©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California, Saturday, where Gormley will go to the starting gate as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Gormley comes into this race for trainer John Sherriffs with a 2-0-0 record in three starts, including a three length win in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) and a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1), both at Santa Anita Park. Here’s the video and chart call of the FrontRunner. Here’s the video and chart call of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1):
GORMLEY bobbled at the break, recovered to move up four wide, continued four wide stalking the pace, remained a factor to the quarter pole then dropped back.
It’s hard to say why Gormley ran so poorly. With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Gormley was one of the best bred colts in the Juvenile and his performance in the FrontRunner indicates that he can do better.
When horses like Gormley fail to run close to their Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® score, then the issue[s] preventing them from reaching their full potential needs to be investigated. And there can be many contributing factors for a horse not running to his profile score – Effinex is a good example of that.
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.
With a two month break, Gormley might be ready to start anew and he’s been training well at Santa Anita. If he lives up to his breeding, he has the potential to be competitive as a three year old and I look for him to run a good race in the Sham Stakes (G3).
With only a maiden win to his credit, American Anthem (9-5) has yet to run in a route race and he’s stepping up in class for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert. Here’s the video and chart call of his maiden win:
AMERICAN ANTHEM stalked three deep on the backstretch and turn, continued outside a rival until the stretch, drifted in some then was straightened and rallied under urging to get up on the line.
Baffert must have a lot of faith in this young son of Bodemeister to earn graded stakes honors in just his second start. Baffert also trained Bodemeister, however, he raced twice in the maiden ranks before finishing second in his third start, the San Felipe Stakes (G2).
In his fourth start, Baffert shipped Bodemeister to Oaklawn Park where he was my pick to win the Arkansas Derby (G1). Bodemeister trounced the field, winning by an outstanding 9½ lengths. He then went on to finish second in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
American Anthem has room to improve in his second start and I look for him to run a good race.
Big Hit (4-1) and Bird is the Word (20-1) also has good breeding and look good in this race. In his last race, Big Hit easily defeated Little Juanito who finished second by a neck to American Anthem. Here’s the video of Big Hit’s last race.
Bird is the Word is a talented son of Birdstone but he’ll need to pick up the pace in order to score the win. Here’s the video of his last race.
Under the points system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine which horses will qualify to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the winner of the Sham Stakes (G3) will receive 10 points, the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive one point. Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
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. Mastery, 10, Bob Baffert, $240,000
6. Gormley, 10, John Sherriffs, $200,000
7. Mo Town, 10, Tony Dutrow, $180,000
8. McCraken, 10, Ian Wilkes, $165,048
9. El Areeb, 10, Cathal Lynch, $150,000
10. Wild Shot, 6, Rusty Arnold, II, $87,200
11. No Dozing, 5, Arnaud Delacour, $85,000
12. Klimt, 4, Bob Baffert, $380,000
13. Hot Sean, 4, Bob Baffert, $180,000
14. Dangerfield, 2, Doug O’Neill, $168,500
15. Syndergaard, 4, Todd Pletcher, $160,000
16. Irap, 4, Doug O’Neill, $60,000
17. Bonus Points, 4, Todd Pletcher, $40,000
18. Straight Fire, 2, Keith Desormeaux, $96,000
19. Favorable Outcome, 2, Chad Brown, $50,345
20. Recruiting Ready, 2, Horacio DePaz, $43,750
x-Not This Time, retired to stud at Taylor Made Farm.
In addition to the current top 20, 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 horse with the most points from those races will receive an invitation to compete in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
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