maybe Vyjack is the only horse responsible for keeping Aqueduct this hot. His
dynamic come from behind victory in the G3 Gotham Stakes extends his undefeated
streak to four. Vyjack has only raced at Aqueduct thus far and that will not change his next time out - Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 6.
has been speculation on how good the remainder of the field was in the Gotham
Stakes. Regardless if the field was as well prepared
as Vyjack or not, you should still expect some to be back for more in the Wood
Memorial. Projected to join him will be West Hills Giant and Elnaawi, the 2nd
and 3rd place finishers. Because the race turned out to be pretty
one sided down the stretch I’m not sure how much anticipation will surround the
rematch. But, as the buildup continues and more contenders enter the
Wood it could turn into one of the most exciting Kentucky Derby preps
for Overanalyze it’s too early to tell when and where we will see him next. If he hasn't arrived yet it's likely that he will be back in South Florida very soon. He is expected to remain there for training over the
next few weeks. Todd Pletcher will keep a good eye on the Gotham Stakes
favorite but no decision on his next race is likely to be made until Pletcher puts
together a new or revised game plan.
couple of factors that didn’t make his 3-yr-old debut any easier was the long
layoff (14 weeks) and breaking from the far outside. Just to his inside in post
position 10 was West Hills Giant and he was able to gain the early advantage
heading into the first turn. Because Overanalyze was denied a better position
he had no choice but to race wide. His location never improved and he eventually
weakened down the stretch. I won’t say that the G2 Remsen Stakes winner had his
derby dreams dashed with a fifth place finish in Gotham but he will have to
respond with authority in order to regain his early ranking on the list of 2013 Kentucky Derby Contenders.
Stakes Points / Projections
win likely guarantees Vyjack a place in the Kentucky Derby field. No surprise
there but as for the other horses in the field it’s going to be an uphill
battle. West Hills Giant and Elnaawi make the leader board for the
first time with 20 and 10 points. Overanalyze failed to improve upon his 10
point total so he will face the same challenge his next time out. If these hopefuls plan to make the Kentucky Derby field only a win or a 2nd place finish in an upcoming major prep will get them in. For the Wood Memorial entries that may be a very tall order depending on how deep the Grade 1 field becomes.
Derby Contenders Emerge
some Kentucky Derby handicappers have had their eye on them already the
majority has not. The first horse to stand out this past weekend was Departing.
After trainer Albert Stall elected to scratch him from the Risen Star because
of a bad post position, the son of War Front captured the attention of many
with an impressive score in the Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston.
win moves him to a perfect 3 for 3 and sets him to make the jump to his first
Graded Stakes and Kentucky Derby Prep next time out. That race looks like
it will be the G1 Louisiana Derby on March 30. He displays a graceful style of running that makes his wins look easy. So, he’s got my consideration now and we will have to keep
an eye on him over the next few weeks.
second big winner to come into view over the weekend was Rydilluc. Although
this son of Medaglia d’Oro has now entered the Kentucky Derby picture he still
remains a bit of a mystery to me. He was all business in his win in the G3 Palm
Beach Stakes but the dirt will be a big question that follows him from here. His career debut was on the dirt but after a 5th place finish and the switch to turf he hasn’t looked back. The Palm Beach Stakes was his third turf win in a row but staying on the grass and ignoring the Derby is still pretty hard to do.
Gary Contessa has confirmed that he will give his colt a shot in a Kentucky Derby qualification race. He is expected to switch to Polytrack next time out when he goes hunting for
points in the G3 Spiral Stakes on 3/23. From there it is likely that they will
stick with the synthetic surface and target the G1 Blue Grass Stakes. But,
before they can get that far Rydilluc’s derby dreams depend on a solid
performance at Turfway Park.
for the Rebel Stakes / Recent Workouts
Super Ninety Nine returned to the track for the first time since winning the G3 Soutwest Stakes at Oaklawn. Anything that you may have found impressive in that
race was still lingering around at Santa Anita on Monday. The son of Pulpit, went 4
Furlongs in 46.40 alongside War Academy. The sharp workout was the fastest time
out of 44 on the day. Nothing has been confirmed but all signs point to Bob
Baffert shipping Super Ninety Nine back to Oaklawn for the G2 Rebel on 3/16.
getting out on the track in Southern California was Treasury Bill. The
San Vicente Runner-Up worked 6f in 1:14.80 at Holywood Park Monday morning.
Trainer Ron Ellis confirmed that the son of Lemon Drop Kid will also be heading
to Hot Springs and the Rebel Stakes.
Back in Arkansas D. Wayne Lukas confirmed that two of his derby contenders, Oxbow and Will Take Charge,will both stay put and enter the Rebel. Mike Smith will take the reigns with Oxbow while Jon Court will remain in the saddle with Will Take Charge.
Both horses were out on the track for early Tuesday morning 6 Furlong works at Oaklawn. Will Take Charge came through in 1:13.60 while Oxbow finished in 1:13.80.
pick back up this weekend on both coasts with the G2 Tampa Bay Derby and the G2
San Felipe Stakes. Kicking things off will be the highly anticipated Graded
Stakes debut for Verrazano followed by the showdown out west between Flashback
going to be a very exciting weekend of Kentucky Derby prep racing so be sure to
check out the probable starters for both races. Each will award 50 points
to its winners.