Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gulfstream Park Derby Offers Glimpse of TC Contenders

GulfstreamParkThe inaugural running of the Gulfstream Park Derby offers a glimpse at contenders for the upcoming Triple Crown prep races.

Undoubtedly, the winner, and likely runners up in this contest will merit consideration later in the year. Ancient Rome, the only stakes winner in the field, took the Spectacular Bid Stakes earlier in the meet, winning in a swift 1:08 4/5. He’ll try to stretch his speed against a field of recent maiden winners, allowance runners and optional claimers.

Despite having a strong turf router pedigree, KING KID (Lemon Drop Kid - Very Very, by Royal Academy) won his debut sprinting over the Churchill dirt. He is by a Belmont Stakes hero and Champion Older Male out of a stakes winning turf miler, King Kid’s distaff line is fairly modest. King Kid enters the race with a strong five furlong move over the Gulfstream dirt.

REVERON (Songandaprayer - Carolina Sunrise, by Awesome Again) has improved steadily in every race, and posted wins in his last two contests. The Calder shipper has a speed over stamina pedigree, although his sire rarely produces winners past a mile. Reveron’s dam is a half-sister to a stakes winner and the second dam Stylish Star is a multiple stakes winner, counting the Del Mar Oaks amongst her wins. To prepare for his two turn debut, Reveron breezed a mile two works back.

Gold MegillahGOLD MEGILLAH (Purim - Touch Me Once, by Touch Gold) romped by over 18 lengths in the slop at Churchill in his last. Gold Megillah’s first crop sire has only four winners, but his offspring should improve with maturity and distance. Gold Megillah is the first foal produced by his dam. She’s a half-sister to a stakes placed runner and the second dam Theresa The Teacha is a Grade 3 winner. Travers runner-up Rattlesnake Bridge was produced by this distaff line.

NACHAS AND JOY (Lion Heart - Competent Sort, by Cahill Road) also won his maiden over a sloppy track. He’s a full brother to That’s A Good Thing, who was third in the Prairie Meadows Freshman. His dam is a stakes placed half-sister to the multiple listed stakes winner Derivative. The second dam, multiple Grade 1 winner Coup de Fusil set a new track record in the Delaware Handicap, getting 1 ¼ miles in 1:59 4/5.

CASUAL TRICK (Bernardini - Casual Look, byCasualTrick Red Ransom) led all of the way in his second start, scoring by 2 ½ lengths over maidens at Churchill. He’s a son of this year’s first crop sire sensation Bernardini. Casual Trick’s dam placed in a Group 2 as a juvenile and won the Epsom Oaks (Gr.1). This distaff line produced the brilliant Magnificience, who set a new stakes record in the Santa Paula. Casual Trick has been working strongly at Palm Meadows and brings a 5F bullet move into the race.

SILVER MENACE (Silver Wagon - Catmaker, by Magic Cat) has won both of his starts by a combined 8 ¾ lengths, but he switches to the barn of Kathy Ritvo, who is 0 for 14 with new horses. Silver Menace was the first winner for his first crop sire and his distaff family is modest. His dam is a half-sister to a restricted stakes winner.

AncientRome inside photo CogilaneseThe only stakes winner in the field, ANCIENT ROME (Roman Ruler - Wish It Were, by Is It True) grabbed the six furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes by a nose in his last start. Ancient Rome’s pedigree leans towards speed, however both his sire and damsire won beyond a mile. Ancient Rome’s dam was a multiple stakes winning sprinter and other than her son, owns the only blacktype in three generations of the distaff family.

POLITICALLYCORRECT (Kitten's Joy - Exceedexpectations, by Tale of the Cat) is one of the rare progeny of Champion Turf Horse Kitten’s Joy to post a win over the dirt. Politicallycorrect is one of two entrants who have been victorious at 1 1/16 miles over the gulfstream dirt. His distaff line has no blacktype in two generations. Politicallycorrect owns a recent strong bullet move for the Gulfstream Park Derby.

The other entry with a win at today’s distance is RAVELO'S BOY (Lawyer Ron - Dance Tune, by French Deputy). The son of deceased first crop stallion Lawyer Ron is seeking to become his sire’s fifth stakes winner. Ravelo's Boy has plenty of speed in his distaff line. His dam is a stakes placed sprinter, while his damsire was a top sprinter/miler. Although he owns a win at 1 1/16 miles, the distance may be at the top of Ravelo's Boy’s scope and his winning time was almost a full second slower than that of Politicallycorrect.

REX'S LAST TOUR (First Tour - Dr. Rexsonshope, by Rexson's Hope) is one for 10 and has been trounced by Ravelo's Boy and Ancient Rome. Rex's Last Tour is a half-brother to stakes placed Rexson’s Rose. He descends from the family of Florida Derby winner Hal’s Hope and the good Calder filly Mia’s Reflection.

Another son of Lawyer Ron, YOURHONORANDGLORY (Lawyer Ron - Glory of Love, by Not For Love) has won or placed in his last three starts. His dam is stakes placed, but overall, Yourhonorandglory’s distaff line is modest, filled with solid, durable claiming class runners.


Track Bias: Typically, Gulfstream’s track is speed favoring and horses in outside posts above a mile are forced wide due to the short distance to the first turn. Overall, 44% of the winners this meet have won on the front end. However, this week, three races have been contested at 1 1/16 miles and one run stalkers won two of them.

Politicallycorrect owns a win over the track at today’s distance, plus his speed figures are improving. He’s headed to his third start off of a layoff and fits well here. He doesn’t need the lead, but will be close to the pace. Casual Trick has the best pedigree of the group and he also owns the best works. King Kid is bred to relish two turns. He’ll sit off the lead but should be there at the end. Reveron brings a two race win streak to the table, but 1 1/6 miles may be stretching it. Ancient Rome also owns a two race win streak and there’s no doubt that he’s fast. He’ll be setting swift fractions and if he handles the distance, could run them off of their feet. Ravelo's Boy is the only stalker. He owns the best late-speed figure of all the entrants, and if they go too fast early, he could get up for a piece.