The “Road To The Kentucky Derby” travels to Hot Springs, Arkansas today where Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert will send the 3-2 morning-line favorite Super Ninety Nine and Den’s Legacy (8-1) to the starting gate in the 53rd running of the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn race track.
Baffert has won the last three editions of the Rebel Stakes (G2) and it appears that he has a legitimate contender in Super Ninety Nine who last month, at this track, streaked in the slop to an 11¼-length romp of the Southwest Stakes (G3).
The outside post position should not be a problem for Super Ninety Nine who has good speed and the ability to carry that speed over a route of ground. He’s the horse to beat and a couple of nice workouts, including a bullet, could have him ready to run another good race.
We’ve seen several races on this year’s trail where speed was overcome at the wire by long-shot closers and the Rebel Stakes is chuck full of speed. Two long shots I like in this race that will be closing in the stretch are Treasury Bill (5-1) and Stormy Holiday (30-1), and I’ll be using them with Super Ninety Nine in my exotic wagers.
Treasury Bill comes into the race with a second-place finish in the San Vicente Stakes (G2) and 1-1-1 record in three starts. He’s yet to run in a route race, but his pedigree indicates that he will not have a problem stretching out to 8½-furlongs and he should perform better as the races get longer.
Lemon Drop Kid, the sire of Treasury Bill, compiled a 2-2-1 record in six starts as a 2-year-old including a win in the Belmont Futurity Stakes (G1) and a second-place finish in the Champagne Stakes (G1). As a 3-year-old, Lemon Drop Kid finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby but went on to win the Belmont Stakes (G1) and later that summer, he won the Travers Stakes (G1).
Menifee, the damsire of Treasury Bill, was a tough competitor that compiled a 4-1-0 record in five starts en route to a second-place finish by a neck to Charismatic in the 1999 Kentucky Derby. Two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes (G1), Menifee lost to Charismatic again by 1½-lengths. Menifee finished eighth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and went on to wrap up his career with a win in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (G1), a third-place finish in the Travers Stakes (G1) and a second-place finish in the Super Derby (G1).
Wow Me Free, the dam of Treasury Bill, was placed in multiple graded stakes races and she also won the 9-furlong Next Move Handicap (G3), and the 10-furlong Ladies Handicap. Triple Wow, the third dam of Treasury Bill, also was placed in multiple graded stakes races and won the Next Move Handicap (G3). In addition, the tail-female line of Treasury Bill is reinforced by the Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval and the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Coastal and Sir Ivor.
I look for Treasury Bill to be competitive in the stretch out, and a recent bullet workout at Betfair Hollywood Park could have him ready to run a good race.
Stormy Holiday has yet to run at the distance of today’s race. He’s making a step up in class, and on paper he looks like toss. He’s slow from the start and trails in last in most of his races. But I’ve watched replays of those races and in each one he’s made up good ground in the stretch and appears that he wants to run farther.
In the one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes he finished fourth and was beaten by five lengths. He followed that with another fourth-place finish in the Gazebo Stakes but was only 2¾-lengths shy of victory.
I don’t know the connections of Stormy Holiday have kept in sprints, mostly. But his pedigree indicates that he should do well as the races get longer.
Harlan’s Holiday, the sire of Stormy Holiday, was a precocious colt and good middle-distance runner that was 4-2-0 in six starts as a two year old winning the Iroquois Stakes (G3), Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes, Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes and the Hoover Stakes.
As a 3-year-old, Harlan’s Holiday finished second in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1). He followed up with a win in the Florida Derby (G1) and Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and went into the 2002 Kentucky Derby as the 6-1 favorite but finished seventh in a field of 18.
Thunder Gulch, the damsire of Stormy Holiday, won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) en route to winning the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (G1).
Over the Edge, the dam of Stormy Holiday, was stakes placed and won the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes. Since 1990, the tail-female line of Toxophilite Mare (Family 9-f) has produced three winners of the Rebel Stakes (G2) – Dalhart (1993), Windward Passage (2002) and Lookin At Lucky (2010).
Stormy Holiday recently fired his first bullet workout which is what I like to see in a young colt that is stepping up in class. He could be ready to run a good race and, perhaps, return a good price.
Since finishing fourth in the CashCall Futurity last December, Oxbow won the Le Comte Stakes (G3) in an 11½-length romp. He followed that with a narrow loss in the Risen Star Stakes (G2), finishing in fourth place, one-half length shy of victory.
In both of those races, Oxbow ran on the lead, and that’s fine if you have the speed to carry you over a route of ground. But, I’m so sure just how far Oxbow wants to run and his style of racing could be severely tested today.
With 10 career starts, Den’s Legacy is one of the most seasoned colts in this race and he’s been competitive compiling a 2-5-1 record. But Garrett Gomez, the jockey that knows him best and rode him in six of those races, has been tabbed to ride Delhomme and jockey Robby Albarado picks up the mount. Den’s Legacy still could be competitive. But he likes to race near the lead and I don’t like to see the jockey switch.
Delhomme has not raced since narrowly losing the 9-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2) last November, finishing in third-place three-quarters of a length shy of victory. Both the first and second-place finishers in that race – Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion – bombed in their 3-year-old debuts and unless Delhomme is a super horse, I can’t see him with the win today.
The First Samurai colt, Carve, comes into today’s race undefeated in two starts at Oaklawn. Both starts were at 8½-furlongs but the finishing times were slow and Carve is stepping up in class. Carve has a very good pedigree but the question is if he is fast enough to be competitive.
If Carve looks good in the post parade he may be worthy of a wager.
Under the new scoring system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility for horses to enter the Derby starting gate, the winner of the Rebel Stakes (G2) will receive 50 points while second-place will yield 20 points, the third-place finisher will receive 10 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive 5 points. Here’s a look at the current top 20 list:
Kentucky Derby 2013 Leaderboard
(Updated March 9, 2013)
Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1 = Vyjack, 50, Rudy Rodriguez, $405,000
2 = Orb, 50, Shug McGaughey III, $240,000
3 = Verrazano, 50, Todd Pletcher, $210,000
4 = Hear The Ghost, 50, Jerry Hollendorfer, $195,400
5 = Flashback, 30, Bob Baffert, $180,000
6 = Goldencents, 29, Doug O’Neill, $758,000
7 = Shanghai Bobby, 24, Todd Pletcher, $1,731,000
8 = Java’s War, 22, Ken McPeek, $201,772
9 = Falling Sky, 20, John Terranova II, $157,500
10 = West Hills Giant, 20, John Terranova II, $89,000
11 = Code West, 20, Bob Baffert, $80,000
12 = Oxbow, 16, D. Wayne Lukas, $196,000
13 = Dynamic Sky, 13, Mark Casse, $289,168
14 = Speak Logistics, 11, Eddie Pleasa, Jr., $52,500
15 = Itsmyluckyday, 10, Eddie Plesa, Jr., $393,600
16 = Overanalyze, 10, Todd Pletcher, $308,381
17 = Uncaptured, 10, Mark Casse, $292,374
18 = Den’s Legacy, 10, Bob Baffert, $265,000
19 = Power Broker, 10, Bob Baffert, $210,000
20 = Super Ninety Nine, 10, Bob Baffert, $200,000
Kentucky Derby 2013 Leaderboard
(Updated March 16, 2013)
Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1 = Will Take Charge, 60, D. Wayne Lukas, $512,971
2 = Vyjack, 50, Rudy Rodriguez, $405,000
3 = Orb, 50, Shug McGaughey III, $240,000
4 = Verrazano, 50, Todd Pletcher, $210,000
5 = Hear The Ghost, 50, Jerry Hollendorfer, $195,400
6 = Oxbow, 36, D. Wayne Lukas, $316,000
7 = Flashback, 30, Bob Baffert, $180,000
8 = Goldencents, 29, Doug O’Neill, $758,000
9 = Shanghai Bobby, 24, Todd Pletcher, $1,731,000
10 = Java’s War, 22, Ken McPeek, $201,772
11 = Den’s Legacy, 20, Bob Baffert, $325,000
12 = Falling Sky, 20, John Terranova II, $157,500
13 = West Hills Giant, 20, John Terranova II, $89,000
14 = Code West, 20, Bob Baffert, $80,000
15 = Dynamic Sky, 13, Mark Casse, $289,168
16 = Speak Logistics, 11, Eddie Pleasa, Jr., $52,500
17 = Itsmyluckyday, 10, Eddie Plesa, Jr., $393,600
18 = Overanalyze, 10, Todd Pletcher, $308,381
19 = Uncaptured, 10, Mark Casse, $292,374
20 = Super Ninety Nine, 10, Bob Baffert, $218,000
Rebel Stakes (G2), Oaklawn Park, March 16, 2013
1. Will Take Charge, 50
2. Oxbow, 20
3. Den’s Legacy, 10
4. Texas Bling, 5
For Derby fans that like statistics, here’s a look at current list of Kentucky Derby qualifiers, their sire line and damsire line.
Mr. Prospector Sire Line, Damsire Line
Elnaawi, Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer
Will Take Charge, Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer
Palace Malice, Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer
Code West, Mr. Prospector/Royal Charger
Since 1990, the Mr. Prospector sire line has produced the most Derby winners with a total of 11. Of those 11, the Fappiano branch has produced the most with a total of 4 winners. The Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer nick has been the most successful with 3 winners. The Mr. Prospector/Royal Charger nick produced one Derby winner. Of the current qualifiers, Will Take Charge is the only descendant of Fappiano.
Northern Dancer Sire Line, Damsire Line
Itsmyluckyday, Northern Dancer/Bold Ruler
Shanghai Bobby, Northern Dancer/Nasrullah
Speak Logistics, Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer
Falling Sky, Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer
Vyjack, Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer
Den’s Legacy, Northern Dancer/Northern Dancer
Goldencents, Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector
Ive Struck a Nerve, Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector
Uncaptured, Northern Dancer/Royal Charger
West Hills Giant, Northern Dancer/Royal Charger
Oxbow, Northern Dancer/Man O’ War
Overanalyze, Northern Dancer/Damascus
Since 1990, the Northern Dancer sire line has produced 3 Derby winners with the damsire line of those winners descending from Northern Dancer, Royal Charger and Ribot. Broodmare descendants of Northern Dancer have produced 5 Derby winners.
Bold Ruler Sire Line, Damsire Line
Dynamic Sky, Bold Ruler/Mr. Prospector
Orb, Bold Ruler/Mr. Prospector
Super Ninety Nine, Bold Ruler/Mr. Prospector
Flashback, Bold Ruler/Mr. Prospector
Since 1990, the Bold Ruler sire line has produced no Derby winners.
Nasrullah Sire Line, Damsire Line
Revolutionary, Nasrullah/Bold Ruler
Since 1990, the Blushing Groom, Nasrullah sire line has produced one Derby winner and that was Animal Kingdom in 2011.
Since 1990, 413 horses have entered the Derby starting gate.
Of those 413, 111 (27 %) were descendants of the Mr. Prospector sire line. Of those 111, 29 (26%) finished in the top four.
Of those 413, 104 (25%) were descendants of the Northern Dancer sire line. Of those 104, 21 (20%) finished in the top four.
Of those 413, 75 (18%) were descendants of the Nasrullah sire line. Of those 75, 15 (20%) finished in the top four.
Of those 413, 37 (9%) were descendants of the Royal Charger sire line. Of those 37, 12 (32% finished in the top four.
Royal Charger sire line descendants have a better percentage of finishing in the top four and the colt on this year’s trail that is a descendant of Royal Charger is Verrazano.