Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Derby Countdown - Part 1
By Anthony Stabile
For those of us that can remember all the way back to the 1990s, C and C Music Factory had a pretty big hit in June of ’91 with “Things That Make You Go Hmmm.” Don’t lie, you know you loved the song, probably had a crazy dance routine to it and even bought the album. I know I did.
What does that have to do with the Kentucky Derby, you ask? Well, I’ve decided that this will be the theme of the first installment of this years’ Derby Countdown because I’m sure plenty of people are wondering what several of them are even doing here while others are certainly questioning the training regiments others followed to get here.
We will start with a horse that falls into the second category, SABERCAT. Sabercat lost the first three starts of his career last year in a pair of dirt sprints at Churchill and a turf race at Saratoga going two turns before winning his final three starts, including the Garden State at Monmouth and the G3 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs.
The Jackpot score, a four length romp where Sabercat benefitted from a ridiculously fast early pace en route to a $450K payday, allowed his trainer Steve Asmussen the luxury of preparing Sabercat however he wanted while not having to worry about garnering any additional graded earnings this year.
With that in mind, Sabercat was given a good portion of the winter off before returning to finish eighth in the G2 Rebel, a race in which Sabercat ran for just a bit less than a half mile in his first start in just about four months under new rider Corey Nakatani.
A bit fitter for the G1 Arkansas Derby, Sabercat, like he did in the Rebel, fell to the back of the pack early on before closing willingly through the lane to get third money, missing second by just a length as Bodemeister ran away and hid from the rest of the field.
In what’s become customary this year, Sabercat hasn’t done as much in the morning between starts despite the fact that he seems to be playing catch-up. He’s worked once since the Arkansas Derby, an easy five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 at Churchill on 4/23 and is scheduled to work once more on 4/30. It appears to me as if Asmussen has basically used the two preps at Oaklawn to “train” Sabercat for the Derby, an unorthodox method to say the least.
Like Sabercat, LIAISON entered 2012 with seemingly enough graded earnings to guarantee himself a spot in the Derby starting gate but the similarities end there. In fact, while Sabercat was merely mentioned in regards to the Derby, Liaison was at the top of nearly every list of Derby contenders when the season began. After all, he had won the last three starts after finishing third in his debut and capped off the season with a gritty score in the G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park over their synthetic surface.
And then he started to race.
The G2 Bob Lewis was chosen by trainer Bob Baffert, a three time Derby winner, as Liaison’s seasonal debut and it turned out to be a complete mess. Not only did he never look comfortable over the conventional dirt surface at Santa Anita despite having broken his maiden over the course as a juvenile, but Liaison found himself in deep trouble in the stretch and eventually clipped heels and dumped Rafael Bejarano.
Baffert pressed on, removed the blinkers Liaison had worn in every start and switched to his Kentucky Derby pilot Martin Garcia for the G2 San Felipe but he finished a lackluster fourth while beaten 5½ lengths. Baffert gave him yet another chance to recapture his winning form in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and again he disappointed with another ho-hum, off the board effort.
Amazingly, Liaison is here and has worked six furlongs twice since the S.A.Derby, including a workmanlike effort on 4/25 at Churchill covering the distance in 1:12 4/5 while being encouraged most of the way. Baffert says he hated the surface at Santa Anita and is hoping that won’t be the case in Kentucky.
TRINNIBERG, on the other hand, hasn’t even been headed this season, winning both the G3 Swale and G3 Bay Shore in easy, gate-to-wire fashion after trainer Bisnath Parboo switched riders to Willie Martinez and took the blinkers off this year after Trinniberg raced with them in all five of his starts at two.
In fact, Trinniberg has never trailed in his three starts over fast tracks in his career, with his four defeats coming over wet courses. The problem is, Trinniberg has never ran a step past seven furlongs and will now be faced with the daunting task of the classic 1¼ mile distance of the Derby.
Trinniberg, however, is used to his underdog role. He was over 68-1 when he led nearly every step of the way in the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga last year before settling for second money and has been favored just once, last out in the Bay Shore, in seven tries. You know one thing: he’ll be on the lead. How far he can take them is a far different story. On 4/23 at his home base at Calder, Trinniberg worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 and will work once more before the Derby.
While it’s more than obvious Trinniberg needs to really step up his game to have an iota of say in the outcome of this Derby, I don’t get the backlash regarding his entry. Colleagues have written story after story as to why he shouldn’t run and how it could ruin him for the rest of the year, if not his career.
Newsflash, people: there have been plenty of horses with nowhere near the amount of talent entered in the Derby that Trinniberg has. Let’s just chalk it up to another bad case of Derby Fever and move on.
Speaking of Derby Fever, the connections of DONE TALKING seem to be suffering from a case of this not-so-rare disease that strikes the brain of three-year-old-horse owners from February through the first Saturday in May.
It took Done Talking three starts to break his maiden last season before doing so at Delaware Park around two turns. Trainer Ham Smith then shipped him up to Philly Park where his current rider Sheldon Russell climbed aboard for the first time for an entry level allowance contest that he won by almost two lengths.
Aqueduct would be his next destination, as Done Talking finished a rallying fourth, beaten just a length in the G2 Remsen before getting a three month rest and making his sophomore debut in the G3 Gotham. Done Talking was done early that day from his outside post and never lifted a leg, finishing over 20 lengths behind the winner, Hansen.
The roadshow continued in his last start as Done Talking shipped yet again, this time to Hawthorne Park near Chicago for the G3 Illinois Derby. Again saddled with a tough post, Done Talking post 13, settled at the rear then closed determinedly from about the half mile pole to the wire, often weaving through traffic to get up by ¾ of a length to post a mild upset at 12-1 in his Russell’s first start back aboard since the allowance win.
Since the Illinois Derby, Done Talking has worked twice and finished his serious preparations on 4/28, working six furlongs at Laurel in 1:14 3/5.
Finally, barring any unforeseen eleventh hour announcements, it appears as if OPTIMIZER will be the lone entrant in this years’ Derby that will be on the outside looking in due to insufficient graded earnings when entries are drawn on Wednesday, 5/2 as he is number 21 on the graded earnings list. The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 entrants.
After breaking his maiden at over 27-1 in a grass route at Saratoga last summer, Optimizer finished second in the G2 With Anticipation on the lawn and third in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity behind Dullahan over the Keeneland Polytrack before finishing off the board in both the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and G2 KJC, both going two turns over the Churchill Downs dirt.
This season, trainer Wayne Lukas, who has won the Derby four times in his career, has seen his charge run three dismal races, including a ninth place finish in the Arkansas Derby last out. He had earned his Arkansas Derby berth by closing stoutly through the stretch in the Rebel two back while failing ¾ of a length short of catching Secret Circle for all the money.
Optimizer worked a half mile at Churchill in:48 4/5 on 4/23 as Lukas has said he’s training him with the hopes of getting into the field. It is assumed that Jon Court, his rider in his last two starts, would ride.
In the next installment of Derby Countdown, we’ll cover Dullahan, Daddy Long Legs, Daddy Nose Best, Went the Day Well and Rousing Sermon. See you then.
Re: Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Derby Countdown - Part 2
By Anthony Stabile
In today’s edition of Derby Countdown, we’ll talk about the contenders in this years’ G1 Kentucky Derby who’ve used or taken the synthetic track route to get to the most exciting two minutes in sports.
Prepping on synthetic tracks has actually been fairly successful over the past five years when it comes to the Derby. While 2008 winner Big Brown and 20120 winner Super Saver didn’t race over synthetics leading up to their victories, 2009 upsetter Mine That Bird won four races as a two year old over them and actually garnered the bulk of his graded stakes earnings at Woodbine in the Grey Stakes.
Street Sense used the Keeneland synthetic-to-dirt angle to win the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile having finished third in the Breeders’ Futurity before getting beat a nose in the Blue Grass the following year in his final prep before beating Hard Spun, who won the Spiral over the Polytrack at Turfway in his final prep in the Derby
And, of course, just last year Animal Kingdom won the Spiral impressively before drawing away in the latter stages to take the roses. This year, more than half the probable starters have had some success running over the synthetics, but the ones we’ll talk about have really used them to their advantage. Let’s start with the most successful, DULLAHAN.
It took Dullahan five starts to break his maiden last year. After finishing third and fifth in a pair of dirt sprints at Churchill, trainer Dale Romans stretched Dullahan out and put him on the grass at Saratoga where his formed made a turn for the better. A second place finish in a maiden special weight event was followed by a bang-up third in the G2 With Anticipation in a race where Dullahan had a less than ideal trip.
After the Spa, Romans took a shot by entering the maiden in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. The beneficiary of a hot early pace, Dullahan overcame a bit of early traffic trouble to come from far back to win by ¾ of a length. The win secured him a spot in the Derby earnings wise, so Romans decided to put him back on dirt in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Trailing early after getting bumped at the start, Dullahan did some running the last ¼ of a mile to finish fourth, beaten 6 lengths in what was generally regarded as a solid-if-not-sneaky good effort.
When Dullahan returned to the races this season, it wasn’t until March and it was in the G3 Palm Beach on the turf at Gulfstream. It was easy to see from the start that this race was merely a fitness test as jockey Kent Desormeaux, a three time Derby winner, kept him wide throughout, allowed Dullahan to make a powerful run on the far turn then finished up strongly to miss by just a length.
He’d return to the scene of his biggest score for his final prep, the G1 Blue Grass where he’d take on the two-year-old champ Hansen. While Hansen set a strong, controlled early pace, Dullahan did his thing at the rear, overcoming a bad start yet again to uncork a furious late rally through the stretch to blow by Hansen en route to a 1 ¼ length victory.
While he’s only won two starts, the two he made over the Keeneland Polytrack, it’s important to point out that Dullahan seems to always be running and gaining ground at the end of his races, a great sign when you consider they all have to negotiate that added distance in the Derby. On 4/28 Dullahan covered five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:00 4/5 in what figures to be his only workout between races.
One who won’t have to negotiate as much extra distance for the first time as the others is DADDY LONG LEGS. Brought to you by the international powerhouse stable of Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore people, Daddy Long Legs is a perfect two for tow over synthetic surfaces, with his most important and impressive score coming last out in the G2 UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup undercard.
In his first start in nearly five months, Daddy Long Legs was never far away from the leaders under Colm O’Donoghue, who’ll ride in the Derby, made the lead on the turn, then drew away to win by 1¼ with the outcome never really in doubt through the stretch. What makes the race even more impressive is the fact that the distance of the race was 1 3/16 miles, the same as the Preakness, and just a 1/16 of a mile less than that of the Derby.
One of the problems with Daddy Long Legs, however, is that the start prior to the UAE Derby was an abysmal showing in the BC Juvenile. In his first start on dirt, against G1 foes and with Lasix, Daddy Long Legs never lifted his hooves. While he was a bit wide it was no excuse for never having any chance to hit the board as he beat just one and finished almost twenty lengths behind the winner.
Coolmore can be dangerous though and while they haven’t had much success in this, Master of Hounds came over to run a giant race despite a poor ride and troubled trip to finish fifth last season. He finished his training in Europe on 4/29 before boarding a plane for Louisville. He is expected to arrive on Tuesday.
Though he earned a good portion of his graded earnings on dirt in his last start, DADDY NOSE BEST likely wouldn’t have been considered for the race if he hadn’t run impressively in the G3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate two starts back.
As a juvenile, Daddy Nose Best followed a pattern similar to that of Dullahan’s as he raced in a pair of Churchill dirt sprints before shipping to Saratoga to try longer distances on the turf. After breaking his maiden in start four, Daddy Nose Best finished third in the G3 Summer at Woodbine before a sixth place effort in the G1 B.C. Juvenile Turf at Churchill. He came back three weeks later to win an entry level allowance contest on the turf.
Sent to California by trainer Steve Asmussen with the rest of his West Coast string off the allowance score, Daddy Nose Best ended the year by finishing fifth in a minor stakes at Santa Anita before switching to synthetics for the El Camino Real Derby.
At Golden Gate, Daddy Nose Best rated behind horses from his rail draw and looked hopelessly blocked turning for home before he was able to get to the outside and grind out a professional looking nose victory. The win was enough to get him on the Derby Trail and he rewarded his connections with another come from behind win in the G3 Sunland Derby.
Under Julien Leparoux that day and for the bulk of his career, Daddy Nose Best took advantage of a ridiculous early pace to get up in the final stages by ¾ of a length and punched his ticket to Louisville. He’ll have a new rider for the Derby in Garrett Gomez as Leparoux will ride Union Rags.
Daddy Nose Best worked six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 on 4/23 before covering a half mile in :49 1/5 on 4/30. Both works came over the Churchill Downs strip.
WENT THE DAY WELL will look to follow in hoofprints of stablemate Animal Kingdom while using the same connections- owner Team Valor, trainer Graham Motion, jockey John Velazquez – he used to take the 2011 Derby.
After finishing second in his two starts at two on the grass in Europe, Went the Day Well was brought to the U.S. and made his first start for Motion at Gulfstream where he finished fourth, beaten less than two lengths in his first start on dirt. He broke his maiden against similar company next out before it was decided he’d try the G3 Spiral.
Like Animal Kingdom last season, Went the Day Well looked sharp in the Spiral, rating a few lengths off the early pace before striking the lead in the stretch to gallop away to a handy 3½ length victory. Went the Day Well has posted three works since the Spiral, including a five eights move in 1:00 4/5 at Churchill on 4/28.
Though all three of his starts as a sophomore have come over conventional dirt, ROUSING SERMON made five of his six juvenile starts over synthetics for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
After breaking his maiden over the Hollywood Cushion surface in his debut, Rousing Sermon finished third in a pair of California-bred stakes over the synthetic track at Del Mar Before winning the Cal Cup Juvenile on the dirt at Santa Anita.
Rousing Sermon ended the year by finishing second to Liaison, the division leader in California late last year, in both the Real Quiet and G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood. Arguably the best race of his career, Rousing Sermon came from dead last and was spun six wide in the lane before falling just a neck short in the CashCall.
This season, Rousing Sermon was placed third in the roughly run G2 Bob Lewis at Santa Anita and fifth in the G2 San Felipe before shipping into Fair Grounds for the G2 Louisiana Derby.
Under Mike Smith that day, Rousing Sermon was widest of all throughout and stayed on well to finish third, unable to run down 100-1 shocker Hero of Order. It’s more than likely that if Rousing Sermon would have saved an inch of ground in the Louisiana Derby he would have been victorious.
With Mike Smith riding the likely Derby favorite in Bodemeister, Jose Lezcano has picked up the mount on Rousing Sermon. Back on 4/21, Rousing Sermon worked a strong seven furlongs in 1:27 1/5 at Hollywood. Look for him to work again at Churchill in the days leading up to the Derby.
In the next installment of the Derby Countdown, we’ll cover Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Alpha, Mark Valeski and El Padrino.
Re: Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Derby Countdown - Part 3
By Anthony Stabile
They say close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and slow dancing. The five three-year-olds we’ll cover today in the Derby Countdown would probably all beg to differ with that old adage as they all lost their last prep, as either the favorite or second choice, yet still managed to earn a berth, whether on merit or in regards to graded stakes earnings, in the Run for the Roses.
The only prep to produce two of the horses we’ll discuss this week was the G1 Florida Derby held on 3/31 at Gulfstream Park as both 2-5 favorite UNION RAGS finished third, 1¾ lengths in front of 5-2 second choice EL PADRINO.
In hindsight, El Padrino was the one who nearly suffered the most as he was left on the outside looking in after his disappointing effort that left him with just $250K in graded stakes earnings. But after a few defections, the Todd Pletcher trainee finds himself safely in the field. It’s crazy to think that less than six weeks ago El Padrino was near the top of everyone’s Derby list and a three length defeat in the Florida Derby has made him the forgotten horse in the weeks leading up to the big one in Louisville.
One for three as a juvenile, with lone score coming over a sloppy track in his second start at Belmont, El Padrino closed out the season with a third place finish in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct before starting this campaign with a two length win in an entry level allowance contest over a good course at Gulfstream over eventual Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy.
In an attempt to separate his army of sophomores, Pletcher, winner of the 2010 Derby with Super Saver, shipped El Padrino to the Fair Grounds for the G2 Risen Star. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, El Padrino gave his backers and Pletcher a good scare as it took every inch of the long stretch down in the bayou to get by Mark Valeski, who was declared form the Derby on 5/1, before having to survive a controversial inquiry and objection that could have gone either way.
Pletcher kept El Padrino in Florida for his final prep but controversy must have joined El Padrino on the van ride back as his rider Javier Castellano seemed just as concerned with what Union Rags was doing, a horse he rode all of last year, as he did with El Padrino. It probably wound up costing Union Rags the duke while putting El Padrino in jeopardy of missing the Derby as well.
Castellano, who’s riding Gemologist for Pletcher in the Derby, has been replaced by one of California’s top riders Rafael Bejarano for the Derby. El Padrino has worked three times since his last start, including a puzzling half mile in the mud down at Palm Meadows in :53 1/5, a pedestrian time to say the least, especially for a horse who has done his best work over wet tracks.
As for Union Rags, he’s a bad ride and awful trip from being a perfect six for six in my opinion in his career for trainer Michael Matz, who won the 2006 Derby with the ill-fated Barbaro.
As a two-year-old, he won his first three starts, including the G2 Saratoga Special and G1 Champagne, as impressively as a horse can at that stage in his career, yet couldn’t finish off a perfect season after failing to run down Hansen in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. While I feel he was handled a bit carelessly by Castellano that day, he still had the entire stretch to go past the winner but didn’t.
In the G2 Fountain of Youth, his seasonal bow in 2012, he sure did look like a more mature, professional colt than he did in the BC Juvenile as he galloped home under new rider Julien Leparoux by four widening lengths.
The heavy chalk for the Florida Derby, Union Rags acted up a bit back at the barn before throwing a shoe while in the paddock which necessitated a delay. Once the gates opened, Union Rags found himself bottled up along the inside, a place he doesn’t really care to be, and was kept in there by Castellano and others for the better part of the first mile or so.
Once able to shake free, Union Rags gobbled up a ton of ground but it was way too late and he settled for a tough luck third. The way he closed ground despite the horrendous trip has to give his fans and backers plenty of hope that the 1¼ miles of the Kentucky Derby shouldn’t be a problem if that effort is any indication. It’s been reported that no horse could be doing any better since he’s arrived in Louisville and that five furlongs in :59 4/5 on 4/28 over the course leads me to believe the reports are A-OK.
A perfect three for three last season, HANSEN has just one victory from three starts this year and while he had an excuse in his first start of the year there wasn’t any apparent reason he got beat last out.
After winning the first two starts of his career in a maiden event and minor stakes at Turfway Park over their synthetic surface, trainer Mike Maker threw Hansen into the deep end in the B.C. Juvenile. He was rewarded with a gutsy, gate-to-wire neck score by his grey charge. It was enough to win the Eclipse Award for champion Two Year Old over Union Rags who certainly had a more impressive body of work.
In his return to action this year, Hansen stumbled badly at the start of the G3 Holy Bull under Ramon Dominguez, rushed up to lead down the backside then tired in the stretch finishing five lengths behind the undefeated, now injured Algorithms.
Maker removed the blinkers for his next start in the G3 Gotham and Hansen rated from post 12 before making the lead on the far turn en route to a three length victory as the 4-5 favorite. It was the only time in his career that Hansen wasn’t in front at the first two points of call for chart callers.
After much hemming and hawing as to where Hansen would make his final start prior to the Derby, his connections settled on the G1 Blue Grass over the Polytrack at Keeneland, saying they’d rather stay closer to home as opposed to shipping out of town. Under a still recovering Dominguez, who suffered a collarbone injury in mid-March, Hansen found himself back on the lead and after setting an honest, yet sensible early pace, Hansen was unable to hold off a hard charging, horse-for-the-course in Dullahan.
While I’m sure a less than healthy Dominguez didn’t help his chances, the distance limitations everyone including myself have been talking about since Hansen won the Juvenile appear to be rearing their ugly head. He’s worked just once, at the Churchill Downs training facility on 4/28, covering five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.
With Dominguez on Hansen, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has been searching for a jock to ride ALPHA in the Derby. Dominguez and his agent said it was because Hansen ran so well in the Juvenile at Churchill while Alpha didn’t lift his legs.
In his defense, Alpha through a fit in the gate then bled in the Juvenile but I guess that doesn’t matter to a guy like Dominguez who rides injured when he says he’s ok. That was the case in the G1 Wood Memorial when he couldn’t steer, whip or drive on Alpha when he was lost to Gemologist by a neck.
Alpha suffered a laceration on his leg going into the first turn of the Wood when Dominguez couldn’t get him out of harms’ way yet still managed to run remarkably well. The Wood was is the lone blemish on his form this year since McLaughlin added Lasix as Alpha won both the Count Fleet and G3 Withers over the inner track at Aqueduct.
As a juvenile, Alpha broke his maiden in his debut then ran a fast closing second in the Champagne after a terrible journey. Due to his injury, Alpha missed a few days of training as well as a scheduled work, but McLaughlin declared all systems a go after Alpha turned in a sharp five furlongs in :59 2/5 over the deep Belmont training track on 4/28. While it’s not official, Rajiv Maragh is the frontrunner to ride Alpha.
Out in California, CREATIVE CAUSE has continued his slightly enigmatic ways as one can only imagine what type of horse he can be when he puts it all together. In his current form, he’s a force to be reckoned with as he’s hit the board in all eight of his starts, including wins in the G2 Best Pal and G1 Norfolk as a two year old along with the G2 San Felipe this season.
The problem is his antics/greenness/possible soundness issues have cost him dearly, including last out in the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Mike Harrington decided to remove the blinkers Creative Cause had worn in all of his previous starts and looked like a genius at the ¼ pole as Creative Cause appeared on his way to a sharp score but it wasn’t to be.
Once engaged, Creative Cause appeared to lose interest and wait on horses and was nailed on the money by I’ll Have Another to lose by a nose. The race was reminiscent, for me anyway, of last years’ Juvenile as Creative Cause had dead aim on Hansen and Union Rags but just couldn’t cut them down.
Since his last start, Harrington has worked Creative Cause three times, including a quick half in :47 2/5 at Churchill on 4/30 while tinkering with all different types of blinkers. He hasn’t said what type, if any he’ll use in the Derby. Regular rider Joel Rosario rides.
Next time in the final installment of the Derby Countdown, we’ll cover Gemologist, I’ll Have Another, Take Charge Indy, Prospective and Dullahan. See you then.
Re: Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Derby Countdown - Part 4
By Anthony Stabile
The final installment of the 2012 Derby Countdown will be dedicated to the winners of some of the more important Derby preps this year. The horses discussed in this space left no doubt as to whether they’d start, and in most cases, belonged in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
In 137 previous runnings of the Derby, 22 horses have put their undefeated records on the line; seven of them, with Big Brown being the most recent in 2008, galloped out of it the same way. Trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping GEMOLOGIST will add his name to that list this year.
As a juvenile, Gemologist broke his maiden in a sprint at Turfway Park over the Polytrack before making his way to Churchill to wire an entry level allowance/optional claiming field by two lengths going 1 1/16 miles. Gemologist capped off the year with a sharp score in the G2 KJC over the highly regarded Ever So Lucky by almost two lengths and stamped himself as one of the top contenders for the roses this season.
Gemologist was a way for a while however and many began to wonder if he’d make it back in time to get on the Triple Crown trail. After a the kibosh was put on a rumored run in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, Gemologist surfaced six days after that race in a money allowance contest going a flat mile around one turn at Gulfstream where he faced last years’ G1 Hopeful winner Currency Swap.
Under regular rider Javier Castellano, Gemologist was sent immediately to the lead and after putting Currency Swap away easily on the turn, drew off to a breathtaking seven length score in a race reminiscent of the one put in by his former stablemate Uncle Mo just last year at Gulfstream.
Pletcher, winner of the 2010 Derby with Super Saver, decided on the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct as Gemologist’s final prep for the Derby, a gutsy move at the time considering that Hansen, Alpha and a couple of others were pointing for the Wood and Gemologist needed to run at least first or second to have enough earnings for the Derby.
When the dust settled, it turned into a virtual match race on paper between Gemologist and Alpha as Hansen passed on the Wood. For once, paper translated to performance on the racetrack as the two would hit the wire a neck apart.
Gemologist sat a great trip in the Wood, never more than three lengths from an honest pace, while racing outside and in the clear. Gemologist hit the lead midway on the turn and opened up a two length lead before having to hold off the late run of a troubled trip Alpha. Alpha actually headed Gemologist, but Gemologist responded and gutted out the victory. The finish of the Wood has been a great debate leading up to the Derby; was Gemologist loafing and toying with Alpha or did Castellano take advantage of an injured Ramon Dominguez aboard his foe?
While I believe the latter to be true, Gemologist still ran wonderfully and comes into this a perfect five for five. On 4/29, Gemologist worked four furlongs over a muddy surface at Palm Meadows in :50 2/5 before shipping up to Kentucky.
By this time on the trail, I bet you all wish you’d had a dollar for every time you’ve heard that no horse has won the Derby without running as a two-year-old since Apollo did it way back in 1882. Well, you just heard it again. And while 56 horses have tried to accomplish the feat in the past 70 years or so perhaps none of them, save the sports all-time leading money winner Curlin, has a better chance to do so or more talent than BODEMEISTER.
Trained by three time Derby winner Bob Baffert, Bodemeister finished second in his debut sprinting to eventual stakes winner American Act before trouncing seven others when going a mile to break his maiden.
With time running out to make the Derby, Baffert entered Bodemeister, named after his youngest son who in turn is named after Olympic skier Bode Miller, in the G2 San Felipe, where he was forced to face the more seasoned Creative Cause amongst others. Forwardly placed throughout, Bodemeister fought every step of the way before drifting in the stretch and coughing up the lead late to Creative Cause.
Another who desperately needed graded stakes earnings, Baffert decided to send Bodemeister to Oaklawn for the G1 Arkansas Derby despite having Secret Circle, winner of both the G3 Southwest and G2 Rebel at Oaklawn and fellow frontrunner, already committed to the race.
As usual, Baffert knew what he was doing. Under Mike Smith for the first time and breaking from outside post 11, Bodemeister made every pole a winning one, and after setting a fast early pace, poured it on through the lane to a popular and emphatic 9½ length romp.
Though originally scheduled to ride Daddy Nose Best, Smith, the pilot of 50-1 upsetter Giacomo in 2005, was able to get out of that call and will be aboard Bodemeister in the Derby. On 4/29, Bodemeister sizzled five panels in :59 2/5 at Churchill Downs.
Another trainer forced to roll the dice as far as graded earnings and the Derby were concerned was Pat Byrne who needed to find the right spot for TAKE CHARGE INDY after he scratched him out of the Tampa Bay Derby due to an unfavorable post draw. Byrne actually waited three weeks to run back and chose the G1 Florida Derby as the spot.
The move appeared even more dangerous than Pletcher’s as both Union Rags and El Padrino, two of the pro-tem division leaders at the time, were both pointing towards the event and actually showed up. Byrne was ready.
Under three time Derby winner Calvin Borel, Take Charge Indy went directly to the lead in the Florida Derby and got away to an easy, uncontested lead. By the time the real running started, Take Charge Indy was al by his lonesome while Javier Castellano aboard El Padrino was busy riding both his horse and Union Rags, who was pinned down on the inside for just about a mile
Still, Take Charge Indy did his thing impressively and has always been the kind of horse that you expected to come through with a breakthrough performance one day. As a two year old, he broke his maiden at first asking before tackling graded stakes company in his three subsequent starts, including a fifth place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Earlier this year he was second to El Padrino in his seasonal bow over a sloppy track, the preferred surface of El Padrino, in a two turn allowance contest at Gulfstream. On 4/26. Take Charge Indy worked five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at palm Meadows before travelling to Louisville with Pletcher’s runners.
Each year there always seems to be a Rodney Dangerfield, a horse that gets no respect on the Trail despite his efforts. This year it’s I’LL HAVE ANOTHER.
Perhaps it’s his name, which invokes that image of a lush at a bar waiting for his next drink, or in my case, the guy at the pizza counter waiting for his next slice….or pie. Maybe it’s his trainer Dou O’Neill, one of California’s best but a guy that doesn’t really make a ton of noise on the national scene. It could be his rider, Mario Gutierrez, a Hastings Park afterthought who’s trying his hand in SoCal this year but hasn’t ridden, or won on many horses.
I know it can’t be his performances on the track because like him or not he’s run twice and won twice. It’s not like he’s come from out of nowhere either. After breaking his maiden at first asking, he set the pace in the G2 Best pal before getting rundown by Creative Cause then came east for the G1 Hopeful where he finished off the board over a sloppy course which he probably didn’t care for.
He obviously came out of the race with some issues since he didn’t run for five months when he showed up in the G2 Bob Lewis this year. A weirdly run race to say the least as the 3-2 favorite never really fired then wound up getting bothered in the stretch before dumping his rider, I’ll Have Another sat second, avoided the nonsense behind him and drew off to win by an easy 2 ¾ lengths.
Given two months between starts, I’ll Have Another came back in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and again found himself in a perfect spot under Gutierrez, sitting a couple of lengths or so off the early pace before winning a three horse dogfight by a nose. O’Neill has worked him twice between starts at Hollywood, with a six furlong move in 1:13 4/5 being his most recent on 4/27.
Unlike the others we discussed in here, PROSPECTIVE didn’t win his last prep, a sixth place finish in the G1 Blue Grass but did prove victorious in his first start with blinkers two back in the Tamp Bay Derby for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Luis Contreras.
Last season, Prospective won two of four starts, including the G3 Grey at Woodbine over the same Polytrack surface he broke his maiden over and ended the season with a last place finish in the Juvenile.
Prospective wintered at Tampa this year and won the ungraded Pasco before finishing a fast closing second in the G3 Sam F Davis, a race won by the maiden Battle Hardened. Prospective really seemed to turn the corner with the blinkers as he was a bit closer to an even faster pace in the TB Derby before making the lead on the turn and holding on gamely to win by ¾ of a length.
Prospective never really fired in the Blue Grass after saving ground early on before winding up wide on the far turn. I’m sure a return to conventional dirt will help his cause. On 4/28, Prospective completed his serious training with a five furlong breeze in 1:01 4/5 at Churchill Downs.
That wraps up the Derby Countdown for this year but don’t forget to check back Friday for my breakdown of Kentucky Derby 138!!!
Re: Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Horse-by-Horse Preview and Picks
By Bill Cloutier
While the Kentucky Derby is always a bit of a crapshoot, this year’s race is a mess. With 20 horses entered and a slew of closers, all of which seem to be heading into the race in top form, it should set up for a wild finish.
Only five favorites have won the Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979, but lately the chalk has done much better. Bodemeister is the early favorite but can he go 1¼ miles?
Here are the horses in post position order:
1. Daddy Long Legs (+3000); Jockey: Colm O’Donghue
Ran a forgettable 12th in a field of 13 in his last outing, also at Churchill Downs. Hard to recommend off that one but this colt has solid connections and could get up for a piece of the purse. Father Scat Daddy ran in the 2007 Derby but the rail is an issue.
2. Optimizer (+5000); Jockey: Jon Court
Appears much more suited for the turf but trainer D. Wayne Lukas wants a reason to go to the Derby and this is the best he has. This horse will make some noise in the summer but not here.
3. Take Charge Indy (+1500); Jockey: Calvin Borel
Went wire-to-wire in the Florida Derby and should be in the thick of things here. Out of A.P. Indy, this colt is extremely sharp and Borel is the master of knowing when to make his move. He’ll get a call in this one.
4. Union Rags (+550): Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Flew home in the Florida Derby, finishing third to Take Charge Indy. Works have been solid but unspectacular, but he appears to be able to get the distance which is a mystery for many of the top contenders. He could go from Rags to riches and be a serious Triple Crown threat if he can avoid traffic problems. Leparoux is having a strong Churchill Downs meet.
5. Dullahan (+800); Jockey Kent Desormeaux
Ran a monstrous stretch to win the Bluegrass last time out. Has fantastic closing speed but could get buried behind a wall of horses in the field of 20. That, and the fact that he seems to like synthetic surfaces better, scares me off of this one.
6. Bodemeister (+400): Jockey: Mike Smith
Seems destined to go off the favorite but no horse has won the Derby that has not run as a 2-year-old since 1888. Still, Smith’s mount has won two of his four races by blowouts and he’s trained well. Certainly a top contender but I don’t want him in a tight race while only getting 4-1.
7. Rousing Sermon (+5000); Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Another horse with great closing kick but he’s 0 for 3 this season on Grade II races. Would like to have seen a better effort at Santa Anita where he was well back in consecutive starts. Nevertheless, this is the type of horse to put a couple of bucks on and pray for boxcar payoffs.
8. Creative Cause (+1200); Jockey: Joel Rosario
Has hit the board in eight starts and beat the favorite, Bodemeister, in the San Felipe. Always seem to be battling traffic problems, some of which was his doing. This one tries hard but if he’s bumped around it will hinder his chances. Trainer Mike Harrington is making first Derby start at age 71.
9. Trinniberg (+5000); Jockey: Willie Martinez
Has won two straight but the distance should be his downfall. This one has never gone past seven furlongs. Appears to be the rabbit and nothing else.
10. Daddy Nose Best (+1500); Jockey: Garrett Gomez
The seasoned vet of the field with 10 races (four wins) has a good closing kick. My biggest knock is that Leparoux wanted to ride Union Rags and Mike Smith went for Bodemeister. Gomez is a solid jock but this is going to take one heck of an effort weaving through traffic to get there.
11. Alpha (+1500); Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
Has won three of six starts but Alpha never looked like he could catch Gemologist in the Wood and has had health issues. His recent work at Belmont was impressive but he’s 0 for 3 in Grade I events and I don’t think he gets there. Bernardini’s horse is a must-use in the exotics.
12. Prospective (+3000); Jockey: Luis Contreras
Was last in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile run at Churchill Downs last year and it is hard to see him outkicking some of these foes. Pass.
13. Went the Day Well (+3000); Jockey: John Velazquez
Another closer that improved greatly since his maiden win two starts ago. Will add blinkers but I question his speed and he’s never seen the likes of these horses.
14. Hansen (+1000); Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
Sure to be the star of NBC’s coverage, the Great White Hope is a beauty but has plenty of questions. The distance could be the biggest problem but he should stay clear of the traffic. My guess is he fades to second place.
15. Gemologist (+800); Jockey: Javier Castellano
The only undefeated horse in the race, he’s won all five starts including a dominant performance in the Wood. He’s worked well and is fresh. The only knock is who he’s beaten and that’s the one I’m hanging my hat on.
16. El Padrino (+2000): Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Todd Pletcher trainee is sure to take some money but didn’t fire in the Florida Derby. He’s 2 for 2 on an off track but I don’t like the works and he seems to be off his game.
17. Done Talking (+5000): Jockey: Sheldon Russell
Crushed by Hansen two starts ago, he came back to win the Illinois Derby. Yet another closer without the monstrous kick, seems better suited for regular allowance events.
18. Sabercat (+3000): Jockey: Corey Nakatani
Asmussen trainee seems to be able to get the distance but also looks like he’d need a big-time speed duel up front to help his cause. And if that happens, I think others would be closing much better. Pass.
19. I'll Have Another (+1200); Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
Just missed in the Santa Anita Derby but the post could hurt this speedster from making the front. Has won 3 of 5 and has a Beyer figure of over 100. I’m guessing he burns himself out getting to the front and fades in the stretch.
20. Liaison (+5000); Jockey: Martin Garcia
Baffert trainee has not been sharp. Puts the blinkers back on but seems to be overmatched here.
Kentucky Derby picks:
1. Union Rags. 2. Hansen. 3. Daddy Knows Best. 4. Went The Day Well
Re: Kentucky Derby Betting News and Notes
Kentucky Derby Breakdown
By Anthony Stabile
"When all this is left to do is reflect on what's been done" is one of my favorite lyrics ever written because it's exactly what handicappers do while attempting to pick winners. It's from the song "The Dam at Otter Creek" by the band Live, my all-time favorite.
It's what I've been doing with the Derby Countdowns this past week.
I can't remember a more wide open Derby. I wouldn't be surprised if any one of 10 horses won this year's "Run for the Roses."
The preps have been run, the works are done and now it's time to get it on. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the field for Kentucky Derby 138!!!
1 - Daddy Long Legs 30/1
Notes: These connections almost pulled it off last year with Master of Hounds who finished a game fifth under Garrett Gomez. They're bringing their own boy over this time but Colm won several big ones in the States last year. He won the G2 UAE Derby fairly impressively over the synthetic in Dubai last out going 1 3/16 miles so he'll only have to navigate through an extra sixteenth of a mile. Still, he didn't get to Churchill until this past Tuesday and hasn't done any serious training over the track. Plus, his try in the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile was abysmal last year. He'll take some money because he's somewhat of an unknown but he's not for me.
2 - Optimizer 50/1
Notes: I look at his form and I wonder what goes through the heads of some people. And don't forget that Lukas is a Hall of Famer and pioneer!! Three of his former assistants are here which means he obviously knew what he was doing at some point. He's still capable just not with this horse who is eligible for an entry level allowance contest. Complete toss out.
3 - Take Charge Indy 15/1
Notes: Byrne, not necessarily by design, took the Barbaro path to the Derby with this colt this year. After running just once back in late January and scratching out of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, he didn't run again until winning the G1 Florida Derby in stunning gate-to-wire fashion. Impeccably bred sophomore got a great draw too as he should be able to save ground all the way under Borel behind a probable sharp early pace. Wouldn't be too surprised if he's in front at some point I'm just not completely sold it will be at the wire. He'll take plenty of action because of his jock. He can definitely win this and is on the cusp between my top and second tier prospects.
4 - Union Rags 9/2
Notes: Two months ago, he was a strong Derby favorite and plenty were already talking about how we might have a Triple Crown winner on our hands. The Florida Derby day came. He acted up back at the barn, needed to be re-shod before the race, got hot in the post parade then had an absolute nightmare of a trip. Most horses would have called it a day but this guy still managed to get third, beaten less than two lengths and finished up impressively, leaving little doubt that the extra furlong shouldn't be an issue. His pre-race antics however are another story. If he's getting all crazy on a regular race day, what's going to happen in front of 150,000 fans on Saturday? And, in all honesty, the GREAT ones find a way to win. He didn't in the Florida Derby and he didn't in the Juvenile over this track last year when he couldn't cut Hansen down. At the end of the day I still think he has what it takes to win this and he's in my top tier of prospects.
5 - Dullahan 8/1
Notes: This guy has given me fits. I wish he could have just made my life easier and not one the G1 Blue Grass, but nooooooooo, he has to come charging down the center of the course like a freight train. He did the same thing in the G1 Breeders' Futurity last year over the same Polytrack at Keeneland that he won over last out which makes it easy to believe he's just better on synthetics than other surfaces. I'm not sold on that theory as his Juvenile run last year was solid, a fourth place finish after getting slammed at the start and his other two dirt starts came in sprints. If you're like me and believe this horse wants to go nine miles it's easy to excuse two subpar sprint efforts. Desormeaux has won three of these, he'll have plenty of pace to close into and is making his third start off the layoff. Combine that with his pedigree and I'm willing to take my chances on him. A top tier prospect, for sure.
6 - Bodemeister 4/1
Notes: By the time 2012 comes to an end there's a good chance they'll be erecting statues of this colt. When he's running, the only word that comes to my mind is "freak." He's what this sport is all about; what people strive for their horses to be. When writers wax poetic, it's Bodemeister whom they have in mind. I know someone probably said the same thing about Pulpit or Curlin during their meteoric rises in 1998 and 2007 but you get the sense it's different this time. His effort in the G1 Arkansas Derby was astonishing. Yeah, I know no horse has won the Derby with racing as a juvenile since Apollo in 1882, but you know what, who cares? These rules and jinxes will all be broken someday. He just may be the one to do it. He has plenty of tactical speed, is bred to run all day and has Baffert cinching the saddle on his back. I'd say his chances are better than most, just be prepared to be betting on the favorite. An obvious top tier prospect.
7 - Rousing Sermon 50/1
Notes: One of the things I look for when I handicap a race, especially a race like the Derby, is for a horse that's closing ground at the end of his races. This colt has run nine times and was gaining ground at the end of eight of them. He's slower than most in here but the extra eighth of a mile could prove to be his biggest weapon. Would need things to go absolutely perfectly for him to win but I wouldn't be stunned. And he's a Bob Barker special because the price will certainly be right. He's one of my two live longshots.
8 - Creative Cause 12/1
Notes: Through his first eight races, he's won four times while placing second twice and third twice. He's been beaten a combined three lengths and a nose in his four defeats and has amassed $869K. You know what the scary thing is? He hasn't even figured it all out yet. That proverbial light bulb will likely go on in his head one day and when it does it could be lights out or the rest. But right now he lacks that knockout punch. I'm not a big fan of his trainer, a former vet and I think that has a lot to do with his lack of professionalism. If this guy was in a top barn the sky would be the limit. It could still be and he has one of the best riders in the country on his back. In a 20 horse field though his lack of focus will probably cost him in the end and there have been rumors as to how sound he is, which doesn't surprise me. He's in my second tier despite the knocks on him.
9 - Trinniberg 50/1
Notes: A lot has been said as to why he's here and plenty of people who are nothing more than frustrated trainers have taken their shots at the Parboos. It's simply a case of derby Fever, plain and simple. There have been plenty worse entered in this race yet I've never seen a commotion like this year. He probably couldn't win with a head start and don't think he'll be anywhere near the money but I doubt he'll be last like everyone else does.
10 - Daddy Nose Best 15/1
Notes: Like Dullahan, this guy began his career in a pair of dirt sprints at Churchill and did his best work on turf and synthetics prior to his last start. The difference between the two is when this guy came charging home to win his last start it was over conventional dirt in the G3 Sunland Derby on conventional dirt. He got a brilliant pace set up that day and figures to get another one in the here but he didn't beat anything. I actually liked his race two back over the synthetic track at Golden Gate in the G3 El Camino Real Derby better but he certainly belongs here. He just won't be getting any of my money.
11 - Alpha 15/1
Notes: His trainer said days ago that he didn't even think he'd be here two weeks ago or so after a laceration that occurred in the G1 Wood Memorial last out became infected and he was forced to miss a few days or training and had his travel plans to Louisville changed. The same thing happened to Invasor before the 2006 BC Classic at Churchill for Kiaran and we all know how that turned out. The fact that it's a guy like McLaughlin who I know wouldn't be here if this guy wasn't 100% makes me breathe easier as anyone who knows me knows I'm a big fan of this colt . You'd also know that I wanted to vomit when I heard Maragh would be riding. The month long debate as to whether gemologist was toying with him and would have won even if Ramon Dominguez was completely healthy will be answered by about 7PM Saturday night. I'm betting it was Ramon's fault. He's been my main man since the beginning of the year and it's gonna take a lot more than the presence of Rajiv to change that. Top tier prospect, to say the least.
12 - Prospective 30/1
Notes: Though his form was decent enough before the Tampa Bay Derby, he really seemed to improve with the blinkers when he won the race two back before racing evenly in the Blue Grass. Much slower than most and I still haven't been able to figure out what kind of trip he'll sit. Low-profile connections don't add to his appeal and there plenty others with more apparent upside in here. Not for me.
13 - Went the Day Well 20/1
Notes: From the team that brought you 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom, they've even gone as far as running him in the G3 Spiral, which he won, and bedding him down in the same stall his stablemate called home during his stay in Louisville last year. The difference is this is a far deeper and more talented field than Animal Kingdom faced last year and I don't think he's as good of a horse. He's more of a grinder, and that's not gonna get it done in here. Plus, they're adding blinkers after he's won two in a row for the biggest race of his life. Who does that?!?! He figures to take action because of his connections; none of it will be mine.
14 - Hansen 10/1
Notes: I know his name isn't the same as the boy/kids band from the 1990's, but I've been waiting six months since he won the BC Juvenile last year to use this line: come the quarter pole in the Derby on Saturday, in an MmmBop he'll be gone!! The Grey Flash, White Warrior, whatever you wanna call him couldn't get 1 ¼ miles on a Greyhound bus. And while Dominguez seems to be back to his old self I'm not sure he or Maker know the best way to approach the race so I think he's going to wind up getting cooked on the engine. His owner guaranteed a victory. Being from New York, I've seen plenty of guys make guarantees. This one sounds more like a Patrick Ewing guarantee as opposed to a Mark Messier one. And I can assure you Hansen is nowhere near as talented or as money as the Captain was. He won't be on any of my tickets.
15 - Gemologist 6/1
Notes: Could he be the Empire Maker to Alpha's Funny Cide or was he really just waiting for someone to come catch him in the Wood? Either way he ran a dynamite race at the Big A and in my opinion has one of the three or four most attractive pedigrees when it comes to the added distance. He's done nothing wrong in his five race career as he's won at four different tracks at four different distances as well as over a wet course and a synthetic one. The only place he's run and won twice is right here at Churchill Downs, both times around two turns. The scar thing is there is so much parity in this field and the money figures to be so spread out that he might actually be close to 8/1 when the bell rings. Pletcher and Dominguez help his cause as well. 22 horses have come into the Derby undefeated and seven left the same way. I see no reason why he can't be number eight. Another obvious top tier prospect.
16 - El Padrino 20/1
Notes: Consider this: two months ago, you probably couldn't have gotten 10/1 on him for the Derby. On Saturday, he'll probably be over 25/1 and all because of a three length defeat in the Florida Derby. Not 15 or 20 lengths. Three lengths. And don't forget that Castellano rode him AND Union Rags, so to speak, that day so who knows what would have happened if Castellano would have just focused on him running his race. He's a much better horse on a wet track, that's obvious, but he did win the G2 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds over a fast track and is one of only four horses in here to earn a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure in his career. Saying the words "the other Pletcher" about him seems weird but that's his role now. The more I talk about him the more I like him. In fact I just moved him up to a second tier prospect.
17 - Done Talking 50/1
Notes: Chad Summers' charge in the First Annual Big A/Little C Derby Prop Bet Wager (I have Rousing Sermon) needs to really step up his game to have any chance in here. He's my Trinniberg, if you will, as I can't comprehend why he's here. There is so much money at smaller tracks in other smaller derbies for him to try and win but I guess Derby Fever is THAT contagious. I don't know why I'm so surprised. It's not like this is my first rodeo. Forget him.
18 - Sabercat 30/1
Notes: Another who's had strange Derby Trail as I am convinced Asmussen used the G2 Rebel and Arkansas Derby as afternoon workouts to get him here after getting such a late start. You can do that when you have plenty of graded stakes earnings after winning the G3 Delta Jackpot last year. His speed figures have constantly improved and will have to continue to do so if he has any chance at winning this. I'm sure both his trainer and jockey would love to remove the 0-fer albatrosses when it comes to the Derby from around their necks and if they do so this year the winners going to pay around $80. He's a third tier prospect for me.
19 - I'll Have Another 12/1
Notes: I'd be curious to see the last time the G1 Santa Anita Derby winner was listed as high as this guy is on the Derby morning line. He's two for two on fast tracks but has enough breaks in his form to lead me to believe that he definitely has some major issues. I wonder how coming back in less than a month is going to affect him. He probably got the worst of it at the draw as his options now are to use more of his speed than his connections would have liked to earlier on or get stuck very wide on the first. Either scenario is disastrous. I wouldn't dare talk anyone off of him but he's not for me.
20 - Liaison 50/1
Notes: Another who's fallen from grace, you probably couldn't have gotten 10/1 on him in February; he'll likely be one of the three longest prices in the field on Saturday. Baffert is putting the blinkers back on but the only equipment change that would help his cause would be a rocket booster. Not a chance.
21 - My Adonis 50/1
Notes: Winless since taking the local prep at Delta for the Jackpot last October, he actually ran a couple of good races in the G3 Holy Bull and G3 Gotham behind Hansen before the wheels came off when he beat just one in the Wood Memorial. Connections put him on a van Tuesday afternoon when Mark Valeski declared, making him the first A.E. He should have stayed in NJ. No chance.