©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California Saturday where Not This Time has been tabbed as the 7-2 morning line favorite in the 33rd running of the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park. The Breeders Cup races will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. Post time for the Juvenile is 5:43 p.m. ET.
Not This Time comes into this race with a 2-0-0 record in three starts for trainer Dale Romans including a 10-length maiden win at Ellis Park on August 21 and an 8¾-length win in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on September 17. Here’s a look at his maiden win. Here’s the video and chart call of the Iroquois:
NOT THIS TIME hopped at the start to get away slow, settled in hand five wide, swiftly ranged into striking distance through the second turn, was shaken up inside the five-sixteenths pole, took over at will entering the stretch and drew off to score at will.
Not This Time has been impressive in his last two races winning by a combined margin of 18¾ lengths. However, the early fractions in those races were slow and the pace should be much quicker in this race.
Giant’s Causeway, the sire of Not This Time, was undefeated in three starts as a 2-year-old, including wins in the Group 3 Futurity Stakes and the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre Stakes, all at 7-furlongs.
As a three year old, Giant’s Causeway raced 10 times and won five Group One races including the Irish Champion Stakes, International Stakes, Sussex Stakes, St. James’s Palace Stakes, Eclipse Stakes and he won the Group 3 Gladness Stakes. He also finished second in four races: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, 2,000 Guineas Stakes, Irish 2,000 Guineas and he finished second by a narrow neck to Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Overall, Giant’s Causeway compiled a 9-4-0 record in 13 starts, winning from 7- to 10-furlongs, and he was the 2000 Cartier Racing Awards European Horse of the Year.
Regular jockey Robby Albarado retains the mount and with an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Not This Time has the breeding to be competitive in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1).
Gormley (5-1) comes into this race for trainer John Sherriffs with a perfect two wins in two starts, including a 3-length win in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park on October 1. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
GORMLEY sped to the early lead, set the pace along the inside, inched away again on the second turn and drew clear in the stretch under urging.
Leading from gate to wire, Gormley looked pretty good in just his second start to win the FrontRunner with ease. With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Gormley is one of the best bred colts in this race.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Gormley, made only two starts as a two year old, compiling a 1-1-0 record, before a slab fracture ended his racing career.
At stud, Malibu Moon sired the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb. In addition, he’s sired several horses that have been competitive on the Derby trail such as Danzig Moon, Mr. Z and Stanford. Other nice runners sired by Malibu Moon include Life At Ten, Devil May Care, Declan’s Moon, Ask the Moon, Prospective, Kauai Katie, Moon Catcher and Malibu Mint.
Gormley has room to improve in just his third start of the season. If he lives up to his breeding, he has the potential to be competitive and, perhaps, upset at a nice price.
Classic Empire (4-1) comes into this race with a 3-0-0 record in four starts for trainer Mark Casse, including wins in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) and the Clairborne Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1). Here’s the video of the Bashford Manor (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of the Futurity:
CLASSIC EMPIRE stalked the pace early along the five path, made a bid three wide in the far turn, took command into the lane and drew away late under a steady drive.
Pioneerof the Nile, the sire of Gettysburg, was a pretty good middle-distance runner and multiple graded-stakes winner that compiled a 2-0-1 record as a two year old including a win in the CashCall Futurity (G1) and a third-place finish in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
As a three year old, Pioneerof the Nile was 3-0-1 in five starts with wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2), San Felipe Stakes (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) in route to a second-place finish in the 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Jockey Julian Leparoux picks up the mount on Classic Empire and he has ridden him in all three of his previous victories. A repeat of his performance in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) will make Classic Empire competitive in the Juvenile.
Honorable mention goes to Klimt, Practical Joke and Syndergaard who have low profile scores and each have been tabbed at 6-1 morning line odds. Despite the low profile scores, their Behavior Index can potential make them competitive and of those three, I lean more toward Klimt and Practical Joke to, perhaps, factor in the exotics.
Both Klimt and Practical Joke have shown that they can come from off the pace to be competitive and finish in the money while Syndergaard is a very speedy colt that will need to slow down the pace in order to earn the win.
This is the fifth consecutive year for Churchill Downs to use a point system to determine eligibility to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. A total of 35 races comprise the Road to the Kentucky Derby and a significant change to the schedule is that the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) will replace the Grey Stakes (G3) as a qualifying race.
In addition, Churchill Downs has partnered with the Japan Racing Association to feature the Cattleya Sho Stakes and Hayacinth Stakes as two qualifying races in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.
For the second year in a row, the top four finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) will receive double points under the Leaderboard points system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine Kentucky Derby eligibility. The winner will receive 20 points while the second-place finisher will receive 8 points, the third-place finisher will receive 4 points and 2 points will be awarded to the fourth-place finisher. Here’s a look at the current leaders:
2016/2017 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Practical Joke, 10, Chad Brown, $510,000
2. Classic Empire, 10, Mark Casse, $359,520
3. Gormley, 10, John Sherriffs, $180,000
4. Not This Time, 10, Dale Romans $90,210
5. Lookin At Lee, 8, Steve Asmussen, $175,600
6. Klimt, 4, Bob Baffert, $360,000
7. Syndergaard, 4, Todd Pletcher, $100,000
8. Straight Fire, 2, Keith Desormeaux, $96,000
9. Favorable Outcome, 2, Chad Brown, $50,000
10. Wild Shot, 2, Rusty Arnold, II, $50,000
11. Recruiting Ready, 2, Horacio DePaz, $43,750
12. Midnight Pleasure, 1, Shelbe Ruis, $54,000
13. Big Gray Rocket, 1, Bob Baffert, $25,000
14. No Dozing, 1, Arnaud Delacour, $25,000
15. Honor Thy Father, 1, Kenny McPeek, $16,203