Friday, April 6, 2018

Santa Anita Derby Racing Roundup

©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

This Saturday, from coast-to-coast, the Road to the Kentucky Derby enters the stretch drive with three marquee races on tap at New York, Kentucky and California. Winners of those races will each receive 100 qualifying points and a guaranteed spot in the Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May.
At Santa Anita Park in California, JUSTIFY has been tabbed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the 81st running of the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1). Post Time is 6:30 p.m. Live television coverage of the three races will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network from 5:30-7:30 p.m. ET.
Justify is undefeated in two starts with a combined win margin of 16 lengths for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert. He comes into this race off a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming race last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

JUSTIFY broke a step slowly, went up three deep into and on the first turn, stalked outside a rival on the backstretch, swept to the front outside the pacesetter nearing midway on the second turn, kicked clear just off the rail and drew away through the stretch in hand.

Justify tracked the leaders to the far turn where took command and pulled away to win by an easy 6½ lengths.
Scat Daddy, the sire of Justify, was a multiple graded stakes winner who compiled a 5-1-1 record in nine starts with $1,334,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Scat Daddy was 3-0-1 in five starts with wins in the Sanford Stakes (G2) and Champagne Stakes (G1), and he finished second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).
In his season debut as a 3-year-old, Scat Daddy finished third in the one mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and followed up with wins in the 9 furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) in route to a eighteenth-place finish in the Derby.
In addition to Justify, Scat Daddy’s best runners on the Derby Trail include Mendelssohn, Flameaway, Daddy Long Legs, Daddy Nose Best, El Kabeir, Frac Daddy, Azar and Dice Flavor who was my long shot pick to win the 2013 El Camino Real Derby (G3).

Justify has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and that makes him competitive in this herd. He looms as the horse to beat and I look for him to run a good race.
A long shot I like is PEPE TONO (20-1) who comes into this race with a 1-0-1 record in four starts for trainer Victor Garcia including a third-place finish to Justify last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

PEPE TONO dropped back inside then came out into the backstretch, settled off the rail, came three wide in the stretch and edged a rival for the show.

Pepe Tono ran in dead last until the final turn when he made a tremendous move to close ground and get up for third-place honors.
Bodemeister, the sire of Pepe Tono, did not race until the age of three when he made six starts for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert, compiling a 2-4-0 record in six starts with $1,304,800 in career earnings.
He raced twice in the maiden ranks before finishing second in his third start, the San Felipe Stakes (G2). In his fourth start, Baffert shipped Bodemeister to Oaklawn Park where he was my pick to win the Arkansas Derby (G1). Bodemeister trounced the field, winning by an outstanding 9½ lengths. He then went on to finish second in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
Pepe Tono was a yearling (Hip 1582) we profiled at the 2016 Keeneland September sale and with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, he’s the best-bred colt in this herd.
The switch to veteran, Hall of Fame Jockey Victor Espinoza and the stretch out in distance are two positives for Pepe Tono who has the breeding to finish in the money or, perhaps, upset at a nice price.
BOLT d’ORO (6-5) comes into the Derby for trainer Mick Ruis with a 4-0-1 record in five starts including a second-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

BOLT d’ORO pulled and stalked a bit off the rail, bid three deep leaving the second turn, took a short lead outside McKINZIE while bumping with that one into the stretch, battled outside that foe through a stiff drive, was bumped again late and continued gamely to the wire.

Bolt d’Oro dueled with McKinzie in an exciting stretch drive and narrowly lost by a neck. However, McKinzie was scratched for interference and placed second while Bolt d’Oro was moved up to first.
Medaglia d’Oro, the sire of Bolt d’Oro, was a good middle-distance runner that compiled an 8-7-0 record in 17 starts with $5,754,720 in career earnings. Overall, he had seven wins and five second-place finishes in 14 route races.
Medaglia d’Oro finished second in his only start as a two-year-old but as a three year old he won the San Felipe Stakes (G2) and finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to the 2002 Derby where he finished in fourth place.
In the Preakness Stakes (G1), Medaglia d’Oro finished eighth but rebounded from that run to finish second in the Belmont Stakes (G1). He went on to complete his racing season as a three-year-old with wins in the nine-furlong Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and the 10-furlong Travers Stakes (G1).
As a four-year-old, Medaglia d’Oro won the nine-furlong Strub Stakes (G2), Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Whitney Handicap (G1). In addition, he finished second in the 10-furlong Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
At the age of five, Medaglia d’Oro won the nine-furlong Donn Handicap (G1) and finished second in the 10-furlong Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (G1
Bolt d’Oro has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and his Behavior Index makes him competitive in this race. He’s been training good and a recent bullet work out could have him ready to run a good race in his second start of the season.
Honorable mention goes to Instilled Regard (5-1) and Orbit Rain (50-1). Orbit Rain was a yearling (Hip 421) we profiled at the 2016 Keeneland September sale but I did not mention him in my blog because he has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®. The only yearlings I mentioned had an A or A+ profile.


Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

1. Audible, 110, Todd Pletcher, $803,520
2. Noble Indy, 110, Todd Pletcher, $640,000
3. Mendelssohn, 100, Aidan O’Brien, $1,947,299
4. Bolt d’Oro, 64, Mick Ruis, $780,000
5. Enticed, 63, Kiaran McLaughlin, $360,880
6. Bravazo, 54, D. Wayne Lukas, $349,913
7. Promises Fulfilled, 52, Dale Romans, $256,480
8. Magnum Moon, 50, Todd Pletcher $$540,000
9. Runaway Ghost, 50, $520,310
10. Quip, 50, Rodolphe Brisset, $212,000
11. Lone Sailor, 42, Tom Amoss, $273,347
12. f-Rayya, 40, Doug Watson, $600,000
13. Hofburg, 40, Bill Mott, $192,000
14. +Good Magic, 34, Chad Brown, $1,200,000
15. +Solomini, 34, Bob Baffert, $616,000
16. My Boy Jack, 32, Keith Desormeaux, $502,000
17. Flameaway, 30, Mark Casse, $472,260
18. Firenze Fire, 29, Jason Servis, $582,500
19. +Free Drop Billy, 24, Dale Romans, $497,200
European Road Qualifier
20. Gronkowski, 50, Jeremy Noseda, $79,496
+ = Horses we picked as yearlings at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Good Magic = Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Male. McKinzie is off the Derby trail with and injury.

Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

1. *GRONKOWSKI, 50, Jeremy Noseda, $79,496
2. *MENDELSSOHN, 20, Aidan O’Brien, $1,947,299
3. Saxon Warrior (JPN), 20, Aidan O’Brien, $245,017
4. Roaring Lion (USA), 14, John Gosden, $136,807
5. Iconic Sunset (GB), 12, James Tate, $30,139
6. f-Happily (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $543,648
7. *THREEANDFOURPENCE, 8, Aiden O’Brien, $54,076
8. Court House (IRE), 8, John Gosden, $0
9. Dark Acclaim, 6, Marco Botti, $21,854
10. *SEAHENGE, 4, Aiden O’Brien, $145,630
11. Olmedo (FR), 4, Jean-Claude Rouget, $113,505
12. Nelson (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $99,826
13. Delano Roosevelt (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $38,074
14. Fortune’s Pearl (IRE), 4, Andrew Balding, $1,800
15. Purser, 3, John Gosden, $19,215
16. Masar (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $101,264
17. The Pentagon (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $71.981
18. Mildenberger (ENG), 2, Mark Johnston, $64,634
20. Warm the Voice (IRE), 2, Brendan Duke, $12,904
          *Mendelssohn, Gronkowski, Threeandfourpence and Seahenge are only horses nominated for Triple Crown. Here’s the video of Mendelssohn’s win in the Patton Stakes. Here’s the video of Gronkowski’s win in the Conditions Stakes.

Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

1. Sumahama (JPN), 30, Ryo Takahashi, $291,287
2. *RUGGERO (JPN), 16, Yuichi Shikato, $220,861
3. Taiki Ferveur, 12, Mitsunori Makiura, $299,689
4. Le Vent Se Leve (JPN), 10, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $463,935
5. Don Fortis (JPN), 4, Mitsunori Makiura, $436,916
6. Mic Ben Hur (JPN), 4, Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, $122,696
7. Great Time (JPN), 3, Hideaki Fujiwara, $186,586
8. Haseno Pyro (JPN), 2, Kenki Sato, $263,981
9. Meiner Yukitsubaki (JPN) 2, Noboru Takagi, $151,796
10. Dark Repulser (JPN), 1, Takashi Kanari, $200,920
11. Bronze Kay (JPN), 1, Koichi Tsunoda, $75,979
*Ruggero is the only horse nominated for Triple Crown. Here’s the video of his last race, Hyacinth Stakes.

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