©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
After the running of the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds Saturday the Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California where CHOO CHOO has been tabbed as the 9-5 morning line favorite in $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Post time is 6:54 p.m. ET.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Choo Choo comes into this race with a 2-0-2 record in six starts including a win in the California Derby. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
CHOO CHOO was well placed to the second turn, rallied four wide to the stretch, got to terms mid-stretch then pushed clear driving.
Choo Choo took the lead in the stretch and pulled away to win his first stakes race by 1¾ lengths.
English Channel, the sire of Choo Choo, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 13-4-1 record in 23 starts with $5,319,028 in career earnings.
English Channel won his only start as a two year old in August of 2004 and made his debut as a three year old in March of 2005 finishing fourth in an Allowance race at Gulfstream Park.
During the rest of the season, English Channel compiled a 4-2-0 record in eight starts with stakes wins in the Woodlawn Stakes, Colonial Turf Club Stakes and the Virginia Derby (G3). He finished second in both the Secretariat Stakes (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (G1).
As a four year old, English Channel made seven starts and compiled a 4-0-1 record with stakes wins in the Canadian Turf Handiap, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (G1), United Nations Stakes (G1) and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (G1).
English Channel made seven starts as a five year old and went 4-2-0 with stakes wins in the United Nations Stakes (G1), Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (G1) and the John Deer Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). He finished second in the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1).
Choo Choo has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and a recent bullet work out could have him ready to run a good race.
PAVED (2-1) is stepping up in class and with a 1-0-2 record in three starts, she comes into this race off a maiden win on the turf for trainer Michael McCarthy. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
PAVED stalked the pace inside, came out on the second turn, bid three deep into the stretch to take the lead, kicked clear under left handed urging and drifted in and proved best.
Paved made a “smart rally” on the far turn and pulled away in the stretch to win by an impressive 5½ lengths. The split for the mile of 1:36.10 and final time of 1:47.78 for the nine furlongs is what I like to see in horses on the Derby trail.
Quality Road, the sire of Frank Conversation, easily won his maiden debut, and only race as a two year old, in November of 2008. In his debut as a three year old, he finished second in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in January. He followed that in February with a 4¼ length win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and in March, Quality Road ran to a 1¾ length win over Dunkirk in the Florida Derby (G1).
In late April, Quality Road developed a quarter crack on his right front foot and that prevented him from running in the Kentucky Derby. After a three month break, Quality Road returned to racing to win the Amsterdam Stakes (G2).
Quality Road completed his racing career with wins in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3), Donn Handicap (G1), Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and Woodward Stakes (G1). He finished third in the Travers Stakes (G1) and second in both the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) and Whitney Handiciap (G1).
Paved has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and she repeats the form of her maiden win she could be tough to beat in the El Camino Real Derby.
In his last race, MUGARITZ (10-1) finished second to Choo Choo in the California Derby and he comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in five starts for trainer Jonathan Wong. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
MUGARITZ was rated to the second turn, bid three wide then eased in into the stretch, rallied when set down and was best of the rest.
Mugaritz ran behind the pace and could not close the gap between him and the victor but finished a respectable second in his stakes debut.
Dialed In, the sire of Mugaritz, won a 6½-furlong maiden special weight by a half a length at Churchill Downs in his only start as a two year old.
As a three year old, Dialed In won the one mile Holy Bull Stakes, finished second in a 9-furlong Allowance Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream Park, and won the Florida Derby (G1) by a head over Shackleford en route to an eighth place-finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
On the Derby Trail, Dialed In’s best runner to date is Gunnevera who won the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2), Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3), Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and the Tangelo Stakes. In addition, Gunnevera finished second in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2), third in the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) and second in the Travers Stakes (G1).
Mugaritz has a D Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index potentially makes him competitive in the stretch out to nine furlongs.
CITY PLAN (15-1) comes into this race with 2-0-0 record in five starts for trainer Eoin Harty including a fifth-place finish last out in the one mile Sham Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
CITY PLAN pulled and angled in outside a rival then stalked a bit off the rail to the stretch and weakened.
City Plan was only two or three lengths off the leaders entering the stretch but could not keep up. The mile distance may have been too short for him and he may benefit in the stretch out to nine furlongs in the El Camino.
Street Sense, the sire of City Plan, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 6-4-2 record in 13 starts with $4,383,200 in career earnings.
As a two year old, Street Sense finished third in both the Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity (G3) and the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1). He followed that with a win in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and was tabbed as the Eclipse Champion Two Year Old.
Street Sense won his season debut as a three year old in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) en route to a 2¼ length win over Hard Spun in the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® City Plan is the best-bred colt in this race, however, he’s yet to fully live up to his breeding.
Honorable mention goes to Epical (10-1) who is stepping up in class and comes into this race off a maiden debut win. His Behavior Index could potentially make him competitive.
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, 24, Jason Servis, $567,500
3. McKinzie, 20, Bob Baffert, $240,000
4. Bolt d’Oro, 14, Mick Ruis, $540,000
5. +Free Drop Billy, 14, Dale Romans, $467,200
6. +Solomini, 14, Bob Baffert, $436,000
7. Catholic Boy, 14, Jonathan Thomas, $330,000
8. Avery Island, 14, Kiaran McLaughlin, $320,000
9. Instilled Regard, 14, Jerry Hollendorfer, $180,000
10. Enticed, 13, Kiaran McLaughlin, $180,880
11. Greyvitos, 10, Adam Kitchingman, $300,000
12. Audible, 10, Todd Pletcher, $208,320
13. Mourinho, 10, Bob Baffert, $124,360
14. Lombo, 10, Mike Pender, $90,000
15. Combatant, 8, Steve Asmussen, $110,000
16. Tiz Mischief, 6, Dale Romans, $70,400
17. +Hollywood Star, 5, Dale Romans, $98,500
18. Ayacara (GB), 5, Keith Desormeaux, $63,345
19. Bravazo, 4, D. Wayne Lukas, $109,913
20. Principe Guilherme, 4, Steve Asmussen, $40,000
+ = Horses we picked as yearlings at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Good Magic = Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Male.
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