Weekend Derby Point Races:
Southwest Stakes (G3)
Winner (pts): Super Ninety Nine (10)
2nd, 3rd, 4th (pts): Fear the Kitten (4), Heaven’s Runway (2), Channel Isle (1)
Rafael Bejarano moved his arms on occasion, but no action was really necessary Monday aboard Super Ninety Nine in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park. The Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old son of Pulpit simply toyed with the apparent inferior competition. Setting an honest pace and challenged slightly at the halfway point, Super Ninety Nine repelled all foes for an astonishing 11-plus-length romp in the slop.
Is Super Ninety Nine that good or was the rest of the Southwest field that bad? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. It would be a shocker if any horse besides the winner makes noise on the first Saturday in May, but it would also be shocking if Super Ninety has it that easy ever again. You can make the argument the race would have unfolded differently if it weren’t for the downpour an hour before post. You can also make the argument track condition was irrelevant as Super Ninety Nine towered over the field on paper. The fact is we won’t know until he faces more familiar names. We may end up drawing a line through the Southwest, or possibly highlight it as a key turning point for a legitimate contender.
Do we give up on Always in a Tiz, Big Lute, and Will Take Charge? Probably. They’re most likely not top tier contenders, but may have thrown in the towel once the mud was flying and it became apparent they were never catching up to the runaway train. Are second and third place finishers Fear the Kitten and Heaven’s Runway emerging stars? Probably not. They lost by over 11 and 13 lengths respectively after all, and previous form suggests they have no business in serious Derby trail races.
El Camino Real Derby (G3)
Winner (pts): Dice Flavor (10)
2nd, 3rd, 4th (pts): Nina’s Dragon (4), Counting Days (2), Carving (1)
What can you say about perhaps the most irrelevant Kentucky Derby points race to date (aside from the Royal Lodge in England)? The El Camino Real Derby has always been a quirky stop on the Derby trail given its disrespected northern California location and somewhat recent Tapeta racing surface. The fact the trifecta for the 2013 running consisted of three longshots who were not even nominated to the Triple Crown (thus ineligible for the Derby unless their owners pony up the late nomination fee) won’t help the cause either.
While post-race reports indicate the pace was quick thus allowing Dice Flavor to make a winning burst and second place finisher Nina’s Dragon to rally, it probably masks the painful truth that pacesetter and favorite Manando was simply not good enough. The opening fractions of 23:10 and 47:34 are not slow, but not brutal either, and speed was holding up fairly well on the track Saturday. The winning Beyer and BRIS speed figures of 88 and 93 respectively are on the low end for the Derby point series and the surface and field will keep the 2013 El Camino Real very questionable.
Weekend Non-Derby Point Races
San Vicente (G2)
Winner: Shakin It Up
Although the San Vicente did not offer any Derby points to the top four finishers due to its short 7-furlong distance, a small group of promising sophomores entered the gate in hopes of moving on to bigger and better things. Shakin It Up’s stalking one-length victory won’t cause his future odds to plummet (although they will drop), due to the low speed figure and his supposed distance challenged sire. However, the son of Midnight Lute ran a professional race sitting off the quick pace and making a well-timed move in the stretch against a field whose members we will most likely hear from later. Trainer Bob Baffert thinks added distance won’t be an issue and mentioned the sire’s distance problems had more to do with breathing capacity than pedigree.
The horse from the San Vicente most people feel has the most upside is second place finisher Treasury Bill. The son of Lemon Drop Kid was flying late once his big stride got in gear and he figures to move up when going two turns in his next start, most likely the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn. Steve Asmussen’s Caballo Del Cielo finished third admirably seeing as he was very close to the hot pace and faded less than two lengths from the winner at the wire. I can’t even write off pacesetter Belvin, who with a little more experience could harness his speed and right the ship. It’s getting late however, so these colts will need to take the fast track to Louisville.
Santa Anita Race 5- Maiden Special Weight
Winner: Govenor Charlie
Gulfstream Park Race 9- Allowance Optional Claiming
Winner: Capo Bastone
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Capo Bastone won his 3-year-old debut Saturday in the 9th at Gulfstream, but the performance has been universally panned given the extremely slow final time and low 69 Beyer figure. There is hope considering it was his first race off an almost four month layoff, and the sloppy sealed track condition may not have been to his liking. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find him on anyone’s top 20 list for now.
Now it gets interesting. With the Southwest in the books, all Kentucky Derby point races from here on out (aside from wild card races) could essentially be “win and you’re in” with 50 points being awarded to the winner. A place or show could also give a horse already on the board an extra bump towards Churchill Downs. Entries were drawn for Saturday’s Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream and the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. Preview articles and links to free PPs can be found below. He’s Had Enough was entered in both, but he’s definitely headed to the Fountain of Youth according to trainer Doug O’Neill// Graham Motion’s import Crop Report was entered in a turf allowance on the Fountain of Youth undercard Saturday// A slew of key workouts occurred over the weekend and a full list is below, including a bullet move by Violence Sunday ahead of the Fountain of Youth// more…
Upcoming Points Races:
Fountain of Youth (G2)
1 1/16 Miles
PPs: Click here
Risen Star (G2)
1 1/16 Miles
PPs: Click here
Kentucky Derby Daily: Feb 18 (In The Money Blog)
Haskin’s Derby Trail: Play the Palace (Bloodhorse Blog)
Winning worth more Derby points (Courer Journal)
Illinois Derby outside looking in (The Miami Herald)
The future of Derby futures (Pull The Pocket Blog)
Flashback- SA- 4F- 48:80- H- 5/21
Den's Legacy- SA- 4F- 49:20- H- 7/21
Proud Strike- FG- 4F- 50:80- B- 39/62
Crop Report- PMM- 5F- 1.07:14- B- 17/24 (Turf)
Orb- PAY- 4F- 49:00- B- 2/27
Violence- PMM- 5F- 1.00:36- B- 1/43
Palace Malice- PMM- 5F- 1.00:36- B- 1/43
Carried Interest- PMM- 5F- 1.00:44 B- 6/43
Overanalyze- PMM- 5F- 1.00:51- B- 8/43
Delhomme- PMM- 5F- 1.00:51- B- 8/43
Majestic Hussar- PMM- 5F- 1.00:60- B- 10/43
Cerro (IRE)- PMM- 5F- 1.01:48- B- 23/43
Dynamic Sky- PMM- 5F- 1.02:02- B- 32/43
Normandy Invasion- PMM- 4F- 47:88- B- 2/74
Verrazano- PMM- 4F- 48:05- B- 6/74
Integrity- PMM- 4F- 48:82- B- 28/74
Honorable Dillon- PMM- 4F- 49:60- B- 41/74
Shanghai Bobby- PMM- 4F- 49:73- B- 42/74
Falling Sky- PMM- 4F- 49:94- B- 52/74
Dewey Square- GP- 5F- 1.00:02- B- 1/4 (Turf)
Purple Egg- TB- 5F- 1.01:60- B- 4/30
Code West- SA- 4F- 48:40- H- 6/28
Tiz the Truth- SA- 48:40- H- 6/28
Hear the Ghost- HOL- 6F- 1.12:40 H- 2/11
Sunbean- FG- 4F- 48:40- B- 5/90
Departing- FG- 4F- 48:40- B- 5/90
Get Happy Mister- OP- 5F- 59:80- B- 1/14
Quotes and Tweets:
"San Vicente runner-up Treasury Bill likely to head to Rebel for next race, trainer Ron Ellis said. Owners also have Flashback."- Jay Privman via Twitter
"O'Neill said looks like he's coming to FOY over Risen Star with He's Had Enough who is scheduled to ship to Fla. tomorrow"- Mike Welsch via Twitter
"Nothing firm but Capo Bastone's next start could be Rebel, says @EclipseTBP prez Wellman"- Jennie Rees via Twitter