Union Rags, Motor City, Liaison work// Connections of El Padrino want roses// Blinkers off for Hansen

Union Rags hit the track at Palm Meadows for his 4th workout since the layoff. It was a modest 5-panel move in 1.02:74// Motor City, winner of the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs, returned to the work tab with a 4-furlong breeze// Liaison, the likely favorite for Saturdays’ Robert Lewis (G2) continued his quick workout routine with a 48 flat move at Santa Anita// A thorough pedigree profile below on Algorithms by the Iron Maidens blog, who comes to the conclusion the son of Bernardini is well built for classic distances// Two great features on two separate blogs today.  One on Jonathan Sheppard and his Derby hope Ever So Lucky.  Despite pedigree signs to the contrary, the trainer thinks the colt could perform well at long distances given his demeanor and push-button ability.  The other article concerns the syndicate ownership of El Padrino.  One of the partners is the son of famous owner Jim Scatuorchio and he has big aspirations to get to the Kentucky Derby// Hansen’s owner Dr. Kendall Hansen writes a new entry in the Courier Journal Blog dedicated to the horse.  He claims the colt was too “jacked up” in the Holy Bull and that the early stumble didn’t help matters.  He also reveals Hansen will not wear blinkers for the Fountain of Youth (G2)// more…

Upcoming Graded Stakes Probable Entries:
Robert Lewis (G2)- Liaison, Sky Kingdom, Out of Bounds, Empire Way, Rousing Sermon, Groovin’ Solo, I’ll Have Another, Chips All In

Withers (G3)- Alpha, How Do I Win, Swag Daddy, King Kid, Speightscity, Tiger Walk, Hakama and Phil Dancer.

Sam F. Davis (G3)- Ecabroni, State of Play, Holy Highway, Prospective, Neck ‘N Neck, Ravelo’s Boy, Battle Hardened, Fox Rises

Union Rags workout reports: DRF / TTimes / Bloodhorse

Down and Derby Sweet 16 (Zipse at the Track Blog)

Graded Earnings List

Union Rags- PMM- 5F- 1.02:74- B- 2/4
Motor City- PMM- 4F- 49:70- B- 15/27
Ancient Rome- PMM- 5F- 1.01:01- B- 3/9
Hakama- FH- 4F- 48:40- B- 2/5
Optimizer- OP- 6F- 1.15:20- B- 1/2
Liaison- SA- 4F- 48:00- H- 2/7

Speed Ratings*
3yo winning Beyers last week: El Padrino - 100; Algorithms - 98; Apprehender - 97; Comisky's Humor - 96; The Lumber Guy – 90

Top 3yo winning BRIS figs last week: El Padrino - 111; Algorithms - 105; Apprehender - 103; Comisky's Humor - 100; The Lumber Guy

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“Discreet dancer for Pletcher yesterday #pmmfinal quarter in 24.1. Keeps fresh and dont think as ever been set down in morning, yet”- Grade1Racing via Twitter

Union Rags out 15 in front of workmate & country mile in front by five furlong pole with ears pricked. Again, bit washy#nice- Bruno De Julio via Twitter

Union Rags #pmm went slowly from 5f we caught from 1/2 in company in 13, 24.4, 37,49 opened up in 101.4, 116 on gallop out EZ- Bruno De Julio via Twitter

“We've adjusted Union Rags work. Officially from 5f pole:13.4, 26.4, 50.4, 102.4, out in 115.3, 129.4. Worked well in company” – Bruno De Julio via Twitter

Top runners from Sunday fine on Monday// List of probables for Withers, Sam Davis, and Robert Lewis// Alpha, Out of Bounds, Discreet Dancer lead work tab// Updated future odds

On the morning after a fantastic Sunday of racing at Gulfstream Park for Todd Pletcher, he was still non-committal on where Holy Bull winner Algortithms and equally buzzed-about El Padrino would go next. Both apparently came out of their victories in good order.  Next race plans for Discreet Dancer, another Pletcher Derby prospect, seem to be the most concrete with the Fountain Of Youth (G2) penciled in.  It’s also worth noting Pletcher’s ultra impressive 3-year-old filly Broadway’s Alibi who won the other graded stakes Sunday at Gulfstream could face males next time out.  The trainer indicated the Swale (G2) at Gulfstream is on the radar, however the article does state she will not be pointed to the Kentucky Derby// Holy Bull runner-up Hansen is reported to be fine the day after his first defeat and will point for the Fountain of Youth (G2).  That race is shaping to up to be very tough with not only Discreet Dancer, but also the expected return of Union Rags among other strong entries// Alpha put in his one and only work between races Monday at Belmont.  His time for 5 furlongs in 1.01:02 was the quickest of 14. Alpha is expected to be the favorite in Saturday’s Withers (G3).  Other probable starters listed below// State Of Play, who has the same connections as last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, will make his dirt debut in Saturday’s Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.  The Grade 2 winner finished 12th last time out in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), but has been working well on dirt. Other probables are listed below// All reports are glowing from Ever So Lucky’s workout on Monday.  He’s pointed to the 7-furlong Hutcheson and trainer Jonathan Sheppard expressed no hurry or strong desire to get the colt ready for the Kentucky Derby.  Not sure I’m buying the patient and blasé attitude from a trainer who sent the colt through a 6.5 furlong maiden race, 5 furlong workout, and 8.5 furlong graded stakes in a matter of 16 days last November// Interesting comment below on Saturday’s work from top contender Creative Cause. Despite the fast final time, the clocker said it was “visually unappealing”// Updated future odds were released from Wynn Las Vegas.  Algorithms is the new favorite at 8-1 followed by Union Rags at 10-1.  You can also find a few horses whose connections most likely recently dumped a bunch of money down: Battle Force (60-1), third in the Generous Stakes on turf in November, Big Blue Nation (75-1), who could also be getting wagers from rabid University of Kentucky fans, and Hierro (50-1) are all a little too low at this stage…

Upcoming Graded Stakes Probable Entries:

Robert Lewis (G2)- Liaison, Sky Kingdom, Empire Way, Rousing Sermon, Groovin’ Solo, I’ll Have Another

Withers (G3)- Alpha, How Do I Win, Swag Daddy, King Kid, Speightscity, Tiger Walk, Hakama and Phil Dancer.

Sam F. Davis (G3)- Ecabroni, State of Play, Holy Highway, Prospective, Neck ‘N Neck, Ravelo’s Boy, Burning Time, Battle Hardened, Fox Rises, Reveron

Crazy future betting (The Downey Profile)


Graded Earnings List

Alpha- BEL- 5F- 1.01:02- B- 1/14
Ever So Lucky- GP- 5F- 59:20- H- 1/4
Z Dager- FG- 4F- 52:60- B- 43/44
Shared Property- FG- 4F- 51:60- B- 41/44
Discreet Dancer- PMM- 5F- 1.02:55- B- 6/16
Hierro SA- 3F- 38:80- H- 9/12
Daddy Nose Best- SA- 5F- 1.00:60- H- 11/39
Out of Bounds HOL- 5F- 1.00:60- H- 6/19

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“Algorithms seems to have come out of his race in good shape and was feeling very happy with himself this morning”- Starlight Racing via Twitter

“Breezed ‘ever so lucky’ this morning. He went very good”- Julien Leparoux via Twitter

“Creative Cause disappointed Saturday. Failed to catch target Swiss Tart despite heavy pressure. Visually unappealing despite getting bullet”- Donald Harris via Twitter

“Out of Bounds floating over the cushion. Broke two behind target. Best by half at wire. Out six 112.80. Did not take a breath”- Donald Harris via Twitter

Superstars emerge in Holy Bull, undercard?// Contenders work for Robert Lewis, Withers, Southwest

Normally, a 5-length commanding win over the reigning 2-year-old Champion would catapult a colt like Algorithms into the leading ranks of Kentucky Derby prospects.  While that may be the case in some circles, other circles will cast their doubts.  The Gulfstream Park track for the Holy Bull (G3) Sunday was listed as sealed and sloppy, and played extremely quirky throughout the day, giving way to both dominating wins and dissapointing efforts.  Furthermore, champion Hansen stumbled at the start and hurriedly tried to make up for it by gunning to the lead and running a second quarter in a blistering 22:03.  That scenario set up perfectly for lightly raced Algorithms who fired to the front just after the final turn and extended his separation from Hansen with every stride under little urging.

Regardless of stumbles and track conditions, a few things are clear.  Hansen is not a freak who can overcome adversity and he still has not learned to rate – a tactic that should probably be acquired if his connections wish him to wear the roses in May.  Despite these faults it was his first race in nearly three months and he still held on for 2nd against a decent group of horses. Could more conditioning, a dry track, and a clean break make the difference? We’ll have to wait and see.

As for the winner Algorithms, all signs point up.  An undefeated graded stakes winner in just his third race, he carries the dual threat of favorable pedigree and proper running style for the Classics.  The fact that he’s trained by Kentucky Derby and Belmont winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who not only swept the two graded races on Sunday’s card but also proved to have another Derby threat from an undercard race, will only embolden his backers.  Pletcher stated he’s unsure of where to go next with Algorithms, other than the fact he would like to separate some of his leading contenders, a list that seems to grow by the day.

The show spot in the Holy Bull went to My Adonis, who encountered some bumping at the start yet was able to compose himself and make a late charge. 
El Padrino was the impressive victor in the aforementioned undercard entry-level optional claimer at Gulfstream.  In a perfectly timed move by Javier Castellano, the colt overtook Take Charge Indy deep in the stretch to win by 2-lenghts in a final time of 1:42.68.  The top two finishers were well clear of the remaining field by almost 14 lengths.  It also appeared Calvin Borel may have pushed the button on Take Charge Indy a bit too soon in the backstretch.  Considering it was the colt’s first race since the Breeders’ Cup it was an admirable effort that should set him up well for the next race, presumably the Fountain of Youth (G2).  Favorite Casual Trick showed absolutely nothing when the race turned serious before the stretch.  He was virtually spinning his wheels and ended up last of all except for Gaelico who was pulled up. The winner earned a speedy 100 Beyer Speed figure for the win at 1 1/16 miles, which was higher than the 98 his stablemate received for the Holy Bull win.  Both figures are exceptional for sophomores at this time of year, especially considering recent trends.

Key workouts occurred from East to West and in between Sunday.  At Santa Anita, Rousing Sermon, 2nd in the CashCall Fututity (G1) by a neck last out, put in a serious 4-furlong work.  According to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer the colt is set for Saturday’s Robert Lewis (G2)// Smarty Jones Stakes winner Junebugred breezed a quick 4-furlongs at Oaklawn in preparation for the Southwest (G3).  He’ll face some of the same horses from the Smarty Jones, including 4th place Jake Mo who also worked Sunday// Todd Pletcher’s How Do I Win and Gary Contessa’s Speightscity worked at Belmont for Saturday’s Withers (G3) at Aqueduct.  They’ll go against presumed favorite Alpha whose connections plan to enter in all three New York preps// The Courier-Journal released their annual Kentucky Derby guide, which includes an overview of contenders, rankings, schedules, and coverage of geographical “divisions”.  All linked below…


Holy Bull S. (G3)
Winner: Algorithms
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Replay: YouTube
Beyer: 98

Gulfstream Park Race 7- Allowance Optional Claiming
Winner: El Padrino
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Beyer: 100
Articles: DRF / Brisnet

Other Articles
Courier Journal Kentucky Derby Preview:

Speightscity- BEL- 5F- 1.00:65- B- 4/28
Twelve Hundred- HAW- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 1/8
Worthington- SUN- 4F- 50:80- B- 20/23
Rousing Sermon- SA- 4F- 47:40- H- 5/40
How Do I Win- BEL- 4F- 49:04- B- 29/61
Brown Eyed Jozi- LAD- 5F- 1.03:00- B- 6/6
Junebugred- OP- 4F- 48:40- B- 4/82
Jake Mo- OP- 4F- 51:40- B- 61/82
Thunder Moccasin- PMM- 4F- 48:93- B- 18/39

Currency Swap returns to work tab, Secret Circle and other contenders breeze// Revised dosage for Hansen// Beggarthyneighbor gets black type

The weekend is always busy with Kentucky Derby contender workouts, and Saturday was no exception.  Most notable was the return of Currency Swap to the work tab.  The Hopeful (G1) winner has been out of training since that victory in September due to an ankle chip.  He went an easy 3 furlongs in 36:60, with a little reported perspiration.  Trainer Teresa Pompay says the Florida Derby (G1) is the logical target but they could ship outside of Florida if he’s not ready by March 31.  Either way, the colt will only have one race before the Kentucky Derby, if he even has enough graded earnings to make it// Secret Circle, 2nd last time out as the favorite in the two-turn Sham (G3) fired a bullet 5 furlongs at Santa Anita.  Bob Baffert has not made an official decision on whether the colt is pointing to the Southwest (G3) or one-turn San Vicente (G2).  Highly touted maiden winners Fed Biz and Unbridled’s Note also worked at Santa Anita, and surprise Gulfstream Park Derby Stakes winner Reveron went a slow 4 furlongs at Calder// Good investigating work by Dick Downey.  He revealed that Hansen’s dosage index, a pedigree statistic that indicates a horse’s ability to handle classic distances, was incorrectly reported.  The revised index is 3.50 from the original 5.40, which now puts Hansen in the sub 4.00 category.  Only five Kentucky Derby winners since 1940 have had an index above 4.00// Interesting video interview below with John Avello, director of the Wynn Las Vegas Sportsbook.  However, are we really supposed to believe they’re taking risks on accepting future wagers when a majority of horses won’t even make the Kentucky Derby, much less win it?// Beggarthyneighbor won the Dancing Count S. at Laurel Saturday.  The 8-5 favorite stayed close to pacesetting Costas Fiftieth, before splitting foes late in the stretch for the win// Big trail race Sunday with the return of champion 2-year-old Hansen who will duel against lightly raced but promising Algorithms and Consortium among others.  Free pps, handicapper picks, and race replays can be viewed at the below link…

Holy Bull S. (G3)- race page with pps, race videos, articles and more here

Dancing Count Stakes- Laurel Park- Winner: Beggarthyneighbor- chart


Currency Swap- GP- 3F- 36:60- B- 5/14
King Kid- GP- 5F- 59:95- H- 3/36
Burning Time- CRC- 4F- 50:20- B- 43/86
Reveron- CRC- 4F- 52:00 B- 72/86
State of Play- TAM- 4F- 48:60- B- 5/56
Atigun- OP- 4F- 49:80- 18/92
Chips All In- SA- 7F- 1.29:00- H- 4/4
Secret Circle- SA- 5F- 58:60- H- 1/61
Unbridled's Note- SA- 5F- 59:60- H- 6/61
Fed Biz- SA- 6F- 1.12:80- H- 3/16
Creative Cause- HOL- 6F- 1.11:60- H- 1/19
Ted's Folly- FG- 5F- 1.01:60- B- 13/67
Battle Hardened PMM- 5F- 1.01:33 B- 14/33
Prospective PMM- 5F- 1.03:04- B- 31/33
Mr. Style PMM- 3F- 37:85- B- 5/11

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“With @GulfstreamPark tab out... Currency Swap 36.4, out 51.1 ~ rider told us it was intended to be very easy; was lil washy in no humidity”- Grade1Racing via Twitter

Consortium to get Lasix in Holy Bull// Handicappers try to beat Hansen// Southwest, Withers, Robert Lewis come into focus

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin reveals Holly Bull entrant Consortium bled a bit in his last race, a 2nd place finish behind another Holy Bull starter Algorithms.  He’ll try Lasix for the first time Sunday, which could spark some improvement// Handicapper picks are rolling in for the Holy Bull. It looks like many believe Hansen should win, but will try to beat him in their wagers with Algorithms on top// Reveron is still on target for the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. Trainer Augustin Bezara, who hails from Venezuela and does not speak English, said through an interpreter that the colt is doing well in morning jogs and gallops.  In a style a bit unorthodox from North American trainers, he does not often send his horses on official works between races// Apprehender, a dominating debut winner Thursday at Oaklawn, will start next in the Southwest (G3).  He earned a high Beyer of 97 for his 5.5 furlong maiden score. Looking at his sire, Posse, you could guess he might not like a stretch-out, but his dam was a Grade 1 winner at 9 furlongs. A horse by the awful name of Pee H Dee is also possible for the Southwest, as long as an allowance in early February doesn’t fill as expected.  His stablemate Ring It Up will point for an allowance with longer-term hopes of going to the Rebel (G2) on March 17// The lineup for the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct is a little more clear.  In addition to highly touted Alpha, the field could swell to nine with Hakama, King Kid, Phil Dancer, Speightscity, Swag Daddy, Tiger Walk, How Do I Win, and Longview Drive. The latter two are only questionable.  Presumed favorite Alpha will have several more gate schooling sessions based on his issues in prior races// Last year it seemed Bob Baffert was focused on splitting his Kentucky Derby contenders between California, Arkansas, and New York, but it looks like he could have two top prospects in this year’s Robert Lewis (G2) at Santa Anita.  Liaison, winner of the CashCall Futurity (G1) and Sky Kingdom, a troubled fifth in the same race are pointed for the 9-furlong contest next week.  The latter also earned a bullet from his 5-furlong work Friday, when he went 58:40, which was best of 67 other workers. He and Liaison will most likely confront Empire Way, Rousing Sermon, and I’ll Have Another in the Robert Lewis.

Holy Bull S. (G3)- race page with pps, race videos, articles and more here

Holy Bull Picks: Thorofan Blog / Dick Downey

Stat- PMM- 5F- 1.02:41- B- 4/8
Isn't He Clever- SUN- 5F- 1.00:80- H- 1/9
Sky Kingdom- SA- 5F- 58:40- H- 1/67

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
Southwest just got verrrry interesting. Apprehender got a 97 Beyer speed figure in his debut yesterday- Rolly Hoyt via Twitter

Half-dozen for Holy Bull// Undercard allowance comes up tough// Basmati yet another off trail// Liaison fires 2nd consecutive bullet

Hansen is the favorite in Sunday's Holy Bull.  Photo:

As expected, a compact group of entries were drawn for Sunday’s Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park.  2-year-old champion Hansen leads the cast as the favorite at 6-5 odds. He could get some early pressure from Silver Max , who was a somewhat unexpected addition to the field.  If those two engage in a duel, promising and undefeated Algorithms could pounce.  The field rounds out to six with My Adonis, who could also vie for the early lead; restricted stakes winner Fort Loudon; and Consortium, 2nd last time out against Algorithms.  The Holy Bull race page which includes free PPs, links to articles, and race replays can be viewed here// Hansen took to the Gulfstream track Thursday morning, later than his usual pre-dawn time.  Apparently he had a spirited 2 mile gallop and some gate training. Union Rags also had an “intense jog” at Palm Meadows according to Bruno De Julio, who also indicated the colt was noticeably perspiring as usual// The Holy Bull will not be the only race Derby watchers take note of Sunday at Gulfstream. The 7th race will undoubtedly produce at least one horse whose connections will move onto graded company with hopes of pointing to Kentucky down the road.  El Padrino was supposed to start in last weekend’s LeComte (G3) before suffering a minor setback.  Take Charge Indy, 5th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Casual Trick, 2nd behind Holy Bull entrant Algorithms in his last race, both have trainers who believe their horses are serious prospects// In a trend that will hopefully end Friday, another contender was ruled off the Kentucky Derby trail, making it three contenders in three days.  Basmati recently underwent ankle surgery and will miss the Triple Crown series, however he is expected to make a full recovery// Ever So Lucky, 2nd in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in November, has settled in at Gulfstream.  He will most likely work Sunday and aim for the 7-furlong Hutcheson (G2)// DRF has an interview with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin who seems confident with his prospects Alpha and Consortium// CashCall Futurity winner Liaison posted a bullet workout for the second consecutive week at Santa Anita// more…

-Holy Bull S. (G3)- race page with pps, race videos, articles and more here
-Gulfstream Park- Race 7- AOC- $53,500- entries

Holy Bull Preview articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet / TTimes / Miami Herald
UAE Derby draws 136 nominations (The Downey Profile)
New Hansen Blog (Courier Journal)

Sir Bond- FG- 5F- 1.02:80- B- 2/2 (Sloppy)
Team Six- FH- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 1/8
Souper Speedy- PMM- 3F- 37:23- B- 2/5
Empire Way- HOL- 6F- 1.14:80- H- 5/10
Liaison SA- 6F- 1.11:80- H- 1/18
Night Tide- SA- 5F- 1.00:20- H- 15/40
Longview Drive- SA- 6F- 1.13:20- H- 4/18

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
Delta Jackpot runner-up Basmati of TC trail after ankle surgery. Trainer O'Neill tells me prognosis 'great for 100% full recovery- Jennie Rees via Twitter

Ever So Lucky, following a 12-hour van ride from South Carolina, gallops a mile at Gulfstream Friday- DRFGrening via Twitter

Nice to see Hopeful winner Currency Swap back at track w Terri Pompay- DRFGrening via Twitter

3yo maidens to watch in Sat. 2nd at GP going 7 1/2f -- Zito firster Stereo in Moton and Pletcher pair Colony Strike and Mordi's Miracle- Steve Haskin via Twitter

Also Dale Romans' Quick Wit coming off a second to the highly regarded Spring Hill Farm.Rick Violette's Term Loan big favorite at Aqueduct- Steve Haskin via Twitter

Union Rags in jog out of Tuesday work. Very intense animal wet under saddle, kidney and shoulder sweat it's who he is plus traffic on track- Bruno De Julio via Twitter

Derby trail loses another// Holy Bull still looks to be small field// Future odds for the 2015 Kentucky Derby?

Entries for Sunday’s Holy Bull (G3) will be drawn Thursday, and no late news on possible additions to the prospective small cast that includes Hansen, Algorithms, Consortium, My Adonis, and Fort Loudon.  The Downey Profile mentions Todd Pletcher could enter much-buzzed-about Discreet Dancer, but not sure the likelihood of that// An interesting maiden contest will take place in the opening slot on Friday’s card at Aqueduct.  Entries include a $430,000 Mr. Greeley colt and Darley homebred// Seven were entered in Saturday’s Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel, including several stakes runners and recent maiden breakers// Another defection along the Derby trail.  Tuesday was Stephanoatsee and Wednesday brought the announcement of Indian Evening, winner of the Swynford Stakes at Woodbine and 3rd in the Saratoga Special (G2)// Trainer Joe Martin discusses his Derby contender Big Wednesday who is pointing for the Southwest (G3).  He claims the horse is training like a “monster”// There’s a reason why many don’t like to even look at Kentucky Derby future odds.  Wynn Las Vegas opened betting on the Curlin-Rachel Alexandra colt who was just born Sunday.  Does 60-1 to make the Derby in 2015 sound like a good bet to you? Let me know how that goes for you…



Coalition- BEL- 5F- 1.00:89- B- 1/15
Hello Prince- CRC- 5F- 1.02:60- B- 1/7
Big Wednesday- OP- 5F- 1.02:80- B- 2/19 (muddy)
Midnight Serenade- SPC- 3F- 38:80- B- 2/5 (workout was late reported. Occurred 1/24)

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“Swynford winner Indian Evening, 3rd in Sara Special, off Derby trail with suspensory, Vinery prez says in text. Target return late spring” - Jennie Rees via Twitter

“WEBN S. next for flashy TP 2x winner Phantom Fury” - DerbyContenders via Twitter

“Talk about pressure - Wynn Las Vegas opens prop bet on whether Rachel-Curlin colt will run in 2015 #KyDerby. 60-1 odds on Yes, 1-100 on No.”- DRFDerby via Twitter

Union Rags quick in work, Take Charge Indy quicker// Stephanoatsee off the trail// Sam F. Davis & Southwest get interests

The arduous Derby trail claimed another contender with the injury announcement of Stephanoatsee. Last year’s Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion said “It’s disappointing. I was starting to get a little excited”.  The Count Fleet runner-up and half-brother to Preakness winner Shackleford should be back in training in 2 months// Union Rags seems to be rounding into form quickly.  His third move since the layoff was a snappy 1 minute and 4/5 seconds for five furlongs. The bullet went to another CTD Contender Take Charge Indy who was more than a full second quicker// It was confirmed that San Pedro Stakes winner Midnight Transfer will stretch out next in the San Felipe (G2) in early March, a race which should also draw Sham (G3) winner Out of Bounds.  Bob Baffert blamed a bad ride for Drill’s poor effort in the San Pedro, which is not unusual for the trainer to do.  I don’t think it mattered, as the colt has clearly not shown any gameness down the stretch in his last four races// Jeff Bonde confirmed Majestic Stride will try the two-turn Southwest (G3) next.  He believes the son of Trippi can handle the added distance, while many believe pedigree says no// The Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs always draws some sneaky horses just below the radar- often ones with trainers that want to avoid the tough Gulfstream circuit.  The race is less than two weeks away, but there haven’t been many indications of who will make the field… until now.  Neck n’ Neck and Chief Energy, two maiden winners, are pointing for the race along with Grade 3 winner Prospective// I’m always a sucker for Kentucky Derby trends, and Jeff Scott at the Saratogian reveals 4 of the past 5 winners started their sophomore campaigns in March.  They are among a group of only 18 Kentucky Derby entries in the past 5 years to do so, with the other 82 entries starting in January or February. Looking even further back, famous Derby winners Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Alysheba, and Sunday Silence all started their 3-year-old campaigns in March as well.  Makes you wonder about the January and February graded stakes we pay so much attention to…  

3-year-olds to watch 1/24 (In The Money Blog)


Optimizer- OP- 5F- 1.03:20- B- 10/12
Ancient Rome- PMM- 4F- 49:88- B- 16/31
Union Rags- PMM- 5F- 1.00:82- B- 2/28
Take Charge Indy- PMM- 5F- 59:78- B- 1/28
Hakama- FH- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 2/4

Speed Figures*
Winning 3yo Beyers last week: Castaway-89; Midnight Transfer-93; Pulpit's Express-86; Prayer Meeting-87; King and Crusader-86

Top winning 3yo BRIS figs last week: Castaway-102; Midnight Transfer-101; Pulpit's Express-100; Prayer Meeting-99; King and Crusader-97

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter