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