©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The last race this year for two year old Thoroughbreds on the Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California, Saturday, where a small field of five juveniles will go to the starting gate of the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Mastery, trained by Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert, has been installed as the 2-5 morning line favorite. He comes into this race undefeated in two starts including a 1¼ length win in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar on November 19. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
MASTERY had good early speed and set a pressured pace outside a rival, inched away into the stretch and proved best under a steady hand ride.
Like a lot of horses on the Kentucky Derby Trail, Mastery has a low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, but his Behavior Index makes him competitive.
Candy Ride, the sire of Mastery, 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 8 ½ 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.
A long shot I like in this race is Irap (12-1) who’s compiled a 0-0-1 record in two starts for trainer Doug O’Neil. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
IRAP stalked off the rail then between horses on the backstretch and second turn, then swung four wide into the backstretch and lacked the needed rally.
Irap is stepping up in class and has yet to break his maiden. However, despite his maiden status, he has the breeding to be competitive and he’s the kind of long shot I look for in races on the Derby trail.
Tiznow, the sire of Irap, was a multiple graded-stakes winner and an outstanding router who won 10-furlong Super Derby (G1) by six lengths and the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) by five lengths.
The most notable 10-furlong wins of Tiznow came in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) where he defeated the European champion Giant’s Causeway by a neck. In 2001, Tiznow defended his title of champion in Breeders’ Cup Classic when he defeated the European invader and formidable winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Sakhee, by a nose.
Whether Irap is talented enough to win this race remains to be seen but he has the breeding to upset at a nice price. Time will tell.
Show Me Da Lute (5-1) is another young colt trained by Baffert and he comes into this race off of a maiden win at Santa Anita on October 29. Here’s the video of that race.
Bobby Abu Dhabi (6-1) is also stepping up in class and stretching out to a route distance. He comes into this race off of a maiden win for trainer Peter Miller. Here’s the video of that race.
Dangerfield (6-1) is also trained by Doug O’Neill and he comes into this race with a 1-1-1 record in five starts. He was one of my picks in the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and he finished third in that race. Here’s the video of that race.
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 Los Alamitos Futurity Stakes (G1) 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. Practical Joke, 14, Chad Brown, $690,000
3. Gunnevera, 10, Antonio Sano, $738,600
4. Lookin At Lee, 10, Steve Asmussen, $275,600
5. Gormley, 10, John Sherriffs, $200,000
6. Mo Town, 10, Tony Dutrow, $180,000
7. McCraken, 10, Ian Wilkes, $165,048
8. Wild Shot, 6, Rusty Arnold, II, $87,200
9. No Dozing, 5, Arnaud Delacour, $85,000
10. Klimt, 4, Bob Baffert, $380,000
11. Hot Sean, 4, Bob Baffert, $180,000
12. Syndergaard, 4, Todd Pletcher, $160,000
13. Dangerfield, 2, Doug O’Neill, $132,500
14. Straight Fire, 2, Keith Desormeaux, $96,000
15. Favorable Outcome, 2, Chad Brown, $50,345
16. Recruiting Ready, 2, Horacio DePaz, $43,750
17. Takaful, 2, Kiaran McLaughlin, $30,000
18. Warrior’s Club, 2, D. Wayne Lukas, $18,600
19. Midnight Pleasure, 1, Craig Dollase, $54,000
20. J Boys Echo, 1, Dale Romans, $50,000
x-Not This Time, retired to stud at Taylor Made Farm.
2016/2017 JAPAN ROAD TO KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer
1. Mont Saint Legame (JPN), 40, Koji Maki
2. Caucus (JPN), 16, Hideaki Fujiwara
3. Blane Eclat, 8, Ryo Takei
4. Lavapies (JPN), 4, Ryuji Okub