©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
This Saturday, the Road to the Kentucky Derby logs a lot of miles with prep races in New York, California and Florida.
Let’s take a look at the 81st running of the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park in California where PEACE will go to the starting gate as the 3-1 morning line favorite. Post time is 5:30 p.m. ET.
With a 1-2-0 record in three starts, Peace is stepping up in class and he comes into this race off a maiden win for trainer Richard Mandella. Here’s the video and chart call of that win:
PEACE saved ground stalking the pace, came out on the second turn and three deep into the stretch, bid three wide under left-handed urging past mid-stretch, gained the lead in deep stretch and proved best.
With jockey Mike Smith in the irons, Peace ran a good race to break his maiden in the stretch out to 8½ furlongs.
Violence, the sire of Peace, showed promise as a two year old on the Kentucky Derby Trail winning his first three starts including the Nashua Stakes (G2) and the CashCall Futurity (G1).
In his debut as a three year old, Violence finished second in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) but had suffered a fractured sesamoid bone which ended his career.
Peace has a low E Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index can, potentially, make him competitive.
PEPE TONO (6-1) is stepping up in class and comes into this race off a maiden win for trainer Victor Garcia. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
PEPE TONO settled outside a rival then off the rail, came out on the second turn and four wide into the stretch and rallied under urging to the front in deep stretch to prove the best.
Pepe Tono ran in dead last until the final turn when he made a tremendous move to close ground and get up to win by 1½ lengths.
Bodemeister, the sire of Pepe Tono, did not race until the age of three when he made six starts for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert, compiling a 2-4-0 record in six starts with $1,304,800 in career earnings.
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).
Pepe Tono was a yearling (Hip 1582) I liked at the 2016 Keeneland September sale and with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, he’s the best-bred colt in this herd.
He has room to improve in just his third start and I look for him to run a good race.
INSCOM (6-1) comes into this race with a 1-2-0 record in five starts for trainer Simon Callahan including a second-place finish in the Eddie Logan Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call:
INSCOM close up stalking the leaders off he rail then a bit off the fence, bid three deep into the stretch, took a short lead between horses, drifted in and fought back between foes then just off the rail in deep stretch and continued willingly.
Inscom is a fast colt and the final time of 1:34.58 for the mile is what I like to see young horses run on the Derby trail.
Distorted Humor, the sire of Inscom, made his first start in February of his three-year-old racing season and he did not run in the Kentucky Derby. Overall, he compiled an 8-5-3 record in 23 starts and his most notable stakes wins were in the Amsterdam Stakes (G2), Salvator Mile Handicap (G3), Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3), Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) and the Ack Ack Handicap (G3).
As a stallion, Distorted Humor has sired numerous graded stakes winners, including the classic champions Funny Cide, winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) and Drosselmeyer, winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes (G1). Distorted Humor also is the grandsire of I’ll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1).
With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Inscom has the breeding to be competitive. Time will tell if he can step up to win graded stakes honors.
A long shot I like is Ayacara (8-1) who comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in five starts for trainer Keith Desormeaux including sixth-place finish in the Eddie Logan Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call:
AYACARA (GB) chased inside then a bit off the rail leaving the backstretch, angled back to the rail leaving the backstretch, angled back to the fence on the second turn and lacked the needed rally.
Ayacara finished sixth about one second behind the victor and his final time would make him competitive in the Lewis. Ayacara has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and, like Peace, he also was sired by Violence.
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. Mourinho, 10, Bob Baffert, $124,360
13. Combatant, 8, Steve Asmussen, $110,000
14. Avery Island, 4, Kiaran McLaughlin, $170,000
15. Bravazo, 4, D. Wayne Lukas, $109,913
16. +Hollywood Star, 4, Dale Romans, $88,500
17. Principe Guilherme, 4, Steve Asmussen, $40,000
18. Tiz Mischief, 4, Dale Romans, $36,800
19. Seven Trumpets, 4, Dale Romans, $30,000
20. All Out Blitz, 4, Simon Callahan, $20,000
+ = 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