©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The KNICKS GO has been tabbed as the 2-1 morning line favorite in 92ndrunning of the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). Post time is 5:56 ET. takes us this Saturday to Churchill Downs with its’ iconic Twin Spires where
Knicks Go comes into this race for trainer Ben Colebrook with a 2-1-1 record in five starts including a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
KNICKS GO hopped at the start, tracked the pace early from the three path, stayed on the three path to the lane, inched clear in the stretch but drifted out and yielded in the final stages.
Knicks Go was a prominent presence from the start but could not prevail and finished 2¼ lengths behind the victor, Game Winner.
Paynter, the sire of Knicks Go, was a graded stakes winner that compiled a 4-4-0 record in 11 starts with $1,101,924 in career earnings.
Paynter did not race until he was three years old and he compiled a 3-2-0 record in six starts with a graded-stakes win in the Haskell Invitational (G1). He finished second in The Cliff’s Edge Trial Stakes (G3) and the Belmont Stakes (G1).
As a four-year-old, Paynter was 1-2-0 in five starts with second-place finish in the San Diego Handicap (G2) and the Awesome Again Stakes (G1).
Knicks Go has an F Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®. His Behavior Index potentially makes him competitive but there are others I like better in this race.
A long shot I like is CURRENT (15-1) who comes into this race with a 2-0-1 record in four starts, all on the turf, for trainer Todd Pletcher. In his last race, he finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
CURRENT, unprepared as he had his head turned slightly at the gates, rated back off the pace, angled five wide past the quarter pole, was soundly bumped in upper stretch, regrouped but failed to make a significant impact.
Current was never a factor as he had a troubled trip and he may not have liked the yielding ground.
Curlin, the sire of Current, was an outstanding racehorse that compiled an 11-2-2 record in 16 career starts with $10,501,800 in career earnings.
Curlin did not start as a two-year-old. But, at the age of three, Curlin was 6-1-2 in nine starts with $5,102,800 in earnings including wins in the Rebel Stakes (G3) and Arkansas Derby (G2) en route to a third-place finish in the 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1). He went on to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) and he finished second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
Other important stakes wins include the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), twice, Dubai World Cup (G1), Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), Woodward Stakes (G1), and the UAE Jaguar Trophy Handicap.
In six crops as a stallion, Curlin has sired the 2013 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice and the 2016 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Exaggerator. In addition, Curlin produced the classic-placed runners Good Magic (second, 2018 Kentucky Derby), Tenfold (third, 2018 Preakness), Ride On Curlin (second, 2014 Preakness), Keen Ice (third, 2015 Belmont) and Irish War Cry (second, 2017 Belmont).
Current was a yearling (Hip 1149) we profiled at the 2017 Keeneland September sale and with an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he’s the best-bred colt in his herd. He has the breeding to be competitive and time will tell if he can step up to win his first graded stakes race on the dirt.
DUNPH (6-1) comes into this race for trainer Michael Maker undefeated in two starts with a combined win margin of 16¼ lengths including a win in the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
DUNPH pressed the pace early, shifted into the three path in the turn, took over command down the lane and drew off under a steady drive.
Dunph looked good stalking the leader until the far turn when he took the lead and pulled away to an easy 7¾-length victory.
Temple City, the sire of Dunph, was a graded stakes winner that compiled a 4-2-4 record in 15 starts.
Unraced as a two-year-old, Temple City won his only start as a three-year-old and followed that with a third-place finish in the Del Mar Handicap at the age of four.
Temple City earned graded stakes honors as a five-year-old with a win in the Cougar II Handicap (G3) and second-place finishes in both the American Handicap (G2) and the Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G1).
Dunph was a yearling (Hip 114) we profiled at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale but he was not in my blog write up of A and A+ yearlings because he has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®.
Dunph’s profile score ranks him fourth in this herd and I look for him to run a good race.
KING FOR A DAY (8-1) comes into this race off a nice maiden win at Belmont Park for trainer Todd Pletcher. Here’s the video and chart call of his race:
KING FOR A DAY broke in at the start bumping KENTUKY WILDCAT solidly into WILL DANCER, vied three to four wide early before emerging with sole albeit narrow command under pressure from COUSIN PETE to the outside, shook off that rival half a mile from home and was confronted by TACITUS to the outside through the turn, came under coaxing three furlongs out, held that rival at bay clinging to the front, swung three wide into upper stretch, edged clear under a drive kept to task.
King for a Day ruled this race leading from gate to wire, setting fast fractions, with the mile split at 1:35.08 and the final racehorse time of 1:41.66.
Uncle Mo, the sire of King for a Day, 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.
King for a Day has an E Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index makes him competitive in this race.
Regular jockey John Velazquez retains the mount and King for a Day has room to improve in his third start of the season.
Honorable Mention goes to Plus Que Parfait (20-1), Signalman (5-2) and Mick’s Star (30-1). With an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Plus Que Parfait is the second-best bred colt in this herd and one to keep an eye on.
A total of 35 prep races comprise the USA Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition, there are seven races on the European road and four races on the Japan road to Derby glory.
2018/2019 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Game Winner, 30, Bob Baffert, $1,460,000
2. Knicks Go, 18, Ben Colebrook, $654,085
3. Complexity, 10, Chad Brown, $275,000
4. Cairo Cat, 10, Ken McPeek, $86,490
5. Signalman, 8, Ken McPeek, $280,000
6. Gunmetal Gray, 4, Jerry Hollendorfer, $120,000
7. Code of Honor, 4, Shug McGaughey, $100,000
8. Tight Ten, 4, Steve Asmussen, $67,900
9. Call Paul, 2, Jason Servis, $170,000
10. Mr. Money, 2, Bret Calhoun, $100,000
11. Rowayton, 2, Jerry Hollendorfer, $96,000
12.+Standard Deviation, 2, Chad Brown, $50,000
13. Pole Sitter, 2, Brad Cox, $17,950
14. Sombeyay, 1, Todd Pletcher, $158,500
15. Tobacco Road, 1, Steve Asmussen, $52,400
16. +Aurelius Maximus, 1, Chad Brown, $30,000
17. Jefe, 1, Keith Desormeaux, $18,000
+ = Horses picked as yearlings on our 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sales list.
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Royal Marine (IRE), 10, Saeed bin Suroor, $264,968
2. Magna Grecia, 10, Aidan O’Brien
3. Mohawk (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $128,702
4. Japan, 10, Aidan O’Brien, $75,316
5. Phoenix of Spain, 4, C. Hill
6. Broome (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $140,871
7. Sydney Opera House (GB), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $40,956
8. Mount Everest (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $24,254
9. Anodor (FR), 2, Freddie Head, $99,215
10. Western Australian (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien
11. Cape of Good Hope (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $41,515
12. Power of Now (IRE), 2, Michael O’Callaghan, $11,489
13. Boitron (FR), 1, Richard Hannon, $44,917
14. Victory Command, (IRE), 1, Mark Johnston, $35,108
15. Circus Maximus (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien
16. Sovereign (IRE), 1, Aiden O’Brien, $5,106