©2015 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” express will roll into Florence, Kentucky Saturday where Royal Son will go to the starting gate as the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite in the 44th running of the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park.
Royal Son comes into this race with a 2-2-0 record in five starts for trainer Todd Pletcher including his maiden-breaking win last out in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. He won that race with ease by 5¼ lengths and scored a 103 Brisnet Speed Figure which is the highest of all in this field.
I’m looking for Royal Son to run another good race Saturday and he should be a factor in the wagering. But the horse I’m most interested in is Another Lemon Drop (6-1) who is a colt I wrote about in the 2015 Kentucky Derby Outlook.
Another Lemon Drop comes into this race with a 2-1-1 record in six starts for trainer Philip Bauer and, in his most recent start, he finished second in the 7½-furlong Black Gold Stakes at the Fair Grounds. Here’s the chart call and video:
TUBA was hustled from the start, set the clear pace while in hand and into the bit, extended the advantage midway down the backstretch, raced near the inside on the far turn, came under a drive in upper stretch, remained clear into the final sixteenth and held under strong urging. ANOTHER LEMON DROP went three then two wide on the first turn, was reserved near the back while on the outside, raced in the two path on the far turn, was roused outside the quarter-pole, moved out in upper stretch and finished fast but was too late.
Another Lemon Drop ran near the back of the herd until the top of the stretch where he had to maneuver through traffic but could not get up in time for the win. Despite the narrow half-length loss, I thought he ran a good race considering that’s the shortest distance he’s run and will probably perform better as the races get longer.
Another Lemon Drop has yet to live up to my expectations. However, he has the best breeding of all the horses entered in this race and I look for him to run a good race.
Metaboss (4-1) comes into this race for trainer Jeff Bonde with a 2-1-1 record in five starts including a 2½-length win in the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields on February 14. The final time of 1:49.92 was pretty decent and it’s similar to time he ran in winning another 9-furlong race at Santa Anita Park on January 4.
If Metaboss runs close or improves on the times he’s ran in his last two races, he’ll be competitive in the Spiral.
Dubai Sky (8-1) has compiled a 3-0-1 record for trainer Bill Mott and he comes into this race with a narrow win by a head in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 24. His final time of 1:36.05 is what I like to see in a young colt on the Derby trail and if he can carry that speed to 9-furlongs, he’ll be competitive in the Spiral.
The Spiral Stakes (G3) is part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series consisting of 16 races. Winners in those races will receive 50 points, the second-place finisher will receive 20 points, the third-place finisher will receive 10 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive 5 points.
Halfway through this series beginning with the UAE Derby (G2), Florida Derby (G1) and Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 28, the points will increase to 100 points for the winner, 40 points for second place, 20 points for third and 10 points for fourth place.
Calculator, ranked 5th in the January 24 Kentucky Derby point standings, is sidelined with an injury for six months and he’s off the Derby trail. Leave the Light On, ranked 13th, is also off the trail. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red had returned to training but was recently taken off of the Derby Trail due to a lingering issue with a foot abscess.
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, 75, John Terranova II, $620,792
2. International Star, 71, Mike Maker, $490,979
3. Dortmund, 70, Bob Baffert, $630,000
4. Carpe Diem, 64, Todd Pletcher, $870,000
5. American Pharoah, 60, Bob Baffert, $810,000
6. Itsaknockout, 50, Todd Pletcher, $240,500
7. Upstart, 36, Rick Violette Jr., $615,680
8. War Story, 24, Tom Amoss, $120,000
9. Far Right, 22, Ron Moquett, $385,906
10. Madefromlucky, 20, Todd Pletcher, $150,000
11. Ami’s Flatter, 20, Josie Carroll, $99,200
12. Prospect Park, 20, Cliff Sise, Jr., $80,000
*Tiz Shea D, 20, Bill Mott, $80,000
13. Bold Conquest, 17, Steve Asmussen, $162,176
14. Mr. Z, 14, D. Wayne Lukas, $518,326
15. Frosted, 13, Kiaran McLaughlin, $176,200
16. Classy Class, 13, Kiaran McLaughlin, $85,000
17. Texas Red, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $1,176,000
18. Keen Ice, 12, Dale Romans, $106,520
19. The Truth Or Else, 11, Kenny McPeek, $173,500
20. Ocho Ocho Ocho, 10, Jim Cassidy, $660,250
*Tiz Shea D is not nominated to the Kentucky Derby