J P Brings Gusto to Arkansas

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily - Day 76
 
The Derby preps are really starting to roll and on Monday we have another good one, as a full field is set to clash in the Southwest Stakes. With the recent success of horses who have run at Oaklawn Park on the road to Louisville, it makes sense to pay close attention to their series of graded stakes for the sophomore set. The President’s Day field of eleven includes a number of interesting prospects like, Elite Alex, Yankee Passion, Archarcharch, and Caleb’s Posse, but it is the one horse already proven in graded competition that looms the one to beat.
 
A ridgling son of Successful Appeal out of the Caller I. D. mare Call Her Magic, J P’s Gusto arrived at Oaklawn on February 9 from Southern California, where he compiled the impressive resume of a multiple graded stakes winner. He’s been in Arkansas with his new trainer just long enough to get in one six furlong drill over the racing surface. J P's Gusto was recently transferred to trainer Joe Petalino by his owner, Dr. John Waken's Gem Stable, with the series of Southwest, Rebel, and Arkansas Derby in mind as the best possible way to prepare his horse for a run at the Kentucky Derby. Top rider Ramon Dominguez will be in the saddle for the first time on Monday.
 
You don’t have to go back very far to recall that J P’s Gusto was the top rated juvenile on the West Coast. Gritty wins last Summer in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes, and Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity earned him that honor.
 
[Considering his resume, what did you think of J P’s Gusto current position of  #15 on the community’s ranking of 2011 Kentucky Derby contenders]
 
When last seen, he finished full of run when second to Comma to the Top in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity two months ago for former trainer David Hofmans. His one try on dirt resulted in a middle of the pack finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but his trip that day was less than ideal, so there is reason to believe that he can handle a traditional dirt surface.
 
I like some of the lightly raced colts in here a great deal, notably Elite Alex and Yankee Passion, but asking them to handle the quality experience of J P’s Gusto at this early stage may be too much to expect.
 
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In other Derby Doings, a Todd Pletcher trifecta of high profile colts worked out this morning, including the undefeated champion Uncle Mo.
 

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

 
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