©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us this Saturday to sunny Florida where Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Male, GOOD MAGIC, will make his debut as a three year old in the 72nd running of $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite, Good Magic heads a herd of 10 with the post time at 6:09 p.m. ET.
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 looked good breaking his maiden and winning his first Grade One race with authority by an impressive 4¼ lengths, easily defeating a couple of good horses, Solomini and Bolt d’Oro.
A chestnut colt by Curlin out of Glinda the Good by Hard Spun, Good Magic was one of my top picks (Hip 845) at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Good Magic has impressive breeding and room to improve as a three year old on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
Good Magic’s sire, Curlin, 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.
In his first five crops as a stallion, Curlin has sired the 2013 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice and the 2016 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Exaggerator. In addition, Curlin produced the classic-placed runners Ride On Curlin (second, 2014 Preakness), Keen Ice (third, 2015 Belmont) and Irish War Cry (second, 2017 Belmont).
Good Magic fired a couple bullet work outs in January and he’s been training well leading up to the Fountain of Youth (G2). I look for him to take another step forward and run a good race.
Owned by Albaugh Family Stables, LLC and trained by Dale Romans, FREE DROP BILLY (9-2) comes into this race with a 2-3-0 record in six starts including a win in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and second-place finishes in the Sanford Stakes (G3), Hopeful Stakes (G1) and Holy Bull Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of the Holy Bull Stakes (G2):
FREE DROP BILLY settled nicely and well spotted racing four to five wide just off contested pace, crept along outside of AUDIBLE to race near equal terms for lead in far turn, could not move on with winner entering the lane, drifted out wider, kept under right handed urging and finished clearly second best.
Free Drop Billy ran good in his debut as a three-year-old, just off the mile split of 1:35.89 and final time of 1:41.92 set by the winner, Audible.
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, Union Rags 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 also was a yearling (Hip 104) I liked at the 2016 Keeneland September sale. With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Free Drop Billy has good breeding and room to improve in his second start of the season.
A long shot I like is HE TAKES CHARGE (20-1) who’s compiled a 1-1-1 record in five starts for trainer Mark Casse. He comes into this race off a maiden win at Gulfstream Park on February 10. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
HE TAKES CHARGE bobbled slightly at the start then raced two wide in the first turn, continued rated three wide between rivals in early stages then given cue leaving the backstretch, gained closer contention in far turn, moved by SLOT to take charge nearing eighth pole and kept clear.
He Takes Charge looked good winning his second start of the season by 2¼ lengths. However, the mile split of 1:37.11 and final time of 1:44.41 is slower that what I like to see colts run on the Derby trail.
Tapit, the sire of He Takes Charge, 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.
He Takes Charge appears to be improving at the right time of year and with an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he has the potential to make another big step forward.
STORM RUNNER (15-1) comes into this race with a 2-2-1 record in six starts including a narrow win in an Allowance Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream Park on February 4. Here’s the video and chart call of his last race:
STORM RUNNER broke a step slow, moved up toward the inside around the first turn, stalked COVE BLUE up the backstretch, wrested command outside his stablemate midway on the far turn, drifted wide running away from NAVISTAR as the latter bore out near the three-sixteenths pole, raced greenly through the lane drifting back in on the wrong lead, and lasted.
Storm Runner appears to be an improving colt and his split for the mile of 1:35.71 and final time of 1:42.55 is what I like to see young colts run on the Derby trail.
Get Stormy, the sire of Storm Runner, was a multiple graded stakes winner and durable runner that raced to the age of six. In 31 starts, he compiled an 11-5-4 record with $1,606,812 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Get Stormy compiled a 1-0-0 record in three starts. At the age of three, he was 4-2-1 in nine starts with stakes wins in the Bryan Station Stakes (G3), Commonwealth Turf Stakes (G3) and Lure Stakes.
At the age of four, Get Stormy compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with stakes wins in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2), Fourstardave Handicap (G2) and the Elkwood Stakes.
Get Stormy was 2-2-2 in eight starts as a five-year-old with wins in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (G1) and the Makers Mark Mile Stakes (G1). He finished second in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) and the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2). He finished third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and Monmouth Stakes (G3).
As a six-year-old, Get Stormy was 1-1-1 in five starts with a win in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), a second-place finish in the Monmouth Stakes (G3) and a third-place finish in the Fourstardave Handicap (G2).
Storm Runner has a low F Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s ranked ninth in this herd. However, his Behavior Index could, potentially, move him up into the top four.
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. My Boy Jack, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $402,000
14. Combatant, 12, Steve Asmussen, $210,000
15. Mourinho, 11, Bob Baffert, $149,360
16. Greyvitos, 10, Adam Kitchingman, $300,000
17. Audible, 10, Todd Pletcher, $208,320
18. Lombo, 10, Mike Pender, $90,000
19. Noble Indy, 10, Todd Pletcher, $40,000
20. Tiz Mischief, 6, Dale Romans, $70,400
+ = 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
Currently, none of the horses on the European Leaderboard are nominated to the Triple Crown.
JAPAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Sumahama (JPN), 30, Ryo Takahashi, $291,287
2. *Ruggero (JPN), 16, Yuichi Shikato, $220,861
3. Taiki Ferveur, 12, Mitsunori Makiura, $299,689
4. Le Vent Se Leve (JPN), 10, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $463,935
5. Don Fortis (JPN), 4, Mitsunori Makiura, $436,916
6. Mic Ben Hur (JPN), 4, Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, $122,696
7. Great Time (JPN), 3, Hideaki Fujiwara, $186,586
8. Haseno Pyro (JPN), 2, Kenki Sato, $263,981
9. Meiner Yukitsubaki (JPN) 2, Noboru Takagi, $151,796
10. Dark Repulser (JPN), 1, Takashi Kanari, $200,920
11. Bronze Kay (JPN), 1, Koichi Tsunoda, $75,979
* = Nominated to Triple Crown.