One of the many reasons I love Horse Racing is it’s year around. I mean, it always seems like there is a good race to watch regardless of the time of year, which track and in which state. With the 2012 Kentucky Derby just eight days away, and the Kentucky Oaks just seven days away, the sport of Horse Racing has a rather quiet weekend this weekend but still boasts a good race. In this week’s edition, we will be taking a closer look at the 2012 Cliff’s Edge Trail Stakes for three year old at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Paynter, for good reason, has been listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite.
Before we get started, just a quick programming note. I will, of course, be taking closer looks at both the Kentucky Oaks and Derby this week but please be advised that since the Oaks is traditionally run on the Friday before theDerby, I will be putting up my Oaks breakdown either Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Then, of course, on either Thursday night or early Friday morning I will be putting up the Kentucky Derby breakdown.
Just one other race, The Westchester Mile at Belmont Park on Saturday, caught my eye.
Seven were entered with no less than three being grade I winners.
The gorgeous To Honor and Serve, Jersey Town, and Boys at Tosconova spearhead the first of 35 stakes races scheduled for the 2012 spring/summer meet at Belmont.
To Honor and Serve, who worked four furlongs in :47.3 this past week, will be making his 4-year-old debut
“He put on a lot of weight, filled out, and matured a lot,” said trainer Bill Mott “He definitely needs a race to get going, I am sure. Our early goal for this part of the season would be the Met Mile. You always have to have something to shoot for, and that’s what we’re shooting for at first.”
Boys At Tosconova, who had been off for almost a year, returned to finish third at Belmont last October. He then won three straight at Gulfstream Park over the winter and looks to take his game to the next level.
Jersey Town who is 0 for since the 2010 Cigar Mile, was second in his 2012 debut at Gulfstream but should not be discounted so quickly.
“His last race was very strong,” said trainer Mike Hushion. “He’s training as nice as can be and it’s worth taking a shot.”
Churchill Downs – April 28, 2012
Race 8 – 9:39 PM
The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes.
Purse $200,000. For Three Year Olds
|1||1||Tarpy’s Goal||3/C||LA||L R Goncalves||118||D L Romans||
|2||2||The Black||3/C||LA||C H Borel||118||D F O’Neill||
|3||3||Saint of Saints||3/C||LA||K J Desormeaux||118||D L Romans||
|4||4||Nonios||3/C||LA||G K Gomez||118||J Hollendorfer||
|5||5||Hierro||3/C||LA||J R Leparoux||118||S M Asmussen||
|6||6||Quick Wit||3/C||LA||C J Lanerie||118||D L Romans||
|7||7||Paynter||3/C||LA||M Garcia||118||B Baffert||
|8||8||Seve||3/C||LA||J L Castanon||118||D L Romans||
|9||9||Stealcase||3/C||LA||S Bridgmohan||118||M E Casse||
|10||10||Motor City||3/G||LA||B J Hernandez, Jr||120||I R Wilkes||
|11||11||Bourbon Courage||3/C||LA||M Mena||118||K Gorde||
1) Paynter- looks like a pretty serious racehorse or, at least, one with huge potential. This good looking bay colt (by Awesome Again) came from fourth position early in his career debut and ran past the leaders to win by four in a fast time (5 furlongs 1:02.4).
So impressed were owner Ahmed Zayat and trainer Bob Baffert, what do they do? They throw him in the Santa Anita Derby, one of the biggest Kentucky Derby prep in the country and certainly, the biggest on the west coast.
So what happens? The gates open in the SA Derby and he bobbles at the break. He is then taken back off the early lead and, in doing so, encounters some traffic issues on the turn for home and is forced to go four wide. When I saw that, I said to myself “a bad break and being wide on the turn?…. He’s history”.
Well lo and behold, this horse fought tooth and nail and in the end? He came fourth beaten less than four lengths to top Kentucky Derby threats I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause.
Wait a second….wait a second….hold on… A bad break, a wide trip, and beaten less than four lengths to, not one but two, top notch three year olds? And in just his second career start?…seriously?…wow…..how could you not be impressed? …Down the road on Saturday night.
2) Bourbon Courage- is unbeaten and untested. He won his first two career starts by a combined 11 lengths and in both he covered six furlongs in slightly over 1:09 down at the Fair Grounds…impressive stuff.
Lion Heart colt steps up in company and switches to Churchill Downs, which we know from experience, could be a tricky surface at times. All in all he looks like the biggest threat to the top pick.
3) Motor City- ran one of the best races in his short (six race) career at Churchill Downs last fall as he came from seventh position early to win the Iroquois Stakes. This late running gelding by Street Sense looks the best of the rest on paper.
The Black is much improved in 2012 and possesses a big closing run. He also steps up in company but you ever know if there a pace meltdown, this guy could be picking up some runners late…..longshot possibility?
2012 KentuckyDerby Notes:
**** Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Palm Meadows Thursday morning.
After recording splits of :11 3/5, :23 3/5, :47 3 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 3/5 trainer Patrick Byrne said “To sum it up in a word—magnificent, It was a super work. He couldn’t be doing any better. He’s ready to go. He was just stretching his legs this morning. Visually, it was very impressive. I’m delighted.”
“We’re looking forward to this race (the Derby). He’s had a nice rest since the Florida Derby, Byrne added. “Things couldn’t have gone better since the Florida”
**** Union Rags and Went the Day Well both arrived at Churchill Downs from Keeneland Race Course on Thursday afternoon.
“I am not sure what time we are going to go out (Friday), whether it will be early or late,” Union Rags’ trainer Michael Matz said. “We have one more work and we are going to watch the weather. We hope to get a good track and work this weekend.”
Trainer Graham Motion put Went the Day Well in the same stall as Animal Kingdom occupied before his 2011 Kentucky Derby win.
Went the Day Well is scheduled to work Saturday, weather permitting.
**** Arkansas Derby winner and possible Kentucky Derby favorite Bodemeister returned to the track Thursday morning following a Tuesday workout. He jogged once around the oval then breezed five furlongs in 1:00.4.
**** Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Dullahan galloped 1 ½ miles and is scheduled to breeze Saturday morning.
**** Trainer Larry Jones was in the saddle as Mark Valeski galloped 1 ½ miles as did Prospective.
**** Trainer Steve Asmussen’s pair of Derbybhopefuls, Sabercat and Daddy Nose Best, galloped Thursday morning over a track labeled as “good” following overnight showers in Louisville. Both are scheduled to work Monday.
**** Hansen just walked the shedrow at trainer Mike Maker’s barn. He is scheduled to work Saturday or Sunday morning.
**** Trainer Todd Pletcher’s two Derby contenders, the unbeaten Gemologist and El Padrino, are scheduled to breeze Sunday at Palm Meadows. Then both colts will ship to Louisville on Tuesday.
**** Trainer Doug O’Neill said he expects a “sharp” six-furlong workout Friday morning from Santa Anita Derby winner I’ll Have Another then ship to Churchill Downs on Saturday.
**** Creative Cause is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs from California on Saturday.
Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2011 three year old filly champion Royal Delta has resumed galloping with no definite plans for her return to the races. Trainer Bill Mott said “She’s just started up galloping, she’s been tack-walking and jogging, and she got to feeling so good I had to start training her. I can’t hardly hold her on the ground.”
**** Lastly, I got two in my newly created “This has nothing to do with Horse Racing “section
I was channel surfing the other night when I stopped on the Dodgers/Braves game. I heard the Dodgers, since moving to LA some 50 years ago, have only had 17 rainouts. Wow, are there any Dodger fans out there that can confirm that? Because that’s amazing if it’s correct.
…and I’ll leave you with this one, I’m driving down the road Thursday morning and I’m listening to the radio. Evidently there was a couple in Romania riding a motorcycle (a man was driving and a woman or his girlfriend on the back) down the street got pulled over because the woman was buck naked.
Obviously, the Romanian Police Officer inquired as to what was going on, and after a brief discussion, the officer made the woman put her helmet on. When she did the officer stepped aside and let the couple go on their way.
Sounds as though I need to move to Romania…..think they have Horse Racing over there?