Thursday, February 23, 2012

Risen Star(G2)/Fountain of Youth(G2)

                                                                         Fair Grounds                                                                                     

The 2012 Derby Trail makes its way through Louisiana and Florida this weekend. The first stop is the $300,000 Risen Star(G2) this Saturday at Fair Grounds. There is a field of 11 in this race and while none are currently in the top 20 in graded stakes earnings, that will change with a win in the Risen Star. All eyes will be on El Padrino, who is coming off an impressive win in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park over fellow Derby contender, Take Charge Indy. His competition looks to be the top three finishers(Mr. Bowling, Z Dager and Shared Property) in last months Lecomte(G3).

                                                                             Gulf Stream

The next stop is the $400,000 Fountain of Youth(G2) at Gulfstream Park this Sunday. This is the race where Union Rags makes his three-year-old debut. He will be going up against a field of 8 and will be squaring off with the up and coming Algorithms. Algorithms already spoiled Hansen's three-year-old debut last month in the Holy Bull(G3) and looks to play spoiler again.

Both stakes races are going 1 1/16 mile and are preps for the Louisiana Derby and Florida Derby coming up in five weeks. Many of these horses are looking to add to their graded stakes earnings, while others are looking for a shot to burst on to the Derby scene and into the top 20. It is going to be an exciting weekend as the Risen Star and Fountain of Youth will start to separate the contenders from the pretenders on the 2012 Kentucky Derby Trail.

Risen Star(G2)
2/25 Fair Grounds @ 5:55 EST

8) El Padrino 2-1
One of Pletcher's many Derby horses who is considered one of his top 2. Already has a third place finish in last year's Remsen(G2) and an impressive allowance win in his three-year-old debut. He will be the horse to beat on Saturday.

10) Shared Property 6-1
This horse came out of the gate strong as a two-year-old but had a disappointing showing in the Breeders' Futurity(G1) at Keeneland last year. Finished third in his three-year-old debut in the Lecomte(G3).

4) Z Dager 5-1
Finished Second in the Lecomte(G3).

Fountain of Youth(G2)
2/26 Gulfstream Park @ 5:13 EST

7) Union Rags 2-1
Making his three-year-old debut. Only loss came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to the two-year-old champion Hansen. Will be the horse to beat on Sunday.

2) Algorithms 8-5
Currently considered Pletcher's top horse. Already has taken down Hansen and looks to give Union Rags a run for his money. First time around two-turns is the only question mark heading into the race.

5) Discreet Dancer 3-1
Another one of Pletcher's up and coming three-year-olds. Stepping up in class and running in his first graded stakes race. A lot of promise but will have to prove himself against top competition.

*Picks failed in the Robert B. Lewis(G3) as Rousing Sermon was the only horse to finish in the money(show). Liasion did not have a good trip and threw his rider coming down the stretch. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Derby Trail Heating Up


Last week Hansen had a disappointing three-year-old debut in the Holy Bull, even if he did hold on to finish second. He will have a chance to redeem himself most likely in the Fountain of Youth Stakes later this month at Gulfstream Park. Everyone will be waiting to see how he comes back from his stumble at the start and the sloppy track. Algorithms is the horse that upset Hansen and looked very good doing so. He was already on the radar but has now shot up the charts as one of the top three-year-olds to watch after winning his first graded stakes race.

The first weekend in February brings us 3 races on the derby trail. Tampa Bay Downs is host to the G3 Frank F. Davis Stakes where another three-year-old looks to emerge on the derby scene. Aqueduct will host the G3 Withers Stakes, where Alpha is the heavy favorite at 1-1 in the ML odds. On the west coast, Santa Anita will have the 1 1/16 mile, G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. This is the highlight race of the weekend as Liaison and Rousing Sermon meet up again to duke it out after finishing 1-2 in the G1 Cash Ball Futurity back in December.

Robert B. Lewis (G2)
2/4 Santa Anita @ 6:05 EST

6) Rousing Sermon 5-2
Closing strong down the stretch last race, just ran out of distance to catch Liaison.

2) Liaison 9-5
One to beat after victory in the Cash Ball Futurity.

4) Sky Kingdom 6-1
Another Baffert horse looks to improve off a 4th place finish in the Cash Ball.

1) Isn't He Clever 6-1
Has hit the board in all 4 of his races but has yet to run past 7f. Son of Smarty Jones sure to be a crowd favorite if he can prove he belongs.

*Hit the Exacta in the Holy Bull with Algorithms and Hansen.