Power Broker dominates, Steeler gets 10 in first 'Road' races

FrontRunner Stakes (G1)
Winner: Power Broker (10pts)
2nd, 3rd, 4th: Know More (4pts), Capo Bastone (2pts), Carving (1pt)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Chart: Equibase
Replay: YouTube

Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2)
Winner: Steeler (10pts)
2nd, 3rd, 4th: Artigiano (4 pts), Al Waab (2pts), Birdman (1pt)
Trainer: Mark Johnston
Jockey: Kieren Fallon
Replay: Sporting Life

Kentucky Derby Trail begins with a Saturday Double

The new roadmap for making it to the Kentucky Derby begins Saturday with two prep races where 2-year-olds can earn qualifying points. 

First is the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes across the pond at Newmarket.  The race represents the only qualifier in Europe as well and the lone turf race in the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series.  It features a half-brother to 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown. Stories below:


The other race in the new series will be held later in the day at Santa Anita.  The FrontRunner Stakes (G1), formerly known as the Norfolk, features Know More as the headliner, a horse who was mentioned in yesterday’s post.  Below is a link to PPs as well as articles:



An early look at contenders for the 2013 Kentucky Derby

Know More winning the Best Pal (G2) at Del Mar

With just a few days until the start of the new and debatably improved Kentucky Derby prep season, I thought it would be good time to review the juvenile scene as it stands now.  Anyone familiar with following potential Derby hopefuls this early knows the list is anything but static given the high risk of defections and probability some 2013 Derby starters have yet to debut.  Still, at this point last year many keen observers were already keeping an eye on eventual Derby and Preakness Winner I’ll Have Another, third place finisher Dullahan, Belmont winner Union Rags, and third-place Preakness finisher Creative Cause.

Below is a list of juvenile colts who have shown potential to make noise along the Kentucky Derby prep path.  They range from accomplished Grade 1 winners to mere maiden breakers.  I realize the number of Todd Pletcher-trained runners is annoying, but there is nothing we can really do about it at this point.  The guy dominated the Juvenile division at Saratoga and is absolutely loaded.

Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Garrett Gomez

A Grade 2 winner in his debut, Know More sports the familiar silks seen on this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another. With the same owner/trainer combo you can easily think he may be overly hyped, but his 2nd in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) was one of the most eye-catching performances I’ve seen this year.  Surrounded and in tight towards the middle of the pack during the first half of the race, Garret Gomez eventually was able to find daylight on the far outside down the stretch.  It was then Know More was able to fully open his stride and pick off most of the field. Video: Del Mar Futurity (G1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

One of the early 2013 Kentucky Derby favorites only has a maiden win to his credit.  The amount of talk, ink, and cyberspace this horse has generated is mind-boggling, a phenomenon that creates as many naysayers as hypesters.   What we do know is that he’s fast (turned clocker’s heads in morning workouts), conditioned by multi Triple Crown race winning trainer Todd Pletcher, and easily won his debut by over 3 lengths. You can also check the box on breeding as his lineage supports jockey John Velazquez’s belief he’ll relish going longer.  A son of Arch out of a Seeking the Gold mare, Archwarrior shares the same cross as Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame.  His next race is likely the Champagne (G1) at Belmont. Video: 8/30/12 Saratoga MSW

Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Patrick Husbands

The opening favorite for the Kentucky Derby future book at Wynn Las Vegas has never raced on dirt, much less away from Woodbine.  Distance is also an unknown seeing as he hasn’t hit the mile mark yet.  Negatives and unknowns aside, he’s done nothing wrong (4 starts, 4 wins) and could very well excel with added distance (Sired by Lion Heart out of an Arch mare).   He’s scheduled to stay at Woodbine for the immediate future where he’ll start in the Grey Stakes (G3) on Oct 7.  Related Link: Casse’s Uncaptured early KY Derby choice in future book (Paulick Report)

Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

Another undefeated juvenile, Rolling Fog was a recent convincing winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1).  Trained by the ever-popular Bob Baffert, there will still be doubters based on Posse as the sire.  However, Unbridled’s Song as the damsire suggests he may have staying power. Rolling Fog’s recent setback in training due to bucked shins is an immediate concern, but could prove to be an opportune rest before the grueling stretch of the new Derby trail in early 2013. Video: Del Mar Futurity (G1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Rosie Napravnik

The New York tracks have showcased a ton of promising talent, most of the time from the barn of Todd Pletcher, and Shanghai Bobby is the most accomplished among them so far.   A decisive winner of the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga, it will be intriguing to see far he will like to go.  His sire Harlan’s Holiday was a multiple stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles, but with sprint specialist Orientate on the bottom half his chart doesn’t scream classic contender.  Video: 9/3/12 Three Chimneys Hopeful (G1)   

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Another Pletcher young gun, Micromanage sailed to an ultra impressive 5-furlong win at Saratoga in his debut.  His silks may look familiar as he’s owned by the colorful Mike Repole of Uncle Mo/Stay Thirsty fame.  Repole was unsurprisingly flattered with the win and has big plans for the future.  The immediate course of action calls for the Champagne (G1) at Belmont on Oct 6, but Micromanage’s pedigree suggests classic distances are right up his alley.  He’s the son of Travers winner Medaglia d’Oro who sired Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra, and his dam is a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note.   He will race next most likely in the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. Related Link: Micromanage to target Champagne (Brisnet)

Trainer: Patrick Byrne
Jockey: Calvin Borel

Although he only has 1 win from 3 starts, Positively could be a horse that will blossom as he matures and enjoy the longer distances that are sure to come.  Not that he’s done anything glaringly wrong so far.  From the get go trainer Patrick Byrne believed he needed some experience and more ground before showing his true colors.  He broke his maiden on just his second try at Churchill and followed that up with a tough 2nd in the Bashford Manor (G3) where he was squeezed at the start and shuffled to the back of the pack only to make a strong and steady run on the outside in the late going.  He suffered from bucked shins, but has returned to training and will be pointed to the 2-year-old graded stakes at Churchill in the Fall. Video: 6/30/12 Bashford Manor S. (G3)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

After a troubled debut at Saratoga in July, Tizracer dusted the competition in his next start at Belmont in September where he won by over 10 lengths in a hand ride.  He will race next on polytrack at Keeneland in the Breeder’s Futurity (G1).  He most likely would have stayed a Belmont for the Champagne, but was unfortunately put on the B-team of Pletcher’s juvenile brigade. 

Fortify (Distorted Humor – Kotuku, by A.P. Indy)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Joe Bravo

A bit of a head case in the gate before his debut at Saratoga, Fortify was still much the best in the 5-furlong win.  Coming back a month later in the Hopeful (G1) he was on better gate behavior, but experienced some bad luck when a rival in the stall next door slammed into him at the start.  He was able to recover and put together a sustained run for 2nd place.  Video: 9/3/12 Three Chimneys Hopeful (G1)   

Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Kevin Krigger

Just missed breaking the track record in his debut win at Del Mar.  His breeding is by no means regal.  Precocious perhaps, but there are some signs of stamina in parts of pedigree.

Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez

One start, one win on the turf at Saratoga.  Even in training he sticks mostly to turf but you have to wonder if Brown will try dirt down the road.  Distance is a question mark too, but handled 8.5 furlongs fine first time out.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

Terrible name. A shaky debut with an awkward start and neck-winning margin.  Likely to improve both with experience and distance. Apparently pointed to Champagne (G1).  Video: 8/18/12 SAR MSW

Trainer: Tom Proctor
Jockey: Garrett Gomez

Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) winner gets a mention due to automatic entry in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

Third time (and switch to dirt) was the charm for Jocosity who blazed to a 7 1/2 length victory at Saratoga in early August.  He earned the second-highest Beyer speed figure (95) of current juveniles for the effort.  Stretching out is definite concern given breeding and running style.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Even with headstrong antics before the start, Palace Malice gave the impression he could turn into a pro pretty fast in a professional effort at Saratoga.  Bucked shins, which seems to be a recurring theme, will sideline him for awhile.

Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Don’t let his 6th place finish in the Bashford Manor (G3) fool you. Lanerie guided him along a wild goose chase by getting squeezed, darting to the inside, and then the outside.  Roman’s Avenue should get better with more ground, and a better trip. Video: 6/30/12 Bashford Manor S. (G3)

Trainer: Rick Violette Jr.
Jockey: Alan Garcia

His maiden win at Belmont was against a pedigree-strong field.   Route distances could be a problem.

Norumbega (Tiznow – Meghan’s Joy, by A.P. Indy)
Trainer: Claude McGaughey
Jockey: Joel Rosario

Shug McGaughey’s decision to switch to dirt seemed to do the trick for this Saratoga maiden breaker at Saratoga.  That victory was at 1 1/8 miles so distance should not be an issue for the son of Tiznow.  He won’t race until 2013 due to hurting both back ankles.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

A filly would normally not make the list this early given the unlikelihood of being pointed to the Derby, but this one is worth keeping an eye on. An absolute romp in the Meadow Star Stakes at Belmont by over 16 lengths put her on all of the early future wager lists. Video: 9/9/12 Meadow Star Stakes