Thursday, January 3, 2019

Sham Stakes Racing Roundup


©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to California this Saturday where COLISEUM will go to the starting gate as the even-money, morning-line favorite in the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park. Post time is 7:00 p.m. ET.
Coliseum steps up to graded stakes competition off a maiden debut win at Del Mar on November 17 for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

COLISEUM broke out a bit, sped to the early lead, inched away on the backstretch, set the pace inside, opened up nearing the turn, drew off while being shaken up with the reins and ridden along to widen in the final furlong and was under a long hold late.

Coliseum proved much the best as he pulled away early and was given a hand ride by jockey Joe Talamo throughout the seven furlongs to win easily by 6¾ lengths.
Tapit, the sire of Coliseum, 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 sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
Coliseum has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the best-bred colt in this herd of runners. He’s been training well since his debut win and four bullet work outs in December indicate that he could be primed to earn graded stakes honors.
MUCH BETTER (6-1) is also trained by Baffert and he comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in three starts including a fourteenth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). His best race to date was a second-place finish in the Zuma Beach Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

MUCH BETTER stalked just off the rail, bid outside the pacesetter to gain the lead leaving the second turn, inched clear into the stretch, could not hold off the winner but was clearly second best.

MUCH BETTER chased fast fractions to the top of the stretch where he took the lead, but a closing King of Speed came along the rail to take the lead in the final strides and win by 1¼ lengths.
Pioneerof the Nile, the sire of Much Better, was a pretty good middle-distance runner and multiple graded-stakes winner that compiled a 2-0-1 record as a two-year-old including a win in the CashCall Futurity (G1) and a third-place finish in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
As a three-year-old, Pioneerof the Nile was 3-0-1 in five starts with wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2), San Felipe Stakes (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) in route to a second-place finish in the 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1).
As a stallion, his best runners to date on the Kentucky Derby Trail include Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Classic Empire and Cairo Prince.
Much Better has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and if he returns to his previous form in the Zuma Beach Stakes he should be competitive in this race.
A long shot I like is EASY SHOT (30-1) who comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in four starts for trainer Keith Desormeaux including a nice maiden win last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

EASY SHOT bumped at the start, went up inside to duel for the lead, took the advantage a half mile out, battled inside on the turn and into the stretch then kicked clear under urging and steadily handling late.

Easy Shot proved much the best and pulled away at the top of the stretch to win by 3½ lengths.
Trappe Shot, the sire of Easy Shot, raced mostly in sprints from the age of two to four, compiling a 6-2-0 record in 12 starts with $703,884 in career earnings. His best stakes victories were in the six furlongs Waldoboro Stakes, True North Handicap (G2) and he did stretch out to win the 8½ furlong Long Branch Stakes. In other route races, Trappe Shot finished second in the nine-furlong Izod Haskell Invitational (G1) and ninth in the Travers Stakes (G1).
To date, Trappe Shot’s best runners on the Kentucky Derby Trail have been Wild Shot and My Man Sam. As a two-year-old, Wild Shot finished second in the 2016 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and third in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity Stales (G1). As a three-year-old, My Man Sam finished second in the nine furlongs 2016 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) stakes.
Easy Shot has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and he’s the third best-bred horse in this race. Easy Shot is an improving colt and if he takes another step forward, he should be competitive in this race.
Honorable mention goes to Gunmetal Gray (5-2) and Sueno (20-1).


*****

A total of 35 prep races comprise the USA Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition, there are seven races on the European road and four races on the Japan road to Derby glory.


2019 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD

Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Game Winner, 30, Bob Baffert, $1,460,000
2. Knicks Go, 18, Ben Colebrook, $656,085
3. Signalman, 18, Ken McPeek, $392,840
4. Long Range Toddy, 10, Steve Asmussen, $300,000
5. Mind Control, 10, George Sacco, $295,000
6. Complexity, 10, Chad Brown, $275,000
7. Improbable, 10, Bob Baffert, $239,520
8. Maximus Mischief, 10, “Butch” Reid, Jr., $137,500
9. Cairo Cat, 10, Ken McPeek, $86,490
10. Gunmetal Gray, 4, Jerry Hollendorfer, $120,000
11. Mucho Gusto, 4, Bob Baffert, $120,000
12. Our Braintrust, 4, Cathal Lynch, $117,000
13. Code of Honor, 4, Shug McGaughey, $100,000
14. Network Effect, 4, Chad Brown, $90,000
15. Bankit, 4, Steve Asmussen, $80,000
16. Tight Ten, 4, Steve Asmussen, $67,900
17. Plus Que Parfait, 4, Brendan Walsh, $36,400
18. Call Paul, 2, Jason Servis, $194,000
19. Mr. Money, 2, Bret Calhoun, $100,000
20. Rowayton, 2, Jerry Hollendorfer, $96,000


EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD

Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Royal Marine (IRE), 10, Saeed bin Suroor, $264,968
2. Magna Grecia (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $185,000
3. Mohawk (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $128,702
4. Japan (GB), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $75,316
5. Phoenix of Spain (IRE), 4, Charlie Hill, $157,944
6. Broome (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $140,871
7. Sydney Opera House (GB), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $40,956
8. Mount Everest (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $24,254
9. Anodor (FR), 2, Freddie Head, $99,215
10. Western Australian (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $43,084
11. Cape of Good Hope (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $41,515
12. Power of Now (IRE), 2, Michael O’Callaghan, $11,489
13. Boitron (FR), 1, Richard Hannon, $44,917
14. Victory Command, (IRE), 1, Mark Johnston, $35,108
15. Circus Maximus (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $24,368
16. Sovereign (IRE), 1, Aiden O’Brien, $5,106


JAPAN ROAD LEADERBOARD

Ranking, total points, Trainer, Earnings
1. Nova Lenda (JPN), 20, Takashi Saito, $446,285
2. f-Make Happy, 12, Koichi Shinkai, $184,181
3. Derma Louvre (JPN), 8, Hirofumi Toda, $447,672
4. Gal Vihara, 4, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $216,271
2. Kingen (JPN), 4, Kunihide Matsuda, $97,867
3. Johaan (JPN), 2, Yasuyuki Takahashi, $72,900
4. Romantico (JPN), 1, Kazuo Fujisawa, $91,245