©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California Saturday where seven young Thoroughbreds have been entered in what appears to be a wide-open edition of the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields. Sheer Flattery has been tabbed the 7-5 morning line favorite in the first test this year for three year olds running in a nine furlong Derby points race.
Most of the horses in this race have a low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® score and those types of horses can often be inconsistent in their performance in the racetrack.
Of the seven, Sheer Flattery and Ann Arbor Eddie have the top profile scores with a C profile grade rating. While other horses like Colonel Samsen (10-1) and More Power to Him (6-1) could potentially move up in ranking because their Behavior Index makes them competitive.
Favored Sheer Flattery comes into this race for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer with a 1-1-1 record in five starts including a third-place finish in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
SHEER FLATTERY four wide into the first turn, angled in and chased a bit off the rail then inside, moved up inside leaving the second turn, came out into the stretch and just missed the place.
Sheer Flattery was the favorite in this race but he was no competition for Royal Mo who won by an easy 3¾ lengths.
Flatter, the sire of Sheer Flattery, was a decent middle-distance horse who competed, mostly, in maiden and allowance races and in his only stakes start he finished third in the 8½-furlong Washington Park Handicap (G2). But in six starts, Flatter compiled a 4-0-1 record and was a winner from 7½-furlongs to 9-furlongs.
Despite his favoritism, there are other horses in this race that could give Sheer Flattery a run for his money. With a C profile rating, Sheer Flattery will need to improve his game if he’s going to earn graded stakes honors and be competitive on the Derby trail.
Ann Arbor Eddie (2-1) comes into the El Camino with a 3-0-1 record in four starts for trainer Doug O’Neil including wins in the King Glorious Stakes and the California Cup Derby. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
ANN ARBOR EDDIE stalked between rivals then then bid between foes five eighths out, stalked again between horses on the backstretch and into the second turn, continued just off the rail leaving that turn, came out in the stretch and rallied under urging to get up in the last stride.
Ann Arbor Eddie has finished in the money in all of his previous starts and he has room to improve in his second start of the season.
Square Eddie, the sire of Ann Arbor Eddie, initially raced in England but was trained by Doug O’Neill when he made his second start in America. He showed promise as a two year old, compiling a 2-2-1 record in six starts, including a win in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and a second-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
As a three year old, Square Eddie finished second in the San Rafael Stakes (G2) and third in the Lexington Coolmore Stakes (G3) before he was taken off the Derby trail with a shin injury.
Ann Arbor Eddie appears to be one of the most consistent colts in this race. Jockey Mario Gutierrez has ridden Ann Arbor Eddie in all of his previous starts and I look for the pair to be competitive.
Colonel Samsen comes into this race with a 2-1-2 record in eight starts for trainer Eoin Harty. To date, his best performance in stakes competition was in the one mile Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields where he was a 1¾ lengths victor over third-place finisher More Power to Him. In his last race Colonel Samsen finished third in the California Derby. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
COLONEL SAMSEN tracked the pace to the second turn, was roused three then four wide to the stretch, got outkicked to mid-stretch then finished evenly.
It seemed to me that Colonel Samsen lost his focus in the stretch and that allowed second-place finisher More Power to Him to out run him to the finish.
Tiznow, the sire of Colonel Samsen, 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.
Colonel Samsen has been inconsistent on the trail but he has room to improve in his third start of the season. If he runs like he did in the Gold Rush, he could be competitive.
More Power to Him comes into this race with a 2-1-1 record in six starts for trainer Faith Taylor including a second-place finish in the California Derby. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
MORE POWER TO HIM was allowed to settle to the second turn, rallied four wide then swung out five wide into the stretch, rallied to the lead in mid-stretch, battled on late, but could not stall the winner.
More Power to Him finished with good energy and it appears that he should be able to handle the stretch out to nine furlongs.
Jockey Alejandro Gomez retains the mount on More Power to Him and they have finished in the money in their last four races. It remains to be seen if More Power to Him has the talent to secure the win but I look for him to be competitive.
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 El Camino Real Derby 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, 32, Mark Casse, $1,493,820
2. El Areeb, 20, Cathal Lynch, $300,000
3. McCraken, 20, Ian Wilkes, $285,048
4. Gormley, 20, John Sherriffs, $260,000
5. Gunnevera, 14, Antonio Sano, $807,200
6. Practical Joke, 14, Chad Brown, $690,000
7. Uncontested, 11, Wayne Catalano, $99,300
8. Lookin At Lee, 10, Steve Asmussen, $275,600
9. Irish War Cry, 10, Graham Motion, $272,660
10. Mastery, 10, Bob Baffert, $240,000
11. Mo Town, 10, Tony Dutrow, $180,000
12. Guest Suite, 10, Neil Howard, $128,040
13. Royal Mo, 10, John Sherriffs, $90,000
14. Irap, 8, Doug O’Neill, $90,000
15. Wild Shot, 7, Rusty Arnold, II, $97,200
16. True Timber, 6, Kiaran McLaughlin, $65,000
17. No Dozing, 5, Arnaud Delacour, $89,000
18. Bonus Points, 5, Todd Pletcher, $52,500
19. Klimt, 4, Art Sherman, $380,000
20. Hot Sean, 4, Bob Baffert, $180,000
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, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Mont Saint Legame (JPN), 40, Koji Maki, $90,154
2. Caucus (JPN), 16, Hideaki Fujiwara, $35,850
3. Blane Eclat, 8, Ryo Takei, $22,340
4. Lavapies (JPN), 4, Ryuji Okub, $52,163