Here’s the latest Kentucky Derby rankings I sent in to paulickreport.com this morning:
1. The Pamplemousse — Canani continues to be impressed by his a.m. drills
2. Friesan Fire — Will go next in Blue Grass Stakes on April 11 or train up to Derby
3. Pioneerof the Nile — His old trainer, Bill Mott, wonders if this guy will like the dirt
4. Old Fashioned — Will prep for Kentucky with start in Arkansas Derby on April 11
5. Dunkirk — No colt who didn’t race as a 2-year-old has won Derby since 1882
6. I Want Revenge — Wood Memorial on April 4 should show if Gotham romp was for real
7. Quality Road — Slated to face Dunkirk in most interesting Florida Derby on Saturday
8. Imperial Council — Needs to improve if he wants to turn tables on ‘Revenge in Wood
9. Chocolate Candy — Gary Stevens thinks media is overlooking Candy Ride colt
10. Desert Party — Set to go in Saturday’s UAE Derby at Dubai
Watch for Dunkirk to shoot up in many Derby rankings if he wins Saturday’s Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. He’s an extremely talented colt who could break that 127-year 2-year-old jinx much like Big Brown dispelled many Derby myths last year.
Here is my newest Kentucky Derby top 10 that I will be submitting to the Paulick Report this morning. The list reflects the results of last weekend’s Derby preps, including the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita and Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park:
1. The Pamplemousse — If he can handle dirt, look out
2. Friesan Fire — Was powerful score more a reflection of his talent or the sloppy track?
3. Pioneerof the Nile — Baffert’s past Derby success impresses me more than colt so far
4. Old Fashioned — Loss in the Rebel Stakes isn’t the end
5. Dunkirk — Florida Derby will show if lightly raced colt is for real
6. I Want Revenge — Ultra-impressive in Gotham, but remember Bellamy Road in 2005?
7. Quality Road — Figures to be Florida Derby favorite off Foutain of Youth romp
8. Imperial Council — Second to ‘Revenge in Big Apple, but can improve
9. Desert Party — Best of the Godolphin brigade
10. Giant Oak — Somebody has to round out the top 10
That’s it for this week. I’m going on a one-week vacation and will return next Sunday. Please come back then and contribute to our blog.
When Ventura was nosed at the wire in last weekend’s Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita, it marked the first loss in 2009 by a 2008 Breeders’ Cup champion.
Stardom Bound, winner of the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, is 2-0 this year and is being pointed to the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 4. She is scheduled to leave for Kentucky on Wednesday, according to trainer Bobby Frankel, and will join the Rick Dutrow barn. Frankel leans toward training the Tapit filly up to the Kentucky Oaks on works, so we’ll see how that goes.
Albertus Maximus, Breeders’ Cup Mile champ, won the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 31 and is readying for the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 28. Considering that the Donn was his first graded victory, the connections might be shooting for the moon here, but we’ll see. He might be getting good enough to pull it off.
Desert Code won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at boxcar odds last October and returned to win his first race of 2009. He’s being pointed toward the Arcadia Handicap on April 4, a one-mile race over his favorite turf course.
Ventura, of course, returned to the races with an easy victory in the Grade I Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 31. Winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, she’s a tough mare who gives her all even when she loses, like in the Kilroe.
Trainer John Shirreffs is quite the ladies’ man these days, what with the luxury of having both Zenyatta and Life is Sweet in his barn.
Zenyatta, the champion older female of 2008 who is unbeaten in nine career races, is training at Hollywood Park for her first start of 2009 — possibly the Milady Handicap at Hollypark in late May.
Meanwhile, Life is Sweet continued her winning ways with a powerful score in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita. She trailed early, but put in her usual closing charge under Garrett Gomez.
Asked after the race if Life is Sweet will square off against Zenyatta at some point this year, owner Martin Wygod said, “Who knows?”
It’s a big afternoon for colts like Pioneer of the Nile (San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita) and Friesan Fire and Papa Clem in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.
I’m a participant in the Paulick Report Kentucky Derby top 10, and here was the latest ballot I submitted this past Monday:
1. The Pamplemousse
2. Old Fashioned
3. Pioneerof the Nile
5. I Want Revenge
6. Quality Road
7. Papa Clem
8. Imperial Council
9. Friesan Fire
10. Desert Party
The Paulick report has got some good stuff on its site, so check it out at www.paulickreport.com. Also, Equidaily (www.equidaily.com) is a good source for horse racing information.
We officially lost our $2,000 bankroll Friday. It’s been a bad year so far for our long-shot system, but we’re not going to take out a loan to go further into debt. We’ll let our government set the bad example and we’ll take the high road. We’ll be back again with our picks for Hollywood Park, and I expect to see much better results.
THURSDAY, MARCH 12
1st — $20 to win on So Hottie
2nd — $20 to win on Missatacama
5th — $20 to win on Sky Marni
6th — $20 to win on Eddie the Hat
7th — $20 to win on Mast Track
8th — $20 to win on Love Song Mellody
WEDNESDAY — Minus $48 OVERALL — Minus $1,815 BANKROLL (started with $2,000) — $185
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11
1st — $20 to win on Common Trust
3rd — $20 to win on Itsnotjustagame
4th — $20 to win on C.C.’s Secret
5th — $20 to win on Vikkilee; $5 exacta box, coupling Vikkilee and Jemmealey
6th — 20 to win on Ventana
8th — $20 to win on Beaudacious Lady; $5 exacta box, coupling Beaudacious Lady and Thunder Babydoll
SUNDAY — Minus $60 OVERALL — Minus $1,767 BANKROLL (started with $2,000) — $233
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel was at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz., on Monday watching the Dodgers and slug their way to a 13-7 win over the Texas Rangers in a Cactus League game. Frankel was sitting behind home plate with Garrett Gomez’s agent, Ron Anderson. Frankel is very good friends with Dodgers skipper Joe Torre, who owns horses and employs Frankel as his trainer.
Good way for Frankel to get away and relax a bit after his share of purses on Big ‘Cap day — Stardom Bound ($18,000), Ventura ($6,000) and Champs Elysees ($20,000) — added up to a cool $44,000.