Your Road to the Roses Stable
By Dick Downey
With Churchill Downs' Road to the Roses contest about to open, let's see if we can find any hidden nuggets on our Just In Case list.
There are some horses here to be warned off, and others that could prove the adage, "A good horse can come from anywhere."
Using any of these horses would entail risk, but if they deliver for you, you'll be ahead of your competition.
We encourage you to review our Looking Good and Worth Watching lists as well.
Afford, a son of Street Sense with Jim Tafel connections, was a game allowance winner at Fair Grounds last time out.
Bahamian Squall is out of Storm Bird mare and could be a router, but we don't know yet -- he's only raced once.
Big Blue Nation looked good in the lobby but didn't score many points in his 2012 debut.
Blingo has the Moss-Shirreffs connections, and is working steadily. He hasn't run on dirt yet.
Bluedacious is noticeably absent from the worktab.
Brigand, from the Bob Baffert barn, has got to start soon following 10 workouts since Dec. 11.
Brother Francis is a really interesting prospect. Read about what he did in the CashCall. Problem was, he's been off the worktab. But he returned yesterday.
Burning Time just doesn't impress me as putting a dent on the TC Trail. And, like some others on Just In Case, he isn't nominated to the Triple Crown.
Chalybeate Springs, if he stays healthy, will get every chance.
Chips All In, I'd be wary. His last race was so bad, you have to wonder if something went wrong.
Currency Swap is a grade I winner that's returned to the worktab on Jan. 28.
Drill, who knows what has happened to him? But he's still on the worktab. He stock is low, but it could head lower still.
If you liked Ecabroni before the Sam F. Davis, you're glad Run for the Roses is just now getting started, right?
Exfactor just seems to be headed in the wrong direction to me and hasn't breezed since Feb. 2.
Hierro was awful in the Sham -- compared to his odds -- but he's put in three works since then. After the Fall meet ended at Churchill Downs, Steve Asmussen said, “We had success with 2-year-olds this meet, with Unbridled’s Note and Hierro looking like the standouts.”
How Do I Win is a horse based in New York that Todd Pletcher said would have a breakout race sometime, but the question is How Long Do We Wait?
Isn't He Clever wasn't early-nominated, looking for him to pop back up in the Sunland Derby.
Jack's in the Deck is nominated, but he's yet to post a recorded workout this year.
King and Crusader will get some talk, but he wasn't early-nominated.
King Kid may show promise in the future, but he's been a disappointment so far.
Majestic Stride is one of a large contingent of Oaklawn horses, and his most recent win was termed "flashy" by a local observer. Connections have always been high on him.
Managed Account, who ran in the Remsen, is showing a very spotty worktab -- nothing since Jan. 21.
Margano, a full brother to Barbaro, has not looked like Barbaro and hasn't put in a recorded workout since Jan. 22. It was kind of odd, he also breezed just four days prior to that.
Mark Valeski, a Larry Jones trainee, is working sharply toward the Risen Star.
Midnight Transfer is high on many lists but is only on Just In Case because he hasn't gone beyond six furlongs yet. He appears to be a late-blooming real talent, though. It took him four starts to break his maiden, but he did that in 1:08 on opening day at SA, then won the San Pedro.
Mr. Prankster, the runaway WEBN winner, was not early-nominated.
On Fire Baby, a filly; it looks to me connections are trying to take her there rather than the converse.
One Sock Down, great name but no recorded workouts since he raced on Jan. 7.
Optimizer will get every chance.
Our Entourage could score points for you on graded turf stakes, if they are in the contest, or on synthetic races in March and/or April. There are several turf-oriented horses that could fill this bill.
If it were my stable, I would not include Overdriven. He's nominated but he's still not on the worktab.
Pee H Dee is owned by "Mattress Mac" of Houston, and Mattress Mac loves to play the game. Couple of bullet works recently.
Raconteur is on the Pletcher B-Team in New York.
Ring It Up couldn't win last out at Oaklawn despite setting a tepid pace.
Speightscity, second in the Withers to Alpha, is already a veteran. He's one of those that's chronically underperformed connections' expectations, so it makes you wonder if there's something there we haven't seen yet -- or whether connections merely have expected too much.
State of Play was a headline horse in the Sam F. Davis -- until they ran the race. I didn't pick him at all before the race, partly due to his post position (#1), but my guess is that he's probably better than he showed in the Davis if left on turf or put on synthetic.
Ted's Folly, a small Oklahoma-bred $1,200 purchase, would not go in my stable.
Three Vases would really surprise me if he dents the Trail.
Tizanexpense, a son of Tiznow, could be one of those improving types.