—I rather liked
this one going into the Spiral, and though he didn’t win, he also didn’t run
a bad race. Finishing 4th, he was beaten for it all by only about
2 lengths. All weather is obviously his preferred “turf,” and he’s performed
well at the 9 furlong distance. Emma-Jayne will likely have to use him a
little early to get a good position coming out of the rail post, but I think
he has a shot.
ASSERTING BEAR (Bear's Kid - Star Guest, by
Assert (IRE)) has traveled 1 1/8 miles, twice in his career with a win and a
strong fourth place finish, so we know he can handle the distance. Asserting Bear is a half to the multiple
stakes veteran Inish Glora and stakes winner Invitation Only. The colt likes to sit off of the pace, but
hopefully, he won’t be as far back as he was in the opening stages of the
Spiral. The drawback is that he’ll be blocked in traffic when the running
starts and the Spiral hasn’t held up as a key race for the Bluegrass. Pass.
EXTRASEXYHIPPZSTER—I honestly think trainer
Trombetta was trying to land in an easier spot, but this isn’t it. Sire
Stroll was a graded stakes winner on turf and dirt, and dam Extra Sexy
Psychic was a winner on dirt and synthetics. Ultimately, I think the issue
may lie more with class and distance than with surface, though the colt could
improve with the surface switch. His works would seem to indicate that
potential as his morning breezes at Keeneland have been much faster than his
morning breezes at Laurel. My gut tells me to not overlook this one, but
common sense says that he may be in over his head. At a price, I just might
have to take a shot.
|EXTRASEXYHIPPZSTER (Stroll - Extra Sexy Psychic, by
Freud) tossed in a clunker in the Gotham. For whatever reason, he was at the
back of the field that day instead in his customary pace pressing spot. I’m
inclined to give him a pass on that race. Although Extrasexyhippzster has
never raced over the Poly, his sire gets 18% winners over the surface. Extrasexyhippzster’s
dam is a stakes winner over Tapeta. As
Ashley noted, the colt’s works at Keeneland are good. I think Extrasexyhippzster is worth a
|PABLO DEL MONTE
both the switch back to synthetics and his return to Keeneland. He hasn’t
done too hot in his last three starts, but Pablo Del Monte is perfect both on
synthetics and at Keeneland. The biggest question will be the increase in
distance, but I trust that trainer Wesley Ward will have him ready.
DEL MONTE (Giant's
Causeway - One Hot Wish, by Bring the Heat) faded to third in the Holy Bull,
which was better than I thought he’d do.
He gets back to his preferred surface and you gotta watch those Giant
Causeway babies over the Keeneland Poly. Pablo Del Monte’s dam won her maiden
over the Keeneland poly as well. The drawback here is that the colt’s
pedigree is very light for 1 1/8 miles and he’s never run 1 1/16 miles, let
along 1 1/8 miles. Maybe his running style and return to poly will help, but
I don’t see him winning it. Exotics.
HARRY’S HOLIDAY—After losing the Spiral by a nose
in the last jump, this one will be back seeking revenge. He retains jockey
Rosie Napravnik, who rode him for the first time in his last outing. Rosie is
about as good as they come, and I am confident that she will adjust his
methods from the Spiral to here in order to make sure that they don’t lose in
the last jump again. If Coltimus Prime is slow out of the gate or doesn’t get
a good early position, Harry’s Holiday could be going…going…gone on the lead.
|HARRY'S HOLIDAY (Harlan's Holiday - Daisy Mason,
by Orientate) fought hard the entire way and was caught by surprise by a
surging We Miss Artie in the final step of the Spiral. I don’t think he gets
an easy lead this time either, and Harry’s Holiday will have to contend with
speed next to him in the form of Bobby’s Kitten and Coltimus Prime. Harry’s
Holiday ran some monster early speed figures in the Spiral, but his late pace
figures have a lot to be desired. Plus, he’s facing a much deeper field here.
When was the last time a horse won or placed in the Spiral and was
competitive in the Bluegrass? Pass.
—The Ramseys + a
Kitten’s Joy colt + Keeneland = success…or at least that was generally the
case last year. He’s got a lot of speed and talent, but the switch from turf
to synthetics could be dicey. He did have a solid 5 furlong work in a minute
and change on the 5th, but how that translates in the afternoon
will remain to be seen. I believe a lot of people on going to be on board the
Bobby’s Kitten bandwagon, but this is one I believe I have to take a stand
Joy - Celestial Woods, by Forestry) will be right there contesting the lead.
The last five editions of the Bluegrass were won by horses who sat mid-pack
or farther back. In all but one of
those races, the early leaders were nowhere to be found. Bobby’s Kitten has the pedigree and class,
but not the running style. His stablemate Charming Kitten finished third in
this race last year. Talented colt, but his late pace speed figures aren’t
that great. Pass.
COLTIMUS PRIME—He’s run his best races on
synthetics, so like Pablo Del Monte, he’ll appreciate the surface switch. Other
than that, I don’t really like him. I believe he’s a cut below the rest of
the field in terms of class. Pass.
|COLTIMUS PRIME (Milwaukee Brew - Certainly
Special, by Distorted Humor) should transform back into a contender with the
switch to Poly. He needed a search
party to locate him after a 25 length drubbing in the Tampa Bay Derby, so I
don’t know how much running he actually did. That, along with his front
running style may run his batteries down when it’s time for the real running
to begin. Pass.
a 2-year old Casiguapo ran fairly well and got a slice of the pie in a
handful of graded stakes. In his 3-year old debut, he didn’t do much against
lesser company and posted a poor speed figure. I’m not a fan, nor am I
convinced he belongs in this spot. Though his last two works would suggest
that he’s on his toes, I still have to pass.
CASIGUAPO (Sightseeing - Emerald Buddha, by
Buddha) has been kept on a steady diet of sprint races with poor results. In
his only race at 1 1/16 miles, he finished second in the Delta Jackpot. The colt was best of the rest in both the
Hopeful and Delta Jackpot, so he’s showed a modicum of class. His sire and
damsire both won at 1 1/8 miles, plus his second dam is the legendary
Alysheba. Casiguapo should enjoy the extra distance, however his Polypedigree
is poor, Sightseeing has a total of three winners over Polytrack. I also agree with Ashley that Casiguapo is
a cut below these. Pass.
DANCE WITH FATE—With Tamarando not in the Blue
Grass, it may just be Dance With Fate’s time to shine. He finished behind
that rival in both the G1 Del Mar Futurity and the G3 El Camino Real Derby,
both on synthetics. Sitting off the abundant early runners, he has the
potential to be very dangerous down the lane in the stretch. Contender.
|DANCE WITH FATE (Two Step Salsa - Flirting With
Fate, by Saint Ballado) will handle the Poly, and I think 1 1/8 miles is at
the top of his distance range. His
sire was a nice sprinter/miler, however none of his offspring have won beyond
a mile. That being said, Dance With
Fate owns the highest late pace speed figure in the field and he should get a
nice stalking trip. Contender.
|BIG BAZINGA —He didn’t quite fill out the
exotics like I believed he would in the Spiral, but like Asserting Bear, he
didn’t run a bad race. Caught in that blanket finish, he was just 2 ½ lengths
away from winning it all. With that being said, I think he faces tougher here
than he did in the Spiral. Maybe…but at the right price.
Cat - Darling Daughter, by Maria's Mon) was part of the blanket finish in the
Spiral. He came back with a very nice breeze at Keeneland. He has some class in his distaff family, as
he’s a half-brother to stakes winner Holiday Mischief and his dam is G-3
placed. The drawback here is that he failed against lesser horses in the Spiral
and he’s finished behind four other horses in the field in previous
SO LONESOME—Gets blinkers for the first time
and runs on synthetics for the first time. He faced open company for the
first time in his last outing, resulting in the worst finish of his career.
That’s just too many firsts for me. Pass.
|SO LONESOME (Awesome Again - Dash for Money,
by General Meeting) showed little in his first start of the season, so when
that happens, put a hood on the horse and try again. That angle works 2% of the time for trainer
Tom Bush. So Lonesome has the pedigree
to handle the distance, maybe he’ll like the surface, I’ll bet that he doesn’t
and he isn’t up to this class level.
|COASTLINE —Hasn’t lived up to all the hype
yet. He did run a good third, beaten only a neck in the Spiral. Could be that
he just likes synthetics best, but I’ll need to see another performance like
what he gave last time to be completely convinced. If he runs the same race
he ran last time, he could get another piece of the pie. Exotic play only for
Culinary, by El Amante) was in the thick of it in the Spiral blanket finish. This
pretty gray colt does his best work on or near the lead and I think he’ll be
in the first flight early on. He’s nice enough and has an excellent
Polypedigree, but his late pace speed figures don’t do anything for me. I’m with Ashley on this one, he might
finish third or fourth.
VINCEREMOS—I really like this Pioneerof the
Nile colt, but I don’t know about the switch from dirt to synthetics.
Personally, I would rather have seen him run last weekend in the Wood or even
in this weekend’s Arkansas Derby. Sire Pioneerof the Nile did very well on
Santa Anita’s synthetic surface, so the possibility that Vinceremos will run
well on the surface is there. Personal bias aside, Pletcher wins at a 23%
clip when switching runners from dirt to all weather, a stat that’s hard to
ignore. I don’t think I can justify playing him to win, but utilizing him
underneath to fill out exotics is probably the way to go
|VINCEREMOS (Pioneerof the Nile - Kettle's
Sister, by More Than Ready) was a solid second place behind Ring Weekend in
the Tampa Bay Derby. Those Pioneerof
the Nile offspring are tough competitors over every surface. Vinceremos has
the pedigree and running style to do well here and he owns the second highest
late pace speed figure in the group.
Pletcher & Prado teamed up to win the Blue Grass with Monba in
2008. I like this colt and I think he’s
a major contender.
|MEDAL COUNT - Wheeled
back just a week after capturing G3 Transylvania here at Keeneland,
Spendthrift Farm is hoping to qualify for the Kentucky Derby with a follow up
performance from their Dynaformer colt. Had the Transylvania not come off the
turf, I doubt Medal Count would have landed in this spot, especially with the
quick turnaround. In these types of situations, I always cite Willy Beamin,
who won the G1 King’s Bishop off a three day turnaround from the Albany
Stakes. In this case, I don’t like it. I understand how tempting it is to
have a colt that could potentially wear the roses on the first Saturday of
May, but you have to think long term as well as short term. Short term for me
is that I have to pass.
MEDAL COUNT (Dynaformer - Brisquette, by
Unbridled's Song) turns around just eight days after his score in the Transylvania.
No question about his ability to get the
distance. Like Ashley, I’m concerned about the swift turn around. I doubt Medal Count will have the same “supplemental
diet” that helped Willy Beamin with his quick turn around, but when you’re
hot, you’re hot. I don’t like the outside post, but if he can get a good
trip, perhaps Medal Count can hit the board. Exotics.
GALA AWARD—Does Gala Award qualify as the
“other Pletcher” or does that role fall to Vinceremos? Either way, Pletcher
sends out a strong duo, one a graded stakes winner on dirt (Vinceremos) and
the other a graded stakes winner on turf (Gala Award). I feel like I keep
reiterating myself, but so many in this field don’t have prior all weather
experience that I feel like I might as well throw darts at the wall. From a
personal standpoint, I like Vinceremos better (from Team Pletcher), but I
also think he stands a better chance of doing better on synthetics that Gala
Award, too. Pass.
|GALA AWARD (Bernardini - Wilshewed, by
Carson City) beat the stakes winning Mr. Speaker in their last meeting. The stablemate
of Vinceremos has done well on the turf. He’s a half to the graded stakes
winners Stormello and My Best Brother, plus his dam is a half to the dam of San
Rafael freak The Pamplemousse. Stakes
winner? Check? Class? Check? Surface?
Well..the offspring of Bernardini aren’t all that great over
Polytrack. A.P. Indy and his sons are not good Polysires. I don’t like that
outside post, either. Pass.
|DIVINE OATH —Perfect in 2 starts, Divine Oath
will have to pray for a defection in order to draw into the field. Should
that happen, it won’t really change my selections. Divine Oath may be
undefeated, but he’s also being thrown to the wolves, asking to route for the
first time against more experienced runners in a Grade 1 race. Pass.
OATH (Broken Vow
- Rejoicing, by Forestry) won a turf sprint at Gulfstream from the 10 hole,
so we know he’s good. He has the pedigree to handle the Poly and
Leparoux/Pletcher shouldn’t be ignored. Now the drawbacks – far outside, lightly
raced, average speed figures. Doesn’t
have a prayer if he draws in. Pass.