— Has a bit of an
issue with seconditis. In his last start, he had the lead in the stretch only
to be headed by the winner. He did run a very nice 3rd in the G2
San Vicente in his third career start, but the fact of the matter is, he is
still a maiden. If he couldn’t get it done in the weaker San Vicente, I don’t
see him getting the job done here while facing the top 3 West Coast colts. He
gets blinkers added, but I don’t think being more involved early will do him
any good against the likes of California Chrome. Pass.
RPRETTYBOYFLOYD (Bluegrass Cat - El Bank Robber,
by Eltish) is still a maiden. He was
on the tough losing end of photo finishes in his last two starts. On the plus
side, he fits right in with fellow entrants Big Tire and Dublin Up, as only a
nose and head separated the three in their last race. On the negative side, it was a maiden race.
I agree with Ashley, the blinkers won’t help. Maybe a guided missile would.
FRIENDSWITH K MILL — Though he exits a close second
against The Admiral, I really don’t like that this colt’s only career win
came on the lawn. Dam Tight Lipped was a non-winner in 7 starts but is a half
to a stakes placed sprinter and a graded stakes placed middle distance
runner. None of Tight Lipped’s other progeny have shown any indication that
they want to route. Maybe “Friends” gets a little more stamina from his sire
line, but there are too many questions and not enough answers with this colt.
K MILL (Flashy
Bull - Tight Lipped, by Kissin Kris) just missed when switched to a two-turn
dirt route in his last start. His sire
is noted for getting speedy types, although he does have a couple of stakes winners
at 1 1/8 miles. Friendswith K Mill’s damsire won the Haskell and he’s the
damsire of Backseat Rhythm, a G-1 winner at 1 1/8 miles. Friendswith K Mill has
the pedigree and running style to handle the distance, but it will be at the
top of his limit. The pretty gray colt
would have to be pretty special to win here and I don’t see signs of it, but
he could finish third or fourth. Contender.
|HOPPERTUNITY — I underestimated him in the
Rebel, but I won’t do so this time. Getting a masterful ride from Smitty,
Hoppertunity proved he could run with the big boys…and dish out as well as
receive some knocking and bumping along the way. Mike Smith stays aboard, and
as the inside speed, they get first run to the rail and a shot at potentially
controlling the pace if they’re quick enough. With 55 points in the bank, a
win is not necessary in order to move on. I expect to see a good race, but
obviously Team Hoppertunity will want something left in the tank for next
HOPPERTUNITY (Any Given Saturday - Refugee, by
Unaccounted For) was three wide the entire way in the Rebel Stakes.
Mid-stretch he was forcefully pushed out by Tapiture. Hoppertunity came back over on his rival
and got the better of him by ½ a length.
Hoppertunity’s sire was a tough multiple graded stakes winner at 1 1/8
miles and defeated Hard Spun and Curlin in the Haskell. The colt’s dam was ½ length shy of a graded
stakes win at 1 ½ miles over the turf, so he should have the lungs to get the
distance. Hoppertunity is a half to
multiple Grade 1 winner Executiveprivlege.
His third dam is the incomparable Champion Davona Dale, winner of both
the NY Triple Tiara (Acorn, Mother Goose, CCA Oaks) plus the Kentucky Oaks
and Black Eyed Susan Stakes. I agree that Hoppertunity doesn’t need to win,
just earn points for the big dance. I’ve noticed that he has a definite good/bad
race cycle and may toss in a clunker. I
have to use him anyway. Contender.
Big Tire — Moved from the turf to the main
track, Big Tire turned in a series of better finishes, finally get that
elusive first victory in his last start. In doing so, he beat fellow Derby
entrants Rprettyboyfloyd and Dublin Up to the wire, giving us three shots of
seeing if Race 2 from Santa Anita on March 7 will end up being a “key race.”
His pedigree indicates that more distance might be the ticket, but again,
there are more questions than answers at this point. Consider for exotic use.
|BIG TIRE (Candy Ride (ARG) - Giant's
Firestone, by Giant's Causeway) finally won his maiden in his sixth lifetime
start. He’s obviously a late maturing colt, so how about rolling Big Tire
into a nice allowance race. His dam
was 0-9 in her career and the trainer is 0-19 in graded stakes. I’ll stick
with the other son of Candy Ride. Pass
CHROME — Last
out, this striking chestnut made mincemeat out of the San Felipe field,
proving that not only could he handle open company, he could make them look
as though they hadn’t even bothered to show up. Since making his debut around
this time last year, the Art Sherman trainee has been on a steady diet of
races and works. Normally this would concern me in a colt still in the first
half of his sophomore season, but he seems to thrive on the work. Not to
mention, you have to trust in the man who was part of Team Swaps. Facing much
the same cast Saturday as he did in his last, I can’t help but think that
things would have to go horribly wrong in order for the end result to be
anything different. Since his spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs is
virtually assured, I don’t think we’ll see the very best this colt has to
offer. A win would be nice, but it isn’t necessary. Contender.
|CALIFORNIA CHROME (Lucky Pulpit - Love the Chase, by
Not For Love) has won his last three races by over 18+ lengths. He’s an
athletic colt who can cut the corner and be gone before anybody knows what
happened. He doesn’t need the lead to win and could be the best colt in
training in California right now. He’s
also one of the most consistent colts on the Kentucky Derby trail. California Chrome’s pedigree suggests that
1 1/8 miles is as far as he’ll be able to go. His last three late pace speed
figures have declined in every start. Nitpicking? Of course. Read his pedigree profile here. Contender.
CANDY BOY — I’ve been high on this one for
some time now. He’s a colt that I think will appreciate the classic
distances, and he has a good running style that has him involved with the
race but not getting cooked by early speed. With the savvy Gary Stevens
aboard again, he’ll get a good trip. His speed figures have been steadily
improving, but the time span between his last start and this one is a bit
concerning. However, he’s been training like a monster, and I trust that Sadler
will have him ready to go as this is a must win situation. At the very least,
Candy Boy needs to run second to have any hope of making it to Kentucky.
Ride (ARG) - She's an Eleven, by In Excess) was three wide and gaining at the
1/8 pole in the Robert Lewis. He conquered Chitu by a measured ½ length in a
typical confident ride by Gary Stevens.
Candy Boy’s speed figures improve in every race and that’s pretty rare. His sire gave us 2010 Santa Anita Derby
winner Sidney’s Candy and 2009 runner-up Chocolate Candy, but damsire In
Excess imparts speed to his offspring.
He’s the damsire of only one stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles. Candy Boy could become the second. Candy Boy and his stakes winning dam own
the only blacktype in two generations, although Test Stakes (G-1) heroine
Leave Me Alone is part of this distaff family. Ashley and I are both sweet on
this colt and the right ride could have the rest looking like suckers. Read his pedigree profile here. Contender.
— Well beaten by
California Chrome in his stakes debut and just his second lifetime start,
Schoolofhardrocks looks to improve on that effort. It’ll be his second start
off the layoff, so he may have just needed the race. The other scenario,
though, is that he liked Del Mar’s all weather surface better than Santa
Anita’s traditional dirt surface. He has many questions to answer, and I
don’t see him improving off his last start enough to hang with the big boys. Consider
Schoolofhardrocks (Rock Hard Ten - Miss Chapin, by
Royal Academy) didn’t offer much resistance in the San Felipe Stakes, which
was only his second start. The colt
has a strong turf pedigree. His sire is a grand-son of Champion European
Roberto. Rock Hard Ten won over the dirt, but his progeny love the grass.
Plus, Schoolofhardrocks’ dam won her sole start over the lawn. I don’t see him doing much here except
getting in the way. Pass.
Dublin Up — From the same owners that
brought you 2012 Kentucky Derby 3rd place finisher Dullahan,
Dublin Up looks like one that will try to give California Chrome a dog fight
on the front end. If “Chrome” doesn’t take the bait, I still see this one
shooting out of the gate from his outside post and rocketing across the track
to establish the rail position and the early lead. Like rail drawn
Rprettyboyfloyd, this colt is still a maiden, and asking a colt to break his
maiden in a Grade 1 spot against experienced stakes competitors is a tall
order. I don’t like his chances of achieving that feat anymore than I like
|DUBLIN UP (Unbridled's Song - Stormy
Welcome, by Storm Cat) belongs at the same class level as Rprettyboyfloyd. He was caught on the lead of a mile maiden
race and finished third by a short neck.
Maybe he’s in here to try and soften up California Chrome or somebody
owed the Racing Secretary a favor.