©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us on Monday to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas where MOURINHO will go to the starting gate as the as the 2-1 morning line favorite in the 53rd running of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Post time is 6:10 p.m. ET.
Mourinho comes into this race for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert with a 2-2-0 record in four starts including an impressive victory in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn on January 15. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
MOURINHO was clear early, got over to the rail on the first turn, was tapped once and shown the whip while ridden out for the win.
Mourinho led from gate to wire and pulled away from the herd at the top of the stretch win with authority by 3¼ 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 his Behavior Index makes him potentially competitive in this race.
A long shot I like is MY BOY JACK (12-1) who comes into this race for trainer Keith Desormeaux with a 1-3-1 record in seven starts including a win in the Zuma Beach Stakes (video), a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (video) and a third-place finish in the Sham Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of the Sham:
MY BOY JACK pulled and saved ground stalking the pace, came out leaving the second turn and three wide into the stretch and edged a rival for the show.
The one mile Sham was the second start the dirt for My Boy Jack who finished a respectable third to Kentucky Derby qualifier McKinzie (ranked 5th).
Creative Cause, the sire of My Boy Jack, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 4-2-3 record in 10 starts with $1,039,000 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Creative Cause compiled a 3-1-1 record in five starts with wins in the Best Pal Stakes (G2) and Norfolk Stakes (G1). He finished second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1).
As a three-year-old, Creative Cause was 1-1-2 in five starts. He finished third in his debut as a three-year-old in the San Vicente Stakes (G2) and followed that with a win in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) and a second-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) en route to a respectable fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Creative Cause finished his racing career with a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, My Boy Jack is the best-bred colt in this herd. He’s never raced beyond a mile but his breeding indicates that he could be competitive as the races get longer and he has room to improve in his third start on the dirt.
COMBATANT (6-1) comes into this race with a 1-2-0 record in four starts for trainer Steve Asmussen including a second-place finish in both the Springboard Mile and Smarty Jones Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
COMBATANT stalked the pace inside, angled four wide in the stretch but couldn’t gain on the winner.
Combatant showed good ability in the Smarty Jones Stakes chasing Mourinho in the stretch to finish a respectable second and best the rest of the field by eight 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.
Undefeated in two starts, RETIREMENT FUND (15-1) is stepping up in class and comes into this race off an Allowance Optional Claiming race at the Fair Grounds on January 20. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
RETIREMENT FUND was away alertly and went to the front, raced inside on the first turn, set the pace through solid fractions, vied inside early on the far turn then moved to the two path, responded well when set down in upper stretch, came under right-handed whip outside the furlong marker, switched to the left-handed whip outside the sixteenth pole and held on under strong urging.
Retirement Fund led from the start and pulled away in the stretch to win by two lengths.
Eskendereya, the sire of Retirement Fund, was a competitive colt, and my favorite, on the 2010 Kentucky Derby Trail until he was sidelined with an injury. During his career, Eskendereya compiled a 4-1-0 record in six starts which culminated in a 9¾ length romp in the 2010 Wood Memorial Stakes (G1).
Other key stakes wins include a runaway win by 8½ lengths in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and an impressive 7¼ length victory Pilgrim Stakes.
Retirement Fun has a D Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index could potentially make him competitive.
Honorable mention goes to Sporting Chance (9-2) who comes into this race off a win in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) last September. Despite the layoff, Sporting Chance has been training well at Oaklawn firing several bullet work outs.
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. Bravazo, 54, D. Wayne Lukas, $349,913
2. +Good Magic, 24, Chad Brown, $1,200,000
3. Firenze Fire, 24, Jason Servis, $567,500
4. Snapper Sinclair, 22, Steve Asmussen, $301,810
5. McKinzie, 20, Bob Baffert, $240,000
6. Instilled Regard, 19, Jerry Hollendorfer, $196,000
7. Bolt d’Oro, 14, Mick Ruis, $540,000
8. +Free Drop Billy, 14, Dale Romans, $467,200
9. +Solomini, 14, Bob Baffert, $436,000
10. Catholic Boy, 14, Jonathan Thomas, $330,000
11. Avery Island, 14, Kiaran McLaughlin, $320,000
12. Enticed, 13, Kiaran McLaughlin, $180,880
13. Greyvitos, 10, Adam Kitchingman, $300,000
14. Audible, 10, Todd Pletcher, $208,320
15. Mourinho, 10, Bob Baffert, $124,360
16. Lombo, 10, Mike Pender, $90,000
17. Noble Indy, 10, Todd Pletcher, $40,000
18. Combatant, 8, Steve Asmussen, $110,000
19. Tiz Mischief, 6, Dale Romans, $70,400
20. +Hollywood Star, 5, Dale Romans, $98,500
+ = 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