©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” takes us to Hot Springs, Arkansas, Monday, where Toewes On Ice will go to the starting gate as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the 9th running of the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
In six starts, Toewes On Ice has always finished in the money and he comes into this race with a 3-1-2 record for Hall of Fame Trainer, Bob Baffert. He’s mostly ran in stakes competition with wins in the Barrets Juvenile Stakes, Speakeasy Stakes, Bob Hope Stakes (G3) and a second-place finish to Mor Spirit in the Los Alamitos Futurity Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
TOEWS ON ICE had speed three deep then dueled outside a rival, took a short lead in the stretch, inched away from that foe, fought back inside the winner in the final furlong, could not quite match that one late but continued willingly to clearly best the others.
Toews On Ice, with strong urging from Martin Garcia, ran a mile in 1:36.98 and that time would make him competitive in the Smarty Jones. In addition, despite his low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, the Behavior Index of Toews On Ice indicates that he has the potential to be tough competitor.
Archarcharch, the sire of Toews On Ice, ran in two races as a two year old finishing second in his maiden debut at Churchill Downs and winning the six furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes at the Fair Grounds by 1¾ lengths.
As a three year old racing at Oaklawn Park, Archarcharch won both the Southwest Stakes (G3) and Arkansas Derby (G1). He finished third in the Rebel Stakes (G2) and he was fourth in the Smarty Jones Stakes. He finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
I look for Toews On Ice to run a good race.
Long shot, Knights Key (12-1), is a young colt I wrote about in my 2016 Kentucky Derby Outlook. He’s trained by Steve Hobby and he comes into this race off of a maiden win at Churchill Downs last November. Here’s the video and chart call of his win:
KNIGHTS KEY broke in a tangle to get away behind his field, made a sweeping move five wide, reeled in SCONNIE ALUMNI in the final yards.
Knights Key got off to a slow start and trailed the leaders by about 10 lengths. He made a good, sweeping move on the far turn to overtake the leaders and looked professional running down the stretch to score the win.
Knights Key is stepping way up in class and he’s yet to run in a route race. However, with A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® grade rating, Knights Key has the breeding to be competitive in this race.
Giant’s Causeway, the sire of Knights Key, was undefeated in three starts as a 2-year-old (all at 7-furlongs) – winning the Group 3 Futurity Stakes and the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre Stakes.
As a three year old, Giant’s Causeway raced 10 times and won five Group One races including the Irish Champion Stakes, International Stakes, Sussex Stakes, St. James’s Palace Stakes, Eclipse Stakes and he won the Group 3 Gladness Stakes. He also finished second in four races: Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, 2,000 Guineas Stakes, Irish 2,000 Guineas and he finished second by a narrow neck to Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Overall, Giant’s Causeway compiled a 9-4-0 record in 13 starts, winning from 7- to 10-furlongs, and he was the 2000 Cartier Racing Awards European Horse of the Year.
Knights Key appears to be ready to run. He fired a bullet work yesterday and, if he can make another big move forward, he’ll be competitive in this race.
Synchrony (9-2) is stepping up in class and he’s yet to run in a route race. However, he’s always finished in the money and he’s compiled a 2-1-0 record for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. Here’s the video and chart call:
SYNCHRONY settled in hand, shifted out five wide to be clear, made a sweeping move through the turn, came to level terms entering the stretch, poked his head in front and held UNCLE WALTER at bay through the drive.
Synchrony won by a head, defeating Uncle Walter who finished third in the LeComte Stakes (G3) at the Fair Grounds on Saturday.
Synchrony has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® grade rating and should be competitive in the stretch out to a mile.
Tapit, the sire of Synchrony, was undefeated in two starts as a 2-year-old including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3). As a 3-year-old, Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of the season but did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan returns for the mount and I look for the pair to run a good race.
Discreetness (6-1) is another colt I wrote about in my 2016 Kentucky Derby Outlook. To date, he’s compiled a 3-0-0 record in five starts for trainer William Fires, including a narrow win by a nose in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
DISCREETNESS was settled then rallied heading into the far turn, was five wide in upper stretch and was in a long drive then was up in the final stride winning on the head bob.
Discreetness raced and the back of the herd for most of the race. He began gradually moving up at the three quarter pole and took the lead in the final strides to win by a nose. His final time of 1:39.15 is slower than I like and he’ll have to pick up the pace in the Smarty Jones Stakes.
Discreetness has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® grade rating and his Behavior Index indicates he’ll be competitive.
Discreet Cat, the sire of Discreetness, was a late bloomer winning his only start as a 2-year-old in a 6-furlong sprint at Saratoga Racecourse. At the age of three, Discreet Cat was a speedy colt whose best distance was at a mile but was able to stretch out and win the 8½-furlong UAE Derby.
Jockey Jon Court returns to the irons and a recent bullet work out could have Discreetness ready to run a good race.
Gordy Florida (10-1) is a fast colt and he’s undefeated in two starts for trainer Kenny Smith. He’s yet to run in a route race, but, if he can carry his speed to a mile, he could be very tough in this race. Here’s a look at the video of his last race.
Under the points system implemented by Churchill Downs to determine which horses will qualify to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes will receive 10 points, the second-place finisher will receive 4 points, the third-place finisher will receive 2 points and the fourth-place finisher will receive one point. Here’s a look at the current top twenty Derby qualifiers:
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. Mor Spirit, 14, Bob Baffert, $246,800
5. Flexibility, 4, Chad Brown, $220,000
6. Swipe, 12, Keith Desormeaux, $597,130
7. Mo Tom, 21, Tom Amoss $188,326
8. Airoforce, 10, Mark Casse, $444,080
9. Greenpointcrusader, 10, Dominick Schettino, $300,000
10. Mohaymen, 10, Kiaran McLaughlin, $300,000
11. Cocked and Loaded, 10, Larry Rivelli, $280,840
12. Riker, 10, Nicholas Gonzalez, $182,375
13. Collected, 10, Bob Baffert, $80,000
14. Sunny Ridge, 8, Jason Servis, $355,600
15. Rated R Superstar, 6, Ken McPeek, $80,200
16. Toews On Ice, 4, Bob Baffert, $228,400
17. Vorticity, 4, James Lawrence II, $100,000
18. Tom’s Ready, 4, Dallas Stewart, $66,670
19. Kasseopia (GB), 4, Charlie Fellowes, 22,80920. Let’s Meet in Rio, 4, Bob Baffert, $20,000