©2014 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
In what appears to be a wide-open horserace with the potential for a long shot upset, a field of 14 two-year-old Thoroughbreds has been drawn for the 100th running this Saturday of the $400,000 Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The uncoupled entry of Frosted, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, and Classy Class, the 7-2 morning line second choice, will go to the starting gate for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
"For Classy Class, it's a lot to ask to go from 6½ furlongs to one and one eighth miles, but most of the horses in there have only won once," noted McLaughlin's assistant, Art Magnusson in an Aqueduct Racetrack news story. "He's a very nice colt, and if we're going to run, he couldn't be training any better. Frosted will be making his fourth start, and we're excited about him running."
Of that pair, I like Frosted the best. He broke his maiden by 5¼-lengths in his last race and he comes into the Remsen with a 1-2-0 record in three starts. The final time of 1:36.19 is what I like to see in a young colt that could be competitive on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
Frosted has been working out good at Belmont Park and two back-to-back bullet work outs could have him ready to run a good race.
A long shot I like in this race is Moonlight Bandit (8-1), but he is also cross entered in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Moonlight Bandit is a sire-line descendant of the A.P. Indy-Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd and that herd has produced numerous Classic Champion Thoroughbreds.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Moonlight Bandit, is the sire of Orb, winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby. In addition, the tail-female line of Moonlight Bandit is reinforced by the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Fusaichi Pegasus, Sadler’s Wells and Blushing Groom.
While it remains to be seen if Moonlight Bandit has any classic potential, he has the breeding to be competitive on the Derby trail and his win last time out was a step in the right direction.
Another move forward off of his maiden win could make Moonlight Bandit a factor, and potential up-setter, in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at a nice price.
Eh Cumpari comes into the Remsen with only a maiden win to his credit. But he won in impressive fashion, coming from eighth place at the top of the stretch to win by 3¼-lengths. The final time for the mile of 1:36.68 is what I like to see and his breeding suggests that Eh Cumpari will like the stretch out to 9-furlongs.
Elusive Quality, the sire of Eh Cumpari, sired the 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner, Smarty Jones, and, Eh Cumpari’s tail-female line is reinforced by the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Sadler’s Wells and Caro, both noted sources of stamina.
Keen Ice comes into this race off of a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1) at Keeneland on October 4. He’ll need to step his game, but he also should like the stretch out to 9-furlongs and he has the breeding to be a factor in the Remsen Stakes.
Curlin, the sire of Keen Ice, is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and he’s bred on a nick with Deputy Minister who’s an influential descendant of the Northern Dancer Ancestral Herd. Keen Ice, out of the Awesome Again mare, Medomak, is also bred on that same nick.
Curlin was a Classic Champion Thoroughbred who, for many years, was the all-time leading money earner but is now ranked second with $10,501,800 in earnings. Curlin won the 2007 Preakness Stakes (G1), finished second in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and he was third in the Kentucky Derby (G1). In addition, Curlin won 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.
Awesome Again, the damsire of Keen Ice, was a Canadian classic winner of the 1997 Queen’s Plate Stakes.
Under the tiered-point system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine Kentucky Derby eligibility the winner of the Remsen Stakes (G2) 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.
2014/2015 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Carpe Diem, 14, Todd Pletcher, $660,000
2. Texas Red, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $1,136,000
3. Ocho Ocho Ocho, 10, Jim Cassidy, $660,000
4. American Pharoah, 10, Bob Baffert, $360,000
5. Daredevil, 10, Todd Pletcher, $300,000
6. International Star, 10, Mike Maker, $120,028
7. Lucky Player, 10, Steve Asmussen, $94,151
8. Mr. Z, 8, D. Wayne Lukas, $413,326
9. Upstart, 6, Rick Violette Jr., $300,000
10. Bold Conquest, 6, Steve Asmussen, $72,176
11. Conquest Typhoon, 4, Mark Casse, $221,827
12. Calculator, 4, Peter Miller, $120,000
13. Far Right, 2, Ron Moquett, $115,906
14. The Truth Or Else, 2, Kenny McPeek, $75,000
15. Hashtag Bourbon, 2, Kellyn Gorder, $74,117
16. Hollywood Critic, 2, Barbara Minshall, $35,528
17. The Great War, 1, Aidan O’Brien, $170,702
18. Lord Nelson, 1, Bob Baffert, $78,000
19. El Kabeir, 1, John Terranova II, $75,000
20. Danny Boy, 1, Dale Romans, $55,544
21. Saratoga Heater, 1, Al Stall, $50,000
22. Tough Customer, 1, Wayne Catalano, $25,000
23. Flashaway, 1, Mark Casse, $6,669