Friday, September 27, 2013

Road To The Kentucky Derby: Frontrunner Stakes Racing Roundup

The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” rolls west Saturday to Santa Anita Park where 11 young Thoroughbreds have been entered in the $250,000 Frontrunner Stakes (G1). The Frontrunner is the first Grade One race on the Kentucky Derby Trail and the second of 34 qualifying races that will determine Derby eligibility.
 Under the new tiered-point system implemented by Churchill Downs last year, the winner of the Frontrunner will receive 10 points while the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and 1 point will be awarded to the fourth-place finisher.
Dance With Fate, a half-length runner up in the Del Mar Futurity (G1), has been tabbed as the lukewarm 7-2 morning-line favorite while Futurity winner Tamarando has been installed at 4-1 odds. Of those two, I like Dance With Fate better.
Bumped at the start of the Futurity and shuffled to 10th-place in the 11-horse field, Dance With Fate, showed a lot of professionalism to finish with a strong rally in the stretch to finish just a half-length shy of victory. A repeat of that performance will make him competitive in the Frontrunner and he has the breeding to handle the stretch out to 8½-furlongs.
His sire, Two Step Salsa, was a pretty decent sprinter and middle-distance horse with over $1.1 million in earnings and a 6-2-1 record in 12 starts. His most notable route races were a win in the 8½-furlong Affirmed Handicap (G3) and a second-place finish in the 9-furlong Swaps Stakes (G2).
Saint Ballado, the damsire of Dance With Fate, compiled a 4-2-0 record in nine starts and his most notable stakes wins were in the one mile Sheridan Stakes (G3) and the 9-furlong Arlington Classic Stakes (G2) which he won by 4½-lengths in the blistering time of 1:46.82.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano has ridden Dance With Fate in his three previous starts and retains the mount for this race. I look for the pair to be competitive, but look for others to be in the stretch stampede, too.
Two long shots I like are Roundupthelute (9-2) and Bond Holder (12-1).
Roundupthelute is trained by Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert who holds the record of most wins by a trainer with five wins in the Frontrunner Stakes which was formerly known as the Norfolk Stakes. Baffert also has Can The Man (4-1) entered in the race but he does have a history of sometimes winning a race with a higher odds horse like Roundupthelute.
Roundupthelute comes into the race with a two-length maiden win in the C. B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at the Barretts Race Meet at the Fairplex. The track at Fairplex is only five eighths of a mile long with sharp turns and to be competitive, horses have to be close to the pace.
So, I’m looking forward to see how Roundupthelute fares in the Frontrunner. If he lives up to his breeding, Roundupthelute should be competitive.
His sire, Midnight Lute, was an Eclipse champion male sprinter and two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Midnight Lute had breathing problems, so he was raced mostly in sprint races and it is unknown if he could have had any classic potential. However, his grandsire, Real Quiet, was an outstanding Classic Champion Thoroughbred who won the 1998 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) and lost by a nose to Victory Gallop in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
His damsire, A.P. Indy, won the Belmont stakes and the tail-female line is reinforced by the outstanding champions Deputy Minister, Alydar and Tom Fool.
Bond Holder has yet to break his maiden. But I like how he ran and rallied for a second-place finish in his last race just 1¾-lengths shy of victory. The time of 1:36.93 was decent and I think that the stretch out to 8½-furlongs will be more to his liking.
Mineshaft, the sire of Bond Holder, was an outstanding route racer who won races such as New Orleans Handicap (G2), Ben Ali Stakes (G3), Pimlico Special Handicap (G1), Suburban Handicap (G1), Woodward Stakes (G1) and the Jockey Club Gold Club Stakes (G1).
Conquistador Cielo, the damsire of Bond Holder, was a Belmont Stakes (G1) winner and the 1982 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year.
Schoolofhardrocks (4-1), though green in the stretch, looked pretty good winning his maiden debut by 1½-lengths last month at Del Mar racetrack. He covered the one mile distance in a decent time of 1:36.85. His sire, Rock Hard Ten, also won his maiden debut and went on to compile a 7-1-1 record in 11 starts with over $1.8 million in career earnings.
Not sure how he’ll fare Saturday, but Schoolofhardrocks bears watching.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Keeneland September Yearling Sale; Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale, which runs from September 9-21, is the place to be if you’re looking to buy a potential Kentucky Derby horse.
Nine of the past 12 Triple Crown races have been won by Keeneland sales horses: Lookin At Lucky, DrosselmeyerAnimal KingdomShacklefordRuler On IceI’ll Have AnotherOxbow and Palace Malice. And the purchase price for a Derby horse ranges from the $1,200 paid for Canonero II, winner of the 1971 Kentucky Derby, to the $4 million that was paid for Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby. Most recently, the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another was an $11,000 purchase at the September sale.
So, it’s possible for the small racing stable to have the same hopes and dreams of Derby glory – just like the big operations.
I know the pedigrees and bloodlines it takes to be a Classic Champion Thoroughbred. I’ll be at the sale and if you’d like for me to provide you with a shortlist of potential classic prospects, leave me your information on this blog or you can securely contact me at my Classic Champion Thoroughbreds website.
Anyone who’s followed my blog for any length of time knows that my study of Thoroughbred pedigrees and the late Federico Tesio, a world-renowned owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, has had a tremendous impact on my analysis of classic champion prospects. The result of that research is what I call the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and it is a powerful tool I use to determine if a young colt has to potential to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred.
In addition, the behavior of the horse or Emotional Conformation is the final piece of the breeding puzzle. Behavior was the key puzzle piece Tesio relied on to breed his numerous champion Thoroughbreds and, during his lifetime, he bred an incredible 21 Italiano Derby winners.
The Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and the Emotional Conformation of the horse are important tools that have enabled me to pick the classic champions Orb, I’ll Have Another, Animal Kingdom, Pour Moi, Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky, and Summer Bird. In 2012, all five horses I profiled in my Kentucky Derby blog finished in the top five.
My consulting service, Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, provides its clients with important information necessary to achieve their goals and realize their dreams of competing at the highest level. Every evaluation includes a detailed pedigree analysis and a Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile of each horse that may be a classic racing prospect. Each analysis and profile draws upon the breeding theories of great Thoroughbred breeders as well as those of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds owner Calvin L. Carter.
Classic Champion Thoroughbreds serves the needs of its clients – helping them to eliminate “luck” in buying and breeding Thoroughbred Champions. In addition to bloodstock consulting, I can also help you with your printing and publishing projects. Whatever you need, be it flyers, brochures, reports, catalogs, newsletters, webpage content or book-length manuscripts, Calvin can put your ideas and stories on paper and find you a printer or publisher.
If you would like to buy a "Derby" horse at the Keeneland Sale or if you have a need for writing and publishing services, contact me and Classic Champion Thoroughbreds will work with you to realize your goals and dreams.
Or, if you would like to meet and get to know me better, that's fine too as I always like to make new friends.

Kentucky Derby 2014 Leaderboard

Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer
1 = Cleburne, 10, Dale Romans
2 = Smart Cover, 4, Dale Romans
3 = Tapiture, 2, Steve Asmussen
4 = Ride On Curlin, 1, William Gowan

Friday, September 6, 2013

Road To The Kentucky Derby: Iroquois Stakes Racing Roundup

The 2013-2014 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” kicks of this Saturday with the 32nd running of the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs listed as the first of 34 qualifying races that will determine Derby eligibility.
For the second year in a row, Churchill Downs will use a tiered point system to determine which horses qualify to enter the Derby starting gate. The winner of the Iroquois Stakes will receive 10 points while the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and 1 point will be awarded to the fourth-place finisher.
Ride On Curlin, with two previous starts, is listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the field of 12 horses that have been entered in the race. And, if he repeats the performance of his previous two starts, Ride On Curlin will be a tough competitor.
 In his maiden-debut at Churchill Downs in June, Ride On Curlin broke poorly at the start and was last out of the gate. He quickly made up ground to finish a strong second only 2-lengths shy of victory. He followed up that performance with an easy 7¾-length romp in a 5½-furlong sprint at Ellis Park, setting a new track record of 1:03.00.
After the race, owner Daniel Dougherty turned down a $1 million dollar offer for the purchase of Ride On Curlin who was a $25,000 yearling in the 2012 Keeneland September sale.
Hall of Fame Jockey Calvin Borel has ridden Ride On Curlin in both of his previous two starts and he believes the colt has a lot of potential.
Ride On Curlin has good speed. In video replays of his races, he looks professional and I like the ease of his motion as he moves around the track.
Already in his young career, Ride On Curlin has shown better form than his sire, Curlin, who did not make his debut until February of his 3-year-old racing season. I’m looking forward to see how well Ride On Curlin performs in the stretch out to 8½-furlongs.
Another young colt with good speed is Rise Up (5-1) who finished second in his maiden-debut but followed up that performance with two back-to-back victories including a 4¾-length romp in the $100,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes at Mountaineer Race Track And Gaming Resort.
The racing form of Rise Up is similar to that of his sire, Rockport Harbor, who was undefeated in his first four starts as a 2-year-old including a 6¼-length romp in the Nashua Stakes (G3) and a narrow victory by a neck in the 9-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2).
Jockey Rosie Napravnik, a very tough competitor, guided Rise Up to victory in the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes and she retains the mount in the Iroquois. I look for them both to be competitive in Saturday’s race.
A couple of other horses I like in this race are Tapiture (7-2) and All Cash (15-1).
Tapiture, trained by Steve Asmussen, comes into the Iroquois with a solid performance in his maiden debut where he finished second to a very nice colt named Strong Mandate. The fractional splits in that race were fast and Tapiture ran the entire race in second place, just a few lengths off of the pace.
A repeat of his maiden debut performance should make Tapiture competitive in the Iroquois.
All Cash switches from the turf to dirt and in his last race, he finished third running 8½-furlongs. With English Channel has his sire and Dynaformer as his damsire, All Cash has the breeding to be competitive in the Iroquois.