Trio of Derby Preps Gets Derby Trail Off and Running

Kentucky Derby Preps

Originally written on on February 7 2012

While all eyes were focused mainly on Eli Manning and Madonna this weekend for Super Bowl XLVI (I had to look up the Roman numerals to make sure I got it right), there was plenty of horse racing action.

In case you missed the action or spent too much time on Sunday evening getting the reaction of Gisele after the game, here is a quick recap:

Alpha Rolls in Withers: Despite what I knew was going to be a puny price, I made the Kiaran McLaughlin trained Alpha my top pick in the $200,000 Withers (G3) and the colt did not disappoint, drawing clear to win by 3 ¼ lengths under Ramon Dominguez, retuning $2.70 for the win.

The colt stopped the timer in 1:44.23 for the 1 1/16 miles on the inner track and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90. That was an improvement of five points over his previous high of 85 when he won the Count Fleet on Jan. 7.

The colt now has $180,000 in graded earnings which puts him in position to perhaps make just one more start before the Kentucky Derby, either in the $400,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) on March 3 or the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) on April 7.

Going into the race I thought I might see something special out of this colt, enough to make him my early Derby pick, but his victory looked more workmanlike, and I think we can find a more appealing early selection for the Run for the Roses.

Kenneally Colt Now Battle Hardened: Trainer Eddie Kenneally made the right move with his 0 for 3 maiden Battle Hardened, skipping a maiden special weight race and taking on stakes company in the $200,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).

The colt took some action at the betting windows, sent off at 9/2 and winning by 1 ¼ lengths under jockey Julian Leparoux.

The colt earned an 81 Beyer, completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.58.

There was a three way photo for second with Prospective getting the nod by a nose, completing a $62.00 exacta.

The Mark Casse trainee came into the race off a win in the seven furlong Pasco and is one to watch in his next start. He raced five wide around the far turn and was even wider out in the stretch and finished up well as if he may want some more ground.

Drink Up After Longshot Wins Lewis: I’ll Have Another was the longest shot on the toteboard for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis (G3), pulling off the upset to the tune of $88.60 which probably sent many horseplayers directing for the bar to tell the bartender “I’ll Have Another.”

The colt was making his first start since running sixth in the Hopeful (G1) last September at Saratoga for trainer Doug O’Neill.

He was purchased by O’Neill’s brother Dennis for $35,000 as a two-year-old in training at OBS in April.

He earned the highest Beyer Speed Figure among the three Derby preps on Saturday with a 96. Next up likely will be the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 7.

It is a slow week for Derby preps although there are several allowance and maiden races this week at Gulfstream Park that could certainly produce some Derby hopefuls.

Here are the major Derby preps for the rest of February:

  • 11-Feb GP Hutcheson (G2) 7F
  • 18-Feb GG El Camino Real (G3) 1 1/8M
  • 19-Feb SA San Vicente (G2) 7F
  • 20-Feb OP Southwest (G3) 1M
  • 25-Feb FG Risen Star (G2) 1 1/16M
  • 26-Feb GP Fountain of Youth (G2) 1 1/16M


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