Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2018 Kentucky Derby Outlook

©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

Once again, it’s time to take a look at the young Thoroughbreds on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and prepare the 2018 Kentucky Derby Outlook which is an annual tradition at Classic Champion Thoroughbreds blog.
I always enjoy researching this blog and, by far, one of my best picks was in December of 2010 when I wrote in my 2011 Kentucky Derby Outlook that Animal Kingdom would most likely be my Derby favorite. At that time, Animal Kingdom had a 1-1-0 record in two starts – both were maiden special weight races on all-weather tracks.
I had no idea if the connections planned to give Animal Kingdom a classic campaign. But research of his pedigree showed me that, given a chance, he had the potential to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred.
The Derby outlook for 2018 is shaping up to be very exciting.
In 2016, Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, LLC profiled 101 yearlings at the Keeneland September Sale and four horses from our sales list are currently ranked on the 2018 Kentucky Derby Leaderboard: Good Magic (Hip 845), Solomini (Hip 662), Free Drop Billy (Hip 104) and Hollywood Star (Hip 395).
In addition, there are several horses from our 2016 sales list that could make an impact as a three-year-old on the 2018 Derby trail. Let’s look at the current top 20 horses listed on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.


2018 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

1. +Good Magic, 24, Chad Brown, $1,200,000
2. Bolt d’Oro, 14, Mick Ruis, $540,000
3. +Solomini, 14, Bob Baffert, $436,000
4. Enticed, 12, Kiaran McLaughlin, $164,080
5. Firenze Fire, 10, Jason Servis, $427,500
6. +Free Drop Billy, 10, Dale Romans, $400,000
7. Greyvitos, 10, Adam Kitchingman, $300,000
8. Catholic Boy, 10, Jonathan Thomas, $290,000
9. The Tabulator, 10, Larry Rivelli, $186,750
10. McKinzie, 10, Bob Baffert, $180,000
11.  Avery Island, 4, Kiaran McLaughlin, $170,000
12. Bravazo, 4, D. Wayne Lukas, $109,913
13. +Hollywood Star, 4, Dale Romans, $88,500
14. Combatant, 4, Steve Asmussen, $80,000
15. Instilled Regard, Jerry Hollendorfer, $60,000
16. Tiz Mischief, 4, Dale Romans, $36,800
17. Givemeaminit, 2, Dallas Stewart, $152,000
18. Lone Sailor, 2, Tom Amoss, $71,347
19. Kingsville, 2, Danny Pish $44,000
20. Take the One O One, 2, Brian Koriner, $36,345
+ = Horses picked as yearlings on my 2016 Keeneland September Yearling sales list.

Of the current top 20 qualifiers listed below, here’s how they are ranked according to their Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® score and grade ranking (Chart One) and also by their Behavior Index (Chart Two). Since I began profiling the horses on the Derby trail, 2018 is shaping up to the best yet with 16 (80%) having a grade ranking of C or better while seven (35%) have a grade ranking of A and Solomini has an A+ ranking.



 Our research, which is documented in my numerous blogs and on my website, shows that a majority of horses run close to their Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® score which is a measurement of the breeding influences found in the five-generation pedigree.
In addition to the breeding influences found in the pedigree, horse behavior is also vitally important for an Equine athlete to have success on the racetrack and one of the biggest changes that have been made to the software is the addition of the Behavior Index which I wrote about in my wrap up for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).
The Behavior Index is proving to be a very valuable analytical tool, and, with its addition to the software, Dallas and I are now able to add behavioral analysis to the final equation of what it takes to produce a Classic Champion Thoroughbred or top quality graded stakes competitor.
I’ll be watching closely to see if horses with high profile scores like Hollywood Star (ranked 7th) live up to their breeding. He’s yet to fully live up to his breeding and when horses 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.
In addition to the four horses profiled on our 2016 Keeneland sales list, other horses I like from the current Kentucky Derby Leaderboard to round out the top ten are: Greyvitos, Avery Island, Enticed, Bolt d’Oro, McKinzie and Catholic Boy.
Churchill Downs has also opened international competition to a European and Japan road to Derby glory. Of those current qualifiers. Saxon Warrior tops the European Leaderboard and I like him the best.
Let’s take a look at the four horses from the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds 2016 Keeneland sales list.


GOOD MAGIC (Hip 845), a chestnut colt by Curlin out of Glinda the Good by Hard Spun, is trained by Chad Brown and he’s compiled a 1-2-0 record in three starts including a second place finish in the Champagne Stakes (G1) and a win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of the Juvenile:




GOOD MAGIC attended the pace off of the inside, tipped out a bit further and split rivals to launch his bid, struck the front entering the stretch and quickly drew away.

Good Magic won his first Grade One race with authority and he has room to improve as a three-year-old.
 Curlin, the sire of Good Magic, was an outstanding racehorse that compiled an 11-2-2 record in 16 career starts with $10,501,800 in career earnings.
Curlin did not start as a two-year-old. But, at the age of three, Curlin was 6-1-2 in nine starts with $5,102,800 in earnings including wins in the Rebel Stakes (G3) and Arkansas Derby (G2) en route to a third-place finish in the 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1). He went on to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) and he finished second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
Other important stakes wins include the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), twice, Dubai World Cup (G1), Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), Woodward Stakes (G1), and the UAE Jaguar Trophy Handicap.
As a stallion, Curlin has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the 2013 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice and the 2016 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Exaggerator.
Good Magic was a $1 million session four sale topper purchased by agent Mike Ryan for E5 Racing. Here’s the video of Good Magic in the auction ring:




“He’s as good a Curlin as you’ll see,” said Ryan in a Bloodhorse news story.  “Curlin is Curlin. In my mind he’s as good as Tapit.”
Good Magic was one of my top picks at the 2016 Keeneland Sale and with an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he has the breeding to be competitive.
I look for him to be a factor as a three-year-old on the Kentucky Derby Trail.


SOLOMINI (Hip 662), a chestnut colt by Curlin out of Surf Song by Storm Cat, is trained by Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert and he’s compiled a 1-2-1 record in four starts including second-place finishes in both the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
In his last race, Solomini crossed the finish line first in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (G1) but was placed third through a controversial disqualification. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

SOLOMINI dueled between foes then stalked a bit off the rail, went outside a rival on the second turn and three wide into the stretch, bid three deep in the drive, came in under right-handed urging to bump a rival a sixteenth out, took a short lead in deep stretch and gamely prevailed.

I thought the disqualification to third was unwarranted but despite that the time of 1:36.04 for the mile and finish time of 1:42.57 is what I like to see a young colt run on the Derby trail.
Solomini was purchased at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale for $270,000 by Zayat Stables, LLC, and like Good Magic, his sire is Curlin. With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® ranking, Solomini tops the current leaderboard and I look for him to be a factor on the 2018 Kentucky Derby Trail.


FREE DROP BILLY (Hip 104), a chestnut colt by Union Rags out of Trensa by Giant’s Causeway, is a half-brother to multiple group stakes winner Hawkbill and he’s trained by Dale Romans.
In five starts, he’s compiled a 2-2-0 record including a second-place finish in both the Sanford Stakes (G2) and Hopeful Stakes (G1), and a runaway four-length win in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1). Here’s the video of His Grade One Futurity win and chart call of his disappointing ninth-place finish in the Juvenile:

FREE DROP BILLY settled after saving ground, moved up to make a mild bid, but tired after six furlongs and dropped out.

Union Rags, the sire of Free Drop Billy, was a competitive colt on the trail to the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1), compiling an overall 5-1-1 record in eight career starts with $1,798,800 in earnings.
As a two-year-old, he won the Three Chimneys Saratoga Special (G2) and Champagne (G1) stakes and finished second in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) stakes.
At the age of three, Union Rags won the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) stakes and finished third in the Florida Derby (G1) en route to a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He finished his career with a narrow win by a neck over Paynter in the Belmont (G1) stakes.
Free Drop Billy was purchased for $200,000 by agents Kempton/Berkelhammer for the Albaugh Family Stable. Here’s the video of him in the Auction Ring.
With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® ranking Free Drop Billy has good breeding and, despite his finish in the Juvenile, I look for him rebound from that race and to be a factor as a three-year-old on the Kentucky Derby Trail.


HOLLYWOOD STAR (Hip 395), a dark bay or brown colt by Malibu Moon out of Hollywood Story by Wild Rush, is also trained by Dale Romans and he has a 1-2-0 record in four starts including second-place finishes in both the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and Iroquois Stakes (G3) and a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Here’s the video of the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and chart call of the Juvenile:

HOLLYWOOD STAR angled in at once to save ground, came under a ride with three furlongs to run, angled out entering the stretch and improved position.

Malibu Moon, the sire of Hollywood Star, 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 Gormley, 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, Moonshine Memories, Ransom the Moon, and Malibu Mint.
Hollywood Star was a $550,000 purchase by Kempton/Berkelhammer for the Albaugh Family Stable. With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® ranking he’s yet to fully live up to his breeding but I look for him to be competitive on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
Time will tell if Hollywood Star has the potential to be a Classic Champion.
One colt currently unranked in the top 20 Leaderboard is Principe Guilherme and with a very high A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® ranking, he has the potential to be a factor on the Derby Trail. Here’s a look at him:


PRINCIPE GUILHERME (Hip 47), a bay colt by Tapit out of Aubby K by Street Sense, was purchased for $600,000 as a weanling by Mill Valley Racing at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale.
Undefeated in two starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, Principe Guilherme has one his last two races by a combined 18 lengths. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:

PRINCIPE GUILHERME was hustled to the front, set the pace in the two path while well rated, responded well when shaken up a bit in upper stretch and drew off under a mild hand ride to win handily.

Principe Guilherme won with ease and should soon earn some Derby qualifying points.
Tapit, the sire of Principe Guilherme, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has been America’s leading sire for the past three years and he’s the sire of the Belmont Stakes (G1) winners Tonalist and Creator.
Principe Guilherme has won his last two races with authority and I look for him to continue to improve as a three-year-old on the Kentucky Derby Trail.

*******

In addition to the current top twenty, there are several other unranked horses from our 2016 Keeneland sales list that could perhaps have an impact on the Derby Trail. Below is a list of horses I’m following that have an A or A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®.

NEED TO QUALIFY FOR TOP 20

1. ARCHAGGELOS (Hip 2138), a bay colt by Temple City out of Mien by Nureyev, is a half-brother to dual classic winner Big Brown and was a $200,000 RNA for consignor Monticule, LLC.
Archaggelos is trained by Michael Dickinson and he has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®. In four starts, Archaggelos has compiled a 2-1-0 record including an authoritative 2¾ length win in the Grey Stakes (G3) and a fourth-place finish in the Display Stakes. Here’s a look at the video and chart call of his win in the Grey Stakes (G3).

ARCHAGGELOS raced in mid-pack, moved off the rail late on the far turn, needed a path and split foes upper stretch, took command with authority a furlong out and held under a drive.

Archaggelos “strode clear with authority to take the GIII Grey Stakes at Woodbine Sunday by two lengths,” according to a Thoroughbred Daily News article. He paid $21 for the win which was especially impressive as Dickinson wheeled him back off one week’s rest from breaking his maiden at Laurel Park on September 24.
Temple City, the sire of Archaggelos, was a graded stakes winner that compiled a 4-2-4 record in 15 starts.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Temple City won his only start as a three-year-old and followed that with a third-place finish in the Del Mar Handicap at the age of four.
Temple City earned graded stakes honors as a five-year-old with a win in the Cougar II Handicap (G3) and second-place finishes in both the American Handicap (G2) and the Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G1).
I look for Archaggelos to improve as a three-year-old and he has the breeding to be a factor on the Kentucky Derby Trail.

2. MISSISSIPPI (Hip 888): a dark bay or brown colt by Pioneerof the Nile out of Katz Me If You Can by Storm Cat
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A+
Race Record: 1-0-0 (2)
Trainer: Mark Casse
In Training: Palm Meadows Training Center. Here’s the video of his maiden win.

3. VINO ROSSO (Hip 528): a chestnut colt by Curlin out of Mythical Bride
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A
Race Record: 2-0-0 (2)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
In Training: Palm Beach Downs. Here’s the video of his last race.

4. WENTZ (Hip 1029): a chestnut colt by Super Saver out of Snicker Belle by Distorted Humor
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A
Race Record: 1-0-1 (2)
Trainer: John Servis
In Training: Parx Racing. Here’s the video of his maiden win.

5. DARK TEMPLAR (Hip 1274): a chestnut colt by Tapit out of Hurricane Flag by Storm Cat
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A+
Race Record: 1-0-1 (2)
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
In Training: Fair Grounds. Here’s the video of his maiden win. In his last race he finished third to Principe Guilherme.

6. TIME ON TARGET (Hip 354): a bay colt by Distorted Humor out of Gamely Girl by Arch
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A+
Race Record: 1-0-0 (2)
Trainer: Bill Mott
In Training: Payson Park Training Center. Here’s the video of his maiden win.

7. PIOCHO (Hip 976): a dark bay for brown colt by Malibu Moon out of Private Gift by Unbridled
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A
Race Record: 0-1-0 (1)
Trainer: Michael Stidham
In Training: Fair Grounds. Here’s the video of his only start.

8. KING ZACHARY (Hip 956): a chestnut colt by Curlin out of On My Way by Giant’s Causeway
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A
Race Record: 0-0-1 (1)
Trainer: Dale Romans
In Training: Last work out was at Churchill Downs on November 5. Here’s the video of his only start. In this race he finished third to Principe Guilherme.

9. LITTLE TOE (Hip 345): a dark bay or brown colt by Malibu Moon out of Fiscal Year by Half a Year
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A
Race Record: 0-0-2 (2)
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
In Training: Gulfstream Park. Here’s the video of his last race.

10. STRONGER (Hip 4154): a bay colt by Bodemeister out of Out For Revenge by Bernadini
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A+
Race Record: 1-0-1 (4)
Trainer: Eric Guillot
In Training: Palm Meadows Training Center. Here’s the video of third-place finish in the Smooth Air Stakes.

11. CAMPAIGN (Hip 183): a bay colt by Curlin out of Arania by Dynaformer
Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®: A+
Race Record: 0-1-0 (1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
In Training: Not in training. Here’s the video of his only start. Campaign came from dead last to finish second to Lone Sailor who is ranked 18th in the Derby Leaderboard.

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