scat Daddy won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1).

Belong To Me, the damsire of Shared Property, was a multiple graded stakes winning sprinter but at stud he sired some notable middle-distance runners such as Forever Together who was a multiple graded-stakes winner with over $2.9 million in career earnings. Belong To Me is also the damsire of Circular Quay, winner of the 2007 Louisiana Derby.

A long shot I like is Afford (8-1) who comes into the race off of a narrow win in his 3-year-old debut at the Fair Grounds. He’s never been out of the money in four starts and with the Kentucky Derby winners Street Sense as his sire and Unbridled as the damsire, Afford has the breeding to be a factor and I look for him to be competitive.


  1. Hi Calvin, "The El" looks tough even on dry land. But a sleeper is the Shared Property. Both regular dirt races achieved beyers of 93 (sprinting - first start) and 94 (route - comeback race)

    I look for much improvement third time regular dirt and extra distances. He looms larger today.

    I see you have signed into the RTTR. Do you have the access codes for the Daily Racing Forum RTTR ?

    Here is a few others, I have joined.

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  2. Thanks Calvin, disappointing effort by Shared Property. But Mark Valeski is the real deal. First time around two turn and went nose to nose.

    I knew Larry Jones had a good one. Fisrt start against Union Rags and then LJ put the colt on the shelf.

    Not sure if they stay in town or travel for easier Graded earnings.

  3. Barry,

    I thought Mark Valeski and El Prado looked good and I'll be looking forward to their next race. The time of 1:42.96 was the second fastest next to 1:42.40 set by Zarb's Magic in 1996.

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  5. Yes, it was solid efforts. watching "The EL" he broke slow, pick his point by bumping for room on the first turn to get outside. A excellent future Derby move.

    But the final turn was not a huge move for me.

    It was full of distractions, let alone the bumping incident.

    Much upside, if he gets an equipment change.

    He can run all day and we know, the colt has some heart.

    Mark V projected upside is excellent from his intial route performance. Colt can rate and make another move down the lane. 1 1/8 max.

    I think the winner was the colt whom acquired the outside position in the lane.

    The post position draw will determine much next out.

    Baffert should ship something into the Louisiana Derby. I thinking Bodemeister or Castway. Not much pace for Bodemeister if runs, Since all will stalk for the distance change.

    Castway also will get a perfect trip from the stalk position. I just cant see Baffert running Castway for the Ark Derby. Increase competition on the way.

    Your thoughts ?

  6. Barry,

    This year's trail is very interesting as many of the horses I was interested in are falling by the wayside because of injury - one thing or another.

    At this point, I think that Castaway and Bodemeister may be Bob Baffert's best classic prospects.

    Castaway was one of the horses I profiled in my Southwest Stakes Racing Roundup and, since his debut, Bodemeister is a young colt that has captured my interest.

    Bodemeister definitely has the breeding to be a Classic Champion Thoroughbred and so far he's off to a good start. The question is will Baffert have enough time to help Bodemeister develop a proper foundation and earn the graded stakes money necessary to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

    Only time will tell, but I'm very interesting to see how well Bodemeister continues to progress on the Derby trail.

  7. Hi Calvin, Bodemeister ran off consecutive 23 clicks with ease. If the colt could have ran additional 23 click, that would have put him with a 1 1/4 in 1:59 and change, He is a clear 2:01 1 /4 miler, under the right conditions though. (unchallenged on the far turn)

    Baffert Fed Biz is the talk though. But, I did not like the colt leg action down the lane. Switching leads is a problem.

    Castaway maybe the distance ace. I believe Baffert will use the Sunland Derby is answer the question for the colt.

    Secret Circle has not been removed, Only colt with 100 plus Beyers in each of his races.

  8. Barry,

    Bodemeister is one of the colts that I'm very interested in at this time. If he lives up to his breeding, he has the potential to be a classic champion.

    Castaway is also another young colt that on which I'm keeping a close watch. In addition, I'm also very interested in Fly Lexis Fly, Alpha, Najjaar, Union Rags and El Padrino.

    Have you heard any news about Fly Lexis Fly? I can't find any public work outs.