Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day @ Keeneland/Wood Memorial(G1)/Santa Anita Derby(G1)

This past weekend in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of experiencing history and watching the University of Kentucky Wildcats bring their 8th National Championship back to Lexington. In between games, on Sunday I hopped on I-10 and made the short trip over to the Fair Grounds Race Course to witness a different type of history. Hero of Order at 99/1 + odds decided to play spoiler on April Fools of all days, to take down the $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby. It was a surreal weekend to say the least and was well worth the trip. 

Back in Lexington, still riding high from the Cats first title in 14 years, what better to keep that high going than opening day of Keeneland. That's right it's Easter Weekend and the most prestigious track in the country opens tomorrow for racing. If you have never been to Keeneland, then you have no idea the aura this track has. It is one of those things in life that you just have to experience for yourself. Keeneland has many graded stakes races lined up, but the most anticipated race this Spring meet has to be the Blue Grass Stakes(G1). Hansen is making his next race on the synthetic surface and this will mark the first time since 1997 and Street Sense that the two-year-old champ ran in this race.

We are now less than one month away from that first Saturday in May and the three-year-olds are preparing for their final prep race before the Kentucky Derby. This weekend is locked and loaded with prep races all over the country. 

Out on the West Coast at Santa Anita Park is the 1 1/8 mile, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Creative Cause looks to continue his West Coast dominance in his last prep before making the trip to Louisville. This is a big race for I'll have Another, who is coming off a win in the Robert B. Lewis(G2). Currently sitting on the outside looking in on the 2012 Graded Earnings List, he needs to hit the board to guarantee a spot in the Derby. 

The East Coast's big prep race is the 1 1/8 mile, $1,000,000 Wood Memorial(G1) held at Aqueduct. Surprisingly, not one of the horses in this field of eight is currently in the top 20 in graded earnings. Although, Alpha, My Adonis and Gemologist are just outside, a finish in the money certainly would help their chances.

Also running is the 1 1/8 mile, $500,000 Illinois Derby(G3). This race is wide open as another horse looks to make the needed earnings. 

Santa Anita Derby(G1)
4/7 Santa Anita Park @  2:30 PST

Creative Cause 6-5
Considered the best out on the West Coast and could be one of the top three-year-olds in 2012. Just has to go out and prove it at 1 1/8 mile. 

Liaison 8-1
Cashball Futurity winner looks to regain last years form. Although he has yet to hit the board as a three-year-old, the distance may be what he needs. 

Midnight Transfer 10-1
Finished a competitive third to Creative Cause here at Santa Anita in the San Felipe(G2) last month. Looks like he might have more in the tank to go the distance.

I'll Have Another 5-2
Won the Robert B. Lewis(G2) on this track back in February.

EX/TRI BX: 1,2,8,4

Wood Memorial(G1)
4/7 Aqueduct @ 5:15 EST

Gemologist 8-5 
Undefeated in 4 life time starts. 

Alpha 5-2
2 for 2 as a three-year-old, not to mention both races were at Aqueduct. 

Street Life 4-1
Coming off back to back allowance wins over this track. 

My Adonis 8-1
Finished second to Hansen over this track in the Gotham(G3) last month. 

EX/TRI BX: 6,1,5,3

*Secret Circle padded his graded earnings by taking the Rebel Stakes(G2). Najjaar and Sabercat did not finish in the money. 

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