©2015 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” takes us to the Empire State Saturday where California-shipper Ralis has been tabbed as the 3-1 morning line favorite in the 145th running of the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Post time is 4:18 p.m. ET.
Ralis comes into this race for trainer Doug O’Neil with a 2-1-0 record in five starts including a second-place finish in the Graduation Stakes and a win in the Grade One Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on September 7. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
RALIS established a good position in the early going, was forwardly placed on the outside, ranged up in the three path on the turn, made a bid while shaken up at the quarter-pole, took over at the three-sixteenths, disposed of MAGNA LIGHT at the furlong marker then came under a right-handed whip and drew off under steady urging.
Ralis has good speed but he’s never been over a route of ground. However, his breeding indicates that he should be able to stretch out to eight furlongs with little difficulty.
Square Eddie, the sire of Ralis, was a decent middle-distance runner that won the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1) and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1).
Tale of S’avall (7-2), the morning-line second choice, is stepping up in class for trainer Barclay Tagg and he comes into this race off of a 2-length maiden win at Saratoga Race Course on August 29. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
TALE OF S'AVALL chased the pace three to four wide from mid pack coming under encouragement midway on the turn, swung four wide into upper stretch, rallied to overhaul the front nearing the eighth pole, edged away drifting in under a drive to prevail.
Tale of S’avall has never run over a route of ground, either, but he should be able to easily stretch out to a mile in this race.
Tale of Ekati, the sire of Tale of S’avall, was a versatile runner that won the one mile Jerome Handicap (G2) and the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1). He also won the 9-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a fourth-place finish in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.
A long shot I like in this race is Sail Ahoy (12-1). He comes into this race for trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey off of a maiden win going a mile at Belmont Park in 1:37.84. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
SAIL AHOY raced detached from the rest of the competition, slow to settle into stride, was taken outward entering the turn, settled into the four path by the three-eighths pole, was in the same path setting foot into the lane, shifted out a bit wider in mid-lane due to other rivals to his left drifting out slightly themselves, outkicked a quartet in the final stages to earn the decision.
Sail Ahoy trailed for most of the race, made a good move going into the far turn, and was able to run down the leaders. He has good breeding for the Derby Trail, but, he’ll need to pick up the pace in this herd if he’s going to secure the win going a mile.
Bernardini, the sire of Sail Ahoy, was a Classic Champion Thoroughbred that compiled a 6-1-0 record in eight starts with $3,060,480 in career earnings.
He broke his maiden on his second start running a mile at Gulfstream Park in 1:35.57. That’s the kind of time I like to see a young colt run in a mile.
Bernardini went on from that win to victories in the Withers Stakes (G3), Preakness Stakes (G1), Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), Travers Stakes (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and he finished second, a length behind the winner, Invasor, in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Greenpointcrusader (5-1) and Rafting (8-1) appear to be evenly matched and both could be a factor in this race.
Greenpointcrusader, a full brother to Algorithms, was also sired by Bernardini and he comes into this race off of a maiden win at Saratoga Race Course on September 5. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
GREENPOINTCRUSADER broke out at the start bumping with STAR GAZER who broke inwards, tracked the pace in hand along the inside in range of the front, came under coaxing nearing the quarter pole and swung two to three wide into upper stretch, dug in under a drive issuing a challenge inside the final furlong, dug in tussling with that foe through the final sixteenth, took over narrowly strides from the wire and was bumped on the line as PIRELLONE came out in the final jumps.
Rafting also comes into this race with a maiden win and he secured that win the same day Greenpointcrusader won his race. Here’s the video and chart call of Rafing’s race:
RAFTING broke out at the start forcing DIRECT MESSAGE to be taken in hand, raced just off the pace just off the inside early on before shifting three wide into the turn, advanced three wide through the turn to get latched on the leader midway, swung four wide for home put to a drive, shied in under an off sided stick nearing the eighth pole when seizing command and was corrected, shied in a second time just past that station taking to the fence when inching clear through to the wire to prevail kept to task.
Tapit, the sire of Rafting, was a multiple graded-stakes winner that won the Laurel Futurity (G3) and Wood Memorial (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
Honorable mention goes to Magna Light (6-1).