Page 1


2

CONTENTS 2017 46

4

From The Publisher

6

Countdown History

Comprehensive profiles of every significant race this TC season.

9

Beat the Host Preview

112

12

Juvenile Stakes Results ‘16

Road to the Crown 2017

Notebook

Quick hits on developing stories for the Triple Crown trail.

14

Top 100 BRIS Speed Ratings of 2016 Juveniles

20

Most Classic Contender

Classic Empire has all the tools and profile to continue the run of favorites on Derby Day.

24

Countdown’s Preseason Top 20 Rankings for 2017

26

The Big List – ‘17 Hopefuls

42

Famous Families 2017

Which horses bring the royal gene pools to the paddock? Find out!

45

Complete 2017 Triple Crown Prep Season Schedule

Mark your calendars – Preakness Day is set for May 20, 2017!


PURCHASE YOUR

TICKETS TODAY! CALL 877-206-8042

Preakness.com

@PreaknessStakes

/Preakness


4

From the Publisher In an era of dwindling traditional media and paywall pricing in some spots, it’s my distinct pleasure to provide a 12th FREE season of Countdown to the Crown to all of my fellow horseplayers and fans of the trail. For the fourth time, we so proudly present the Countdown to the Crown Preseason Annual. Over the next 100+ pages, you’ll find the most detailed information not only about WHO might win this year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, but also HOW they might win it. We mix information about this year’s contender crop with the historical background on how past prep and Triple Crown race winners have succeeded. Each week on the trail, you’ll find yourself wanting to come back to see just how to handicap races like the Rebel, Florida Derby and more. That’s why our first three editions have accrued more than 450,000 reads to date. Keep on coming back! And be sure to support our partners who make it free for you – Oaklawn, Preakness & Xpressbet!

Countdown to the Crown Preseason Annual / Horse Player NOW Magazine Copyright 2017 Horse Player NOW All Rights Reseved

Editor, Publisher, Designer Jeremy Plonk Contributing Researchers Brian Nadeau Ed DeRosa (BRIS) Photography Credits

Photos By Z / Keeneland Coady Photography / Churchill Downs, Oaklawn Park, Sunland Park, Delta Downs Hodges Photos / Fair Grounds Adam Coglianese / NYRA Bob Coglianese / Gulfstream Park Benoit Photos / Santa Anita, Del Mar, Los Al Jim McCue / Maryland Jockey Club SV Photography / Tampa Bay Downs Vassar Photography / Golden Gate Fields


6

12 season begins for Countdown to the Crown th

By Jeremy Plonk

If you’re only as good as your last race, we’ll smile into 2017 with a satisfaction that comes with tabbing 16-1 Belmont Stakes upsetter Creator in our series finale for 2016. It may not have had the same pomp and circumstance as American Pharoah and a Triple Crown victory the year prior, but who can scoff at cashing longshot winners in this gig? Creator’s victory also signalled a turn in fortunes for the 3YOs of 2016. The results much of the season saw proven horses deliver as expected, including favorites running 1-2-3-4 in order in the Kentucky Derby. Before long, the Nyquists and Exaggerators were giving way to the Connects and Arrogates. And now we turn to ’17. The discovery of something new, finding the next big thing or simply

putting what we’ve seen among the Triple Crown prospects into a sensible context long has been my desired goal. And for each feeling of mission accomplished, a new week comes along and we get to hit the reset button and do it all over again. That ability to spawn new enthusiasm is what makes the leadup to the Triple Crown so special. You don’t get that same feeling moving from $5,000 claimers to $5,000 claimers.

Countdown to the Crown is

detailed, and I make no apologies for that. Those who’ve followed the decade-long series have read more than 1 million words about the top prospects. Handicapping horse


7

races is an intellectual exercise, and the drive-by society not interested in putting in the effort won’t ever be turned on to it. It’s never been my desire to make things watered down so more folks might stumble into a short-term interest.

Countdown runs from the first

Countdown is written for serious

Countdown is a week-long exercise

horseplayers and followers of the game’s true regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl. It’s the one time of year where things are defined, goals are common and we can envision players and schedules with a championship sense.

This marks the fourth year that I’ve taken full control of the direction and distribution of Countdown to the Crown. I’ve bounced Countdown around on various websites since its debut in 2006. Each time, the decision was mine when to move, and for strategic reasons; first and foremost: where I thought it could best benefit you, the reader and bettor.    

Horseplayerdaily.com (2006-‘07) ESPN.com (2008-‘11) DRF.com (2012-‘13) Countdowntothecrown.com (2014-present)

Friday in January through the Belmont Stakes, 22 weeks per year on average. Three years ago, we added coverage of Canada’s Queen’s Plate trail and main event. This expanded the series into the first weekend in July.

that begins each Monday with a review of the charts, videos and coverage of the previous week’s 3year-old races. Also each Monday, I set out the weekly calendar and plot each and every 3-year-old maiden special weight, allowance and stakes race on my weekly worksheets that soon start to look like a Chinese takeout menu. By the end of the day on Tuesday, I’ve written all the race reviews and recaps and put half of the scouting report to bed. With Wednesday’s entries for Saturday released, my work begins in handicapping each of the races for not only prospects, but also potential plays. We don’t put this kind of effort in just for verbage.

By Thursday night, my handicapping is complete; and on Friday each week I put the finishing touches in with my updated Top 20 before the official release. – JP


BET ANY RACE FROM ANY PLACE

$

Free to Use Live Odds Deposit Money Withdraw Money Stream Video View Results

Whether you’re sitting on your couch or at the track, never wait in line or miss a bet with Xpressbet Mobile.

/mobile


Hit Us With Your Best Shot! By Jeremy Plonk

Who wants to go eight rounds with the heavyweights? Xpressbet’s Beat the Host returns Jan. 7 online and gives you just the opportunity you crave – and a heap of cash if you can punch ‘em out! For the third straight year, I’ll open the Beat the Host season as the target of horseplayers worldwide. Out-handicap me and earn your share of $2,500 in weekly prizes and be eligible for the grand prizes. All you have to do is out-earn the weekly host in eight $5 win wagers posted to your Xpressbet.com account. The host picks the races; you get to make the last call as host picks are posted by 5 pm each Friday. The weekly mandatory races are a split of events from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, typically 4 each or a 3-5 division some weeks.

9

Here is the 2017 Beat the Host schedule of hosts:

Plonk

Nadeau

White

Siegel

Byk

Ball

Quigley

Olcyzk

Jan 7 Jan 14 Jan 21 Jan 28 Feb 4 Feb 11 Feb 18 Feb 25

Jeremy Plonk Brian Nadeau Jon White Jeff Siegel Steve Byk Millie Ball Tom Quigley Eddie Olcyzk

HP NOW HP NOW SA XBTV SiriusXM XBTV SA NBC Sports

Tips For Beating the Pros The public has a big advantage in that the hosts’ picks are published in advance and you can play off of those and counter the hosts’ moves. For instance, if the host picks a likely $3 horse that’s a heavy favorite, you can swing for something big in that race and feel as though the worst you can do is


10

fall $3 behind. When we take a big price swing, you can feel more comfortable playing a favorite and taking the incremental edge moving ahead. Zig when we zag. Prizes: Qualifying Round Weekly prizes awarded to top 3 finishers based on total mutuel payoffs on the $5 win wagers: • • • •

1st - $1,500 2nd - $750 3rd - $250 Also any player that Beats the Host qualifies for the Beat the Host Championship Round.

The $5,000 Sweep the Host Bonus is awarded to any single player who exceeds the host’s cumulative mutuel total in each of all eight weeks of the Qualifying Round. •

If no player wins the Bonus, a $2,000 consolation prize will be awarded to the player who is the last to lose to the host in weekly competition. Players can win multiple weekly prizes.

Prizes: Championship Round Cash prizes awarded to top 10 finishers based on total mutuel payoffs: • • • • • •

1st - $5,000 2nd - $4,000 3rd - $3,000 4th - $1,000 5th - 10th - $500 Top thirty (30) finishers in the Championship Round based on cumulative mutuel payoffs earn complimentary seats to the $100,000 Xpressbet Showdown Tournament ($300 value each).


 Our expert horses-to-watch, fullcard picks, multi-race suggested wagers, stakes picks and more!  TRUSTED since 2008.  Offered exclusively on big-event days in 2017.  Purchase individually or save more than 70% by subscription!  Put 8 handicappers on your team!

Only $125 for all 25 big-event days! $15-25 individual purchase price.


12

2016 GRADED JUVENILE STAKES RESULTS (COLTS/GELDINGS – NORTH AMERICA) Date Track Stakes G Dist Winner Jockey 2-Jul CD Bashford Manor III 6f Dirt CLASSIC EMPIRE J. Leparoux 23-Jul Sar Sanford III 6f Dirt BITUMEN J. Castellano 13-Aug Dmr Best Pal II 6.5f Dirt KLIMT R. Bejarano 14-Aug Sar Saratoga Special II 6.5f Dirt GUNNEVERA J. Castellano 31-Aug Sar With Anticipation II 8.5f Turf MADE YOU LOOK J. Castellano 5-Sep Dmr Del Mar Futurity I 7f Dirt KLIMT R. Bejarano 5-Sep Sar Hopeful I 7f Dirt PRACTICAL JOKE J. Ortiz 10-Sep AP Arl-Wash Futurity III 7f AW WELLABLED E. Baird 17-Sep CD Iroquois III 8.5f Dirt NOT THIS TIME R. Albarado 18-Sep WO Summer II 8f Turf GOOD SAMARITAN J. Rosario 1-Oct Bel Pilgrim III 8.5f Turf OSCAR PERFORMANCE J. Ortiz 1-Oct SA FrontRunner I 8.5f Dirt GORMLEY V. Espinoza 8-Oct Bel Champagne I 8f Dirt PRACTICAL JOKE J. Rosario 8-Oct Kee Breeders' Futurity I 8.5f Dirt CLASSIC EMPIRE J. Leparoux 9-Oct Kee Bourbon III 8.5f Turf KEEP QUIET F. Geroux 9-Oct WO Grey III 8.5f AW GOLDEN HAWK P. Husbands 15-Oct Bel Futurity III 6f Dirt THEORY J. Castellano 4-Nov SA BC Juvenile Turf I 8f Turf OSCAR PERFORMANCE J. Ortiz 5-Nov SA BC Juvenile I 8.5f Dirt CLASSIC EMPIRE J. Leparoux 19-Nov DeD Delta Downs Jackpot III 8.5f Dirt GUNNEVERA J. Castellano 19-Nov Dmr Bob Hope III 7f Dirt BOB HOPE STAKES M. Smith 26-Nov Aqu Remsen II 9f Dirt MO TOWN J. Velazquez 26-Nov CD Ky Jockey Club II 8.5f Dirt McCRAKEN B. Hernandez 27-Nov Dmr Cecil B. DeMille III 8f Dirt ** TERM OF ART J. Talamo 10-Dec Lrc Los Alamitos Futurity I 8.5f Dirt MASTERY M. Smith **-Scheduled turf, but taken off and contested on dirt.

Trainer M. Casse E. Kenneally B. Baffert A. Sano T. Pletcher B. Baffert C. Brown L. Rivelli D. Romans W. Mott B. Lynch J. Shirreffs C. Brown M. Casse M. Casse M. Casse T. Pletcher B. Lynch M. Casse A. Sano B. Baffert A. Dutrow I. Wilkes D. O'Neill B. Baffert


14

TOP 100 JUVENILE SPEED RATINGS OF 2016 Horse Rating Trainer Bavaro 111 Gary Sciacca Classic Empire 108 Mark E. Casse Three Rules 107 Jose Pinchin Not This Time 107 Dale L. Romans Chasing Aces 105 Peter Miller Gold for the King 104 Charlton Baker Klimt 103 Bob Baffert Sonic Mule 103 Todd A. Pletcher Ms Locust Point (f) 102 John C. Servis Speedmeister 102 Mark E. Casse Three Rules 102 Jose Pinchin El Areeb 102 Cathal A. Lynch Mo Town 101 Anthony W. Dutrow Field Trip 101 Henry Collazo Fact Finding 101 Todd A. Pletcher Irish War Cry 100 H. Graham Motion Battalion Runner 100 Todd A. Pletcher Jamyson 'n Ginger (f) 100 Rudy R. Rodriguez Bode's Dream (f) 100 Todd A. Pletcher O Dionysus 100 Gary Capuano Talk Logistics 100 Edward Plesa, Jr. Irish War Cry 99 H. Graham Motion Shane's Girlfriend (f) 99 Doug F. O'Neill Mastery 99 Bob Baffert Takaful 99 Kiaran P. McLaughlin Straight Fire 99 J. Keith Desormeaux Lady Aurelia (f) 99 Wesley A. Ward Syndergaard 99 Todd A. Pletcher Unique Bella (f) 99 Jerry Hollendorfer California Diamond 98 Peter Miller Mastery 98 Bob Baffert Vertical Oak (f) 98 Steven M. Asmussen

Track AQU SA GP SA DMR AQU DMR GP LRL KEE GP LRL AQU GP GP LRL GP BEL GP LRL GP LRL DED LRC BEL DMR KEE SAR DMR LRC SA SAR

Date Distance 12/17 6 11/5 8.5 8/6 6 11/5 8.5 7/17 5 12/17 6 9/5 7 12/10 6 12/31 7 10/9 7 10/1 8.5 11/19 6 11/26 9 12/10 6 12/10 8 12/31 7 12/31 7 10/9 8 12/10 6 12/31 7 12/10 6 11/11 6 11/19 8 12/10 8.5 10/29 6.5 8/6 6.5 4/21 4.5 8/26 6.5 11/26 6.5 9/18 6.5 10/22 6 8/21 6


15

TOP 100 JUVENILE SPEED RATINGS OF 2016 Tapwrit White Gold (f) No Dozing Oscar Performance Ma's Miracle Run (f) Practical Joke Holiday Stone Gormley Bling On the Music (f) Go She's Italian (f) Blame Will Straight Fire Practical Joke Syndergaard Always Dreaming Sweeping Paddy (f) Greatbullsoffire Running Mate Liz's Cable Girl (f) Running Mate Lemonist Favorable Outcome Klimt Wildcat Kate (f) Master Plan Good Samaritan La Cat Warrior Cool Arrow Draft Beer Sheer Flattery La Vitesse (f) Big Score Lancaster Bomber

98 98 98 98 98 98 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 97 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96

Todd A. Pletcher Dane Kobiskie Arnaud Delacour Brian A. Lynch Lyle W. Magnuson Chad C. Brown George Weaver John A. Shirreffs J. R. Caldwell Lyle W. Magnuson D. Wayne Lukas J. Keith Desormeaux Chad C. Brown Todd A. Pletcher Dominick A. Schettino Dale L. Romans Hamilton A. Smith J. Larry Jones Patrick B. McBurney J. Larry Jones Todd A. Pletcher Chad C. Brown Bob Baffert Kathleen O'Connell Todd A. Pletcher William I. Mott Gary P. Gullo Joe Sharp Dane Kobiskie Jerry Hollendorfer Scott A. Lake Tim Yakteen Aidan P. O'Brien

GP GP AQU SA LBG SA GP SA ARP LBG SAR DMR BEL BEL SAR KD LRL DEL PRX FG GP SAR DMR GP GP SA BEL LRL GP SA PRX SA SA

12/10 5/6 11/26 11/4 7/3 11/5 12/17 10/1 8/14 7/3 8/20 9/5 10/8 10/8 8/20 9/10 12/10 10/5 11/28 11/25 12/17 8/20 8/13 12/10 12/10 11/4 10/23 7/15 5/26 12/31 11/7 10/10 11/4

8 4.5 9 8-T 3 8.5 8-T 8.5 6 3 6 7 8 8 6 8-T 7 6 5.5 6 8-T 6 6.5 6 8 8-T 6 5 4.5 8.5 6 8-T 8-T


es Total Stak Purses n $2.2 Millio

2017 Winter/Spring Meet January 1 - May 7 Racing Friday - Sunday

with Holiday Exceptions


17

TOP 100 JUVENILE SPEED RATINGS OF 2016 Iliad Blessed Halo Stretch's Stone Grumpelstiltskin Amapola (f) Gunnevera Star Super (f) Crosscheck Carlos Honor and Courage La Coronel (f) Midnight Pleasure Wait Uncontested Curtis Warrior's Club Good Samaritan Recruiting Ready Not This Time Gold for the King Ruby Trust (f) Bitumen O Dionysus Mr. Al's Gal (f) Miggsy Random Walk Fillet of Sole Takaful Straight Fire Royal'd Bode's Dream (f) Warrior's Club Abel Tasman (f) Proforma

96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 96 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95

Bob Baffert Juan Rodriguez Bruce N. Levine Gary Sciacca Antonio Sano Antonio Sano Cathal A. Lynch Doug F. O'Neill Jerry Hollendorfer Mark E. Casse Shelbe Ruis Ronny W. Werner Wayne M. Catalano Robert Mosco D. Wayne Lukas William I. Mott Horacio DePaz Dale L. Romans Charlton Baker Howard L. Zucker Eddie Kenneally Gary Capuano Justin Jeansonne Rudy R. Rodriguez Richard A. Violette, Jr. Todd A. Pletcher Kiaran P. McLaughlin J. Keith Desormeaux Robin Schuster Todd A. Pletcher D. Wayne Lukas Simon Callaghan Michael Stidham

LRC GP AQU AQU GP DED LRL LRC SA KEE DMR GP KEE PRX KEE WO GP CD AQU SA CD PRX FG AQU BEL PRX AQU DMR MVR BEL CD LRC FG

12/18 8/6 12/18 12/31 5/25 11/19 12/31 9/18 12/31 10/12 9/5 12/10 10/19 11/29 10/9 9/18 12/10 9/17 11/19 12/26 6/30 11/12 12/31 12/31 6/3 11/29 11/26 7/17 12/17 6/9 10/30 12/10 12/17

6 6 6 6 4.5 8.5 7 6.5 8.5 8.5-T 7 6 6.5 8 7 8-T 6 8.5 6 5.5 6 6.5 6 6 5.5 8 9 5 5.5 5.5 7 8.5 6


18

TOP 100 JUVENILE SPEED RATINGS OF 2016 Princess Julia (f) Kitten's Cat California Diamond Win With Pride Mo Soul Gold for the King Sippin (f) Even Thunder American Gal (f) Tell Me a Story American Anthem New Money Honey (f) Create a Dream (f) Sweet Loretta (f) Classic Empire Slot Player Beach Bum Saint's Fan Hollywood Handsome American Gal (f) McCraken Conquest Farenheit Little Juanito Norco Champagne Room (f) Voodoo Song Conquest Farenheit Brahms Cat (f) Jocker Justice Classic Empire Stonetacular (f) Lovely Bernadette (f)

94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94 94

Jerry Hollendorfer Joe Sharp Peter Miller Todd A. Pletcher Terry Knight Charlton Baker Todd W. Fincher Dan L. McFarlane Bob Baffert Peter Miller Bob Baffert Chad C. Brown Chad C. Brown Todd A. Pletcher Mark E. Casse Ralph E. Nicks Bob Baffert Dallas Stewart Dallas Stewart Bob Baffert Ian R. Wilkes Mark E. Casse Victor L. Garcia Michael J. Trombetta Peter Eurton Michael E. Hushion Mark E. Casse Larry Bates Aaron M. West Mark E. Casse Neil J. Howard James P. DiVito

SA SA SA AQU DMR FL RUI CBY SA SA DMR BEL BEL SAR CD GP SA FG KEE LRC CD WO DMR GP SA BEL WO GP BTP KEE CD CD

12/26 11/5 12/17 11/5 11/26 9/2 10/1 8/13 9/17 10/23 10/6 12/3 10/2 10/30 7/22 7/2 12/11 11/6 12/10 10/9 12/10 10/30 8/26 12/3 12/17 11/5 10/23 9/18 12/10 10/1 10/8 9/17

5.5 6.5-T 7 9 6 6 5.5 6 6 6 6 8.5-T 8 6 6 5 7 6 7 8.5 8 7-T 6 8-T 8.5 6 8-T 6 6 8.5 6 6


19

4TH COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN PRESEASON ANNUAL


20

MOST CLASSIC CONTENDER By Jeremy Plonk Times are such that we exaggerate just for effect or to be heard at all. There’s so much chatter in traditional (and especially social) media that it’s difficult to resonate

when being reasonable. So it’s with great recognition that I declare Classic Empire to be the most Kentucky Derby-ready prospect in the past decade. His resume sports few holes. Pedigree? Check. Route stakes victories? Check. Top-class connections? Check. Ability to ship? Proven cross-regional worth? Affinity for Churchill Downs? Check. Check. And Check.


No one suggests you run and unload in the Winter Book at your favorite casino now and take a single-digit price. Much water will flow underneath the bridges of all contenders – much less the favorite – between now and the first Saturday in May. Even if you get 8-1 now and 8-5 on Derby Day, you won’t find me touting that as value. Risk-reward indicates you’d need much more return to feel confident that Kentucky Derby winner 2017 already has been engraved on the trophy next to the words Classic

Empire.

Route Stakes Wins

Circuits Competed

Wins By Length/Less

10-furlong Pedigree

USA 1st

Route Wins

Can 12th

Stakes Wins

USA 1st USA 1st USA scr

2YO Starts

Classic Empire Nyquist American Pharoah California Chrome Orb I’ll Have Another Animal Kingdom Super Saver Mine That Bird Big Brown Street Sense

It’s only fitting then that the talk of the 2017 crop begins with the chalk. Classic Empire won 4 of 5 during his freshman season, including a rousing Derby Week debut on May 4 in the slop in which he turned so many heads on the national scene. Literally from Day 1, this looked like the potential goods. He later added CD’s G3 Bashford Manor sprinting, Keeneland’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity routing and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. BC Juvenile

But keep in mind the posttime chalk has won the Kentucky Derby 4 straight years, something that had not happened in more than 4 decades.

In fact, 2 full decades unraveled – the entire 1980s and 1990s – without a single favorite winning under the Twin Spires in the Derby. So these are weird times.

2YO Champ

And if all this talk of a potent favorite seems folly this far out, I understand.

21

5 5 3 7 4 3 2 4 6 1 5

4 4 2 2 0 0 0 1 3 0 1

2 2 1 0 1 0 1 2 1 1 1

2 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1

3 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 2

2 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0

yes

yes yes yes yes yes yes yes


He competed in Kentucky, New York and California at 2, and his only blip was when tossing the rider at the start of the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga. No one has beaten Classic Empire other than jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. – when dumped at the Hopeful break. No worries, he’s 4-for-4 with Julien Leparoux. Apparently the colt prefers French pep talks to Spanish. Sire Pioneerof The Nile has proven at stud to be effective in the Triple Crown series with his son American Pharoah sweeping the 2015 events. Now he looks for two in three seasons on the hooves of Classic Empire, whose damsire Cat Thief was third in the 1999 Kentucky Derby and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 ¼ miles. Even the speed-figure folks have to be okay with Classic Empire at 2. His 102 Beyer Speed Figure in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile definitely puts him on an arc that some years

22

the top players don’t reach by April.

He’s won from 4 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles and twice scored at Churchill in the Spring. That’s a key point, the CD season, in that the Spring/Summer track at the Downs is much more like what we’ll see on Derby Day when it’s fast and souped than the cuppy, loose track of the CD Fall Meet. Most mistaken a good effort at CD during the Fall for a horsefor-course, when, in fact, the tracks are prepared completely different, depending on the calendar and potential freeze-and-thaw conditions. Classic Empire wouldn’t be the first top prospect to miss the Triple Crown, so we must keep fingers crossed that he stays healthy and has a progression. But for right now, it’s hard to find fault with his current resume and historical comparables. Five straight favorites? Not impossible. – JP


sprintfest winter carnival

at Laurel Park

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2017 $300,000 GUARANTEED BARBARA FRITCHIE STAKES-GII Fillies & Mares, Four-Years-Old & Upward Seven Furlongs

$250,000 GUARANTEED GENERAL GEORGE STAKES-GIII Four-Year-Olds and Upward • Seven Furlongs $75,000 GUARANTEED JOHN B. CAMPBELL STAKES Four-Year-Olds & Upward • One Mile & One Eighth

$75,000 GUARANTEED MD RACING MEDIA STAKES Fillies & Mares, Four-Years-Old & Upward About One Mile & One Sixteeenth

$75,000 GUARANTEED WIDE COUNTRY STAKES (LISTED) Fillies, Three-Years-Old • Seven Furlongs

$75,000 GUARANTEED MIRACLE WOOD STAKES Three-Year-Olds • One Mile

NOMINATIONS CLOSE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9

P.O. Box 130, Laurel, Maryland 20725 (800) 638-1859 • (301) 725-0400 • Fax (301) 725-4561 Georganne Hale, Director of Racing/Racing Secretary Coleman E. "Coley" Blind, Stakes Coordinator


24

JEREMY PLONK’S TOP 20 – 1/6/17 CLASSIC EMPIRE

UNCONTESTED

NO DOZING

GUNNEVERA

Trainer: Mark Casse Winter Home: Palm Meadows (Fla.) If he develops equally to others, he’s the 1. Trainer: Arnaud Delacour Winter Home: Tampa Bay Downs (Fla.) Rising star trainer; runs the Tampa table.

McCRAKEN

Trainer: Ian Wilkes Winter Home: Palm Meadows (Fla) 3 wins at CD in 55 days last fall; big player.

MASTERY

Trainer: Wayne Catalano Winter Home: Oaklawn Park (Ark.) Grandson of Lil E Tee travels OP path, too. Trainer: Antonio Sano Winter Home: Gulfstream Park West (Fla.) Superb at 2; improving/sustaining a task.

EL AREEB

Trainer: Cathal Lynch Winter Home: Laurel Park (MD) Lrl win tipped talent & Jerome confirmed.

ANN ARBOR EDDIE

Trainer: Bob Baffert Winter Home: Santa Anita (Cal.) Some miler about him, but talent apparent.

Trainer: Doug O’Neill Winter Home: Los Alamitos (Cal.) Improving stakes player still under radar.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Winter Home: Palm Beach Downs (Fla.) My tab for Pletcher rising GP maiden star.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen Winter Home: Fair Grounds (La) Loved his daddy; this 1 consistently solid.

MONACO

BEACH BUM

LOOKIN AT LEE MO TOWN

Trainer: Bob Baffert Winter Home: Santa Anita (Cal.) Missed nearly all Dec on worktab, back now.

Trainer: Tony Dutrow Winter Home: Payson Park (Fla.) Remsen champs often overrated; let’s see.

Trainer: Randy Morse Winter Home: Oaklawn (Ark.) Ex-Casse could be hidden gem of OP meet.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen Winter Home: Fair Grounds (La.) Loved effort at RP; Gun Runner sequel.

CONQUEST WILDCAT

ILIAD

Trainer: Doug O’Neill Winter Home: Santa Anita (Cal.) Ex-Baffert supremely talented; distance a ?

FAVORABLE OUTCOME Trainer: Chad Brown Winter Home: Palm Meadows (Fla.) Keep him on dirt; Flatters love Kee, btw.

GUEST SUITE

Trainer: Neil Howard Winter Home: Fair Grounds (La.) Really put it together in 1M fall CD victory.

TOTALITY

TERM OF ART

Trainer: Doug O’Neill Winter Home: Santa Anita (Cal.) Versatile finisher in Sham; better than BC?

GORMLEY

Trainer: John Shirreffs Winter Home: Santa Anita (Cal.) Respect G1 resume, but must improve.

THREE RULES

Trainer: Jose Pinchin Winter Home: Gulfstream Park (Fla.) Gets a shot to prove he’s better than BC.

Get top 20 updates every Friday at Countdowntothecrown.com!


25


26

Gormley, G1 Front Runner Stakes winner, kicks off the trail in the Sham.

Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


27

Horse

ADULATION ADORNED AIR ON FIRE ALAN’S LEGACY ALTITO ALUM ALWAYS DREAMING AMERICAN ANTHEM ANN ARBOR EDDIE ANTIOCH ARISTOCRATIC ARKLOW ATTRIBUTE BALANDEEN BASELINE BASHA BATTALION RUNNER BAVARO BAY MUZIK BAY NUMBERS BAYTOWN TURLS BEACH BUM BEASLEY BEEN WAITING BELLOWS BELTWAY BENEFICENT BIG GRAY ROCKET BIG HIT BIG LEAGUE BIG SCORE BIRD'S EYE VIEW BITUMEN

Odds

200 125 300 500 200 125 200 50 175 225 150 275 225 225 400 200 85 175 300 300 350 30 250 350 275 300 225 50 300 100 200 250 175

Trainer

Sire To Honor and Serve

Stars

Horse Player NOW’s Notables

Wilkes ** Mom kin to Birdstone/Birdtown, Truman Uncle Mo ** Promising 2nd in debut, works? Moquett Unbridled’s Song ** Pedigree, yet to hit the board Uptowncharlybrown Coletti * No-show against winners at Prx McGaughey Bernardini ** G1 pedigree, late developer? Pletcher Bodemeister *** Big GPW debut, future star? Schettino Bodemeister ** Won’t be a maiden for long Baffert Bodemeister **** Smart debut, big rep out west O’Neill Square Eddie **** Coming along well; KD connex Mandella Tiz Wonderful ** Decent MSW form, but behind O’Neill Malibu Moon ** Ex-Baffert good 2nd Dec debut Cox Arch ** Just woke up, makes La. waves? Asmussen Tapit * Modest CD debut, no works Hartman Bernardini ** Exposed in Delta Jackpot? Albertrani Bellamy Road * Not much in four starts Zerpa Uncle Mo *** Solid Fla. form, acid test looms Pletcher Unbridled’s Song ** 2nd in June, close to a GP return Sciacca Freud ** Sprinter may get open shot B. Wright Maclean’s Music * Big GG win, precocious type? Plesa Algorithms ** Solid 2yo, no works since Aug. Nations Maclean’s Music * Way too slow vs. modest foes Baffert Arch **** Awesome debut, Baffert’s best? Hennig Shackleford *** 6F W, bred to go on, interesting Procino First Samurai * DNF for 25k, easy toss Motion Hanson ** Suspect Lrl form, can’t see it Foley Bellamy Road * No match for FG MSWs late Dec Vance Lyphard * Can’t get through MCL ranks Baffert Tapit ** Fried in NY, seems a sprinter D’Amato Super Saver *** Big Dmr breakthrough, look out Miller Speightstown *** Talented, but all sprint pedigree Yakteen Mr. Big *** Grassy stakes winner is all turf Dini Mizzen Mast ** 2yo turf form, yet to try fast dirt Kenneally Mineshaft ** Precocious, tailed off, no works

Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


28

BEACH BUM Could he be Bob Baffert’s next big thing?

BITUMEN Early season Saratoga stars don’t always blaze the 3YO trail.


29

BLABIMIR N/A O’Neill Tapizar ** Los Al MSW winner taps out 1M? BLANC ECLAT 175 Takei Hanson * 3rd in Japan Nov. qualifier, 8 pts BLAME WILL 125 Lukas Blame *** Solid 2yo will get a chance at OP BOBBY ABU DHABI 350 Miller Macho Uno * Debut W, didn’t fire in Dmr G1 BOBBY THE BRAIN 175 Stidham Pioneerof the Nile ** Couldn’t back up FG debut W BONUS POINTS 200 Pletcher Majestic Warrior *** Mud suits him; Jerome 2nd BOOMER'S BOY 400 Broberg Eaton’s Boy * Tx-bred, DQ’d from stakes win BORSA VENTO 225 Zito Uncle Mo ** Regressed at Kee, GP return BOSTON MARATHONER 500 Pish G1o Ponti * Meek La. Downs stakes run BOURBON COUNTRY 250 Kenneally Harlan’s Holiday * MIA since June isn’t a good sign BOWIES HERO 250 D’Amato Artie Schiller * Way too turfy to make a dent Pure Prize BOYS FROM BOSTON 350 Robb * Busy 2yo, Preakness type? BRAHMS SECRET 250 R. Allen Brahms * AR-bred hot/cold in Mid-Atlantic BROCKTON GEORGE 150 McPeek Harlan’s Holiday *** Versatile, worth watching at OP BRONSON 250 Pletcher Medaglia d’Oro *** Dam Cambiocorsa T-sprint ace BRONZE AGE 250 Baffert Mineshaft * Showed nothing in debut 12/26 BROOKLYN BOBBY 175 B. Lynch Frankel (GB) ** Big Spa dud, wants turf anyway Giant’s Causeway ** Big Dmr debut win, where since? CAIRO HEALER 100 Baffert CAIIFORNIA CLONE 300 S. McCarthy Lucky Pulpit ** CA-bred broke thru 3rd start Oct CALIFORNIA DIAMOND 200 Miller Harbor the Gold ** Must show more vs. open foes CALL TO WAR 350 Pinchin High Cotton * Big debut W, no works since tho CAMINO DE ESTRELLA 300 Yakteen Mineshaft * Same family as Starrer, but 0-4 CARAVAGGIO 250 TBD Scat Daddy * ½ to G2 sprint winner; no drills CASSES STORY 100 Casse Bernardini ** Beat nothing at Spa, gone since Street Sense CAUCUS 175 Fujiwara ** Darley’s, 2nd in Japan pts race CAVIL 225 McLaughlin Elusive Quality *** Freaked with Lasix; tries GP CHANCE OF LUCK 225 G. Bennett Skipshot ** Could get some points at Tam CHANNEL MAKER 275 Vella English Channel * Likely to aim at Q. Plate CHATAIN'S TANK 500 T. Nixon Chatain * Going the wrong way fast Pioneerof the Nile ***** Champ looks the whole package CLASSIC EMPIRE 7 Casse CLUTCH CARGO 250 Hushion Tapit * NYB didn’t fire in lone dirt start COILS GOLD 250 Baffert Coil *** Don’t sleep on this Ca.-bred COLONEL SAMSEN 225 Harty Colonel John *** Busy 2yo must prove he can dirt COMMANDEERING 150 Pletcher Bodemeister *** Nibbler tries for turf breakout Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


30

Giant’s Causeway *** Turfy, but will get a dirt chance CONCOMITANT 100 Brown CONQUEST BANDIT 300 Rini Scat Daddy * Has only disappointed at Tam CONQUEST FARENHEIT 275 Miller Scat Daddy **** G2 Summer 2nd sold, now Cali CONQUEST LEMONRAID 175 Casse Lemon Drop Kid *** July winner a Casse buy-back CONQUEST REFORMO 300 TBD Into Mischief * CD good, Spa bad, MIA since CONQUEST SURE SHOT 350 TBD Scat Daddy * All turf, no works since Sept. CONQUEST WILDCAT 275 Morse Wildcat Heir **** Huge CD win, gearing up at OP CONTRAST 275 Hannon Dutch Art * 1M Haydock stakes win in Sept COOL ARROW 125 Sharp Into Mischief *** Seasoned, impressed at RP; 10f? CREATIVE COURAGE 350 Wilkes Creative Cause *** The Wilkes pattern; intriguing CURLOUT 200 Mareina Curlin * Spa no-show, no works since DA MEISTER 400 Kobiskie Bodemeister * Fla. spring form, NY works now DABSTER 125 Baffert Curlin *** Possibly a suspect 12/26 group DANGERFIELD 175 O’Neill Into Mischief *** Hasn’t dented the big guns DEREK ADRIAN 200 S. Diaz In Summation ** PR star has some ?s to answer DEREK'S SMILE 200 Breen Brother Derek ** 2-for-2 sprinting at Parx/GP DEVILEYE 300 Boyce Indigo Shiner *** Star IL-bred w/ route genes DIFAMANTE 300 Duco Bullet Train *** Flew home on turf, interesting DILETTANTE 200 Lukas Unbridled’s Song *** Poised for OP breakthrough DISCREET PROSPECT 500 J. Davis Discreetly Mine * Blinked badly twice at Ind DOWNHILL RACER 500 Sheppard Jump Start * Pa-bred is in legendary hands DRAFTED 225 Harty Field Commission ** No pedigree, form for Godolphin DRAGON'S CRY 300 Tiller Victor’s Cry * Huge chance…for the Q Plate DRE DAN 200 Baffert Union Rags ** ½ Indian Firewater tired route DRIVEN TO COMPETE 250 Pletcher Overdriven ** Solid debut, where you been? EL AREEB 100 C. Lynch Exchange Rate **** Big talent off Lrl & Jerome Ws EMPEROR JOHN 225 Pletcher Curlin * Completely inactive since Spa EPICHARIS 175 Hagiwara Gold Allure ** Japanese juv 3-3; 9F stakes win EQUATOR 250 Asmussen Bodemeister ** Progress halted badly at RP ESCONDERA 250 Attfield Eskendereya ** WO form says Q Plate path EVEN THUNDER 250 Orseno Even the Score ** Passed NY test, two turns loom EXCITATIONS 200 Stall Into Mischief *** Big debut 2nd, will only improve FACT FINDING 45 Pletcher The Factor *** Making him prove it at 2 turns FAJA 100 Pletcher Bodemeister *** The annual Pletcher GP comet? Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


31

GUNNEVERA Saratoga Special (pictured) and Delta Downs Jackpot winner

KLIMT Del Mar Futurity winner moves to Art Sherman's barn for 3YO season


32

FAVORABLE OUTCOME 150 Brown Flatter **** Much better on dirt; a big player FAYEQ 200 McLaughlin Malibu Moon ** ½ Rachel Alexandra PmM works FILLET OF SOLE 275 Pletcher Union Rags ** Not impressed by Parx win FIREBALL SHOT 200 Bauer Street Cry (IRE) * Very slow progression at CD Pioneerof the Nile ** FIRST DEGREE BURN 150 Baffert Awful SA run in a suspect race FIRST GOAL 400 DePaulo First Defence * Another ON Q Plate hopeful FIRST PREMIO 150 Halford Pure Prize * 2nd start Dundalk winner in Ire FLED 300 B. Lynch Flatter * Failed Aqu acid test badly FLOROPLUS 300 Morse City Zip * Couldn’t back up popular MSW W FLOWMOTION 300 Casse Warrior’s Reward *** Display 2nd talented; dirt next FORMULA ONE 175 McGaughey Smart Strike *** Beware at GP; well-meant Spa Successful Appeal FRANCESCO APPEAL 350 Pilotti ** Crack sprinter, but that’s all FRONT LOADED 300 Pinchin Kantharos * Chased around Three Rules FROSTMOURNE 200 Clement Speightstown *** No idea on dirt, but huge Bel W FUEL THE BERN 250 Clement Bernardini *** Big pedigree, could improve FUHRLONG 400 Schoenthal Langfuhr * Sprinter is slow on paper FULLY VESTED 200 Albertrani Discreet Cat ** Liked debut, no drills since Nov. GAMBLES CITIZEN 250 Carroll Proud Citizen *** Not your usual ON-bred Yankee Gentlemen GENTLEMENGENTLEMEN 400 Schultz ** 2-2 on dirt, working at Delta nd Giant’s Causeway *** 2 to biggie at CD, worth a look GIANT PAYDAY 175 Wilkes Tale of Ekati GIRVIN 175 Sharp ** Game FG debut W vs. a nice one Posse GOLD FOR THE KING 400 Baker * Would get exposed against open GOOD SAMARITAN 50 Mott Harlan’s Holiday *** Best in BC, but why no dirt yet? GORMLEY 50 Shirreffs Malibu Moon **** G1 winner bad in BC; crossroads GORSE 250 Pletcher Eskendereya ** Donegal charge nears GP debut GRAY NILE N/A Romans Pioneerof The Nile ** Big route damside pedigree GREATBULLSOFFIRE 250 H. Smith Bullsbay *** 2-time stakes winner in MD at 2 GREEK ALPHABET 275 TBD Medaglia d’Oro * No drills; dam ½ to Shackleford GREELEY AND BEN 175 G. Thomas Greeely’s Conquest ** Showed plenty of polish in CD W GUEST SUITE 60 Howard Quality Road **** Big bandwagon off that CD win GUNNEVERA 30 Sano Dialed In **** Serious factor early in GP trail HAN SENSE 300 Maker Hansen ** Some good, some bad as 2yo HE CAN DANCE 400 Servis Henny Hughes ** Big MSW win, stopped on in Nov. HEAVEN IS WAITING 300 Brown Creative Cause *** All turf, but bred for dirt, GP? Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


33

HEMSWORTH 75 Albertrani Bernardini *** Make him back up Nashua romp HEY MIKE 300 Maker Cape Blacno (IRE) *** Plenty of foundation as a 2yo HOLIDAY BONUS 325 Motion Harlan’s Holiday ** Sapling 2nd floundered at Kee HOLLOW POINT 250 Casse Into Mischief ** Likes CD, but uninspiring at FG HOLLY FIELD 350 Pessin Mizzen Mast ** Nice CD win, regressed at FG HONOR AND COURAGE 175 Hollendorfer Unbridled’s Song ** Big-time damside sprint genes To Honor and Serve HONOR THY FATHER 275 McPeek ** Summer Ky 2YO fizzled by Fall HOOKUP 250 Cannizzo Union Rags ** Debut romper tanked in Remsen HOOTIE 200 M. McCarthy Candy Ride (ARG) ** Turf debut winner 5th in DeMille HOT PERFECTION 275 Brocklebank Unusual heat ** Big May debut W, gearing up HOT SEAN 50 Baffert Flatter *** Jackpot 2nd; Baffert’s OP miler? HUMO D’ORO 200 Pletcher Medaglia d’Oro ** Away since superb Sep debut 3rd ILIAD 125 O’Neill Ghostzapper **** Rocketed 6F; ½ router Melmich IN THE CLOUD 225 McGaughey Arch ** No drills; ½ G1 turfer Data Link INSURGENT 125 Asmussen Bernardini ** Son of Dream Rush off tab Dec INTO THE BREACH 200 McLaughlin Creative Cause *** Will be heard from in NY Tiznow IRAP 200 O’Neill *** Big MSW regression off GI 2nd Pioneerof the Nile ** IRISH FREEDOM 50 Baffert Big Aug. debut, no works since IRISH WAR CRY 25 Motion Curlin **** SW 2-2 at Lrl; dam route genes? IRST 175 Pletcher Union Rags *** Intriguing debut, working soon ISLAND ICE 500 Madrigal Petionville * Game MSW win, but sprint-type J BOYS ECHO 65 Romans Mineshaft *** Loved Kee W, terrible at Delta J. S. CHOICE 400 Pletcher Congrats ** All turf, but has a dirt pedigree JAMYSON 'N G1NGER (F) 350 Rodriguez Bernardini * Filly won’t match up w/ top colts JOCKER JUSTICE 300 A. West Stay Thirsty * Clearly exposed in G2 at CD JUST MOVE ON 250 Byrne Street Boss ** Came unglued in both stakes KEEP QUIET 250 Casse Elusive City ** G3 turf winner didn’t like dirt KING AND HIS COURT 125 Casse Court Vision ** On the short list for Q Plate KISS THE TOAD N/A Morley Exchange Rate *** Sharp late Dec. FG sprint winner KITTEN'S CAT 225 Sharp Kitten’s Joy ** Classy turfer likely can’t dirt KLIMT 40 Sherman Quality Road *** Early 2yo peaked? Ex-Baffert LANCASTER BOMBER 175 O’Brien War Front *** BCJT 2nd may take Dubai path LAVAPIES 225 Okubu Turtle Bowl * 4th Japan Nov qualifier – 4 pts LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN 200 Glatt Twirling Candy * Knocking on SA MSW door now Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


34

MASTERY Took control of the west coast division late in the year, winning Los Al Futurity.

McCRAKEN He shined under the lights at Churchill Downs last Fall.


35

LAWTON 275 Morse Archarcharch ** Stakes 3rd needs OP breakout LEADER'S LEGACY 250 Bin Suroor War Front * Out since July dud at Sandown LEADING SCORE 200 Baffert Midnight Lute *** Improved at SA, next time? LINE JUDGE 400 Sharp Spring At Last ** Who shows up next time? LLOBO 400 Mason Tribal Rule ** Two big wins, no works since LOCAL HERO 200 Asmussen Hard Spun *** Poised to breakthrough at FG LOOKIN AT LEE 30 Asmussen Lookin At Lucky **** Stakes knocker but not brilliant LUCKY WHALEN 500 Barba Lookin At Lucky * Showed little before shelved LUNAIRE 350 Albertrani Malibu Moon *** New horse w/ Lasix, look out GP MADE YOU LOOK 200 Pletcher More Than Ready **** Turf stud has a dirt pedigree MAJORIS 175 Palmer Frankel ** Listed Newmarket SW; dirt??? MALAGACY 150 Pletcher Shackleford *** Jan 4 debut W by 15L in slop MALIBU SECRET 250 Pierce Malibu Moon * No work since stakes 2nd in Aug. MASTER PLAN 200 Pletcher Twirling Candy *** Plenty of upside in this corner MASTERY 8 Baffert Candy Ride (ARG) ***** Took west’s lead late season MC CRAKEN 10 Wilkes Ghostzapper ***** CD fall beast; dam was sprinter MEARS 400 Albertani Street Cry (IRE) ** Slow developer; summer 3yo? MEDICINE JACK 250 Lyons Equiano ** Won Ireland’s G2 Railway MEGAGRAY 300 Keogh Langfuhr ** ON-bred showed talent at 2 MIDNIGHT PLEASURE 150 C. Dollase Midnight Lute *** Nibbler in Dmr Fut/FrontRunner MILTON FREEWATER 250 O’Neill Creative Cause * Middling CA-bred form won’t fit MINISTER'S STRIKE 300 Casse English Channel ** Big talent, but not bred for dirt MINSKY MOMENT 150 Brown Flatter * NYB MIA since August debut MO SOUL 350 T. Knight Phantom Wildcat ** Big CA-bred form, don’t ignore Pioneerof the Nile MOHICAN 225 Mott ** Waiting for light bulb to go on Pioneerof the Nile MOROCCO 275 Mott ** Improved at CD, Aqu run soon MO TOWN 16 Dutrow Uncle Mo **** Remsen champ at Pay; Gotham? MONACO 150 Pletcher Uncle Mo **** Training sharp for GP return MONT SAINT LEGAME 150 Maki Came Home *** Won 40-pt Japan Nov qualifier MOVES LIKE ALI 250 J. Englehart Maclean’s Music *** May have a big say at FG MR. MEISTER 225 Mott Bodemeister ** Turf MSW winner is bred for dirt NEWMAN 250 Albertrani Bernardini ** Silly Remsen placing may hurt NEZET 225 Delacour Tapit ** No drills; $1.6M son of Pure Clan NIGHT WATCHMAN 300 Minshall First Defence * Can’t see WO form stacking up Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


36

NINELIVES 300 Brocklebank Sixthirteen ** Remember this May SA winner NINETY NINE PROOF 85 Mathis Idiot Proof ** 2-2 at Dmr but no works since NO DOZING 30 Delacour Union Rags ***** Big-time threat for rising stable O DIONYSUS 200 G. Capuano Bodemeister *** Game 2nd at Lrl to Irish War Cry OMEGA MOON 250 TBD Malibu Moon ** Juddmonte; out of fast sprinter ONE LINER 60 Pletcher Into Mischief *** Iffy Spa win, not sold on at GP ONE OF A KIND 125 Kenneally Lemon Drop Kid *** More than meets the eye here OPPORTUNITY COST 250 Pletcher Tapit ** Could be MSW riser Big A winter OSCAR PERFORMANCE 200 B. Lynch Kitten’s Joy *** Turf star not bred for the dirt OUR STORMIN NORMAN 400 Casse Blame ** DeD dud; may be best on turf OUR WAR EAGLE 350 Plesa Unbridled’s Song * Time’s running out for a win OUTRUN 250 Pletcher Medaglia d’Oro * Meek form, looks stopped on OXBLOOD 250 Gonzalez Shackleford * No activity since May WO win OXFORD LANE 300 McPeek Into Mischief ** Liked CD debut, FG return looms Pioneerof the Nile PAGLIACCI 100 Mott *** Sharp turf debut W, bred for dirt PAINTER’S RAGS 250 Motion Union Rags ** Nice Lrl debut W, must step up PARLOR 300 Kenneally Lonhro (AUS) * Pure turf form and pedigree PAT ON THE BACK 300 McPeek Congrats ** NYB SW didn’t handle DeD rise PEACE ENVOY 200 O’Brien Power ** French-bred 3rd G1 Prix Morny PERFECT PARTNER 250 Casse Curlin ** Well-bred; 1st drill Dec 24 PETROV 300 Moquett Flatter ** Aqu stakes 2nd; Smarty S. next PLUM DANDY 250 Callaghan Medaglia d’Oro ** Out since 6th in G1 Frontrunner PRACTICAL JOKE 25 Brown Into Mischief *** BCJ 3rd appears best sprinting PRADOS WAY 325 Asmussen Tizway ** No match for Kee/RP stakes set PRETTY BOY FLASH 200 Asmussen Gone Astray ** Likely to peak at one-turn PROFITEER 200 McGaughey War Front *** You’ll know his name in Florida PROFORMA 200 Stidham Munnings ** FG stakes W, sprinter only? RAFTER ONE 125 Pender Wildcat Heir * MIA since solid Dmr 3rd in Aug. RANDOM WALK 85 Violette Super Saver ** Sanford 2nd out since summer REBEL WAR 300 Grayson In Summation * Flashes as a summer 2yo RECKLING 225 Asmussen Dialed In ** Sar MSW winner didn’t advance RECRUITING READY 250 DePaz Algorithms *** Longshot look in Fla. this year RIGHT HAND MAN 200 Bonde Street Boss ** 2x SW could take GG to TP route ROCKIN RUDY 200 Brocklebank Midshipman ** Back working after huge Dmr W Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


37

MO TOWN Remsen winner is Tony Dutrow’s best Derby hopeful to join brother Rick in the record books.

NO DOZING Sleep on this one at your own risk – one of Jeremy Plonk’s best prospects of ‘17.


38

ROWDY THE WARRIOR 300 Von Hemel Warrior’s Reward ** Suddenbreakingnews sequel? ROYAL MO 85 Shirreffs Uncle Mo **** Polished MSW W, don’t ignore RUE DE PARIS 250 TBD Quality Road * $710k yearling yet to work RUNNING MATE 150 L. Jones Creative Cause ** Two-turn answer looms next SAILING HOME 250 Casse Mast Track ** Readying for GP Jan. return Tale of Ekati SAINT'S FAN 65 Stewart *** Lots to like from long strider SALDAMENTE 300 Koriner Super Saver * Cal-bred needs his own kind SECRET HOUSE 300 O’Neill Tiznow ** 4: 0-0-0 in stakes as a juvenile SHAMSAAN 175 McLaughlin Bernardini *** Sloppy romp, unproven on dry SHANE’S GIRLFRIEND (F) 200 O’Neill Adios Charlie ** Aired in DeD Princess, but boys? SHAREHOLDER VALUE 200 Amoss Uncle Mo *** Sharp FG W, getting very good SHEER FLATTERY 125 Hollendorfer Flatter *** Two turns did the trick at SA SHOW ME DA LUTE 175 Baffert Midnight Lute ** Gets lost in the Baffert shuffle SIGNATURE SPRING 300 S. Attard Signature Red * Another likely for the Q Plate SILENT DECREE 175 Byrne Bodemeister ** Couldn’t step up in both stakes SILVER ASSAULT 350 Hollendorfer Maclean’s Music * Another on the GG to TP plan? SILVER DUST 100 Morse Tapit *** That was a “wow” win at CD SILVER MISSON 275 J. Englehart Mission Impazible * Should aim at the NYB stakes SKINFLINT 225 Kobiskie Super Saver ** Distant 3rd in GP minor stakes SKYLERS SCRAMJET 300 Mareina Creative Cause ** Aqu debut winner Nov w/ Nevin SNAP DECISION 250 McGaughey Hard Spun ** Huge pedigree, Travers horse? SO CONFLATED 100 O’Neill Eskendereya *** DQ MSW winner; hot in Vegas SO LUCKY 275 Belvoir Coast Guard * Can’t see EmD form translating SOCIETY BEAU 125 Howard Curlin *** Well-bred deep closer; brilliant? SONIC BOOM 200 Wilkes More Than Ready ** Down the ladder of the Wilkes’ SONIC MULE 200 Pletcher Distorted Humor ** Fast, but will he stretch out? SONNETEER 150 Desormeaux Midnight Lute ** Nibbler in MSWs bred to sprint SOUPER CATCH 500 Casse Bernardini ** Blueblood disappointing MSWs SOUPER FLY OVER 200 Plesa Ghostzapper * No works since June Parx debut SOUTH BEACH 275 TBD Tapit * $1.8M 2YO buy yet to post drill SOUTH SEA 300 Mott Into Mischief *** Just loved that Bel maiden win SPEEDMEISTER 150 Casse Bodemeister ** More suited to one-turn/sprint? SPRING IN ALBERTA 400 Rycroft Sprint At Last * Northlands to CD isn’t likely SQUADRON 175 Pletcher Midshipman *** Versatile and very talented Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


39

STAR EMPIRE (GB) 250 Ward Foxwedge (AUS) * Best as a turf sprinter, Ascot? To Honor and Serve STATE OF HONOR 250 Casse ** 2x stakes-placed vs Ont-breds STAY AWESOME 350 Casse Stay Thirsty * Missing since KD turf debut dud STEFAN O'EISHEN 175 Morley Northern Afleet * Donegal rookie has spotty tab STRAIGHT FIRE 100 Desormeaux Dominus ** A one-dimensional speedball? SURFSIDE SUNSET 250 Desormeaux Tapizar ** Debut 4th at Dmr early Dec SYNDERGAARD 125 Pletcher Majesticperfection *** Freakish talent, at one-turn TAKAFUL 150 McLaughlin Bernardini *** Gave it up 2 stakes; breathing? TAKE CHARGE TAPIT 150 Lukas Tapit *** Mom kin to several big G1s TAKEOFF 200 Casse Arch *** New horse going two turns? TALK LESS 275 Mott Blame * DOB, no run at all in CD debut TALK LOG1STICS 250 Plesa High Cotton *** Huge upside off GP return TAPIT HIGH 175 TBD Tapit * First work at Goldmark 12/23 TAPWRIT 100 Pletcher Tapit *** Back2back 1M wins, fast/wet TELETAP 350 Asmussen Tapit ** Kin to Pyro hasn’t stacked up TERM OF ART 125 O’Neill Tiznow *** G3 DeMille winner outrun in BCJ TEXICAN 225 TBD Bernardini * Getting serious at Palm M. THEGREATCOLLECTION 300 Loza Saint Anddan ** Money maker in Fla.-bred ranks THE ANGEL’S REJOICE 500 MIA MIA MA MIA THEORY 40 Pletcher Gemologist *** G3 Futurity winner bad in BC THIRD DAY 125 Pletcher Bernardini *** Mth debut winner intrigues GP THIRST FOR VICTORY 150 Pletcher Stay Thirsty *** Champagne 5th wintering in NY THIRSTFORLIFE 300 Casse Stay Thirsty ** 0-4 in stakes; easy pace at Kee THREE RULES 40 Pinchin Gone Astray *** Working fast in FL; BC let down THUNDER SNOW 225 Bin Suroor Helmet ** Irish-bred won French G1 in Oct TICONDEROGA 85 Brown Tapit *** Telling they haven’t tried dirt TIP TAP TAPIZAR 225 Asmussen Tapizar *** Toss DeD race and just maybe TIZ A SLAM 175 Attfield Tiznow *** Cup & Saucer winner Can best? TIZ TREVOR 325 Cook Tizway ** Visually impressive in CD turf W TOO AWESOME 175 Motion Awesome Again *** Big upside; out since Lrl W 9/18 TOSHIRO 225 Motion First Samurai *** Showed lots of talent on turf TOTAL TAP 250 Asmussen Candy Ride (ARG) ** Overmatched in Ky Jockey Club TOTALITY 175 Asmussen Tapit **** Overcame pace Springboard 2nd Into Mischief TROUBLEWITHATEE 300 D’Amato * Just not progressing out west Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


40

SAINTS FAN Routed via New Orleans for the Bensons as Dallas Stewart looks to oneup his Derby best to date.

UNCONTESTED We’re going to find out quickly what Wayne Catalano has at Oaklawn in the Smarty Jones.


41

TRUE TIMBER TUNNEL VISION UNBRIDLED LUCK UNBRIDLED REBEL UNBRIDLED WEST UNCONTESTED UNDERWOOD UNDULATED UNION BRASS UNTRAPPED VANISH VEGAS ITCH VENTRY BAY WAR DECREE WARRIOR'S CLUB WESTWOOD WHAT'SONTHEAGENDA WHISKEY TRAIN WHITECLIFFSOFDOVER WILD SHOT WILD THING WILL CALL WIN WITH PRIDE YORKTON YOSHIDA YOUNG AMERICAN YOU'RE TO BLAME ZARTERA

300 250 275 200 200 75 300 300 300 225 350 500 500 125 60 125 200 350 150 30 300 350 300 300 250 100 200 175

McLaughlin TBD TBD Walsh Casse Catalano J. Evans C. Lynch Nicks Asmussen Casse

*** Jerome 3rd bred to route ** First workout 12/23; sprint dam Unbridled’s Song * $625k out of BCFMS runner-up Unbridled’s Song * Modest CD debut, needs more Unbridled’s Song *** Won’t be maiden for long at GP Tiz Wonderful **** Smarty Jones at OP next; player Old Fashioned ** Sunland to CD has worked; SW Curlin *** Solid stakes player US/Canada Union Rags ** Looking forward to GP return Trappe Shot *** Strong miler pedigree; FG threat Algorithms ** Destined for Q Plate trail Papaprodromou Twirling Candy * Looks like they rolled a 7 Ward Scat Daddy ** TP MSW mile winner; turf/Poly O’Brien War Front ** English G2 winner in July at 7F Lukas Warrior’s Reward *** Likely best 7F-1M; KJC 3rd at OP McLaughlin Bernardini ** Ashado’s kid AWOL since Spa O’Neill Dialed In ** 1 to watch if back; out since Aug Cazares Bullet Train (GB) ** Not buying into turf stakes win O’Brien War Front *** G1-placed Fra; fem family Pulpit Arnold Trappe Shot *** Talented speedster, but relax? Correas Pure Prize ** Could make some Tampa noise Cox Country Day ** Rising barn will try FG next Pletcher Distorted Humor *** Remsen & Jerome 4th stays NY? S. Simon Speightstown * ON-bred is way outgunned Mott Heart’s Cry ** No drills since Nov 19 debut 2nd McPeek Congrats ** Likes CD, didn’t handle stakes Brown Distorted Humor ** Remained in NY; Remsen 5th Asmussen Tapizar ** Absent since Sanford 3rd in July Mineshaft Giant’s Causeway

Stars are listed 1-5 with 5 the highest in ratings conducted by handicapper Jeremy Plonk. Odds are from Wynn Las Vegas as of January 4, 2017 – updates at Countdowntothecrown.com!


42

FAMOUS FAMILIES 2017

Perhaps no famous family strikes a bigger chord than 2017 sophomore filly American Cleopatra, the fullsister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. But among this year’s 3YO colts and geldings, here are the most famous families to watch. As you know, pedigree and a dollar will get you an ice cream sandwich. Still, they’re fun to follow!

 ALTITO – By Bernardini out of Summerly  APOLLO CREED – Half-brother to Scat Daddy  BRICE’S FIRE – Half-brother to Declan’s Moon  BROOKLINE – By Tapit out of Cara Rafaela (half-bro Bernardini)  BROOKLYN BOBBY – By Frankel out of Balance  CHAMPIONS MATERNAL – Half-brother to Moreno  CONQUEST ARTCHIE – Half-brother to Secret Circle  DANISH TALE – Half-brother to Danish Dynaformer  DOWN IN THE HOLLER – Half-brother to Jackson Bend  ELECTRO – Half-brother to the above-pictured Lady Eli  EMANCIPATION – Full-brother to Orb  FAYEQ – Half-brother to Rachel Alexandra  FREEDOM ACT – Half-brother to War Front  GREAT KAHUNA – Full-brother to Lookin At Lucky  HOMAGE – Half-brother to both Congrats and Flatter  INTO THE BREACH – Half-brother to Cairo Prince


43

FAMOUS FAMILIES 2017

 KEROS – Half-brother to Blame  KY. COLONEL – Half-brother to Malibu Moon  LEAD ASTRAY – By Malibu Moon out of Smuggler  LIFELINE – By Tapit out of Life Is Sweet  MEGA RUNNER – By Kitten’s Joy out of Megahertz  MORE PERFECT – By More Than Ready out of Perfect Shirl  REEDINI – Half-brother to Midnight Lute  SINGING BULLET – By Hard Spun out of Life At Ten  SIX GUN SALUTE – Half-brother to Well Armed  SLEWACANDY – Half-brother to Caleb’s Posse  STARSTRUCK KITTEN – Full-brother to Bobby’s Kitten  STRIDENT – By Street Cry out of Storm Flag Flying  PLUM AMAZING – By Distorted Humor out of Plum Pretty  TALE OF SILENCE – Fullbrother to Tale of Ekati  TASTEMAKER – By Candy Ride out of Sweet Catomine  TRAP GAME – Full-brother to the pictured Oxbow  WAIT – By Distorted Humor out of Wait a While  WONDEROVERYONDER – Full-brother to Firing Line  ZINGER – Half-brother to I’m A Chatterbox


Laurel Park 2017 Winter/Spring Stakes

CLOSES............ RUNS..................STAKE...................................................... AGE......................DISTANCE........................PURSE Thu., Jan. 5........Sat., Jan. 14........Fire Plug...................................................... 4 & Up................... 6 Furlongs........................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Jan. 5........Sat., Jan. 14........What A Summer.......................................... F&M 4 & Up........... 6 Furlongs........................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Jan. 12......Sat., Jan. 21........Marshua...................................................... Fillies 3-y-o.......... 6 Furlongs........................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Jan. 12......Sat., Jan. 21........Frank Whiteley, Jr....................................... 3-y-o..................... 7 Furlongs........................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Jan. 12......Sat., Jan. 21........Native Dancer............................................. 4 & Up................... About 1 / Miles................. $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Jan. 12......Sat., Jan. 21........Nellie Morse................................................ F&M 4 & Up........... About 1 / Miles................. $75,000 Guaranteed 1

1

16

16

Thu., Feb. 9........Sat., Feb. 18........Barbara Fritchie (Grade 2)......................... F&M 4 & Up........... 7 Furlongs......................... $300,000 Guaranteed Thu., Feb. 9........Sat., Feb. 18........General George (Grade 3)........................... 4 & Up................... 7 Furlongs......................... $250,000 Guaranteed Thu., Feb. 9........Sat., Feb. 18........Wide Country (Listed)................................. Fillies 3-y-o.......... 7 Furlongs........................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Feb. 9........Sat., Feb. 18........John B. Campbell....................................... 4 & Up................... 1 / Miles............................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Feb. 9........Sat., Feb. 18........Maryland Racing Media............................. F&M 4 & Up........... About 1 / Miles................. $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Feb. 9........Sat., Feb. 18........Miracle Wood.............................................. 3-y-o..................... 1 Mile................................ $75,000 Guaranteed 1

8

1

16

Thu., Mar. 9........Sat., Mar. 18........Caesar's Wish............................................. Fillies 3-y-o.......... 1 Mile................................ $100,000 Guaranteed Thu., Mar. 9........Sat., Mar. 18........Private Terms.............................................. 3-y-o..................... About 1 / Miles................. $100,000 Guaranteed Thu., Mar. 9........Sat., Mar. 18........Harrison Johnson Memorial....................... 3 & Up................... 1 / Miles............................ $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Mar. 9........Sat., Mar. 18........Conniver (MD-Bred or MD-Sired)...................... F&M 4 & Up........... 7 Furlongs......................... $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Mar. 9........Sat., Mar. 18........Not For Love (MD-Bred or MD-Sired)................ 4 & Up................... 6 Furlongs......................... $75,000 Guaranteed 1

1

16

8

Thu., Apr. 13.......Sat., Apr. 22.........Federico Tesio (WIn & You're In-Preakness)................ 3-y-o..................... 1 / Miles............................ $125,000 Guaranteed Thu., Apr. 13.......Sat., Apr. 22.........Weber City Miss (WIn & You're In-Black-Eyed Susan)...... Fillies 3-y-o.......... About 1 / Miles................. $125,000 Guaranteed Thu., Apr. 13.......Sat., Apr. 22.........Primonetta.................................................. F&M 3 & Up........... 6 Furlongs......................... $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Apr. 13.......Sat., Apr. 22.........Dahlia.......................................................... F&M 3 & Up........... 1 Mile (Turf)....................... $75,000 Guaranteed Thu., Apr. 13.......Sat., Apr. 22.........Henry S. Clark............................................. 3 & Up................... 1 Mile (Turf)....................... $75,000 Guaranteed 1

8

1

16

*Win & You’re In for Preakness applies to Triple Crown Nominated horses only

Visit laurelpark.com for full racing schedule.

P.O. Box 130, Laurel, Maryland 20725 800.638.1859 • 301.725.0400 • Fax 301.725.4561 Coleman "Coley" Blind, Stakes Coordinator


2017 Triple Crown Prep Season Schedule

Stakes Jerome * Sham Smarty Jones Lecomte Withers Holy Bull Robert B. Lewis Sam F. Davis San Vicente El Camino Real Derby Hyacinth* Southwest Mine That Bird Derby Risen Star Fountain of Youth Gotham Tampa Bay Derby San Felipe Rebel UAE Derby * Spiral Sunland Derby Florida Derby Louisiana Derby Wood Memorial Blue Grass Santa Anita Derby Arkansas Derby Lexington Federico Tesio Kentucky Derby Peter Pan Preakness Belmont Stakes

Track Aqueduct Santa Anita Park Oaklawn Park Fair Grounds Aqueduct Gulfstream Park Santa Anita Park Tampa Bay Downs Santa Anita Park Golden Gate Fields Tokyo Racecourse Oaklawn Park Sunland Park Fair Grounds Gulfstream Park Aqueduct Tampa Bay Downs Santa Anita Park Oaklawn Park Meydan Racecourse Turfway Park Sunland Park Gulfstream Park Fair Grounds Aqueduct Keeneland Santa Anita Park Oaklawn Park Keeneland Laurel Churchill Downs Belmont Park Pimlico Racercourse Belmont Park

Date Jan 2 Jan 7 Jan 16 Jan 21 Jan 28 Feb 4 Feb 4 Feb 11 Feb 12 Feb 18 Feb 19 Feb 20 Feb 20 Feb 25 Mar 4 Mar 4 Mar 11 Mar 11 Mar 18 Mar 25 Mar 25 Mar 26 Apr 1 Apr 1 Apr 8 Apr 8 Apr 8 Apr 15 Apr 15 April 22 May 6 May 13 May 20 June 10

KD Points 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 10-4-2-1 0-0-0-0 10-4-2-1 50-20-10-5 10-4-2-1 0-0-0-0 50-20-10-5 50-20-10-5 50-20-10-5 50-20-10-5 50-20-10-5 50-20-10-5 100-40-20-10 50-20-10-5 50-20-10-5 100-40-20-10 100-40-20-10 100-40-20-10 100-40-20-10 100-40-20-10 100-40-20-10 10-4-2-1 (Preak Win & In) n/a n/a n/a n/a

* - Races not previewed in Countdown to the Crown Preseason Annual.

45


46

SHAM STAKES January 7, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: The first route prep leading up to the Santa Anita Derby, the Sham has averaged 6 starters per race the last 5 years. The Los Alamitos Futurity has been run just 3 weeks prior in recent years, but this year that span extended to 4 weeks. Though the Sham inaugurated in 2001, it has been a January mile since 2011 after once being a 9furlong test later in the meet. The race has become a middle-distance haven with eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winners Tapizar and Goldencents among its alumni, as well as BC Sprint champ Secret Circle. The Sham is named for the 1973 star 3-year-old who ran second to Secretariat in all 3 legs of the Triple Crown.

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Trainer Bob Baffert provided a 1-2 finish with Collected (pictured) and Let’s Meet In Rio, the former sent off the 3/2 favorite. Collected went on to win the Sunland Festival of Racing Stakes and the G3 Lexington. Third-place Laoban eventually won the G2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: In the 6 years since the Sham shortened its distance, the ’16 edition easily had the most Triple Crown influence with 2 Preakness alumni – Collected & Laoban.

K y Derby : Goldencents (17th, ’13) Preakness : Goldencents (5th, ’13), Collected (10th, ’16), Laoban (6th, ’16).

Belm ont : none


47

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Sham Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Collected M. Garcia Baffert 89 Calculator Trujillo Miller 100 Midnight Hawk Smith Baffert 97 Goldencents Krigger O’Neill 93 Out of Bounds Gomez Harty 105 Tapizar Gomez Asmussen 103 Alphie’s Bet Solis Barba 94 The Pamplemousse Solis Canani 97 Colonel John Gomez Harty 90 Ravel Gomez M. McCarthy 102

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08

Winning Preps for Last 10 Sham Stakes Winners Collected 3rd Cecil B. DeMille (Dmr) Calculator 2nd FrontRunner (SA) Midnight Hawk 1st Maiden (Hol/BHP) Goldencents 1st Delta Jackpot (DeD) Out of Bounds 1st Maiden (Hol/BHP) Tapizar 1st Maiden (CD) Alphie’s Bet 1st Maiden (SA) The Pamplemousse 1st San Rafael (SA) Colonel John 2nd CashCall Futurity (Hol/BHP)

‘07 Ravel

1st

Maiden (Hol/BHP)

INSIDE THE SHAM STAKES: Horses within 2 lengths of the lead after the first half-mile have won 6 straight. 9 of last 12 Sham winners exited prep victories (4 of last 7 exiting maiden breakers). Since moving to January, Sham winners have made 1, 4, 2, 4, 4 and 2 prior career starts. Trainer Bob Baffert has 2 wins & 3 seconds in past 4 editions in which he’s had a starter (Collected, Let’s Meet in Rio, Midnight Hawk, Den’s Legacy and Secret Circle).


48

SMARTY JONES STAKES January 16, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: While not a graded stakes, the Smarty Jones offers a kickoff to Oaklawn’s highly successful 4-race series for 3YOs. The 2-turn mile utilizes the sixteenth pole finish line, but deep closers Far Right, Caleb’s Posse, Will Take Charge and Flat Out all dot the winner’s roll call. Held on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday card, the Smarty Jones this year will be the only prep of the weekend nationally. The Smarty Jones is named for the 2004 Ky Derby and Preakness winner who rose to stardom via Oaklawn’s series of preps. He earned a $5 million Centennial bonus during the track’s 100th season by winning the Arkansas Derby & Kentucky Derby.

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Bob Baffert’s 3/5 raider Toews On Ice faded to 6th as pace pressers Discreetness (pictured) and Gordy Florida continued on to run 1-2. Both prepped at Remington Park. Discreetness then failed to hit the board in the Southwest, Rebel & Arkansas Derby. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Success here pales to its fellow graded prep brethren at OP.

K y Derby : Mr. Z (13th, ’15), Far

Right (15th, ’15), Will Take Charge (8th, ’13), Optimizer (11th, ’12), Archarcharch (dnf, ’11)

Preakness : Mr. Z (5th, ’15), Will

Take Charge (7th, ’13), Optimizer (6th, ’12)

Belm ont : Will Take Charge (10th, ’13), Optimizer (10th, ’12)


49

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Smarty Jones Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Discreetness Court Fires N/A Far Right Smith Moquett 92 Tanzanite Cat Arroyo Autrey 92 Will Take Charge Court Lukas 93 Junebugred Bravo Hobby 91 Caleb’s Posse Razo DK Von Hemel 85 Dryfly Borel Whiting 95 Flat Out Julio Garcia Dickey 96 Liberty Bull Razo Amoss 92

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08

Winning Preps for Smarty Jones Winners Discreetness 1st Springboard Mile (RP) Far Right 3rd Delta Downs Jackpot (DeD) Tanzanite Cat 1st Maiden (FG) Will Take Charge 2nd Springboard Mile (RP) Junebugred 1st Maiden (Aqu) Caleb’s Posse 7th Springboard Mile (RP) Dryfly 1st Allowance (CD) Flat Out 1st Maiden (FG) Liberty Bull 2nd Sugar Bowl (FG)

INSIDE THE SMARTY JONES STAKES: Remington Park’s Springboard Mile in December has been a strong launching pad for the Smarty Jones, delivering the 2011, 2013 and 2016 winners as well as the 2014 and 2015 runner-ups. Only eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse (2011) has won the Smarty Jones exiting an off-the-board finish in his most recent start. The favorite hasn’t won this race since Dryfly in 2010 and the chalk is 9: 2-0-4 in the Smarty Jones.


50

LECOMTE STAKES January 21, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY

KEY INGREDIENTS: Pushed back a week on the calendar this year, the Lecomte now is separated from Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones – though both races still compete for many of the sametype runners and each are middledistance races around 2 turns. The Lecomte has been a fairly even split of local horses who are taking a class rise into the stakes ranks as well as proven stakes commodities from their 2YO seasons. A viral outbreak at FG in 2017 puts this race in serious limbo at press time. At a mile and 70 yards in distance, the Lecomte serves as a similar rehearsal for the Risen Star (1-1/16 miles) en route to the Louisiana Derby (1-1/8 miles). For many young horses, this will be their first test of a demanding, lengthy stretch run at FG. In addition, it can re-route shorter-distance types like Runhappy & Fish Trappe Road.

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Mo Tom put New Orleans Saints’ owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle on the Triple Crown trail, leading a 1-2 finish for GMB Racing as their Tom’s Ready finished 2nd. Also-rans included eventual TB Derby winner & Belmont 2nd Destin. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: ’16 Lecomte was its best in years.

Ky Derby : Destin (6th, ’16) Mo

Tom (8th, ’16), Tom’s Ready (12th), War Story (16th, ’15), Vicar’s In Trouble (19th, ’14), Golden Soul (2nd, ’13), Oxbow (6th, ’13), Friesan Fire (18th, ’09), Hard Spun (2nd, ’07),

Preakness : Oxbow (1st, ’13),

Friesan Fire (10th, ‘09), Hard Spun (3rd, ’07)

Belm ont : Destin (2nd, ’16), Hard Spun (4th, ’07)


51

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Lecomte Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Mo Tom Lanerie Amoss 94 International Star Mena Maker 94 Vicar’s In Trouble Napravnik Maker 88 Oxbow Court Lukas 94 Mr Bowling Albarado L. Jones 95 Wilkinson Gomez Howard 92 Ron the Greek Graham Amoss 98 Friesan Fire Saez L. Jones 97 Z Fortune Bridgmohan Asmussen 99 Hard Spun Pino L. Jones 101

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Lecomte Stakes Winners Mo Tom 3rd Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (CD) International Star 4th Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (CD) Vicar’s In Trouble 1st Maiden (FG) Oxbow 4th CashCall Futurity (BHP) Mr Bowling 3rd Iroquois Stakes (CD) Wilkinson 3rd Allowance (FG) Ron the Greek 4th Springboard Mile (RP) Friesan Fire 2nd Allowance (FG) Z Fortune 1st Allowance (Aqu) Hard Spun 1st PA Nursery(Pha/Prx)

INSIDE THE LECOMTE STAKES: The Ramsey/Maker team was denied a 3-peat last year when Uncle Walter finished 3rd. 12 of the last 15 Lecomte winners were less than 3 lengths behind after the opening half-mile, though Mo Tom closed from deeper a year ago. 13 of the last 15 Lecomte winners were 5-1 or less. Since ’07, the Lecomte has produced at least 1 Triple Crown starter every year except ’12.


WITHERS STAKES

52

February 4, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: NYRA’s path now includes the Jerome, Withers, Gotham and Wood Memorial. This second leg moved on the stakes schedule 5 years ago after several years as an April stakes on the outer dirt track and one year in asylum (2011). Trainers Todd Pletcher and Kiaran McLaughlin have combined to win 6 of the last 9 editions of the Withers and have supported the race no matter where it falls on the calendar. Each of the 5 winners since moving to a winter date have been NYRAbased performers. In the last 4 years, all but 3 starters have been horses exiting races at the Big A meet – though Sunny Ridge returned from a Delta foray last year. The Withers has struggled with field sizes as a winter stakes (6,8,6,6,6 starters).

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Sunny Ridge (pictured, white bridle) outdueled Vorticity in his 3YO return from a juvy campaign that featured 2nds in the G1 Champagne & G3 Delta Downs Jackpot. Jerome winner Flexibility ran 4th of 6 as the 3/5 favorite. No Withers alumni went on to the TC series a year ago. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: When in April, Withers propelled horses like Bernardini and Scrappy T to strong Preakness showings. In 2012-’16, as a winter prep:

Ky Derby: Tencendur (17th, ’15),

Samraat (5th, ’14), Uncle Sigh (14th, ’13), Alpha (12th, ’12), Revolutionary (3rd, ’13).

Preakness: none. Belmont: Samraat (6th, ’14),

Revolutionary (5th, ’13).


53

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Withers Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Sunny Ridge Franco Jason Servis N/A ’15 Far From Over Franco Pletcher 96 ’14 Samraat J. Ortiz Violette 99 ’13 Revolutionary Castellano Pletcher 96 ’12 Alpha Dominguez McLaughlin 100 ’10 Afleet Again Mariano Reid 109 ’09 Mr. Fantasy Migliore McLaughlin 103 ’08 Harlem Rocker Coa Pletcher 96 ’07 Divine Park Garcia McLaughlin 97 ’06 Bernardini Castellano Albertrani 110 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06

Winning Preps for Last 10 Withers Stakes Winners Sunny Ridge 2nd Delta Downs Jackpot (DeD) Far From Over 1st Maiden (Aqu) Samraat 1st Damon Runyon (Aqu) Revolutionary 1st Maiden (Aqu) Alpha 1st Count Fleet (Aqu) Afleet Again 10th Gotham (Aqu) Mr. Fantasy 3rd Gotham (Aqu) Harlem Rocker 1st Allowance (GP) Divine Park 1st Allowance (Kee) Bernardini 1st Maiden (GP)

INSIDE THE WITHERS STAKES: Heavy favorites have been the recent norm as its 5 winter-time editions have had chalks at 1-5, 1-5, 3-5, 3-5 and 6-5 (last two have lost at 1-5 and 3-5, however – El Kabeir and Flexibility). Since moving to January, none of its 5 editions have been won wire to wire, while Far From Over and Revolutionary notably scored in last-to-first fashion.


54

HOLY BULL February 4, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: The 2nd of 4 major dirt routes on the Gulfstream trail, the Holy Bull offers the first 2-turn test for the circuit. Over the past decade, this race has been moved several times in distance and date. It’s morphed into popular 3YO return date for star juveniles, many away since the Breeders’ Cup. Notable returnees here in recent years include champions Shanghai Bobby and Hansen, as well as Cairo Prince and Mohaymen. With a short run to the first turn and a sixteenth-pole finish line, early speed and post position can be important factors. Holy Bull winners have been less likely to carry their form all season. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Mohaymen (pictured) at 1-5 was an easy winner despite a bumpy start and added the G2 Fountain of Youth next out. Kiaran McLaughlin got his 2nd Holy Bull win in 3 years (also was 2nd with Frosted ’15).

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since its move to January, Holy Bull alumni have yet to win in TC. Consider that span (2009-’16):

K y Derby : Mohaymen (4th, ’16),

Frosted (4th, ’15), Keen Ice (7th, ’15), Frammento (11th, ’15), Upstart (18th, ’15), Wicked Strong (4th, ’14), Intense Holiday (12th, ’14), Itsmyluckyday (15th, ’13), Frac Daddy (16th, ’13), Hansen (9th, ’12), Mucho Macho Man (3rd, ’11), Dialed In (8th ’11), Jackson Bend (12th, ’10), Homeboykris (16th, ’10), West Side Bernie (9th, ’09).

Preakness : Itsmyluckyday (2nd,

’13), Dialed In (4th, ’11), Mucho Macho Man (6th, ’11), Jackson Bend (3rd, ’10), Aikenite (10th, ’10).

Belm ont : Frosted (2nd, ’15), Keen

Ice (3rd, ’15), Frammento (5th, ’15), Wicked Strong (4th, ’14), Frac Daddy (14th, ’13), My Adonis (8th, ’12), Mucho Macho Man (7th, ’11).


55

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Holy Bull Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Mohaymen Alvarado McLaughlin 97 ’15 Upstart J. Ortiz Violette 105 ’14 Cairo Prince L. Saez McLaughlin 98 ’13 Itsmyluckyday Trujillo Plesa 106 ’12 Algorithms Castellano Pletcher 105 ’11 Dialed In Leparoux Zito 104 ’10 Winslow Homer Dominguez T. Dutrow 95 ’09 Saratoga Sinner Leparoux Kenneally 102 ’08 Hey Byrn C. Lopez Plesa 90 ’07 Nobiz Like Shobiz C. Velasquez Tagg 103 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Holy Bull Stakes Winners Mohaymen 1st Remsen (Aqu) Upstart 3rd Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (SA) Cairo Prince 2nd Remsen (Aqu) Itsmyluckyday 1st Gulfstream Derby (GP) Algorithms 1st Allowance (GP) Dialed In 1st Maiden (CD) Winslow Homer 1st Allowance (Pha/Prx) Saratoga Sinner 1st Maiden (GP) Hey Byrn 1st Allowance (GP) Nobiz Like Shobiz 1st Remsen (Aqu)

INSIDE THE HOLY BULL STAKES: 11 straight winners exit Top-3 finishes in their most-recent prep, including 9 last-out winners. The last 4 years – when the race has been 1-1/16 miles around 2 turns – all 4 winners were within 1-1/2 lengths of the lead after the opening half-mile. Only 3 of the 12 trifecta placings the past 4 years have been secured by horses who had exited preps at the local GP meet – 9 were shippers/layoff types.


56

LEWIS MEMORIAL February 4, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: Former Santa Catalina Stakes, the Lewis Memorial follows the Sham on the SoCal path as the second of four major preps leading into the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. Its 1-1/16 miles distance and spacing from December’s G1 Los Al Futurity and October’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile make it an effective starting out point for big-timers. Early speed has been very effective in this race with smaller field sizes. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Odds-on Mor Spirit pulled away from Uncle Lino for a popular score at 3/5 and became Bob Baffert’s 2nd straight Los Al Futurity winner to add the Lewis. Mor Spirt would be 10th in Ky Derby; Uncle Lino finsihed 6th in Preakness.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Ferdinand and I’ll Have Another are the most recognizable winners of this prep to taste spring success. The 2015 edition did include Kentucky Derby 2-3 finishers Firing Line and Dortmund. Last year’s 1-2 finishers Mor Spirit and Uncle Lino both made the series. From 19932016, its TC impact has been fleeting. Top performances include:

K y Derby : Firing Line (2nd, ’15),

Dortmund (3rd, ’15), I’ll Have Another (1st, ’12), Pioneeerof The Nile (2nd, ’08), Charismatic (1st, ’99)

Preakness : I’ll Have Another (1st,

’12), Charismatic (1st, ’99)

Belm ont : None.


57

Last 10 Lewis Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Mor Spirit Dortmund Candy Boy Flashback I’ll Have Another Anthony’s Cross Caracortado Pioneerof the Nile Crown of Thorns Great Hunter

Stevens Garcia Stevens Leparoux Gutierrez Rosario Atkinson Gomez Espinoza Nakatani

Baffert Baffert Sadler Baffert O’Neill Harty Machowsky Baffert Mandella O’Neill

99 101 97 95 102 93 96 (s) 96 (s) 94 (s) 100

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Lewis Stakes Winners Mor Spirit 1st Los Alamitos Futurity (Lrc) Dortmund 1st Los Alamitos Futurity (Lrc) Candy Boy 2nd CashCall Futurity (BHP/Hol) Flashback 1st Maiden (BHP/Hol) I’ll Have Another 6th Hopeful (SAR) Anthony’s Cross 3rd Sham (SA) Caracortado 1st Cal Breeders Champ (SA) Pioneerof the Nile 1st CashCall Futurity (Hol) Crown of Thorns 1st Maiden (SA) Great Hunter 3rd BC Juvenile (CD)

INSIDE THE LEWIS MEMORIAL STAKES: 5 of the last 12 winners exited the Los Alamitos Futurity (formerly the Hollywood/CashCall Futurity), including the last 2 … 11 of the last 13 Lewis winners exited serious stakes preps, while field sizes have been limited (57-4-8-7-6 starters the last 6 years). The race is named for the late Bob Lewis (pictured previous page), who, with his wife, Beverly, raced and campaigned such stalwarts as Silver Charm.


58

SAM F. DAVIS February 11, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: This year, the Davis makes is first appearance as a Kentucky Derby qualifying points race, and should help it attract a better field like it once did with The Cliff's Edge, Bluegrass Cat and Any Given Saturday in the mid-2000s. Destin’s success a year ago also buoys its profile moving forward in 2017.

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Destin (pictured) bounced back from a Lecomte disappointment to give trainer Todd Pletcher his 6th win in the last 11 editions of this race. Stablemate Gettysburg was 5th of 6 as the 8/5 favorite.

Held 4 weeks before the Tampa Bay Derby, the Sam F. Davis is the track’s lone 2-turn prep for its spring main event.

Ky Derby: Destin (6th, ’16),

The Davis also benefitted for a time when the Fountain of Youth was elongated to 9 furlongs and the classier Florida shippers from Gulfstream Park found this spot more suitable early in the season at 1-1/16 miles. Inaugurated in 1981, only 6 Davis winners have gone on to win the Tampa Bay Derby, and Destin last year became the first since 2001.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Davis alumni in TC races since ’08: Vinceremos (17th, ’14), Falling Sky (19th, ’13), Prospective (18th, ’12), Musket Man (3rd, ’09), General Quarters (10th, ’09), Big Truck (18th, ’08), Smooth Air (11th, ’08), Z Humor (14th, ’08).

Preakness: Divining Rod (3rd, ’15), Schoolyard Dreams (9th, ’10), Musket Man (3rd, ’09), General Quarters (9th, ’09).

Belmont: Destin (2nd, ’16),

Gettysburg (8th, ’16), Uptowncharlybrown (12th, ’10).


59

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Davis Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Destin Velazquez Pletcher 100 Ocean Knight I. Ortiz McLaughlin 95 Vinceremos Prado Pletcher 92 Falling Sky J.Espinoza Terranova 92 Battle Hardened Leparoux Kenneally 91 Brethren Dominguez Pletcher 94 Rule Velazquez Pletcher 104 General Quarters Lopez M. Miller 100 Fierce Wind C. Velasquez Zito 96 Any Given Saturday Velazquez Pletcher 97

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Davis Stakes Winners Destin 4th Lecomte (FG) Ocean Knight 1st Maiden (Aqu) Vinceremos 1st Maiden (GP) Falling Sky 1st Allowance (Tam) Battle Hardened 2nd Maiden (GP) Brethren 1st Allowance (CD) Rule 1st Delta Jackpot (DeD) General Quarters 2nd Pasco (Tam) Fierce Wind 1st Allowance (GP) Any Given Saturday 2nd Kentucky Jockey Club (CD)

INSIDE THE SAM F. DAVIS STAKES: Todd Pletcher has won this race 6 times in the last 11 years. In fact, 9 of the last 11 Davis editions have been won by NYRA-based trainers (also 2 from Kentucky). There’s a real tendency for the public to over-value a race over the always-labeled “quirky” Tampa Bay Downs surface, so be sure to note that only 2 of the past 11 Davis winners had tuned-up locally. Forwardly placed horses have dominated the recent history of this race.


60

SAN VICENTE STAKES February 12, 2017

Derby points: none STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: Even though sprint races no longer are eligible as Ky Derby qualifiers, the 7-furlong San Vicente laughed at the suggestion it could become diminished when last year produced a matchup between Nyquist (pictured) & Exaggerator. Field size has been an issue with 7 straight editions having 7 or less starters. Those in the gate have been met with dominance from Bob Baffert and John Sadler, who have combined to win this race 8 of the last 9 years (12 of last 14). Baffert has won the race 9 times since 1997, when Silver Charm was the type of headliner who used this race to open his season. Nyquist brought such a path back to the discussion last year and that’s good news for the SA Derby series’ shortest graded stakes.

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Champion 2YO Nyquist kept his unbeaten record intact with a blazing 1:20.71 on the front end that made many wonder if he had done too much. Exggerator was a clear-cut 2nd off his Delta riches. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since 2004, here’s the run-down:

Ky Derby: Nyquist (1st, ’16),

Exaggerator (2nd, ’16), Creative Cause (5th, ’12), Sidney’s Candy (17th, ’10), Sinister Minister (16th, ’06), Don’t Get Mad (4th, ’05), Imperialism (3rd, ‘04).

Preakness: Exaggerator (1st, ’16),

Nyquist (3rd, ’16), Creative Cause (3rd, ’12), Sway Away (12th, ’11), Imperialism (5th, ’04).

Belmont: Exaggerator (11th,’16).


61

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 San Vicente Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Nyquist Gutierrez O’Neill 103 ’15 Lord Nelson Bejarano Baffert 98 ’14 Kobe’s Back Rosario Sadler 97 ’13 Shakin It Up Flores Baffert 92 ’12 Drill Garcia Baffert 103 ’11 The Factor Garcia Baffert 104 ’10 Sidney’s Candy Talamo Sadler 95 ’09 Evita Argentina Gomez Sadler 93 ’08 Georgie Boy Bejarano Walsh 106 ’07 Noble Court Nakatani Sadler 90 Winning Preps for Last 10 San Vicente Stakes Winners ’16 Nyquist 1st Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Kee) ’15 Lord Nelson 5th Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (CD) ’14 Kobe’s Back 10th CashCall Futurity (BHP/Hol) ’13 Shakin It Up 3rd Hollywood Prevue (BHP/Hol) ’12 Drill 5th San Pedro (SA) ’11 The Factor 1st Maiden (SA) ’10 Sidney’s Candy 4th Allowance (SA) ’09 Evita Argentina 2nd Santa Ynez (SA) ’08 Georgie Boy 1st Del Mar Futurity (Dmr) ’07 Noble Court 3rd San Miguel (SA) INSIDE THE SAN VICENTE STAKES: The past 2 BC Juvenile winners have returned in the San Vicente (Texas Red, ‘2nd, ’15) and Nyquist (1st, ’16). 4 straight San Vicente winners were making their first start of the Santa Anita meet. 6 of the last 8 San Vicente winners exited defeats and righted the ship with 4 of those coming off of off-the-board finishes. John Sadler did not have a starter in last year’s San Vicente, a race he clearly aims for annually.


62

EL CAMINO REAL DERBY February 18, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: Northern California’s only graded stakes en route to the Triple Crown, the El Camino Real Derby gets its field from the listed California Derby at Golden Gate, from class risers at the meet and a smattering of second-tier Santa Anita sophomores. It’s among the earliest 1-1/8 miles distance tests of the season and the mileage here often gives its winners a sense of belonging on the trail as trips extend. It’s the only Triple Crown trail race in the US on the Tapeta. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Cal Derby winner Frank Conversation (pic) won his second straight GG stakes after finishing 5th in the G1 Los Al Futurity on dirt. He bested a full field of 13 as the 8/5 favorite over Graham Motion shippers running 2nd/3rd. No alumni went on to the TC.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since going to synthetic in 2009, not a single El Camino Real Derby alumnus has hit the board in a Triple Crown race. That’s a far cry from the ‘dirty’ 1990s that included Charismatic, Tabasco Cat, Casual Lies and Cavonnier. Here’s the Tapeta era’s ledger:

K y Derby : Chocolate Candy (5th,

’09), Comma to the Top (19th, ’11), Daddy Nose Best (10th, ’12), Dance With Fate (6th, ’14).

Preakness : Daddy Nose Best (9th, ’12).

Belm ont : Chocolate Candy (9th,

’09).


63

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 El Camino Real Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Frank Conversation Gutierrez O’Neill N/A ’15 Metaboss Solis Bonde 93 ’14 Tamarando R. Baze Hollendorfer 90 ’13 Dice Flavor Valdivia Gallagher 93 ’12 Daddy Nose Best Leparoux Asmussen 92 ’11 Silver Medallion R. Baze Asmussen 91 ’10 Connemara R. Baze Pletcher 85 ’09 Chocolate Candy R. Baze Hollendorfer 88 ’08 Autism Awareness Contreras Vallejo 94 (d) ’07 Bwana Bull R. Baze Hollendorfer 93 (d) Winning Preps for Last 10 El Camino Real Derby Winners ’16 Frank Conversation 1st California Derby (GG) ’15 Metaboss 1st Maiden (SA) ’14 Tamarando 2nd Cal Cup Derby (SA) ’13 Dice Flavor 3rd Allowance (SA) ’12 Daddy Nose Best 1st Eddie Logan (SA) ’11 Silver Medallion 1st Eddie Logan (SA) ’10 Connemara 2nd California Derby (GG) ’09 Chocolate Candy 1st California Derby (GG) ’08 Autism Awareness 1st Maiden (GG) ’07 Bwana Bull 1st California Derby (GG) INSIDE THE EL CAMINO REAL DERBY: The last 6 winners all came north from Santa Anita, 4 of those coming off of turf preps most recently. Any local success has come via California Derby alumni during that span. Since going to Tapeta in 2009, all 8 El Camino Real Derby winners have rallied from at least fourth place or farther behind in the early going.


66

SOUTHWEST STAKES February 20, 2017

KEY INGREDIENTS: The second of Oaklawn’s 4 route preps leading up to the Triple Crown, the Southwest takes place President’s Day Monday and assumes center stage nationally. The first graded stakes on the local menu, it was extended to 1-1/16 miles from a flat mile in 2013. Unlike the Smarty Jones Stakes before it, the Southwest utilizes the full stretch and traditional finish line. Huge fields are the norm since 2008 – each year featuring 10 or more starters (14 a year ago; split divisions in 2012 with 21 entrants). MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Suddenbreakingnews launched from last of 14 to tally his 3YO debut and give Remington Park’s Springboard Mile an early season sweep of the OP preps (Smarty

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY Jones won by Springboard winner Discreetness, who was 7th in the Southwest). Collected was fourth in a rare misfired invasion from Bob Baffert to Oaklawn’s series. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Last year’s field produced TC runners Suddenbreakingnews, Whitmore and Collected. Recent Southwest alumni include elder stars Will Take Charge, Caleb’s Posse and Flat Out. The Southwest’s highlights since ’04:

K y Derby : Smarty Jones (1st, ’04),

Steppenwolfer (3rd, ’06), Hard Spun (2nd, ’07), Denis of Cork (3rd, ’08).

Preakness : Smarty Jones (1st,

’04), Hard Spun (3rd, ’07), Ride on Curlin (2nd, ’14).

Belm ont : Smarty Jones (2nd, ’04).


67

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Southwest Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Suddenbreakingnews L. Quinonez DK Von Hemel 94 ’15 Far Right Smith Moquett 93 ’14 Tapiture Santana Asmussen 99 ’13 Super Ninety Nine Bejarano Baffert 101 ’12 Castaway (split div) Bejarano Baffert 97 ’12 Secret Circle (split div) Bejarano Baffert 103 ’11 Archarcharch Court Fires 93 ’10 Conveyance Garcia Baffert 102 ’09 Old Fashioned Dominguez L. Jones 97 ’08 Denis of Cork Albarado D. Carroll 99 ’07 Teuflesberg Elliott Sanders 102 Winning Preps for Last 10 Southwest Stakes Winners ’16 2nd Springboard Mile (RP) ’15 Far Right 1st Smarty Jones (OP) ’14 Tapiture 1st Kentucky Jockey Club (CD) ’13 Super Ninety Nine 1st Allowance (SA) ’12 Castaway 1st Maiden (SA) ’12 Secret Circle 2nd Sham (SA) ’11 Archarcharch 4th Smarty Jones (OP) ’10 Conveyance 1st San Rafael (SA) ’09 Old Fashioned 1st Remsen (Aqu) ’08 Denis of Cork 1st Allowance (FG) ’07 Teuflesberg 3rd LeComte (FG) INSIDE THE SOUTHWEST STAKES: Be alert for the possibility of an off track this time of year as we had sloppy/sealed surfaces for the Southwest in 2013 and 2015 and a good surface in 2016. Bob Baffert misfired last year with Collected, but note 2 prior Southwest invasions netted 3 victories (sweeping split divisions in 2012, and winning again in 2013).


68

MINE THAT BIRD DERBY February 20, 2017

Derby points: none KEY INGREDIENTS: Named for the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who ventured through New Mexico en route to his stunning upset. The Jan. 30 Riley Allison Derby leads into the former Borderland Derby as the local preps for the rich Sunland Park Derby. At 1 1/16 miles on the dirt, the Mine That Bird Derby gives hopefuls a chance to acclimate to the extreme altitude and dust conditions at Sunland Park that can be troublesome for some shippers. But without graded status or Kentucky Derby qualifying points, as well as competition in the region from the same-day Southwest Stakes, a second-tier field is expected. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Concord Fast rallied from 8th of 10 to win by 4 widening lengths in his

first start since October. He would go on to finish third in the Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes, the replacement for last year’s Sunland Park Derby due to quarantine restrictions during part of the meet. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: It almost begins and ends with Mine That Bird, who was 2nd to Scorewithcater in the 2009 edition when named the Borderland Derby. The 2005 renewal produced a Belmont Stakes starter, as well as eventual BC Sprint winner Thor’s Echo for trainer Doug O’Neill.

K y Derby : Mine That Bird (1st, ’09).

Preakness : Mine That Bird (2nd, ’09).

Belm ont : Mine That Bird (3rd,

’09), Southern Africa (8th, ’05).


69

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Mine That Bird Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Concord Fast Eikleberry Evans n/a ’15 Where’s the Moon E. Gomez Dominguez 94 ’14 Proceed Juarez Marr 98 ’13 Dry Summer Madeira Marr 87 ’12 Isn’t He Clever Medellin Dominguez 91 ’11 Fusa Code J. Shepherd Asmussen 88 ’10 Storming Saint Contreras Dominguez 85 ’09 Scorewithcater M. Baze O’Neill 88 ’08 Poni Colada Juarez Asmussen 92 ’07 Takedown Murphy Asmussen 85 Winning Preps for Last 10 Mine That Bird Derby Winners ’16 Concord Fast 4th Governor’s Cup (Zia) ’15 Where’s the Moon 1st Maiden (Sun) ’14 Proceed 1st Red Hedeman Mile (Sun) ’13 Dry Summer 1st Allowance (Sun) ’12 Isn’t He Clever 4th Robert B. Lewis (SA) ’11 Fusa Code 3rd Maiden (SA) ’10 Storming Saint 3rd Riley Allison Futurity (Sun) ’09 Scorewithcater 1st Allowance (SA) ’08 Poni Colada 6th Smarty Jones (OP) ’07 Takedown 1st Allowance (Sun) INSIDE THE MINE THAT BIRD DERBY: Horses relocated from the major national circuits have fared well in this race once acclimated with local conditioners, including ’15 winner Where’s The Moon (via Peter Miller), ’14 runner-up Rebranded (via Todd Pletcher) from New York and ’13 winner Dry Summer from California (via Jeff Mullins). No Mine That Bird / Borderland Derby winner has gone on to win the Sunland Derby to date.


70

RISEN STAR STAKES February 25, 2016

KEY INGREDIENTS: The first 50-point prep on the Ky Derby qualifying series held in the US. The Risen Star is sandwiched an even 5 weeks between the Lecomte Stakes and Louisiana Derby, the Risen Star keeps Fair Grounds hopefuls on an even prep path. The 1-1/16 miles distance also splits the difference between its bookend stakes counterparts at 1 mile and 70 yards and 1-1/8 miles. Despite the Fountain of Youth a week later and Southwest a week earlier, the Risen Star has had superb field sizes. In the last 9 years, we’ve had 8 double-digit field sizes including 11 a year ago. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Kentucky Jockey Club alumni went opposite directions as Airoforce flopped as the 8/5 favorite while

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY the Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner rebounded nicely to win as the 5/1 third choice. Also rans included eventual Kentucky Derby entrants Mo Tom & Tom’s Ready. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: The Risen Star has been on the rise of late with 4 straight years producing a top-3 finisher in a Triple Crown race, including Gun Runner a year ago. Its recent roll:

K y Derby : Gun Runner (3rd, ’16),

Commanding Curve (2nd, ’14), Golden Soul (2nd, ’13),

Preakness : Oxbow (1st, ’13),

Mylute (3rd, ’13)

Belm ont : Keen Ice (3rd, ’15),

Palace Malice (1st, ’13), Oxbow (2nd, ’13).


71

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Risen Star Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Gun Runner Geroux Asmussen 97 ’15 International Star Mena Maker 97 ’14 Intense Holiday Smith Pletcher 99 ’13 Ive Struck a Nerve Graham Desormeaux 99 ’12 El Padrino Castellano Pletcher 101 ’11 Mucho Macho Man Maragh Ritvo 97 ’10 Discreetly Mine Castellano Pletcher 97 ’09 Friesan Fire G. Saez L. Jones 100 ’08 Pyro Bridgmohan Asmussen 96 ’07 Notional Albarado O’Neill 100 Winning Preps for Last 10 Risen Star Stakes Winners ’16 Gun Runner 4th Kentucky Jockey Club (CD) ’15 International Star 1st Lecomte (FG) ’14 Intense Holiday 3rd Holy Bull (GP) ’13 Ive Struck a Nerve 4th Lecomte (FG) ’12 El Padrino 1st Allowance (GP) ’11 Mucho Macho Man 4th Holy Bull (GP) ’10 Discreetly Mine 4th Spectacular Bid (GP) ’09 Friesan Fire 1st Lecomte (FG) ’08 Pyro 2nd BC Juvenile (Mth) ’07 Notional 1st San Rafael (SA) INSIDE THE RISEN STAR STAKES: Last year marked the first time in 6 years a Gulfstream Park shipper did not finish first or second in the Risen Star. It’s very notable that the last horse to win the Risen Star while rising in class from a Fair Grounds maiden or allowance was Gradepoint in ’04. Todd Pletcher has been conspicuous in his absence in the last 2 editions of this race after much success in the decade. Be sure to check the impact of Fair Grounds' early season viral quarantine on the training and development of the local horses, as well as the quality of shippers.


72

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH STAKES March 4, 2017

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: What happens when a mid-season prep gets almost as strong as the race into which it is supposed to lead? That’s the tricky balance for the Fountain of Youth Stakes as it pertains to the Florida Derby. No one of major repute at this stage of the spring is shipping out of Gulfstream looking for easier spots and points. Add in the hefty amount of annual maiden and allowance dazzlers at the meet. It’s reasonable to look at the fields for the FoY and Florida Derby in recent years and argue that the prep has been tougher at times. Plus, at 1-1/16 miles, you’re looking at a hot pace with distance question marks turning up the temps … not to mention the usual attrition of 3YOs hasn’t fully hit the crop at this juncture. With few exceptions, this lately has become one of those ‘win the battle, but lose the war’ kind of races in the big picture.

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Odds-on 2/5 chalk Mohaymen (pictured) pulled away from a speed-laden field of 5 challengers to notch his second major victory of the prep season. He took the Holy Bull prior. Only Mohaymen (Derby 4th) and Awesome Speed (Preakness 9th) would compete in the Triple Crown series. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Six FoY alumni have won the Derby since 1980. Since 2010, consider these Triple Crown highlights:

K y Derby : Orb (1st, ’13), Ice Box

(2nd ’10).

Preakness : Shackleford (1st, ’11). Belm ont : Frosted (2nd, ’15),

Commissioner (2nd, ’14), Medal Count (3rd, ’14), Orb (3rd, ’13), Union Rags, (1st, ’12).


73

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Fountain of Youth Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Mohaymen Alvarado McLaughlin 102 ’15 Itsaknockout L. Saez Pletcher 91 ’14 Wildcat Red L. Saez Garoffalo 100 ’13 Orb Velazquez McGaughey 102 ’12 Union Rags Leparoux Matz 103 ’11 Soldat A. Garcia McLaughlin 104 ’10 Eskendereya Velazquez Pletcher 103 ’09 Quality Road Velazquez Pletcher 110 ’08 Cool Coal Man Desormeaux Zito 100 ’07 Scat Daddy Velazquez Pletcher 101 Winning Preps for Last 10 Fountain of Youth Winners ’16 Mohaymen 1st Holy Bull (GP) ’15 Itsaknockout 1st Allowance (GP) ’14 Wildcat Red 1st Hutcheson (GP) ’13 Orb 1st Allowance (GP) ’12 Union Rags 2nd BC Juvenile (CD) ’11 Soldat 1st Allowance (GP) ’10 Eskendereya 1st Allowance (GP) ’09 Quality Road 2nd Allowance (GP) ’08 Cool Coal Man 1st Allowance (GP) ’07 Scat Daddy 3rd Holy Bull (GP) INSIDE THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH STAKES: 6 of the last 9 Fountain of Youth winners rose in class from the local Gulfstream meet’s allowance ranks, and last year Zulu was runner-up in that profile. In fact, 10 of the last 11 winners exited a top 3 finish already at the meet. With a short run to the first turn and sixteenth pole finish line employed, you don’t want to be far behind at Gulfstream Park over its 9furlong oval in this race configuration. Historically, FoY winners have been forwardly placed most often.


GOTHAM STAKES

74

March 4, 2017

KEY INGREDIENTS: Third in NYRA’s four preps toward the Triple Crown, the Gotham will go head-to-head this year the same weekend as the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. The Floridians also can await the next week’s Tampa Bay Derby. For much of its history, the Gotham was a 1-turn mile in late March, but it no longer must serve as a sole Wood Memorial provider … and doesn’t have any unique quality about it around 2 turns. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: 6-5 favorite Shagaf (pictured) punched past speedy Laoban late for the score while shipping north from Florida and remaining unbeaten in 3 starts. Chad Brown scored his second NYRA prep of the year (also Flexibility in the G3 Jerome to start the series).

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Red Bullet and Easy Goer are the only Gotham winners to post scores in the Triple Crown since Secretariat. All TC alumni since ’10:

K y Derby : Shagaf (DNF, ’16),

Tencendur (17th, ’15), Samraat (5th, ’14), Uncle Sigh (14th, ’14), Vyjack (18th, ’13), Overanalyze (11th, ’13), Hansen (9th, ’12), Done Talking (14th, ’12), Stay Thirsty (12th, ’11), Awesome Act (19th, ’10).

Preakness : Tiger Walk (8th, ’12),

Pretension (11th, ’12), Norman Asbjornson (11th, ’11), Yawanna Twist (4th, ’10).

Belm ont : Samraat (6th, ’14),

Vyjack (8th, ’13), Overanalyze (7th, ’13), My Adonis (8th, ’12), Stay Thirsty (2nd, ’11).


75

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Gotham Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Shagaf I. Ortiz, Jr. C. Brown 94 ’15 El Kabeir C.C. Lopez Terranova 95 ’14 Samraat J. Ortiz Violette 99 ’13 Vyjack Rosario R. Rodriguez 99 ’12 Hansen Dominguez Maker 105 ’11 Stay Thirsty Dominguez Pletcher 95 ’10 Awesome Act Leparoux Noseda 102 ’09 I Want Revenge Talamo Mullins 113 ’08 Visionaire Lezcano Matz 100 ’07 Cowtown Cat Dominguez Pletcher 96 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Gotham Stakes Winners Shagaf 1st Allowance (GP) El Kabeir 2nd Withers (Aqu) Samraat 1st Withers (Aqu) Vyjack 1st Jerome (Aqu) Hansen 2nd Holy Bull (GP) Stay Thirsty 5th BC Juvenile (CD) Awesome Act 4th BC Juvenile Turf (SA) I Want Revenge 3rd Lewis Memorial (SA) Visionaire 3rd Risen Star (FG) Cowtown Cat 3rd Swale (GP)

INSIDE THE GOTHAM STAKES: Favorites have won the Gotham 3 straight years and 6 of the last 7 editions. Shagaf and El Kabeir have scored at 6/5 in the most recent renewals. The last Gotham winner over 3-1 odds was Visionaire in 2008 and no winner has been double-digit win odds since Like Now’s 36-1 bomb in 2006. In the 4 years since NYRA has reconfigured its winter stakes program, 3 of the winners were locally based – only Shagaf last year shipped back into town.


76

TAMPA BAY DERBY March 11, 2017

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: As the profile of Tampa Bay Downs racing has risen over the past decade, so has its signature race, the Tampa Bay Derby. One of the chief reasons for the TB Derby ascension was that cross-state Gulfstream Park did not run 1-1/16 miles races in the mid-2000s after its track reconfiguration. This forced horsemen who did not want contest the Fountain of Youth at what was then 9 furlongs to seek another spot. Enter, the Tampa Bay Derby, which lured horses like Sun King, Bluegrass Cat, eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Any Given Saturday and 2YO champion War Pass. But the FoY has been back to 8.5F since 2010 and TB has felt that some. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: BC Juvy 3rd-place finisher Brody’s Cause made his 3YO debut with a thud, finishing 7th of 9. Destin

doubled down on his Sam F. Davis win (first Tam sweep since ’01). TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Look at this race from 2010present because of the drain the Fountain of Youth again puts on it:

K y Derby : Destin (6th, ’16),

Brody’s Cause (7th, ’16), Danzig Moon (5th, ’15), Carpe Diem (10th, ’15), Vinceremos (17th, ’14), Verrazano (14th, ’13), Java’s War (13th, ’13), Falling Sky (19th, ’13), Prospective (18th, ’12), Watch Me Go (18th, ’11), Super Saver (1st, ’10).

Preakness : Divining Rod (3rd,

’15), Danzig Moon (6th, ’15) Ring Weekend (5th, ’14), Cozzetti (7th, ’12), Super Saver (8th, ’10), Schoolyard Dreams (9th, ’10).

Belm ont : Destin (2nd, ’16),

Brody’s Cause (6th, ’16), Uptowncharlybrown (12th, ’10).


77

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Tampa Bay Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Destin Castellano Pletcher 97 ’15 Carpe Diem Velazquez Pletcher 96 ’14 Ring Weekend Centeno Motion 97 ’13 Verrazano Velazquez Pletcher 100 ’12 Prospective Contreras Casse 95 ’11 Watch Me Go L. Garcia O’Connell 95 ’10 Odysseus Maragh Albertrani 100 ’09 Musket Man Centeno Ryan 93 ’08 Big Truck Coa Tagg 99 ’07 Street Sense Borel Nafzger 105 Winning Preps for Last 10 Tampa Bay Derby Winners ’16 Destin 1st Sam F. Davis (Tam) ’15 Carpe Diem 2nd BC Juvenile (SA) ’14 Ring Weekend 1st Maiden (GP) ’13 Verrazano 1st Allowance (GP) ’12 Prospective 2nd Sam F. Davis (Tam) ’11 Watch Me Go 3rd Sam F. Davis (Tam) ’10 Odysseus 1st Allowance (Tam) ’09 Musket Man 3rd Sam F. Davis (Tam) ’08 Big Truck 2nd Sam F. Davis (Tam) ’07 Street Sense 1st BC Juvenile (CD) INSIDE THE TAMPA BAY DERBY: The last 5 Tampa Bay Derby winners (and 13 of the last 15) were horses winter-based on Florida’s Atlantic coastline – several of whom traveled to TBD prior for a prep. Todd Pletcher (pictured previous page) has seen his fortunes swap in this race in a positive direction winning 3 of the last 4. Note he had lost with 5 beaten favorites since 2006. The last TB Derby winner exiting an off-the-board final prep finish was Pineaff in 1999.


78

SAN FELIPE STAKES March 11, 2017

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: The San Felipe bridges the Bob Lewis Memorial and the Santa Anita Derby. Typically the San Felipe comes up too tough of a race for horses behind the eight ball on timing and trying to make their first start of the year. It’s an annual mix of stakes re-matches as well as class risers from the ALW and MSW ranks at 1-1/16 miles. Like Oaklawn’s Rebel, it’s a midseason race having almost as much TC impact as the prep it serves. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Following back-to-back MSW and ALW wins at the meet, Danzing Candy (pictured) stepped in class and out-sped 5 rivals, including Lewis Memorial winner Mor Spirit & San Vicente 2nd Exaggerator, the eventual Preakness winner.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: The top 4 finishers in last year’s event all competed in the TC series. Highlights in the stellar San Felipe since 2000 include:

K y Derby : Fusaichi Pegasus (1st,

’00), Giacomo (1st, ’05), Pioneerof The Nile (2nd, ’09), Bodemeister (2nd, ’12), California Chrome (1st, ’14), Dortmund (3rd, ’15), Exaggerator (2nd, ’16).

Preakness : Fusaichi Pegasus (2nd,

’00), Point Given (1st, ’01), Giacomo (3rd, ’05), Bodemeister (2nd, ’12), Creative Cause (3rd, ’12), California Chrome (1st, ’14), Exaggerator (1st, ’16).

Belm ont : Commendable (1st, ’00), Point Given (1st, ’01), Medaglia d’Oro (2nd, ’02).


79

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 San Felipe Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Danzing Candy Smith Sise 104 ’15 Dortmund Garcia Baffert 102 ’14 California Chrome Espinoza Sherman 102 ’13 Hear the Ghost Nakatani Hollendorfer 99 ’12 Creative Cause Rosario Harrington 102 ’11 Premier Pegasus A.Quinonez Cho 100 ’10 Sidney’s Candy Talamo Sadler 93 (s) ’09 Pioneerof the Nile Gomez Baffert 92 (s) ’08 Georgie Boy M. Baze Walsh 95 (s) ’07 Cobalt Blue Espinoza O’Neill 98 Winning Preps for Last 10 San Felipe Stakes Winners ’16 Danzing Candy 1st Allowance (SA) ’15 Dortmund 1st Robert B. Lewis (SA) ’14 California Chrome 1st California Cup Derby (SA) ’13 Hear the Ghost 2nd San Pedro (SA) ’12 Creative Cause 3rd San Vicente (SA) ’11 Premier Pegasus 1st Hollywood Prevue (Hol) ’10 Sidney’s Candy 1st San Vicente (SA) ’09 Pioneerof the Nile 1st Robert B. Lewis (SA) ’08 Georgie Boy 1st San Vicente (SA) ’07 Cobalt Blue 1st Allowance (SA) INSIDE THE SAN FELIPE STAKES: The last 9 times Bob Baffert has had a San Felipe starter, he’s had 2 wins and 7 runner-ups dating back to Roman Ruler’s flop in 2005 when last. Danzing Candy in 2016 snapped a streak of 8 straight San Felipe winners who had exited Top 3 finishes in stakes races (of those coming off of victories). Don’t be afraid of a stretch-out sprinter as 4 consecutive winners from 2010-’13 handled the extra ground.


80

REBEL STAKES March 18, 2017

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: Arguably the most impactful prep of the spring since 2004, check out a winner’s roll featuring American Pharoah, Smarty Jones, Curlin, Lawyer Ron, Lookin At Lucky, Will Take Charge, The Factor and Secret Circle. Its field primarily comes from the Southwest Stakes, local ALW/MSWs and Californians. Rebel alumni have 4 weeks until the Arkansas Derby, 7 weeks before the Kentucky Derby and 9 weeks before the Preakness – the latter a race in which they’ve produced 6 Preakness winners since ’04 and last year’s runner-up. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Bob Baffert wired 13 rivals for his 3rd straight Rebel with eventual G2 Indiana/WV Derby winner Cupid. Also-rans included Belmont winner Creator and Preakness 2nd Cherry Wine. The top 5 finishers in the Rebel all made TC starts in 2016.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since Smarty Jones’ sweep at OP in 2004 and success in the Triple Crown, the highlights for this prep have been remarkable – especially in the Preakness Stakes. Consider:

K y Derby : Smarty Jones (1st, ’04), Afleet Alex (3rd, ’05), Steppenwolfer (3rd, ’06), Curlin (3rd, ’07), American Pharoah (1st, ’15).

Preakness : Smarty Jones (1st,

’04), Afleet Alex (1st, ’05), Curlin (1st, ’07), Lookin At Lucky (1st, ’10), Oxbow (1st, ’13), Ride on Curlin (2nd, ’14), American Pharoah (1st ’15), Cherry Wine (2nd, ’16).

Belm ont : Smarty Jones (2nd, ’04),

Afleet Alex (1st, ’05), Curlin (2nd, ’07), Anak Nakal (3rd, ’08), Atigun (3rd, ’12), Oxbow (2nd, ’13), American Pharoah (1st, ’15), Creator (1st, ’16).


81

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Rebel Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Cupid Garcia Baffert N/A American Pharoah Espinoza Baffert 99 Hoppertunity Smith Baffert 99 Will Take Charge Court Lukas 101 Secret Circle Bejarano Baffert 97 The Factor Garcia Baffert 106 Lookin At Lucky Gomez Baffert 102 Win Willy Berry M. Robertson 104 Sierra Sunset Emigh Bonde 103 Curlin Albarado Asmussen 101

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Rebel Stakes Winners Cupid 1st Maiden (SA) American Pharoah 1st FrontRunner (SA) Hoppertunity 4th Risen Star (FG) Will Take Charge 6th Southwest (OP) Secret Circle 1st Southwest (OP) The Factor 1st San Vicente (SA) Lookin At Lucky 1st Cash Call Futurity (Hol) Win Willy 1st Allowance (OP) Sierra Sunset 2nd Southwest (OP) Curlin 1st Maiden (GP)

INSIDE THE REBEL STAKES: Bob Baffert has won this race 6 of the last 7 years, so it starts with his white-haired wizardry. 8 of the last 11 Rebel winners exited victories in their most-recent prep, while 13 straight were based/trained either at Oaklawn or in California. The Rebel has produced back-to-back Belmont Stakes winners in American Pharoah and Creator and has put 4 straight alumni in a Preakness exacta – Oxbow (1st), Ride On Curlin (2nd), American Pharoah (1st) and Cherry Wine (2nd).


82

SPIRAL STAKES March 25, 2017

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY

KEY INGREDIENTS: The first race in Kentucky to offer Derby qualifying points in 2017, the Spiral has been moved back to 6 weeks out from the Derby. Last year it was held 5 weeks out in a 1-year experiment, and for many years was 7 weeks before the first Saturday in May. Only the Spiral and El Camino Real Derby offer qualifying points for races held over synthetic surfaces. Since Keeneland’s move to dirt, the Spiral is the only key Polytrack prep. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: 23-1 bomber Oscar Nominated led a 5-horse blanket finish and gave Mike Maker his 3rd Spiral winner in the Poly era. Maker saddled 4 of the dozen entrants. Favorite Airoforce turned in consecutive duds on the trail after fizzling at Fair Grounds, though the public had hoped Poly was the elixir.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: From 1990-’93, the Spiral enjoyed its heyday with consecutive Triple Crown series race winners Summer Squall, Hansel, Lil E Tee & Prairie Bayou having ventured through Florence. But things went cold from ’94-’05, so let’s examine the highlights of the Poly era, ’06present.

Ky Derby: Hard Spun (2nd, ‘07), Animal Kingdom (1st, ‘11), Went the Day Well (4th, ’12).

Preakness: Hemingway’s Key (3rd, ’06), Hard Spun (3rd, ‘07), Macho Again (2nd, ’08), Animal Kingdom (2nd, ’08).

Belmont: Hard Spun (4th, ‘07).


83

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Spiral Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Oscar Nominated Hernandez, Jr. Maker 91 Dubai Sky J. Lezcano Mott 103 We Miss Artie Velazquez Pletcher 93 Black Onyx Bravo Breen 96 Went the Day Well Velazquez Motion 103 Animal Kingdom Garcia Motion 97 Dean’s Kitten Velasquez Maker 101 Hold Me Back Desormeaux Mott 101 Adriano Prado Motion 101 Hard Spun Pino L. Jones 106

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Spiral Stakes Winners Oscar Nominated 1st Black Gold (FG) Dubai Sky 1st Kitten’s Joy (GP) We Miss Artie 8th Fountain of Youth (GP) Black Onyx 1st Allowance (GP) Went the Day Well 1st Maiden (GP) Animal Kingdom 2nd Allowance (GP) Dean’s Kitten 2nd Palm Beach (GP) Hold Me Back 5th Remsen (Aqu) Adriano 9th Fountain of Youth (GP) Hard Spun 4th Southwest (OP)

INSIDE THE SPIRAL STAKES: Graham Motion, Bill Mott and Mike Maker account for 8 of the 11 scores since going to Polytrack. 7 of the last 9 Spiral winners were horses who had raced on the turf at Gulfstream during the winter. Horses who have prepped last at Turfway have finished 2nd or 3rd in each of the last 4 years. Despite a 23-1 upset winner last year, note 8 of the last 10 Spirals have been won by horses in single-digit odds.


84

SUNLAND DERBY March 26, 2017

Derby points: 50-20-10-5 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: New Mexico’s only Kentucky Derby points prep, the Sunland Derby has been a favorite stop for west coast horsemen traveling east since its 2003 debut. Names like Baffert, O’Neill, Bonde, Machowsky and Callaghan have made successful raids from California. It’s offered at 1 1/8 miles on dirt, over a very fast racing surface that can fool speed-figure players and those following the stopwatch. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Last year’s Sunland Derby was cancelled due to a viral outbreak and quarantine at the track. A revised Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes was added to the menu. Collected wired that field for Bob Baffert. He added Keeneland’s Lexington and finished 10th in the Preakness. Runner-up Gettysburg would go on to be a Belmont Stakes participant/rabbit.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: In its 12 years, the Sunland Derby has 2 TC race winners – Mine That Bird and Ruler On Ice, not to mention a pair of runner-ups in its last 2 renewals contested – Firing Line ’15 Derby (pictured) and Commissioner ’14 Belmont. Its alumni in the TC all-time:

K y Derby : Firing Line (2nd, ’15),

Chitu (9th, ’14), Daddy Nose best (10th, ’12), Twice the Appeal (10th, ’11), Conveyance (‘15th, ’10), Mine That Bird (1st, ’09), Advice (13th, ’09), Sort It Out (17th, ’05).

Preakness : Firing Line (7th, ’15),

Govenor Charlie (8th, ’13), Daddy Nose Best (9th, ’12), Astrology (3rd, ’11), Mine That Bird (2nd, ’09).

Belm ont : Commissioner (2nd, ’14)

Ruler On Ice (1st, ’11), Mine That Bird (3rd, ’09), Southern Africa (8th, ’05).


85

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Sunland Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’15 Firing Line Stevens Callaghan 101 ’14 Chitu Garcia Baffert 103 ’13 Govenor Charlie Garcia Baffert 99 ’12 Daddy Nose Best Leparoux Asmussen 101 ’11 Twice the Appeal Reyes Bonde 95 ’10 Endorsement Albarado Ritter 99 ’09 Kelly Leak Smith Machowsky 92 ’08 Liberty Bull G.Melancon Amoss 91 ’07 Song of Navarone Espinoza Dominguez 104 ’06 Wanna Runner Espinoza Baffert 99 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06

Winning Preps for Last 10 Sunland Derby Winners Firing Line 2nd Lewis Memorial (SA) Chitu 2nd Lewis Memorial (SA) Govenor Charlie 1st Maiden (SA) Daddy Nose Best 1st El Camino Real Derby (GG) Twice the Appeal 4th Turf Paradise Derby (TuP) Endorsement 1st Maiden (OP) Kelly Leak 1st Allowance (SA) Liberty Bull 3rd Southwest (OP) Song of Navarone 3rd Sham (SA) Wanna Runner 5th El Camino Real Derby (BM)

INSIDE THE SUNLAND DERBY: Note: Race not held last year due to quarantine/viral outbreak, so results above reflect through 2015. Horses who wintered in California have won 6 of the last 7 editions of this race, including the last 5 in a row. West coaster Collected also shipped in to win the 2016 Sunland Park Festival of Racing, the fill-in race for the Sunland Park Derby. Look for runners in solid form with 6 of the last 7 victors exiting a Top 2 prep finish. Those tuning up in the local Borderland Derby have struggled to handle the shippers.


86

FLORIDA DERBY April 1, 2017

Derby points: 100-40-20-10 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: The eastern place to be on the Triple Crown trail, Gulfstream’s 3YO series spans from the first of the New Year through this prime real estate 5 weeks out from the Kentucky Derby. Nyquist became the 23rd Florida Derby alum to wear the roses and brought this prep into a tie with the Blue Grass for most all-time.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: The past 11 years have seen Barbaro, Big Brown, Orb and Nyquist win the Ky Derby via the Florida Derby. Consider the roll this race has been on in terms of highlights since 2006:

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Champion 2yo Nyquist (pictured) chased a $1M Fasig-Tipton Sales bonus by returning from California for an early season No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with Mohaymen, the 4/5 favorite off his Fountain of Youth score. It proved no contest in a 3 ¼-length victory in virtually wire-to-wire style by Nyquist. The top 4 all made TC appearances.

Preakness : Nyquist (3rd, ’16),

K y Derby : Nyquist (1st, ’16), Orb

(1st, ’13), Ice Box (2nd, ’10), Big Brown (1st, ’08), Barbaro (1st, ’06). Itsmyluckyday (2nd, ’13), Shackleford (1st, ’11), First Dude (2nd, ’10), Big Brown (1st, ’08).

Belm ont : Orb (3rd, ’13), Union

Rags (1st, ’12), First Dude (3rd, ’10), Dunkirk (2nd, ’09), Da’Tara (1st, ’08), Sunriver (3rd, ’06).


87

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Florida Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Nyquist Gutierrez O’Neill 97 Materiality Velazquez Pletcher 105 Constitution Castellano Pletcher 97 Orb Velazquez McGaughey 97 Take Charge Indy Borel Byrne 104 Dialed In Leparoux Zito 101 Ice Box Lezcano Zito 101 Quality Road Velazquez J. Jerkens 103 Big Brown Desormeaux R. Dutrow 110 Scat Daddy Prado Pletcher 101

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Florida Derby Winners Nyquist 1st San Vicente (SA) Materiality 1st Overnight stakes (GP) Constitution 1st Allowance (GP) Orb 1st Fountain of Youth (GP) Take Charge Indy 2nd Allowance (GP) Dialed In 2nd Allowance (GP) Ice Box 5th Fountain of Youth (GP) Quality Road 1st Fountain of Youth (GP) Big Brown 1st Allowance (GP) Scat Daddy 1st Fountain of Youth (GP)

INSIDE THE FLORIDA DERBY: Only 1 of the last 6 winners exited the Fountain of Youth. Empire Maker (’03) and Nyquist (’16) are the only shippers to win the Florida Derby in recent years. 10 of the last 11 winners exited a first or second-place prep finish (last 4 in a row exited victories). Fields of 8-10 have been the norm of late, including 10 a year ago despite the presence of champion Nyquist.


88

LOUISIANA DERBY April 1, 2017

Derby points: 100-40-20-10 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: The Louisiana Derby can make a case as one of America’s fastestgrowing Triple Crown preps. It’s history is long and rich, but in the past 7 years since being pushed later on the calendar as a final prep and extended to 1-1/8 miles, it’s seen a renaissance.

closing favorite Mo Tom settled for fourth after a troubled trip. Three of the top 4 moved onto the Ky Derby, including Tom’s Ready. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since changing its date and distance in 2010, the La Derby has taken off in terms of production. At least 1 alumnus has hit a TC race trifecta each year except ’12.

The taxing Fair Grounds stretch of 1,346 feet actually is more than 111 feet longer than Churchill Downs, providing a realistic dress rehearsal. The Louisiana Derby gets its field from the Lecomte and Risen Star locally as well as shippers from Florida who often are being separated from other stablemates in that region.

Commanding Curve (2nd, ’14), Golden Soul (2nd, ’13), Revolutionary (3rd, ’13), Nehro (2nd, 11), Mucho Macho Man (3rd, ’11).

MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Risen Star winner Gun Runner drew off by 4 ½ lengths as deep-

Palace Malice (1st, ’13), Drosselmeyer (1st, ’10), Fly Down (2nd, ’10).

K y Derby : Gun Runner (3rd, ’16),

Preakness : Mylute (3rd, ’13). Belm ont : Keen Ice (3rd, ’15),


89

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Louisiana Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Gun Runner Geroux Asmussen 100 ’15 International Star Mena Maker 99 ’14 Vicar’s in Trouble Napravnik Maker 104 ’13 Revolutionary Castellano Pletcher 105 ’12 Hero of Order Martin Dorochenko 95 ’11 Pants On Fire Napravnik Breen 97 ’10 Mission Impazible Maragh Pletcher 97 ’09 Friesan Fire G. Saez L. Jones 103 ’08 Pyro Bridgmohan Asmussen 100 ’07 Circular Quay Velazquez Pletcher 105 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Louisiana Derby Winners Gun Runner 1st Risen Star (FG) International Star 1st Risen Star (FG) Vicar’s in Trouble 3rd Risen Star (FG) Revolutionary 1st Withers (Aqu) Hero of Order 4th Black Gold (FG) Pants On Fire 6th Risen Star (FG) Mission Impazible 3rd Southwest (OP) Friesan Fire 1st Risen Star (FG) Pyro 1st Risen Star (FG) Circular Quay 5th Risen Star (FG)

INSIDE THE LOUISIANA DERBY: 10 straight La Derby winners exited stakes bids, while 7 of the last 10 competed in the Risen Star on the local path. In fact, 4 times in the last 9 years, the Risen Star winner has doubled-down to take the Louisiana Derby. West coast invaders haven’t won a Louisiana Derby since the early/mid2000s when Bobby Frankel and Bob Baffert tasted success in the Big Easy. Only 1 of the last 9 La Derby editions was swept 1-2-3 by locally prepped horses, so expect at least 1 shipper on the ticket.


WOOD MEMORIAL

90

April 8, 2017

KEY INGREDIENTS: Downgraded to a G2 stakes this year for the first time since 2001. Still, the Wood has not produced a Kentucky Derby Top 3 finisher since Funny Cide and Empire Maker ran 1-2 in 2003. Sure, there’s been bad luck – namely injuries to Eskendereya and I Want Revenge. But it’s no coincidence that since the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby dates moved to become last-stop preps and not mid-season preps, the Wood has fallen from grandeur. The Wood shares the weekend with the Santa Anita Derby and Blue Grass as preps 4 weeks out from Derby Day. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Over a quagmire of a sloppy track, Outwork (pictured) outlasted 7

Derby points: 100-40-20-10 STAKES HISTORY rivals including 81-1 west coast maiden Trojan Nation by a head to give Todd Pletcher his 4th victory in the last 6 years of the Wood. Gotham champ Shagaf offered little in 5th. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since the Florida Derby’s ’06 rise, the best the Wood has offered in the Triple Crown has been:

K y Derby : Frosted (4th, ’15),

Wicked Strong (4th, ’14), Normandy Invasion (4th, ’13), Tale of Ekati (4th, ’08).

Preakness : Social Inclusion (3rd, ’14), Jackson Bend (3rd, ’10).

Belm ont : Frosted (2nd, ’15),

Wicked Strong (4th, ’14), Street Life (4th, ’12), Anak Nakal (3rd, ’08).


91

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Wood Memorial Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Outwork Velazquez Pletcher 96 ’15 Frosted Rosario McLaughlin 107 ’14 Wicked Strong Maragh J. Jerkens 103 ’13 Verrazano Velazquez Pletcher 100 ’12 Gemologist Castellano Pletcher 104 ’11 Toby’s Corner Castro Motion 97 ’10 Eskendereya Velazquez Pletcher 102 ’09 I Want Revenge Talamo Mullins 109 ’08 Tale Of Ekati Prado Tagg 100 ’07 Nobiz Like Shobiz C. Velasquez Tagg 102 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Wood Memorial Winners Outwork 2nd Fountain of Youth (GP) Frosted 4th Fountain of Youth (GP) Wicked Strong 4th Allowance (GP) Verrazano 1st Tampa Bay Derby (Tam) Gemologist 1st Allowance (GP) Toby’s Corner 3rd Gotham (Aqu) Eskendereya 1st Fountain of Youth (GP) I Want Revenge 1st Gotham (Aqu) Tale Of Ekati 6th Louisiana Derby (FG) Nobiz Like Shobiz 3rd Fountain of Youth (GP)

INSIDE THE WOOD MEMORIAL: 6 of the last 7 Wood winners shipped north from Florida to score, including 5 straight. Favorites have won 4 of the last 8. Entering off a win isn’t a must either, as 7 of the last 11 winners lost their prior starts. Todd Pletcher’s deep bench has won 4 of the last 7 Wood Memorial offerings via Florida. The Gotham Stakes has produced only 2 Wood winners in the past decade.


92

BLUE GRASS STAKES April 8, 2017

Derby points: 100-40-20-10 STAKES HISTORY

KEY INGREDIENTS: Downgraded this year to a G2 for the first time since 1998, it will be interesting to see the impact on the field. Prediction: negligible. A full field of 14 converged last year after some worries in 2015 about Blue Grass field sizes on dirt. This will be the third Blue Grass back on dirt and the first two both were won by horses-for-courses who had won G1s here at age 2. It’s still at a key 4-week out interval in Derby prep scheduling and gets you to Kentucky early to settle in. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner Brody’s Cause (pictured) followed the previous year’s Blue Grass champ, Carpe Diem, in sweeping Kee’s leading 2yo-3yo events. Brody’s Cause would be 7th in the

Derby, My Man Sam 11th. Cherry Wine represented the Blue Grass well with a runner-up in the Preakness in his next start. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since going back to dirt, Blue Grass alumni are 6: 0-0-0 in the Ky Derby with a fifth-place finish topping the list. Here’s how the previous, 8year Polytrack era highlights fared:

K y Derby : Street Sense (1st, ’07),

Paddy O’Prado (3rd, ’10), Dullahan (3rd, ’12).

Preakness : Street Sense (2nd,

’07), First Dude (2nd, ’10).

Belm ont : First Dude (3rd, ’10),

Brilliant Speed (3rd, ’11), Palace Malice (1st, ’13), Medal Count (3rd, ’14).


93

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Blue Grass Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ‘16 Brody’s Cause Saez Romans 94 (d) ’15 Carpe Diem Velazquez Pletcher 102 (d) ’14 Dance With Fate Nakatani Eurton 99 ’13 Java’s War Leparoux McPeek 96 ’12 Dullahan Desormeaux Romans 102 ’11 Brilliant Speed Rosario Albertrani 97 ’10 Stately Victor A. Garcia Maker 99 ’09 General Quarters Coa T. McCarthy 98 ’08 Monba Prado Pletcher 97 ’07 Dominican Bejarano D. Miller 98 Winning Preps for Last 10 Blue Grass Stakes Winners ’16 Brody’s Cause 7th Tampa Bay Derby (Tam) ’15 Carpe Diem 1st Tampa Bay Derby (Tam) ’14 Dance With Fate 2nd El Camino Real Derby (GG) ’13 Java’s War 2nd Tampa Bay Derby (Tam) ’12 Dullahan 2nd Palm Beach (GP) ’11 Brilliant Speed 2nd Hallandale Beach (GP) ’10 Stately Victor 5th Allowance (GP) ’09 General Quarters 5th Tampa Bay Derby (Tam) ’08 Monba 12th Fountain of Youth (GP) ’07 Dominican 1st Rushaway (TP) INSIDE THE BLUE GRASS STAKES: It’s been 26 years since Strike the Gold swept the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby in 1991. And no Blue Grass winner has won any Triple Crown race since Prairie Bayou’s 1993 Preakness. Even so, a co-record 23 Blue Grass alumni have worn the roses in Louisville (shared with Florida Derby), the last of which was Street Sense in 2007. Tampa Bay Derby alumni have won 4 of the last 8 editions, including scores on both Polytrack and dirt. 8 of the last 9 winners wintered in Florida.


94

SANTA ANITA DERBY April 8, 2017

Derby points: 100-40-20-10 STAKES HISTORY

KEY INGREDIENTS: A galvanizing series of local preps builds perfectly to the 1-1/8 miles Santa Anita Derby. An occasional shipper from Northern California may appear, but this race typically comes down to the alumni of the Bob Lewis Memorial and the San Felipe. In the last 6 years, trainers Doug O’Neill and Bob Baffert have horded 4 of the victories – and Baffert was 2nd in the last two times when one of those barns didn’t win. The SA Derby is most often won on or near the front. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Exaggerator (pictured) rallied from 16+ lengths behind in last to roll home by 6 ¼ lengths in the slop. Danzing Candy set a blistering pace with a :45.24 opening half & wound up fourth.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Since ’11 return to dirt, TC bids:

Ky Derby: Exaggerator (2nd, ’16),

Mor Spirit (10th, ’16), Danzing Candy (15th, ’16), Dortmund (3rd, ’15), Bolo (12th, ’15), Cal Chrome (1st, ’14), Goldencents (17th, ’13), I’ll Have Another (1st, ’12), Creative Cause (5th, ’12), Liaison (6th, ’12), Midnight Interlude (16th, ’11), Comma to the Top (19th, ’11)

Preakness: Exaggerator (1st, 16),

Uncle Lino (7th, ’16), Dortmund (4th, ’15), California Chrome (1st, ’14), Candy Boy (13th, ’14), Goldencents (5th, ’13), I’ll Have Another (1st, ’12), Creative Cause (3rd, ’12), Midnight Interlude (3rd, ’11), Mr. Commons (8th, ’11)

Belmont: Exaggerator (11th, ’16),

California Chrome (4th, ’14), Paynter (2nd, ’12)


95

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Santa Anita Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Exaggerator Desormeaux Desormeaux 102 ’15 Dortmund Garcia Baffert 106 ’14 California Chrome Espinoza Sherman 106 ’13 Goldencents Krigger O’Neill 106 ’12 I’ll Have Another Gutierrez O’Neill 98 ’11 Midnight Interlude Espinoza Baffert 98 ’10 Sidney’s Candy Talamo Sadler 99 (s) ’09 Pioneerof the Nile Gomez Baffert 95 (s) ’08 Colonel John Nakatani Harty 98 (s) ’07 Tiago Smith Shirreffs 100 Winning Preps for Last 10 Santa Anita Derby Winners ’16 Exaggerator 3rd San Felipe (SA) ’15 Dortmund 1st San Felipe (SA) ’14 California Chrome 1st San Felipe (SA) ’13 Goldencents 4th San Felipe (SA) ’12 I’ll Have Another 1st Lewis Memorial (SA) ’11 Midnight Interlude 1st Maiden (SA) ’10 Sidney’s Candy 1st San Felipe (SA) ’09 Pioneerof the Nile 1st San Felipe (SA) ’08 Colonel John 1st Sham (SA) ’07 Tiago 7th Lewis Memorial (SA) INSIDE THE SANTA ANITA DERBY: 11 straight winners exited local SA preps, including 10 of the last 11 from local stakes bids. 6 of the last 8 winners tuned up in the San Felipe (4 in a row have exited that same prep). Exaggerator, Tiago, Castledale and Buddy Gil are the only SA Derby dirt winners in the last 20 years to rally from more than 4 lengths back to score.


96

ARKANSAS DERBY April 15, 2017

Derby points: 100-40-20-10 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: Creator’s Belmont a year ago was the 12th Triple Crown race victory produced by the Arkansas Derby since 2004. Fourth in line in OP’s seasonal series, it’s impossible to undervalue the $5M Centennial Season Bonus in ’04 captured by Smarty Jones and this race’s rise. What’s become unique is that Arkansas is the only 100-pt prep 3 weeks in front of the Ky Derby in what used to be the busiest slot. Big fields, huge crowds and pre-race hub-bub serve as the trail’s most realistic rehearsal. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Creator (pictured) rallied from last of 12 to pull an 11-1 upset as Rebel Stakes alumni swept the top 3 spots and all moved on to the Kentucky Derby (including 2nd Suddenbreakingnews and 3rdplace Whitmore).

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: The highlights since ’04 have been unparalleled, including ’15 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah:

K y Derby : American Pharoah (1st,

’15), Danza (3rd, ’14), Bodemeister (2nd, ’12), Nehro (2nd ’11), Super Saver (1st, ’10), Curlin (3rd, ’07), Steppenwolfer (3rd, ’06), Afleet Alex (3rd, ’05), Smarty Jones (1st, ’04).

Preakness : American Pharoah

(1st, ’15), Ride On Curlin (2nd, ’14), Oxbow (1st, ’13), Bodemeister (2nd, ’12), Curlin (1st, ’07), Afleet Alex (1st, ’05), Smarty Jones (1st, ’04).

Belm ont : Creator (1st, ’16),

American Pharoah (1st, ’15), Commissioner (2nd, ’14), Atigun (3rd, ’12), Summer Bird (1st, ’09), Curlin (2nd, ’07), Afleet Alex (1st, ’05), Andromeda’s Hero (2nd, ’05), Smarty Jones (2nd, ’04).


97

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Arkansas Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Creator Santana Asmussen 100 ’15 American Pharoah Espinoza Baffert 102 ’14 Danza Bravo Pletcher 104 ’13 Overanalyze Bejarano Pletcher 96 ’12 Bodemeister Smith Baffert 105 ’11 Archarcharch Court Fires 99 ’10 Line of David Court Sadler 99 ’09 Papa Clem Bejarano G. Stute 100 ’08 Gayego Smith Lobo 101 ’07 Curlin Albarado Asmussen 102 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Arkansas Derby Winners Creator 3rd Rebel (OP) American Pharoah 1st Rebel (OP) Danza 3rd Allowance (GP) Overanalyze 5th Gotham (Aqu) Bodemeister 2nd San Felipe (SA) Archarcharch 3rd Rebel (OP) Line of David 1st Allowance (SA) Papa Clem 2nd Louisiana Derby (FG) Gayego 2nd San Felipe (SA) Curlin 1st Rebel (OP)

INSIDE THE ARKANSAS DERBY: Bob Baffert has trained the last 6 Arkansas Derby favorites – The Factor (7th), Bodemeister (1st), War Academy (DNF), Bayern (3rd), American Pharoah (1st) and Cupid (10th) – with VERY mixed results. Five of the last 9 winners shipped in from California bases (2 for Baffert, also Lobo, Stute and Sadler). Horses have rebounded off losses with much success of late with 7 of the last 9 winners coming off of a defeat – 5 of those from out of town.


98

LEXINGTON STAKES April 15, 2017

Derby points: 10-4-2-1 STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: This will mark the third Lexington since the race returned to dirt and was moved to a spot 3 weeks out from the Kentucky Derby on the calendar. Yes, it’s a last chance to get qualifying points on the Triple Crown trail along with the Arkansas Derby, but it’s yet to produce a Ky Derby participant in that scenario. It remains more a Preakness prep. At 1-1/16 miles, note the truncated stretch run that uses the sixteenthpole finish line. You don’t want to be far off the pace over this Kee trip – the past 2 winners on dirt were within 2 lengths of the lead. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: West coasters ran 1-2 throughout as Collected (pictured) reeled in 40-1 One More Round and drew away by 4 lengths. Breeders’ Cup

Juvenile runner-up Swipe was sixth as the 2-1 favorite in his first start of the season. TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: The past 2 Lexington Stakes on dirt have produced Preakness bids, but only one horse each year made the TC series (Divining Rod, 3rd, ’15; Collected 10th, ’16). The Lexington’s TC-winning alumni of the past 30+ years include:

K y Derby : Charismatic (’99, 1st), Swale (’84, 1st).

Preakness : Charismatic (’99, 1st),

Hansel (’91, 1st), Risen Star (’88, 1st)

Belm ont : Touch Gold (’97, 1st),

Hansel (’91, 1st), Risen Star (’88, 1st)


99

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Lexington Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Collected Castellano Baffert 94 (d) ’15 Divining Rod Leparoux Delacour 96 (d) ’14 Mr. Speaker Lezcano McGaughey 99 ’13 Winning Cause Leparoux Pletcher 86 ’12 All Squared Away J. Garcia Ward 97 ’11 Derby Kitten Leparoux Maker 96 ’10 Exhi Albarado Pletcher 97 ’09 Advice Gomez Pletcher 93 ’08 Behindatthebar Flores Pletcher 99 ’07 Slew’s Tizzy Albarado Fox 94 Winning Preps for Last 10 Lexington Stakes Winners ’16 Collected 1st Sunland Festival of Racing (Sun) ’15 Divining Rod 3rd Tampa Bay Derby (Tam) ’14 Mr. Speaker 2nd Palm Beach (GP) ’13 Winning Cause 1st Allowance (Kee) ’12 All Squared Away 6th Spiral (TP) ’11 Derby Kitten 2nd Alligator Alley (GP) ’10 Exhi 1st Rushaway (TP) ’09 Advice 5th Sunland Derby (Sun) ’08 Behindatthebar 1st Allowance (SA) ’07 Slew’s Tizzy 7th Louisiana Derby (FG) INSIDE THE LEXINGTON STAKES: 7 of the last 8 Lexington winners were coming off of stakes bids and only twice this decade has a runner risen in class out of the allowance ranks to win this race. That means it’s less of a springboard race to the next level and more of a reasonable spot for horses who have been challenged by either longer distances or top-level 3YOs. Todd Pletcher won this race 4 times in the Polytrack era, but has had only 1 starter in past 2 years on dirt (4th in 2010 with Comfort).


100

FEDERICO TESIO STAKES April 22, 2016

Derby points: none STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: A “Win & You’re In” for the Preakness, Maryland’s traditional prep for the middle jewel will be at Laurel Park for the second straight year after decades a Pimlico. It’s a race that has lured the likes of Ruler On Ice in 2011, who would eventually win the Belmont Stakes. The Tesio stretches hopefuls out to 1-1/8 miles and is preceded on the local stakes schedule by the Jan. 21 Frank Whiteley (7 furlongs), Feb. 18 Miracle Wood (1 mile) and Mar. 18 Private Terms (1 1/16 miles). MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Awesome Speed was placed 1st after the DQ of Governor Malibu following a big-time battle between the pair of shippers (pictured). Both would go on to Triple Crown appearances in later starts.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Preakness starters have been produced in 3 straight years after failing to do so between 2009-‘13. Of its last 14 editions, it’s offered a Belmont winner and 2 Preakness placings. Consider:

K y Derby : None. Preakness : Awesome Speed (9th,

’16), Bodhisattva (8th, ’15), Kid Cruz (8th, ’14), Icabad Crane (3rd, ’08), Xchanger (8th, ’07), Malibu Moonshine (8th, ’05), Water Cannon (10th, ’04), Cherokee’s Boy (8th, ’03), Magic Weisner (2nd, ’02).

Belm ont : Governor Malibu (4th,

’16), Matuszak (DNF, ’14), Ruler On Ice (1st, ’11), Miner’s Escape (10th, ’09), Icabad Crane (8th, ’08).


101

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Tesio Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) Awesome Speed Toledo Goldberg 97 Bodhisattva McCarthy Corrales 95 Kid Cruz Pimentel L. Rice 90 Abstraction Goncalves D. Carroll 95 Concealed Identity Russell E. Gaudet 96 Bank The Eight Pino T. Dutrow 91 Miner’s Escape Garcia Zito 96 Icabad Crane Rose Motion 94 Xchanger Domingez Shuman 102 Ah Day Fogelsonger Leatherbury 108

’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06

Winning Preps for Last 10 Tesio Stakes Winners Awesome Sped 4th Fountain of Youth (GP) Bodhisattva 2nd Private Terms (Lrl) Kid Cruz 1st Private Terms (Lrl) Abstraction 1st Maiden (FG) Concealed Identity 1st Allowance (Pim) Bank The Eight 1st Allowance (Prx) Miner’s Escape 1st Maiden (GP) Icabad Crane 3rd Rushaway (TP) Xchanger 7th Rebel (OP) Ah Day 1st Allowance (Lrl)

INSIDE THE FEDERICO TESIO STAKES: The last locally based post-time favorite was Etude in 2007. Favorites have won the Tesio 6 times in the last 11 editions, including 3-5 shot Awesome Speed last year via DQ. The Tesio has been a successful stop for Parxbased runners who don’t have any stakes of note for 3-year-olds this time of year, and they’ve fared well here in recent years in limited engagements.


BET ANY RACE FROM ANY PLACE

$

Free to Use Live Odds Deposit Money Withdraw Money Stream Video View Results

Whether you’re sitting on your couch or at the track, never wait in line or miss a bet with Xpressbet Mobile.

/mobile


 Our expert horses-to-watch, fullcard picks, multi-race suggested wagers, stakes picks and more!  TRUSTED since 2008.  Offered exclusively on big-event days in 2017.  Purchase individually or save more than 70% by subscription!  Put 8 handicappers on your team!

Only $125 for all 25 big-event days! $15-25 individual purchase price.


104

KENTUCKY DERBY May 6, 2017

STAKES HISTORY KEY INGREDIENTS: Every piece of the Kentucky Derby puzzle offers a new challenge. Who will first handle 1-1/4 miles? Who can tote 126 pounds under top class conditions and distance? Who will keep the nerves in check in front of upwards of 170,000 screaming fans? Check off these boxes and you’re a long way to determining who may be draped in roses – granted, they get a clean trip and also are peaking May 6. A lot will be made for horses who handle Churchill Downs’ surface and those who do not. A few points of caution: don’t overrate 2YO performance at Churchill in the Fall Meet with success in the Spring. The two surfaces are handled quite differently in terms of moisture content and the Fall surface is far more loose and cuppy than the Spring footing at Churchill that is sped up decidedly.

Also, don’t mistake good workouts over the Churchill surface in the weeks leading up to the Derby as a mulligan for prep performances. Many sharp workers without credentials have been false buzz over the decades. You want legitimate horses working well at Churchill and that gives them an extra feather in the handicapping cap. Horses working poorly can almost universally be dismissed. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Nyquist joined Street Sense as the only BC Juvenile winners to add the Derby, running his record to a perfect 8-for-8. The top 4 betting choices swept the superfecta in exact order. It marked a second Derby win in 4 years for the Gutierrez-O’Neill-Reddam trio (I’ll Have Another ’12). The secondlargest crowd ever (167,227) looked on a year after a Derbyrecord 170,513 fans were on hand.


105

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Kentucky Derby Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Nyquist Gutierrez O’Neill 104 ’15 American Pharoah Espinoza Baffert 100 ’14 California Chrome Espinoza Sherman 103 ’13 Orb Rosario McCaughey 111 ’12 I’ll Have Another Gutierrez O’Neill 108 ’11 Animal Kingdom Velazquez Motion 105 ’10 Super Saver Borel Pletcher 105 ’09 Mine That Bird Borel Woolley 110 ’08 Big Brown Desormeaux R. Dutrow 111 ’07 Street Sense Borel Nafzger 108 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Kentucky Derby Winners Nyquist 1st Florida Derby (GP) American Pharoah 1st Arkansas Derby (OP) California Chrome 1st Santa Anita Derby (SA) Orb 1st Florida Derby (GP) I’ll Have Another 1st Santa Anita Derby (SA) Animal Kingdom 1st Spiral (TP) Super Saver 2nd Arkansas Derby (OP) Mine That Bird 4th Sunland Derby (Sun) Big Brown 1st Florida Derby (GP) Street Sense 2nd Blue Grass (Kee)

INSIDE THE KENTUCKY DERBY: West coast-based horses have won 4 of the last 5 Derbies, and notably ran 1-2 last year after sweeping 1-2-3 the previous go ‘round. Favorites have won 4 straight Kentucky Derbies, matching the run from 1972-’75, and have won 8 of the last 17. Nyquist at 2.30-1 was the heaviest-priced favorite in a 20-horse Derby since War Admiral in 1937 at 1.60-1. No Derby winner has entered his 3YO season a maiden since Monarchos in ’01; and note 9 of the last 11 were stakes performers at age 2.


106

PETER PAN STAKES May 13, 2017

STAKES HISTORY

KEY INGREDIENTS: Downgraded this year from G2 to G3 status for the first time since 1980. The Peter Pan offers a local prep over ‘Big Sandy’ for Belmont Stakes hopefuls and middledistance runners alike. It’s contested at 1-1/8 miles around 1 turn, so it lures a mix of late bloomers looking to the final jewel as well as those with some distance limitations. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Previously unbeaten Unified (pictured) stretched out to go 3for-3 as the odds-on favorite. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens opted to skip the Belmont marathon distance, but runner-up Governor Malibu would go on to run fourth in the final jewel of the Triple Crown for Christophe Clement of Tonalist fame.

TRIPLE CROWN IMPACT: Tonalist in 2014 was the first Peter Pan-Belmont sweeper since AP Indy in ’92 and first Peter Pan alumnus to win the white carnations since Lemon Drop Kid in ’99. Since ’02, here are the best finishes of the Peter Pan alumni:

Belm ont : Governor Malibu (4th,

’16), Tonalist (1st, ’14), Commissioner (2nd, ’14), Street Life (4th, ’12), Charitable Man (4th, ’09), Ready’s Echo (dh-3rd, ’09), Sunriver (3rd, ’06), Sunday Break (3rd, ’02).


107

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Peter Pan Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Unified J. Ortiz J. Jerkens 95 ’15 Madefromlucky Castellano Pletcher 99 ’14 Tonalist Rosario Clement 107 ’13 Freedom Child Saez Albertrani 105 ’12 Mark Valeski Napravnik L. Jones 102 ’11 Alternation Dominguez D. Von Hemel 103 ‘09 Charitable Man A. Garcia McLaughlin 103 ’08 Casino Drive Desormeaux Fujisawa 109 ’07 Sightseeing Prado McGaughey 99 ’06 Sunriver Bejarano Pletcher 103 ’05 Oratory Bailey Albertrani 114 Winning Preps for Last 10 Peter Pan Stakes Winners ‘16 Unified 1st Bay Shore (Aqu) ’15 Madefromlucky 4th Arkansas Derby (OP) ’14 Tonalist 2nd Allowance (GP) ’13 Freedom Child 10th Wood Memorial (Aqu) ’12 Mark Valeski 2nd Louisiana Derby (FG) ’11 Alternation 5th Arkansas Derby (OP) ‘09 Charitable Man 7th Blue Grass (Kee) ’08 Casino Drive 1st Maiden (Kyoto/Japan) ’07 Sightseeing 2nd Wood Memorial (Aqu) ’06 Sunriver 3rd Florida Derby (GP) INSIDE THE PETER PAN STAKES: Arkansas Derby alumni have found the Peter Pan timing to their liking with precision strikes when they show up, including Purge, Alternation, runnerup Commissioner and Madefromlucky. It’s been a race for horses fairly close to the pace and formful finishes in recent years.


108

PREAKNESS STAKES May 20, 2017

KEY INGREDIENTS: The middle jewel of the Triple Crown remains the series’ truest test, evidenced by only 2 winners in the last century at 20-1 or more … even when contested over wet racetracks the past 2 years. Widely overblown by horseplayers, horsemen and the media is the 2week turnaround between the Derby and Preakness. Since 1983, only 2 Preakness winners weren’t in action over Derby weekend. You’re looking for a legitimate Derby winner to repeat his performance, or a troubled-trip horse from Louisville capable of turning the tables. That’s the gist of the handicapping process. Note that horses bet to 5-2 or less favoritism in the Ky Derby own a superior 7: 5-1-1 record in

STAKES HISTORY the Preakness since 1990 – with Nyquist’s third a year ago the worst performance. Strong Derby favorites rarely miss the mark in the Preakness with a smaller field size and truer race. The vast majority of Preakness winners the past decade have been near the pace with Curlin in 2007 and Exaggerator a year ago the most recent to win from more than 5 lengths off the early pace. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Wet-track freak Exaggerator relished the off conditions and oneupped his Derby runner-up. He became the first Derby second to rebound in the Preakness since Prairie Bayou in 1993 (third since ’60). Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist suffered is first loss in 9 starts when third.


109

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Preakness Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Exaggerator Desormeaux Desormeaux 104 ’15 American Pharoah Espinoza Baffert 100 ’14 California Chrome Espinoza Sherman 105 ’13 Oxbow Stevens Lukas 112 ’12 I’ll Have Another Gutierrez O’Neill 109 ’11 Shackleford Castanon Romans 103 ’10 Lookin At Lucky Garcia Baffert 104 ’09 Rachel Alexandra Borel Asmussen 105 ’08 Big Brown Desormeaux R. Dutrow 101 ’07 Curlin Albarado Asmussen 113 Winning Preps for Last 10 Preakness Stakes Winners ’16 Exaggerator 2nd Kentucky Derby (CD) ’15 American Pharoah 1st Kentucky Derby (CD) ’14 California Chrome 1st Kentucky Derby (CD) ’13 Oxbow 6th Kentucky Derby (CD) ’12 I’ll Have Another 1st Kentucky Derby (CD) ’11 Shackleford 4th Kentucky Derby (CD) ’10 Lookin At Lucky 6th Kentucky Derby (CD) ’09 Rachel Alexandra 1st Kentucky Oaks (CD) ’08 Big Brown 1st Kentucky Derby (CD) ’07 Curlin 3rd Kentucky Derby (CD) INSIDE THE PREAKNESS STAKES: West coast-based horses have won Preakness 5 of last 7 years. The last 2 Preakness runner-ups have been Derby exclusions on points – Tale of Verve & Cherry Wine. Kentucky Derby winners are 11-for-17 in the Preakness exacta since 2000, including 7 wins. 10 straight Preakness winners have come off 2-week layoffs (9 Derby alumni, 1 Oaks).Trainer Bob Baffert is 4for-4 in the Preakness when bringing the Derby winner (American Pharoah, War Emblem, Real Quiet, Silver Charm).


110

BELMONT STAKES June 10, 2017

STAKES HISTORY

KEY INGREDIENTS: The final jewel of the Triple Crown is dubbed the “Test of a Champion” because of its 1 1/2 miles distance. Few championships actually have been won here in recent years, though. American Pharoah proved his mettle in sweeping the series in 2015. Belmont heroes ala Tonalist, Palace Malice, Summer Bird and Drosselmeyer went on to later successes to underscore their worth. And yet others were 1-hit wonders in the mold of a Da’ Taram, Jazil and Ruler On Ice. Preparation for the Belmont Stakes has evolved mostly into the camp of horsemen skipping the Preakness and accepting the fiveweek interval post-Derby. Belmont Park’s “big sandy” surface easily rates the most “horse-for-course”

of any of the Triple Crown footings. Simply put: If many factors appear comparable, horses who have run here in the past with success should be given a lean over those who are not proven on the surface. Resist the temptation for deep, home-run closers who you think will relish 1 1/2 miles. This race just isn’t won that way most years; it’s a grinder’s trip. MOST RECENT RENEWAL: Creator (pictured) became the third different horse to win in the 2016 Triple Crown series and scored a 16-1 upset by a nose over Destin and Japanese raider Lani. The top pair had skipped the Preakness after disappointing Kentucky Derby finishes. Exaggerator flopped in 11th as the 7-5 favorite in a field of 13.


111

HANDICAPPER’S AIDES Last 10 Belmont Stakes Winners (BRIS Speed Figure) ’16 Creator I. Ortiz, Jr. Asmussen N/A ’15 American Pharoah Espinoza Baffert 109 ’14 Tonalist Rosario Clement 108 ’13 Palace Malice Smith Pletcher 100 ’12 Union Rags Velazquez Matz 104 ’11 Ruler On Ice Valdivia Breen 107 ’10 Drosselmeyer Smith Mott 97 ’09 Summer Bird Desormeaux Ice 105 ’08 Da’Tara A. Garcia Zito 106 ’07 Rags To Riches Velazquez Pletcher 106 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07

Winning Preps for Last 10 Belmont Stakes Winners Creator 13th Kentucky Derby (CD) American Pharoah 1st Preakness Stakes (Pim) Tonalist 1st Peter Pan (Bel) Palace Malice 12th Kentucky Derby (CD) Union Rags 7th Kentucky Derby (CD) Ruler On Ice 2nd Federico Tesio Stakes (Pim) Drosselmeyer 2nd Dwyer Stakes (Bel) Summer Bird 6th Kentucky Derby (CD) Da’Tara 2nd Barbaro Stakes (Pim) Rags To Riches 1st Kentucky Oaks (CD)

INSIDE THE BELMONT STAKES: 5 of the last 13 Belmont winners who were horses who ran out of the money in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. Only 8 Belmont winners since 1990 had competed in all 3 Triple Crown races, American Pharoah ’15 and Afleet Alex ’05 were the most recent. Tonalist in 2014 became the first Peter Pan-Belmont sweeper since A.P. Indy in ’92.


112

SUN RISES IN THE EAST The addition of official Derby points preps in Japan could help ensure that the lucrative island nation’s wagering base takes part in the Triple Crown. By rule, a Japanese horse must run abroad in order for the homeland to simulcast the race. This is a huge wagering resource potentially, and if it means #20 on the US list gets bumped, so be it. And, who didn’t love them some Lani last year? VEGAS MOVERS & SHAKERS The Wynn Las Vegas winter book odds are always a fluid situation as bookmaker Johnny Avello sets his opening line and then reacts to the action. The biggest drops this year include American Anthem (225 to 50), Battalion Runner (200 to 85), Beach Bum (100 to 30), Classic Empire (125 to 7), Good Samaritan (200 to 50), Guest Suite (225 to

60), Hemsworth (300 to 75), Irish Freedom (175 to 50), Irish War Cry (125 to 25), Lookin At Lee (150 to 30), Mastery (500 to 8), McCraken (225 to 10), Mo Town (150 to 16), Ninety Nine Proof (350 to 85), No Dozing (400 to 30), Saint’s Fan (250 to 65), Warrior’s Club (200 to 60) and Wild Shot (225 to 30). BACK TO THE FUTURES This year’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pools will be offered Jan 2729, Feb 24-26, and Mar 31-Apr 2. ONE MEAN QUARANTINE A Fair Grounds viral outbreak forced a quarantine right around the turn of the New Year and could have a major impact on the La Derby trail this year. You may recall we lost the ‘16 Sunland Derby to a similar situation. Stay tuned. The Lecomte and Risen Star could be most impacted. - JP


113

4TH COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN PRESEASON ANNUAL


114

Countdown to the Crown 2017 Preseason Annual  

Horse Player NOW's Jeremy Plonk offers his 12th season of the most comprehensive Triple Crown season scouting report with a fourth release...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you