Welcome to the Road to Kentucky blog recap for week 8! This week our featured track is Gulfstream Park with the featured Florida Derby and a showdown between the highly regarded Dunkirk, Quality Road and Theregoesjojo. Good luck this week!
Race 1: This was an Msw42K for 3+ at 6f. I selected Mighty Score (ML 2-1) as this 3yo posted a 95 speed figure in his prior race despite a bit of trouble. His work tab has been fairly light in the interim but he appears strictly the one to beat on paper. Just Ben is the main competition from the Zito barn and he is taking all the early action on the tote board.
The Result: The early money told the tale as Just Ben romped home as the co-favored 8/5 runner with Mighty Score who was a distant second. First time starter longshot Carcillo finished third. Just Ben toyed with them in the opener!.
Maximum Points: Just Ben 106
Maximum Score: 106
My Score: 50
Race 2: This was an Alw44000N1X for 3yo at 1m. Only 5 horses in here and I chose Santana Six (ML 8/5) for the Zito barn. His last race was very impressive at this distance and he finished second behind Dunkirk in his debut. No value here but a very likely winner in my opinion.
The Result: Santana Six dueled with Endymion to the top of the lane and then drew off to a comfortable win. Endymion held second and Jet Set Vinny finished third. Zito scores a chalky Daily Double sweep!
Maximum Points: Santana Six 85
Maximum Score: 191
My Score: 135
Race 3: This was an Md15000 for 3+ at 5.5f. I selected Senor Leche (ML 4-1) who drops in class and moves from the turf to the dirt. He flashed some speed last time out on the turf and there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot to beat in this race. He was second in his debut at this level despite breaking slowly, and the winner of that race came back to win. Behind the Pew and Nos Man merit a look as well.
The Result: Senor Leche broke poorly again but still rallied strongly and drew off to victory at 2-1 over Cherokee Unbridled and Nos Man. Behind the Pew broke down on the far turn.
Maximum Points: Kissimmee Kyle 134
Maximum Score: 325
My Score: 269
Race 4: This was a Clm35000N2L for 4+ at 1m1/16 on the turf. I selected Aqab (ML6-1) based on his two previous troubled trips at this level. He has a rallying style and will hopefully get a big piece of this one at a square price. Hedgefund Investor may be lone speed and is the favorite. Yaroslav finished second in his last start and rounds out my contender group.
The Result: Hedgefund Investor cleared early and the lone speed held up as he scored wire to wire at 5/2. Yaroslav finished second and Soul Spirit was third. My selection got shut down at the top of the lane. He had run but couldn’t get through.
Maximum Points: Hedgefund Investor 166
Maximum Score: 491
My Score: 269
Race 5: This was an Msw42K for 3yo at 1m. The big favorite is Barbaro’s full brother Nicanor who ran a solid second in his last start with a 93 speed figure. A repeat of that effort likely wins but there are a few other possibilities including Glitterman’s Cartel, Juliano and Zagarello.
The Result: Glitterman’s Cartel scored the mild upset for McPeek as he moved from turf to dirt and held off Nicanor by a half length. A bullet workout signaled all systems go for Glitterman’s Cartel. Birdrun finished 3rd.
Maximum Points: Glitterman’s Cartel 164
Maximum Score: 655
My Score: 314
Race 6: This was an Alw44000N1X for 3+ at 1m1/16th on the turf. I selected longshot Tire Kicker (ML 15-1) making his third start off the layoff for trainer Mark Hennig. He broke his maiden in his career debut at Belmont. This one is wide open.
The Result: Justenuffhumor got bet way down and scored at 3-1 for Kiaran McLaughlin. Big Al finished second and Bold Abbott was third. My selection got a good position early at 22-1 but never moved when the real running began. Fairly chalky for such a wide open race…
Maximum Points: Justenuffhumor 186
Maximum Score: 841
My Score: 314
Race 7: This was an OC62K/N2X for 4+ at 7f. I selected Vitruvius (ML 8-1) switching to Desormeaux for James Jerkins. Vitruvius hasn’t run since last June and he shows some sharp workouts. He scored at Gulfstream Park in his career debut back in February 2007 and makes his second start over the track today. This one looks wide open as well.
The Result: Vitruvius was bet down and scored at 3-1 over Groomedforvictory and Motovato. The favorites dominated again on a (so far) very formful Florida Derby under card.
Maximum Points: Vitruvius 158
Maximum Score: 999
My score: 472
Race 8: This was an OC62K/N2X for 4+ at 1m on the turf. It had the look of a wide open race and I selected Blues Street (ML 8-1) for Pletcher and Gomez. This horse needs a solid pace up front to set up his late kick. Let’s see if the chalk parade continues…
The Result: The two favorites ran 1-2 again as Rogue Victory scored for Desormeaux at 2-1. Blues Street looked like the winner at mid stretch but was out nodded on the wire. Gomez doesn’t lose many photos! A 60-1 bomb Bernulli ran third and got the most contest points for his effort. I thought the race was wide open but I guess not!
Maximum Points: Bernulli 154
Maximum Score: 1,153
My Score: 552
Race 9: This was the 24th running of the G2 Swale for 3yo at 7f. I selected This Ones for Phil who ran his eyeballs out two starts back when he posted a 116 Beyer figure. He faces Big Drama today who won the Delta Jackpot in December and has won 5 consecutive races.
The Result: This Ones for Phil and Big Drama ran head to head down the stretch with Big Drama prevailing by head. The stewards posted the inquiry sign and looked at the stretch run where it appeared that Big Drama bumped This Ones for Phil near the wire. After review, the stewards disqualified Big Drama and placed him second. Custom for Carlos ran third.
Maximum Points: This Ones for Phil 106
Maximum Score: 1,259
My Score: 658
Race 10: This was the 58th running of the G1 Florida Derby for 3yo at 1m1/8. On paper there were three standouts: Dunkirk, Quality Road and Theregoesjojo. I ended up selecting Quality Road as I figured speed would be good on the main track today. Dunkirk is getting all the early money and needs a victory to guarantee him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. We will soon see if Dunkirk is as good as advertised.
The Result: Dunkirk ran great but Quality Road sat off an honest pace and had enough left to hold off Dunkirk by a length in a great stretch battle. Both of these colts are high quality. Theregoesjojo steadied at the top of the stretch and lodged a claim of foul against Quality Road. The stewards ruled that there would be no change. Quality Road wins the Florida Derby in a track record performance. He might have stamped himself as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby with this performance.
Maximum Points: Quality Road 178
Maximum Score: 1,437
My Score: 866
Race 11: This was the 58th running of the G3 Appleton for 4yo at 7.5f on the turf. I selected longshot Avanti Avanti (ML 12-1) shipping in from Tampa for trainer Jason Servis. This horse gets a big class test today but is in outstanding form. We are due for an upset, maybe this will be the race.
The Result: Another favorite wins as Kiss the Kid scores at 2-1 over Artic Cry and Passeger. Nothing from my horse at 20-1, he wasn’t up to facing this class level.
Maximum Points: Kiss the Kid 134
Maximum Score: 1,571
My Score: 866
Race 12: The finale was an Msw42K for 3yo at 1m. I selected Courageous Cat as he was the favorite in his only start last year on the turf and returns with bullet works and Leparoux in the saddle. Audeamus and Jacoby’s Run are the main contenders.
The Result: Jacoby’s Run scored in the nightcap at 3-1, capping an extremely formful day of racing on Florida Derby Day. My selection was in contention at the top of the stretch but faded to fourth.
Maximum Points: Jacoby’s Run 160
Maximum Score: 1,731
My Score: 866
Summary: Quality Road and Dunkirk both ran very big in the Florida Derby. Dunkirk may be a little light on earnings to qualify for the Kentucky Derby so Pletcher will have to make a decision on how to proceed. Theregoesjojo is a nice colt but cannot match the quality of Quality Road and Dunkirk at this time. This is the first time I can recall a contest card not having any winners above 4-1. I expect the scores to be pretty bunched this week and it will probably take at least 1,300 points to win this week. Good luck if you scored over 1,200 you will be in the mix! See you next week!