This weekend, we’ll log a lot of miles on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. On Saturday, the road takes us first to Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, the “City of Gold” in the United Arab E and finally we’ll travel to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
At Gulfstream Park, HIDDEN SCROLL has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in 67th running of the $1 million, Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1). NBC television will broadcast the race live beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Post time is 6:30 ET.
Hidden Scroll comes into this race with a win and a loss in two starts including a fourth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
HIDDEN SCROLL got bumped off stride and lost couple steps at the start, vied for the lead with GLADIATOR KING in first turn, continued to set pressured pace on top then cleared over rival, continued to hold off challengers in final turn, appeared all out when CODE OF HONOR moved up to challenge upper stretch but continued to fight back gamely then had nothing left in late reserve.
Hidden Scroll has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® which had him ranked fifth in this race and there were several other ranked above him with an A+ profile.
Hard Spun, the sire of Hidden Scroll, was undefeated in three starts as a two-year-old, including wins in the Port Penn Stakes and Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes. As a three-year-old on the Derby trail, Hard spun was 2-0-0 in three starts including wins in the Le Comte Stakes (G3) and Lane’s End Stakes (G2).
Hard Spun went on to finish second in the Kentucky Derby (G1), third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and rounded out his classic campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
As a stallion, Hard Spun’s best runner on the Kentucky Derby trail was Wicked Strong who finished fourth in the 2014 Derby. His other top runners include: Le Romain, Hard Aces, Hard Not to Like, Someries, Gatting, King’s Spun, Promising Run, Questing and Hardest Core.
Hidden Scroll is a talented colt, but he will need to improve his game if he is going to earn graded stakes honors.
A long shot I like is CURRENT (15-1) who comes into this race with a 2-0-2 record in six starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. In his last race, he finished third in the Dania Beach Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
CURRENT broke slowly and shifted in brushing SHOOTIN THE BREEZE in the hind end, advance three to four wide through the middle stages, had a clear shot turning for home, but lacked a solid closing kick.
Current raced in the middle of the herd for most to the race and closed the gap in the final stages to finish a respectable third in his first start of the season.
Curlin, the sire of Current, 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 six 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 Good Magic (second, 2018 Kentucky Derby), Tenfold (third, 2018 Preakness), Ride On Curlin (second, 2014 Preakness), Keen Ice (third, 2015 Belmont) and Irish War Cry (second, 2017 Belmont).
Current was a yearling (Hip 1149) we profiled at the 2017 Keeneland September sale and with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he’s the best-bred colt in his herd. He has the breeding to be competitive and time will tell if he can step up to win his first graded stakes race on the dirt.
Another long shot I like is HARVEY WALLBANGER (15-1). He’s never finished worse than second in five starts and comes into this race off a win in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
HARVEY WALLLBANGER settled nicely out of the gate and secured inside position on the first turn, continued unhurried saving ground through the backstretch, patiently ridden then let out notch at three eighths pole, gained closer contention then cut the corner entering top stretch, given cue under right handed drive, kicked in with strong response, powered forward to the lead and held firm.
Harvey Wallbanger tracked the leaders to the far turn while steadily gaining ground, powered through on the rail and took the lead in the stretch to prevail by one length at the wire.
Congrats, a full brother to Flatter and the sire of Harvey Wallbanger, did his best running at 8½ furlongs and farther. His most notable stakes wins were the 7½ furlong Ack Ack Handicap, the Alysheba Stakes and San Pasqual Handicap (G2), both at the 8½ furlongs, and he won 9 furlong San Antonio Handicap (G2). In addition, Congrats finished second in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and third in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), both at 10 furlongs.
As a stallion, Congrat’s best runners include Turbulent Descent, Jupiter Gold (AUS), Haveyougoneaway, Polar River, Pat On the Back, I’m Steppin’ It Up, Toasting, Bravo Watchman (AUS) and Top Decile to name a few.
Harvey Wallbanger has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he was a yearling (Hip 176) we profiled at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale.
A recent bullet workout could have Harvey Wallbanger ready to run another good race. He was my upset pick in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and he has the breeding to upset in the Florida Derby (G1).
CODE OF HONOR (3-1) comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in 4 starts for trainer “Shug” McGaughey including a win last out in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
CODE OF HONOR gained contending position out of the gate, settled nicely being rated path off the inside, commenced steady advance entering far turn, moved up closer alongside at quarter pole then quickly angled out turning for home, given cue and roused forward to challenge HIDDEN SCROLL, vied for the lead then took control and kept clear.
Code of Honor made a big step forward in his second start of the season to prevail by three quarters of a length and win his first graded stakes race.
Noble Mission, the sire of Code of Honor, is a full brother to Classic Champion Thoroughbred Frankel and multiple Group Stakes winner that compiled a 9-6-2 record in 21 starts with $2,202,887 in career earnings.
Noble Mission finished second in his only start as a two year old racing in the United Kingdom.
As a three-year-old, Noble Mission was 3-3-0 in seven starts with wins in the maiden weight for age race, Qatar Racing Newmarket Stakes and Bet365 Gordon Stakes (Group 3). He finished second in the Popetelecom.com.co.uk Fairway Stakes, King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) and the Worthingtons Champion Shield Navigation Brewery St. Simon Stakes (Group 3).
At the age of four, Noble Mission was 1-0-2 in six starts with a win in the Tapster Stakes. He finished third in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise John Porter Stakes (Group 3) and the Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes (Group 3).
Noble Mission was 5-2-0 in seven starts at the age of five with victories in the Betfred Gordon Richards Stakes (Group 3), Betfair Price Rush Huxley Stakes (Group 3), Tattersalls Gold Cup (Group 1), Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Group 1) and the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Group 1). He finished second in the John Porter Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (Group 3) and the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (Group 1).
Code of Honor has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the second best-bred horse in this herd of runners. He has room to improve in his third start of the season and I look for him to run a good race.
Honorable mention goes to Bourbon War (7-2) and Maximum Security (9-2). Bourbon War has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and I like him better than Hidden Scroll. His breeding ranks him fourth in this herd of runners behind Current, Code of Honor and Harvey Wallbanger.
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. By My Standards, 100, Bret Calhoun, $600,000
2. War of Will, 60, Mark Casse, $440,840
3. Code of Honor, 54, Shug McGaughey, $338,070
4. Long Range Toddy, 53.5, Steve Asmussen, $830,000
5. Cutting Humor, $50, Todd Pletcher, $462,467
6. Haikal, 50, Kiaran McLaughlin, $247,500
7. Tacitus, 50, Bill Mott, $210,000
8. Game Winner, 43, Bob Baffert, $1,610,000
9. Spinoff, 40, Todd Pletcher, $224,000
10. Omaha Beach, 37.5, Richard Mandella, $450,000
11. Mind Control, 30, George Sacco, $355,000
12. Anothertwistafate, 30, Blaine Wright, $228,960
13. ++Country House, 30, Bill Mott, $120,000
14. Sueno, 28, Keith Desormeaux, $265,000
15. Improbable, 25, Bob Baffert, $389,520
16. Mucho Gusto, 24, Bob Baffert, $286,800
17. Gunmetal Gray, 21.75, Jerry Hollendorfer, $247,500
18. Bourbon War, 21, Mark Henning, $90,200
19. Somelikeithotbrown, 20, Mike Maker, $321,665
20. Outshine, 20, Todd Pletcher, $74,500
+ = Profiled as an A+ yearling on our 2017 Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sales list. ++ = Profiled as a B yearling at the 2017 Keeneland September sale.
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