©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby will span two continents this weekend with the $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park on Friday. The European Road to the Kentucky Derby starts Saturday with the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) at the Newmarket Racecourse Rowley Mile in Suffolk, England. The European road to Derby glory continues Sunday with the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (Group 2) at Naas Racecourse in County Kildare, Ireland.
Let’s look at the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) which is the first Grade One race on the Kentucky Derby Trail and a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race.
Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert sends EIGHT RINGS to the starting gate as the 9-5 morning line favorite and he comes into this race with a 1-0-0 in two starts. His last race was the Del Mar Futurity (G1) where he lost his jockey out early in the race. So, here’s a look at video and chart call of his maiden debut win at Del Mar on August 4:
EIGHT RINGS had speed off the rail then dueled thee deep, took the lead on the turn, kicked clear and angled to the inside leaving the turn and drew off under a brisk hand ride a couple backhanded taps of the whip and steady handling late.
Eight Rings looked good to win his maiden debut by an impressive 6¼ lengths.
Empire Maker, the sire of Eight Rings, was a good, competitive runner that compiled a 4-3-1 record in eight starts with $1,985,800 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old his most notable race finish was third in the Remsen Stakes (G2).
At the age of three, Empire Maker won the Florida Derby (G1), Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1). He finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and Sham Stakes.
As a stallion, Empire Maker has sired numerous outstanding runners such as Royal Delta, Pioneerof the Nile, Grace Hall, Emollient, Bodemeister, Mushka, Acoma and In Lingerie to name a few.
Eight Rings has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and I look for him to run a good race
EXPRESS TRAIN (4-1) comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in two starts including a maiden win last out at Del Mar on August 28. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
EXPRESS TRAIN had good early speed and set a pressured pace inside, dueled between foes a half mile out, regained the advantage into the second turn, inched away a bit off the rail leaving that turn and drew off under some urging with the whip turned down and hand urging, then a left-handed crack of the whip a sixteenth out.
Express Train showed his talent and looked good breaking his maiden by an impressive 14 lengths. Also, in his debut he finished a respectable second to Eight Rings.
Union Rags, the sire of Express Train, 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, he 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.
As a stallion, Union Rags’ leading lifetime runners with career earnings over $500,000 include: Paradise Woods, Free Drop Billy (a yearling we profiled [Hip 104] at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale), Union Strike, Dancing Rags, Tequilita, Catalina Cruiser, and No Dozing.
Express Train is a colt we profiled (Hip 1016) as a yearling at the 2018 Keeneland September Sale and he has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®. I look for him to run a good race and, perhaps, upset.
NUCKY (10-1) comes into this race for trainer Peter Miller with a 2-1-0 record in five starts including a win in the Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) last out. Here’s the video and chart call:
NUCKY dueled outside then four wide into the turn and three deep leaving the turn, bumped with a rival while taking the lead in upper stretch, inched away in mid-stretch, drifted in and won clear under urging.
Coming into the Del Mar Futurity off a 10-length victory last out, Nucky looked go to claim his first graded stakes win by 2¾ lengths.
Ghostzapper, a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee and the sire of Nucky, was an incredibly talented, multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 9-0-1 record in 11 starts with $3,466,120 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Ghostzapper won his maiden special weight debut by nine lengths and was 1-0-0 in two starts. At the age of three, Ghostzapper won the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) and finished third in the King’s Bishop (G1), compiling a 3-0-1 record in four starts.
As a four-year-old, Ghostzapper was undefeated in four starts winning the Tom Fool Handicap (G2), Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G3), Woodward Stakes (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (G1). In addition, Ghostzapper was selected as the 2004 Eclipse Horse of the Year and Eclipse Champion Older Horse.
In his only start as a five-year-old, Ghostzapper was a 6 ¼ length winner of the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap (G1).
As a stallion, Ghostzapper’s leading lifetime runners include: Shaman Ghost, Moreno, Judy the Beauty, Paulassilverlining, Better Lucky, Stately Victor, Molly Morgan, Contested and McCraken to name a few.
Nucky has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and that makes him competitive in this race.
AMERICAN THEOREM (5-1) comes into this race off a maiden debut win for trainer George Papaprodromou. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
AMERICAN THEOREM stalked off the rail, waited off heels into the turn, came out three deep into the stretch to gain the lead in upper stretch, inched away in mid-stretch, drifted to the inside and proved best by under a steady hand ride and hold late.
American Theorem stalked the pace for most of the race until he took the lead in the stretch and pulled away to win by an easy 1½ lengths.
American Theorem has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and his Behavior Index makes him competitive in this race.
American Pharoah, the sire of American Theorem, was an outstanding runner and the 2015Triple Crown winner that compiled a 9-1-0 record in 11 starts with $8,650,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, American Pharoah was 2-0-0 in three starts with wins in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner Stakes (G1).
At the age of three, American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1). In addition, he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel Stakes (G2). He finished second in the Travers Stakes (G1).
As a stallion, American Pharoah’s first crop of runners began racing in 2019. One of his runners, Monarch of Egypt, is a colt we profiled (Hip 554) at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and he’s running Saturday in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) at Newmarket Racecourse. A bay colt by American Pharoah out of Up (IRE) by Galileo (IRE), Monarch of Egypt has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®.
A total of 35 races comprise the Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition, there are seven races on the European road to the Kentucky Derby and four races on the Japan road to Derby glory.
2019/2020 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer
1. Dennis’ Moment, 10, Dale Romans,
2. +Scabbard, 4, Eddie Kenneally
3. Lebda, 2, Claudio Gonzalez
4. Letmeno, 1, Ian Wilkes
+ = A young colt we profiled as a yearling (Hip 802) at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.