Saturday, January 7, 2012

Count Fleet Racing Roundup

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has high Kentucky Derby hopes for several 3-year-old thoroughbreds in his stable including Alpha, a young colt he’ll send to the starting gate today as the 4-5 morning line favorite in the 37th running of the $150,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“We do think about the future with Alpha, and hope he’s a Derby-type horse,” said McLaughlin in an Aqueduct Racetrack news release. “He’s a nice horse.”

I also think that Alpha may have a lot of potential and noted that in my Champagne Stakes Racing Roundup. He lived up to my expectations finishing a respectable second to the speedy Union Rags.

However, his fractious behavior in the starting gate of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) indicates he may have some emotional conformation issues and it gave me cause to take a wait and see approach.

I really like the pedigree of Alpha but I’ve seen several horses with nice pedigrees fail to live up to their breeding. If Alpha lives up to his breeding, he should win the Count Fleet with ease.

A bullet work out on January 2 indicates that Alpha could be ready to run a good race. Only time will tell.

Stephanoatsee (6-1) cuts back in distance from his last outing in the 9-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2) where he finished seventh but was only beaten by 4¼-lengths. Stephanoatsee is a half-brother to Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Shackleford and the cutback should make him more competitive as he previously has a second and first-place finish in two 8-furlong races at Laurel Park.

His Brisnet Speed Figures for his two races at Laurel Park make him competitive with this group and three nice work outs since his last race, including a bullet work on December 24, could have him ready to run a good race.

Speightscity (8-1) and Shkespeare Shaliyah (10-1) are two longshots that could also be competitive in the Count Fleet.

Speightscity won his last race traveling the same route of ground at Aqueduct and a bullet work out on December 29 may also have him primed for a good race.

Shkspeare Shaliyah was most likely outclassed in his last race where he finished ninth in the 8-furlong Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G1). But he has a third-place finish and two wins at 8½-furlongs, including the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes, and he should be closing fast at the end to hit the board or maybe win at a nice price.


  1. Good analysis Mr. Carter. I will add that I love Speightscity at a price here, while a friend of mine has "guaranteed" me that Shkspeare Shaliyah will emerge with the victory. With that said, that will be my exacta at what should be a nice pay-off if true! I will add, a friend has Bourbonstreetgirl going in the Busanda Stakes, be very sweet to see a Contessa/Cohen daily double of Bourbonstreetgirl and Speightscity! Safe races for all today at a sunny and warm Aqueduct...

  2. Greg Jones,

    Thanks for the compliment and for following the blog.

  3. Calvin , that isn't what the little backstabber told me . Looking forward to reading your book champ.

  4. Anonymous,

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to the day it's printed too.

  5. Calvin,
    Do you know what's up with Battle Force? He does not have a published workout since the Generous Stakes at Hol. Is he still on TC trail?

  6. Icdrball,

    No, I haven’t heard any word about Battle Force. One never knows how these young colts will fare from their juvenile to sophomore season. His last race was on November 27 and there have been no work outs since.

    He could have had a setback but I’d like to think that trainer John Sherriffs gave Battle Force a couple of months off to get refreshed and just “be a horse.”

    I like that because it is so important for these young colts to have the appropriate balance between work and play in order to develop the proper physical and mental health so necessary to be successful on the Triple Crown Trail.

    Barring any unforeseen setback that we don’t know about, I would expect to see Battle Force back in training in the next couple of weeks – at least, here’s hoping.

    Only time will tell.

    Thanks for following my blog.