©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
This Saturday, we’ll log a lot of miles on the Road to the Kentucky Derby which will take us to New Orleans, Louisiana, and the nation of the United Arab Emirates where winners of those races will each receive 100 qualifying points and a guaranteed spot in Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May.
At the Fair Grounds Race Course in Louisiana, Mo Tom heads a field of 11 young Thoroughbreds as the lukewarm, 5-2 morning line favorite in the 103rd running of the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2). Post time is 6:12 p.m. ET.
In six starts, Mo Tom has always finished in the money and he comes into this race with a 3-0-3 record for trainer Tom Amoss, including wins in the Street Sense Stakes and LeComte Stakes (G3), and third-place finishes in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (G2). Here’s a look at the video and chart call of the Risen Star:
MO TOM raced inside on the first turn, lagged at the rear while under some urging, was ridden along while two to three wide on the far turn, dropped closer to the rail late on that bend, gained into the stretch, checked sharply and swerved in when BISTRAYA drifted in front of him at the three-sixteenths, regained momentum while moving out outside the furlong marker and finished fast but was too late.
Mo Tom is a proven competitor and if he had a better trip in the he could have, perhaps, won this race. He’s a sire-line descendant of the Nasrullah Ancestral Herd and, despite his low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® his Behavior Index makes him competitive on the Derby Trail.
Uncle Mo, the sire of Mo Tom, was undefeated in three starts as a two year old with wins in the Champagne Stakes (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and he was picked as the 2010 Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Colt.
As a three year old, Uncle Mo won the Timely Writer Stakes and finished third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1). The Friday before the Kentucky Derby, Uncle Mo was scratched from the race with a mysterious ailment which was later diagnosed as a liver disease called cholangiohepatitis.
It will be interesting to see if Mo Tom can run better at nine furlongs than Uncle Mo who finished third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1).
Jockey Corey Lanerie retains the mount and that’s a positive. He’s ridden Mo Tom in his last five races and I look for the pair to run a good race Saturday.
Greenpointcrusader (7-2) is a young colt I liked as a two year old and ranked as a top 10 Derby qualifier in my 2016 Kentucky Derby Outlook. He’s a full brother to Algorithms, who is a young colt I liked on the 2012 Derby trail, and he comes into this race with a 2-2-0 record in five starts for trainer Dominic Schettino.
As a two year old, Greenpointcrusader was an impressive 4½-length winner of the Champagne Stakes (G1) and he finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). In his debut as a three year old, he finished second to Mohaymen in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
GREENPOINTCRUSADER was bumped at the start, pressed the pace of PERFECT SAINT while racing three-wide, moved up to engage that foe nearing the five-eighths marker, was quickly taken on by the winner, pressed the pace of that rival to the three-quarter marker, was no match for that foe in the drive but clearly second best.
The time in the Holy Bull of 1:36.04 for the mile and 1:42.07 at the finish is the best so far for 8½ furlongs on the 2016 Derby trail.
Greenpointcrusader has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s a sire-line descendant of the Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd.
Bernardini, the sire of Greenpointcrusader, was a classic champion 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.
It remains to be seen if Greenpointcrusader will live up to his breeding. Jockey John Velazquez returns to the irons and I look for the pair to run a good race.
A long shot I like in this race is Battery (10-0) who comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in four starts for trainer Todd Pletcher including a two-length win in a nine furlong Allowance Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream Park on February 10. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
BATTERY was reserved just off the leaders early, moved four-wide through the turn, reached the fore nearing the quarter and quickly drew off.
The finish time of 1:49.69 was decent in the stretch out to nine furlongs. Bernardini is also the sire of Battery and his B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® makes him, potentially, competitive in this race.
Jockey Javier Castellano retains the mount on Battery who has room to improve in his third start of the season.
In four starts, Gun Runner (3-1) has three wins and he looked good last month winning his debut as a three year old in the Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (G2) by one half of a length for trainer Steve Asmussen. Here’s a look at the video and chart call of the Risen Star:
GUN RUNNER bumped with AIROFORCE at the seven-eighths pole, raced in the two path on the first turn, settled off the pace, was urged along while inside early on the far turn, came off the rail at the five-sixteenths, made a bid at the quarter-pole, took the lead under a right-handed whip in upper stretch, switched to left-handed whip while inching clear at the furlong marker, remained clear into the final sixteenth and held under strong urging.
Gun Runner is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and he has a low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®.
Candy Ride, the sire of Gun Runner, was bred in Argentina and during his racing career he was undefeated in six starts.
In his maiden debut as a three year old, Candy Ride won the Premio El Quimico, a six furlong sprint, by 12 lengths. He went on to finish the season with a win in the one mile Gran Premio San Isidro (G1) by eight lengths and another win by eight lengths in the one mile Joaquin S de Anchorena (G1).
As a four year old, Candy Ride was shipped to America where won his U.S. debut in an 8½ furlong Allowance Optional Claiming race at Hollywood Park on June 7, 2003. A month later, he ran on the turf winning the 9 furlong American Handicap (G2) and in August, Candy Ride was able to carry his speed to a 3¼-length victory in the 10 furlong Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) in a record time of 1:59.11.
In the Risen Star, Gun Runner led for most of the stretch drive and it looked like a fast closing Forevamo (10-1), who’s also entered in this race, and Mo Tom could have passed him with more distance.
Gunner Runner has room to improve in his second start of the season and a recent bullet work out could have him ready to run a good race.
Honorable mention goes to Forevamo and Zapperini (20-1) who could, perhaps, make a move forward off of his fifth-place finish in the Risen Star.
This weekend with the running of the Louisiana Derby (G2) and UAE Derby (G2), the winner of these races will receive 100 points, second-place finishers will receive 40 points, third-place finishers will get 20 points and fourth-place finishers will get 10 points. Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
2016 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Rank, Horse, Points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Mohaymen, 70, Kiaran McLaughlin, $760,350
2. Destin, 51, Todd Pletcher, $338,000
3. Gun Runner, 51, Steve Asmussen, $249,200
4. Cupid, 50, Bob Baffert, $540,000
5. Danzing Candy, 50, Cliff Sise, Jr., $240,000
6. Shagaf, 50, Chad Brown, $240,000
7. Mor Spirit, 44, Bob Baffert, $416,800
8. Nyquist, 30, Doug O’Neill, $1,700,000
9. Exaggerator, 26, Keith Desormeaux, $1,028,000
10. Whitmore, 24, Ron Moquett, $300,000
11. Sunny Ridge, 23, Jason Servis, $505,600
12. Mo Tom, 22, Tom Amoss $288,326
13. Laoban, 22, Eric Guillot, $92,000
14. Forevamo, 20, All Stall, Jr., $210,000
15. Zulu, 20, Todd Pletcher, $79,200
16. Outwork, 20, Todd Pletcher, $70,000
17. Flexibility, 15, Chad Brown, $232,500
18. Brody’s Cause, 14, Dale Romans, $500,000
19. Greenpointcrusader, 14, Dominick Schettino, $369,30020. Swipe, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $597,130