©2015 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” takes us to California, Saturday, where Calculator will go to the starting gate as the 8-5, morning-line favorite in the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Calculator, ranked sixteenth in the Kentucky Derby point standings, has yet to win a stakes race and the Sham will be the first test this year of his potential to be competitive as a three year old in stakes competition. As a two year old, Calculator compiled a 0-2-1 record in four starts including a second-place finish to American Pharoah in both the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the FrontRunner Stakes (G1).
Calculator has not raced since last September. But since then, he has been training well and a recent bullet work out on January 4 could have him ready to run a good race. Despite the layoff, I look for Calculator to be competitive and a win would be a big boost for him to secure a position in the Derby starting gate.
A long shot I like in this race is Rock Shandy (8-1) who, last November, finished third in the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3) at Del Mar racetrack. Here’s the video and chart call:
ROCK SHANDY three deep early, stalked outside a rival, came three wide into the stretch, was between horses in midstretch and edged rivals for the show.
The finish time of 1:36.93 is pretty decent for young colts running a mile on the turf. Rock Shandy only lost by two lengths, however, he may have been hampered when he ran between horses in the stretch.
In his second start, Rock Shandy showed good speed when he led gate to wire in another mile race at Del Mar, breaking his maiden by three-quarters of length in a final time of 1:35.85. Here’s the video and chart call:
ROCK SHANDY had speed off the rail then between foes into the first turn, angled in, set the pace inside, came a bit off the rail into the stretch, fought back when headed inside the runner-up to regain the advantage past midstretch and proved best under urging.
Rock Shandy’s win was later flattered by fifth-place finisher, Bolo, who has become a bit of a buzz horse that recently won the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on December 27. Jockey Victor Espinoza guided Rock Shandy to his maiden win and he picks up the mount in the Sham Stakes (G3).
If Rock Shandy returns to the form of his maiden win, he should be competitive.
Hero Ten All (4-1) comes into this race off of a nice maiden win at Los Alamitos Race Course on December 7. Here’s the video and chart call:
HERO TEN ALL was fanned out four wide into the first turn, angled in and chased inside, moved up along the rail into the stretch, came out in midstretch and rallied under left handed urging to gain the lead in deep stretch and proved best.
His finish time of 1:36.14 for the mile contest is what I like to see in a young colt on the Derby trail. Also, in his maiden debut last November, Hero Ten All was a 4¾-length runner up to Dortmund who is the current, early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
Hero Ten All has yet to compete in stakes competition but he should be able to manage the step up in class. Another move forward off of his maiden win last December could make Hero Ten All competitive in the Sham Stakes (G3).
Rockinatten (7-2) comes into the Sham with 1-1-1 record in three starts and he’s yet to run in a route race or stakes race. However, if his maiden win last October is any indicator of his potential, then Rockinatten should be able to handle the step up in class.
Under the points system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine which horses will qualify to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the winner of the Sham Stakes (G3) will receive 10 points, the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive one point. Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
2015 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. El Kabeir, 21, John Terranova II, $330,792
2. Carpe Diem, 14, Todd Pletcher, $660,000
3. Texas Red, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $1,136,000
4. International Star, 11, Mike Maker, $130,979
5. Ocho Ocho Ocho, 10, Jim Cassidy, $660,000
6. Mr. Z, 10, D. Wayne Lukas, $473,326
7. American Pharoah, 10, Bob Baffert, $360,000
8. Daredevil, 10, Todd Pletcher, $300,000
8. Dortmund, 10, Bob Baffert, $300,000
10. Leave the Light On, 10, Chad Brown, $240,000
11. Lucky Player, 10, Steve Asmussen, $96,481
12. Upstart, 6, Rick Violette Jr., $300,000
13. Bold Conquest, 6, Steve Asmussen, $72,176
14. Conquest Typhoon, 4, Mark Casse, $221,827
15. Imperia, 4, Kiaran McLaughlin, $163,804
16. Calculator, 4, Peter Miller, $120,000
17. Firing Line, 4, Simon Callaghan, $100,000
18. Frosted, 4, Kiaran McLaughlin, $80,000
19. Nasa, 4, John Servis, $40,000
20. Far Right, 2, Ron Moquett, $115,906