©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
This Monday, the Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas where MOURINHO will go to the starting gate as the 3-2 morning-line favorite in the 11th running of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. Post time is 5:42 p.m. ET.
Mourinho comes into this race for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert with a 1-2-0 record in three starts including second-place finishes in the Speakeasy Stakes and Bob Hope Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of the Bob Hope:
MOURINHO saved ground stalking the pace, came out into the stretch to loom a threat behind the winner in upper stretch, could not catch that one but was clearly second best.
Mourinho showed his talent chasing a fast Greyvitos to finish a respectable second and best the rest of the field by 7¾ lengths.
Super Saver, the sire of Mourinho, was a Classic Champion Thoroughbred and my pick to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
As a two year old, Super Saver was 2-1-0 in four starts and finished his racing season with a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) making him, along with Street Sense and Nyquist, among a select group of two year olds to win a major end-of-year prep race that went on to victory in the Derby.
As a three-year-old, Super Saver compiled a 1-1-1 record in six starts with a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and a gutsy second-place finish to Line of David in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in route to victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Mourinho has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and, despite his profile grade, he’s one of the best-bred colts in this race. I look for him to run good.
COMBATANT (2-1) comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen including a second-place finish in the Springboard Mile. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
COMBATANT was settled on the inside on the run down the backstretch, rallied three wide on the far turn, was gaining ground and finishing well in the end.
Like Mourinho, Combatant showed good ability in the Springboard Mile chasing Greyvitos to finish a respectable second and best the rest of the field by 5¼ lengths.
Scat Daddy, the sire of Combatant, was a multiple graded stakes winner who compiled a 5-1-1 record in nine starts with $1,334,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Scat Daddy was 3-0-1 in five starts with wins in the Sanford Stakes (G2) and Champagne Stakes (G1), and he finished second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).
In his season debut as a 3-year-old, Scat Daddy finished third in the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and followed up with wins in the 9 furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) in route to a eighteenth-place finish in the Derby.
His best runners on the Derby Trail include Daddy Long Legs, Daddy Nose Best, El Kabeir, Frac Daddy, Azar and Dice Flavor who was my long shot pick to win the 2013 El Camino Real Derby (G3).
Combatant also has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and I look for him to run a good race.
NAVISTAR (5-2) comes into this race off a maiden win in his second start for trainer Todd Pletcher. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
NAVISTAR bumped with HE TAKES CHARGE at the start, then was bumped by ALPHA TO OMEGA at the seven-eighths pole while forwardly placed, reached a short lead between rival in the two-path around the turn, edged away into the lane, then responded gamely to remain clear late.
Despite a troubled trip, Navistar looked good breaking his maiden to win by 1½ lengths.
Union Rags, the sire of Navistar, 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.
Navistar also has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and I look for him to run a good race.
Honorable mention goes to Bode’s Maker who is the best-bred colt in this herd with a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®. However, he’s yet to fully live up to his breeding.
This is the sixth consecutive year for Churchill Downs to use a point system to determine eligibility to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. A total of 36 races comprise the Road to the Kentucky Derby and a significant change to the schedule is the addition of the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on December 17.
In addition to the Japan road to the Derby which features the Cattleya Sho Stakes (November 25), Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushan Stakes (December 13) and Hayacinth Stakes (February 2018), Churchill Downs has added a European road to Derby glory consisting of seven races: Juddmonte Beresford (September 24), Juddmonte Royal Lodge (September 30), Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (October 1), Racing Post Trophy (October 28, Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes (March 1), Patton (March 2) and the Burradon (March 30).
2018 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. +Good Magic, 24, Chad Brown, $1,200,000
2. Firenze Fire, 20, Jason Servis, $517,500
3. McKinzie, 20, Bob Baffert, $240,000
4. Bolt d’Oro, 14, Mick Ruis, $540,000
5. +Solomini, 14, Bob Baffert, $436,000
6. Instilled Regard, 14, Jerry Hollendorfer, $180,000
7. Enticed, 12, Kiaran McLaughlin, $164,080
8. +Free Drop Billy, 10, Dale Romans, $400,000
9. Greyvitos, 10, Adam Kitchingman, $300,000
10. Catholic Boy, 10, Jonathan Thomas, $290,000
11. The Tabulator, 10, Larry Rivelli, $186,750
12. Avery Island, 4, Kiaran McLaughlin, $170,000
13. Bravazo, 4, D. Wayne Lukas, $109,913
14. +Hollywood Star, 4, Dale Romans, $88,500
15. Combatant, 4, Steve Asmussen, $80,000
16. Principe Guilherme, 4, Steve Asmussen, $40,000
17. Tiz Mischief, 4, Dale Romans, $36,800
18. Seven Trumpets, 4, Dale Romans, $30,000
19. All Out Blitz, 4, Simon Callahan, $20,000
20. Snapper Sinclair, 2, Steve Asmussen, $221,810
+ = Horses picked as yearlings on my 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sales list.
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
1. Saxon Warrior (JPN), 20, Aidan O’Brien, $245,017
2. Roaring Lion (USA), 14, John Gosden, $136,807
3. f-Happily (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $543,648
4. Olmedo (FR), 4, Jean-Claude Rouget, $113,505
5. Nelson (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $99,826
6. Delano Roosevelt (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $38,074
7. Masar (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $101,264
8. The Pentagon (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $71.981
9. Mildenberger (ENG), 2, Mark Johnston, $64,634
10. Warm the Voice (IRE), 2, Brendan Duke, $12,904
11. Verbal Dexterity (IRE), 1, Jim Bolger, $280,269
12. Kew Gardens (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $28,605
13. Woodmax (GER), 1, Nicolas Clement, $23,610
14. Petrus (IRE), 1, Brian Meehan, $7,182
JAPAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Le Vent Se Leve (JPN), 10, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $464,985
2. Ruggero (JPN), 10, Yuichi Shikato, $178,045
3. Don Fortis (JPN), 4, Mitsunori Makiura, $437,283
4. Mic Ben Hur (JPN), 4, Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, $106,766
5. Haseno Pyro (JPN), Kenki Sato, $264,191
6. Meiner Yukitsubaki (JPN) 2, Noboru Takagi, $99,210
7. Dark Repulser (JPN), 1, Takashi Kanari, $184,087
8. Bronze Kay (JPN), 1, Koichi Tsunoda, $75,979