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Horse Racing, Kentucky Downs Horses at The Downey Profile®

 


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Kentucky Derby Horses
Last Updated May 2, 2014 @ 9:10 a.m. ET


 
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CALIFORNIA CHROME
CANDY BOY
CHITU
COMMANDING CURVE
DANCE WITH FATE
DANZA
GENERAL A ROD
HARRY'S HOLIDAY
INTENSE HOLIDAY
MEDAL COUNT
RIDE ON CURLIN
SAMRAAT
TAPITURE
UNCLE SIGH
VICAR'S IN TROUBLE
VINCEREMOS
WE MISS ARTIE
WICKED STRONG
WILDCAT RED

 



CALIFORNIA CHROME (CA)
Trainer: Art Sherman
Owner: Steven Coburn & Perry Martin
Breeder: Martin Perry & Steve Coburn
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Lucky Pulpit (Pulpit, Lucky Soph)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Love the Chase (Not for Love, Chase It Down)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-5-10-0-0 (22) 3.40
Foal Date: Feb. 18, 2011

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: Monday, April 28.

WORKOUTS
On Feb. 8, California Chrome breezed four in :48.00 (7/21) at LA.
On Feb. 15, California Chrome worked four in :47:80 (6/19) at LA.
On Feb. 22, California Chrome worked six in 1.11:80 (1/4) at LA.
On March 2, California Chrome worked five on a track rated wet-fast in 1.00:40 (1/1) at LA.
On March 22, California Chrome worked four in :47:40 (5/29) at LA.
On March 29, California Chrome worked four in :46:40 (1/16) at LA.
On April 19, California Chrome breezed four in :47:80 ( 7/27) at LA.
On April 26, California Chrome worked four in :48.20 (5/12) at LA.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 25, California Cup Derby, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile.
While the race was restricted to state-breds, California Chrome looked good enough to take the step forward to open company. He didn't just win, he ran away it As the second betting choice at 5-2 odds, he beat 9-5 favorite Tamarando by 5 1/2 lengths. The time was 1:43.22. Victor Espinoza guided California Chrome through an ideal stalking trip a couple of lengths behind longshots Better Bet and Life Is a Joy. They set splits of :23.47, :47.47 and 1:11.95. As the field struck the end of the far turn, California Chrome separated himself and ran through the stretch alone. Tamarando, who was seven lengths off the pace after a half-mile, made a belated wide wide run to best the rest of the field. Life Is a Joy was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third, followed by Awesome Return, Better Bet, Public Policy and Lucky Views.

Art Sherman: “I thought he would run awesome today. He’d been training like a bomb. I brought him over here about a week before and schooled him and took him in the paddock. The horse, the light bulb went on. He was kind of green starting out. He had a couple of rough trips in his races, he kind of got banged around and had no place to go. Now, he’s learned how to rate himself and have speed, and in California, that’s the type of horse you want, where you can place them close up.

“(Blinkers and Lasix) helped him quite a bit. When he was first out, he was green. You didn’t want to rush him into everything. I let him get his legs under him and grow up a bit and now he’s starting to mature. Coming into this race, I knew he’d be awesome. He’s been training lights-out.”

Victor Espinoza: “I know he’s doing great, but it was his first time at two turns. We wanted to find out if he could go that far, and today, he showed he can go the distance. He did it easy. I had to tap him once though, just so he kept going because he waits for other horses.

“I talked with Art Sherman before the race and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to put him in the race; you have to let good horses run. I didn’t want to do too much with him, I didn’t want to take a hold or anything, I wanted him to be happy. He told me to do whatever I wanted.”

Feb. 22 NOTE: “I’m real happy with the work,” trainer Sherman said. “I got him galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25. He’ll have one more breeze at Los Al and we’ll ship to Santa Anita five days before the race for schooling and final preparations. Victor said he went really nice.”

March 2 NOTE: "He looked good," trainer Sherman said after another workout at Los Alamitos. "In light of all the weather we've had recently, everything went perfect. We'll bring him to Santa Anita Wednesday, he'll school Thursday and Friday and run  Saturday."

March 8, Grade II San Felipe Stakes, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile. California Chrome, who came from off the pace to win his last race, led all the way in fast fractions. He and Victor Espinoza sped through splits of :23.09, :45.55 and 1:09.45 en route to a blistering final time of 1:40.59 -- and left the rest of the field far in their wake. Midnight Hawk, who stayed with California Chrome for a little over six furlongs, finished a distant second, beaten 7 1/4 lengths. Kristo, who was midpack much of the way, got up for third, but he was 13 1/2 lengths back of the winner at the finish. Schoolofhardrocks gave way to Kristo to come in fourth, another 1 1/2 length back.

Art Sherman: “I didn’t think he’d be on the lead, but he was a handful today. I just told Victor, ‘You got him.’ I told him he broke like that because of that Quarter Horse training at Los Alamitos . . . We all know Santa Anita’s a speed-biased type of track, so it was really great to see him with the hold he had on him. It’s unbelievable. I’m looking at the race saying, ‘Well, I hope that horse doesn’t press him too hard, but I’ll tell you, when (Victor) asked him to go, he looked like a fresh horse, breaking, didn’t he? Maybe I’m looking at the wrong race, I don’t know. But I had a lot of fun watching him run.”

Asked if the Santa Anita Derby might be next: “Well, we’ll kind of play it by ear. I needed this 50 points, and we’ll kind of see what happens. Now I think I deserve to go to the (Kentucky) Derby. I don’t think the distance will make any difference, a mile and a quarter. I think he’ll run all day.

Victor Espinoza: “It was great. He ran like I expected him to. Everything worked out today. I wanted to try something new today, so I let him go right out of the gate. I don’t know if people expected me to go right to the lead, but I wanted to let him enjoy his race, I just let him go. In these races, you can’t just try and do too much with them. I think it’s important for him to do his thing for the first five-eighths and be happy. It seems like he likes both tracks. He’s been training over at Los Al but he does things so much easier at Santa Anita after having trained at Los Al. He didn’t feel tired at all after the wire.”

March 16 NOTE: “We’re playing it by ear with him,” trainer Sherman said. “The horse is doing well. He galloped this morning (at Los Alamitos). Let’s say he’s on the Derby trail and there’s a chance he could run in the Santa Anita Derby. We’ll wait and see how the horse is doing.”

April 5, Grade I Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita, 1 1/8 Mile. California Chrome romped to an easy win. After a crowded start, California Chrome and Victor Espinoza rated in third position going into the first turn, then ran easily in second while pressing pacesetter Dublin Up in the backstretch and around the far turn. After initial fractions of :22.89, :47.02 and 1:10.86, California Chrome had plenty left in the tank and spurted away from the field in the top of the stretch. He prevailed by 5 1/4 lengths, timed in 1:47.52.

Art Sherman: “It was awesome. That’s all I can say. I got a little spooked leaving the gate. He got banged around pretty good, but I really think he’s a better horse stalking . . . when he won the San Felipe, he was on the lead all the way, which is something new to me, but I really prefer this type of race where he’s right off the lead.

“I know that the horse likes to have company. I’ve seen all his races; he’s pretty competitive. He doesn’t mind being hooked. Right now, he’s kind of freaky, and I’m enjoying it. I can’t believe the races I’ve been seeing. A length or two might have been all right with me.”

Asked about comparing him to Swaps: “He’s my Swaps, let’s put it that way. If all goes well, we’ll ship to Kentucky probably a week before the Derby.

“I loved it when Trevor (Denman) said, ‘They’d need to sprout wings’ to beat him. I love that saying.”

Victor Espinoza: “He knows what’s going on. He’s calm and focused, but for some reason, we missed the break a tiny bit, but I put him in the race right away. I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic. It worked out well.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

He was the last horse to win a stakes race at Betfair Hollywood Park.

As a 2-year-old, he raced six times, winning twice at 4 1/2 furlongs and 5 1/2 furlongs -- against state-breds in a maiden race at Betfair Hollywood Park and in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar.  He was fifth against open company in the Willard Proctor Memorial and sixth against like company in the Del Mar Futurity. He closed out 2013 with a win in another restricted race, the seven-furlong King Glorious Stakes.

 

CANDY BOY (KY)
Trainer: John Sadler
Owner: C R K Stable
Breeder: Lee Searing & Susan Searing
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Candy Ride (ARG), Ride the Rails, Candy Girl (ARG))
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): She's an Eleven (In Excess (IRE), She's a Sensation)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-2-4-1-0 (8) 1.67
Foal Date: March 31, 2011

No auction history.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 21.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 4, Candy Boy worked four in :50.60 (45/49) at SA.
On Jan. 11, Candy Boy worked five in 1:01.80 (50/72) at SA.
On Jan. 18, Candy Boy worked five in :59.60 (4/69) at SA.
On Jan. 25, Candy Boy worked six in 1.13:40 (4/14) at SA.
On Feb. 1, Candy Boy worked five in :59:80 (5/58) at SA.
On Feb. 26, Candy Boy worked four in :48:20 (25/71) at SA.
On March 6, Candy Boy worked five in 1.01:20 (13/25) at SA.
On March 14, Candy Boy worked six in :59:40 (2/40) at SA.
On March 22, Candy Boy worked six in 1.12:80 (4/15) at SA.
On March 29, Candy Boy worked six in 1.11:80 (3/25) at SA.
On April 19, Candy Boy worked five in :59:80 (1/15) at SA.
On April 26, Candy Boy breezed five in 1:00.80 (5/68) at CD.

PERFORANCE AT AGE THREE

Feb. 8, Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile. Candy Boy stalked an honest pace under Gary Stevens, made a winning move in the stretch and got up in the final jumps. Timed in 1:41.83, Candy Boy prevailed over Chitu by a half-length, followed another 1 1/4 length by Midnight Hawk. Pacesetter Diamond Bachelor faded to fourth, beaten six lengths. Diamond Bachelor led the field through fractions of :23.33, :46.80 and 1:10.84. Chitu and Midnight Hawk were on his tail while Candy Boy sat patiently in fourth. There was almost no change in the order of the top four runners from the first call of the race through the second turn. After heads turned for home, Diamond Bachelor began to fade while Candy Boy began to surge. He got by Chitu in the closing strides.

John Sadler: “Very good. I just wanted Gary to be patient, because this horse runs a distance, no problem. He kind of had a premature move a little bit in the CashCall. I think Gary will tell you that, you know, he moved him a little bit quick. Now he knows him a little better. He’s been on him a couple times in the morning, so we felt good going into today’s race.

“When you’re looking around the United States, weather everywhere else is terrible, so right now, I’m staying right here (for Candy Boy's next race). They had to cancel at Oaklawn on Friday, so we’re not looking to go anywhere but to stay right in our own backyard.”

Gary Stevens: “For a big horse, he has a lot of acceleration and confidence on the turn. I was closer than I thought we were going to be today. He’s grown a lot lately. He's grown, but he’s also grown (mentally), too. I’ve been up for his last five works, and we haven’t really squeezed the trigger yet. The gallop-out was huge today, and I was already thinking about the Santa Anita Derby as we were galloping out around the turn. It was a lot of fun and he didn’t even take a deep breath after the race. He’s a super talent.

“He’s not a typical Candy Ride, he sits higher than others and he continues to grow. The further the better for him. He has a high cruising speed. I couldn’t believe the time. When we were coming back, I saw the time was one-forty-one, with the first quarter in twenty-three and change but it felt like we were going twenty-five down the backside. He covers so much ground. When you set him down, he really gets underneath you and gives you a really good feeling.

“He’s the number one draft choice for me. That was quite a performance he just put on against some pretty nice three-year-olds. We were quietly confident about him, and we were in a good spot. Everybody was all over Midnight Hawk, and we just got to sit back and be quiet the last few weeks. He’s been giving us all the right signals in the morning. I had high expectations coming into today, and he pulled through and surpassed those expectations. I mean, during the gallop-out you’re still checking all the gauges, and his were all still on full. Further will be better for him. He’s really matured mentally. He’s very intelligent, and that’s what separates these horses from the mediocre horses. The lessons he learned over wintertime paid off, and I don’t think we’re even halfway there yet with him.”

April 5, Grade I Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita, 1 1/8 Mile. With the exception of one call, Candy Boy pretty much raced in third position from start to finish. After a crowded start, California Chrome rated in third position going into the first turn, then ran easily in second while pressing pacesetter Dublin Up in the backstretch and around the far turn. After initial fractions of :22.89, :47.02 and 1:10.86, California Chrome had plenty left in the tank and spurted away from the field in the top of the stretch. He prevailed by 5 1/4 lengths, timed in 1:47.52. Candy boy was another 3 1/2 lengths back in third.

John Sadler: “We’d like to race on. We’ll see where the points fall and if 30 points gets us to move on, we’ll move on. We think our horse likes distance. The speed today has been staying.”

Gary Stevens: “Candy Boy ran a super race. He was just third-best today. I know Victor got banged around at the start, and we did, too. We settled down and we were comfortable, but I could see that Victor was very confident, while giving his horse a little breather. I could tell Victor was going very easy when he began to move. He moved out on the turn and the horse took off. I think my horse will continue to improve.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Candy Boy took four races to break his maiden. He debuted at Del Mar on Aug. 17 in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight, finishing fourth. He was fourth again at Del Mar when moving up to a mile, beaten by New Year's Day, Bond Holder and Cautious Giant. Switched to dirt at Santa Anita, he finished second to the impressive effort put in by Tap It Rich, again going one mile. He won at Betfair Hollywood Park when stretched out a bit more, by an 8 1/4-length margin timed in 1:45.99. Five ran in that race at BHP.

Dec. 14, Grade I CashCall Futurity, 1 1/16 Mile, Hollywood Park. Shared Belief rang up this race with a resounding 5 3/4-length win timed in 1:42.16. Brother Soldier set initial fractions of :22.86 and :46.59, with Shared Belief stalking in second, before yielding to a huge middle move by Candy Boy, Gary Stevens and a time of 1:11.38 for six furlongs. But Shared Belief took command hitting the stretch and drew off. Candy Boy stayed on for second. Tamarando was another 1 1/4 length back in third after running early in 11th position, 12 3/4 lengths off the pace. Bond Holder finished fourth, beaten 9 1/2 lengths, after running evenly while initially in seventh, then sixth, then fith place. The chart call: "Candy Boy, between horses early, stalked off the rail, came out and moved up three deep leaving the backstretch then bid alongside a rival on the second turn to gain the lead, continued just off the rail into the stretch, drifted in and held second."

John Sadler: “Candy Boy ran a great race. (Stevens) made an early move with him, and he knew what he was doing because he ran real well."

Gary Stevens: “He got into a nice rhythm going down the backside. I moved earlier than I would have liked and made the lead. He’s a big, long-striding colt, and I’m looking forward to riding him on the dirt.”

 

CHITU (KY)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner:Tanma Corporation
Breeder: Tom Evans, Macon Wilmil Equines & Marjac Farms
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Henny Hughes (Hennessy, Meadow Flyer)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Sea Gift (A.P. Indy, Ocean Queen)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-5-9-0-0 (16) 2.56
Foal Date: March 18, 2011

$67,000 Keeneland September 2012.
$300,000 OBS March 2013.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: Came east Illinois Derby week.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 8, Chitu worked four in :48.80 (9/22) at SA.
On Jan. 14, Chitu worked six in 1.11:60 (1/8) at SA.
On Jan. 22, Chitu worked six in 1.13:00 (3/11) at SA.
On Jan. 29, Chitu worked four in :46:60 (1/37) at SA.
On Feb. 4, Chitu worked four in :46:40 (1/34) at SA.
On Feb. 16, Chitu breezed four in :47:80 (10/66) at SA.
On Feb. 21, Chitu worked five in 1.00:40 (12/49) at SA.
On Feb. 26, Chitu worked five in 1.00:40 (15/82) at SA.
On March 4, Chitu worked five in :59:60 (3/69) at SA.
On March 11, Chitu worked five in 1.01:40 (15/34) at SA.
On March 17, Chitu worked seven in 1.24:80 (1/1) at SA.
On April 3, Chitu worked four in :46:40 (2/40) at SA.
On April 13, Chitu worked five in 1.00:80 (16/51) at SA.
On April 21, Chitu breezed four in :47:60 (2/46) at CD.
On April 27, Chitu breezed six in 1.13:20 (1/2) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Feb. 8, Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile. Candy Boy stalked an honest pace under Gary Stevens, made a winning move in the stretch and got up in the final jumps. Timed in 1:41.83, Candy Boy prevailed over Chitu by a half-length, followed another 1 1/4 length by Midnight Hawk. Pacesetter Diamond Bachelor faded to fourth, beaten six lengths. Diamond Bachelor led the field through fractions of :23.33, :46.80 and 1:10.84. Chitu and Midnight Hawk were on his tail while Candy Boy sat patiently in fourth. There was almost no change in the order of the top four runners from the first call of the race through the second turn. After heads turned for home, Diamond Bachelor began to fade while Candy Boy began to surge. He got by Chitu in the closing strides.

Bob Baffert: “He was in a good spot and ran a pretty good race. I think he deserves another chance – maybe slow him down a little bit, maybe take the blinkers off him. The winner’s a good horse and was in a good spot. Gary Stevens did a great job.”

Martin Garcia: “He took a misstep (soon after the start), I don’t know why. But he ran a good race, first time going two turns.”

March 23, Grade III Sunland Derby, Sunland Park, 1 1/8 Mile. Chitu, favored when the gate opened, prevailed over second choice Midnight Hawk by 2 1`/4 lengths. Commissioner was third, beaten seven lengths. Ridden by Martin Garcia, Chitu and Garen each broke well and ran to the first turn in tandem. Garen took the lead and ran the field through early fractions of :23.24 and :46.46, with Chitu, Midnight Hawk and Tanzanite Cat stalking. Meanwhile, Commissioner was six lengths back, eighth of nine, after the first four furlongs. Heading into the far turn with six furlongs gone in 1:09.60, Chitu and Midnight Hawk pounced on Garen, and the race was on. With Midnight Hawk to his outside, Chitu dug in through the far turn and into the stretch, hit the furlong marker a half-length best in 1:34.58 and completed the 1/18-mile race in 1:47.88. Rebranded, a local runner,, was another 1 1/2 length back in fourth.

April 26, Grade III Derby Trial, Churchill Downs, One Mile. Entered and scratched to wait for the Kentucky Derby.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Dec. 7, Maiden Special Weight, Santa Anita, Six Furlongs. This was his debut. Chitu led all the way while pressured and was game prevailing by 1 1/4 length. Under Martin Garcia at 3-2 odds, he set splits of :22.22, :45.69 and :57.72 before finishing in 1:09.94. The chart call: "Chitu had good early speed and set a pressured pace a bit off the rail then between foes leaving the turn, inched away under urging in midstretch and held gamely."

Dec. 27, Entry Level Allowance, Santa Anita, Six Furlongs. Chitu won in an impressive 1:08.86, prevailing by a half-length over Street Icon. Those two duked it out in the final furlong. Papa Turf finished third, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. The chart call: "Chitu  bobbled at the start, pulled outside early then bid three deep a half mile out, stalked on the turn, came out into the stretch, came again to put a head in front between horses in midstretch and gamely prevailed under urging."

 

 

COMMANDING CURVE (KY)
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds
Breeder: T. F. VanMeter
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Master Command (A.P. Indy, Lady Lochinvar)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Mother (Lion Hearted, Proper Lassie)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-6-12-0-1 (22) 2.14
Foal Date: March 23, 2011

$60,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall 2012.
$75,000 OBS 2013.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: Shortly after Louisiana Derby.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 20, Commanding Curve breezed four in :50.40 (52/79) at FG.
On Dec. 30, Commanding Curve breezed five in 1;03.80 (45/53) at FG.
On Jan. 5, Commanding Curve breezed five in :59.80 (1/79) at FG.
On Jan. 16, Commanding Curve breezed six in 1:14.80 (1/2) at FG.
On Jan. 24, Commanding Curve breezed six in 1:14.60 (1/2) at FG.
On Feb. 2, Commanding Curve breezed six in 1:14.80 (1/2) at FG.
On Feb. 9, Commanding Curve worked five in 1:00.40 B (1/80) at FG.
On Feb. 16, Commanding Curve breezed six in 1.14:00 (1/7) at FG.
On March 7, Commanding Curve breezed six in 1.13:60 (1/3) at FG.
On March 15, Commanding Curve breezed five in 1.01:00 (11/55) at FG.
On March 22, Commanding Curve breezed five in 1.01:40 (12/44) at FG.
On April 10, Commanding Curve breezed four in :48:20 (6/24) at CD.
On April 18, Commanding Curve breezed five in 1.00:40 (5/13) at CD.
On April 26, Commanding Curve breezed five in 1.02:60 (35/68) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Feb. 6 NOTE: “We plan on giving him a couple of more works between now and the Risen Star, but we’re very pleased with the way this horse has come along for us, and we’re looking forward to this next race (in the Risen Star),” said trainer Stewart.

Feb. 22, Grade II Risen Star Stakes, Fair Grounds, 1 1/16 Mile. Commanding Curve and Robby Albarado finished sixth, beaten 8 1/4 lenths by Intense Holiday. He moved from 11th to eighth during the first six furlongs while gaining some lengths, but he dropped back to his original deficit by the time the race was over.

March 29, Grade II Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds, 1 1/8 Mile. Commanding Curve was third. In a roughly run race, Vicar’s in Trouble stayed out of just that by going to the lead and staying there. He cut through fractions of :23.56, :47.86, 1:12.14 and 1:37.15 before winning in 1:50.77 in the 1 1/8-mile race. Intense Holiday rated off the pace in fourth or fifth and started moving up going into the turn while saving ground. He was bumped by Louies Flower, costing him momentum, but he managed to forge ahead to get second, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, despite ducking in sharply in the stretch while under a left-handed whip. Commanding Curve was pinched back at the start and forced in. That left him running last after a half-mile, 8 1/2 lengths off the lead. After going three and four wide on the far turn, he checked in third, beaten five lengths. In Trouble finished another 3 3/4 lengths back in fourth and was moved down to fifth after coming out twice on Albano in the stretch.

Robby Albarado: “He’s progressing every time. I got eliminated at the start, but he ran on so easily. There’s more there.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

He debuted at Saratoga, finishing fifth behind winner Grand Arrival.  

His other three races were all at Churchill Downs. Going a mile on Sept. 28, he was beaten only a neck by 3-5 favorite Purple Sky. On Nov. 7, he ran third behind Chas's Legacy and Thundergram going two turns for the first time, 1 1/16 mile, beaten less than a length.

Nov. 30, Maiden Special Weight, Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 Mile. Fourth time was the charm for Commanding Curve, 3-1 co-favorite at post time.. Timed in 1:44.34 under Shaun Bridgmohan, he was best of 12 runners after coming from about four lengths off the pace. Harbor Bound finished second, beaten 1 1/2 length, and Irish You Well was another 12 1/4 lengths back in third. The chart call: "Commanding Curve broke a step slow, settled in hand, advanced between rivals at will, loomed large four wide leaving the second turn, shook clear and held safely."

 

 

DANCE WITH FATE (FL)
Trainer: Peter Eurton
Owner: Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable & Ciaglia Racing LLC
Breeder: Best A Luck Farm LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Two Step Salsa (Petionville, Two to Waltz)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Flirting with Fate (Saint Ballado (CAN), Biogio's Baby)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 5-1-9-1-0 (16) 1.91
Foal Date: Feb. 16, 2011

$120,000 OBS April 2013.
Late-nominated to the Triple Crown.

NEXT RACE: The Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 28.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 21, Dance With Fate worked five in 1:04.00 (71/72) at SA.
On Dec. 27, Dance With Fate worked four in :47.80 (10/41) at SA.
On Jan. 3, Dance With Fate worked five in 1:00.60 (15/41) at SA.
On Jan. 10, Dance With Fate worked five in 1:02.20 (41/51) at SA.
On Jan. 17, Dance With Fate worked five in 1:00.80 (3/10) at SA.
On Feb. 8, Dance With Fate worked four in :47.80 (11/51) at SA.
On March 8, Dance with Fate worked four in :48.40 (31/44) at SA.
On March 15, Dance with Fate worked five in :59.00 (4/49) at SA.
On March 22, Dance with Fate worked five on firm turf in 1:03.80 (8/8) at SA.
On March 29, Dance with Fate worked six in 1.12:80 (7/25) at SA.
On April 5, Dance with Fate worked five in 1.01:40 (8/24) at SA.
On April 26, Dance With Fate worked four in :47.00 (2/62) at SA.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 24, Allowance Optional Claiming, Santa Anita, One Mile (T). Dance With Fate won as the 6-5 favorite in a field of six, and won convincingly, timed in 1:34.95. Fifth by 5 1/2 after a half-mile, he moved past an honest pace to win going away by 1 3/4 length under Rafael Bejarano.

Feb. 15, Grade III El Camino Real Derby, Golden Gate Fields, 1 1/8 Mile. Tamarando ran down Dance With Fate in the shadow of the wire to win in 1:51.23. I'll Wrap It Up led the field through a half-mile in :24.40 and :49.73, followed closely by Enterprising. Craftsman and Dance With Fate were swapping licks for third position. After six furlongs in 1:13.98, I'll Wrap It Up held a tenuous lead, with Enterprising inching forward and Dance With Fate on the move. Infosec was trying to launch a bid, and Tamarando, a confirmed late runner, was still eighth and last and ready to gear up. Into the stretch, Enterprising was still coming on, but Dance With Fate got by him, and then Tamarando charged late for the victory by a half-length. Enterprising was third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, and Puppy Manners finished another length back in fourth.

Aaron Gryder: “He was on the bridle a little more than I would have liked. If I could have gotten him to save a little more energy early on I think we may have had a different story at the end.  But that’s all about maturing.  These horses keep growing and getting better as they go along.  He sure finished well going a mile and an eighth and tried hard, so I think we’ve got a nice horse.”

March 1 NOTE: Trainer Eurton said on Feb. 28 he believes Dance with Fate is better on synthetics. Without mentioning the Kentucky Derby, he said, “We could think of the Preakness.” The Toyota Blue Grass remains the next target.

April 12, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland, 1 1/8 Mile. Dance With Fate got the job done with a closing, going-away move. Medal Count also closed to get second place, beaten 1 3/4 lengths. Pablo Del Monte, who led the field through fractions of :23.58, :47.59 and 1:12.74, faded to third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Medal Count. Big Bazinga was fourth, another 5 1/4 lengths back, after being placed last at the first call. The final time was 1:50.06.

Peter Eurton: Will you go to the Derby? "I don't know; it's pretty quick three weeks back, and I know he likes synthetic, I just don't know if he likes dirt. (Rafael Bejarano) tells me when the dirt hits him in the face, it changes his way of going. Maybe he’ll grow out of that as he matures, but I don’t know.”

Corey Nakatani: “They were actually going a little slower than I anticipated, but you never really know with Polytrack. Peter had told me before the race, ‘Make your best run when you can,’ and so I said, okay, let’s do it. All I needed was to get him switched off and in a rhythm. Robby was one of the others I had my eye on. I had all the confidence we could win if we could just get the right trip.

“I don’t have any doubt he can (get 1 1/4 mile). It’s just a matter of whether he’ll handle the Churchill Downs surface at this point. He’s done things right. He seems to do well on the grass, and at Churchill, I’ve won the Oaks on a filly that won on the grass, so hopefully we’ll get him there after this race.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

On July 14, Dance with Fate debuted at Betfair Hollywood Park. After breaking slowly, he didn't really relax but was never in contention, finishing eighth of nine. On Aug. 11, he broke his maiden in a Del Mar 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight. That led to stakes company.

Dance with Fate finished second in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4 and was favored in his next race.

Sept. 28, Grade I FrontRunner Stakes, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile. Bond Holder, a four-race maiden bet at 10-1, angled out entering the stretch and came running late to win by 2 1/4 lengths under Mario Gutierrez. He was far back early in a field of 10 and was 2 1/2 lengths behind leader Dance with Fate with a furlong left. The time was 1:45.02. Early fractions were brisk. Dance With Fate, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, was second as the 2-1 favorite and finished two lengths clear of Futurity winner Tamarando and Julien Leparoux. Can the Man was another 3/4 length back in fourth after grabbing the lead in the far turn.

Rafael Bejarano: “I had a good trip. There was no problem. He broke really well. He was in position. The winner came on in the end. He was the better horse today.”

Peter Eurton: I think he broke well, which was a big key. I think he laid up close which I think was an important factor for him. I think the dirt bothered him a little bit in his face, which is why he took it outside. It hit him a little bit on the first turn. I think he’s maturing, but I think overall, he rated well. It was a good productive race.”

“He’s only run three times now, second down in Del Mar was a big key, because he had never run against that caliber of horses before. Over here was a key to see if he can handle the dirt as well as he handled the synthetic. He’s trained well on it, but he’s still learning. I think we’re going in the right direction for Breeders’ Cup.”

Nov. 2, Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile. Dance with Fate checked in eighth, beaten 9 1/2 lengths by New Year's Day. He had a bad day, squeezed at the start and then five wide on the far turn. The chart call: "Dance with Fate was squeezed back at the break, angled four wide past the three quarter pole, made a decent run leaving the far turn, chased into the lane and gave way late."

 

DANZA (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners
Breeder: Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Street Boss (Street Cry (IRE), Blushing Ogygian)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Champagne Royale (French Deputy, All Tanked Up)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-1-4-0-0 (8) 3.00
Foal Date: April 17, 2011

$105,000 Keeneland September 2012.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 13.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 24, Danza breezed three in :39.95 (32/33) at PMM.
On Jan. 7, Danza breezed four in :50.70 (67/80) at PMM.
On Jan. 19, Danza breezed four in :51/45 (45/52) at PMM.
On Jan. 26, Danza breezed four in :50:50 (42/54) at PMM.
On Feb. 2, Danza breezed five in 1:02.85 (23/28) at PMM.
On Feb. 9, Danza breezed five in 1.01:70 (28/31) at PMM.
On Feb. 16, Danza breezed five in 1:02.70 (23/32) at PMM.
On Feb. 23, Danza breezed four in :49:30 (10/58) at PMM.
On March 16, Danza breezed four in :50:50 (38/47) at PMM.
On March 23, Danza breezed four in :49:90 (33/50) at PMM.
On March 30, Danza breezed four in :49:30 (26/35) at PMM.
On April 6, Danza breezed four in :49:05 (8/24) at PMM.
On April 27, Danza breezed four in :48:80 (11/59) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

March 1, Allowance Optional Claiming, Gulfstream Park, Seven Furlongs. Anchor Down won as expected at odds of 2-5 in the field of six, timed in 1:21.67 under Javier Castellano. He was in contention throughout and came again after Myositis Dan split horses at the top of the stretch to gain the lead. Myositis Dan was second, beaten 1 1/2 length at 13-1 odds. Danza looked lost much of the way and finished third at 3-1 odds, beaten 7 1/2 lengths after he finally ran a little bit in the latter part of the stretch.

April 12, Grade I Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/8 Mile. Danza won at 41-1 odds after a ground-saving trip. After breaking from post 1, Danza was never far back. Fourth, then third at the first three calls, he stayed close to Bayern, who set the pace in :23.72, :47.72 and 1:12.29. Coming out of the second turn, Danza and Joe Bravo came through on the rail and moved off from the field to prevail by 4 3/4 lengths over second finisher Ride On Curlin, who was in sixth place of eight in early running, 4 1/2 lengths off the pace. Bayern faded to third, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. Tapiture toiled in mid-pack and went five wide into the stretch before finishing fourth. He was beaten 7 1/4 lengths. The time was 1:49.68.

Joe Bravo: "That was a pretty great effort. Todd was pretty high on the horse and he told me this morning that he was going to be fresh so don' take anything away from him. Try to save as much as you can and let him run his race. It was textbook, just textbook. Everything unfolded like a dream. That was pretty cool down the lane. It's really fun to have a special horse like that and have him run like that. I'm not a fortune teller, but hopefully, in a couple of weeks we can do that again. I'm crossing my fingers he's my Derby horse. This is what dreams are made of. You've got to take your hat off to Todd Pletcher. He knows how to bring them around at the right time of the year. Nobody does it year in and year out the way he does. I'm so happy for Mr. Wellman and Eclipse Thoroughbreds. They put so much into the game. They deserve and good one, and I think they've got him.

Todd Pletcher: “We were searching for the right race and the right option and it seemed like the Arkansas Derby was the race for us to step out and take our shot. We’re certainly very excited that we did and very proud of the way the horse ran today. I don’t remember winning a grade 1 at 40-1, but it’s not very often that our horses pay those type of mutuels. We narrowed it down between the Blue Grass and the Arkansas Derby and we thought the race would set up a little better there. Also with dirt, that was the tie breaker. We like the way both horses were training and anticipated Commissioner running better than he did. Danza came in fresher with only one start this year.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Danza broke his maiden in his debut on July 12 at Belmont Park running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.54.

Aug. 11, Grade II Saratoga Special, Saratoga, 6 1/2 Furlongs. Corfu set the pace with splits of :21.62, :44.02 and 1:08.61 and went on to win in 1:15.57, barely holding off a nice-finishing Wired Bryan, who stalked in second the whole way. Danza was third and closing well.

THE NEXT DAY: "I think he definitely got lost in the shuffle, because one more stride and it's going to be a three-horse photo," trainer Pletcher said.

Danza was away from the races the rest of the year.


 

GENERAL A ROD (KY)
Trainer: Mike Maker
Owner: Skychai Racing LLC & Starlight Racing LLC
Breeder: Hare Forest Farm
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Roman Ruler (Fusaichi Pegasus, Silvery Swan)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Dynamite Eyes (Dynaformer, Buckeye Search)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-2-12-0-0 (18) 2.00
Foal Date: Feb. 26, 2011

$90,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October 2012.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: March 30.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 18, General a Rod breezed five in :59.54 (4/49) at GP.
On Jan. 25, General a Rod breezed five in 1.01:16 ( 11/34) at GP.
On Feb. 2, General a Rod breezed five in :59.13 (1/55) at GP.
On Feb. 9, General a Rod breezed five in 1.02:81 (25/30) at GP.
On Feb. 16, General a Rod breezed five in 1.00:12 (7/32) at GP.
On March 8, General a Rod breezed four in :51:26 (76/82) at GP.
On March 15, General a Rod breezed five in :59:50 (6/53) at GP.
On March 23, General a Rod breezed five in 1.01:14 (7/25) at GP.
On April 17, General a Rod breezed five in :59:80 (1/4) at CDT.
On April 23, General a Rod breezed five in 1.03:40 (13/15) at CD.
On April 29, General a Rod breezed four in :49.40 (17/27) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 1, Gulfstream Park Derby, Gulfstream Park, One Mile.
General a Rod was victorious under Joel Rosario. After breaking from post 9, he attended the :23.14 and :45.91 contested pace set by Wildcat Red and Aaron’s Orient from his outside. Wildcat Red had the lead after six furlongs in  1:10.25 as Aaron’s Orient started fading. General a Rod got on even terms with Wildcat Red in the stretch and got the win by a head over Wildcat Red in a ding-dong finish. The time was 1:35.94.

Mike Maker: “I didn’t know I thought I had it, but I was glad (Wildcat Red) hung around. I was worried about Joel opening up a little bit because he waits on horses. So it gave him some company. We drew great (post 9 of 9). He got a perfect trip. I have no complaints. He’s always shown great promise. He’s a big, immature colt, but since his last race he’s made no mistakes. We were looking for a big effort today and we got it. He ran great last time. He was just second best. The winner (Conquest Titan) was coming out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and was a bit more experienced. Eveything’s a possibility. We’ll talk it over with the owner, but my first inclination is keeping him right here (for the $400,000 Holy Bull on Jan. 25).”

Joel Rosario“When I got to the horse in front (Wildcat Red), he just kind of waited a little bit. He didn’t want to go by, but the other horse was running pretty good, too. I thought I had a little more left when I asked him, but he did the job. I think he’s still learning now, so going forward he’ll be even better.”

Feb. 22, Grade II Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Wildcat Red narrowly defeated General a Rod. Those two shot from the gate and began winging it early, running together through fractions of :23.03, :46.25 and 1:10.13. General a Rod and Javier Castellano were to the outside of Wildcat Red and Luis Saez. Nothing else came close to them at any point, and Wildcat Red prevailed by a head, timed in 1:41.85. Top Billing, the 2-1 favorite despite having to break from post 11, made a valiant closing run to get third, beaten two lengths. Longshot East Hall, sent away from the gate at 72-1 odds, finished fourth, another 4 1/2 lengths back. Top Billing and East Hall were at the back of the pack after the first quarter-mile, 13 1/2 lengths off the lead.

Mike Maker: “The horse ran super. What else can you say?”

Javier Castellano: “I had a beautiful trip. It was where I wanted to be. He’s such a nice horse. It was a competitive race. I had a lot of chances to win the race. The horse gave me everything he had. Unfortunately, he just got beat by the bob.”

March 29, Grade I Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/8 Mile. Constitution edged Wildcat Red, with General a Rod close by and favored Cairo Prince fourth. With General a Rod and Constitution tracking him, Wildcat Red went through the opening quarter-mile in :24.01. Spot was third after a half-mile in :48.19, with Constitution still close. Spot quickly faded while the other three kept running, and six furlongs were in the book in 1:12.00. General a Rod loomed and Cairo Prince made his move. Constitution moved up on the rail entering the stretch. At the furlong marker, Constitution led by a head in 1:36.46. He managed to keep Wildcat Red at bay and prevailed by a neck. General a Rod finished another 1 1/4 length behind, and Cairo Prince was beaten 3 3/4 lengths by the winner, timed in 1:49.16.

Assistant trainer Elesar Chavez: “He was trying at the end, but he couldn’t get past the other ones. Probably the pace was just too fast. He likes to go head-to-head with the other one, but it’s fine. We’ll see what Mike says for next time, but he looks like he can go longer and we’re going to look at the Kentucky Derby. He’s going to be fine.”

Joel Rosario: "It took him a little bit to keep him going and Johnny already had a good position on the outside he was coming out a little bit and I just followed him the whole way and opened up the inside a little bit and Constitution came through the rail and it was over from there. My horse ran great and tried very hard. He ran a great race. It was a little quick, but thats how it goes sometimes, I guess we were third best today.

March 30 NOTE: General a Rod was shipped to Kentucky this date.

April 28 NOTE: Skychai Racing LLC and Starlight Racing LLC announced their purchase of General a Rod. Skychai also owns an interest in Harry's Holiday, while Starlight owns Intense Holiday.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

General a Rod debuted at Keeneland against 10 others and won on the course that goes about 7 1/2 furlongs. He was clear 2 3/4 lengths at the finish line and drawing away after being eighth after a half-mile.

Nov. 30, Entry Level Allowance, Churchill Downs, One Mile. General a Rod finished a stubborn second. Conquest Titan registered a going-away win timed in a spritely 1:35.27. Sixth by 4 1/2 lengths after six furlongs, Conquest Titan won by 1 3/4 length. General a Rod set fast early fractions -- :22.69 and :45.45. The chart call: "General a Rod alternated for the lead three wide, responded willingly when the winner surged past then held on gamely to be seco
nd."

 

HARRY'S HOLIDAY (KY)
Trainer: Mike Maker
Owner: Skychai Racing LLC, Sand Dollar Stable LLC, Terry Raymond & Jane Wagner
Breeder: Brereton C. Jones and B. Ned Jones
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Harlan's Holiday (Harlan, Christmas in Aiken)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Daisy Mason (Orientate, Leslie's Lady)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-0-4-0-0 (6) 2.00
Foal Date: April 4, 2011

Claimed by current ownership for $30,000 out of his debut.

Late-nominated to the Triple Crown.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Has been based in Kentucky all winter and Spring.

WORKOUTS
On March 15, Harry's Holiday breezed five in 1:01.40 (5/28) at TP.
On April 5, Harry’s Holiday breezed five in 1.01:60 (1/1) at CDT.
On April 26, Harry’s Holiday breezed five in 1.02:60 (35/68) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Harry's Holiday finished fifith in the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa and came back to win the 6 1/2-furlong 96ROCKS Stakes at Turfway Park in rousing, going-away fashion. He tried to make a similar move in the John Battaglia Memorial going two turns for the first time, but he faltered to a third-place finish, beaten 9 3/4 lengths by the front-running Solitary Ranger.

March 22, Grade III Spiral Stakes, Turfway Park, 1 1/8 Mile. In a blanket finish, We Miss Artie got up in the shadow of the wire to win. Harry's Holiday was second by a nose, Coastline third by a neck and Asserting Bear fourth by two lengths. Harry's Holiday, always prominent, had the lead in the far turn and looked like the winner as the finish line neared. Coastline, who never was far back, was breathing down his neck, but We Miss Artie got up just in time. The time was 1:52.26. We Miss Artie was seventh after a half-mile, but only 3 1/4 lengths back of a split of :47.21 set by Almost Famous and Solitary Ranger. We Miss Artie made a long, sustained run that started going into the far turn with six furlongs in the book in 1:12.43. Velazquez steered him five wide, and they were five wide coming into the lane.

Rose Napravnik, aboard Harry’s Holiday: “I kind of thought Johnny had me on the outside. I was afraid he nipped us right at the end. But my horse did a great job. He was totally passed by (Coastline) and came back and stuck his nose out in front and ran a great race. It’s a speed favoring track, and the outside is better and that’s where you got to be.”

March 27 NOTE: Harvey Diamond said on March 26, “He’ll let us know if he needs another race. We won’t push him to make the Derby unless he shows us he wants to go. If you listen to the horse, he’ll tell you if he’s ready.”

April 12, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland, 1 1/8 Mile. Harry’s Holiday finished 13th,, beaten 28 1/4 lengths by Dance With Fate after becoming worked up during the post parade.

Rosie Napravnik: “I had to run for position into the first turn, and there were a couple of us in pretty tight. But I ended up in a great spot. We didn’t really have an excuse from there.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Harry's Holiday won a $30,000 maiden claimer at Churchill Downs, six furlongs on the dirt, in his debut.  He was in the hunt throughout. That was followed by a second-place finish in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer at the same track and a win of a 6 1/2-furlong starter-optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 20 to close out 2013.

 

INTENSE HOLIDAY (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Starlight Racing
Breeder: Machmer Hall & Haymarket Farm
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Harlan's Holiday (Harlan, Christmas in Aiken)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Intensify (Unbridled's Song, Her She Shawklit)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-4-5-0-0 (12) 3.80
Foal Date: April 20, 2011

$380,000 Keeneland September 2012.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 22.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 29, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48.60 (3/37) at PMM.
On Jan. 5, Intense Holiday breezed five in 1:01.10 (7/31) at PMM.
On Jan. 12, Intense Holiday breezed five in 1:00.35 (3/29) at PMM.
On Jan. 19, Intense Holiday breezed four in :49:05 (25/51) at PMM.
On Feb. 9, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48.00 (2/67) at PMM.
On Feb. 16, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48.75 (14/55) at PMM.
On March 8, Intense Holiday breezed four in :47:90 (3/71) at PMM.
On March 15, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48:00 (1/66) at PMM.
On March 22, Intense Holiday breezed four in :49:40 (27/55) at PMM.
On April 13, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48:90 ( 7/17) at PMM.
On April 20, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48:75 (3/9) at PMM.
On April 27, Intense Holiday breezed four in :48:60 (7/59) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 20 NOTE: “Intense Holiday is training well. I thought his race in the Remsen was sneaky good,” Pletcher said. “He had a bit of a troubled trip in the Nashua, so hopefully we’re heading in the right direction with him.”

Jan. 25, Grade II Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Intense Holiday had the misfortune of drawing the outside post 11 with a short run to the first turn. Joel Rosario didn't want to go wide there, and he found himself in tenth position after the first half-mile. Like Conquest Titan, Intense Holiday went around the pack to gain ground and finish third, beaten 6 1/4 lengths.  After a perfect trip, Cairo Prince won by 5 3/4 lengths in near-track record time. Luis Saez gave Cairo Prince a picture-perfect ride, sitting in the three path and keeping him out of trouble, and the result was a dominant win.  Sitting behind contested early fractions of :23.63, :46.75 and 1:10.30 set by Coup de Grace and Almost Famous, Cairo Prince was in striking position leaving the second turn. Coup de Grace suddenly dropped out of contention, and Almost Famous had the lead but was beginning to tire a bit. Mr Speaker was making a move at the leader, but began dropping back. Cairo Prince suddenly moved away from Almost Famous.

Todd Pletcher (Intense Holiday): "I thought he ran super. It was a tough post, but we were able to get a pretty good trip from there. He put in a really good middle move, and then I think he maybe hung a little bit, but he made up a lot of ground. The winner was very good today, but I’m pleased with his effort."

Feb. 22, Grade II Risen Star Stakes, Fair Grounds, 1 1/16 Mile. Albano made almost all the running, but Intense Holiday came and got him in the shadow of the wire for the win. Fifth in the early running, 5 1/2 lengths off the pace set by Albano, Intense Holiday was adroitly handled by Mike Smith. Reserved near the middle of the field halfway through the race, he went three wide early on the far turn and five wide leaving it. Intense Holday, three lengths back with a furlong left, rallied to the outside of Albano and got up to win by a nose. Albano set fractions of :24.30, :48.14 and 1:13.00. The final time was 1:43.86. Post time favorite Vicar's in Trouble, sent off at 2-1 odds, broke alertly from post 13, was in seventh position after a quarter-mile, and made a sustained run only to weaken and finish third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths. California shipper Hoppertunity finished fourth, beaten seven lengths.

Mike Smith: “Well, in the very beginning he kind of slipped leaving there, which turned out to be a good thing. It kind of scared him, and he got up on the bridle, which I wanted him to be, but he was a bit too keen early. So when I finally talked him out of it, he just completely let go and I was like ‘uh no, not that much.’ I asked him again, and he jumped back on it again, and I had to talk him out it or he would let go too much. There was a lot of room to improve there and a lot of room to grow. What I really liked at the end was galloping out. After I stopped him, you can tell when a 3-year-old has had enough. He took one breath and came back, so we did not get to the bottom of him."

March 29, Grade II Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds, 1 1/8 Mile. Intense Holiday was second. In a roughly run race, Vicar’s in Trouble stayed out of just that by going to the lead and staying there. He cut through fractions of :23.56, :47.86, 1:12.14 and 1:37.15 before winning in 1:50.77 in the 1 1/8-mile race. Intense Holiday rated off the pace in fourth or fifth and started moving up going into the turn while saving ground. He was bumped by Louies Flower, costing him momentum, but he managed to forge ahead to get second, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, despite ducking in sharply in the stretch while under a left-handed whip. Commanding Curve was pinched back at the start and forced in. That left him running last after a half-mile, 8 1/2 lengths off the lead. After going three and four wide on the far turn, he checked in third, beaten five lengths. In Trouble finished another 3 3/4 lengths back in fourth and was moved down to fifth after coming out twice on Albano in the stretch.

Mike Smith: "The inside horse jumped out, right on me. But the race was over at that point. (Rosie) rode a great race. A brilliant race actually. It turned it into a two furlong sprint, not a 3/8's type race where we can run out."

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Intense Holiday won the second time he started, a one-miler at Monmouth Park on Aug. 31. His time was 1:40.55. That led to a start in stakes company.

Oct. 5, Grade I Champagne Stakes, Belmont Park, One Mile. Fourth at each call, Intense Holiday finished fifth of 10, beaten 9 1/2 lengths. The chart call: "Intense Holiday, forwardly placed three to four wide in pursuit from close range, came under encouragement at the five- sixteenths, spun three to four wide into upper stretch and weakened in the late stages."

Nov. 3, Grade II Nashua Stakes, Aqueduct, One Mile. Intense Holiday improved, finishing fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, after a less than ideal scenario unfolded. Cairo Prince won in 1:37.59, Financial Mogul was second and Noble Moon was third. The chart call: "Intense Holiday sat reserved from off the inside during the opening stages, was four wide at the three-eighths pole, altered course towards the inside during the initial portion of the stretch drive, impeding Tiznowforamerica after making it over to the rail, lacked needed late response."

Nov. 17 NOTE: "I think he ran a sneaky good race in the Nashua," said trainer Pletcher. "He had a troubled trip and should have been second with a little clearer run."

Nov. 30, Grade II Remsen Stakes, Aqueduct, 1 1/8 Mile. Intense Holiday was sent off at 10-1 odds under Joel Rosario and finished fourth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths in a race with a very slow early pace. The first six furlongs went in 1:17.56. Honor Code's winning time was 1:52.92. Intense Holiday was sixth at the first three calls, so he was compromised by the slow early pace and was then bothered in the stretch. The chart call: "Intense Holiday broke out a step at the start and was corrected, settled three wide in mid pack in hand, came under light coaxing four wide at the three-eighths pole before being set down five wide into upper stretch, momentarily had his momentum broken as the erratic Wicked Strong drifted out in front a sixteenth from home offering up a mild kick for the last major share."

THE NEXT DAY: Trainer Pletcher said Intense Holiday is heading to Florida.

 

MEDAL COUNT (KY)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Owner: Spendthrift Farm LLC
Breeder: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Dynaformer (Roberto, Andover Way)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Brisquette (Unbridled's Song, Pirate's Glow)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 7-7-21-0-1 (36) 2.13
Foal Date: May 1, 2011

$360,000 Keeneland September 2012.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 13.

WORKOUTS
On Feb. 2, Medal Count breezed four in :48.87 (41/100) at GP.
On Feb. 8, Medal Count breezed five in 1.00:28 (18/46) at PMM.
On Feb. 15, Medal Count breezed five in 1.01:02 (39/70) at GP.
On March 8, Medal Count breezed five in :59:81 (4/41) at GP.
On March 15, Medal Count breezed five in :59:36 (4/53) at GP.
On March 22, Medal Count breezed five in :59:05 (4/36) at GP.
On April 1, Medal Count breezed five in 1.00:38 (7/26) at GP.
On April 26, Medal Count breezed six in 1:13.00 (1/2) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 12, Entry Level Allowance/Optional Claiming, Gulfstream Park, 7 1/2 Furlongs (T). At 9-5 odds off an 8-1 morning line, Medal Count rallied late to earn a dead-heat victory with 53-1 longshot Drover Road in a closely packed field. Medal Count was rated a few lengths off a dawdling pace set by Scorched Cat and pressed by Drover Road. After posting fractions of :25.10, :51.01 and 1:15.06, the early leaders picked up the pace through the stretch run. Asked by Corey Lanerie, Medal Count kicked in with a late surge to hit the finish line in 1:32.32.

Dale Romans: “(Dynaformer) has a lot of horses that can run on the dirt and this is one of them. He’ll be back on the dirt before the Derby trail. It ended up with no pace. One of the reasons I wanted to run him so short was that I wanted some pace for him to run after, but it never showed up. But he was game. He really had to belly down that last sixteenth of a mile. It didn’t look like he was going to get up for any part of it. I’m very impressed. He has a lot of room to improve. He has all the natural talent in the world. The horses have turned the corner. We had a real tough year last year with a lot of sickness and stuff. It looks like we’ve turned the corner.”

Jan. 20 NOTE: “He’s doing good,” Romans said. “I’m sure that we’ll go back to the dirt in a stakes somewhere, I’m just not sure where yet. He has a lot of room to improve. He has all the natural talent in the world.”

Feb. 16 NOTE: Confirming a prior report; "I think we're going to run," trainer Romans said. "He worked great going five-eighths. He's a good horse and does everything right."

Feb. 22, Grade II Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Medal Count and Joe Rocco, Jr. finished fifth at 43-1 odds on a track favoring speed. He was third or fourth at each call of the race, tracking pacesetters Wildcat Red and General a Rod, before giving way, beaten 9 1/4 lengths by Wildcat Red.

April 4, Grade III Transylvania Stakes, Keeneland, 1 1/16 Mile. Medal Count finally lived up to some of his promise, winning by 1 1/4 length on the main track. He came from seventh of eight, almost six lengths back in the early running, and was timed in 1:43.35.

Dale Romans: “He is versatile. He ran well on the Polytrack here in the fall, but he just had too much trouble. This is a really good horse. He’s been one of my favorites all along. He’s a good horse, and he showed the performance we were expecting.”

“(His next race will) be up to Mr. Hughes. If he were mine, I’d still have him on the Derby trail, but he wanted to take a more conservative approach and let him grow up a little bit. Today was a big performance and showed he can go anywhere.”

Robby Albarado: “I got squeezed back right under the wire the first time. I had specific instructions from Dale to just try to keep him clear. At the three-eighths pole, I tried to sneak through. Fortunately, I got through there and it worked out for us.

“I rode him in the fall here, and he had so much trouble. He was only beaten two lengths then. Dale had high expectations. I guess as an older horse he’s shown everything that Dale thought about him.”

April 12, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland, 1 1/8 Mile. Medal Count also closed to get second place, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, Dance With Fate got the job done with a closing, going-away move. Pablo Del Monte, who led the field through fractions of :23.58, :47.59 and 1:12.74, faded to third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Medal Count. Big Bazinga was fourth, another 5 1/4 lengths back, after being placed last at the first call. The final time was 1:50.06.

Robby Albarado: “He acted like a good horse today. He ranged to (the leader) like a good horse. He had a wide trip both turns. With a field like this, you kind of expect that at Keeneland, with the Polytrack, whereas on traditional dirt they kind of stretch themselves out pretty good and you can kind of weave your way in and out. He’s a grown-up horse now. He’s got a lot of hair on his chest, all the trouble he’s been in in his career. He’s a man now.”     

Dale Romans: “The 13 hole’s not the best and he was a bit wide on both turns, but I think that’s better for this horse than being stuck inside and having to stop and start. So everything went well. I didn’t see a real problem with (the trip). In a 14-horse field, you can’t expect to have a perfect trip unless you’re just going to be on the lead.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Medal Count scored his first career win at Ellis Park in his debut, a race that came off the turf, then finished fifth in the Bourbon Stakes, taken off the turf at Keeneland. Trainer Romans thought so highly of the colt that he sent him to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he finished 11th of 13.

Nov. 29 NOTE: Trainer Romans said he has no explanation for Medal Count’s dull effort in the Breeders’ Cup, and he still expressed optimism with this statement. “If Medal Count doesn’t turn out to be a good horse, it’ll be the most wrong I’ve ever been about a horse. He just does everything so easy. It doesn’t matter what it is – his works or his gallops. He’s got the pedigree, the looks and the size – he’s the total package for a good horse.” After Breeders' Cup, Medal Count put in one work at Churchill Downs, but Romans didn't nominate him to the Kentucky Jockey Club. Romans said he never considered the colt for the race. “I thought I’d take it easy with him,” Romans said. “I’ll take him to Florida and maybe run him on the grass, and kind of start over with him down there.”

Dec. 18 NOTE: Medal Count was on the worktab at Gulfstream Park as of Dec. 16.

Dec. 20 NOTE: “I’ll run him after the first of the year,” trainer Romans said. “We’ll probably breeze him on the grass to see what we have, but I think he’s a good horse. If he’s not a good horse, I’ve never been so wrong.”

 

RIDE ON CURLIN (KY)
Trainer: William Gowan
Owner: Daniel J. Dougherty
Breeder: G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust 2008
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Curlin (Smart Strike (CAN), Sherriff's Deputy)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Magical Ride (Storm Cat, Victory Ride)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 6-5-9-0-0 (20) 3.44
Foal Date: Feb. 16, 2011

$25,000 Keeneland September 2012.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 14.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 27, Ride On Curlin breezed five in 1.03:00 (22/57) at OP.
On Feb. 5, Ride On Curlin breezed five on a muddy track in 1.03:40 (6/18) at OP.
On March 6, Ride On Curlin breezed seven in 1.26:80 (1/1) at OP.
On March 30, Ride on Curlin breezed five in 1.00:60 (4/46) at OP.
On April 6, Ride On Curlin breezed seven in 1.26:80 (1/1) at OP.
On April 27, Ride On Curlin breezed seven in 1.29:00 (1/1) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 12, Entry Level Allowance, Oaklawn Park, Six Furlongs. Some called it very handy, some called it workmanlike, and here's what happened. From the outside post 10, Ride On Curlin put himself right into the race under Calvin Borel and attended a pace of :21.80 set by longshot Compendium. After a half-mile in :45.98, Ride On Curlin was in the lead, and he stayed there, hitting the wire in 1:13.77. Smiling Charlie, who tried to stay with the winner, was beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Rivers Run Deep, last and 15 3/4 lengths back after a quarter-mile, got third, another two lengths back. The chart call: "Ride On Curlin, never far back outside, four wide when moving a bit closer into the turn, three wide bid late turn, clear, kept to the task."

Feb. 17, Grade III Southwest Stakes, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Tapiture turned a ground-saving trip into victory. Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Tapiture broke from the rail and briefly lagged behind several horses entering the first turn. As the field straightened onto the backstretch, Tapiture dueled for the lead with Tanzanite Cat and Ride On Curlin. Tanzanite Cat backed out of it in the second turn, and Ride On Curlin, who was seven wide in the first turn, continued running. Strong Mandate was taken in hand early after being bumped at the start and was eighth after a quarter-mile. Despite being wide on the first turn and four and five wide rounding the turn for home, he managed to get within a length of the lead at the home stretch loomed. But Tapiture was not looking back and ran a fairly straight path to the wire, prevailing by 4 1/4 lengths and timed in 1:44.95. Strong Mandate, who shifted in mid-stretch under Joel Rosario, finished second, six lengths ahead of Ride On Curlin. Coastline got the nod in a photo for fourth, another half-length back. They were followed by Tanzanite Cat, Bourbonize, Walt, Fire Starter, Son of Dixie, Paganol, Kendall's Boy and Louies Flower. Twenty-six lengths separated the winner and the last finisher.

Billy Gowan: “He ran a heck of a race. He was hung nine wide, and he got a little bit tired. We’ll be back for the Rebel.”

Calvin Borel: “He ran good. He broke sharp. He got hung a little wide going into the first turn, and he didn’t like that. I had to take him back and let him go about his business. He got a little heavy at the end."

March 6 NOTE: “I thought it was awesome,” trainer Gowan said of a workout on this date. “He couldn’t have worked any better. He’s sitting perfect for the Rebel." Kent Desormeaux will be aboard Ride On Curlin, replacing Calvin Borel, who is riding Street Strategy.

March 15, Grade II Rebel Stakes, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/16 Mile. After a tense stewards' inquiry, the order of finish in the Rebel Stakes was declared unchanged, and Hoppertunity's number stayed on top at 7-1 odds after a late surge in the stretch. On a track rated wet-fast, Hoppertunity was always close to the lead. Strong Mandate set the pace into the stretch with fractions of :24.06, :47.96 and 1:12.24. Ride on Curlin was right there with him going up the backstretch and into the second turn. Hoppertunity was behind them on the outside while Tapiture sat on the rail stalking. Once heads turned for home, the race to the wire was wild, and although there was some bumping, the stewards decided it did not affect the order of finish. Hoppertunity prevailed by a half-length over Tapiture, who also surged late, while Ride on Curlin stayed on for third, another half-length back. Strong Mandate backed up just a bit to fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. The 1 1/16-mile race was timed in 1:43.90.

Kent Desormeaux, aboard Ride On Curlin: “I tell you, I fancy him. I like him a lot. At the half-mile pole, I thought I could win. The only thing I didn’t like was my post. I think if I had had an outside post, it would have been better. I was kind of committed from where I was. But, he was comfortable. He’s like riding a 9-year-old he’s so cool.”

April 12, Grade I Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/8 Mile. Ride On Curlin, who was in sixth place of eight in early running, 4 1/2 lengths off the pace, finished second, beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Danza. Danza won at 41-1 odds after a ground-saving trip. After breaking from post 1, Danza was never far back. Fourth, then third at the first three calls, he stayed close to Bayern, who set the pace in :23.72, :47.72 and 1:12.29. Coming out of the second turn, Danza and Joe Bravo came through on the rail and moved off from the field to prevail. Bayern faded to third, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. Tapiture toiled in mid-pack and went five wide into the stretch before finishing fourth. He was beaten 7 1/4 lengths. The time was 1:49.68.

Jon Court: “Everything came together and he’s been pressed his last couple of races. Actually, he tested me on the backside like it’s time to go. I had to just put him in a position to settle and I knew I had a lot of horse turning for home. I was kind of taken back to see the one horse just continue coming off that 7/8ths.I thought he was making a move and I made my move and he out finished us. He’s to be respected, it was a good field of horse flesh.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Ride On Curlin broke his maiden second time out, breaking a track record at Ellis Park in the process. He was timed in 1:03.00 for 5 1/2 furlongs. Ridden by Calvin Borel, Ride On Curlin was the 2-5 favorite in a field of six. He led at each call and won by 7 3/4 lengths.

Sept. 7, Grade III Iroquois Stakes, Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 Mile. Cleburne, at 34-1 odds, rallied from eighth to grab the lead near the finish and then held off a late surge by stable mate Smart Cover to win. He was timed in 1:45.65 under Corey Lanerie. It was the inaugural eligibility race for the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Tapiture was a close third. Ride On Curlin, the favorite in the field of 10, led by a half-length in mid-stretch but finished fourth under Calvin Borel.   

Calvin Borel: "No excuse. He ran good. He's just a baby, and this was his first time going two turns. We asked a lot of him today. He took me out there good and to the quarter pole, but then he had enough. Believe me, he's a race horse and if we do right by the horse he'll show up. He'll be just fine."

Oct. 5, Grade I Champagne Stakes, Belmont Park, One Mile. Ride On Curlin finished third, beaten 1 1/2 length by Havana with a nice closing effort, but he was outrun in the stretch by Honor Code, who finished second to always-prominent Havana. The final time was 1:35.81 after Havana was in front after a half in :45.54. Ride On Curlin was 6 3/4 lengths clear of the fourth-place finisher.

Oct. 27, Street Sense Stakes, Churchill Downs, One Mile. Coastline took the lead from Almost Famous around the turn and increased his advantage in the stretch to win by a widening three lengths over Ichiban Warrior. He was timed in 1:36.77 under Shaun Bridgmohan. Highly-touted Almost Famous, who beat Coastline by 2 1/4 lengths in a Sept. 13 maiden special weight, set the early pace of :22.92 and :47.14 with Coastline putting on pressure from the outside. Coastline gained a short lead with a furlong to go and drew clear under urging. Ichiban Warrior, who also was forwardly placed, made a bid on the turn but was no match late and was second best. Even-money favorite Ride On Curlin was a distant third after breaking slowly and losing ground coming out of the turn. Almost Famous faded to fourth.
 
Corey Lanerie: “He broke a little slow. He got a little mixed-up in the gate and didn’t leave like I was hoping he would. My thoughts were I’d be toward the back and behind the speed. He was just sittin’ there, but they backed the pace up a bit slower than I wanted. But he just didn’t finish for me. They’re going to scope him – maybe he’s got a little crud or something. But I don’t think he was the horse today that he can be.“

LATER ON: Trainer Gowan said Ride On Curlin emerged from the Street Sense with a lung infection.

 

SAMRAAT (NY)
Trainer: Rick Violette
Owner: My Meadowview Farm
Breeder: My Meadowview LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Noble Causeway (Giant Causeway, Mimi's Girl)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): :Little Mountain Girl (Indian Charlie, Brighter than Gold)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 1-0-9-0-0 (10) 1.22
Foal Date: April 18, 2011

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: Monday, April 28.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 31, Samraat breezed four in :50.00 (37/52) at PMM.
On Jan. 9, Samraat breezed four in :48.00 (2/21) at PMM.
On Jan. 17, Samraat breezed a mile in 1:41.85 (1/2) at PMM.
On Jan. 24, Samraat breezed a mile in 1.46:60 (1/1) at PMM.
On Feb. 15, Samraat breezed four in :49:30 (41/83) at PMM.
On Feb. 22, Samraat breezed a mile in 1.45:00 (1/1) at PMM.
On March 15, Samraat breezed four in :50:55 (54/66) at PMM.
On March 22, Samraat breezed a mile in 1.45:15 (1/1) at PMM.
On March 28, Samraat breezed a mile in 1.44:05 (1/1) at PMM.
On April 18, Samraat breezed four in :49:12 (8/19) at BEL.
On April 25, Samraat breezed a mile in 1.45:91 ( 1/1) at AQU.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 23 NOTE: "If all goes well in the Withers, I’ll have to decide whether I want to bring him back down here for a month or leave him in New York for the next one,” trainer Violette said to DRF.com from Florida.

Feb. 1, Grade III Withers Stakes, Aqueduct, 1 1/16 Mile. Uncle Sigh and Pablo Morales took the lead early from post 1 with Samraat, ridden by Jose Ortiz, Jr.,  just off their flank on the outside. They stayed in that configuration until they were about to hit the stretch, when Samraat began inching forward. He cleared Uncle Sigh by a length at the wire. Both horses were sent off at even money odds in the field of six. Following early fractions of: 24.00,: 48.33 and 1:12.77, the winning time was 1:46.31. Scotland rallied from last to finish third, beaten 11 1/4 lengths. Classic Giacnroll was 2 3/4 lengths behind him, followed by Honorable Judge and Street Gent.

The chartt call: "Samraat attended Uncle Sigh from the outside while two to three wide throughout shaking away steadily in tandem from the rest of the field down the backside, had his main foe come under coaxing three furlongs out, responded in kind nearing the quarter pole still well clear of the rest, took over narrowly at that station, dug in determined through the length of the stretch as Uncle Sigh fought stubbornly inside, shook away in the final jumps to prevail."

Rick Violette: "It was a long drive. (Uncle Sigh) was kind of tested in his first race. We haven't been. We left the rest of the field. As fast as we went early, it wasn't like all of a sudden somebody from out of the clouds was going to get there. Hats off to both horses. They ran a huge, huge race today, and I think they'll show up later in the year.

"We broke really well. The only thing was we weren't going to just surrender the lead, because then it would have been a quarter in :25 and it would have been no contest. If they were going to go, they were going to have to step on the gas. That was the plan: make them commit, and then we can lay off of them, and that's what happened.

"You got to (have a tough race) before you get to the bigger races. They have to learn how to fight. I really thought that happened to Easy Goer his 3-year-old year. He had never really been in a fight until the Preakness, and he became a better horse after that.

"This was a tough race. We might wait for the Wood Memorial. We're in a good spot now. If he's kind of kicking the walls down he can certainly come back for the Gotham or we can wait for the Wood or the Louisiana Derby. There are a lot of options."

Jose Ortiz: "My horse broke really good, I tried to go out and get the lead. By the half mile I had a lot of horse but he was used already. He ran a big race. At the quarter pole, I thought I had a little more horse; I thought I was going to pass him. My horse didn't pick it up the way I thought he was going to, but he came through. He did a tremendous job, bringing the horse to Palm Meadows and shipping him up here."

March 1, Grade III Gotham Stakes, Aqueduct, 1 1/16 Mile. Samraat edged Uncle Sigh and In Trouble after a thrilling stretch run. Those three were on the engine from the break, with In Trouble getting to the first turn sightly in front of Uncle Sigh and Samraat. They ran in that order around the first turn, up the backstretch, around the second turn and into the lane. In Trouble was on the inside after breaking from the rail, and Samraat was to Uncle Sigh's outside. The first quarter-mile was timed in :23.85, the half in :48.30 and six furlongs in 1:12.30. The same three dueled through the stretch to the wire, with Samraat, ridden by Jose Ortiz, and Uncle Sigh, with Corey Nakatani aboard, barely inching ahead of In Trouble, who had Joe Rocco, Jr. in the saddle. They were 1-2-3 at the furlong marker, and that's how they finished. The final time was 1:44.44 for the 1 1/16-mile Gotham. Only two necks separated the top three finishers.

Rick Violette: "This is a real horse now. We knew he had a shot to be a real horse after the Withers; he proved he is a real horse today. This was a good field. It was a deep field of horses. The weight had me worried. We picked up five pounds from last time; that's a big shift." Are you thinking about the Kentucky Derby? "I'd be lying if I said we weren't already thinking it. At this stage, we didn't want to do anything that would prevent us from going to the Derby. A couple of races before the Derby probably toughens him, but this was another stretch-long, hard duel, but Jose never hit him. He's an honest racehorse, and there might be a little left. Today, he graduated big time. His last race was a terrific race, and this was a notch above that. He was pretty impressive today. He leaves for Florida tomorrow. The Wood is a real possibility. That would be our best option as long as the horse cooperates and tells us that we should get on a plane and come up for it."

Jose Ortiz: "He has a lot of heart, he's a nice horse. We had a good trip, broke from the eight post. As soon as we got to the first turn I was third behind the two leaders, and that's where I wanted to be. He responded very good. In the stretch when I showed him the whip a little bit, he was lugging in, but he never made contact with other horses. I just hand rode him, and he responded very good, and I tried to keep him straight. He runs good when he's in the front, but I rated him the last two times, and he responded and passed horses and kept running. That's a nice horse. I think he's going to handle (more distance) very good."

Leonard Riggio: "We thought he might need a little more time. The horse bounced back pretty quick. He's a magnificent horse, and that was some race."

April 5, Grade I Wood Memorial, Aqueduct, 1 1/18 Mile. Wicked Strong closed down the center of the stretch to win. He relaxed in sixth, four lengths off the lead after a half-mile and was still fourth, two lengths back, with a furlong left. But he easily cleared the field for a 3 1/2-length win in 1:49.31. Schivarelli relinquished the lead to Social Inclusion after a quarter mile run in :23.79. Social inclusion led through fractions of :47.47, 1:11.18 and still was in front by 1 1/2 length after a mile in 1:36.39. But he could not hold off the winner -- and failed to hold off Samraat as well, who edged him by a nose for the place. Samraat was never worse than fourth at any call. Schivarelli was a non-threatening fourth.

Rick Violette: "It's his best race. It's the first time he's been surrounded and covered up, and he handled it. He came back three times. I thought he was going to be fourth the entire (stretch run), and he kept finding more, finding more. Good horses rally from this and get better. Other than win, he got a huge education. As long as he comes out of it all right we'll head to Kentucky.

“I don't think there's anything he can't do; Jose can put him anywhere he wants - behind horses, on the inside, wherever. I don't think the extra eighth of a mile is going to bother him. We kind of did it the hard way. We made the first charge against the horse on the lead and did everybody else's work, and (Wicked Strong) - who's shown signs of talent - came and ran everybody down. I thought he was going to be fourth every step of the way. You just can't ask more from a horse."

Jose Ortiz: "We had a perfect trip. He broke very sharp and I sat behind the favorite, and when I asked him to go, he went, but he was looking at the horse in front of him and he didn't see the other horse come out, but he came out and passed us. I think he did great. He ran a big race."

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Samraat kicked off his career with a 3 1/2 length, front-running win at Belmont Park going six furlongs. Stretched out to 7 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct, he again went straight to the lead and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths.

Dec. 14 NOTE: "He's got a high cruising speed, and I think the two turns will be an asset," said trainer Violette. "There's no reason to think he won't get a mile-and-an-eighth or better. If someone wants to go faster than him, then fine, but they're probably going to have to go real fast."

Dec. 18, Damon Runyon Stakes, Aqueduct, One Mile 70 Yards. At odds-on, Samraat handled two turns racing with a dominating 16 3/4-length win timed in 1:44.09. Away quickly from his inside post, Samraat established early command of the race just a few strides out of the starting gate and set splits of :24.55 and :49.73. Leaving the far turn, Samraat bounded away from the field without being asked by Jose Ortiz, and widened his lead. Finishing a distant second in his first attempt on dirt was the maiden Forever Utopia. He tracked the early lead along the inside, but could not keep pace with the winner in the stretch and had to settle for his fourth second-place finish in five starts. It was another 2 ¾ lengths back to third finisher Deceived, who lunged at the break and rushed up to join the leaders on the backstretch.

Rick Violette: "I thought the two turns would be right up his alley; pedigree-wise it's supposed to be up his alley, and it was. The pace slows down a little bit, he gets into a nice rhythm, and the only thing that concerned me was his preparation. We've had a lot of bad weather, and he missed some training, but he was good enough to overcome that today.

"It's always tense until they cross the wire. It was nice when he opened up at the head of the lane, at that point I certainly thought we were in command, but until they put the hammer down and ask them to run, there have been plenty of horses that looked like they were home until the head of the lane. He's a very nice horse, and I think he's getting better."

On Samraat's next start: "I originally was thinking the Jerome (Jan. 4), but we moved this (the Damon Runyon )back three days because of the weather, and it was going to be tight, anyway, so I'm not sure we make it. I could even send him to Florida for a month just to keep him in training and get him out of the cold weather, then bring him up for the spot after that, which is the Withers (Feb. 1). I think we might have to test open company. If not his next start, then the start after that."

Jose Ortiz:"He's a nice horse. Rick and the team did a tremendous job. The horse usually doesn't break very good, but Rick schooled him a few times, and today he broke really good. He put me on the lead through a slow pace, and when I said 'go' at the quarter pole he kicked away. He rates pretty well. When he feels the other horses, he feels a little keen, but I don't think he needs the lead."

 

TAPITURE (KY)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: Ron Winchell
Breeder: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Tapit (Pulpit, Tap Your Heels)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Free Spin (Olympio, Spin n Win)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 4-6-7-1-0 (18) 3.00
Foal Date: May 3, 2011

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 13.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 22, Tapiture breezed four in :51.20 (29/43) at FG.
On Dec. 29, Tapiture breezed four in ;51.20 (46/74) at FG.
On Jan. 5, Tapiture breezed five in 1:00.40 (5/79) at FG.
On Jan. 13, Tapiture breezed five on a sloppy track in 1:00.80 (5/34) at FG.
On Jan. 20, Tapiture breezed five in 1.00.80 (5/34) at FG.
On Jan. 27, Tapiture breezed six on a sloppy track in 1.13:00 (1/7) at FG.
On Feb. 3, Tapiture breezed six in 1.12:80 (1/1) at FG.
On Feb. 13, Tapiture breezed four in :50:00 (3/3) at OP.
On March 2, Tapiture breezed five in 1.00:40 (2/48) at OP.
On March 10, Tapiture breezed four in :50:20 (12/27) at OP.
On March 31, Tapiture breezed five in 1.00:80 (1/11) at OP
On April 7, Tapiture breezed four in 50:80 (2/2) at OP.
On April 21, Tapiture breezed five in 1.02:80 (14/20) at CD.
On April 28, Tapiture breezed four on a sloppy track in :50.00 (12/15) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Feb. 17, Grade III Southwest Stakes, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Tapiture turned a ground-saving trip into victory. Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Tapiture broke from the rail and briefly lagged behind several horses entering the first turn. As the field straightened onto the backstretch, Tapiture dueled for the lead with Tanzanite Cat and Ride On Curlin. Tanzanite Cat backed out of it in the second turn, and Ride On Curlin, who was seven wide in the first turn, continued running. Strong Mandate was taken in hand early after being bumped at the start and was eighth after a quarter-mile. Despite being wide on the first turn and four and five wide rounding the turn for home, he managed to get within a length of the lead at the home stretch loomed. But Tapiture was not looking back and ran a fairly straight path to the wire, prevailing by 4 1/4 lengths and timed in 1:44.95. Strong Mandate, who shifted in mid-stretch under Joel Rosario, finished second, six lengths ahead of Ride On Curlin. Coastline got the nod in a photo for fourth, another half-length back. They were followed by Tanzanite Cat, Bourbonize, Walt, Fire Starter, Son of Dixie, Paganol, Kendall's Boy and Louies Flower. Twenty-six lengths separated the winner and the last finisher.

Steve Asmussen: “It was a big step forward for him. I was impressed with what he did. I saw some things we need to improve, and he’ll have to continue to improve with the races coming up." Coming back for the Rebel? "I think the series sets up really well for him.”

Ricardo Santana Jr: “This horse was working really nice. I was so excited for this race. When we got to the straight, he showed all his class. He was really nice and was really relaxed today.”

March 15, Grade II Rebel Stakes, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/16 Mile. After a tense stewards' inquiry, the order of finish in the Rebel Stakes was declared unchanged, and Hoppertunity's number stayed on top at 7-1 odds after a late surge in the stretch. On a track rated wet-fast, Hoppertunity was always close to the lead. Strong Mandate set the pace into the stretch with fractions of :24.06, :47.96 and 1:12.24. Ride on Curlin was right there with him going up the backstretch and into the second turn. Hoppertunity was behind them on the outside while Tapiture sat on the rail stalking. Once heads turned for home, the race to the wire was wild, and although there was some bumping, the stewards decided it did not affect the order of finish. Hoppertunity prevailed by a half-length over Tapiture, who also surged late, while Ride on Curlin stayed on for third, another half-length back. Strong Mandate backed up just a bit to fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. The 1 1/16-mile race was timed in 1:43.90.

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Tapiture: “He ran well. It was a pretty roughly run race by some fast horses.”

April 1 NOTE: Joel Rosario to ride Tapiture in the Arkansas Derby -- moves away from Strong Mandate.

April 12, Grade I Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn Park, 1 1/8 Mile. Tapiture toiled in mid-pack and went five wide into the stretch before finishing fourth. He was beaten 7 1/4 lengths. Danza won at 41-1 odds after a ground-saving trip. After breaking from post 1, Danza was never far back. Fourth, then third at the first three calls, he stayed close to Bayern, who set the pace in :23.72, :47.72 and 1:12.29. Coming out of the second turn, Danza and Joe Bravo came through on the rail and moved off from the field to prevail by 4 3/4 lengths over second finisher Ride On Curlin, who was in sixth place of eight in early running, 4 1/2 lengths off the pace. Bayern faded to third, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. The time was 1:49.68.

Steve Asmussen: "The race didn't work out the way we wanted today. I thought he was pretty wide behind a moderate pace and that made it a very long race for him today. We'll see how he comes of it. He goes on to Louisville tomorrow and we'll see where we go from there."

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Debuting at Saratoga in August, Tapiture finished second to Strong Mandate in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight.

Sept. 7, Grade III Iroquois Stakes, Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 Mile. Cleburne, at 34-1 odds, rallied from eighth to grab the lead near the finish and then held off a late surge by stable mate Smart Cover to win. He was timed in 1:45.65 under Corey Lanerie. It was the inaugural eligibility race for the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Tapiture was a close third. Ride On Curlin, the favorite in the field of 10, led by a half-length in mid-stretch but finished fourth under Calvin Borel.

Ricardo Santana, Jr.: "He ran good but that was a tough spot down on the inside. This was only the second time he's run."

Oct. 27, Maiden Special Weight, Churchill Downs, One Mile. At even money odds, Tapiture was third this time, beaten 1 1/4 length by Culprit. Notability finished second. He led through much of the race, but he couldn't sustain it in the stretch while having to race between foes. The chart call: "Tapiture dueled toward the inside, drifted out a bit nearing the furlong marker and weakened slightly between horses."

Nov. 27 NOTE: “When he ran his nice race in the Iroquois, we kind of made the decision to point him towards the Jockey Club,” said trainer Asmussen. “We were disappointed in the maiden race he ran on opening day, but we were trying to use it as a prep and we’re just following through with the plan. We love how he’s trained since. He’s doing well, and I’m anxious to see how he does.”

Nov. 30, Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club, Churchill Downs, 1 1/16 Mile. Tapiture broke his maiden in this, his fourth start. Fifth of nine in early going but never further back than three lengths, he steadily advanced and took the lead leaving the far turn. Laddie Boy, who set the pace with splits of :24.20 and 47.67, stayed on for second, albeit beaten 4 1/4 lengths. The winning time was 1:43.51, a little over a length faster than Vexed ran while winning the Grade II Golden Rod for 2-year-old fillies two races earlier on the card. The chart call: "Tapiture, close up from the start, three wide, challenged when ready on the second turn, raced Laddie Boy into defeat in midstretch and drew off under steady urging."

Steve Asmussen: “We had planned on running him in a maiden race at the beginning of the meet as a prep for this. It didn’t go as planned, but he came out of it good, trained really well and just stayed the course. It’s awfully fun to have another nice homebred for the Winchells. It was pretty crowded going into the first turn. I really liked the way he handled and got good position. Ricardo rode him really well.”

Ricardo Santana: "“My horse is a little green – he doesn’t know how to run yet. He’s been waiting to go long. I loved my horse today. I thought I had a big chance. My horse had run three times already and he’s learning. I had a lot of confidence in my horse. When I asked him he finished really good.”

Ron Winchell: After the race, the owner said Tapiture would be sent to Fair Grounds.

Dec. 22 NOTE: Tapiture breezed for the first time at FG, four in :51.20.

Dec. 29 NOTE: Trainer Asmussen has Gold Hawk and Tapiture, both owned by Winchell, at Fair Grounds and may want to separate them in coming stakes races.

 

 

UNCLE SIGH (NY)
Trainer: Gary Contessa
Owner: Wounded Warrior Stables and Anthony C. Roberton
Breeder: Milfer Farm Inc.
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Indian Charlie (In Excess (IRE), Soviet Sojourn)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Cradlesong (Pine Bluff, Happy Tune)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-6-9-0-0 (18) 3.00
Foal Date: March 31, 2011

$270,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August 2012.
$330,000 RNA Fasig-Tipton Florida March 2013.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Arrival date in Louisville: April 26.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 10, Uncle Sigh breezed five on the training track in 1:00.20 (1/27) at BEL.
On Jan. 18, Uncle Sigh breezed six on the training track in 1:16.90 (1/1) at BEL.
On Jan. 26, Uncle Sigh breezed five on the training track in 1.01:00 (1/9) at BEL.
On Feb. 22, Uncle Sigh breezed five on the training track in :59:91 (1/6) at BEL.
On Feb. 24, Uncle Sigh breezed four on the training track in :47:98 (12/119) at BEL.
On March 15, Uncle Sigh breezed five on the training track in 1.01:86 (8/22) at BEL.
On March 25, Uncle Sigh breezed six on the training track in 1.15:12 (1/2) at BEL.
On April 1, Uncle Sigh breezed four on the training track in :47:61 (1/2) at BEL.
On April 18, Uncle Sigh breezed five on the training track in 1:00.31 (1/22) at BEL.
On April 25, Uncle Sigh breezed five in on the training track in 1:00.19 (1/15) at BEL.
On April 30, Uncle Sigh breezed four in :52:80 (20/20) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 19 NOTE: Connections are pretty upbeat about Uncle Sigh.

Feb. 1, Grade III Withers Stakes, Aqueduct, 1 1/16 Mile. Uncle Sigh and Pablo Morales took the lead early from post 1 with Samraat, ridden by Jose Ortiz, Jr.,  just off their flank on the outside. They stayed in that configuration until they were about to hit the stretch, when Samraat began inching forward. He cleared Uncle Sigh by a length at the wire. Both horses were sent off at even money odds in the field of six. Following early fractions of: 24.00,: 48.33 and 1:12.77, the winning time was 1:46.31. Scotland rallied from last to finish third, beaten 11 1/4 lengths. Classic Giacnroll was 2 3/4 lengths behind him, followed by Honorable Judge and Street Gent.

The chart call: "Uncle Sigh broke well, established the front while in the two path early on, cut the pace inside in hand attended from the outside by Samraat while shaking clear in tandem with that foe from the remainder of the field, came under brief coaxing into the turn before being put to a drive three furlongs out under intensifying pressure from his main foe, cut the corner into upper stretch and was headed for command, dug in stubborn fighting on gamely through the length of the stretch in what developed into a virtual match race and was shaken off in the final strides while well clear of the rest."

Gary Contessa, trainer of Uncle Sigh: "Maybe he got me on experience today; I look forward to Rocky II. That's how I feel after a race like this; this was Rocky, I'm ready for Rocky II. He ran well. I think the difference was that I, having the No. 1 hole, had to set the pace. My horse isn't very experienced, and I think he's really going to mature off this effort. He never stopped running. I look forward to the rematch. Hopefully he comes back for the Gotham. I'll be there."

Pablo Morales, jockey aboard Uncle Sigh: "It's a shame he got beat because he was trying so hard. He just got outrun today. He gave me everything he had, he never stopped. I think if I would have been on the outside and (Samraat) had been on the inside then, I'd probably beat him, but I did everything to beat him and it wasn't enough."

March 1, Grade III Gotham Stakes, Aqueduct, 1 1/16 Mile. Samraat edged Uncle Sigh and In Trouble after a thrilling stretch run. Those three were on the engine from the break, with In Trouble getting to the first turn sightly in front of Uncle Sigh and Samraat. They ran in that order around the first turn, up the backstretch, around the second turn and into the lane. In Trouble was on the inside after breaking from the rail, and Samraat was to Uncle Sigh's outside. The first quarter-mile was timed in :23.85, the half in :48.30 and six furlongs in 1:12.30. The same three dueled through the stretch to the wire, with Samraat, ridden by Jose Ortiz, and Uncle Sigh, with Corey Nakatani aboard, barely inching ahead of In Trouble, who had Joe Rocco, Jr. in the saddle. They were 1-2-3 at the furlong marker, and that's how they finished. The final time was 1:44.44 for the 1 1/16-mile Gotham. Only two necks separated the top three finishers.

Gary Contessa: "Samraat is a nice horse. Now I'm a believer. We closed the gap on him a little bit today, and my horse is still very young. He was intimidated and he got bumped, and he might have been a little bit cautious down in there, but we're getting better. He's certainly developing."

Do you plan to compete in the Wood Memorial? "Absolutely. It's still home-field advantage, it's a mile and an eighth on the main track, I love the distance. God willing, and, if the horse is sound, we'll come back in the Wood."

Corey Nakatani: "These young colts, he was trying to run, but he no room to stride. He's getting a lot of experience out of this. I thought he ran a great race. I thought they'd go a little bit quicker."

April 5, Grade I Wood Memorial, Aqueduct, 1 1/18 Mile. Uncle Sigh broke in the midst of other horses and was rank while trying to find his way through traffic. He was eighth, then seventh during the first six furlongs and finished fifth, beaten eight lengths.

Gary Contessa: "That's not the position we really wanted to be in. It looks like the place to be was 1, 2, 3 or 4. He broke a little awkwardly and wasn't quite the same horse. He was in behind horses for the first time, and Corey said he was very green. We expected to be right next to Samraat, not seventh and taking dirt. I'm sure a set of blinkers would have helped today."

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Uncle Sigh finished second by a head to Groupthink in his Dec. 7 debut at Aqueduct, then won at second asking in a 14 1/2-length romp under a hand ride at the Big A on Dec. 27. Uncle Sigh, ridden by Pablo Morales, got the mile and 70 yards in 1:42.92 after getting the lead early on. Eight ran. The chart call: "Uncle Sigh, lightly bumped between rivals at the start, raced three wide on the turn, continued the chase on the pacesetter a bit closer to the rail thereafter, went by; and shook free of the others during the run around the far turn, using his own power, lengthened away, hand urged."

 

 

VICAR'S IN TROUBLE (LA)
Trainer: Mike Maker
Owner:  Ken and Sarah Ramsey
Breeder: Spendthrift Farm LLC
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Into Mischief (Harlan's Holiday, Leslie's Lady)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Vibrant (CAN) (Vicar, Ms. Paragon (CAN))
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-1-2-0-0 (6) 5.00
Foal Date: March 31, 2013

$8,000 Equine Sales of Louisiana 2012.
$80,000 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic May 2013.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: Shortly after Louisiana Derby.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 4, Vicar's in Trouble breezed five in 1:01.60 (9/51) at FG.
On Jan. 12, Vicar's in Trouble breezed five in 1:00.80 (10/95) at FG.
On Feb. 2, Vicar's in Trouble breezed four in :49:40 (21/127) at FG.
On Feb. 9, Vicar's in Trouble breezed five in 1.00:60 (5/64) at FG.
On Feb. 16, Vicar's in Trouble breezed five in 1:01.20 (8/72) at FG.
On March 15, Vicar's in Trouble breezed five in 1.00:44 (14/53) at GP.
On March 23, Vicar's in Trouble breezed five in 1.03:72 (23/25) at GP.
On April 12, Vicar’s in Trouble breezed four in :48:20 (3/12) at CDT.
On April 19, Vicar’s in Trouble breezed five in 1.00:40 (2/14) at CDT.
On April 26, Vicar’s in Trouble breezed five in 1.03:80 (56/68) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 18, Grade III Lecomte Stakes, Fair Grounds, One Mile 70 Yards. Vicar’s in Trouble, the second wagering choice, became the first Louisiana-bred since One Tough Cat in 27 years to win the Lecomte. Vicar’s In Trouble prompted Roman Unbridled's early pace, gained the advantage entering the lane and drew off steadily for a 6 3/4-length tally timed in an impressive 1:42.57. Second finisher Albano was well placed early but could not stay with the winner in the lane. Gold Hawk, favored at 6-5, raced in third up the backstretch and finished third, beaten 7 1/2 lengths, after being fractious loading into the gate. Roman Unbridled hung on for fourth, another length back. The rest of the field was in another area code. Roman Unbridled set a pace of :23.71 and :47.80, and Vicar's In Trouble led after six furlongs in 1:13.11. The chart call: "Vicar's In Trouble went three, then two, wide on the first turn, tracked the pace on the outside while under restraint, made a bid on the far turn, kicked clear while put to a left-handed whip in upper stretch, changed leads when switched to a right-handed whip inside the furlong marker, drifted towards the rail while drawing off and proved much the best while hand ridden."

Assistant trainer Joe Sharp: “It’s something you have to try at this point in the year with a 3-year-old. He’s never given us any reason he wouldn’t go the distance.  He’s naturally quick, but he is very pliable and has a good brain.  It seems like you can handle whatever you ask of him.”

Rosie Napravnik: You don’t know it until you really (try two turns). He certainly seemed to handle the distance with no problems. He’s got natural speed which left our options open. Could have gotten the lead. Could have sat off. The horse has been improving, and I think he is still a little immature, but I think he can move up a lot from this race.”

Jan. 19 NOTE: “That horse can really run,” said Larry Jones. “Where did they find him?  I thought we were in pretty good position with Albano at the top of the stretch, and then that winner just drew off." Assistant trainer Joe Sharp said, “He’s shown us a little ability since the day he came to us. He’s what I would call a pretty pliable horse, and I wasn’t really surprised when he ran as well as he did. So far he seems to be getting along just fine. In fact, he tried to eat me this morning.”

Feb. 22, Grade II Risen Star Stakes, Fair Grounds, 1 1/16 Mile. Albano made almost all the running, but Intense Holiday came and got him in the shadow of the wire for the win. Fifth in the early running, 5 1/2 lengths off the pace set by Albano, Intense Holiday was adroitly handled by Mike Smith. Reserved near the middle of the field halfway through the race, he went three wide early on the far turn and five wide leaving it. Intense Holday, three lengths back with a furlong left, rallied to the outside of Albano and got up to win by a nose. Albano set fractions of :24.30, :48.14 and 1:13.00. The final time was 1:43.86. Post time favorite Vicar's in Trouble, sent off at 2-1 odds, broke alertly from post 13, was in seventh position after a quarter-mile, and made a sustained run only to weaken and finish third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths. California shipper Hoppertunity finished fourth, beaten seven lengths.

Rosie Napravnik: “It was a wide trip. He ran well, but it’s tough to circle a field that big.”

March 7 NOTE: Vicar's in Trouble was moved to Gulfstream Park last week. His next start is undecided, per trainer Maker.

March 13 NOTE: “He popped an abscess the day after he got back here to Florida,” owner Ramsey told DRF.com on March 12. “The colt missed about four days of training because of it. Mike said we couldn’t make the Sunland Derby but thinks we’ll be okay for Louisiana, so that’s where we’re going.”

March 29, Grade II Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds, 1 1/8 Mile. In a roughly run race, Vicar’s in Trouble stayed out of just that by going to the lead and staying there. He cut through fractions of :23.56, :47.86, 1:12.14 and 1:37.15 before winning in 1:50.77 in the 1 1/8-mile race. Intense Holiday rated off the pace in fourth or fifth and started moving up going into the turn while saving ground. He was bumped by Louies Flower, costing him momentum, but he managed to forge ahead to get second, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, despite ducking in sharply in the stretch while under a left-handed whip. Commanding Curve was pinched back at the start and forced in. That left him running last after a half-mile, 8 1/2 lengths off the lead. After going three and four wide on the far turn, he checked in third, beaten five lengths. In Trouble finished another 3 3/4 lengths back in fourth and was moved down to fifth after coming out twice on Albano in the stretch.

Rosie Napravnik: “You know, he is a tiny horse, but he’s got a great big heart.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

After debuting with a third-place finish, Vicar's in Trouble attracted attention when, in his second start, he won a six-furlong maiden special weight by 13 lengths at Fair Grounds, albeit against 10 other state-breds. Rosie Napravnik rode him at 6-5 odds, and his time was 1:10.74. The race took place on Dec. 14. The chart call: "Vicar's in Trouble disputed the pace on the outside, moved clear while off the rail early on the turn, controlled the action into the stretch, drew off under one crack of a right-handed whip and widened the margin while ridden out then was eased up late.

 

VINCEREMOS (KY)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC
Breeder: Machmer Hall
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker, Star of Goshen)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Kettle's Sister (More Than Ready, Safe at the Plate)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 3-3-2-0-0 (8) 7.00
Foal Date: March 20, 2011

$140,000 Keeneland September 2012.
$340,000 Keeneland April 2013.

Vinceremos is named for a therapeutic riding center in West Palm Beach, and it means "we shall overcome."

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Arrival date in Louisville from WinStar Farm: April 23.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 19, Vinceremos breezed four in :49:00 (19/51) at PMM.
On Jan. 26, Vinceremos breezed five in 1.01:70 (8/25) at PMM.
On Feb. 16, Vinceremos breezed four in :49.30 (35/55) at PMM.
On Feb. 23, Vinceremos breezed five in 1.01:70 (9/14) at PMM.
On March 2, Vinceremos breezed four in :48:45 (5/33) at PMM.
On March 23, Vinceremos breezed four in :49:80 (32/50) at PMM.
On March 30, Vinceremos breezed four in :47:40 (1/35) at PMM.
On April 6, Vinceremos breezed four in :49:25 (11/24) at PMM.
On April 27, Vinceremos breezed four in :49:00 (19/59) at CD.


PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 4, Maiden Special Weight, Gulfstream Park, One Mile. Vinceremos won in a time of 1:39.49 under Edgar Prado. He was fifth early after being bumped at the start, looked like he would have clear sailing home, and was steadied at the sixteenth pole. He won by a head, I'mbetterthangood second, Storm Trooper third.

Feb. 1, Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes, Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 Mile. Edgar Prado gave Vinceremos a crafty ride and surprised even his own connections with a nose victory. Looking hopelessly beaten on the far turn after being part of the early pace, Prado figured Vinceremos likes a target and felt he had plenty of horse left. He was right on both counts, and Vinceremos cut the corner, got the lead and surged to the wire, holding off stable mate Harpoon by a nose. Timed in 1:47.34, it was the slowest run rendition of the race since 2002, when Bunk N Ted completed distance in 1:49.86.  Cousin Stephen finished third, beaten three parts of a length after setting a pressured pace of :24.35, :48.77 and 1:13.61 to the outside of Vinceremos. Matador rallied from sixth place to finish fourth. Asserting Bear, third in the early going, and looking threatening when he hit the stretch, faded to fifth.

Randy Gullatt, racing manager for Twin Creeks Racing Stables, said he'd defer to Pletcher but that the Tampa Bay Derby looks like the logical next spot for Vinceremos.

Ginny DePasquale, assistant to Todd Pletcher: “That was really amazing. It looked like he was dropping back and was done for the day, and all of a sudden there he was. Then (Harpoon) came running on the outside. A dead heat would have been perfect. You never know when they are going to step up to the plate and he obviously did at the right time.”

Randy Gullatt, racing manager for co-owner Twin Creeks Racing Stables: “Edgar didn’t want to make the lead too quick with him because he wants to wait on other horses. If he has a target, Edgar says he digs in, and you just have to be patient and not make the lead too quick. He said he could have gotten away from him on the turn, but he had to wait on those other horses to get by so he had a target. It was a great job on Edgar’s part. We’re learning about him every time. I would think the Tampa Bay Derby is the next logical race and if he is doing well, that would be Todd's choice.”

Edgar Prado: “He was relaxed, and I was confident that he would be there for me when I asked. The pace picked up getting into the turn but I didn’t want to use what we had that soon, so I let them get away from us. Entering the stretch, there was still room on the inside, and he responded when I set him down. He was still going strong to the finish, but I knew it would be close.”

March 8, Grade II Tampa Bay Derby, Tampa Bay Downs, 1 1/16 Mile. Ring Weekend ran through early fractions of :23.62, :46.68 and 1:11.41 en route to a win in 1:43.71. Vinceremos, always in a good spot and battling with Surfing U S A, finished second, beaten three lengths. Surfing U S A was third, another 3/4 length back, and Conquest Titan came from eighth of 10 to finish fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths overall. In fifth was Matador, a 5 3/4-length loser.

Edgar Prado on runner-up Vinceremos: “He did everything just right. We got good position tracking the group behind the leader. He was relaxed running with other horses like he usually is, and when I asked him to run, he ran past horses quickly. But the winner was gone.”

April 12, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Keeneland, 1 1/8 Mile. Vinceremos finished dead last of 14, beaten 28 1/2 lengths by Dance With Fate.

Julien Leparoux: “It set up like we thought. He broke good and I put him in the race – a little wider at the turn but the number 12, there is nothing we can do. He sat there very nice and relaxed but when the race started to get going at the three-eighths pole he just didn’t really kick at the end.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

On Nov. 30, Vinceremos debuted in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park. Racing on a sloppy track at six furlongs under Edgar Prado at 4-5 odds, he came in second to Three Quarter Roy, beaten six lengths, and was three clear of the third finisher, River Pride. Vinceremos was in fifth early on. The winner came home in 1:10.83. Three Quarter Roy finished sixth in the Pasco Stakes in his next start.

 

 

WE MISS ARTIE (ON)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey
Breeder: Richard L. Lister
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Artie Schiller (El Prado (IRE), Hidden Light)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Athena's Gift (Fusaichi Pegasus, Russian Bride)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 9-6-9-2-0 (26) 3.00
Foal Date: March 30, 2011

$90,000 Keeneland September 2012.

The colt is named for Sarah Ramsey’s cousin’s husband Artie, who died not long before the We Miss Artie was named.

Next Race: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Arrival date in Louisville: April 22.

WORKOUTS
On Nov. 25, We Miss Artie breezed four in :49.50 (3/42) at PMM.
On Dec. 1, We Miss Artie breezed four in :49.85 (22/28) at PMM.
On Jan. 7, We Miss Artie breezed four in :47.30 (3/42) at PMM.
On Jan. 13, We Miss Artie breezed four in :49.00 (13/40) at PMM.
On Feb. 9, We Miss Artie breezed four in :48:00 (2/67) at PMM.
On Feb. 16, We Miss Artie breezed four in :48.00 (3/55) at PMM.
On March 16, We Miss Artie breezed four in :49:45 (20/47) at PMM.
On April 13, We Miss Artie breezed four in :48:90 (7/17) at PMM.
On April 20, We Miss Artie breezed five in 1.01:00 (1/2) at PMM.
On April 27, We Miss Artie breezed four in :49:20 (27/59) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 17 NOTE: “He’s trained well on the dirt, but basically he’s run well on all three surfaces,” trainer Pletcher said of the decision to enter the Kitten's Joy. “We just felt like the turf was a logical place to bring him back. We won’t rule out trying him on the dirt again at some point. I actually thought he ran pretty well in the Juvenile. It’s a tough race. He loomed up in the middle of the turn like he had a shot, and he just leveled off a little bit, but it was a good effort. The horse has been training really well. We tried to freshen him up a little bit, and he seemed to respond to it. His last few breezes have been quite good. Physically, he’s doing well. He’s gained some weight, he’s filled out and he’s making that physical transition you like to see one make from two to three. It’s great. You can point for races on the turf and not have to worry if they come off. At the same time, you know he’s good on the turf, and his best race so far was on the synthetic, so we have a ton of options.”

Jan. 19, Kitten's Joy Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile (T). Storming Inti and Alan Garcia broke from post 2, took the lead right away, were passed about a half-length by We Miss Artie and Javier Castellano mid-stretch and rallied again to hit the wire a head in front. We Miss Artie was third the first two calls and was never more than two lengths behind. Fractions were :23.99, :48.64 and 1:12.30 en route to a final time of 1:42.34. Cabo Cat finished third, beaten 1 1/4 length, after coming from seven lengths off the pace. The chart call: "We Miss Artie was held up stalking just off the first flight near the inside early, switched out three deep racing into the backstretch while moving to striking distance, continued in that path to challenge the leader nearing upper stretch, engaged that foe in a protracted skirmish through late stages while striking the front and was just outnodded."

Feb. 22, Grade II Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. We Miss Artie and Joe Bravo finished eighth, beaten 17 1/2 lengths by Wildcat Red. Eighth early on, he made a middle move to reach third place on the far turn but then yielded.

Todd Pletcher:  “He moved up into a decent position and Joe (Bravo) said he was always getting a lot of dirt in his face and never really leveled off and never got into a comfortable rhythm.”

March 22, Grade III Spiral Stakes, Turfway Park, 1 1/8 Mile. In a blanket finish, We Miss Artie got up in the shadow of the wire to win. Harry's Holiday was second by a nose, Coastline third by a neck and Asserting Bear fourth by two lengths. The time was 1:52.26. We Miss Artie was seventh after a half-mile, but only 3 1/4 lengths back of a split of :47.21 set by Almost Famous and Solitary Ranger. We Miss Artie made a long, sustained run that started going into the far turn with six furlongs in the book in 1:12.43. Velazquez steered him five wide, and they were five wide coming into the lane. Harry's Holiday, always prominent, had the lead in the far turn and looked like the winner as the finish line neared. Coastline, who never was far back, was breathing down his neck, but We Miss Artie got up just in time.

John Velazquez: “I was a little wide going into the first turn but I found a nice spot down the backside. Right at the sixteenth-pole I had to drift away from them so he didn’t have to work so hard. Then I was able to get up at the wire.”

Todd Pletcher: “It really was...very exciting. I wasn’t sure he got there but very excited to see that he did. It looked like speed was holding up all day. Johnny had him in a good place and it looked like he was finishing steadily, but it was just a matter of whether he would get there.

Kentucky Derby? “I don’t think that will be much of a discussion -- Mr. Ramsey. We were hoping he could get us there, and he did.”

Jeff Ramsey, son of Ken and Sarah Ramsey: “We really liked him today. He won a grade I on the Polytrack before and he was training really well. I didn’t really think we had it. It was very exciting. My dad wasn’t here when Dean’s Kitten won (the Spiral in 2010); he was in Dubai. He is in Florida watching it on TV. Hopefully we’ll get a really good trip in the Derby. He’s been training on the dirt and getting better. He didn’t like the Fountain of Youth. That track’s a little different than Churchill.”

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

After finishing second in his Belmont Park debut, We Miss Artie won at second asking going 1 1/16 mile on the turf at Saratoga on Aug. 11. He disappointed in a sixth-place effort as the 5-2 favorite in the With Anticipation Stakes on Aug. 29.

Oct. 5, Grade I Dixiana Breeders' Futurity, Keeneland, 1 1/16 Mile. There was literally a flood of rain before the race, and water was kicking up from the Polytrack during the post parade, a very unusual circumstance. We Miss Artie won, timed in 1:46.91, after coming from almost six lengths off the pace to wrest control in upper stretch. He drew off from Smarty’s Echo, who was second, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, after running a couple of lengths closer to the pace initially. Arctic Slope was third, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, after being placed last, 12 3/4 lengths off the pace after a half-mile. Rum Point was another two lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Conquest Titan, Pontos, Ready for Action, Laddie Boy, Solitary Ranger, General Jack, Kendall’s Boy and Tiznowforamerica.

Solitary Ranger and General Jack led the field of 12 through fractions of :23.17, :46.84 and 1:11.94 as We Miss Artie raced near the back of the pack. John Velazquez moved We Miss Artie off the inside approaching the far turn and swung eight wide entering the stretch where he quickly collared Smarty’s Echo.

Ken Ramsey: “I have to take my hat off to my farm manager, Mark Partridge. He picked this horse out at the sale. It’s not a Kitten’s Joy, but it’s an Artie Schiller and they run pretty good too.”

John Velazquez: “Had a little bit of trouble into the first turn, had to steady him out of there, then I gave him a chance up the backstretch. Going to he second turn we saved a little bit of ground. Then when I pulled him out, he saw the light and that’s when he started running.”

THE NEXT DAY: Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Pletcher, said We Miss Artie came out of the race very well and that the colt will remain at Keeneland for the near future. Hughes said no decision had been made about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile or Juvenile Turf.

Nov. 2, Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile. We Miss Artie finished seventh, beaten four lengths by winner New Year's Day. Never more than 2 1/2 lengths off the pace at any call within the race, he faltered in the stretch.
 
Todd Pletcher: “He ran well.... He got into a good stalking position and put in a nice run, then he just leveled of a little bit the last part.”

 

WICKED STRONG (KY)
Trainer: James Jerkens
Owner: Centennial Farms
Breeder: William F. Lynn
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): Hard Spun (Danzig, Turkish Tryst)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Moyne Abbey (Charismatic, Classic Approval)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index: 2-5-11-0-0 (18) 2.27
Foal Date: April 28, 2011

$375,000 Keeneland September 2012.

Named in tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims.

NEXT RACE: Wicked Strong on May 3. Arrival date in Louisville: April 27.

WORKOUTS
On Dec. 19, Wicked Strong breezed four in :49.50 (15/35) at PMM.
On Dec. 28, Wicked Strong breezed four in :50.50 (44/54) at PMM.
On Jan. 3, Wicked Strong breezed five in 1:01.00 (2/22) at PMM.
On Jan. 11, Wicked Strong breezed eight in 1:40.05 (1/1) at PMM.
On Jan. 19, Wicked Strong breezed five in 1.00:90 (2/25) at PMM.
On Feb. 8, Wicked Strong breezed four in :48:00 (5/53) at PMM.
On Feb. 16, Wicked Strong breezed five in 1:00.20 (1/32) at PMM.
On March 11, Wicked Strong breezed four in :48:35 (3/20) at PMM.
On March 26, Wicked Strong breezed seven in 1.27:95 (1/1) at PMM.
On April 3, Wicked Strong breezed three on the training track in :37:26 (5/21) at BEL.
On April 17, Wicked Strong breezed four on the training track in :49:62 (14/28) at BEL.
On April 25, Wicked Strong breezed seven on the training track in 1:27.11 (1/1) at BEL.
On May 1, Wicked Strong breezed three in :36:60 (1/26) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 19 NOTE: Javier Castellano has chosen to ride Wicked Strong instead of Coup de Grace in the Holy Bull.

Jan. 20 NOTE: “People still don’t know how to gauge the (Remsen) because it was so slow – the pace was so slow,” trainer Jerkens said. “It was incredibly slow, and they sprinted home. He was going faster than all of them. He beat a nice horse (breaking his maiden). The horse that was second of John Shirreff’s (Cool Samurai) ended up going out to California to win his next race. I think it was a nice field my colt beat, and he came back good and ran good in the Remsen. All his races are legit. He’s a nice colt; he’s got good wind; he’s good and strong; and he’s got a bit of a streak in him, which is good. He’s a tough horse to handle, but he puts it all together on the track. He doesn’t cheat on the track. He’s all business when he gets out there.”

Jan. 25, Grade II Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. One of the biggest disappointments in the race was Wicked Strong, the 4-1 third choice off an 8-1 morning line partially on the strength of Javier Castellano being on his back for the first time. He was fractious at the gate, dismounting Castellano. Once the race started, he essentially ran in place in eighth position much of the way before checking in ninth. The chart call: "Wicked Strong, reserved off the pace, stopped."

Feb. 22, Entry Level Allowance/Optional Claiming, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Under Javier Castellano, Constitution left the gate as the 2-1 favorite in a field of 10, and he won easily. After once again having some difficulty breaking cleanly from the gate, Constitution was soon on the lead with a quarter-mile run in :24.31, the half in :47.71 and six furlongs in 1:11.03. Longshot Big Guy Ian chased Constitution up the backstretch in vain, vying with Tonalist, the 5-2 second choice, for second position. Tonalist kept running and stayed on to get the place, beaten 3 1/4 lengths behind a winning time of 1:42.19. Mexikoma broke from post 10 and trailed the field after a half-mile, 10 1/2 lengths in arrears. He made a quality late run to take the third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Tonalist. Wicked strong finished fourth, beaten 6 1/2 lengths, after also trailing much of the field in the early running.

April 5, Grade I Wood Memorial, Aqueduct, 1 1/18 Mile. Wicked Strong closed down the center of the stretch to win. Under Rajiv Maragh, he relaxed in sixth, four lengths off the lead after a half-mile and was still fourth, two lengths back, with a furlong left. But he easily cleared the field for a 3 1/2-length win in 1:49.31. Schivarelli relinquished the lead to Social Inclusion after a quarter mile run in :23.79. Social inclusion led through fractions of :47.47, 1:11.18 and still was in front by 1 1/2 length after a mile in 1:36.39. But he could not hold off the winner -- and failed to hold off Samraat as well, who edged him by a nose for the place. Samraat was never worse than fourth at any call. Schivarelli was a non-threatening fourth.

Jimmy Jerkens: "I thought he was training well enough in Florida, but he didn't show up in the afternoon for some reason. I felt good seeing all the Palm Meadows horses running well today. When I saw him laying five lengths off the lead, just galloping, I really felt we had a big shot. He was really comfortable laying relatively close behind a pretty fast pace.

"We were looking at the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial, and the closer we got to both races, I decided I was going to train him up to the Wood down in Florida. The horses that come from behind in Florida, the kickback really bothered him down there.

"I said to Rajiv, 'It's great to save ground all the way, but if you can get him to that crown on the stretch, go ahead.' They were taking off out there all day.

Q: You came close to going to the Derby several years ago with Quality Road, how does this feel?

"I'd love to get another crack at it, that's for sure. Looks like a horse where distance shouldn't bother him."

Rajiv Maragh: "It all unfolded well. I was going to let the horse dictate where he wanted to be. He fell into a nice groove early, and he finished up really strong. It seemed like he had a lot left, and coming down the lane I was just thinking 'Let's go to the wire first.' It worked out good.

"Handicapping the race, you would think there was going to be a contested pace. I really wasn't so much concerned with the fractions; I just wanted my horse to get happy early, to get into a nice rhythm and take it from there."

"He ran awesome in the Remsen, but he was a little green and that might have cost him the race. I felt like I had, probably, the horse to win that day. Today, he was really more mature, more settled, and it made him have a lot more to finish with, I think.

"To me, he's the Derby favorite right now. In my book, anyway. He showed that more distance is going to be better for him. He's really maturing at the right time now, and there's a lot left in the tank, so I don't think we're at the bottom of him, yet."

Don Little of Centennial Farm: "Rajiv rode him perfectly. He rode him in the Remsen and did a great job. When we decided to run in this race, we instantly called him. He fits him; he knows him. We talked before the race. He waited, and we were hoping it would go off with the speed like it did in :23 and :47 and a tick and we had something to run at, and he came running."

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

After finishing second to Manhattan Johnnie in his Sept 21 debut at Belmont Park, Wicked Strong broke his maiden at Belmont on Oct. 26, prevailing by two lengths over a closing Cool Samurai. Never far back, Wicked Strong had the lead passing the quarter-mile pole in 1:11.23 and easily held off the second finisher. His time was 1:37.09.

Nov. 30, Grade II Remsen Stakes, Aqueduct, 1 1/8 Mile. Wicked Strong finished third, beaten only a half-length by Honor Code, who nosed out Cairo Prince at the wire. He was sent off at 10-1 odds under Rajiv Maragh. The race had a very slow pace as Master Lightning went the first six furlongs in 1:17.96. Honor Code's final time was 1:52.92. Wicked Strong was fifth at the first call, 3 1/2 lengths off the pace, then ran between 1 1/2 to three lengths back of the lead until the final furlong. He was green in the stretch. The chart call: "Wicked Strong tossed his head at the start, getting off a bit awkward, settled just off the pace just off the inside, came under encouragement at the five-sixteenths, angled four wide for home, rallied with good energy erratically shying from the stick through the lane a bit green, finished well steadily gaining on the front pair to secure the show."

Jimmy Jerkens: "Anytime they finish strong, it's good. With the slow pace, everyone was in the same boat. He had a nice ground-saving trip."

 

WILDCAT RED (FL)
Trainer: Jose Garoffalo
Owner: Honors Stable Corp.
Breeder: Moreau Bloodstock International, Inc. & Winter Racing Enterprise
Sire (Sire’s Sire, Dam): D'Wildcat (Forest Wildcat, D'Enough)
Dam (Dam’s Sire, Dam): Racene (Miner's Mark, Vette)
Dosage Profile (Points) Index:5-2-3-0-0 (10) 5.67
Foal Date: March 29, 2011

$30,000 OBS June 2013.

NEXT RACE: Kentucky Derby on May 3. Ship date to Louisville: April 22.

WORKOUTS
On Jan. 17, Wildcat Red breezed five in 1:01.85 (7/13) at GP.
On Jan. 26, Wildcat Red breezed three in :36:25 (3/9) at GP.
On Feb. 14, Wildcat Red breezed four in :49:02 (12/24) at GP.
On March 15, Wildcat Red breezed four in :47:98 (10/86) at GP.
On March 22, Wildcat Red breezed three in :34:42 (1/29) at GP.
On April 20, Wildcat Red breezed four in :48:69 (11/42) at GP.
On April 27, Wildcat Red breezed five in 1.04:40 (34/35) at CD.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE THREE

Jan. 1, Gulfstream Park Derby, Gulfstream Park, One Mile. General a Rod was victorious under Joel Rosario. After breaking from post 9, he attended the :23.14 and :45.91 contested pace set by Wildcat Red and Aaron’s Orient from his outside. Wildcat Red had the lead after six furlongs in  1:10.25 as Aaron’s Orient started fading. General a Rod got on even terms with Wildcat Red in the stretch and got the win by a head over Wildcat Red in a ding-dong finish. The time was 1:35.94.

Paco Lopez : "I thought my horse really raced well...he tried all the way. I thought I had (General a Rod), but we just missed. My horse didn't give up. He tried the whole way."

THE NEXT DAY: “We have plans to run in the Holy Bull; that will be the next step,” trainer Garaffalo said. “Depending on the Holy Bull, we will go in the Fountain of Youth. Who knows if we will go in the Florida Derby. It’s still too early to tell, but right now we have expectations. We’ll see what happens. I think he’ll be ready for the next one. He came back in very good shape, thank God. He ran a hell of a race. The best case scenario would be to win, but I’m OK. We’re happy with the race. He did his job. Considering he was off for two months, the post position and all the speed of the race, he did a great job. Surprisingly, he came back full of himself, very happy. He deserved to win because he did all the work, but he proved that he has the class and that he can go longer, which is what I want to do with him. I want to run him longer and see if he can go two turns. Now he proved that he can do better than he did before, especially the distance. In a good pace, in a slower pace, he can go longer. He fought the whole time, he never quit,” he said. “The most important thing is that the horse came back in good shape. There are plenty of races ahead of him and if he’s sound, he will go far. You have to have the horse.”

Jan. 15 NOTE: “He’s doing very good,” trainerr Garoffalo said of Wildcat Red. “If everything goes the right way, we’ll be entering for the Holy Bull. For the moment, everything is very good. The horse came back from the race in very good shape. You just have to wait for the right time, and that’s it. No news is good news.” Garoffalo said a Friday workout was planned to be routine.

Jan. 17 NOTE: “He went pretty good,” trainer Garoffalo said of the day's breeze. “It was a routine workout and he came out of it in good shape, so we will be entering in the Holy Bull on Wednesday. I think the horse is ready for the next race. He proved to me (in the Gulfstream Park Derby) that he has the class and that he belongs in these kinds of races from now on. He showed a lot of class, and he showed that he can handle the distance, which is good. One of my concerns in the beginning was how he was going to handle the mile, but he did it pretty good. I think that he’s going to handle the mile and sixteenth the right way. From now until the race, he’s going get into his routine gallops, maybe one strong gallop in the middle of the week, and then that will be it. So far everything looks good for the Holy Bull.”

Jan. 26 NOTE: “It was an easy breeze, and we’re still trying to see what we’re going to do,” trainer Garoffalo said after Wildcat Red breezed that day. “He came back good. We scoped him, and he scoped good. The first plan is to go in the Hutcheson. The horse is doing good and he’s clean now, so we’re going to wait until Wednesday to decide. He just went an easy three-eighths today, because it was his first breeze after the treatment and the sickness. He went very good today. Unfortunately, the horse got sick right before the race so we didn’t have the time to recover 100 percent but he’s coming around. We’re going to take care of the horse first. If Javier’s open, we’re going to use him. It all depends but he is very busy, now more than ever.

“It (the Holy Bull) was a tough race. I think the horse that won the race was the horse that was supposed to win,” he said. “We saw a very good horse, a very tough contender for the Triple Crown. He’s the horse to beat from now on.”

Feb. 1, Grade II Hutcheson Stakes, Gulfstream Park, Seven Furlongs. Wildcat Red ranged up to the lead turning for home and drew away to win by daylight. Gambler’s Ghost led through a quarter-mile in :22.30 and a half in :44.87 with Mighty Brown alongside and Wildcat Red settled in a stalking spot in fourth, then third. Javier Castellano steered Wildcat Red outside approaching the final turn and took command with little resistance, pulling clear under a hand ride. Favored in the field of nine at 2-1, Wildcat Red ran seven furlongs in 1:22.21, hitting the wire 4 3/4 lengths in front of C. Zee. Pablo Del Monte came on to be third, another half-length behind.

Jose Garoffalo: “It was an infection in the throat, some mucus in the upper windpipe. It wasn’t a big deal really, but we didn’t want to take the chance to run in the (Holy Bull). We waited for this race, and the horse fit pretty good in this spot. He proved he was the best horse in the race, as we were expecting.

“He has a tendency to drift, but he is very immature yet. He needs more experience. Other than that, it is not an issue for him. When he runs, he is focused in the race, and he did the job. He did the job today. I was confident in this horse since the beginning. He showed he can go longer. He’s more relaxed now, he’s more mature now, so he can run better. He can relax himself in the race so that’s a sign that a good horse is coming.

“(The Fountain of Youth) is the next step, hopefully, if everything goes good. We’re going to check the horse after the race, and if everything goes in a good way, we’ll be there. Especially because I just read that Cairo Prince is not going to go in the race. I probably am going to run in that race if the horse is in good shape.

“If you look at his pedigree, he doesn’t show much stamina but the way he’s training, the way he relaxes now, I think we could try him around two turns and see what happens. I think when the pace is slower, he can go longer. He can relax himself in the race, he proved that today.

“Initially the plan was I wanted to ride Castellano in the Gulfstream Park Derby, but he had a commitment with Pletcher. This time, Castellano was open, and I think he fits the horse better. Actually, I was very impressed. I was expecting a tough race, but he handled the group very easily. He impressed me how easy he did it.”

Javier Castellano: "I worked him one morning last week and was very impressed. He has a good mind, and you can put him wherever you want. He doesn't have to be on the lead and he can rate, which is very important. I give the credit to Jose to cut him back in distance to seven-eighths so that he could win a race and move forward. I'm grateful for the opportunity to ride the horse. The race unfolded like I had handicapped. I didn't want to be on the lead because then they'd want to chase me, and he would get tired. I wanted to target somebody, and then he'd give me the kick. It's very impressive, the way he did it. They went good fractions and he was sitting right there. When I asked him, he took off."

THE NEXT DAY:  “He’s very smart. He knows that there is something different around him,” trainer Garoffalo said. “He looks good, to tell you the truth; very good, very fresh, very full of himself. He ate up everything last night and came out of the stall this morning very nicely. It’s all good.”

Feb. 15 NOTE: With Javier Castellano available, trainer Garoffalo needed another rider for the Fountain of Youth, and he got a 21-year-old second in the standings at the meet.. “I think Luis Saez is the right guy to put on,” he said on Feb. 14. “We get along very well and he’s won a lot of races for me, here and at Calder, so let’s do it. Let’s run. He can compete with all the big guys. He’s been there before. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s young, but he’s tough. He knows what to do.” As for Wildcat Red:  “Actually, I would say he was better than before the Hutcheson. He has improved a lot since the last race. Everything looks like he’s going to be ready for the Fountain of Youth. He’s in good shape. He doesn’t need to do too much. He’s very athletic. I try not to stress him too much because he doesn’t need much. With this workout, he’ll be ready.”

Feb. 22, Grade II Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/16 Mile. Wildcat Red narrowly defeated General a Rod. Those two shot from the gate and began winging it early, running together through fractions of :23.03, :46.25 and 1:10.13. General a Rod and Javier Castellano were to the outside of Wildcat Red and Luis Saez. Nothing else came close to them at any point, and Wildcat Red prevailed by a head, timed in 1:41.85. Top Billing, the 2-1 favorite despite having to break from post 11, made a valiant closing run to get third, beaten two lengths. Longshot East Hall, sent away from the gate at 72-1 odds, finished fourth, another 4 1/2 lengths back. Top Billing and East Hall were at the back of the pack after the first quarter-mile, 13 1/2 lengths off the lead.

Jose Garoffalo: "We proved that we were right, that the horse could get the distance. I thought (General a Rod) was the horse to beat and the race was a copy of the last race, the Gulfstream Park Derby, but this time I got lucky and I beat him. I was expecting him to be right next to or right behind me. Javier knows my horse, that's why he went after him very early. When my horse feels another horse alongside, he runs harder. Now we can think seriously about the Derby. He never quits and he likes that - to feel the horse next to him. I was very confident at the wire. I knew that he was going to beat him this time. Last time, the post position wasn't good, but now it was a different story, thank God.

"The Florida Derby will be the next step, depending on how the horse comes back, and then we'll see. If everything goes the right way, we will go straight to Churchill Downs, hopefully. I go to the sales with a limited budget, and I liked everything about the horse--the way he breezed, his athletic body, and more than anything, his attitude. I got lucky that he exactly fit the budget. Saez deserves to ride the horse again unless he changes his mind (also rides Cairo Prince), but for the moment that's not the issue. I won a grade 2 a couple of years ago, but this is for 3-year-old colts and that gets the most attention because it's the road to the Derby."

Luis Saez: "At the top of the stretch, I knew I was going to win the race, because my horse, all the time he tries so hard. When we came into the stretch, he fight, and he never let the other horse pass him. He's a great horse. I wasn't sure, but I thought I got the win. I feel good. He's a nice horse, champion horse, too. So, I'll wait to ride another race and to win another race.

Co-Owner Josie Delfino: "This feels great...it's so emotional. We've been in racing for two years. We're what you call newcomers. We had a good friend from Venezuela introduce us to Jose. We always wanted a horse, we rescue animals in Venezuela,  but didn't know it would be a racehorse until after we met Jose. We didn't think we'd get this far so quick, but after we got Red we thought we'd go far. He has the heart of a winner."

March 29, Grade I Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park, 1 1/8 Mile. Constitution edged Wildcat Red, with General a Rod close by and favored Cairo Prince fourth. With General a Rod and Constitution tracking him, Wildcat Red went through the opening quarter-mile in :24.01. Spot was third after a half-mile in :48.19, with Constitution still close. Spot quickly faded while the other three kept running, and six furlongs were in the book in 1:12.00. General a Rod loomed and Cairo Prince made his move. Constitution moved up on the rail entering the stretch. At the furlong marker, Constitution led by a head in 1:36.46. He managed to keep Wildcat Red at bay and prevailed by a neck. General a Rod finished another 1 1/4 length behind, and Cairo Prince was beaten 3 3/4 lengths by the winner, timed in 1:49.16.

Jose Garoffalo: “We lost the rail at one point and Castellano was smart enough to take the rail at the top of the stretch, and that was it. It was a hell of a race. I think we're thinking seriously to go to Kentucky if the horse comes back in good shape. I'm not disappointed, it was a hell of a race, he did a great job and he was himself like he usually is. We just got beat. I think Castellano was very, very smart and took the rail, and that was the difference. That's why we lost the race. He never quit running.”

John Velazquez: "I saw him coming behind me, but I couldn't do anything about it. My horse was getting out, and I was trying to close the door, but he was getting out and not helping me and that was it, that was the difference right there."

March 30 NOTE: Wildcat Red might stay at Gulfstream Park until about a week before the Derby.

PERFORMANCE AT AGE TWO

Wildcat Red raced three times, all at Gulfstream Park and all sprinting, starting with an eight-length maiden win on Sept. 14. He came back with a 1 1/2-length allowance race victory on Oct. 13. Third time out, he finished 1 1/4 length in front in the $125,000 Juvenile Sprint for Florida-breds on Nov. 9, but was disqualified to second for bearing out in the stretch. Edgard Zayas rode.

Dec. 29 NOTE: “He is a nice horse. He has shown a lot of class since his first time out,” said trainer Garoffalo. “I think he could be a good horse at the mile or over the mile. That’s why we're running in this race. He’s been working very good. He’s training very good. He feels good, so we hope with the help of a little bit of luck and a rider change (to Paco Lopez), I think we can win the race. Unfortunately, he lost the last race but he did his job. He got there and he showed his class in that race. He lost the race because of a rider mistake, but he still has the capacity to beat those horses from now on.

“The rail (post position) is always a concern at a mile, but he has the ability to run anywhere. He can run on the lead, or he can run behind the speed. I’m very confident the horse is going to go longer. He’s going to get the mile easily. We’re looking forward to the longer distances.
 
“If we do good in this race, the next step could be the Holy Bull. Then, we’ll see. That’s pretty much the plan so far. He’s playing on his home court. He stayed here and trained here all summer. He’s getting stronger, and mentally he’s more focused. In the beginning, he was kind of green but now he’s a different horse. I hope that with the time he’s going to get better. All we need is a little bit of luck.”

 

 

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