Take Charge Indy surprises in Floriday Derby// Daddy Long Legs takes UAE Derby, top 3 Kentucky Derby bound?// Hansen works


Florida Derby (G1)
Winner: Take Charge Indy        
Trainer: Patrick Byrne
Jockey: Calvin Borel
Replay: YouTube
Beyer: 95 (preliminary)
Wrap-up articles: Brisnet / TTimes / DRF / Bloodhorse

UAE Derby (G2)
Winner: Daddy Long Legs
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Colm O’Donoghue
Replay: YouTube
Wrap-up articles: Time Out Dubai / Brisnet / TTimes / DRF / Bloodhorse

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3


State of Play KEE- 5F- 1.02:80- B- 32/42
Howe Great KEE- 5F- 1.02:80- B- 32/42
Majestic Stride OP- 5F- 1.05:40- B- 46/47
Overdriven PMM- 4F- 50:62- B- 25/38
Hansen CDT- 5F- 59:80- B- 2/10
Cozzetti GP- 5F- 1.00:70- H- 2/13

Spotlight on Union Rags ahead of Florida Derby// Buzz builds for Cigar Street// Bodemeister going to Arkansas// Secret Circle, Drill work

You can tell from the sheer number of linked stories below that the Derby Trail is getting serious.  Many of the articles and videos have a singular focus on Union Rags, who will be the short priced favorite in Saturday’s Florida Derby (G1).  All handicapper picks so far have him on top. Somewhat surprising is that several are trying to beat Todd Pletcher-trained El Padrino in the second spot. Take Charge Indy or News Pending seem to be the choices for the bottom half of the exacta.  In any event, most everyone is hoping for a dominating performance from Union Rags to spark hype going into the Triple Crown season// Javier Castellano describes El Padrino as “laid-back” and seems accepting of the fact he gave up the mount on Union Rags to ride for Pletcher instead// Buzz is picking up for Cigar Street in Sunday’s Louisiana Derby (G2).  It will be just his third race, but Cigar Street is coming off a 13 3/4 length maiden romp at the Fair Grounds which was as visually impressive as any win from the other Louisiana Derby entrants// Alpha is still on course for the Wood Memorial (G1)- as of now.  Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin hasn’t switched the plan in almost a week, which is a nice respite from the once frequent changes to the horse’s schedule.  McLaughlin thinks Gemologist is the one to beat in the Wood.  He and Alpha will most likely face Casual Trick, My Adonis, Street Life, The Lumber Guy, and Tiger Walk// Bob Baffert is out of the hospital in Dubai, where he suffered a heart attack earlier in the week.  His assistant Jimmy Barnes said Bodemeister, who finished second last time out in the San Felipe (G2), will ship to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby (G1).  Baffert’s Secret Circle and Drill put in official workouts Thursday, with the former posting a bullet move in 5-furlongs and the latter going an extended 1 mile// Lucky Chappy continues to be the center of attention for the UAE Derby (G2) in Dubai.  Much of that has to do with his Derby winning connections Graham Motion and Team Valor.  He faces a tough challenge Saturday against several successful horses, includes Aidan O’Brien’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Wrote// more…

All eyes on Union Rags (Bloodhorse Blog)
Castellano rolls with the punch (The Downey Profile)
How far can Cigar Street go? (Zipse at the Track Blog)
Lucky Chappy set for UAE Derby (
Thursday’s UAE Derby notes (The Downey Profile)
Zoldan-owned horse to again run Derby (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Florida Derby: Dick’s Picks (The Downey Profile)
Florida Derby: That Handicapping Show (Bloodhorse)
Florida Derby: Gary Stevens Picks (Monster’s and Critics)
Louisiana Derby: Commish’s Picks (The Downey Profile)

Super Six Derby Pix (They Are Off Blog)

Secret Circle SA- 5F- 58:40- H- 1/37
Drill SA- 1M- 1.38:00- H- 1/1
Longview Drive- HOL- 7F- 1.27:20- H- 2/5

Not scared of Union Rags? Florida Derby gets 9// Dullahan back on schedule// Creative Cause works// Sabercat will try again

Proximity and convenience must have trumped competition for the connections of most contenders in Saturday’s Florida Derby (G1).  The field was expected to number seven, but swelled to nine when entries closed Wednesday.  That’s one more than last Sunday’s Sunland Derby (G3), which featured only two Grade 3 winners. The Florida Derby on the other hand features Grade 1 winner and early Kentucky Derby favorite Union Rags as well as Grade 2 winner El Padrino, who is considered a top 5 prospect in most rankings.  Those two will undoubtedly take the lion’s share of wagering seeing as the other seven possess no graded victories and inferior résumés. Full entries, PPs, and preview articles can be found below// Speaking of Union Rags, he’s favored in the final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool at 3-1 followed by ‘all others’ and Hansen at 6-1.  There are six new wagering interests including recent Derby trail winners and filly On Fire Baby//  On Fire Baby’s next race remains undecided, but trainer Gary Hartlage could enter her in both the Fantasy Stakes (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) before deciding which is the better fit.  It still seems as if the First Saturday in May is the long-term goal// There were rumors earlier in the week that something was amiss with Dullahan.  Wednesday the Daily Racing Form reported the colt did pop a splint, but is recovered and still on target for the Blue Grass (G1)// Tom Amoss will put blinkers on Shared Property for the Louisiana Derby (G1) due to the speed bias at the Fair Grounds// Lucky Chappy was chippy during training in Dubai for the UAE Derby (G2) when he threw his exercise rider.  Both parties seem to be ok// Creative Cause worked 6-furlongs at Hollywood Park in preparation for the Santa Anita Derby (G1)// more…

Florida Derby
Preview Articles: Gulfstream Park / Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet / TTimes

Matz tried to buy El Padrino (The Downey Profile)
Wednesday’s UAE Derby notes (The Downey Profile)
3-year-olds to watch 3/28 (In The Money Blog)

Top 20 (DRF)

Brother Francis SA- 5F- 59:00- H- 3/50
Creative Cause HOL- 6F- 1.12:80- H- 2/6

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
“Arm Force out of La. Derby. Trainer Harty looking for better spot. That leaves 13 & removes a potential pace player”- DRFHersch via Twitter

“Teeth Of The Dog likely headed to Illinois Derby next. Wood & KEE preps alternatives”- DerbyContenders via Twitter

“Alpha will work Friday at Palm Meadows, ship to NY that afternoon, runs in Wood. Dominguez rides -- unless Hansen shows up”- Jav Privman via Twitter

Mark Valeski fires bullet ahead of Louisiana Derby// Prospective back to work// Discreet Dancer pulled from Derby Trail// Updated graded earnings, rankings and contender lists

Jockey Rosie Napravnik used every complement she could think of when describing Mark Valeski’s final work ahead of Saturday’s Louisiana Derby (G2).  She seems very confident with her mount and thinks he’s ready for the 1 1/8 miles test// Prospective worked a slow five furlongs in 1:03 flat Tuesday at Churchill Downs.  He’s pointing for either the Wood Memorial (G1) or Blue Grass (G1)// Graham Motion checked in on his UAE Derby (G2) entry Lucky Chappy Tuesday. He said the colt seems to be in great shape. Reports earlier in the week indicated Motion and Team Valor may decide to skip the Kentucky Derby with Lucky Chappy, even if he puts in a good effort Saturday// Churchill Downs released an updated Graded Earnings list which includes late Triple Crown nominees// Todd Pletcher confirmed what many suspected after entries were drawn for the Louisiana Derby- Discreet Dancer is off the Derby Trail.  No clear reason was given other than the fact Pletcher didn’t feel right rushing the colt.  Discreet Dancer will be given some time off before returning to racing later in the year// I finally updated the CTD Contender page here.  The latest list has more deletions than additions due the fact the cut line is more clear- we’re only 39 days out until Derby…

Graded Earnings List
Updated 3/27 (Churchill Downs)

CTD Contenders

Tuesday’s UAE Derby notes (The Downey Profile)

Down and Derby Sweet 16 [#5] (Zipse at the Track)
Paulick Derby Index 3/27 (Paulick Report)

Prospective CD- 5F- 1.03:00- B- 3/4
Mark Valeski FG- 5F- 1.00:60- B- 1/14
Z Dager FG- 5F- 50:20- B- 10/19
Liaison HOL- 6F- 1.11:20- H- 2/6

Weekly Top Speed Figures*
Top 3yo winning BRIS figs last week  Daddy Nose Best - 104; Went The Day Well - 103; Bourbon Courage - 101; Hogy - 99; Johannesbourbon – 96

Top 3yo winning Beyers last week: Daddy Nose Best - 100; Went The Day Well - 92; Bourbon Courage - 101; Hogy - 89; Johannesbourbon - 88.

Source: DerbyContenders via Twitter

Baffert in stable condition following heart attack // 14 drawn for Louisiana Derby// Isn’t He Clever, Trinniberg lead 20 new TC nominations

Almost every post on the site this year has made some mention of Hall of Fame trainer and 3-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert.  While it’s usually concerning one of his many Derby prospects and where they’re headed next, today is of a more serious nature.  The trainer suffered a heart attack in Dubai, where he was overseeing two horses preparing for Saturday’s World Cup meeting. Luckily the issue was caught quickly by his wife and the trainer is recovering in the hospital// The Louisiana Derby (G2) drew a large field of 14.  The coupled entry of Mark Valeski, who just missed beating El Padrino in the Risen Star (G2), and Mr. Bowling, winner of the LeComte (G3) lead the field at 2-1.  Dominating maiden winner Cigar Street is the second favorite at 7-2.  Full entries, pps, and more can be found below// 20 late Triple Crown nominations were released today.  Those that paid the $6,000 late fee include Trinniberg, winner of the Swale (G2) and Sunland Derby (G3) runner-up Isn’t He Clever.  Bourbon Courage was also a late nominee and is most likely pointing to the Preakness if all goes well in the Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill.  A full list of nominees can be found below// Seven are still probable for the Florida Derby on Saturday including Union Rags and El Padrino// This past weekend’s Derby prep winners are doing well.  Sunland Derby winner Daddy Nose Best will ship to Kentucky Tuesday and train up to the Derby as trainer Steve Asmussen thinks he does best with time between races.  His Beyer Speed figure came back a very respectable 100, but nonetheless Daddy Nose Best will enter the Derby scene a longshot. Isn’t He Clever could go to the Arkansas Derby (G1) next if his $188,000 in graded earnings is not enough for the Kentucky Derby.  Spiral Stakes (G3) winner Went the Day Well may still be a little immature and need another race according to jockey John Velasquez.  Trainer Graham Motion mentioned the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland is being considered, which only gives the colt two weeks to train for the Kentucky Derby.  Either way, I’m guessing the horse will be an underlay Derby day based on his trendy connections and fact he hasn’t raced against any other likely Derby starters// New future odds were released for all Triple Crown nominees and can be found below…

Louisiana Derby (G2)
Entries: Entries
Preview Articles: Fair Grounds / Bloodhorse / DRF / TTimes / Brisnet

Late Triple Crown Nominations

Future Odds
Wynn Las Vegas 3/26 (via Courier Journal)

UAE Derby notes (The Downey Profile)
Went the Day Well (WHAS11-TV)

Top 20 (WHAS11-TV)

Mr. Bowling- FG- 1.00:40- B- 1/29
Shared Property- FG- 4F- 47:20- B- 2/44
Sabercat- OP- 5F- 1.01:80- B- 7/22
Optimizer- OP- 4F- 49:00- B- 9/29
Neck 'n Neck- PMM- 5F- 1.01:09- B- 2/13

Notes and bits from web and Twitter:
100 Beyer for Daddy Nose Best, 99 for Isn't He Clever in Sunday's Sunland Derby…”- Steve Byk via Twitter

Weekend Review: Motion hoping for déjà vu with Went the Day Well// Daddy Nose Best earns spot in Kentucky Derby// Union Rags and El Padrino ready for Florida Derby// Hansen, Alpha work// more…

Sunland Derby (G3)
Winner: Daddy Nose Best
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Replay: YouTube
Wrap-up articles: DRF / Bloodhorse / Brisnet / TTimes /

Vinery Spiral Stakes (G3)
Winner: Went the Day Well
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey: John Velazquez
Replay: YouTube
Beyer: 92 (Preliminary)
Wrap-up artilcles: DRF / Bloodhorse / Brisnet / TTimes /

Graded Earnings
Official List updated 3/25 (Churchill Downs)

Reflections from Turfway Park (Zipse at the Track Blog)


Rousing Sermon- HOL- 6F- 1.13:20- H- 2/9
El Padrino- PMM- 4F- 49:11- B- 9/22
Windsurfer- PMM- 5F- 1.01:56- B- 10/29
Trinniberg- CRC- 5F- 1.01:00- H- 1/8
Ring It Up- OP- 5F- 1.00:20- B- 2/43

Midnight Transfer- SA- 5F- 59:80- H- 8/34
Fort Loudon- CRC- 4F- 51:00- B- 62/86
Reveron- CRC- 5F- 1.00:80- H- 1/31
Overdriven- PMM- 4F- 51:42- B- 40/41
Alpha- PMM- 5F- 1.00:99- B- 2/19
News Pending- GP- 5F- 1.02:90- B- 24/32
Cozzetti- GP- 5F- 1.01:20- B- 12/32
Hansen- CDT- 5F- 1.01:20- B- 6/6
Take Charge Indy- PMM- 5F- 1.01:57 B- 6/19
Union Rags- PMM- 4F- 49:10- B- 13/41


Notes and bits from web and Twitter
Wondering if Dullahan will be next prospect derailed from #KyDerby dreams? Minor issue post-Palm Beach S.- DerbyContenders via Twitter

Even if Lucky Chappy wins/runs well in Dubai, he still might not be pointed for KDerby b/c of concerns about the effects of long trip- Randy Moss via Twitter