The Road to Kentucky Week 12 (4/26/2008)

by The OracleTwo weeks left and the major Derby preps are completed for the 2008 Kentucky Derby. We won’t see any potential Derby starters today, but we get our first look at Churchill Downs for an 11-race contest card. Today’s Bonus race is the 84th running of the Derby Trial, and the morning line favorite is Kodiak Kowboy. Track condition at Churchill today-good, turf course-good.
Race 1: This was a Mcl30000 for 2yo’s at 4½f. Only one horse has started before, and that was my selection Iron Legacy. Iron Legacy had trouble at the start in his debut but closed to finish 4th at 35-1 odds at Keeneland. He is getting strong action from the public, as well as the rail horse Allworkandnoplay trained by the dangerous Wesley Ward, and Sabino trained by Dale Romans. Ridge City was a late scratch.
The Result: Allworkandnoplay broke sharply from the rail and scored wire to wire for Ward, with Sabino running second and Fiftycentsondollar finishing third. Allworkandnoplay was the 9/5 second choice. The favorite, Iron Legacy, ran fourth while running erratically down the stretch.
Maximum Points: Allworkandnoplay 122Maximum Score: 122My Score: 0
Race 2: This was a Clm25000 for f&m3+ at 1m1/16th. I didn’t see much early speed signed on so I selected the probable front runner Rivanna River who is exiting two sprints. She needs to relax on the front end and she can take these all the way. The public is split between Morghyn and Tarva for favoritism.
The Result: Tarva scored as the 9/5 second choice over 3/2 favorite Morghyn, with Easily Swayed finishing third. My Selection Rivanna River grabbed the lead at 5-1 but stopped at the top of the stretch. An objection against the winner by the runner up Morghyn for alleged interference into the first turn was not allowed.
Maximum Points: Tarva 110Maximum Score: 232My Score: 0
Race 3: This was a Md30000 for 3+ at 6f. I selected Naughty Fu Peg who is making his second career start after trying a one-turn mile at Gulfstream where he was forwardly placed and faded to fourth despite trouble. I’m hoping that the turnback in distance and the second career start are enough to bring him home first.
The Result: Naughty Fu Peg tracked the pace and scored with authority at 9/2 odds over Valid Citizen and Proper Paul. The favorite, Immediatedeparture, got loose in the post parade and subsequently failed to fire.
Maximum Points: Naughty Fu Peg 196Maximum Score: 428My Score: 196
Race 4: This was a Clm40000 for 3+ at 5f on the turf. There are several hard knocking horses in here, including Golden Hare-winner of 15 of his last 19. He’s the logical favorite but I selected Cielo Song as he might be a decent price and he has 3 wins from 8 tries at the distance. This is his first start over the Churchill turf course. Around the Cape is another possibility as he is dropping in class and has bankrolled over 300K in his career.
The Result: Cielo Song grabbed the early lead and scored wire to wire at 4-1 over Around the Cape and Hands On. This was a very strong race by Cielo Song as the rest were fairly strung out behind them. Favored Golden Hare did not fire in a poor effort. Cielo Song scores his 4th victory from 9 starts at the distance.
Maximum Points: Cielo Song 192Maximum Score: 620My Score: 388
Race 5: This was a Clm5000 for 3+ at 1m1/16th. The horse to beat on paper is Lighthouse Jim who was recently claimed by Cody Autrey and now drops from 10000 to the 5000 level. He holds a class edge, but is only 2 for 20 lifetime at the distance and the drop raises some question marks. I selected Stanton, who just won at a slightly lower claiming price at River Downs and is 2 for 4 lifetime at the distance. Q Mac’s Phone and Pretty Swanky are also getting some play.
The Result: It looked like Lighthouse Jim and Stanton were going to fight it out to the wire as they surged to the lead turning for home, but Q Mac’s Phone bided his time and nailed them both in the final strides at 4-1 odds. Stanton won the photo for second, and the favorite Lighthouse Jim ran third. Everything collapsed on the front end in this one.
Maximum Points: Q Mac’s Phone 174Maximum Score: 794My Score: 460
Race 6: This was an Alw51300N1X for f&m3+ at 6f. The heavy favorite is South Atlantic from the Albert Stall barn as she opened ½ on the board. Her speed figures are superior but she has been the beaten favorite three times on form. I selected Natalicat, the only horse in the field with a win at Churchill Downs. She makes her third start off the layoff today and is ridden by apprentice jockey D. Rodriguez.
The Result: The 3 to 5 favorite prevailed by a length and a half over Natalicat and Baja Morning. Natalicat had a little trouble entering the far turn as she was slightly steadied and lost position, but there’s no way to know if it cost her the race. South Atlantic was probably best either way.
Maximum Points: South Atlantic 77Maximum Score: 871My Score: 536
Race 7: This was a Msw49K for f&m3+ at 1m3/8 on the turf. I thought this race was extremely wide open as these maiden grass races tend to be. I selected Campy as a potential wire to wire threat even though he is 0 for 10 lifetime. She tried the Churchill turf course three times in her career with one third place finish. The lukewarm favorite is Palm Princess, who ran a good third in her only turf try at Gulfstream Park. Other contenders are Cape Cod Bay, Harpeth and Miss Primetime.
The Result: Favored Palm Princess grabbed the lead turning for home, but it was 10-1 longshot Tarheel Girl who rallied strongly and won by a length. Harpeth finished third. My selection ran poorly at 15-1 after being forwardly placed for six furlongs. Tarheel Girl had run twice before on the turf, finishing 4th and 9th with trouble lines, but got a clean trip today and prevailed.
Maximum Points: Tarheel Girl 372Maximum Score: 1,243My Score: 536
Race 8: This was an Md30000 for 3+ at 6f. The strong favorite is Cape Romain ridden by Calvin Borel. Cape Romain is taking a class drop from Md50000 at Keeneland to Md30000 at Churchill and makes his second start off the layoff while turning back in distance from a route race. He looks solid and is a logical favorite on paper. I went another direction and chose Cattkoot from the Helen Pitts barn as he dueled in the slop through fast fractions last time out at Gulfstream Park. He looks like a solid threat on the front end to me.
The Result: The favored Cape Romain rallied up the rail to score over Messa Nera and Granddamslam. Granddamslam grabbed the lead over my selection and therefore Cattkoot faltered turning for home. Cape Romain scored on the turnback/class drop angle.
Maximum Points: Pajarito 138Maximum Score: 1,381My Score: 536
Race 9: This was an OC100K/C for 3+ on the turf at 1mile. This is another wide open affair with no heavy favorite. I went to Sidcup on the outside making his second start off a brief layoff. His positives are that he has three seconds over the Churchill turf course in four starts but conversely he is 0 for 16 lifetime on the turf. I felt I had to reach for a longshot in this wide open race so I’m hoping the horse for course angle does the trick. The Result: I was right about playing a longshot but I played the wrong one as Bold Start wired the field at 10-1 odds. Firerock Base finished second and Itsallaboutthechase was third. My selection never factored at 21-1. Great effort by Bold Start as he was 1 for 1 on the Churchill turf and had been sprinting on the main track so far this year, but was cranked and ready to roll today.
Maximum Points: Bold Start 382Maximum score: 1,763My score: 536
Race 10: This was the featured 84th running of the Derby Trial at 7½f. I selected Macho Again despite his poor showing in the Lanes End on synthetic, his dirt races have been quite good as he has two firsts and two seconds from 5 starts including a first and a second at Churchill Downs. His two efforts in Graded races have been poor so the class level might be an issue today. I selected him as a price play as he was 12-1 morning line, but he has been bet down early to 9/2 odds. Other contenders include Eaton’s Gift, Kodiak Kowboy, Majestic Warrior, and Iron Works Pike.
The Result: It looked like Macho Again was going to get squeezed near the top of the stretch as Kodiak Kowboy came to his inside and took a short lead, but Macho Again dug in and prevailed by a ½ length on the outside at 6-1. Kodiak Kowboy finished second and Fujita ran third. It was a very impressive win despite a bit of trouble when he was in tight near the top of the stretch.
Maximum Points: Macho Again 472Maximum Score: 2,235My Score: 1,008
Race 11: This was a Clm30000N2L for f&m3+ at 6f. I thought it was a two horse race between I’m Daddy’s Girl and Lead Time and selected Lead Time off of her win over the Churchill Downs surface last year. I’m Daddy’s Girl has faced better competition but has never run on a regular dirt surface.
The Result: A big upset in the finale as Point Perfect scored at 25-1 over Lead Time and I’m Daddy’s Girl. Point Perfect was tough to find as she was outrun in her final two starts at Tampa Bay Downs and hadn’t hit the board in two starts at Churchill. Nice call if you tabbed that one!
Maximum Points: Point Perfect 808Maximum Score: 3,043My Score: 1,080
Summary: Point Perfect upset the apple cart in the last race with an 808 point score, so you probably needed to find that winner to contend for top honors this week. Other than that, there were two 10-1 winners and the double point race was 6-1 so some combination of tabbing two of those four horses should put you in contention. There’s a possibility somebody scored 2,000 points this week although 1,800 might be more realistic.
Next week is the Kentucky Derby and it will be the final week of this marathon contest. If you are in position to cash in the overall portion of the contest, good luck navigating through the 20-horse minefield that is the Kentucky Derby!

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