Clarity on status of Archwarrior// San Felipe next for Goldencents// Fortify to Dubai// Integrity wins debut at Gulfstream

Yesterday we had a Tweet from a suspicious source announcing much-hyped Archwarrior is off the Derby trail, and today we have a little more clarity.  Jennie Rees at the Courier Journal stated via Twitter the maiden winner will have a break in Kentucky and will be under a tight timeframe to qualify for the Derby.  The particular injury or ailment remains unnannounced// Rees also stated via Twitter that Fortify, a multiple graded stakes placed runner who many believe will get better with more experience, will winter in Dubai.  If history is any indication, this is the wrong way to get to Louisville in May// Brad Free at the Daily Racing Form draws comparisons to last year’s Derby winning tandem of I’ll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez to this year’s contender Goldencents and rider Kevin Krigger.  Superstitious minds might see this as a jinx.  O’Neill is leaning towards a pre-Derby strategy of the San Felipe (G2) March 9 followed by the Santa Anita Derby (G1) April 6. The backup plan is for Goldencents to race in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn February 18 then the Sunland Derby (G3) March 24.  The former scenario seems to make more sense to minimize traveling and allow the best spacing between races// A nice write-up by J.J. Hysell on the success of Lion Heart sired juveniles from last year. It will be interesting to see how Uncaptured, Bradester, and Purple Egg perform in their sophomore year//  There was an interesting maiden special weight at Gulfstream today that featured horses owned by super chef Bobby Flay and University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.  Neither fared very well in their first start, while Chad Brown’s first time starter Integrity stole the show going gate-to-wire for a 3 1/2 length win// Brown also revealed that Normandy Invasion, 2nd last time out to Overanalyze in the Remsen (G2), will most likely have just two starts before the Derby.  He’s opting to skip the preps at Gulfstream and ship to the Fair Grounds for the Risen Star (G2) February 23.  Brown envisions the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 6 after that// Rankings and contender lists continue to pop up with the New Year.  Byron King from Daily Racing reveals his early top 10 with Frac Dady on top// more…

A lion’s share of Lion Hearts (In The Money Blog)