You can call this part: 2 from this past weekend’s Horse Racing “Races of the Week” as we will be looking at two more races on Monday, President’s Day.
Actually, you can call them co-highlighted, part: 2 races as we will be looking at Oaklawn Park’s $500,000 Razorback Handicap for four year olds and up. The mile and a sixteenth contest drew Gun Runner, who will spearhead a field of eight.
We will also be looking at the $500,000 Southwest Stakes, another mile and a sixteenth race, but this one is for straight three year olds as Oaklawn Park’s Road to the Kentucky Derby begins to pick up steam. Uncontested will lead the full field of 13.
Monday- February 20, 2017
Race: 7 (4:09 PM EST Post)
1) Gun Runner- you can make an argument that this colt is the second best (behind Arrogate) older horse in the country heading into 2017.
In fact, he has done very little wrong since the 2016 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth (fifth, beaten 6+ lengths over a sloppy track…more on that in a minute).
Since the Haskell, he futilely chased Arrogate in the Travers, finished second (beaten by just a half-length) in the Pennsylvania Derby, finished second again against a streaking Tamarkuz in none other than the BC (Dirt) Mile then wired the field in the Grade: 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs to finish out 2016.
Good looking chestnut by Candy Ride has registered four consecutive “trips” speed figures and even though he drew the #1 post, and he will be making his first start of the year, he clearly looks like the one to beat.
I love his work pattern coming into this showing several six-furlong stamina building works, topped off by a bullet 5F- in :59.4 last week.
The real question is…. with an 80% chance of rain in the forecast, combined with the fact he clearly dislikes a wet surface, will he even start?
“There would be some discussion as to scratching him, for sure,” David Fiske, racing manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds who owns the colt, said should the Oaklawn track come up wet for the race. “But…he has to start somewhere. It may come down to that. So we’ll see”.
“He worked really well earlier in the week, he was smoking. I think he just did it on his own really and barring the weather and the track condition, we’re anticipating him running well” Fiske added.
2) Domain’s Rap – has plenty of things to like.
He is 5 for 7 over this surface, 2 for 2 thus far in 2017 and is clearly in career best form right now.
This nine-year-old veteran finished second to Upstart in this race last year and his last two speed figures (both visually impressive wins) say he can contend again this year.
Now throw in the fact that you get the “third start off the layoff” angle and you should come up with a horse sitting on another big race.
3) Hawaakom – could not have looked any better while coming from last early on to run past the field and win the Louisiana Stakes at the Fair Grounds in last.
Hard knocking, hard trying, seven-year-old gelding was on the board in 8 of 11 last year and shows 12 of 16 on the board in his career at this distance while chasing horses like the speedy Noble Bird, Diving Rod and yes, Gun Runner.
I suspect this son of Belmont Stake winner Jazil will be “coming late” down the stretch once again in this spot.
Dazzling Gem – took the lead at the quarter pole in the aforementioned Louisiana Stakes in his last but was gunned down in deep stretch by the third pick. It should be noted however, this four year old by Misremembered was wide every single step of the way in that race, yet only lost by three quarters of a length over a track (sloppy) he may not have cared for…. the possibility of his reversing the decision against the third pick in this spot are very good and in fact, he could better this rating overall.
Race: 9 (5:09 EST Post)
|1||Cool Arrow (KY)||3/C||L||B J Hernandez, Jr.||119||J Sharp||12/1|
|2||Silver Dust (KY)||3/C||L||C J Lanerie||115||R L Morse||10/1|
|3||Uncontested (KY)||3/C||L||C Hill||122||W M Catalano||5/2|
|4||Lookin At Lee (KY)||3/C||L||R Santana, Jr.||117||S M Asmussen||8/1|
|5||Rowdy the Warrior (OK)||3/C||L||L S Quinonez||115||D K Von Hemel||20/1|
|6||Cu Rahy (MD)||3/C||L||G W Corbett||115||D Durham||50/1|
|7||Warrior’s Club (KY)||3/C||L||C Landeros||117||D W Lukas||12/1|
|8||Petrov (KY)||3/C||L||J L Ortiz||115||R Moquett||5/1|
|9||Dilettante (FL)||3/C||L||F Geroux||115||D W Lukas||15/1|
|10||Hence (KY)||3/C||L||R A Vazquez||115||S M Asmussen||20/1|
|11||One Liner (KY)||3/C||L||J R Velazquez||115||T A Pletcher||7/2|
|12||P C Cowboy (KY)||3/C||L||C H Marquez, Jr.||115||J A Ortiz||30/1|
|13||Chief Know It All (KY)||3/C||L||J Rocco, Jr.||117||B H Cox||12/1|
1) Uncontested – is in my top 5 candidates for the 2017 Kentucky Derby win based off his nothing short of sensational score in the Smarty Jones Stakes over this very (sloppy) track in his last (see below).
This colt by Tiz Wonderful blew out of the gate and quickly established the early lead in the Smarty Jones. From a visual standpoint it looked as though he was just cruising along but he posted a :46.1 half mile split while sitting on a two length lead. He opened that lead to almost four at the quarter pole (getting 6F in 1:10.2) while still under a hand ride.
By the time they hit the three sixteenths pole, jockey Channing Hill simply threw a cross or two at him and…poof…he was gone, drawing away at will to win by 5+ lengths while getting a mile in a very good 1:36.1 and scoring a strong 96 speed figure.
Yes, he got the final quarter in very pedestrian :25.3 but go watch the replay (below)….take note how Hill was pretty much motionless on him while Jose Ortiz had eventual second place finisher Petrov in an all-out drive, yet was still losing ground from the three eighths pole to the sixteenth pole…..that, readers, caught my attention big time.
No doubt in my mind he’s the one to beat in this spot….and 5/2 on the morning line looks like a gift.
2) Petrov- I know I just said that this colt was futilely chasing the top pick in his last but it way too early to give up on him.
By Flatter, this roan colt has a very smooth stride and a competitive attitude, which is something I always like to see.
I love the way he “powered past” his rivals in his racing debut at Churchill last year and the race that was sandwiched by the Smarty Jones and his racing debut was good also.
Speed figures continue to climb, which is one of several things that signal improvement to me….big work last week (5F- 1:00 flat) tells me he is still sharp and should be sitting on a big one.
3) Lookin’ at Lee – chased Classic Empire (twice) and the mega-talented, but now retired, Not This Time his last three times out was not completely embarrassed by either of them all three times.
Colt by 2-time champion Lookin’ at Lucky won his previous two races and his speed figures have a very nice, steady upward trend…. working very well for his first start in 3 ½ months.
If you have not seen Hence’s last race, go…right now….and watch it because I was riveted to it. This son of Street Boss almost fell on his face at the break (spotting the field several lengths) but made a spectacular “middle move” to seize command of the race and open a two length lead at the top of the stretch. He then (according to trainer Steve Asmussen) “spooked” at the flashing tote-board and ducked in badly, once again, giving the field several more lengths. When it was all said and done, this cat still won by almost a length…I’ll tell you, it was one of the more amazing races I’ve seen in a while…to have that many things go against you and still win was remarkable….I’ll be watching him closely on Monday……………….exactly how good is One Liner? I guess we will find out on Monday as this colt by Into Mischief, and from the Todd Pletcher barn, has won both career starts in fine fashion even though 6 months apart. Good looking colt beat mid-level optionals at Gulfstream Park in his last by 3 ½ lengths, getting 6 furlongs in 1:10 flat but I liked what I saw when he galloped out about another quarter mile beyond the wire…….acid test on Monday for this guy…………I am very intrigued with Silver Dust- who is a $510,000 son of super sire Tapit that could not have looked better in whipping maidens in his last. Jockey Corie Lanerie took him back off the pace early on but he unleashed a devastating run from the three eighths pole to the wire. What made that run so impressive was the acceleration that he showed and the fact he had to “split horses” down the stretch…..still another I will be watching closely as that race made me sit up and pay attention to him…………………Cool Arrow – is another who is improving nicely for trainer Joe Sharp. Another by Into Mischief, this horse has won 3 of his last 4 by daylight, including the Springboard Mile in his last. I also like the finishing first or second in 5 of 6 career tries.
By: Gerard Apadula
Director of Equine Operations and Development
Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team
2017- Record: 18-37 = 49%
2016- Record: 91-229 = 40%
2015- Record: 67-180 = 37%
2014- Record: 29-73 = 40%
2013 -Record: 20-59= 34%
2012: Record: 24-73= 33%
2011- Record: N/A
2010- Record: 24-74= 33%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces
**** 2015 female champion sprinter La Verdad delivered her first foal, a dark bay filly by Medaglia d’Oro, last Monday in upstate NY.
The newborn filly, a New York-bred like her dam, is the first horse ever bred by owner Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable.
La Verdad will be bred to super sire Tapit in 2017.
La Verdad won 16 of her 25 starts—including four graded stakes—and earned more than $1.5 million in purses in her career.
**** In his first timed workout since his emphatic win in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28, the freak of nature they call Arrogate cruised in a half mile work on Valentine’s Day at Santa Anita Park.
With Martin Garcia aboard, Arrogate “just galloped around out there” in :48.3 according to trainer Bob Baffert.
“He looked good. It was just a maintenance half,” Baffert said. “He didn’t do much for him. We didn’t let him go out too strong today … but he looked great. He looks like he’s held his weight. He’s healthy, he’s happy, his color is good.
“He’s just a horse who is so talented and so gifted, I can’t believe it. And he’s getting better, that’s the most important thing.”
When asked where the super-star will turn up next, Baffert said:
“You know, right now we were waiting to see how he worked, and see how he works again. We have the Big ‘Cap (Santa Anita Handicap March 11) here, that’s an option,” Baffert said. “Everything is an option. Right now, nothing is ruled out but nothing is for sure”.