©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to the Empire State Saturday where Takaful will go to the starting gate as the 7-5 morning line favorite in the 102nd running of the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack. Post time is 3:20 ET.
Takaful comes into this race off of an eight length maiden win at Belmont Park on October 29 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Here’s the video and chart call:
TAKAFUL hustled from the gate, cut a swift pace just off the inside in hand until roused continuing just off the inside for home, took to the rail straightened away, drew clear under a drive to the finish.
Takaful led from gate to wire and looked good in his maiden debut to win the 6½ furlong sprint by an impressive eight lengths.
Bernardini, the sire of Takaful, did not race as a 2-year-old but at the age of three, he was a fast colt that won races from a mile to 10-furlongs.
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 to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred, compiling a 6-1-0 record in eight starts with $3,060,480 in career earnings.
Notable races won by Bernardini in route to becoming the 2006 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Male include: Withers Stakes (G3, 8-furlongs), Preakness Stakes (G1, 9½-furlongs), Jim Dandy Stakes (G2, 8½ furlongs), Travers Stakes (G1, 10 furlongs), Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1, 10 furlongs) and he finished second, a length behind Invasor, winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1, 10 furlongs).
Takaful is taking a big step up in class. However, with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he has the breeding to be competitive in this race.
A recent bullet work out could have Takaful ready to run another good race.
Win With Pride (15-1) is young colt trained by Todd Pletcher and with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he’s the best bred horse in race. He comes into the Remsen with a 1-0-1 record in two starts. Here’s the video and chart call:
WIN WITH PRIDE, widest and just off the pace, rallied to the lead near stretch, repulsed challenges and drew out through the final sixteenth.
Win With Pride easily won his debut in a route race and trainer Pletcher is optimistic about his stretch out in the nine furlong Remsen Stakes (G2).
"We feel that the added distance will be to his liking and I like the fact that he's got a two-turn race under his belt," said Pletcher in an Aqueduct news story. "He seemed to show improvement in his second start, so we're looking forward to it…"He acts like he wants more ground.”
Distorted Humor, the sire of Win With Pride, made his first start in February of his three-year-old racing season and he did not run in the Kentucky Derby. Overall, he compiled an 8-5-3 record in 23 starts and his most notable stakes wins were in the Amsterdam Stakes (G2), Salvator Mile Handicap (G3), Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3), Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) and the Ack Ack Handicap (G3).
As a stallion, Distorted Humor has sired numerous graded stakes winners, including the classic champions Funny Cide, winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) and Drosselmeyer, winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes (G1). Distorted Humor also is the grandsire of I’ll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Another step forward can make Win With Pride competitive in this race.
Lead Astray (15-1) comes into this race with a 1-0-0 record in two starts for trainer Shug McGaughey. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
LEAD ASTRAY coaxed from the gate, chased four then three wide in closest aim of the front, came under coaxing three furlongs from home, spun five wide into upper stretch, took over command at the eighth pole, edged clear under a drive and held safe kept busy to the wire.
Lead Astray has yet to run in a route race and he’s stepping up to stakes competition. With an A+ profile, he also has good breeding and his trainer must be confident that he will handle the stretch out to nine furlongs.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Lead Astray, 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.
Lead Astray has room to improve in his third start of the season and I look for him to be competitive.
Newman (10-1) also has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he comes into this race with a 0-1-1 record in two starts for trainer Tom Albertrani. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
NEWMAN remained along the inside route after the field had been sent on its way, was pulling hard on the left side of the bit proceeding along the backstretch, tracked the front runners, with clear sailing along the rail corridor for the asking all throughout the trip around of the trip, availed of the previously-described openness issuing a bid cutting the corner into the lane, worked his way to a narrow advantage only to get engaged upon by the eventual winner, failed to keep pace with well under a sixteenth remaining and had to settle for the place.
Newman was also sired by Bernardini, the sire of Remsen morning line favorite, Takaful. However, despite his good breeding, I’m not too keen on him for the win and if he fails to take another step forward there are others like You’re to Blame (10-1), No Dozing (4-1) and Mo Town (5-1) who could factor in the exotics.
This is the fifth consecutive year for Churchill Downs to use a Leaderboard points 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.
The winner of the Remsen Stakes (G2) will receive 10 points while the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and 1 point 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. Classic Empire, 30, Mark Casse, $1,459,520
2. Not This Time, 18, Dale Romans $430,210
3. Practical Joke, 14, Chad Brown, $690,000
4. Gunnevera, 10, Antonio Sano, $738,600
5. Lookin At Lee, 10, Steve Asmussen, $275,600
6. Gormley, 10, John Sherriffs, $200,000
7. Klimt, 4, Bob Baffert, $380,000
8. Hot Sean, 4, Bob Baffert, $180,000
9. Syndergaard, 4, Todd Pletcher, $160,000
10. Dangerfield, 2, Doug O’Neill, $132,500
11. Straight Fire, 2, Keith Desormeaux, $96,000
12. Favorable Outcome, 2, Chad Brown, $50,345
13. Wild Shot, 2, Rusty Arnold, II, $50,000
14. Recruiting Ready, 2, Horacio DePaz, $43,750
15. Midnight Pleasure, 1, Craig Dollase, $54,000
16. J Boys Echo, 1, Dale Romans, $50,000
17. Big Gray Rocket, 1, Bob Baffert, $25,000
18. No Dozing, 1, Arnaud Delacour, $25,000
19. Honor Thy Father, 1, Kenny McPeek, $16,203