©2015 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
In addition to the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack, the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will also take us this Saturday to the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs where Airoforce will go to the starting gate as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in what appears to be a wide-open, 89th running of the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). Post time is 5:35 p.m. ET.
Airoforce comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in three starts, all on the turf, for trainer Mark Casse, including a win in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) and a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Here’s a look at the video and chart call of his last race:
AIROFORCE, in close entering the first turn, rated between rivals past the half mile marker, angled out progressing in mid-stretch, rallied between runners to be on near even terms in deep stretch and kept on gamely.
There are several horses that could vie for first place honors in this race and it remains to be seen if Airoforce can score the win. However, his breeding indicates that 8½ furlongs is well within his range of competitiveness.
Colonel John, the sire of Airoforce, was a very competitive colt that compiled a 2-2-0 record in four starts as a two year old including a first-place finish in the Real Quiet Stakes and a second-place finish in the CashCall Futurity Stakes (G1), both at 8½ furlongs.
As a three year old, Colonel John won the Sham Stakes (G3) and Santa Anita Derby (G1), both at nine furlongs, in route to a sixth-place finish in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. He later went on to win the 10 furlong Travers Stakes and closed his three-year-old season with a 3-0-1 record in seven starts.
Regular jockey Julien Leparoux has ridden Airoforce in all three of his previous starts and I look for them to run another good race in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).
Mor Spirit (7-2) ships in from California for trainer Bob Baffert and he comes into this race with 1-1-0 record in two starts. Here’s the video and chart call of his maiden win:
MOR SPIRIT stalked the pace off the rail, bid three deep into the second turn and alongside the runner-up leaving that turn, took the lead nearing mid-stretch, inched away approaching the sixteenth pole and won clear under a moderate hand ride.
Mor Spirit ran comfortably in third until the three eighths pole, then gradually moved up to take the lead and cantered home to win by an impressive 4¼ lengths. Despite his stalking trip, Mor Spirit appeared to be in control throughout the race and the ease of his win suggests that he may be very competitive in this race.
Eskendereya, the sire of Mor Spirit, was my 2010 Kentucky Derby favorite until an injury took him off the trail. During his career, Eskendereya compiled a 4-1-0 record in six starts which culminated in a 9¾ length win in the 2010 Wood Memorial Stakes (G1).
Other key stakes wins included the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and the Pilgrim Stakes.
Mo Tom (8-1) has compiled a 2-0-1 record in three starts and he comes into this race off of a one length win in the one mile Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 1. Here’s a look at the video and chart call of that race:
MO TOM was unhurried early, fanned into the seven path in the turn, rallied into the lane, took over command in the stretch, drew clear and held sway in the final stages.
The finish time of 1:36.78 is what I like to see in a young colt on the Derby Trail and his breeding indicates that he could be competitive in this race.
Uncle Mo, the sire of Mo Tom, was undefeated in three starts as a two year old with wins in the Champagne Stakes (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and he was picked as the 2010 Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Colt.
As a three year old, Uncle Mo won the Timely Writer Stakes and finished third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1). The Friday before the Kentucky Derby, Uncle Mo was scratched from the race with a mysterious ailment which was later diagnosed as a liver disease called cholangiohepatitis.
Jockey Corey Lanerie returns to the irons and another move forward will make Mo Tom competitive in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).
Other horses that could, perhaps, be competitive include Gun Runner (8-1), Perfect Saint (30-1) and Annual Report (5-1).
Under the tiered-point system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine Kentucky Derby eligibility the winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) will receive 10 points while the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and 1 point will be awarded to the fourth-place finisher.
2015/2016 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Rank, Horse, Points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Nyquist, 30, Doug O’Neill, $1,580,000
2. Exaggerator, 16, Keith Desormeaux, $940,000
3. Brody’s Cause, 14, Dale Romans, $500,000
4. Swipe, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $597,130
5. Greenpointcrusader, 10, Dominick Schettino, $300,000
6. Cocked and Loaded, 10. Larry Rivelli, $280,840
7. Riker, 10, Nicholas Gonzalez, $182,375
8. Sunny Ridge, 8, Jason Servis, $355,600
9. R Rated Superstar, 6, Ken McPeek, $78,200
10. Kasseopia (GB), 4, Charlie Fellowes, 22,809
11. Harlan Punch, 2, Tom Amoss, $138,000
12. Hollywood Don, 2, Peter Miller, $96,000
13. Portfolio Manager, 2, Chad Brown, $50,000
14. Tizarunner, 2, Mark Casse, $44,948
15. Unbridled Outlaw, 2, Dale Romans, $14,100
16. Found Money, 1, Doug O’Neill, $129,000
17. Van Damme, 1, Robert Gorham, $31,290
18. Sail Ahoy, 1, Claude “Shug” McGaughey, $25,000
18. Stickstatelydude, 1, Greg Burchell, $25,000
20. Rare Candy, 1, David Hofmans, $24,000
21. Conquest Windycity, 1, Mark Casse, $7,050