In the Money

Horse racing insight that's loose on the lead

Thursday update: U.S. hopefuls in Dubai World Cup

March 28th, 2013

The latest update from the Dubai Racing Club on U.S. hopefuls running in Saturday’s World Cup

Animal Kingdom — The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner galloped approximately 2600 metres on the Meydan all-weather track on Thursday as assistant trainer and exercise rider Alice Clapham took a firm hold on Team Valor International’s chestnut to keep him from going too fast.

“He was on his toes,” said trainer Graham Motion, “but we would be worried about him if he wasn’t.” Reflecting back on the post position draw, in which Animal Kingdom drew the 12 gate in the 13-horse field, Motion said “I didn’t want to be stuck on the inside so perhaps it was the lesser of two evils.”

Dullahan — Arriving at the all-weather track before dawn, Donegal Racing’s charge galloped about 2400 metres.

“He trained great,” said trainer Dale Romans, the Eclipse Award winner as America’s outstanding trainer in 2012. Romans plans to send the colt, a three-time Grade 1 winner in America on all-weather tracks, to the starting gate for a schooling session on Friday. Dullahan was jumpy in the gate prior to breaking slowly and then finishing unplaced in the Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday, March 9, at Meydan.

Royal Delta — Following her strong 600-metre work on Wednesday, Besilu Stables’ Royal Delta enjoyed a quiet day in the Dubai World Cup quarantine barn area, jogging around a small trotting ring and taking the rest of the day off.

Assistant trainer and exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset reported that the 5-year-old mare, seeking to become the first of her gender to win the world’s richest race, came out of the exercise “in good shape.” Trainer Bill Mott added that Royal Delta “looked really good” while working. “I was very happy with it,” said Mott, who cited Animal Kingdom and Godolphin’s Hunter’s Light as perhaps the mare’s strongest competition in the race.


Jockey Garrett Gomez to throw out first pitch at Dodgers game

March 27th, 2013

From the Santa Anita press office

Two-time Eclipse award winning jockey Garrett Gomez will throw out the first pitch Friday night at Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Game time on Friday at Dodger Stadium is at 7:10 p.m., with the first pitch to be thrown out at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Gomez (Photo courtesy Santa Anita)

Gomez (Photo courtesy Santa Anita)

Gomez, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, has been named to ride Flashback for Bob Baffert in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

A winner of 13 Breeders’ Cup races, Gomez, 41, is currently on the ballot for consideration for induction into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

A native of Tucson, Arizona, Gomez is an avid golfer and resides in nearby Duarte with his wife, Pam, son, Jared and daughter, Amanda.



Kentucky Derby Daily: March 27

March 27th, 2013

Revolutionary made 3-1 favorite for Louisiana Derby

Withers champ Revolutionary was designated the 3-1 favorite for the Louisiana Derby in a field of 14. The full lineup:

Shanghai Bobby draws dreaded rail for Florida Derby

Todd Pletcher’s Shanghai Bobby drew the rail post for the Florida Derby in a field of 10. The full lineup:

Connections discuss Florida Derby contenders

Dale Romans on Pick of the Litter: “He trained like one of my best 2-year-olds last year.”

Roger Attfield on Are You Kidding Me: “He got what he needed from the Tampa race to move him forward. We’ve always thought he had the ability to be a possible Derby-quality horse. He’s trained very well on dirt here at Payson (Park), but whether they do well on it in a race, you just don’t know until you try them.” derby 2

Shug McGaughey on Orb: “He has made great strides since he got down here, starting with his first work at Payson. I came down here with the idea that he probably wouldn’t be able to show his best with his style the way the Gulfstream track plays (favoring speed). My expectations were that he might win an ‘a other than’ allowance race and we’d get him back to New York and maybe get to run him in the Wood Memorial.

“He doesn’t necessarily have to win Saturday to go to the (Kentucky) Derby, but he has to run the right kind of race. If he doesn’t, we won’t go. I want the horse to take me there.” As for how Saturday’s race might develop he said, “The pace is out of my hands. We’ll let him run his race. His style and pedigree say he will go the (Kentucky Derby) distance.”

Eddie Plesa on Itsmyluckyday: “If I had drawn a map for his training since the Holy Bull it couldn’t have gone any better than it has. I wouldn’t change a thing about what we planned for him.”

Jack Wolf of Starlight Racing on Shanghai Bobby: “He got beat fair and square (in the Holy Bull), but I hope it will move him forward. I know there is a question if he can get the distance, but with his heart and determination my expectations are as high as ever.”

Black Onyx arrives at Churchill Downs

Spiral Stakes winner Black Onyx is the first Kentucky Derby 139 contender to arrive at Churchill Downs.

The son of Rock Hard Ten, trained by Kelly Breen, arrived at about 9:30 a.m. and is located in stall 12 of barn 41.

According to a Churchill Downs press release, Breen’s assistant Phil Threewitt, nephew of the late legendary trainer Noble Threewitt, traveled with the colt along with groom Jose Orantes and an exercise rider.

“He shipped well and he’s doing well,” Threewitt said. “We love him. He’s a neat horse. We’ve only had him for his last two starts and he’s won both times.”

Black Onyx could visit the track for light training on Thursday.

Wednesday Derby works

The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Titletown Five, who drew post 10 for the Louisiana Derby, went four furlongs in :48.80.

Also at Oaklawn, Arkansas Derby contender Texas Bling worked seven furlongs in 1:26.20.


Fiftyshadesofhay, recently bothered by quarter crack issues, returned to the work tab and posted a bullet at Santa Anita Park.

The Bob Baffert trainee went four furlongs in :46.80. She is pointing to the Santa Anita Oaks on April 6.





Entries: Louisiana Derby

March 27th, 2013

Entries for Saturday’s Louisiana Derby, a Kentucky Derby points race:

1. Hip Four Sixtynine (30-1) (J. Theriot/B. Barnett)

2. Palace Malice (5-1) (E. Prado/T. Pletcher)

3. Revolutionary (3-1) (J. Castellano/T. Pletcher)

4. Golden Soul (20-1) (C. Borel/D. Stewart)

5. Whiskey Bravo (30-1) (J. Graham/K. Desormeaux)

6. Subean (12-1) (C. Hernandez/A. Stall)

7. Departing (8-1) (B. Heranandez/A. Stall)

8. Code West (9-2) (M. Garcia/B. Baffert)

9. Proud Strike (10-1) (Corey Nakatani/S. Asmussen)

10. Titletown Five (8-1) (J. Court/D. W. Lukas)

11. Mylute (12-1) (S. Bridgmohan/T. Amoss)

12. Brazilian Court (30-1) (M. Mena/M. Maker)

13. Ground Transport (20-1) (M. Guidry/M. Stidham)

14. Nina’s Dragon (30-1) (J. Couton/L. Mason)


Entries: Florida Derby

March 27th, 2013

Entries for the Florida Derby Saturday at Gulfstream Park, a Kentucky Derby points race.

1. Shanghai Bobby (5-2) (R. Napravnik/T. Pletcher)

2. Pick of the Litter (6-1) (J. Castanon/D. Romans)

3. Itsmyluckyday (2-1) (E. Trujillo/E. Plesa)

4. Pontiff (30-1) (A. Garcia/D. Romans)

5. Frac Daddy (20-1) (C. Lanerie/K. McPeek)

6. Orb (3-1) (J. Velazquez/S. McGaughey)

7. Indy’s Illusion (20-1) (R. Maragh/B. Tagg)

8. Merit Man (15-1) (K. Desormeaux/B. Hess)

9. Are You Kidding Me (15-1) (J. Lezcano/R. Attfield)

10. Narvaez (20-1) (P. Lopez/A. Bezara)


Update: Reactions to Dubai World Cup post position draw

March 27th, 2013

The reactions from U.S.-based contenders after the Dubai World Cup draw, via Dubai Racing Club.

Animal Kingdom (Graham Motion/Joel Rosario) Gate 12
Graham Motion: “To tell the truth I was glad one, two and three were already taken, I
talked to Ramon Dominguez and he said that we wouldn’t want to see him caught on
the inside. Hopefully Joel Rosario will have him in a good spot. Our tactics
won’t change and he’s capable of coming from off of it if he has to. After all
we won the Derby from post 16.

Dullahan (Dale Romans/Gary Stevens) Gate 3
Dale Romans: “Post 3 is alright – it’s a good spot we’d rather not be outside. He’ll probably
settle and come running. Gary Stevens and I will study the race and come up with
a strategy.”

Royal Delta (William Mott/Mike Smith) Gate 8
Bill Mott: “I just decided to take one outside of seven, last year we were seven. The filly
did well coming into the race last year but we didn’t have the easiest of trips,
so we decided to come back right then and there. She is bigger and stronger this


Update: Dubai World Cup contenders

March 27th, 2013

Updates from the Dubai Racing Club on the U.S. hopefuls in the World Cup:

Animal Kingdom — A day after his drill down the Meydan all-weather track stretch, Animal Kingdom strolled to the training track and took a leisurely jog around the peaceful oval with assistant trainer Alice Clapham in the saddle. Trainer Graham Motion; Barry Irwin, chief executive officer of ownership group Team Valor International, and Bradley Weisbord, Team Valor chief operating officer, were on hand to watch the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and they liked what they saw. “He seems super,” Motion said. “I just wanted to give him an easy day today after the work yesterday and the schooling session last night.” Animal Kingdom joined other American-based horses in schooling in the saddling area and parade ring on Tuesday evening to get acquainted with what they will experience on race night.

Dullahan — Continuing to express an eagerness to train, Dullahan galloped about 2400 metres on the all-weather track with assistant trainer Tammy Fox aboard and the statuesque chestnut returned bouncing and leaping in the air. Trainer Dale Romans said the 4-year-old has adjusted to Meydan very well since his unplaced finish in the Burj Nahaar (G3) on March 9 and should be a strong contender in the $10 million World Cup. “I’m very confident. I feel good about my chances,” Romans said. “If we get a few breaks (in racing luck), he’ll be very competitive.”

Royal Delta — America’s champion filly in 2011 and ’12 turned in the most electric workout of the week, breezing approximately 600 metres down the stretch in :35.64 under Rodolphe Brisset as trainer Bill Mott looked on from the rail with his son, Riley, by his side. In comparison, Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom worked the same distance in :36.24 the previous day.  “She looked like she was moving very easily,” Mott said. “We just let her stretch her legs a little bit.”  “She looks good and she’s handling everything very well.” Brisset said the daughter of Empire Maker knew she was going to work and jumped into her exercise, rolling down the stretch enthusiastically with her ears pricked. “We’re in good shape. All we need now is a little luck.”


Infinite Magic: Team Valor’s newest arrival unveiled

March 27th, 2013

New Triple Crown nominee Infinite Magic now at Fair Hill

By J.J. Hysell

Crop Report looks to be a late bloomer and Cerro hasn’t quite materialized as a Triple Crown series contender. Just when it appears Team Valor is low on aces, a little-known colt emerges: Infinite Magic.

The son of More Than Ready, who has raced exclusively on all-weather in Britain, was announced as a late Triple Crown nominee on Monday for trainer Graham Motion. He posted his first published U.S. work at Fair Hill on Saturday, going four furlongs in :50 flat on the all weather surface.

The most intriguing aspect of this colt is his most recent win, his 3-year-old debut: it was at the Derby distance of 10 furlongs in the Blue Square Bet Handicap Stakes. He appeared doomed in the stretch as the two frontrunners drew off, but a second wind propelled him to charge between them with late acceleration. King George River maintained the lead until just before the wire, when Infinite Magic pulled ahead by a nose and strided past him on the gallop out.

Here’s video of the race from Lingfield featuring Churchill Downs track announcer Mark Johnson:

That win earned Infinite Magic a career-best Racing Post Rating of 91. Previously trained by Jeremy Noseda and owned by Tom Ludt, Infinite Magic broke his maiden in his second start, a 7 1/4-furlong test at Wolverhampton which he won by 3 3/4-lengths. He was a disappointing fourth as the favorite at Kempton in November, but returned in late December to post a solid second at 1 1/16-miles at Wolverhampton.

The Kentucky-bred colt is by More Than Ready, the same sire as Verrazano, the undefeated Todd Pletcher trainee. He is mostly a middle-distance sire. This colt obtains his stamina from the dam side as he is out of a Danehill Dancer mare, Irish-bred Truly Enchanting.

Truly Enchanting boasts both Affirmed and Alydar in her pedigree through her dam Truly Bewitched.

Infinite Magic is nominated to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Whether or not he makes the Triple Crown trail, this bay colt with the white blaze is one to watch.











In the Money: 3-year-olds to Watch

March 26th, 2013

ITM analysis of the top 3-year-olds to watch from  – March 20  – March 27

(* denotes a previous ITM Horse to Watch)


Sunland Park

*Govenor Charlie (colt, Midnight Lute – Silverbulletway by Storm Cat) – On a day when the track was historically fast, Bob Baffert’s newest Kentucky Derby hopeful not only put on a show, he tacked a new track record for the 1 1/8-miles (1:47.54) in the Sunland Derby. His final split was a solid 12:58. He did have the advantage of a very swift early pace, but there was no doubt who was much the best among this group. The field wasn’t top-tier colts/geldings, but he did overpower San Vicente champ and stablemate Shakin It Up.

It’s tough to gauge the strength level of Sunday’s stakes races considering the track’s lean toward speedy times. Along with Midnight Lucky, another track record was set in the Bill Thomas Memorial by Isn’t He Clever. The fact he conquered this distance, at a new track, in just his third start is enough to render him a contender. He will train up to the Derby according to Baffert, which means he’ll need to overcome a lot. He’s only raced three times and did not race at the age of two. The distance isn’t a question for this runner; it’s experience and class. He has yet to face a tough field. Interesting to note in both of his wins, he was not farther back than third. Both of his wins also featured a very fast early pace.

*Midnight Lucky (filly, Midnight Lute – Citiview by Citidancer) – The second half of the Midnight Lute march at Sunland smashed the track record for 1 1/16-miles (1:41.06) with a sizzling final split of 6:55. She’s obviously a special and talented filly who has come a long way in just two starts, mastering rating off the pace, the stretch out and different tracks. She’ll go into the Kentucky Oaks off just two starts and not having raced at the age of two. It’s not as tough a challenge as it is for the colts/geldings trying a challenging 1 1/4-miles, so there’s a chance, depending on how the Oaks field forms, she could handle this task. She also didn’t appear to be taxed after the Sunland Oaks despite flying home in record time.

In both her starts, she sat in second just off the pace and took control. Although she’s been incredibly impressive, she has yet to face adversity or any of the top-tier fillies, such as Beholder, Live Lively and Close Hatches.

*Back Seat Roll (filly, Roll Hennessy Roll – Back Seat Charm by Silver Charm) – The consistent New Mexico-bred is now 5 of 8 after her New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks win.

Turfway Park

*Crop Report (colt, Medaglia d’Oro – Amarillo by Crafty Prospector) – Although the field was dwindled by three scratches, the Rushaway performance was still impressive considering this Graham Motion runner had to make up considerable ground in the stretch. The connections mentioned post-race how they’d hope he’d show more speed from the gate. In his previous start at Gulfstream on turf, he hit the gate and broke last, yet managed to rally for third. He showed the same hesitance at the start in the Rushaway and didn’t pick up the pace until mid-stretch, when he was forced to circle the field to reach pacesetter Divine Ambition.

Crop Report

Crop Report

The final time of 1:45.66 is standard for the distance, class and track. His closing run was one of the better performances on the day, but watching the race live, it wasn’t a ‘wow’ move like Animal Kingdom’s bold run into a strong headwind in 2011.

“He proved today that he can run, but I was kind of worried when we passed the three-eighths pole,” jockey Joel Rosario said. “He was catching horses so quickly, he got the job done today. I was concerned coming around the far turn because it took a while for him to get going.”

Graham Motion’s assistant, David Rock: “I was a little concerned. We hoped he would show a little more speed, but we knew he would finish up. The horse gave himself a lot to do. He’s European and a big horse, so maybe the gate’s a little small to him.”

Team Valor’s Barry Irwin said the colt, who is still quite immature, won’t target the Derby and instead will point to the Belmont Stakes with one prep. The prep is possibly the Peter Pan, a 1 1/8-mile test at Belmont on May 11.

*Black Onyx (colt, Rock Hard Ten – Kalahari Cat by Cape Town) – This intriguing runner now boasts wins on all three surfaces and is 2 for 2 since moving to the barn of Kelly Breen. What’s appealing is his mid-pack running style isn’t dependent on a pace scenario, and he seems quite maneuverable. He did drift some in late stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Spiral, but didn’t appear taxed post-race. His pattern is solid for a continued increase in distance, as both wins were in routes and he’s not one who’s been languishing in sprints for most of his young career. Although turf is likely his best surface, he won on dirt at Aqueduct and was fourth in a strong allowance race on dirt at Gulfstream that featured Bradester and Cerro.

Black Onyx

Black Onyx

He’s set to ship to Churchill this week, meaning he’ll get acclimated much earlier than his rivals. The key will be how he takes to the surface.

Uncaptured, returning after a four month layoff, performed very well considering it was his first try at 1 1/8-miles. He struggled in the stretch with his leads and appeared to get weary late, but these top two were strides better than the rest of the field. Excellent comeback race for the Mark Casse trainee, who could head to the very competitive Blue Grass as a final prep. He is head and shoulders better at Churchill, but what happens at Keeneland could be the determining factor for his future.

Jockey Miguel Mena: “He really needed the race. He was getting tired from the eighth pole.”

*Silsita (filly, Macho Uno – Naturally Wild by Wild Again) – She had the advantage of the outside spot in a battle with Marathon Lady, who was on the rail, that lasted until the finish of the Bourbonette. The Todd Pletcher runner handled the new surface well and tallied her first win since her debut. Although she is in firm position points-wise for the Oaks, the connections haven’t decided on a next start. Her better performances have come on turf and synthetic.



Marathon Lady, a daughter of Graeme Hall trained by Steve Hobby, will go back to Oaklawn and could start in the Fantasy Stakes.

Kenny McPeek’s Pure Fun was visibly tired in the stretch and couldn’t make up ground, finishing third by 1 1/4-lengths. While the layoff is a consideration, it was obvious that she was not taking hold of the track.


Fair Grounds

*Tread (filly, Arch – Scoot Yer Boots by Seeking the Gold) – The definition of refuse to lose, this Al Stall runner appeared beaten on the rail with Silver Strike to the outside. She didn’t succumb and re-rallied, not only to beat that foe, but also holding off the late-closing I Think So. She’s consistent; has yet to stretch out beyond six furlongs.

*Anyriderill Do (turf) (colt, Street Hero – E Looe by Lure) – Versatile grass runner for Ronny Werner won his second straight using front-running tactics in the mile test. He had a legitimate excuse of traffic trouble in his debut. Definite for the virtual stable.

Gulfstream Park

Bella Castani (turf) (filly, Big Brown – Caroni by Rubiano) – This half-sister to Beautician was eased in her debut, a race on dirt won by the talented Close Hatches. She returned on grass rejuvenated and flashed strong late acceleration in the stretch going one mile for Eddie Kenneally.

Summer of Fun (turf) (filly, Include – Royal Innocence by Royal Anthem) – Valiant return from a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf for this George Weaver runner, who is building up to a strong 3-year-old campaign with an allowance win. Notable time of 1:40.20 for the 1 1/16-miles and she beat a good field.

Rip Roarin Ritchie (turf) (gelding, Bring the Heat – Silently Mighty by Mighty) – The runner who showed promise as a 2-year-old returned victorious off a long layoff, catching a speedy favorite in a grass sprint. Off the Page ran a strong race with swift early fractions, but this Wes Ward runner was able to nab him at the wire.

Laurel Park

Light My World (filly, Purim – Freccia by Cryptoclearance) – In a breakthrough performance in her third start, this Judith DiNatale trainee closed into a moderate pace and drew off impressively in the mile test.

Oaklawn Park

*Officer Alex (colt, Officer – Ms. C D Player by Boca Rio) – A drop from graded stakes and a return to sprints resulted in a trip to the winner’s circle for this Lynn Whiting runner. He’s one to watch in sprints and among his class.

*Jan’s Perfect Star (filly, Imperialism – Perfect Exchange by Valid Appeal) – She proved her debut romp was no fluke by stretching out to 1 1/16-miles and beating state-bred stakes company in just her second start. Purchased by locally based David Clark after her impressive maiden win, she cruised to a 3 3/4-length win in the Arkansas’ Breeders Stakes and remains one to watch on this circuit. The time over the track labeled good was on the slow side (1:51.33).

Sunland Park

Unfettered (gelding, Rockport Harbor – New York Jessica by Phone Trick) – Standout debut by this Florida-bred at 13-1. He grabbed the lead and extended to the wire to win by more than five lengths. Tough to gauge just how strong these Sunland races were considering the feverishly fast times.

Turfway Park

Mal Guapo (gelding, Into Mischief – Jostlin Kate by Fit to Fight) – Hampered by a wide post, this first-time starter for Kellyn Gorder made up substantial ground, with heavy kickback, to finish a good second behind winner Impassable Canyon. He’s one to watch on a surface switch to dirt and a stretch out from six furlongs.



*Dads Caps (colt, Discreet Cat – Seeking the Silver by Grindstone) – He’s 2 for 2 on the inner track and proved quite game in his most recent start, as he held off Tenango to secure the win.

Shadow Rock (turf) (gelding, Distorted Humor – Dream Time by Storm Cat) – He was very green in the stretch, but it was just his second start and he showed marked improvement moving from dirt to turf. Speedy time of 1:04.50 for the 5 1/2 furlongs on grass.

Charles Town

College Park (colt, Louis Quatorze – County Brass by Wayne County) – Stunning gray son of Louis Quatorze won his debut easily against state-breds in a solid time of 1:19.46 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Honour the Vow (gelding, Broken Vow – Decoratedwithonour by Matter of Honor) – The seven furlongs and a fast Charles Town track were what this Flint Stites runner needed to get back in the winner’s circle. Nice, sweeping move in the stretch of the allowance test.

Delta Downs

Jitterbug Slim (colt, Holy Bull – Dickson Street by Storm Boot) – Solid debut against mostly experienced foes for this Louisiana-bred trained by Sam Breaux. Good time of :58.69 for five furlongs.

Gulfstream Park

Happy My Way (gelding, Wilko – Holy Queen by Holy Bull) – He’s won two straight including a gutsy neck win over favorite Carried Interest at 16-1. This is a solid Florida-bred sprinter worth watching for Joe Orseno.

Mills (turf) (gelding, Any Given Saturday – Highland Hope by Unaccounted For) – Barclay Tagg’s runner just missed in his debut going a mile on the grass, finishing a closing second to the more experienced Drenched.

Oaklawn Park

Midnight Music (colt, Midnight Lute – Forest Whispers by Forestry) – A drop to the claiming level for the Steve Hobby trainee led to a 2 1/2-length victory at six furlongs on a sloppy track.

Tampa Bay Downs

Natural Rush (filly, Indian Charlie – Lu Ravi by A.P. Indy) – She didn’t care for the turf, and after a few unsuccessful tries on dirt, she showed improvement with a rail-riding win at 6 1/2 furlongs. Sharp move by the Bill Mott runner to push her way between the rail and Classy Broad, and she extended her advantage to the wire. She’s a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Lu Ravi.