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Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

 


Looking Good
Entered in the Kentucky Derby
Last Updated May 4 at 1:40 p.m. ET


 
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BRODY'S CAUSE
CREATOR

DANZING CANDY
DESTIN
EXAGGERATOR
GUN RUNNER
LANI
MAJESTO
MO TOM
MOHAYMEN
MOR SPIRIT
MY MAN SAM
NYQUIST
OSCAR NOMINATED
OUTWORK
SHAGAF
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS
TOM'S READY
TROJAN NATION
WHITMORE


 

BRODY'S CAUSE (KY)
Owner: Albaugh Family Stable; Breeder: William Arvin Jr., Gabriel Duignan & Petaluma Bloodstock; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-1-30-1-0 (38) 1.38; By Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat, Mariah's Storm) out of Sweet Breanna (Sahm, Sweet Roberta); Foal Date: March 17, 2013; $350,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Dale Romans

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby -- Shipped right back to Churchill Downs after the Blue Grass - Barn 4 - Jockey Luis Saez

After debuting at Ellis Park and finishing eighth, Brody's Cause won his second race, and it was at Churchill Downs on Sept. 11 going a mile. Ninth in the early going, he was tipped out hitting the stretch and prevailed by 1 1/4 length timed in 1:37.64. The chart call: "Brody's Cause was unhurried into stride, wheeled out seven wide entering the stretch, swamped the leaders inside the sixteenth pole and shook clear."

Trainer Romans sent him over to Keeneland for a grade I next, and that paid off. In the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity, Brody's Cause was 10th of 11 most of the way. With Corey Lanerie in the irons, Brody's Cause advanced while three-wide on the turn, was still fifth in the stretch and then ran by Exaggerator late to score by a length.

The chart call: "Brody's Cause  was unhurried early along the four path, swung into the six path in the far turn, kicked on and rallied entering the lane, drove past the leader and cleared the field in the final stages."

Dale Romans - “He’s just a damn good horse. You can’t train speed into them. He’s fast. Felt that when we took him to Ellis Park first time. I didn’t want to take him to Saratoga, where it so tough on them. I wanted him to get a nice experience. He didn’t run as well as we thought he would, but he came back and proved himself at Churchill. He’s always been wanting to go long. I don’t know if there is a better 2-year-old in the country right now. It’s probably Albaugh’s other horse, Unbridled Outlaw.”

Corey Lanerie - “He was awesome. Dale told me in the Paddock every time he does something, second time he does it, he’s always better. I watched his race the other day when he won and he looked pretty impressive to me there. So if he got any better today, I thought I had a good shot. What a professional he was. Broke very sharp and then settled in. He took a lot of dirt. Handled it great. Handled it like he’d done it a bunch of times. He was so professional. Never even blinked an eye about the dirt. He never even thought about backing out of it. I think the sky is the limit for him. Just the way he does things, he does it so easy.”

Although Brody's Cause ran well, it was Nyquist that continued his winning ways in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland despite having to break from post 12. Swipe again ran second to him, this time by a half-length after breaking from post 11. Brody's Cause was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Nyquist, and Exaggerator came in fourth.  Nyquist was eighth in the early going, about five lengths off the pace, but he was four or five lanes wide. The winning time was 1:43.79.

The chart call: "Brody's Cause was unhurried early, fanned into the five path in the far turn, rallied in the stretch run and was gaining late to no avail."

Dale Romans - “I thought Brody's Cause ran a great race. Really no excuses. He had to steady maybe one little time but you have to expect that with a closer. I was very disappointed with Unbridled Outlaw. I think he is every bit as good as 'Brody' and today (Mike Smith) said he got very nervous in the post parade. That's a little of Unbridled's Song coming out in him. He's never done that before. We are going to have to do a few things to adjust and regroup and come back."

Corey Lanerie  – “We got a good break, and he settled nice. There was lots of traffic on the second turn. I knew I had a lot to do coming down the stretch, but I was still hopeful and he gave me a big run.”

Jan. 13 NOTE: Brody's Cause hasn't put in any works since Breeder's Cup,  but trainer Romans said he is scheduled to work soon. Romans said, "We just took it easy on him, let him try to grow up a little, and he's doing super. He has everything it takes to be a solid horse. He has a good pedigree. He's made right. He has a good mind on him, and, obviously naturally ability. Coming out of his 2-year-old year, he's probably further along than anything I've had."

March 11 NOTE: Trainer Romans said,  “I expect him to win (the Tampa Bay Derby). He is coming into the race perfectly and seems to be plenty fit and happy with this racetrack. The Breeders’ Cup got him started the right way, and I want to send him to the Kentucky Derby as one of the favorites. This is the prototype Derby horse."

Things didn't go as planned. Brody's Cause finished seventh of nine, beaten 12 1/2 lengths by Destin. The closest he ever got to the lead was nine lengths. It should be pointed out that Destin set a stakes record. Later, Romans said he hadn't figured out what went wrong. The chart call: "Brody's Cause  was bumped at the start, raced off the pace inside, dropped back on the far turn, came wide and gained mildly late."

April 2 NOTE: DRF's Mike Welsch tweeted, "Romans works his Derby trio Brody's Cause the star of show 5/8 from 1/2 in 59.79 with huge gallop out into wind 6f 112.07 up mile in 140.15!"

On April 9, Brody's Cause elevated his game to win the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes after coming from far off the pace. He was eleventh of 14 runners after a half-mile run in a brisk 46.75 by pacesetter Laoban. While Loaban stayed on the lead through six furlongs in 1:11.44, Brody's Cause was getting ready to make his move. Ninth at that point, and 6 1/4 lengths off the pace, he was on the lead two furlongs later with the mile gone in 1:37.26. He stayed on to win in 1:50.20, prevailing by 1 3/4 length. For a few moments in the stretch run, it looked like Cherry Wine might round out the exacta. My Man Sam got to him in the final jump, eking out the place by a head. Both horses also came from far off the pace. My Man Sam had to work out a good trip after breaking from post 14. Cherry Wine broke from post 3. Loaban hung around for fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths.

Dale Romans - “He started off his three-year-old season really slow. To run so bad in the Tampa Bay Derby, when I thought we were leading over a winner, it was discouraging. But if you look at his first race, he ran terrible that day, and I had thought he would win. I think he’s just a horse that needed a race. We’re going into the Kentucky Derby in perfect form. He’s already won on the track, which you know is important at Churchill Downs, and the farther the better.

Luis Saez - “He broke sharp. He was in a good spot. On the first turn, he got in a little trouble; I had to check a little. But that was good because he came out (at the five-eighths pole), and we were in the clear. He was rolling. He was asking me to let him go and I let him go. When we came to the stretch I knew he would be there. Dale asked me if I had seen his replays, and I said I had and that I think I know how to ride him. I want to thank him for giving me this opportunity to ride in this big race.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Romans said after Brody's Cause worked, “It’s just what we wanted. I know it sounds cliché, but you can’t hide these Derby horses, everybody’s watching them. We wanted to go with a nice easy work. It’s the first one back off of the race, and he went around there perfect. Tammy said he felt great.”

 

 

CREATOR (KY)
Owner: WinStar Farm; Breeder: Mt. Brilliant Broodmares I LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-10-11-1-0 (26) 3.00; By Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels) out of Morena (Privately Held, Charytin (PER)); Foal Date: March 30, 2013; $440,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Steve Asmussen

NEXT START: Kentucky Derby - Arrived April 18 at Churchill Downs - Barn 38 - Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Creator finished second in four of his first five career starts before a breakthrough February victory in his Oaklawn debut going 1 1/16 mile. Creator rallied from far back to win under Ricardo Santana Jr., who was scheduled to have the mount for the Rebel.

March 9 NOTE: WinStar's Elliott Walden said, “We've always liked the horse, and Steve's always been very high on him. We were disappointed that he hadn't gotten his maiden broken yet, but we continued and then when he ran well like that - he has plenty of experience. I think he just needs a decent, honest pace in front of him, like he got the other day, and we'll see what happens."

Cupid held off Whitmore to win the Rebel Stakes on March 19. Creator finished third but didn't threaten for the win. After exiting post 3, Cupid led 13 rivals through fractions of 22.96, 46.82 and 1:12.11 while being tracked by Siding Spring and Madtap. The especially moderate third quarter-mile allowed him to keep enough in reserve to win after Whitmore surged to his side mid-stretch. Whitmore flattened out and finished second by 1 1/4 length. Creator, who like Cupid is a gray son of Tapit, came on willingly for third, beaten three lengths. Another 1 3/4 length back in fourth was Cherry Wine, who edged Suddenbreakingnews by a head. The latter horse had to check after encountering traffic in the far turn. The final time was 1:43.84.

The chart call: "Creator, last away, moved out in the run up the backstretch, four wide into the far turn, shifted out to be five wide soon after, lost considerable ground to the winner into the lane, finished willingly to earn the show."

Steve Asmussen - “Very solid. He’s run quite a bit recently; that’s his third race in five weeks. I think that (the Arkansas Derby) looks OK if we’re in as good of shape. We’ve got a month from today, so hopefully that will help us. (Cupid is a) nice horse. Quality animal. Very good horse.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Asmussen said, “Got to get Creator in a position he doesn’t cover that much ground. Worrying about him getting stopped, because of him being such a one-run horse and how much ground he gave up yesterday, we’ve got to do a little better than that. Whether it’s timing our run or taking a few chances with him. With that being said, he ran a huge race, third race in five weeks. He’s an exciting horse going forward."

On April 16, Creator charged down the stretch between horses to win the Arkansas Derby in an 11-1 upset. Creator came away from the gate last. Gettysburg, with the same owner as Creator, set quick fractions of 22.81, 46.33 and 1:10.61, closely pursued by 4-5 favorite Cupid, with American Pioneer and Unbridled Outlaw in third and fourth position at the first two calls and Gray Sky in third and American Pioneer following the front two after six furlongs. As the stretch run unfolded, four of those five early contenders were out of the picture, and Gettysburg was still fighting for position. But it was Creator who threaded his way through horses to get the lead about 220 yards from the finish line.  At that point, the closing Suddenbreakingnews was a head back in second and Whitmore, yet another closer, was third by only a half-length. That was the trifecta at the wire after Creator finished best to win by 1 1/4 length. Whitmore was another 1 1/2 length back of Suddenbreakingnews, and Dazzling Gem finished fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths after running mid-pack most of the way.  After the first half-mile, Creator was last, 14 1/4 lengths off the lead. The 1 1/8-mile was timed in 1:50.14.

Steve Asmussen - "Ricardo has a ton of confidence in the horse, and I'm glad to see him rewarded for how much he believed in the horse. I can't say enough about the job that (assistant) Darren Fleming and (exercise rider) Abel Flores have done with this horse here at Oaklawn. His race in the Rebel was good, and we felt like he came out of it good. He had a little break and came out for the Arkansas Derby training great. I am very proud of the outcome today. Obviously, we want him to come out of it very good. With him doing better at longer distances, it's easy to dream about the Derby."

Ricardo Santana, Jr. - "First of all, Thank God and thanks to the owner and the trainer. This is a really nice horse. The first time he run here and broke his maiden, he run really good. He had a really good trip but I had to go wide. He make a nice run in the end. Last time it was 14 horses, today it was 12 horses. Steve told me to be patient, be patient, because you're going to have a lot of horses. It worked out worked out really good. I hope I have the same trip in the Kentucky Derby."

Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm -  Steve has had a lot of confidence in this horse from the start. He’s been a very high strung horse in the beginning. I liked what Steve had done with some of the Tapits he’s had in the past. So that’s why we sent Creator to him. Didn’t want to send him to New York to where he’d run with the big guys. We felt like he was the kind of horse that if you pressed him too hard too early he might come apart on you.

“Steve has done a really good job with him. Some of the Tapits can be very high strung. We just felt that Steve has done real well, and in the Midwest particularly, with bringing them along without putting them up against the toughest maiden races at Saratoga.

NOTE: Creator is first horse WinStar sent to Asmussen. They have sent a couple others to him since.

"The first two starts (both on turf) Steve felt like wanted to give him experience without getting dirt in his face. Again, I give him a lot of credit. But then when we ran him at Churchill and he was second, I thought he’d win his next start. Something down in New Orleans just didn’t click with him. In those two races he was heavily favored, got in trouble in both starts, jammed up, pace was slow, nowhere to go.

“We decided to send him to Oaklawn, and then he ran extremely well. And then we were back where he hoped to be Thanksgiving weekend at Churchill. Even in the maiden races were experience. That’s why we didn’t have any problem going into the Rebel when he did finally break his maiden. Because he’d had plenty of starts. Not every horse has to break its maiden first time out.

“I love his style. I love the way he’s been brought along. I think based on today’s performance that he would have a very good chance (in the Kentucky Derby).

“Gettysburg ran very well. The track was playing to speed. I thought when he made the lead over Cupid, I really thought he had a big chance. He ran hard, very hard. He’s a developing type horse. He shipped to Sunland, shipped back to Florida, shipped to Lexington, shipped here. We’ll probably regroup with him and look for something like the Peter Pan.”

NOTE: Walden named Creator for God.

April 25 NOTE: “I think pedigree wise he is getting good at the right time," Asmussen said. "He’s always been talented. He did lack some focus and Mr. Trout and Elliott had all the patience in the world of letting him come around. Elliott always had the vision of him getting good when it mattered. The first couple of turf starts were his lack of speed early. I felt that talking with Elliott, we thought that it would not deter him from future racing, to just leave there and get covered up with dirt and not really know what happened. He said that they went the same path with Drosselmeyer. His first couple of races were on turf, hopefully it works out as well."

 

 

DANZING CANDY (KY)
Owner: Halo Farms, Jim Bashor and Diane Bashor; Breeder: Halo Farms; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-4-3-1-0 (12) 3.80; By Twirling Candy (Candy Ride (ARG), House of Danzing) out of Talkin and Singing (Songandaprayer, Bendita); Foal Date: April 6, 2013; Not sold at auction; Trainer: Clifford Sise, Jr.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on May 2 - Barn 41 - Jockey Mike Smith

Danzing Candy broke his maiden in his second start running seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Danzing Candy got plenty of attention on Feb. 4 when he made short work of eight rivals in a Santa Anita allowance, going a mile in 1:36.73 under Mike Smith. He won by 5 3/4 lengths after going off at even money. It was his third start. Breaking from post position six, Danzing Candy was hustled to a contending position by Smith, made the lead approaching the three quarter pole and then opened up on his competition turning for home, winning in hand. French Getaway was last into and around the first turn and made a steady late run to finish second, a head better than Semper Fortis.

Mike Smith:  “I like him a lot. Once he starts (breaking) better, then we can place him and then I think he’ll really be nice. He doesn’t have to be in front. I’m having to kind of use him there early and it puts him on the lead, but I don’t really want to be there. The first time I won on him,  I told Cliff ‘This might be the one that takes us that way.’ So far, I can’t say anything different today than I did then, other than today was even more impressive.”

Clifford Sise:  “He ran good. We’re staying home here at Santa Anita with him. He seems to like this track. The San Felipe would be next. He’s so smooth. And, when someone comes up to him, he just takes off again.”

Feb. 21 NOTE: Danzing Candy went five furlongs in 1:00.20 under Mike Smith. Trainer Sise said, “It was a perfect work. He just galloped. Mike was very happy with him.”

March 4 NOTE: Danzing Candy worked five furlongs in 1:01 under Mike Smith. Trainer Sise said, “It was good. He’s happy.”

On March 12, front-running Danzing Candy cruised to an impressive two length win under Mike Smith in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. The lightly raced colt got 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.04 and picked up 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. Danzing Candy set fractions of 22.96, 46.11, 1:11.04 and 1:36.38 over a main track that was listed as fast but that had been dulled by heavy afternoon rains on Friday. Mor Spirit ran through some obstacles to finish a good second. He appeared to get a bit rank around the clubouse turn but settled readily down the backside when next to last of six going past the half mile pole. With a cue, he picked it up between horses around the far turn and rallied well. He galloped out on terms with the winner past the wire. Exaggerator came from far back in the early going, rallied smartly entering the far turn while saving ground, was in second place leaving the turn but gave up the place and finished third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by the winner.

Clifford Sise - “I expected him to be on the lead. We didn’t want to experiment in this race. Mike just said, ‘I’ll let him come out the first few jumps and if he’s there, he’s there. If somebody sends, he’ll sit second. He left much better today. He’s good now. We’ll stay for the Santa Anita Derby. He’s three for three on this track. Why would we change now? I don’t see any reason to, but you never know. You’ve got to leave that up to the owners.”

Mike Smith - “He warmed up great, he was on his toes. Our game plan was to put him on the lead unless he didn’t jump out of there well. We didn’t want to experiment. We wanted to play our hand, right off the bat. Let’s go to the lead and if they want to go with us, we’ll be probably be going too fast and if that’s the case, that’s the case. We were going to worry about it next time. We did it. I left there very aggressive and he didn’t get away with anything. If you go twenty-two on this track today, you’re smokin’. And for him to hold off the caliber of horses he held off, was very impressive.

“In the mornings we’ve been schooling with him and it doesn’t seem to be bothering him at all. I was pretty impressed with the caliber he showed today and the numbers that he put up. He’s flashy in the afternoon. He’s so easy on himself in the mornings and that’s a good thing. If he was a bit too aggressive in the morning it would probably take its toll on him. He’s a big horse. He’s still carrying a lot of flesh on him. There’s room to trim him down as we get closer to the Derby and we’re doing it little by little. He’s handling everything. He’s a big, beautiful horse and he’ll start tucking up as we get closer. We don’t do much with him. There’s room to tighten those screws, tighten him up.”

March 26 NOTE: Trainer Sise after Danzing Candy breezed five in a bullet 58.60 (1/54) with inital fractions of 22.80 and 46.40: “I didn’t want to go quite that fast. I wanted to go in like a minute and change, but he got some air in him today.” The work was in company with Richard Baltas trainee Far Out Kailee, who was timed in 1:00.20. Danzing Candy was out six in 1:12.00.

April 2 NOTE: Trainer Sise said, “We don’t have to be in front, but I’ll pretty much leave it up to Mike. I’m sure if the other speed (Iron Rob) knows that if I draw inside, I’m going to go, and he’ll sit off of us. If he draws inside of me, it will be vice-versa."

On April 9, Danzing Candy set a fast pace in the Santa Anita Derby on a sloppy track, but he faded to finish fourth. Exaggerator used a new style of running to win. Taken well back off quick early fractions, he made a huge move starting on the far turn to blow by five of the other seven horses in the field and win by 6 1/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux. Exaggerator was timed in 1:49.66 for 1 1/8 mile. Danzing Candy set a fast pace to set up the late run, going the first six furlongs in spits of 22.15, 45.24 and 1:10.12. After a half-mile, Exaggerator was 16 1/2 lengths in arrears and preparing to unload his knockout punch. Mor Spirit finished second after stalking the pace in fourth. He was 11 lengths in front of Exaggerator after they'd run the first half-mile. Uncle Lino finished third at 26-1 odds, 2 1/4 lengths behind Mor Spirit, after being second at each prior call of the race. Danzing Candy faded to fourth, beaten 13 1/4 lengths.

Mike Smith, aboard Danzing Candy - ‚Äč"Well he (Exaggerator) was quite a bit quicker than we hoped, of course, but we kind of thought that would happen today. I was hoping he'd really take to the mud, to be honest with you, as long as I had him up underneath me he was okay but as soon as I had to let up and run along I felt like I was on roller skates out there. He just didn't grab quite a hold of it the way we hoped.

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Sise said Danzing Candy is doing well but that he has “no plans” on what might be next.

April 15 NOTE: Trainer Sise told Bloodhorse.com that the Kentucky Derby is a go, saying, "We'll take him to San Luis Rey tomorrow to train him over a sandier racetrack -- to get used to a cuppier racetrack. It's not totally similar to Churchill Downs, but it's more like it than Santa Anita." Sise plans to ship on May 2.

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Sise said after Danzing Cany worked at San Luis Rey, “I can’t believe how good he worked. He's been happier down here than at Santa Anita. Maybe he likes the fresh air."

 

 

DESTIN (KY)
Owner: Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners; Breeder: James C. Weigel & Taylor Made Stallions Inc.; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-2-23-0-0 (28) 1.43;  By Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat, Mariah's Storm) out of Dream of Summer (Siberian Summer, Mary's Dream); $400,000 Keeneland September 2014; Foal Date: April 16, 2013; Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Full brother to Creative Cause

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on April 25 - Barn 40 - Jockey Javier Castellano

Destin won at first asking going seven furlongs at Belmont Park on Oct. 11. Stretched out to a mile at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 18, he finished second to Golden Ray and a time of 1:38 and change after pressing the pace three wide.

Destin made his first stakes run in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds on January 16. He finished fourth, beaten five lengths by Mo Tom, but he was two or three wide on both turns and willingly ran down the stretch. Tom's Ready and Uncle Walter ran two-three. The chart call: "Destin went two then three wide on the first turn, dropped back onto the backstretch, was urged along near the middle of the field, raced in the two path on the far turn, moved out under the whip in upper stretch and failed to threaten.

Julien Leparoux - "He's still learning a little bit and green, but he came running at the end and finished strong."

On Feb. 13, Destin’s winning time of 1:43.67 was the second-fastest Sam F. Davis Stakes time ever, behind General Quarters’ stakes-record clocking of 1:43.54 in 2009. Destin, at 4-1, was fourth early while  Morning Fire led in 23.92 and 48.16. Destin moved up three wide entering the far turn. He split rivals leaving the turn and and drew off.

John Velazquez - "He was green in everything -- looking at the horses sideways, and when he got to the quarter-pole he didn't know what to do and I had to get after him. At least he put in a nice run, but he didn't go forward to get away from the horses; just kind if waited and not really running the way he was supposed to, but still good enough to win today. He has to put his mind into the business."

Ginny DePasquale, assistant to Todd Pletcher - "I think he took a giant step forward from his New Orleans race. Knowing his history, I was a little concerned he didn't really seem like he was going to go on, and John said 'OK, we're going to do this now.' He kept at him and he kept him between horses where he was more focused. "We gave him a new type of blinker -- he had the French-cup before, and we put on blinkers with the little peeps in them where he could kind of look around and see the other horses instead of stopping and waiting."

Destin followed up with a win of the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12, setting a stakes and track record and allaying concerns over his green performance in the Sam F. Davis. After stalking in third three wide, he wore down pacesetter and stablemate Outwork through a fierce stretch run, posting a one-length victory under Javier Castellano in a time of 1:42.82. That bettered the 2007 mile-and-a-sixteenth stakes record set by Street Sense and the track record of 1:42.83 set by Bold Start in the 2010 Challenger Stakes.

Todd Pletcher via telephone from Gulfstream Park - “I was very, very pleased with his performance. He seems to be getting more and more professional and is learning how to finish his races. I felt he would improve with more experience, and that is proving to be true. After his first two races, he was still piecing things together, but he has gotten better with experience. We will assess him, but probably would not come back in the Florida Derby, which leaves the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby as possibilities.

Javier Castellano - “It was a beautiful trip, he broke sharp out of the gate and put me in good position behind the top two horses. I thought there would be a little more speed, but the way he set out was beautiful. I asked him turning for home, and he responded so well. He finished good and the way he galloped out was phenomenal, especially after the time. The way he’s been doing, he could be a (Kentucky Derby) horse. He could be destined to win it -- who knows?”

Winning owner Randy Gullatt, Twin Creeks Racing Stables - “He has come a long ways, and I think he is ahead of even where we thought he would be. He’s making big jumps, and we’re very happy. Obviously, this race gives you the option of (another prep) because of the timing. He ran super last time, but I think he was even more into the bit today and just took Javier right where he wanted. I’m elated. I think he ran even better than I was hoping he would.”

March 29 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher told TDN, “The ownership is on board with (going straight into the Kentucky Derby). Steve Davison is a big Ragozin guy and the horse made a big move forward in the Tampa Bay Derby. I know that when it comes to the Derby, not too many people have tried this approach. But, generally, giving horses plenty of time between races has worked well for our stable. Liam’s Map and Stopchargingmaria winning Breeders’ Cup races off layoffs are examples of that. It something we are thinking about.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, after Destin worked this date in 1:00.32 at Palm Beach Downs in company with Savoy Stomp (1:00.80), who finished fourth in the Skip Away at Gulfstream in his most recent start, “He worked very well. I’m really happy with the way he’s doing."

 

 

EXAGGERATOR (KY)
Owner: Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners and Rocker O Ranch; Breeder: Joseph B. Murphy; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-6-10-0-0 (22) 3.40; By Curlin (Smart Strike (CAN), Sherriff's Deputy) out of Dawn Raid (Vindication, Embur Sunshine (CAN)); Foal Date: Feb. 5, 2013; $110,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on April 27 - Barn 25 - Jockey Kent Desormeaux

Exaggerator had a busy juvenile campaign, racing six times with three wins and a second.

Back in July, he narrowly won at Del Mar sprinting six furlongs at second asking. He came from far back to win.

He followed that up with a victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Saratoga Special on Aug. 16. At 9-2 odds after breaking from the rail, Exaggerator saved ground at the back of the field and then dove inside between horses, got through and won with aplomb by three-quarter length over Saratoga Mischief. John Q. Public led through an opening quarter-mile in 21.60, with Saratoga Mischief taking at a half-mile in 45.19. Saratoga Mischief was 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Hammers Vision. Running time was 1:16.39.

Junior Alvarado: "I watched his last race. He won it by a nose but he won gamely. He handled being between horses pretty good, so I knew if I did ask him to go inside, I knew he'd be there. I tried to save ground as much as I could. As soon as I decided to go inside, I thought I had a chance to win the race and he was there for me. He's professional; he lets you do whatever you want."

Julie Clark, assistant to Keith Desormeaux,: "I wasn't sure if he could get through on the rail and then he burst between the two. I thought that showed some real class for a baby. He flew out (of Lexington) Monday and vanned out the next day. He got two gallops over the track, so you always wonder if he's still sharp. I'm glad it worked out. We would've liked a little more time, a little more rest, but he's pretty sharp. He's always on his toes and he never really seemed dull."

THE NEXT DAY: Assistant trainer Julie Clark said, "Is it uncool to be still super excited? He's great. I walked him this morning myself, and he ate up and he doesn't look drawn. He wasn't totally sharp, but he walked with confidence and seemed happy. I watched the replay. and they zeroed in kind of right when he found a spot and burst through there. It looked so professional. He doesn't really give you that indication in the barn that he's carefree about things like that. (The next race is) going to be Keith's choice. I think he wants to try to get a little more distance next time to get more of a prep for the Breeders' Cup, but who knows. Keith will pull anything out of his hat."

Nex out, he was second to Brody's Cause in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. He ran well, but Brody's Cause was too much for him that day.

Kent Desormeaux - “I ended up on the fence, where I truly didn’t want to be, but the race set up like that. I had a beautiful run. If I could get that run on the next nine routes, I'd probably win the next nine. I just think that the winner was really enjoying the going. Today was his day but the whole team’s extremely happy and we look forward to Breeders’ Cup.”

His fourth-place finish, beaten three lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile won by Nyquist was disappointing. He didn't appear to like the inside trip heading into the far turn, and his jockey thought he had a cold. He pretty much ran evenly, progressing from sixth early on. The chart call is not entirely descriptive: "Exaggerator was bothered and forced out a bit early, quickly recovered and was well placed along the backstretch, shifted into the four path in the far turn, made a bid in the stretch but flattened out late in the drive."

Keith Desormeaux - "I had mixed emotions because I'm pulling for Exaggerator and then here comes Swipe. And then I gave up on Exaggerator because I could tell he was beat, and my emotions re-ignited again on the other one, so it was cool.”

Kent Desormeaux - “He wanted to go a little quick earlier. I didn't exactly get a clean trip, but I was there for a while. I would dare say that the horse might have a cold. He was a little raspy, and he's never done that before. He's a little under the weather, I'll leave it at that - and he still ran fourth.”

Exaggerator finished the year on a high note, winning the Delta Jackpot after taking a narrow lead over Sunny Ridge early on and then battling with that one to the finish. The winning margin was a neck. His time, was kind of slow even for the tight-turned bullring that is Delta Downs. He got the half in 47.53, six furlongs in 1:13.47 and hit the wire in 1:46.48. Still, he deserves a lot of credit for his gritty performance.

The chart call: "Exaggerator, way  in  good  order  from  the  outside,  gained  a  short  margin  entering  the  backstretch,  dueled  up  the  backstretch,  fought  through  the second turn with Sunny Ridge, remained engaged with that one through the drive and just lasted over his rival after a stretch long drive in a solid try."

Feb. 13 NOTE: Trainer Desormeaux said, “I told the owner a couple weeks ago after his six furlong work from the gate that El Nino could open its doors now and rain until February 15; this horse is ready now. Exaggerator was ready two weeks ago and he’s had two works since then and both were outstanding. The horse is absolutely raring to go. He’s a little different from most Derby horses, because you always worry about fitness or readiness for the big race, but he’s ready to go now. Eventually, I hope he can show his class. I don’t think weather will affect us here at all. We’ve got Nyquist right where we want him now."

Nyquist broke from the rail and went to the lead in the San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 15, and he didn't let anything catch him. The seven furlongs was timed in a spritely 1:20.71. Nyquist didn't rate at all, running the first half-mile in 44 and change, but it was still a really great return from his layoff. Exaggerator ran like a champ too and finished second, beaten 1 1/2 length after chasing Nyquist in the backstretch and trying to make a winning move in upper stretch. Nyquist repelled that move and eased on out to win fairly easily.

The chart call: "Exaggerator stalked outside a rival then three deep on the turn, was fanned out into the stretch, bid outside the winner in midstretch, could not quite match that one in the final sixteenth, was a bit crowded behind that rival in deep stretch but continued willingly to be second best."

Kent Desormeaux - “You’d have to break the track record to win the race, so that’s telling for both horses. They’re both very talented. I had a dream trip. The winner was too good.”

Keith Desormeaux - “Goodness gracious. Anybody not a believer in Nyquist now? That was an awesome race, to set those kinds of fractions and still finish in close to track record time for a three-year-old in February. Wow! Hat’s off to Nyquist.”

Feb. 19 NOTE: Trainer Desormeaux said, “We’re looking at the San Felipe, no doubt. It seems like a good progression to me. If Nyquist runs next in Florida, I’m fine with that. I don’t ever want to have to run against him for $200,000 again. It’s not enough money to run against that kind of horse.”

March 5 NOTE: Exaggerator worked five furlongs under Kent Desormeaux in 1:00.40. Trainer Desormeaux said, “That’s the same time I got. I don’t know how those guys can clock 50 horses at the same time. It’s a special skill. It was a nice work. He finished in 22 and four. That’s not bad. He was under control, limber, and wasn’t stressed out afterwards, all things you want to see in a horse getting ready for a race, so we’re happy.”

On March 12, front-running Danzing Candy cruised to an impressive two length win under in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. The lightly raced colt got 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.04 and picked up 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. Danzing Candy set fractions of 22.96, 46.11, 1:11.04 and 1:36.38 over a main track that was listed as fast but that had been dulled by heavy afternoon rains on Friday. Mor Spirit ran through some obstacles to finish a good second. He appeared to get a bit rank around the clubouse turn but settled readily down the backside when next to last of six going past the half mile pole. With a cue, he picked it up between horses around the far turn and rallied well. He galloped out on terms with the winner past the wire. Exaggerator came from far back in the early going, rallied smartly entering the far turn while saving ground, was in second place leaving the turn but gave up the place and finished third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by the winner.

The chart call: "Exaggerator  forced out some at the start, angled in and saved ground off the pace, moved up inside on the second turn, came out and bumped a rival nearing the quarter pole, angled out into the stretch, loomed behind the winner in midstretch, drifted in late and was edged for second."

Keith Desormeaux - “He ran nice and steady. They were quick the first part of the race. He was sitting chilly and relaxed. I loved the way it set up, but he didn’t finish. I would like to think he’ll move forward off of this. He might be maxing out at a mile, too. That’s what’s going through my mind right now. But we’ll stay here for the Santa Anita Derby, try them again and try and prove me wrong.”

On April 9, Exaggerator used a new style of running to win the Santa Anita Derby on a sloppy track. He'd run well on an off track before. Taken well back off quick early fractions, he made a huge move starting on the far turn to blow by five of the other seven horses in the field and win by 6 1/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux. Exaggerator was timed in 1:49.66 for 1 1/8 mile. Danzing Candy set a fast pace to set up the late run, going the first six furlongs in spits of 22.15, 45.24 and 1:10.12. After a half-mile, Exaggerator was 16 1/2 lengths in arrears and preparing to unload his knockout punch. Mor Spirit finished second after stalking the pace in fourth. He was 11 lengths in front of Exaggerator after they'd run the first half-mile. Uncle Lino finished third at 26-1 odds, 2 1/4 lengths behind Mor Spirit, after being second at each prior call of the race. Danzing Candy faded to fourth, beaten 13 1/4 lengths.

Keith Desormeaux - "For me, this is like a dream. The (Kentucky) Derby is what everybody in this business dreams of. Yes, the way he finished today and the way he galloped out…If we get a fast pace, and we should, yes, I don’t think there’s any problem with it. I would say (Kent and I) have a very frank relationship. If I feel a certain way about something, I don’t hold anything back, and the same for him. I’m not sure I’d talk to a Mike Smith the way I talk to Kent. We’re just very upfront about everything and express ourselves fully.”

What about Nyquist? “We haven’t been able to beat him, what five (actually three) times? I don’t know if we can or not.”

Kent Desormeaux - “Well, if he shows up the first Saturday in May like he did today . . . he was ultra-confident today. He’s so mature and he walked to the gate like an old pony. He left there quiet and comfortable and I think that’s the difference, when a horse lets you drive and they’re not man-handling themselves. He reminded me of Texas Red. He’s that caliber of horse and it’s extra special to be with Keith, and we don’t even talk too much, it’s all quite understood. All he said in the paddock was, ‘Kent, I’m telling you that I’ve never seen this horse so confident.’ When I galloped off once I was on the track, he took to the track like a duck to water. He never missed a beat and he showed it winning today. I don’t think it has soaked in yet, I’m pretty much in shock. I’m just going to pray that unlike Texas Red, we make it there. He was the fourth horse that I rode in the mud today, and the others felt like they had ice skates on. Exaggerator felt like he had track shoes on. He really liked the going and I think that was part of his incredible effort today. He enjoyed the mud.

“I don’t know (if he can beat Nyquist); we’ll find out Derby Day. I heard two people say that Nyquist couldn’t handle Mohaymen. When I tried to run with him in the San Vicente and he went twenty-two and change I thought I was going to go by him like he was tied to a pole but he wouldn’t let me by. That is a very good horse.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Desormeaux said, “Here’s a news flash. Everything looks good this morning. I said after he was third in the San Felipe that maybe the reasons he didn’t finish were that maybe he was a miler, maybe it was one of those crazy bounce theories, but not now. I think his impressive win can be attributed to a combination of several things: his fitness, his pedigree, but most of all, his demeanor before the race. He’s never been a fidgety horse, but yesterday before the race he was calm and never turned a hair.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Desormeaux was happy with today's workout, saying to Jeremy Balan of bloodhorse.com, "He’s progressing, not regressing. A lot of these horses, when they run big races, they regress."

 

 

GUN RUNNER (KY)
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Three Chimneys Farm; Breeder: Besilu Stables LLC; State Bred: KY; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-2-14-1-0 (18) 1.25;  By Candy Ride (ARG) (Ride the Rails, Candy Girl (ARG)) out of Quiet Giant (Giant's Causeway, Quiet Dance); Foal Date: March 8, 2013; Not sold at auction; Trainer: Steve Asmussen

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs March 29 - Barn 38 - Jockey Florent Geroux

Gun Runner won at first asking at Churchill Downs on Sept. 11, and it was at one mile. He was timed in 1:37.83 after tactically stalking the early pace. He followed that with a sharp 1 1/16-mile allowance victory timed in 1:44.69 at Keeneland on Oct. 17 where he again engaged in a stalking trip.

Gun Runner had a game fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28, beaten on a sloppy track by Airoforce, Mor Spirit and Mo Tom. He did stagger once in the stretch, but he ran on from there.

The chart call for the Jockey Club: "Gun Runner chased the pace early while between horses, shifted into the four path in the far turn, took over command and led in the stretch from between horses but faltered late in the drive.

Feb. 15 NOTE:  Trainer Asmussen said, “He has a lot of talent. I thought that it as an excellent running of the Kentucky Jockey Club, and while I hoped for a different result, I thought he ran very well. I feel good about his work and obviously I feel very fortunate to get the train the kinds of horses I do. Saturday is going to be a very exciting day.”

In the Feb. 20 Risen Star Stakes, Gun Runner won by a half-length after a flawless trip under Florent Geroux. Candy My Boy set a quick pace of 22.95, 46.38 and 1:11.33 after breaking from the outside post 11. Gun Runner, bumped in the early going, was urged on the rail on the far turn, hit the front under a drive at the top of the stretch and held off the late-running Forevamo. Gun Runner hit the mile marker in 1:37.05 and finished up the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.94. Mo Tom finished a length behind the second finisher after being checked hard on the fence midway through the stretch. He was running best at the end by far, and the traffic probably cost him the race. Candy My Boy lasted to finish fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. Zapperinia was another 7 1/2 lengths back in fifth.

The chart call: "Gun Runner bumped with Airoforce at the seven-eighths pole, raced in the two path on the first turn, settled off the pace, was urged along while inside early on the far turn, came off the rail at the five-sixteenths, made a bid at the quarter-pole, took the lead under a right-handed whip in upper stretch, switched to left-handed whip while inching clear at the furlong marker, remained clear into the final sixteenth and held under strong urging."

Florent Geroux - “He's a very nice horse. I've really liked him since the first time I was on his back a few weeks ago working in the morning. He's super athletic. I was very confident. I wanted to make sure I saved some ground. Earlier I got beat (with Stageplay) and was stuck going wide the whole way. It looked like the track was playing a little bit more inside-favoring. I kept him down there until I asked him to go, and he ran a great race.”

Steve Asmussen - “He's a very nice horse. We're very lucky to have him. I thought Florent gave him a beautiful trip with how the track was playing. He's shown talent the whole time and it's definitely good to see him in the winner's circle in a race like this.”

March 20 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen said, "He’ll have to run better than he did in the Risen Star and I think we’re in position for him to do so. Last time Florent worked out a very good trip for him. For anyone to have success in the Louisiana Derby, they’re going to have to be fit and moving forward.”

Gun Runner made it two straight at Fair Grounds, winning the Louisiana Derby by 4 1/2 lengths but timed in a tepid 1:51.06. He sat off Candy My Boy in third, then second, following honest fractions of 23.54, 48.24 and 1:12.94. Tom's Ready plugged along moving up from seventh, then fifth, to get the place. Dazzling Gem, second at the first two calls, stayed on for third, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. Mo Tom for the second straight race was checked hard on the rail in mid-stretch. This time was worse than the Risen Star. Somehow he managed to finish fourth, a neck behind Dazzling Gem.

The chart call: "Gun Runner was well placed on the inside, came off the rail early on the far turn, advanced to make a bid at the five-sixteenths, edged clear under a left-handed whip in upper stretch, switched to a right-handed whip while racing a bit greenly outside the sixteenth-pole and drew away under steady urging."

Steve Asmussen - “We’re so fortunate and thankful for the Winchells for the opportunity to train this horse and we really look forward to his next race. He’s very talented. It is what we’re all dreaming about."

Florent Geroux - “The good thing is he’s very easy to manage. He is so easy to manage and has so many gears. He settles really nicely and when you ask him to go he has a nice turn of foot. It’s great. I was in the Derby last year, but my horse (Stanford) was scratched. Hopefully we can make a nice run the first Saturday in May.”

April 11 NOTE: Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said, “He’s very manageable; he’s getting over the ground well. He’s got plenty of time, so this was just a nice maintenance work for him. He’s definitely changed physically and he’s getting there. He’s still playful, but he’s definitely getting there. It’s nice to have him here. He’s settled in how we’ve wanted him to, and hopefully we’ll have good works leading up to the Derby.”

April 18 NOTE: After a bullet breeze in 1:00.00 trainer Asmussen said, “I’m going to need more of a blow with him next week. I think today had a lot to do with what I want to go with next week’s work, and what adjustments I need to make and talking to Florent before we’ve worked him in the past. He wasn’t ready for the Kentucky Jockey Club last year just because of how easy he does minutes, and I think how we structure the work will matter; and I thought he cooled out easily today, and I think we’re going to have to stretch him a bit between now and the Derby. I don’t think we have to worry about if he does handle the course. The scenario is that there are 20 horses and I don’t think they’ll all love the surface and I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that with him.”

April 25 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen said of today's six-furlong workout, “We worked Gun Runner (five furlongs) last Monday and me, Scott and Florent thought that he needed a little bit more. Saturday they started the Derby break training; I think that the racetrack is not as tight, just freshly harrowed. We thought that we would get a blow out of him today and that’s exactly what we got out of the work.”

 

 

LANI (KY)
Owner: Koji Maeda; Breeder: North Hills Co. Ltd.; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-9-18-3-1 (38) 1.92; By Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels) out of Heavenly Romance (Sunday Silence, First Act (IRE)); Foal Date: Feb. 22, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs April 3 - Barn 17 - Jockey Yutaka Take

Lani, who began his career with five races in Japan, has never raced less than a mile. He debuted racing about a mile and a quarter, finishing fourth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths to a time of 2:05.80. Next out he was shortened up to about nine furlongs and ran second, beaten five lengths to a time of 1:54.80. Third time was the charm for Lani as he won again going about nine furlongs on Nov. 22. Just six days later, he won going about a mile. His times in the latter two races were improved -- 1:52.70 and 1:37.40.

After a layoff, next came graded company, the Hyacinth Stakes at about a mile on Feb. 21. Lani broke poorly, managed to get in contention by the time they got to the top of the stretch, but flattened out to finish fifth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The winner was timed in 1:35.40, so we can see that Lani was still improving despite the loss.

Lani overcame difficulty to win the UAE Derby on March 26. He was fractious at the gate and stumbled badly at the start, resulting in his being positioned last of seven going into the first turn. He was placed on the outside of the field, moved up with a half-mile left and got the lead over longshot Yu Change with around 100 meters to go. Favored Polar River was trapped behind horses in the stretch and was swung out to get clear, finishing well to run second, beaten three parts of a length. The time for about 1 3/16 mile was 1:58.41. Lani galloped out well and wasn't passed by any of his competitors.

The colt is known for being a handful during training and on the track. Before the race, he was saddled in a private area away from the crowds and then went straight onto the track instead of the parade ring.

The chart call: "Lani broke awkwardly, chased leaders 800m out, led 100m out, ran on well."

Yutaka Take – “He’s a very strong horse, so I really thought I had a good chance in the race. Even though he tripped at the start, he travelled really well throughout. Right now he’s still rather immature so he’s got a lot of growing up to do. He’s getting better and better, and I’d like to go to Kentucky.”

Mikio Matsunaga, trainer - “I am so happy, I don’t really know what to say. I was a bit worried after he stumbled at the start, but he showed how good he really can be today, and Take rode a great race. The Meydan staff has been very kind to us, allowing us to take the best care of Lani as possible. He can be very troublesome so we really appreciated the allowances given to us by the track staff."

Koki Maeda, the son of owner - “We always knew he was special. We would really like to win the Kentucky Derby, and based on how he ran over this surface, I think he’ll be able to run well in Kentucky if we go. If there is nothing wrong with the horse after the race and Mr Maeda wants to go, we will send him to the Kentucky Derby.”

STEWARDS' REPORT: "Jockey Take was fined AED 5000 under the provisions of ERA Rule 69B(a) for using the whip to excess, three more than permitted."

LINK TO THE VIDEO OF THE UAE DERBY: http://drc.newzpoint.com/#/ondemand/id/OgJ8kcpHz9/

April 3 NOTE: Lani looks to be only the second Japan-based horse to compete in the Kentucky Derby. The first was Ski Captain, who finished 14th in 1995 under Take – the jockey’s lone Derby mount. He would become the ninth Kentucky Derby starter that raced exclusively outside North America prior to competing in the “Run for the Roses.” None finished in the Top 5: Dr Devious-IRE (seventh in 1992), Thyer (13th in 1992), Citadeed (ninth in 1995), Ski Captain (14th in 1995), China Visit (sixth in 2000), Curule (seventh in 2000), Castle Gandolfo (12th in 2002) and Mubtaahij (eighth in 2015).

April 14 NOTE: “He is getting used to the new surroundings very well,” said Keita Tanaka, agent for owner Koji Maeda. “For the first few days, things were a little crazy, but he’s doing everything okay. All of the people here are treating us really well, which makes me happy. Tanaka said Lani would breeze April 20.

April 20 NOTE: Spokesperson Kieta Tanaka said, “Everything has gone according to plan, so I’m happy with that. We don’t do super-fast works around this time, so everything is what I have planned. We’ll do something faster next week and three or four days before the Derby.”

 

 

MAJESTO (KY)
Owner: Grupo 7C Racing Stable; Breeder: Diamond A Racing Corp.: Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-1-6-0-0 (10) 2.33; By Tiznow (Cee's Tizzy, Cee's Song) out of Unacloud (Unaccounted For, Clouds Ambre); Foal Date: April 28, 2013; $300,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs April 22 - Barn 43 - Jockey Emisael Jaramillo

The reach of this racing partnership has sometimes exceeded its grasp, but this year they have a better one in Majesto. It took him five races to break his maiden, but he followed that win with a second-place finish in the Florida Derby.

He debuted at Belmont Park going seven furlongs on Oct. 11, finishing third by only 1 1/4 length to Destin. Shipped to Gulfstream Park, he checked in second to the then-promising Neolithic going 1 1/16 mile on Dec. 12. Next time out he was stretched out to 1 1/8 mile on Jan. 9, but he was drubbed by Gettysburg in an 11-length loss. On Feb. 6, he finished third to Kelly Tough, beaten 2 1/4 lengths after being in 10th position early in the nine-furlong affair. He was four wide on the turn and made two moves at the leader, showing some tenacity. The winning time was 1:51.10.

Majesto finally won on Fountain of Youth day, getting 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.00. He stalked the pace three lengths back and made a winning move in the stretch. The chart call: "Majesto was reserved just off the leaders early, moved five-wide through the second turn, reached the fore in tandem with Dig Deep with a furlong to run and edged away from that rival through the final yards."

Now it was on to the Florida Derby.

Trainer Delgado after the Florida Derby post position draw - “Post position number three is very good. He is toward the middle and not outside; the only bad thing is having Nyquist next to us. He’s a very good horse, very fast. I think Majesto can go in the first flight. We will leave it up to Castellano. My horse is doing very, very, very good.”

In the Florida Derby on April 2, Nyquist vanquished Mohaymen, who finished fourth behind the winner, Majesto and Fellowship. The latter two came on late in the stretch while Nyquist set the pace with Mohaymen tracking him wide in about fourth position until he made a move at the leader in the far turn. Nyquist was feathered out wide leaving the turn, pushing Mohaymen wider still. Nyquist galloped away in the lane while one got the feeling Mohaymen was not asked for his all once the race was lost. The winning margin was 3 1/4 lengths, with Fellowship another length back in third, four lengths in front of Mohaymen. The winning time was 1:49.11. Nyquist set fractions of 23.60, 47.09, 1:11.39 and 1:36.38.

The chart call: "Majesto  was allowed to settle back off the pace in early  stages,  saved  ground racing  just  off  the  inside,  picked  up  the  pace  leaving  the  backstretch,  gained  position  running  through  the  far  turn,  took advantage of the clear inside path, kicked in, edged up closer to NYQUIST but was no match for rival and kept along to secure place."

Javier Castellano - “It was a beautiful trip. He really gave a big effort. Not too many horses step up like that and gallop out like he did. It was amazing because he hooked up with the best horses in the country. The good thing about him is I was saving ground and when a hole opened, he went through and finished really well. I think he’s going to be good going to the Derby. He has the points and he’s late-developing. He’s going to start getting really good. I am looking forward to him as he gets older.

Gustavo Delgado Jr. - “Javier had to check a little in the corner. It was a tough day because Grand Tito also had problems, but we really like this horse and now we can go to the Kentucky Derby.”

 

 

MO TOM (KY)
Owner: G M B Racing; Breeder: Hargus & Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-4-7-2-0 (14) 1.55; By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa Maya) out of Caroni (Rubiano, Douce Carotte); Foal Date: May 6, 2013; $150,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Tom Amoss

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived Churchill Downs March 29 - Barn 29 - Jockey Corey Lanerie

Mo Tom debuted at Ellis Park in September and won going six furlongs. That was good enough to move him on to Keeneland where he finished third going the same distance while facing winners for the first time. On Nov. 1, he took the one-mile Street Sense in a time of 1:36 3/5 after closing from seventh of nine. Next up: the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Airoforce was swung wide at the head of the stretch and ran on to win the Kentucky Jockey Club by 1 1/2 length over 2-1 favorite Mor Spirit on a sloppy track. Mo Tom finished third. The time was 1:45.48. Derby Express and Mor Spirit led the field through fractions of :23.50 and :47.61. Mor Spirit took command on the far turn with Gun Runner in hot pursuit. Airoforce began going between horses from fifth. Mor Spirit lost the lead from Gun Runner briefly in deep stretch, battled back to get second as the fast closing Mo Tom lost the place by a head. Gun Runner finished another 1 1/2 length back in fourth.

In the Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 16, for the third time in five career starts Mo Tom got the better of Tom’s Ready. He collared and pulled away from that foe in deep stretch to win by 2¼ lengths at 2-1 odds. Both horses are owned by Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson. Mo Tom overcame hitting the gate at the start and a sound bump nearing the first turn. Early on he was eighth among the nine-horse field and launched a steady rally on the final turn under Corey Lanerie. A game Uncle Walter, who looked like he might win at one point in the stretch run, was third, beaten three lengths. Destin rallied for fourth under Julien Leparoux, 2¾ lengths ahead of pacesetter Z Royal. Mo Tom traveled the mile and 70-yard distance in 1:43.18.

Tom Amoss, winning trainer - “Great way to start his 3-year-old season. Today’s race was a mile and 70, I’m sure Corey would agree, when the distance gets further, the better our horse is going to get so we’re really excited about that. I have to say Gayle Benson has been great, she’s a great owner and she gets a big assist from her partner Tom Benson. We’re really pleased, they’re both New Orleans natives – we’re really happy.”

Corey Lanerie - “It was good, he broke really good and got pinched a little bit going into the first turn. We got knocked a little off stride there but he gathered himself up really good. Down the backside I was pretty confident, especially when I called on him to get in a little bit better position. On the middle of the turn I was going to try to maybe weave my way through but I had so much horse I said, ‘let me just put him in the clear.’”

Feb. 17 NOTE: Trainer Amoss said, "He's a May foal, and he's really yet to develop physically in my opinion, but we're starting to see it."

Feb. 18 NOTE: Detractors of the colt say that the pedigree presences of Uncle Mo, who raced only eight times and lost in both of his attempts beyond 1 1/16 mile – and champion sprinter Rubiano may limit Mo Tom’s stamina ceiling.  Trainer Amoss said, “I disagree with that. When I bought him, I was paying a lot of attention to horses I thought could get a distance, and I feel very comfortable that he can. I say that after a lot of years of having horses I was very skeptical of them doing that, so I’m very comfortable with the whole thing.”

Feb. 18 NOTE: More on that pedigree. Mo Tom's second dam, Douce Carotte, is a daughter of Caro, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors and turf marathoners With Approval, Grand Flotilla and Golden Pheasant. His third dam, Kshesinskaya, is a daughter of Nijinsky II, who in 1983 sired both the Kentucky Derby winner (Ferdinand) and Epsom Derby winner(Shahrastani). His fourth dam, stakes-placed Royal Kin, is a daughter of Sir Gaylord, the older half-brother to Secretariat who was favored for the Kentucky Derby before being injured and retired just prior ot the race; Royal Kin possessed enough speed to set a seven-furlong track record and enough stamina to beget Epsom Derby winner Sir Ivor.

In the Feb. 20 Risen Star Stakes, Gun Runner won by a half-length after a flawless trip under Florent Geroux. Candy My Boy set a quick pace of 22.95, 46.38 and 1:11.33 after breaking from the outside post 11. Gun Runner, bumped in the early going, was urged on the rail on the far turn, hit the front under a drive at the top of the stretch and held off the late-running Forevamo. Gun Runner hit the mile marker in 1:37.05 and finished up the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.94. Mo Tom finished a length behind the second finisher after being checked hard on the fence midway through the stretch. He was running best at the end by far, and the traffic probably cost him the race. Candy My Boy lasted to finish fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. Zapperinia was another 7 1/2 lengths back in fifth.

Mo Tom sustained a leg laceration that was described as superficial after the race.

The chart call: "Mo Tom raced inside on the first turn, lagged at the rear while under some urging, was ridden along while two to three wide on the far turn, dropped closer to the rail late on that bend, gained into the stretch, checked sharply and swerved in when Bistraya drifted in front of him at the three-sixteenths, regained momentum while moving out outside the furlong marker and finished fast but was too late."

Corey Lanerie - “It was really good until we got kind of wiped out. Someone came from the outside and I lost all my momentum. I hope he's alright. I definitely thought he was the best horse today. He galloped out so good. I think if that didn't happen I would have caught him in the last couple jumps.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Amoss said, “(Mo Tom and Tom's Ready) look good today. (The gash) is a non factor. We are very fortunate.”

March 24 NOTE: Trainer Amoss said, “We’re all very keen to find a way to win the Louisiana Derby. It’s important to all of us that we win here, and we aren’t looking beyond it. I think he’s doing great, and honestly I couldn’t be happier with him. The pace scenario will be different this time, as I don’t think it will be as quick as in the Risen Star. I would like it to be faster, but I know ’Tom is going to be okay. He’s a very talented horse, he’s fit and is training well. It has been by design to just have two works (since the Risen Star). If for some reason he’s aggressive in this race and that takes him out of his game, it’ll just prove that we’re on a learning curve with our horse. Also, he’s the kind of horse who puts a lot into his gallops. Unlike the ordinary horse, I don’t see the need for him blitz it out there in works every week.”

Gun Runner won the Louisiana Derby by 4 1/2 lengths but timed in a tepid 1:51.06. Meanwhile, Mo Tom had more bad luck -- actually a bad ride. Gun Runner sat off Candy My Boy in third, then second, following honest fractions of 23.54, 48.24 and 1:12.94. Tom's Ready, overly eager early on, plugged along moving up from seventh, then fifth, to get the place. Dazzling Gem, second at the first two calls, stayed on for third, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. Mo Tom for the second straight race was checked hard on the rail in mid-stretch. This time was worse than the Risen Star. Somehow he managed to finish fourth, a neck behind Dazzling Gem.

The chart call: "Mo Tom went two to three wide on the first turn, settled at the rear, moved closer while two to three wide on the far turn, was coming into the race strongly approaching the quarter-pole, gained directly behind the tiring pacesetter, chose to go inside that rival just as an opening became available to the outside, checked sharply while lacking room from the three-sixteenths to the eighth-pole, regained some momentum outside the sixteenth-pole and finished willingly to just miss the show but lost any chance."

Corey Lanerie - “It was a bad ride and totally my fault. He came underneath me and I had more horse than I knew what to do with and I got him in trouble and went inside when I shouldn’t have. I doubt they’ll let me sit on him again. He’s a great horse.”

Tom Amoss - “It was a good race, but the pace didn’t set up the same this time. I really thought he ran a prepared race and a great race, I was just puzzled as to why Corey went down to the rail. I just hope he didn’t hurt my horse. I am surprised. There were other choices and I don’t understand why he did what he did. Watching this was like going to the schoolyard and watching your kid get beat up by another kid. It’s so hard to watch something like that with all the preparation we do. We will make sure he’s okay before we make any other decisions.”

March 26 NOTE: Paul Rutherford, known as @horsemanlawyer on Twitter, tweeted, "Mo Tom's KY Derby would = loses shoe, attacked by dragon down backstretch, has to jump rail in lane, jumps BACK over rail, rallies for 5th."

April 13 NOTE: Trainer Amoss said after Mo Tom breezed in 48.40, "We're really doing a lot more than a half-mile work with him. That's a typical work and a typical gallop-out for him. It's the best chance I've had in a race like this. Today's work signaled that he's on his game."

April 20 NOTE: Trainer Amoss said after a workout in 48 and change (2/27), “It went well. We went a little quick early in the work, but he came back to the rider nicely and coming to the wire he was full force. He did like he always does, galloped out very strongly, which is his ammo. With that in mind when we work back next week, which will be our last work, we’ll push back from the Derby pretty good because the work is going to be significant even though we’re out to do a little less than we have the past two weeks.”

April 22 NOTE: Owner GMB Racing announced today Corey Lanerie will retain the mount on Mo Tom in the Kentucky Derby, citing his wealth of experience riding at Churchill Downs.

 

 

MOHAYMEN (KY)
Owner: Shadwell Stable; Breeder: Clearsky Farms; Dosage Profile (Points) Profile: 5-9-11-1-0 (26) 3.00; By Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels) out of Justwhistledixie (Dixie Union, General Jeannne); Foal Date: May 2, 2013; $2,200,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Sale topper at the Keeneland September sale.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on April 17 - Barn 42 - Jockey Junior Alvarado

On Sept. 19, Mohaymen lived up to hype with a half-length score in a six-furlong maiden race. Mohaymen broke sharply and got away with a soft opening quarter-mile of 23.30 seconds but was confronted by $900,000 2-year-old buy Seymourdini around the turn. The two continued to tussle all the way to the eighth pole, when Mohaymen stuck his neck in front and went on to victory. According to trainer McLaughlin, the Nashua on Nov. 4 will likely be Mohaymen's next race.

Kiaran McLaughlin: "He was a little green, I think, but he dug back in. It was a nice first start. I'm not sure exactly what we'll do with him, but we're happy that he won first time out."

Next, Mohaymen took the Nov. 4 Nashua Stakes at Belmont Park. He stalked the pace in third, launched a serious bid leaving the turn and went by Flexibility to win by 1 3/4 lengths. His time was 1:36.01 going one turn.

Kiaran McLaughlin - "We were a little worried about the kickback, how he would break, and the others that have had more racing experience than him. But he's a very talented horse and I'm glad he lived up to the betting public's odds. He's got a great pedigree. It's just great to win for Shadwell Stable, Rick Nichols and everybody in Lexington. I've been with them for 22 years, so it's a special win. We definitely have Derby fever. (Next) would be the Remsen or the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs on the same day."

Junior Alvarado: "He was a little upset warming up. He didn't want to be around the pony too much today. Once we got to the gate, he didn't want to load and inside he kept rocking back and forth, but when we got to break I just tried to get him in the best position. After the half-mile pole it was all him. He took me on a nice ride, all I tried to do was not fall off."

In the Remsen Stakes on Nov. 28, Mohayen, the 3-2 favorite, got Lasix for the first time. He was handled confidently and won by 1 1/2-length. Mohaymen tracked Donegal Moon, who led through an opening quarter in 24.35 and a half in 49.16. Like he did in the Nashua, Mohaymen began to move as the top the stretch neared. He easily held off Flexibility and Gift Box and was timed in 1:50.69.

Kiaran McLaughlin - "He's a very nice horse. Junior rode him great, he did everything right and it's a big win for the team. He did trickle [blood] a tiny bit last time, so we actually waited right up until they require Lasix to use it, and today it worked out great. We also schooled him a lot at the gate after the way he acted last time. It was so unlike him, he had never shown anything like that at the gate when he reared up in there, so we did school him a bit coming up to this race and it worked out well. I was a little anxious when they were turning for home but it's great to win for Shadwell and I trained [Mohaymen's dam] Justwhistledixie, so it's special to have this horse be this good."
Junior Alvarado, winning jockey aboard Mohaymen (No. 3): "He broke good. He got outrun the first part and I didn't want to rush him too much; he can get a little tough. I did like last time, sat behind, just tried to wait. By the quarter-pole, horses were starting to pick it up and I still had a lot of horse. I just tried to find my way and every time I pushed the button, he's there for me. He makes my job a lot easier.

"I worked him last week behind horses to make sure he could take dirt, schooled him a little bit. He was a complete gentleman. He's a nice horse. He'll do whatever: inside, outside, behind horses, in front. Kiaran has him in really great, great form. I was a little worried because he was actually too quiet compared to last time, but as soon as we left the gate, he turned on his game. After that, I was like, OK, I know what I've got now. I had nothing to be worried about after that."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer McLaughlin said, "That was big. Junior had worked him behind horses. You never know but you need to be ready for it. I think it helped a lot, for jockey and horse, because he was confident that he'd handle it. It was great. It was a mile and an eighth and he finished strong. He's a really nice horse. He behaved much better. We took him to the gate a few times. He was bad the first day, which I was happy about. Like, 'OK, now we're going to school him and correct it,' and then he was really good the next two times. And then we brought the pony and that helped. He had reared up in the paddock last time. He was much better."

Dec. 11 NOTE: Trainer McLaughlin said, “We loved Cairo Prince and we loved Frosted. Cairo Prince, unfortunately, got injured but he was a very nice horse, and we did well with Frosted, Now we’re undefeated, three-for-three. I’d have to say this is our best prospect yet for the first Saturday in May. He never gets tired. He doesn’t blow out a match after works or races. That’s something you can’t see when you pay $2.2 million for them. His mechanics, his mechanism of breathing and his movements are flawless so far. He always did everything right. He didn’t get to us until June 23 because of immature knees. He needed some extra time and they did a great job with him. Since then he hasn’t missed a day and he’s improved every day.”

Mohaymen was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 2-year-old male.

Mohaymen opened his sophomore season with an impressive, easy win of the Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 30 at 3-10 odds. It was a  3 ½-length victory under regular rider Junior Alvarado's hand ride. He broke a little more slowly than usual and found himself third behind second choice Greenpointcrusader and longshot Perfect Saint in the backstretch. He was on the inside and looked like he might be trapped, but he took command rounding the far turn and drew away from Greenpointcrusader with authority to hit the wire in 1:42.07. Greenpointcrusader was a clear second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of late-running Florida-bred longshot Fellowship, followed by Conquest Big E, who was beaten nine lengths after trying to contend in the far turn. Frontier Ranger and Perfect Saint rounded out the field.

The chart call: "Mohaymen was reserved just off the leaders from between foes after being bumped at the break, moved up to offer a bid nearing the half, opened a clear lead approaching the stretch and drew off through the lane with little need of urging."

Kiaran McLaughlin - “He took my breath away. Today was pretty special. It looked like on paper that he might break and be on the lead because there wasn’t much pace. When that didn’t happen, I was a little nervous into the first turn and around the turn. But all went great. He’s just a special horse. It makes it easy for us to train and to ride. Probably the Fountain of Youth (is next). We just think more experience is fine, especially the way he’s doing it. I don’t think he needs to skip races. I think he did it pretty much in hand today, so it wasn’t going to be a hard effort. We did have to skip the middle one with Cairo Prince because he won impressively and ran hard. This looked like a pretty easy race. I will talk to Rick Nichols and he will speak to Sheikh Hamdan but he will probably go to the Fountain of Youth. He did the same thing in the Remsen. He beat a couple of nice horses in there and finished very strong. We don’t need to see anything different.”

“He’s a real special colt and does everything right, and I was real glad to see that he did everything right. I was a little nervous. I had the pony come into the paddock but stay away from him just in case we needed him. It’s just a real pleasure to have such a star in the barn for Sheikh Hamdan and Shadwell. I’ve trained for them for 23 years, and I trained the mother, so it’s pretty special.”

Junior Alvarado - “He didn’t break as well as I wanted him to, but I knew it was not going to be a problem. Mentally, he’s so mature. He does whatever I want. I just waited and waited to see what Johnny (Velazquez aboard Greenpointcrusader) was going to do. He left me a little room, but sometimes that can be a little trap. I just waited and waited and then it got to a point where he didn’t come inside and the horse in front was backing up, so I said, ‘I’ve got the best horse. It’s time to making my own move. After that it was pretty much over. I could have gone around (again) easily with him. I still had plenty of horse. You can feel the acceleration he has, and it’s not me asking him.”

Shadwell Stables U.S. Racing Manager Rick Nichols - “Just chills up and down the back. He’s just really good. We know he’s been good, but this really proves he’s that kind of horse. He beat a grade 1 winner (Greenpointcrusader), and it looked to me like he was doing it pretty easy. He had his ears pricked. He was happy. Kiaran and his team have done a fantastic job with him. We’ll see how he comes out, talk to Kiaran and talk to Sheikh Hamdan. Our original plan was if he liked this track and ran well we’d probably leave him here, maybe the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. We’ll see how he comes out and see what the boss thinks.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer McLaughlin said, “He came out of the race great. He ate up last night and looks excellent this morning. For now, we’re pointing for the Fountain of Youth. I haven’t confirmed that with Rick Nichols yet or Sheikh Hamdan, but I think that’s the plan. I was nervous after he didn’t break sharp because it didn’t look like there was much pace in the race. I thought we might break well and just be on the lead and stay out of trouble. That didn’t happen, but obviously Junior was fine and he had plenty of horse and plenty of confidence and just let him move up between those two going down the backside and took the lead. It was a good race. You can’t ever expect to see a performance like that, but that’s the kind of effort at 1-5 that you like to see. Johnny was on a nice colt [in Greenpointcrusader] and he was closer than normal, but (Mohaymen) ran huge and the way he finished was very impressive. He’s just a special, special colt. Junior has great confidence in him since the first race and each time he’s been on him he just sits back and rides the horse. He’s very high on the horse, and they have a lot of confidence in each other. It’s really a neat situation. He’s just such a special colt it makes his job easier and our jobs easier. It’s exciting.”

Feb. 12 NOTE: Trainer McLaughlin said, “He worked great (four in 47.60). I was looking for a little bit slower work today just because we’re not looking to go fast. But, he did it easy. He started off like 12 and 4 and then he just picked it up on his own and finished great. He went in 47 and 3 but didn’t look like he went that fast. We’re very happy. He wouldn’t blow out a match after and came back great. He went by himself in the three or four path, and just did it very comfortably and nice. He’s just doing that well. We have one more work next week and on to the Fountain of Youth. He’s just doing great. We’re very happy. He came out of (the Holy Bull) great. We don’t want a lot of changes. We’re looking for no changes because he’s doing fabulous.”

Feb. 19 NOTE: Mohaymen breezed an easy half-mile in 49.60 at Palm Meadows. He went in 47.60 a week prior. Trainer McLaughlin said, “We know he’s fast, but we don’t need 47’s every week. He went great. He started out a little slow, going 13 and 3 the first eighth of a mile and finished in 35 and 4 and kept going after it. We don’t need to go fast every week. He looked great doing it and galloped out well, in 1:01 and 3. All is well. We’re ready for next week.”

Feb. 24 NOTE: After drawing post 6 of 6, trainer McLaughlin said, “It’s a tough race but I wouldn’t trade places with anybody. It’s going to be his toughest race to date. Zulu is undefeated. Awesome Banner is undefeated. Awesome Speed is a nice horse. It’s going to be tough and we just hope we keep going and stay the same. We don’t have to improve but it’s more experience and hopefully we get the win. I know Junior has a lot of confidence in him, and the horse responds to him. They’re a good team, that’s for sure. Four-for-four, everything has gone well so far. Most of that [pressure] is behind us now because he’s four-for-four, but in the beginning you want them to do well. We treat every horse as an individual, but you want to win with them all. It has worked out perfectly so far. This is going to be his toughest race to date.”

Mohaymen tracked an honest pace before taking over in the top of the stretch to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 27. He was timed in a solid 1:42.84 after breaking from post six in a six-horse field. The chart call: "Mohaymen raced unhurried early while never far back, advanced three-wide through the back-stretch, reached Zulu with a quarter to run, vied into mid-stretch, opened a clear lead and held that rival at bay with little need of urging."

Kiaran McLaughlin - “It was OK. We were great in the six of six to stay out of trouble. I was a little worried about (Golden Ray) getting out a little bit into the first turn, but it worked out great. Junior said he asked him a little bit earlier today to engage (Zulu). and he did. He thought he had him all the way. He did ask him a little bit earlier, and he said if he waited he might have kicked on stronger late, but he did it the right way. It’s special. It’s more nerve-wracking each race because we’re four-for-four going into today, and you just hope everything goes well. He’s obviously a very talented colt. We just hope we don’t have any mishaps in a race like a horse bumping into him or something like that.

“I don’t think that he need a lot of education, but when 20 of them get in the gate, you just never know what’s going to happen going forward. It’s nice to have only six in the gate today and being six of six. He’s a very talented horse and he keeps winning. He's a special colt. Very smart. You can see he's not even blowing when he's coming back. He just does things different. He's a special colt."

“We’re going to take one race at a time, and we are looking at the Florida Derby in five weeks. We’ll have two or three works prior to it. We’ve been working on Fridays or Saturdays each week. We’ll work probably three times, maybe only twice, but we’ll see.”

“You just never know. Undefeated horses you just never know. Awesome Banner and Zulu were undefeated, but we faced them and we won and everything is great. There will be other ones going forward. We’re going to have to face a lot of them.”

Shadwell Stables U.S. Racing Manager Rick Nichols - “It's fantastic. It looks like he did it very easy. Junior said he was pulling him all along and kept him a little in check. He didn't want to use him a lot in the end because we still have a long way ahead. Wonderful. I think there's been a little bit of criticism that he wouldn't rate, one of those kind (that) want to go flat-out all the time. I think he rated quite well with all the speed inside him. The plan was to let them go and let Mohaymen find his way.

Junior Alvarado - “It wasn’t what I wanted (going into first turn), but thank God he ran his race. I was a little wide, there was a little bumping and I didn’t want to strangle him and take him back right away and give it easily to the other horses. But he settled nice for me. By the five-eighths pole he started to get into a nice rhythm, that gear, and he started pulling on me, asking me for the next step. I just let him cruise around and he was doing it very nicely. I didn’t want to hold him back; he helps me all the time so I didn’t want to go against him.

“I had to ask him a little more today because I let him run a little more from the half-mile pole. Turning for home when he’s switching leads I cannot check him, but maybe one or two times with the reins to let him know that he still needs to finish for me. He gave it to me right away. After that I geared him down, I didn’t want him to do that much. (Zulu) tried to engage me a little bit, but it’s horse racing. I’ve got the best horse today, and he makes my job very easy. It doesn’t get much more exciting. I’ve always been very high on him. Each race he improves even more and he proves that he has everything that a rider would want in a horse to point to those big races.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer McLaughlin said, “He came out of it perfect, no issues, and ate up. Everything is great. It’s all going great, and it’s a lot of fun. It was just another great day. Speaking for our horse, moving on you’re going to face different horses and tough horses, and h(Nyquist is) probably the toughest one out there right now. We’d prefer to wait until May 7th, but we can’t blame them for coming with the bonus. It is what it is. It’s hard to adjust or worry about it, either them or us. They have a very talented horse and we do, too, but we’re already here. This is home for us. This was our plan from last year, basically.

“He impressed me because he was fifth around the first turn, back a little ways, and a little wide on both turns, but that was because of the post position and we were happy to stay out of trouble. Junior rode him great. Again, he did it the right way. He eased him up late, which was nice, and we have five weeks to the Florida Derby. It’s a mile and an eighth, which he already won at, so that’s not an issue.”

The trainer said Mohaymen would walk for three days before returning to the track and that the colt will work two or three times leading up to the Florida Derby.

March 11 NOTE: After Mohaymen worked for the first time since the Fountain of Youth, trainer McLaughlin said, “He went in 49 and two, but the track was a little dull this morning, a little dry. It was probably equivalent to 48 and two, so it was a very good work. We’re very happy with him. He’s doing great and we’re happy to have him back on the work tab. He’s doing great. He put on weight from when we brought him down here, and he’s trained great. Obviously, he’s two-for-two this year, so everything is great. No changes. He’s happy, and we just want to keep him that way. We need to worry about them all, but obviously Nyquist is a top horse, also undefeated, won the Breeders’ Cup. The distance won’t be an issue for him because he already ran long at Keeneland and was very wide. It’s going to be a great race, probably between those two. We’ll see who else is in the race, but it is what it is. We’re ready. We’re training on and doing well and always planned for this. We’re staying with our plan.”

March 18 NOTE:  Exercise rider Miguel Jaime said after a 1:01 breeze, “It’s a pleasure to be on a horse like that. He’s getting better every day, every race. He’s getting stronger, bigger. We haven’t seen him really run yet. We expect him to run a big race. He hasn’t shown everything. We’re in a good spot right now. Today, everything went good.”

Trainer McLaughlin said, “He worked very well. He’s doing great and he’s fit, and we’re happy. We just have to keep working and keep him happy. He’s got a great mind, and that’s all part of it. He’s doing everything right and continues to. We’re not looking for any changes.”

March 24 NOTE: Trainer McLaughlin from Dubai after Mohaymen breezed four in 48.95 (9/36) at Palm Meadows. “We’re OK. We got our work in. He went 48 and 4 and everything went well. It looks like it’s going to rain the next five days, so we didn’t want to chance it. We would have probably been fine if we didn’t work at all, but being that we could work, we wanted to do it. That’s why we work on Fridays, so we have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday to work. It looked like rain every day so we wanted to get our last work in. If it rained and we didn’t get it in, we didn’t get it in. But he’s on a good schedule and it worked out well. We’re all happy. I got a tape of his work and Trish said it went fabulous. He looked great and everything is on target.

“I felt very comfortable with Miguel there and Trish and everybody. It’s not ideal because you want to be there to see it, but I knew I left him there in good hands and everything went well. We’re ready to go. We wouldn’t change anything,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll just see how we draw and who enters.”

March 30 NOTE: Trainer McLaughlin said of the Florida Derby post position draw,“We’re pleased to be outside of Nyquist. We just wanted to be outside of him, for one, and two, hopefully we’ll stay out of trouble being outside a little bit. It will give Junior an opportunity to ride his race and be out in the clear. Hopefully (the bigger field) won’t be a negative with traffic issues. It shouldn’t be a problem; six or 10 horses there’s not a lot of difference. Hopefully we break well and we’re out in the clear a little bit, not too wide, and go from there. There’s not any negatives. We’re positive and happy. We’d much rather be in the nine than the one-hole.”

March 30 NOTE: Jockey Alvarado looked back on when he first got to know Mohaymen. Irad Ortiz Jr., the stable’s first-call rider, was committed on Upstart in the Pennsylvania Derby when Mohaymen was ready to debut at Saratoga. “Before I got on him, we kind of got a little hint about him in Saratoga. We went to Kiaran and we asked him about the horse and he said, ‘We’ll see.’ He wasn’t that close to a race yet. We had an idea that he was a nice horse and he was going to different. I remember the day we got the call. Irad Ortiz is one of Kiaran’s jockeys. He rides a lot of first call for him but he was out of town at the moment. It just happened that it all came together, Mohaymen and me. I can’t even describe with words how exciting it’s been, the whole process, since I rode him the first time.”

Alvarado continued. “Sometimes we ride horses and we feel them getting better and better, but usually it’s minimal things. But with him, every time he runs it’s like five, six, seven-lengths difference from the race before. I remember when he won the Nashua, I worked him to make sure he learned how to get dirt in the morning in case something happened in the afternoon. I worked him that day, and I told Kiaran he was better than the last time he won the stake. It was just a workout, but he runs so fast, so easy. He improves a lot more than a normal horse. He just keeps impressing me every time he runs. If something new is presented to him in a race he handles it fine. He’s so mature already. I’m pretty sure there’s more there. When he ran the first time this year, I talked to Kiaran and we wanted to win the race but he didn't want to use him up for the race because our goal is the Derby. If he wins, great, but don’t beat him up to do it. It happened that day that I didn’t hit him at all. He was just cruising along and he won it nice and easy. It was the same thing last time (in the Fountain of Youth). I moved him a little bit to engage Zulu by the three-eighths pole, and when we turned for home I asked him. I just shook the reins enough for him to give me something but not too much, so I can keep saving it for when I need it and he won very easy that day. He is a pretty push-button horse for me.”

March 31 NOTE: Trainer McLaughlin said, “I think he’s the type of horse that anything would go with him. If we missed a work, he would probably overcome that. If we drew the one-hole, he would probably overcome that. He’s just a special colt that is fun to have in the barn. He is just a special, special horse.

“Nyquist, he won at Keeneland and he won in California. He’s a very nice horse and I don’t think the track will be a negative for him. Certainly, we don’t have to worry about that. We have to worry more probably about the weather and what happens. We’d prefer it not to be sloppy just because we haven’t been on a sloppy track before. Sometimes you have a plan and your plans don’t come together. So far with Mohaymen, everything has gone perfectly. I’ve learned from the past few years that sometimes you don’t want to announce your work schedule or your race schedule because things will change. So far, we’ve been very fortunate to stay on course. His work tab, we’ve had to move it a day or two here and there and the races have been right on schedule, It is quite unusual that we have been able to stay on course with our plan which is a plus to be able to do that. It’s been fun and all is well."

In the Florida Derby on April 2, Nyquist vanquished Mohaymen, who finished fourth behind the winner, Majesto and Fellowship. The latter two came on late in the stretch while Nyquist set the pace with Mohaymen tracking him wide in about fourth position until he made a move at the leader in the far turn. Nyquist was feathered out wide leaving the turn, pushing Mohaymen wider still. Nyquist galloped away in the lane while one got the feeling Mohaymen was not asked for his all once the race was lost. The winning margin was 3 1/4 lengths, with Fellowship another length back in third, four lengths in front of Mohaymen. The winning time was 1:49.11. Nyquist set fractions of 23.60, 47.09, 1:11.39 and 1:36.38.

The chart call: "Mohaymen fanned out four wide in the first turn, was rated in good position not far off the early pace, picked up the pace in the late backstretch to race off the top trio, made a move for Nyquist running through the far turn, edged up along outside of rival, carried out wide by aforementioned rival in final turn, lacked needed kick to move on in upper stretch and flattened out."

Kiaran McLaughlin - “He was pretty wide throughout, but the track is wet and we wanted to stay out in the clear. Congratulations to the winner. He ran big. We were awfully wide throughout and with the track you never know. We’ll regroup.”

Junior Alvarado - “I didn’t really have much excuse. I was where I wanted to be the whole race and he didn’t fire this time. That’s all I really can tell you. There’s nothing wrong with him. Something was probably going on with him today, he just didn’t run the race that we were expecting. I’m a person that doesn’t like to blame the track all the time. I would say the only difference is that he never took me. He’s a horse that all the time drags me and jump in the bridle right away so when we turn to the backside he’s pulling me. This time he wasn’t pulling me. It got me a little worried. I tried to stay with im and give him a chance to get it all together. By the three-eighths pole I saw Nyquist getting along in front by himself and I had to move my horse. By that point he always drags me there and this time I’m the one asking him. The track could be one little reason but there’s nothing else I really can say. Other than that we were clear on the outside.”

April 3 NOTE: Trainer McLaughlin said, “He came out of the race in good shape. He’s happy. He’s never been beat, and we thought he was invincible going in so, yeah, we’re a little down about the result and thought he could overcome everything. But, we’re moving forward. We’re happy that he’s happy this morning and we can move forward to the Kentucky Derby. Junior didn’t do anything wrong. It wasn’t his fault. We feel like it was a perfect storm of unfortunate things that happened with the track, raining earlier and then later. Basically it was very wet and we were very wide. We ran 54 feet further than the winner, but congratulations to Nyquist and their team. They had to run over the same racetrack under the same conditions, and they did it better than us."

April 20 NOTES: After a bullet workout, assistant trainer Neal McLaughlin said, “That was a ‘Wow’ breeze. You don’t know what you’re going to get coming here. It’s a bit of a different surface, some of them like it, some of them don’t, and that’s why we are here early and give him a couple of breezes here We were looking for a :48, up in 1:01 and he went :46.8 and up in :59.6, galloped out, came back, took one sip of water and not any sweat on him.”

Kiaran McLaughlin said, “It was a great work. I kind of predicted that the track was deeper at Palm Meadows, and this is a little bit lighter, and he was going to work pretty fast. He hasn’t worked since he ran and he was feeling really good, so we thought he was going to work well. He’ll have one more work.”

 

 

MOR SPIRIT (PA)
Owner: Michael Lund Petersen; Breeder: Elkstone Group, LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-0-14-0-0 (18) 1.57; By Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway, Aldebaran Light) out of Im a Dixie Girl (Dixie Union, I'm Out First);  $85,000 Fasig-Tipton October 2014/$650,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2015; Foal Date: April 1, 2013; Trainer: Bob Baffert

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on April 22 - Barn 33 - Jockey Gary Stevens

Mor Spirit broke his maiden running a mile at Santa Anita in his second start.  That led him to Kentucky for graded stakes competition, the Kentucky Jockey Club.

Airoforce was swung wide at the head of the stretch and ran on to win the Kentucky Jockey Club by 1 1/2 length over 2-1 favorite Mor Spirit on a sloppy track. The time was 1:45.48. Derby Express and Mor Spirit led the field through fractions of :23.50 and :47.61. Mor Spirit took command on the far turn with Gun Runner in hot pursuit. Airoforce began going between horses from fifth. Mor Spirit lost the lead from Gun Runner briefly in deep stretch, battled back to get second as the fast closing Mo Tom lost the place by a head. Gun Runner finished another 1 1/2 length back in fourth.

In his final race of 2015, Mor Spirit won the Dec. 19 Los Alamitos Futurity from off the pace. He was never more than three lengths back, but he had to deal with some traffic, staying mainly outside it, before finally going wide into the stretch. He was three or four wide pretty much all the way. The winning margin was 1 1/4 length. Toews on Ice finished second, I'malreadythere third. The winning time was 1:43.54.

After a break, Mor Spirit easily won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 5. The winning margin was only 1 1/2 lengths, but Gary Stevens showed quiet confidence throughout, barely asking the winner. Mor Spirit sat a perfect trip in behind dueling leaders I Will Score and Uncle Lino up the backstretch and around the far turn. Stevens waited to call upon the winner leaving the furlong pole and won easily. Uncle Lino broke from the far outside and pushed I Will Score through splits of 23.49, 47.78, 1:12.34 and 1:37.10 before passing him late to get the place by a half-length. The winning time was 1:43.21. Six ran.

Bob Baffert:  “We thought this race might come up the way it did. I thought the last race was a very important race because when I got him back from Kentucky (after the Jockey Club), Martin had him on the lead because it was muddy and I had shipped him, and he didn’t want to do that...so the way Gary rode him at Los Alamitos, he made him get back and he really educated him and he got the win. Today was the same thing: get the win and educate him at the same time. You can do that when you have this kind of horse, with his style. You know he’s a really good horse.

“He has that long stride, but in the mornings, he’s not a very good work horse. He’s sort of lazy. He needs a target and when he gets a target, he shuts it down, but today was perfect. They were two really nice horses (Uncle Lino and I Will Score) in front of him. There’s a lot of quality. It makes the race even more interesting in that he’s able to collar those horses. He’s a big, strong horse, so these races will help him. He holds his weight really well and he’s a good-feeling horse. We just have to keep him healthy. I feel like I have a really top three-year-old, so now we just have to keep him healthy.

“I don’t know (what's next). We know he’ll go on a plane to go somewhere but right now I’ll just go by how he’s doing. It’s just too far ahead.”

Gary Stevens:  “No, I never had any concerns. I actually got there quicker than I wanted to. I was loaded going into the stretch. He’s pretty special, and I’m looking forward to facing more competition. He wasn’t even blowing after the race. I haven’t been able to get him tired in the morning yet. Every time we step forward I hope I can find the bottom, but I don’t want to find the bottom of him until it’s time. I haven’t got close to that yet. and that’s a good feeling. He seems to just do just enough for what’s in front of him; he likes a target. I think as he faces better horses, he’ll only get better.”

Feb. 14 NOTE: Trainer Baffert said, “I’m still waiting on him. I’d like to give him a couple weeks before making a decision. His next work will tell me more.”

Feb. 23 NOTE: Mor Spirit was eased during a workout. Gary Stevens was up; Martin Garcia was sick that day according to trainer Baffert.

Feb. 25 NOTE: Trainer Baffert said Mor Spirit remains a candidate for the San Felipe Stakes on March 12 pending his next workout. He said, “I think I’m going to breeze him now on Sunday, and I’ll know more. We over-thought it a little bit. Sometimes I work him with earplugs and sometimes I don’t. I don’t want him to do that much. He has them on when he leaves the paddock, then we take them out before he goes to the gate. It keeps him calm. He just lost interest. He’ll do that, but he’s all right.”

Feb. 28 NOTE: Working in company with Hoffenheim, Mor Spirit breezed five furlongs in 59.80 under Martin Garcia. Hoffenheim was clocked in 1:01.20. Trainer Baffert said, “He went well. He’s tough to work. He’s a very laid back horse, which is good. He shows us more in the afternoon, which is what you want. We’re going work by work. We’ll play it by ear. Gary will ride him if we run. The horse seemed to be more aggressive today. Last time, he lost focus. He worked well today and galloped out strong. That’s him. He’ll show you more in the afternoon. There’s not a whole lot we need to do with him. He’s pretty fit. I’m really happy with him.”

March 5 NOTE: Mor Spirit breezed six furlongs in company with Dream Team in 1:12.20 under Martin Garcia. Dream Team was timed in 1:12.60. Trainer Baffert said, “I liked the way he went. He went really well. His company was trying to stay with him, but he did well. Martin did a great job keeping him focused. We beat the rain, we’re all set. Now we’ve just got to wait.”

On March 12, front-running Danzing Candy cruised to an impressive two length win under in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. The lightly raced colt got 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.04 and picked up 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. Danzing Candy set fractions of 22.96, 46.11, 1:11.04 and 1:36.38 over a main track that was listed as fast but that had been dulled by heavy afternoon rains on Friday. Mor Spirit ran through some obstacles, including taking dirt in his face, to finish a good second. He appeared to get a bit rank around the clubouse turn but settled readily down the backside when next to last of six going past the half mile pole. With a cue, he picked it up between horses around the far turn and rallied well. He galloped out on terms with the winner past the wire. Exaggerator came from far back in the early going, rallied smartly entering the far turn while saving ground, was in second place leaving the turn but gave up the place and finished third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths by the winner.

Bob Baffert - “He ran well. The horse that won is a pretty good horse. I wanted to run first, second or third. He’s coming on. A mile and an eighth will be more to his liking, but he got a lot out of it today. I’m happy with the way he went, and we’re learning more about him. He’ll stay here for the Santa Anita Derby.”

Gary Stevens - “I’m super happy, because he was way too keen in the early part of the race – he was really fresh, hasn’t run for a while. He was super sharp. As I was coming into the lane, I knew I wasn’t going to catch the winner, but I knew we had to get some points here. I like where we’re sitting for the Santa Anita Derby. I lost a battle today, but I like our position. Bob was happy, so I’m happy. We got a lot out of today’s race. He’ll settle a little better for me in the Santa Anita Derby.”

THE NEXT DAY: Jockey Stevens said, "He got a lot of dirt yesterday, traffic, came inside of horses, then moved out, galloped on pretty good the last 16th of a mile and galloped out great. He probably got more out of yesterday’s race than he has in all of his races combined up to that point, as far as education and fitness. I felt a lot like I did when I got beat on Silver Charm by Free House in the Santa Anita Derby. Bob usually doesn’t come down unless it’s for a picture, but he came down and had a smile on his face and I said, ‘I think we’re in a real good spot right now,’ and he was pretty happy in defeat. I thought Mor Spirit would win yesterday, but then he was vulnerable, too. There were some fast horses in there going a mile and a sixteenth. We’re focusing on more distance; I like what I felt and everything about it.”

March 24 NOTE: After Mor Spirit worked in 47.80 in company with Hoffenheim (48.00), trainer Baffert said, “He went really nice. He was a willing participant today, which is good.”

April 4 NOTE: Mor Spirit's workout today, second fastest of 58, was deemed "breezing" by Santa Anita clockers. This is exceeding rare. For some reason West Coast clockers almost always term workouts "handily".

On April 9, Mor Spirit finished second in the Santa Anita Derby but never threatened to win on the sloppy track. Exaggerator used a new style of running to win. Taken well back off quick early fractions, he made a huge move starting on the far turn to blow by five of the other seven horses in the field and win by 6 1/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux. Exaggerator was timed in 1:49.66 for 1 1/8 mile. Danzing Candy set a fast pace to set up the late run, going the first six furlongs in spits of 22.15, 45.24 and 1:10.12. After a half-mile, Exaggerator was 16 1/2 lengths in arrears and preparing to unload his knockout punch. Mor Spirit finished second after stalking the pace in fourth. He was 11 lengths in front of Exaggerator after they'd run the first half-mile. Uncle Lino finished third at 26-1 odds, 2 1/4 lengths behind Mor Spirit, after being second at each prior call of the race. Danzing Candy faded to fourth, beaten 13 1/4 lengths.

Gary Stevens - “He warmed up great and left the gate wrong, and we got hit by the first wave of water and mud going into the first turn, he slipped with me and started lunging. He came off the bridle, and the first thing I said was, ‘This is going to be a long race.’ When Kent came by me, he actually tried to go with him – he sort of re-ignited again, but he sort of just looked after himself. I’m real proud of him to run second.”

Bob Baffert - No comment available post-race.

April 26 NOTES: Jockey Stevens said after a fast workout, “Loved the work. The work went great; he was very aggressive going to the pole, which is not always him. He’s a little quirky sometimes. Bob put a little more blinkers on him this morning to get him a little more focused and it did the job. He went to the pole aggressive, was aggressive throughout the work, he galloped out strong into the backstretch. I can’t get the horse tired and that’s a good thing when you’re going a mile and a quarter. I don’t think that distance is going to be a problem but he’s come along at the right time. We haven’t got to the bottom of him. In the Santa Anita Derby, I won’t say that he didn’t like the surface, but he didn’t like the kick back coming back. I felt like he ran about 80 percent for me and still finished second. He’s got some gears and I’ve felt them in the morning and I’ve felt them in the afternoon. Unfortunately I didn’t feel them in the Santa Anita Derby so hopefully he brings the ‘A’ game.”

Trainer Baffert said, "He worked well today. He’s never been a real willing worker. He got a good work today, seems like he didn’t go too hard on him. This track is pretty quick, but it was good for him, he got into it. When Gary worked him a few weeks ago, he started off slow and kind of lost interest. The surface is really kind on him, he likes the surface. It’s fun with Gary because he’s focused. He knows what we need to do, and we’re getting to know this horse and we’ve been here before and we’re both getting older now so we appreciate it more and we’re enjoying it more, before we used to come in here and try to win one of these things. Once you’ve been here so many times, you know what you need to do, just stay focused and enjoy yourself as long as everything is going smooth, so that’s the whole key.”

 

 

MY MAN SAM (KY)
Owner: Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables LLC and Jay W. Bligh; Breeder:  Jay W. Bligh; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-8-10-0-0 (20) 3.00; By Trappe Shot (Tapit, Shopping) out of Lauren Bird (Arch, Strike the Sky); Foal Date: March 3, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Chad Brown

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs April 19 - Barn 42 - Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Going into the Toyota Blue Grass, My Man Sam had three career starts, all on Aqueduct's inner dirt track ridden by Jose Ortiz.

He lost his debut sprinting, but in his second start he wowed many onlookers with an eight-length win after lagging 15 lengths behind the pace after the first half-mile in 48.19. Looks might be deceiving, as his time for that race was 1:46.43, but he got decent numbers for it, so it should be respected. My Man Sam was 5-1, Big Gillette was second at 7-5, and Cadeyrn third at 5-2.  

The chart call: "My Man Sam just  off  the  inside  in  mid  pack  in  pursuit  from  afar  as  the  field  spread  out  early  on,  came  under  urging  approaching  the  three-eighths improving position and gaining ground through the far turn, angled five wide into upper stretch, took dead aim on the leg weary leader and overhauled that foe inside the eighth pole, then went clear to the finish in hand in the final jumps.'

In his first race against winners, My Man Sam finished second to the well-regarded Matt King Coal, beaten a length to a time of 1:44.92. Interesting to note Matt King Coal led by 4  1/2 lengths at the furlong marker. This time My Man Sam was nine lengths off the pace after a half-mile timed in :47.46, so he showed more early speed than he did in his maiden win. Once again he launched a serious late bid, but he couldn't catch Matt King Coal, who led at each call and who was leg-weary at the end of the race. Overall internal fractions were 23.59, 47.46, 1:11.97 and 1:38.01.

The chart call: "My Man Sam saved ground tracking from mid pack, came under urging seven-sixteenths from home, angled three wide around a pair midway on the turn advancing into prominence swinging four wide for home, offered up a good finish to cut into the winner and threaten tepidly late but couldn't reel that one in before  the  wire."

On April 9, My Man Sam got up for second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes after coming from far off the pace. Meanwhile, Brody's Cause, eleventh of 14 runners after a half-mile run in a brisk 46.75 by pacesetter Laoban, won the race. While Loaban stayed on the lead through six furlongs in 1:11.44, Brody's Cause was getting ready to make his move. Ninth at that point, and 6 1/4 lengths off the pace, he was on the lead two furlongs later with the mile gone in 1:37.26. He stayed on to win in 1:50.20, prevailing by 1 3/4 length. For a few moments in the stretch run, it looked like Cherry Wine might round out the exacta. My Man Sam got to him in the final jump, eking out the place by a head. Both horses also came from far off the pace. My Man Sam had to work out a good trip after breaking from post 14. Cherry Wine broke from post 3. Loaban hung around for fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths.

Julien Leparoux, rider of runner-up My Man Sam - “Around the first turn, I tried to make my way through on the backside and he made his big run in the end. I thought it was a great race; he's a nice horse. Chad loved him before the race and kept telling me how confident and how good the horse was. He didn’t lie. That was a nice race for him. It was just getting the trip today. With the 14 post and a lot of horses … he doesn’t have speed and you’ve got to go through a lot of horses so I’m glad we could work out a good trip. He’s the kind of horse that comes at the end.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Brown said, "I thought he ran great considering that difficult post position. He finished strong and got up for second and earned enough points if we want to run in the Derby, which we do, so if he comes out of the race okay which so far he has he'll...move over to Churchill on the 19th and have two workouts over the track."

April 24 NOTE: Trainer Brown said of today's breeze, “It was just a maintenance work.... I thought he worked terrific. He’s only run in one stakes race and he ran terrific from the 14 post in the Blue Grass. We were lucky enough to get up for second and have the points to get up and be in this position. A rapidly developing horse with a lot of talent that should be able to get a mile-and-a-quarter.My Man Sam is a horse who appreciates some company. He’s never been real flashy in the morning, but that’s exactly how he works when he runs well. It was just an easy maintenance work. He galloped out strong.”

 

 

NYQUIST (KY)
Owner: Reddam Racing; Breeder: Summerhill Farm; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-2-1-0-0 (4) 7.00; By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa Maya) out of Seeking Gabrielle (Forestry, Seeking Regina); Foal Date: March 10, 2013; $180,000 Keeneland November 2013/$230,000 Keeneland September 2014/$400,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida March 2015; 2YO Horse of the Year; Trainer: Doug O'Neill

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Keeneland April 3 - Arrived at Churchill Downs April 30 - Barn 41 - Jockey Mario Gutierrez

Owned by J. Paul Reddam, trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez – the I’ll Have Another crew -- Nyquist beat Keith Desormeaux’ Swipe by 5 1/4 lengths to take the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar.

Doug O'Neill - “I think it’s safe to say he’s the best of our 2-year-olds. Physically and mentally, he’s our best. If he stays injury-free, he’s got the mind of a champ.”

Paul Reddam - “There was a lot of hype about the Uncle Mos, especially one other Uncle Mo (at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale). But Dennis liked the one that the hype wasn’t about. Jamie McCalmont, who works with us, also liked him. It’s not too often that he and Dennis agree. So we decided to take a swing and get the colt.”

Dennis O’Neill - “He’s probably the prettiest horse I’ve ever bought. He’s just a gorgeous animal, a classy, classy horse.”

Steve Rothblum of the O’Neill barn - “He’s a first-Saturday-in-May kind of colt. He’s young, and he’s going to get better and better the farther he goes.”

In the Sept. 7 Del Mar Futurity going seven furlongs, Nyquist was much the best and was timed in 1:23.28. The chart call: "Nyquist stalked the pace off the rail, bid between horses into the turn, took a short lead between foes past midway on the turn, drifted out some into the stretch, inched away in upper stretch and kicked clear under a crack of the whip and some hand urging then a long hold late. Swipe finished second, beaten 3 3/4 length. After trailing most of the field early, he surged in the stretch and was well clear of the third finisher.

Doug O'Neill: “I thought we had the perfect trip and Mario did a great job. This is a super horse and, like any great athlete, it’s a matter of staying healthy and if he stays that way he’ll do some big things.”

Mario Gutierriez: “Any other track in the country – if I run a :44 half like that – I’m well in front. But here they were all coming at me. I used him early, but then I didn’t have to use him at all. He just coasted home. He’s a nice colt, really nice. Can I compare him to I’ll Have Another? No, not really different horses. Remember, I rode ‘Another’ as a 3-year-old. This one is only a 2-year-old.”

Nyquist repelled Go Long and Mt Veeder and held off Swipe to win the 1 1/16-mile FrontRunner Stakes a little less than three weeks after the Del Mar Futurity. He also withstood a stewards' inquiry. It was his first race around two turns. He won by three parsts of a length, with Hollywood Don another 5 3/4 lengths back in third, followed by Rare Candy. The time was 1:44.89.

Paul Reddam - “He showed he likes a dogfight. It was a little more exciting than we wanted it to be. (The timing is) not ideal, but the idea was to run in this race and then have five weeks until the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile."

Nyquist continued his winning ways in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland despite having to break from post 12. Swipe again ran second to him, this time by a half-length after breaking from post 11. Brody's Cause was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Nyquist, and Exaggerator came in fourth.  Nyquist was eighth in the early going, about five lengths off the pace, but he was four or five lanes wide. The winning time was 1:43.79.

Paul Reddam - “He took a lot of abuse from handicappers for his descending Beyer Speed Figures coming into the race. I thought, ‘Is it really a criticism that you’re not winning by enough?’"

Doug O'Neill - “Midrace, I thought, ‘Well, they’re not machines. Even great horses every now and then don’t fire. I thought he wasn’t firing. When Mario called on him, he sure did. The race didn't unfold like I expected. We thought, being on the outside there, with kind of a short run to the first turn, we'd be up on the lead, saving ground. I have to watch the replay, but from my recollection we were five or six wide. But Mario did his Mario thing where he just never panicked. From day one, before this horse ever debuted, he had the mind and the stride of a two-turn horse. When he debuted, like, 'wow.' The other day, maybe he wasn't that impressive, maybe because we came back quickly. He was pressured early, and I think with that race under his belt, he turned it around today.”

Mario Gutierrez - “That’s the beauty when you ride a good horse – there’s always time to adapt. Relax, wait for everybody to get their positions, tried saving a little bit of ground in the backstretch; from that point on, it was wait to push the button to go home. I had a little trouble getting over from my outside post, but except for the first turn I had good position. Being wide wasn’t a problem. I didn’t want to get to the rail and get covered up. He was running fine on the outside and so we just stayed there. I’ve always had confidence in this horse. He’s a good one.”

Nyquist got a well-deserved break and was then entered in the Feb. 15 San Vicente Stakes. He broke from the rail and went to the lead in his 3-year-old debut, the San Vicente Stakes, and he didn't let anything catch him. The seven furlongs was timed in a spritely 1:20.71. Nyquist didn't rate at all, running the first half-mile in 44 and change, but it was still a really great return from his layoff. Exaggerator ran like a champ too and finished second, beaten 1 1/2 length after chasing Nyquist in the backstretch and trying to make a winning move in upper stretch. Nyquist repelled that move and eased on out to win fairly easily.

Mario Gutierrez - “He hasn’t run since (Oct. 31), so we know he was going to be rank, but I also believe in his talent. I wanted to fight with him as little as possible today, let him do his thing and you saw the results. I wasn’t worried about Exaggerator today. I can’t be worried about that, about other horses. I know my horse is talented enough to make it to the bigger races, so if I’m worried about other horses now, this early, than that makes me sound like I don’t believe in my horse and I do.”

Doug O'Neill - “Everything went great, and for the race to go the way it did, I’m pumped and so proud of the whole team. Mario was great under pressure, which is what we need right now. Exaggerator is a nice horse, and for him to hold him off the way he did showed you how talented he is. There were some anxious moments when I saw the fractions, and you’re better off on the outside tracking than on the inside being tracked. The post wasn’t an advantage at all, and I think we got pushed by (Sheikh of Sheikhs) a little bit early. But Mario is smart. He knew what he had. I really was impressed with the gallop out. He galloped out great.

“I haven’t talked to Paul. The original plan was the Florida Derby, and there’s a bonus involved, of course, so we’ll huddle up and play it by ear and do whatever is in the best interest of Nyquist for sure.”

Dennis O'Neill - “It was scary, because I saw that horse pressing him, and 44 and change was a little spooky, and then eight and change, and you keep waiting for them to slow down off a layoff like that. To see him kick on and gallop out like that was really, really exciting. I don’t know how good this horse is now. I knew he was a good horse, but I thought today’s performance was amazing. We’re really excited moving forward. It’s a perfect prep. We have seven weeks (to the Florida Derby). We couldn’t ask for anything better. The gallop out was scary, because it looked like Exaggerator had him. He made him run. He kept trying to get a breather, and he couldn’t get a breather the whole way. For a horse to do it is pretty exciting.”

J. Paul Reddam - “That was what we anticipated. We knew Exaggerator was ready, and we knew we’d probably have to go. They can give him respect or not, but that’s not going to affect his performance on the racetrack. We try not to take any of that personally, and if they want to say, ‘That was only seven-eighths – how’s he going to be at a mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter?,’ We’ll let him tell us. When we talked about it at the beginning of the year, we said we’d go to the San Vicente and the Florida Derby because we liked the timing. I think Doug will change his mind a couple times between now and then, because there’s the temptation to stay home. We love Santa Anita. But we’ll see. We just want to take it in stride. It was a good first step. The track was fast, and he ran like the track was fast. He’s just got that mindset that you’re not going to beat him.”

Nyquist was now set to make the seven-furlongs-to-a-mile-and-an-eighth transition that's a popular angle with some handicappers.

Feb. 19 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said,  “Our original plan was to run in the Florida Derby after the San Vicente. After the Breeders’ Cup we wanted to run in the San Vicente and then the Florida Derby, so we’re going to stick with our plan.” O’Neill said he plans to ship Nyquist “about a week before the race.”

March 3 NOTE: Nyquist worked a half mile under exercise rider Jonny Garcia in 48.80. Trainer O'Neill said, “He went great, full of energy. I loved what we saw and we’re very happy. We’re just trying to stay in front of the rain that might be coming this weekend. The plan is to have all breezes here."

March 9 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said, “Our plan right now is to ship on the 28th. We’re scheduled to breeze tomorrow and every week until we go there. When he gets there he’ll just go to the track. He won’t work. The Keeneland race showed he can travel. We’re not concerned about him needing a certain track. I don’t think the surface matters to him."

Trainer O'Neill said after the Florida Derby post position draw, “It’s hard to gauge. Prior to the draw, we didn’t know if they’d be a bad post for him. Number four is just fine. Like the rest of them, we have to leave the gate running and get good position. I think Mohaymen has home-court advantage and he is every professional handicapper’s pick from what I’ve read. He’s the Derby favorite to this point. We’ve got to beat him to earn our respect that way.”

April 1 NOTE: Assistant trainer Leandro Mora said, “We’re all very positive people and try to stay that way and that helps a lot. I have been with Doug for 15 years. I was his first assistant and Jack has been with us since a little bit before I’ll Have Another. We’re blessed to have him. He’s a great guy. “Mario is a smart rider. He does a good job. Johnny (Garcia) does a lot of the work in the morning. He really gets along with Nyquist. When we get the babies, I always pass on the horses and divide them up to the different (exercise) riders. They always ride the same horse and stay with them, and Johnny has been lucky enough to be with the best so far. He’s a very positive guy who gets the horses to train. He was with I’ll Have Another and Goldencents, too. He’s been with us since 2010 and also gets on Gomo and Donworth.”

April 1 NOTE: Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said, "I travel a lot and just came from the New Orleans. I can’t remember when I saw my bed last, but I don’t mind. I worked for Eddie Kenneally and Todd Pletcher before, but I’ll Have Another was a great experience. I did summers at Churchill for Todd while I was at the University of Louisville.  Nyquist is a professional and makes my job a lot easier. He does everything right.”

In the Florida Derby on April 2, Nyquist vanquished Mohaymen, who finished fourth behind the winner, Majesto and Fellowship. The latter two came on late in the stretch while Nyquist set the pace with Mohaymen tracking him wide in about fourth position until he made a move at the leader in the far turn. Nyquist was feathered out wide leaving the turn, pushing Mohaymen wider still. Nyquist galloped away in the lane while one got the feeling Mohaymen was not asked for his all once the race was lost. The winning margin was 3 1/4 lengths, with Fellowship another length back in third, four lengths in front of Mohaymen. The winning time was 1:49.11. Nyquist set fractions of 23.60, 47.09, 1:11.39 and 1:36.38.

Doug O’Neill - “I just thought Mario rode a brilliant race. He showed the way out of there and just kept on going, improved his position. It was all Mario. Mario won the first turn, and the first turn won the race. I think we just had a very lucky trip. Mario broke great and did a great job riding and everything just went right. This whole trip other than being delayed one day, everything else went right. So many things can go wrong in this business. Nyquist traveled well, looked well. Leandro Mora, my main guy here, who’s at the barn 24 hours a day, seven days a week...but Leandro basically sleeps with the horse. It’s a credit to the whole team how he came over, how he looked and how he ran.

“Obviously we’re high as a kite right now. But he seems like you could run him on just about anything. He’s trained on synthetic. It doesn’t seem like footing really bothers him. Johnny Garcia, his daily exercise rider, commented that the one day that he galloped here, that the track was just much more tight than Santa Anita. So he felt like he was really ready to run on a tight track after training at Santa Anita, which has a little more cushion. Maybe he was just really legged up, but you know, going a mile and an eighth in only his second time out as a 3-year-old—we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were optimistic, but you never know, and he exceeded our expectations for sure.

“We drew up thinking two preps before the Derby would leave him with fresh legs. He’s got a lot of miles underneath him in the morning and we have a fresh horse for the afternoon.”

Mario Gutierrez - “It was always part of the plan. It just depends on the break; how the other horses were going to be acting, so coming out of the gate, I broke so clean and so fast so I just had to take the lead.”

Paul Reddam - “When it rained we were happy. Before the races got going, we thought, ‘Uh oh, maybe the track will dry out,’ so I had Doug’s son Daniel do a rain dance, and then it started pouring. Absolutely, we were happy with a wet track.”

April 9 NOTE: Nyquist, who was shipped to Keeneland shortly after the Florida Derby, went to the track for the first time today. He jogged slowly. It looked like he was walking to Downey. There's nothing wrong with him at all, and he looked like he wanted to do more.

April 10 NOTE: After Nyquist jogged energetically at Keeneland, assistant trainer Jack Sisterson said, "Words cannot describe how good he went. He teaches us something every day. It was scary good how he went today.... I'm pretty sure he'll be galloping tomorrow. If the weather is uncooperative, we'll go to the training track."

April 13 NOTE: Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson after a jog and a gallop by Nyquist: “Jonny said he felt better here than he does back home."\

April 15 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said after Nyquist put in a maintenance work at Keeneland, “We were very happy with the work. Jonny got him nice and settled and he actually went a mile. He got his first half in around a minute and the last half right at :50. He was stretching out good and straight as an arrow. We are all very happy with the breeze. This is what we do at home a lot of the time. He has enough natural speed that we are not looking to add any speed, and we will continue with the maintenance.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said after today's workout, "We thought him going in company, he's just, he would do it easier. Cause he's so competitive, and sometimes by himself Jonny's got to ask him a little bit, so we thought it would be easier on him, and man, he was strong early, he really wanted to go, so at this point, really happy. At this point, he's fit and ready, so we're just strictly looking for maintenance. We told Jonny 1:01 and I think the clockers gave him 1:01 and four, so that's pretty good."

April 24 NOTE: Trainer O'Neill said, “Nyquist looks great this morning and Land Over Sea looks super. Ideally, they will work next Saturday, but it could be Friday, Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. Whatever day they work and come out of it good, they would ship to Churchill Downs the next day.”

 

 

OSCAR NOMINATED (KY)
Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey; Breeder: Mrs. Jerry Amerman; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 10-5-13-2-0 (30) 2.53; By Kitten's Joy (El Prado (IRE), Kitten's First) out of Devine Actress (Theatrical (IRE), Devine Beauty); Foal Date: March 26, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Mike Maker

NEXT START: Kentucky Derby. Was not nominated to the Triple Crown so a $200,000 supplement is necessary to get in. Churchill Downs Training Center Barn K until arrival at Churchill Downs on May 4 - Jockey Julien Leparoux

Oscar Nominated's first six career starts were all on turf at Saratoga, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds. His sire and dam sire are both strong turf influences. He was claimed by the Ramsey's for $75,000 from his third start, a 1-1/16 mile race at Belmont Park in October that he won going away. That was followed by two runner-up efforts when he was beaten a head and a neck, the latter race having been the Keith Gee Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 31. Next out, he won the 7-1/2 furlong Black Gold Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 27 under Robby Albarado.

March 28 NOTE: Trainer Maker said, “I think he deserves a chance. In that first stake at Fair Grounds, he almost got up. He was caught inside and I think he was a little intimidated.”

At 23-1 odds, Oscar Nominated ran down Todd Pletcher trainee Azar by a neck in the final strides of the April 2 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. Brian Hernandez, Jr. picked up the mount after Robby Albarado had to take off the horse after not making weight.Oscar Nominated came from sixth, 3 1/2 lengths offf the pace after the first quarter-mile of the race. Azar, meanwhile, prompted a pace of 23.22 before setting fractions of 48.23, 1:13.62 and 1:38.74. The final time was 1:51.12. Surgical Strike was a closing third and finished just another neck back of Azar. Two Step Time was in turn a neck back of Surgical Strike and just a nose in front of Ralis at the finish.

The chart call: "Oscar Nominated talked  the  pace  five  wide,  looped  up  through  the  second  turn,  came  to  level  terms  a  furlong  out,  dug  in  and  out  gamed  the determined Azar to narrowly prevail."

 

Brian Hernandez Jr. - “Looking at him on paper, it looked like he really fit in with this bunch, and we had a lot of confidence in him because he handled the Polytrack so well and he travelled under me the whole way really well. He handled the mile and an eighth really well today. It’s just like everything else; he’ll be answering the question of a mile and a quarter for the first time.”

Mike Maker - "I saw a white “R” and red cap and didn’t know which one it was at first, but I knew it was mine." Asked aobut claiming Oscar Nominated out of his third start for $75,000, Maker said, “He’s a Kitten’s Joy. We knew he’d be better when he was going long.”

Ken Ramsey - “We’re going to the Derby one way or another. We love this horse, I bet him pretty well. I thought that he would finish in there. He had been showing a lot in his training moves and these Kitten’s Joys really love the Polytrack all over, so we thought we had a big shot. I wanted the horse because I liked the breeding on it. We put up $75,000 for him and he fits our program really well. Any time I see one out there that I think could be improved on a bit or trending upward, I always try to get him for the stallion.

“We did not nominate this one. As a matter of fact, just a couple of weeks ago before the last phase went for $6,000, I asked ‘What do you think Mike? Do we have anything worth $6,000?’ and he said, ‘I don’t think so,’ and then he called four or five days ago and said, ‘You know we should have put this horse in. He is really coming around.’ The Polytrack moved him up, I guess.

“I’d probably ride him in, have someone give me a leg up. All my life I have dreamed of something like that happening. Last year I thought I really had a shot with International Star, but he came up with a sore foot the morning of the Derby. That was crushing and heartbreaking, so this would be a real redemption if we could pull one off this year with one we didn’t even nominate.

“He’ll be in the Derby if he comes out of the race well. If someone wants to pay the $200,000 supplemental fee, we’ll split whatever I earn out of his next three races and he’ll go in the Preakness and the Belmont assuming everything is okay. I’m pretty optimistic about him.”

 

 

OUTWORK (KY)
Owner: Repole Stable; Breeder: Repole Stable, Inc.; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-3-1-0-0 (6) 11.00; By Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, Playa May) out of Nonna Mia (Empire Maker, Holy Bubbette); Foal Date: March 8, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Todd Pletcher

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on April 25 - Barn 40 - Jockey John  Velazquez

Outwork broke his maiden at first asking at Keeneland back in April, wiring the field in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight to draw off by 2 1/2 lengths. Outwork was off the rest of the year and returned fresh as a 3-year-old, winning by 4 1/4-lengths an optional-claimer against sprinters in February at Tampa Bay Downs en route to his stakes debut the following month.

Outwork did all the hard work in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12, setting a pace of 24.04, 47.88 and 1:11.43, but it was Destin who set a stakes and track record. After stalking in third three wide, he wore down stablemate Outwork through a fierce stretch run, posting a one-length victory under Javier Castellano in a time of 1:42.82. That bettered the 2007 mile-and-a-sixteenth stakes record set by Street Sense and the track record of 1:42.83 set by Bold Start in the 2010 Challenger Stakes.

Todd Pletcher - “For Outwork to put forth that type of performance in only his third start is quite impressive. We were hoping he would move forward, and he certainly ran well enough to put himself in the next round of preps, where hopefully he will move forward again.”

John Velazquez - “It was a great performance for a horse that had only two starts and had only been six furlongs. He was trying his best, and I couldn’t ask for more than he did. The distance was not a problem.”

March 29 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher told TDN: “Usually, with Mike’s horses it would be we’re going to New York, period. In this particular case he’s being more open minded. Outwork is a son of Uncle Mo and the focus is trying to win a Grade I with him and trying to take him to the best possible spot to do that. You don’t want to over think these things, but the horse did win at Keeneland last year, so he got a race over the track. We know he handles it. Granted, it was only a 4 1/2-furlong race, but he did do it. Those things are in play. I would say, however, things are tilted toward him running at Aqueduct. And I would like to keep Outwork and Zulu apart.”

April 3 NOTE: Trainer Pletcher said, "He's a big, strong colt. I thought he was surprisingly precocious last year when he won the 4 1/2-furlong race. He got some time off after that, and everything's gone really well this winter. He stepped up off one six-furlong race and ran a really key race in the Tampa Derby, and we hope that that race and the works he's had since then will move him forward."

On April 9, Outwork was tenacious winning the Wood Memorial on a muddy track at Aqueduct. The time was a less than torrid 1:52.92, and perhaps that can be chalked up to the condition of the track. After contesting fractions of 22.91, 46.93 and 1:12.31 with Matt King Coal, Outwork stayed on while the other one regressed. Ridden by John Velazquez, Outwork outfought the rail-hugging Trojan Nation, sent off at 81-1 odds after going winless in five starts at Santa Anita, to the wire to win by a head. Owner Mike Repole said after the race he thinks Outwork would have lost had there been another jump in the race. Adventist came on in the stretch to finish third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths,edging Matt King Coal by a neck. Shagaf, the 9-5 post-time favorite, disappointed to finish fifth, another 1 1/2 length back.

Todd Pletcher  - "Until you actually run on an off track, you never really know for sure. I thought he handled that part really well. I think he lost focus a little bit when he made the lead. Johnny said he idled a bit on him. Plus he was getting a little tired. They ran along the first part pretty well. I was hoping that didn't catch up with him late.

"Forget the Derby, forget everything other than the fact it was a huge win for him in only his fourth lifetime start. To win a grade 1 in only his fourth start is extra gratifying for our team, because five years ago Uncle Mo didn't win the Wood Memorial. It's sort of vindication in some ways for him, and to win it with a son of Uncle Mo is a pretty cool story."

John Velazquez - "Broke really well. He was going a little too fast in the first turn and I had to get him a little easy in the first turn. Everyone was pushing outside and I had to let him settle down. The other horse came to him and he picked it up a little bit on the backstretch. I got him away from him to relax, and then at the quarter pole he put his ears up, idled a lot. He is still a young horse who is still learning. He has mastered a lot and he showed a lot of heart, he went from three-quarters to a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth in a very short time."

Mike Repole - "To come back here five years later, with a son of Uncle Mo ... that was one of my toughest racing days, and this is one of my best racing days. My little daughter is nine months old, she won her first grade 1, it took me 42 years. She's brought me some pretty good luck. I was scared a lot when I saw that horse coming up along the rail. (Outwork has) only had four starts and one of them was 4 1/2 furlongs in April. He's so young. He's only getting better. Thank God the wire came up because another jump, he probably wouldn't have made it."

THE NEXT DAY: Outwork is fine said trainer Pletcher, who added, "He definitely has a tendency to idle. In his mind, the race was won when he got to the top of the stretch and made the lead. Thankfully, it didn't cost him the win yesterday. His ears go straight forward and he's looking around. Hopefully that's something he'll continue to mature through and get better and learn how to really polish off his races. There's (a flight) on the 19th that could be a possibility. It's in the process of being sorted out. We have to work out when he's going to breeze and where his two breezes will be. One of them could be here, and I anticipate one, possibly two, will be at Churchill."

 

 

SHAGAF (KY)
Owner: Shadwell Stable; Breeder: Shadwell Farm, LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-10-10-0-0 (24) 3.80; By Bernardini (A.P. Indy, Cara Rafaela) out of Muhaawara (Unbridled's Song, Habibti); Foal Date: Feb. 5, 2013; Trainer: Chad Brown

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs on April 19 - Barn 42 - Jockey Joel Rosario

After winning his debut, Shagaf was entered in a one-mile, one-turn allowance race on Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park. Shagaf cruised to a two-length victory. He stalked the early pace on the outside, took command turning for home and was unchallenged down the stretch. The timer malfunctioned, and his official time was reported at 1:37.21. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Shagaf broke alertly from the outside post seven under Irad Ortiz Jr. and sat four wide down the backstretch as 80-1 long shot Picadilly Roadster took the field through a quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds and a half in 46.82 (as officially reported by the malfunctioning timer). As Rally Cry hesitated to go through an opening along the rail approaching the far turn, Shagaf effortlessly assumed the lead with two furlongs to run and separated from the field. Ortiz kept Shagaf to task nearing the wire, chased by Southside Warrior and a rallying Rally Cry. Bar None, Tasit and Picadilly Roadster completed the order of finish.

Chad Brown: “I was very impressed. He’s trained like a super quality horse since he came into the barn. The whole Shadwell team came down for the race. Obviously they have Mohaymen in for the Holy Bull tomorrow, and it’s a homebred of theirs. I’m very lucky they sent this horse to me. He’s special. “[Ortiz] said basically from the quarter pole home he had absolutely nobody around him to keep him focused. It’s only his second career start. He started to maybe let up a little bit before the wire and he had to get after him a little bit. He said on the gallop-out when he heard the horses coming behind him and tried to pull him up, he tried to break again.

“We’ll speak about (the Fountain of Youth) in the weeks to come. Hopefully he comes out of the race in good order and healthy. He’ll be nominated to everything. It is a choice, it’ll be considered. There’s a bunch of different factors: Mohaymen, where he’s running; how much time we need after this race; examining the horse physically. We’ll play it safe, nominate him everywhere and let the horse tell us and work as a team.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr.: “I got a good trip. We were in a good position down the backstretch and he just pulled me to the lead. He did it on his own.”

Feb. 28 NOTE: Trainer Brown said, "We'll have to wait and see where he draws in the race, but from what we've seen so far he certainly has the ability to adapt to any kind of pace in the race."

In the March 5 Gotham Stakes, favored Shagaf rated in fourth while on the inside up the backstretch behind fractions of 23.33 and 47.16, kept running toward pacesetter Laoban in the stretch and got up in the final strides to prevail over him by 1 1/4 length in 1:45.90. Adventist nipped Sunny Ridge for third after the latter one challenged Laoban and was repelled. The track was favoring early speed on this day.

Chad Brown - "I'm very proud of his effort today. Coming into the race it was our plan was to be able to teach him something and possibly still win the race. The horse broke so sharp, Irad told me had to take a hold of him to see what everyone else was going to do. He put him in a good spot. He was little on and off the bridle down the back side catching that dirt for the first time, but once he got in the clear he was much more comfortable getting away from the kickback. The fact he can secure a spot early with his positional speed is going to come in handy later on. He's gaining experience with each start. Irad rode him terrific, and it's a real team effort.

"Absolutely the plan is stay here in New York for the Wood Memorial. I didn't even book a flight back for him regardless of how he fired today. We were always going to commit to leaving him here. He broke his maiden on the outer track here at Aqueduct, and for Shadwell it just goes to show you the versatility of their operation. To have two undefeated horses, one that was purchased at auction and one that was homebred - they do it both ways. They have a great team and it's a pleasure to work with and learn from them. Thankfully, when a horse likes this comes into your barn it makes your job easier."

Irad Ortiz, Jr. - "I never thought I had it. It's a stakes race, and there are a lot of good horses in here. He did everything right. He was like a professional. When I gave him his cue, he took off. He's a nice horse. Chad is going little by little with him. I think we could see him in the Derby; he's good, we have to see what happens."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Brown said, "He looks great this morning, he ate up well. He looks sound, very happy. He took plenty of dirt in the race, which will hopefully serve him well down the road. I think he gained a lot of experience, it was only his third start and this horse has done everything we asked him to do. I don't think he could've run any better in any of the three races for what we want him to do. I'm very happy with the result and I'm happy with the education he got. We've got a ways to go but he's at least cleared one hurdle. He's emerged from the race alright, and he'll stay here and train. This is his home base, he likes it here."

April 2 NOTE: Trainer Brown said Shagaf has been schooled at the starting gate and practiced loading onto a van, elaborating, "The horse is a little quirky; particularly with tight spots. If he decides he doesn't want to do something, he will stick his toes in there. He won't get mean or hot or aggressive, he just won't do it. Going into the starting gate was a problem early on and loading into vans was a problem. Sometimes going into the saddling enclosure is a problem, but we can avoid that by saddling outside of it. But, unfortunately, we can't avoid the starting gate or the van.  My staff and the gate crew have been working with him and he has made a lot of progress. We've been schooling him going into the van since the Gotham, and he has been going right in, and the same with the gate. All in all, I'm proud of the horse's progress mentally in terms of being agreeable to the stuff we want him to do."

April 5 NOTE: Asked about Shagaf's quirkiness during an NTRA conference call, trainer Brown said that if he runs well in the Wood and gets in the Kentucky Derby, he'll be taken early to Churchill Downs so that his handlers can get him acclimated, lots of schooling, etc.

On April 9, Shagaf finished a non-threatening fifth in the Wood Memorial on a muddy track. After being 11 1/2 lengths off a quick pace in the early going, he was beaten four lengths by Outwork, and the time was a slow 1:52.92. He was set down for the drive leaving the far turn, but he lost a length to the leader from the furlong marker in.

Chad Brown - "They were going pretty good up front. We were a little farther back than we thought, but the pace was strong. I thought he would've probably been better suited if he tipped him out when the field was strung out; got him out of the mud and into the clear but he elected to go inside. He made a sharp middle move there and then he just had enough of the mud. We'll just see how the horse comes out of the race and go from here. If the horse is healthy I'm inclined to hope for a dry track at Churchill and a better trip. I'm confident the horse can get a mile and a quarter."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Brown said today that Shagaf will be shipped to Churchill Downs on April 19 if all goes well. "Shagaf didn't really appear to handle the track as well," said Brown. "He made a good move into the turn, he ran up into a wall of horses and he had to pause. When he tried to re-rally again he was very one paced and tired and encountered a lot of mud and kickback. Irad said the track wasn't just for him. So far he looks good this morning. If he has a good week, he'll go to Churchill on the 19th...."

April 24 NOTES: Trainer Brown said,  “We worked him by himself for the first time. He’s been getting a little aggressive in his works. I thought he went terrific. I was just so thrilled in his work. He’s a little bit better of a work horse. He went over the surface well and galloped out strong. Shagaf is just a bigger, stronger and more willing work horse (than My Man Sam), so we sent him alone today and it was the best he has ever worked in my eyes.

“The whole situation didn’t really work for him,” Brown said about the Wood Memorial. “First of all, the racetrack just wasn’t for him. It rained all day and he had only run on dry tracks. He didn’t really break well in the mud. He tried to make a run there in the final turn and ran into some horses in front of him and had to stop. As you can see here this week, he’s a huge horse with a big stride. He’s like a big locomotive going downhill. I’m not sure how much stopping you can do with a horse like that when you have his momentum going. It’s just one of those things that happen in horse racing sometimes, but the track was dry today and he worked terrific.”

 

 

SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (KY)
Owner: Samuel F. Henderson; Breeder: Branch Equine LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 9-7-10-0-0 (26) 4.20; By Mineshaft (A.P. Indy, Prospector's Delite) out of Uchitel (Afleet Alex, Party Cited); Foal Date: May 2, 2013; $72,000 Keeneland September 2014; Trainer: Donnie K. Von Hemel

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrival at Churchill Downs April 19 - Barn 22 - Jockey Luis Quinonez

Suddenbreakingnews made all five of his 2015 starts at Remington Park. He broke his maiden in his second start going a mile timed in 1:38.57 after being a part of the pace throughout; he won by 4 1/4 lengths. Fourth time out was his stakes debut, and he won the seven-furlong Clever Trevor Stakes on Nov. 6. He concluded his 2-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish, beaten a nose by Discreetness, in the Springboard Mile on Dec. 13.

In the Southwest Stakes, his 2016 debut, Suddenbreakingnews broke from post 13 and was 14th of 14 after a half-mile, but he won with a seven-wide move, flashing down the stretch to prevail in the final strides under Luis Quinonez. His time was 1:45.14 on a track rated good that had been producing slower times all day. Whitmore, who broke last and who was 11th after a half-mile, came on in the far turn and stretch to get the place, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. American Dubai, a 21-1 longshot, was second until taking a lead in the stretch, but he faded a bit to hit the wire third, 3 1/4 lengths back of the winner. Collected was fourth as the 5-2 favorite after breaking from the rail.

The chart call: "Suddenbreakingnews climbed passed the wire the first time to fall far back, continued to lag up the backstretch, swung out seven wide turning for home, set down for the drive, closed with a great amount of late energy to win going away."

Donnie K. Von Hemel – “There were concerns about this being his first start (of the year) and the post position. Luis knew he had to drop back to save ground, and it just turned out he was trailing the field. That’s the good thing about Luis. Even when you have a plan that doesn’t work out, he has the experience to still get it done. I could tell at the eighth pole that he was going to get there. It’s very exciting. More than likely, we’ll look at the Rebel next.”

Luis Quinonez – “This horse ran such a nice race today. We stayed behind everyone, which helped my horse relax and it kept us out of trouble, I could see ahead of us that there were some horses in front of us that were getting in trouble. I think it helped my horse keeping him relaxed. I let him run his race. When he started making a move I tried inside but there was nothing there. I moved him outside and with his long stride he started picking it up quick. I told myself down the lane, 'We got this.'”

TWO DAYS LATER: Suddenbreakingnews came out of the race in good shape and will be pointed to the Rebel Stakes. Trainer Von Hemel said of his wide, closing finish, “There were just too many to wade up through at that point. And there was legitimate pace in the race, so that was to our favor. He was the best horse the last quarter-mile.”

March 4 NOTE: Suddenbreakingnews, under regular rider Luis Quinonez, breezed five in 1:00.60 and galloped out six in 1:13 and seven in 1:29. Trainer Von Hemel said, “We asked him to do a little bit more, and he was willing. Louie said he stretched out nicely down the lane and still had some in the tank. We’re still a couple of weeks out, so we’d be looking to do something else."

In the Rebel Stakes on March 19, Suddenbreakingnews made his far turn move but was slowed by traffic and didn't hit the board. Cupid held off Whitmore to win. Creator finished third but didn't threaten for the win. After exiting post 3, Cupid led 13 rivals through fractions of 22.96, 46.82 and 1:12.11 while being tracked by Siding Spring and Madtap. The especially moderate third quarter-mile allowed him to keep enough in reserve to win after Whitmore surged to his side mid-stretch. Whitmore flattened out and finished second by 1 1/4 length. Creator, who like Cupid is a gray son of Tapit, came on willingly and was beaten three lengths. Another 1 3/4 length back in fourth was Cherry Wine, who edged Suddenbreakingnews by a head. The final time was 1:43.84.

The chart call: "Suddenbreakingnews raced well back early, in some traffic while still back far turn, briefly lost action inside of a rival, steadied, moved out for the drive then mounted a mild rally down the middle of the strip."

Luis Quinonez – “I was able to save ground, but in the turn I got stopped. I had trouble. Once I got clear, he came running. If I hadn’t gotten stopped, he would have been right there.”

Donnie K. Von Hemel - "We got stopped pretty bad, three-eighths pole or so, I think. He was just getting his momentum going, and (Quinonez), basically, said a horse stopped right in front of him and had to check pretty hard. Otherwise, he's probably going to be right there. That's racing."

On April 16 in the Arkansas Derby, Suddenbreakingnews came on late to get second. Creator charged down the stretch between horses to win in an 11-1 upset. Creator came away from the gate last. Gettysburg, with the same owner as Creator, set quick fractions of 22.81, 46.33 and 1:10.61, closely pursued by 4-5 favorite Cupid, with American Pioneer and Unbridled Outlaw in third and fourth position at the first two calls and Gray Sky in third and American Pioneer following the front two after six furlongs. As the stretch run unfolded, four of those five early contenders were out of the picture, and Gettysburg was still fighting for position. But it was Creator who threaded his way through horses to get the lead about 220 yards from the finish line.  At that point, the closing Suddenbreakingnews was a head back in second and Whitmore, yet another closer, was third by only a half-length. That was the trifecta at the wire after Creator finished best to win by 1 1/4 length. Whitmore was another 1 1/2 length back of Suddenbreakingnews, and Dazzling Gem finished fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths after running mid-pack most of the way.  After the first half-mile, Creator was last, 14 1/4 lengths off the lead. The 1 1/8-mile was timed in 1:50.14.

Donnie K. Von Hemel, second with Suddenbreakingnews - “I was a little concerned in the far turn, he was going nowhere, and was struggling a little bit. I was wondering if he was even going to fire at all. Finally, when he got straightened out down the lane, he did come with his move. Sure looks like more ground is better for us.”

Luis Quinonez, second on Suddenbreakingnews – “We finally got a decent trip. I felt like he wasn’t handling the track, like he was climbing. In the middle of the turn for home I didn’t think he was going to run anywhere but I got him clear and he gave me a great finish. If he would’ve gotten ahold of the track he would’ve run right on. He ran well, no excuses. I’m excited and proud of this horse. We will see what’s next.”

 

 

TOM'S READY (KY)
Owner: G M B Racing (Gayle Benson); Breeder: Blackstone Farm LLC; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-7-12-0-0 (24) 3.00; By More Than Ready (Southern Halo, Woodman's Girl) out of Goodbye Stranger (Broad Brush, Prime Investor); Foal Date: Febl 1, 2013; $145,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August 2014; Trainer: Dallas Stewart

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Arrived at Churchill Downs March 28 - Barn 48 - Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Tom's Ready raced six times as a 2-year-old, winning once and finishing second twice. All of his Brisnet speed figures were in the 80's. That lone win came in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on Sept. 26. His lone stakes effort yielded an eighth-place finish, beaten 13 lengths, in the Kentucky Jockey Club on a sloppy track. He finished his juvenile campaign with a second-place finish in a mile 70 yard allowance at Fair Grounds. He hit the gate and was sixth, three lengths off the pace, in the early going -- and was four wide on the second turn.

In the Jan. 18 Lecomte, Tom's Ready ran well to finish second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, to stablemate Mo Tom, who overtook him in the stretch. He was reserved early by Shaun Bridgmohan and finished with energy.  It was another nice effort, especially considering he was three to five paths wide on both turns. The chart call: "Tom's Ready went three then four wide on the first turn, settled on the outside, was ridden along while four then five wide on the far turn, advanced coming to the quarter-pole, rallied to the lead in upper stretch, led into the final sixteenth under the whip but was overtaken while able to get the place."

Shaun Bridgmohan - “It was my first time on him and I wish I had known him a little bit better. He has a good turn of foot; good acceleration. He flattened out a little at the end, but he had made a big move.”

Tom's Ready finished seventh, beaten 13 lengths by Gun Runner, in the Feb. 20 Risen Star Stakes after contending from fourth to sixth early. He had attracted the services of one of the nation's top jockeys. The chart call: "Tom's Ready went four wide on the first turn, settled on the outside, was urged along while four then five wide on the far turn and tired.

John Velazquez - “I had a good trip and was probably a little closer than I wanted to be. He was a little keen going into the first turn and probably used himself a little bit.”

March 24 NOTE: Trainer Stewart said, “He’s doing well and he’s had a great few weeks. He’s a hard trying horse who has had some good works and is handling it well. He had a strong half and a really nice three quarters to follow that up and his weight is good. His feet and general health are excellent, too.

“What has helped him is that I switched up his training. I was taking him out around 6 a.m. before, but I decided to start taking him out later where there was more cushion to the track, and he fell right into it nicely. He’s a cool horse who just lies down and takes a nap before he goes out there and does what he’s supposed to do. It’s the first time for basically all of them going a mile and an eighth, and I think he’ll handle it. I think the pace will play a little slower and I’m happy with the post. Brian has won on him and knows him. We’re ready.”

Gun Runner won the Louisiana Derby by 4 1/2 lengths but timed in a tepid 1:51.06. He sat off Candy My Boy in third, then second, following honest fractions of 23.54, 48.24 and 1:12.94. Tom's Ready was overly eager early on, settled and kept grinding along, moving up from seventh, then fifth, to get the place. Dazzling Gem, second at the first two calls, stayed on for third, beaten 5 3/4 lengths. Mo Tom for the second straight race was checked hard on the rail in mid-stretch. This time was worse than the Risen Star. Somehow he managed to finish fourth, a neck behind Dazzling Gem.

The chart call: "Tom's Ready bumped with Uncle Walter at the start, was eager under restraint while four wide through the first turn, settled off the pace, raced between horses leaving the backstretch, was urged along in the two path on the far turn, moved out some under a drive in upper stretch, chased the winner into the final furlong and proved no match while able to get the place."

Dallas Stewart - “He stepped up big today coming out of a bad race. He trained very well between last race and this race. He was still a little bit eager early so we have some work to do there, but he ran a great race.”

Brian Hernandez, Jr. - “We had a great trip. Our horse settled and got through on the inside. We couldn’t run down the winner. He was just better than us today but we’ll tackle him again in Louisville.”

April 23 NOTE: Trainer Stewart said after today's workout, “I thought it was good. He was nice and solid. It was a typical work for him; he laid off a horse (Forever d’Oro) and made a good finish. It was a good fight and that was a nice colt that he worked with. That (workout two back in 47.60) was the first work back; he went :47 and typically you’re looking for :49 or :50/. He worked in company that time and got head-and-head. Sometimes he gets too eager when he works with another horse. That’s why we let him fall back a little this time. We wanted to get him blowing and get him halfway tired.”

 

 

TROJAN NATION (KY)
Owner: Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones; Breeder: Dr. Aaron Sones; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-4-9-0-0 (20) 3.44; By Street Cry (Machiavellian, Helen Street (GB)) out of Storm Song (Summer Squall, Hum Along); Foal Date: March 17, 2013; $100,000 No auction sale; Trainer: Patrick Gallagher

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Shipped back to Santa Anita on April 13 - Arrived at Churchill Downs on May 2 - Barn 41 - Jockey Aaron Gryder

Trojan Nation lost his first five races, all at Santa Anita, and then was shipped cross-country to run in the Wood Memorial.

On April 9 Trojan Nation nearly won the Wood Memorial on a muddy track at 81-1 odds. Outwork was tenacious to get the victory.. The time was a less than torrid 1:52.92, and perhaps that can be chalked up to the condition of the track. After contesting fractions of 22.91, 46.93 and 1:12.31 with Matt King Coal, Outwork stayed on while the other one regressed. Outwork outfought the rail-hugging Trojan Nation to the wire to win by a head. Outwork owner Mike Repole said after the race he thinks Trojan Nation would have lost had there been another jump in the race. Adventist came on in the stretch to finish third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths,edging Matt King Coal by a neck. Shagaf, the 9-5 post-time favorite, disappointed to finish fifth, another 1 1/2 length back.

Aaron Gryder - "He got a great trip. They told me early on, take him back and make one run. If you go too slow, we have no excuse. If they go too fast and you can't catch him we have no excuse. I just tried to save every inch of ground. We were able to save ground on both turns and he just ran a really gallant race. He was very brave in defeat. It was a very strong effort. They've got options. They can run him from a maiden race to the Kentucky Derby in his next start. He definitely has a bright future. He just ran second against seasoned horses. He's run a few times, but he's yet to get to the winner's circle. He's an improving horse and a distance limitation is not going to be a problem."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Gallagher said, "I talked with the owners last night, and he's definitely in consideration for the Derby. We've got about a month until the race so he's going to ship back here back to California either Tuesday or Wednesday and we'll train him here before making a final decision and deciding when to ship to Kentucky. He's a horse that always trains really well, we kind of hoped that he was putting everything together racing wise and it was another big step up. It was his first cross country ship and he got there early, two or three days out from the race, so he got a chance to settle in real good."

April 25 NOTE: Trojan Nation has the only sire among this year's Derby horses to have produced a Derby winner -- Street Cry sired Street Sense in 2007. Owner-breeder Aaron Sones said to the Courier-Journal, "He's really bred to go the Derby distance, and it was really always mine and Paddy's plan to get him to the Derby starting back in March of last year when he showed up at Paddy's barn. Paddy's very conservative, and of course we have to do what's best for the horse and keep him happy and healthy. Knock on wood, he keeps getting better every day, and we're going to give it a shot."
 

 

 

WHITMORE (KY)
Owner: Owner: Robert V. LaPenta, Harry T. Rosenbaum and Southern Springs Stables; Breeder: John Liviakis; Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-8-11-0-1 (22) 2.38; By Pleasantly Perfect (Pleasant Colony, Regal State) out of Melody's Spirit (Scat Daddy, Capture the Cat); Foal Date: Jan. 23, 2013; No auction sale; Trainer: Ron Moquett

A gelding.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby - Flight on April 18 to Kentucky, spent two days in Lexington for oxygen therapy before arriving at Churchill Downs - Barn 10A - Jockey Victor Espinoza

After winning his Nov. 6 career debut sprinting at Churchill Downs, Whitmore ran fifth in the Delta Jackpot on Nov. 21. Moving forward to Jan. 16, his third career start when Whitmore won an entry-level allowance sprint at Oaklawn running with first-time blinkers. Whitmore was pinched at the start and boxed in around the turn, but he drew off to a 3 1/4-length victory under Didiel Osorio as the 9-5 favorite. He was timed in 1:10.57 to earn a career-high 86 Beyer Speed Figure. Whitmore was entered in the Jan, 18 Smarty Jones Stakes, but trainer Moquett opted for this sprint before getting back to two turns.

“To me, he showed us where we’re at,” Moquett said. “I think it was an excellent stepping stone to what we need to do. He answered the question yesterday, and we’re going to step him up and ask him more. Our end goal is the Arkansas Derby. We’re doing everything to try and get there with the best shot to run his best race that day. So everything I’m doing, I’m working backwards from that.”

In the Southwest Stakes, Suddenbreakingnews broke from post 13 and was 14th of 14 after a half-mile, but he won with a seven-wide move, flashing down the stretch to prevail in the final strides under Luis Quinonez. His time was 1:45.14 on a track rated good that had been producing slower times all day. Whitmore broke last after being upset in the gate and was 11th after a half-mile when he was steadied in traffic. He came on in the far turn and stretch to get the place, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. American Dubai, a 21-1 longshot, was second until taking a lead in the stretch, but he faded a bit to hit the wire third, 3 1/4 lengths back of the winner. Collected was fourth as the 5-2 favorite after breaking from the rail.

The chart call: "Whitmore broke out, shuffled back past the wire the first time, raced back, steadied late on the backstretch, advanced four out to five wide through the final turn, challenged inside the furlong grounds, bobbled slightly, proved no match for the winner late, game for the place."

Ron Moquett -“We'll get them next time.”

Mike Smith – “I got away so bad. We stood in the gate and stood in the gate, and my horse is a little ornery. All of sudden he’s on, but then he turns mad and sulks. I’m sitting in the gate feeling him getting mad, and sure enough we got away slow, then he wanted to catch up with everyone. There’s nowhere to catch up, everyone was close together, and he’s trying to run off. I finally got him to settle somewhat and he made a good run at them but just got tired. He’s got a lot of room to improve. I really like him, he could get a lot better.”

TWO DAYS LATER: Whitmore emerged from the Southwest in good condition. Trainer Moquett said, “Got to do the three-owner shuffle. I want to run here, and I own a piece. You’ve got be proud of how he ran. I don’t believe distance will be anything but good for him.”

Feb. 25 NOTE: Trainer Moquett said Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Whitmore in the Rebel Stakes. Mike Smith rode Whitmore to a second-place finish in the Southwest. Moquett said, “I like Irad and Smith, but what I wanted was a two-race commitment. If we run well in the Rebel, we’ll have him for the Arkansas Derby. He’s the nation’s leading rider. I’m tickled to death to have him.”

March 6 NOTE: Whitmore worked five furlongs in 1:00 with stablemate Tisdale, another promising 3-year-old for trainer Moquett. Whitmore, who normally breezes in company, was on the inside under Greta Kuntzweiler and pulled away from Tisdale on the 6-furlong gallop out around the first turn in 1:13.20. Tisdale was timed in 1:00.20. Trainer Moquett said, “I wanted to work him with a good horse. I believe Tisdale is a quality horse, a stakes-caliber horse. I thought it was a good work for both of them.” Moquett said he’ll come back with something “light” next week.

Cupid held off Whitmore to win the Rebel Stakes on March 19. After exiting post 3, Cupid led 13 rivals through fractions of 22.96, 46.82 and 1:12.11 while being tracked by Siding Spring and Madtap. The especially moderate third quarter-mile allowed him to keep just enough in reserve to win after Whitmore surged to his side mid-stretch. Whitmore eased off and finished second by 1 ¼ length. Creator, who like Cupid is a gray son of Tapit, came on willingly for third, beaten three lengths. Another 1 3/4 length back in fourth was Cherry Wine, who edged Suddenbreakingnews by a head. The latter horse had to check after encountering traffic in the far turn. The final time was 1:43.84.

The chart call: "Whitmore lacked speed, was firmly rated in the run up the backstretch, moved inside a bit into the far turn, accelerated when asked in the second turn, five wide midway on that bend, angled in steadily midstretch, challenged outside the winner with a sixteenth remaining, could not match strides with that one late, remained clear for the place."

Ron Moquett - “I'm sick of Baffert. As bad as I felt all day and night (from food poisoning), I'm more sick of Bob Baffert. That horse was able to get his second quarter in :24. These caliber of horses don't come back from that. When you're a $900,000 Tapit, bred to be what he is, they don't back up. You give them a 24-second quarter ... nobody went with him. I thought somebody would go with him.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr. – “Take nothing away from the winner, he’s a nice horse too. My horse was running and came ready to run but we were just second best today. We will be ready for the Arkansas Derby, and see what’s next for us there.”

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Moquett said, “I actually thought the field was the horse to beat. When you’re talking 14 horses, instead of being five wide and three back, now you’re seven wide and five back. People don’t understand that it takes a lot of energy for a horse that runs from off the pace to get to the same position that had nobody pressing him on the lead.”

April 7 NOTE: Asked what he is looking for from Whitmore this weekend, trainer Moquett said, “a half in :51. That’s what I want. That just means working him with a slower horse.” Whitmore, who normally breezes in company, went in 48.60 last Saturday.

April 9 NOTE: Whitmore's breeze was went in 48.80. Moquett said it was all good.

On April 16 in the Arkansas Derby, Whitmore had some trouble but still managed to finish third. Creator charged down the stretch between horses to win in an 11-1 upset. Creator came away from the gate last. Gettysburg, with the same owner as Creator, set quick fractions of 22.81, 46.33 and 1:10.61, closely pursued by 4-5 favorite Cupid, with American Pioneer and Unbridled Outlaw in third and fourth position at the first two calls and Gray Sky in third and American Pioneer following the front two after six furlongs. As the stretch run unfolded, four of those five early contenders were out of the picture, and Gettysburg was still fighting for position. But it was Creator who threaded his way through horses to get the lead about 220 yards from the finish line.  At that point, the closing Suddenbreakingnews was a head back in second and Whitmore, yet another closer, was third by only a half-length. That was the trifecta at the wire after Creator finished best to win by 1 1/4 length. Whitmore was another 1 1/2 length back of Suddenbreakingnews, and Dazzling Gem finished fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths after running mid-pack most of the way.  After the first half-mile, Creator was last, 14 1/4 lengths off the lead. The 1 1/8-mile was timed in 1:50.14.

Ron Moquett - “The horse looks like he’s good. After the replay, I was glad to see how good he was. He nearly went down. Watch the replay, about 100 yards out, the outside horse came over on him and he stumbled and nearly went down. We belong in the Kentucky Derby. It’s what I said before the race, whoever got the best trip could win. Today, Ricardo Santana and Creator and Steve Asmussen got the better trip.(Whitmore) is not a ‘hanger’ or all that stuff. He keeps overcoming every race.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr. – “He always breaks sharp, a couple of horses tried to get to the rail pretty quick in front of me and I was in between horses and I clipped heels. I think they cost me a better position and unfortunately cost me a better position down the stretch. Maybe I could’ve got 2nd but things happen. That’s horse racing. He’s still a nice horse with full of potential. He’s such a honest horse as well. He comes to run not matter what. If we would’ve had a cleaner trip, we might have had a better finish.”

 

 

 

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