Friday, March 29, 2013

Derby Day in Florida & Louisiana


FLDerbyTrophyThe roster of Florida Derby (G-1) winners who made an impact on the Triple Crown races reads like a who’s who of racing. In the last twelve years, seven horses who hit the board in the Florida Derby won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes.

The Florida Derby naturally figures prominently on the Kentucky Derby trail. This year takes on new significance with the implementation of Derby Points. In previous Derby preps, the winners earned 50 points. With only 36 days before the run for the roses, the last remaining prep races up the ante with the winner scoring 100 points. The top three threats, ITSMYLUCKYDAY, ORB and SHANGHAI BOBBY need only to finish in the money to be assured of a trip to Kentucky in May. But the Florida Derby isn't all about them. There are a few new shooters that may have a say in the outcome of the race.

There's a lot of buzz surrounding PICK OF THE LITTER ( Kitten's Joy - Eagle Sound, by Fusaichi Pegasus). The last time out maiden winner blew the doors off of an off the turf 1 1/8 mile race, devastating his three competitors by 7 ½ lengths in a very sharp 1:49.35. The Dale Romans trainee followed up with two post race bullet works. Looking at Pick of the Litter's pedigree one would expect that he'd prefer turf to dirt. However, Kitten's Joy has sired eight dirt winners and Pick of the Litter's dam and half brother were both dirt sprinters.

INDY'S ILLUSION (A.P. Indy- Miss Illusion, by Mr. Prospector) has raced three times at 1 1/8 miles, improving his position each time. He was recently second by a neck after traveling three wide. Indy's Illusion has a classy pedigree. His dam is an unraced half sister to the stakes winning sprinter Apprehender (by Posse) Indy's Illusion's second dam is the multiple G1 winner Missys Mirage, a winner from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. She beat the well-bred multiple G-1 winner Versailles Treaty three times. Missys Mirage's half sister half sister Classy Mirage bore Hopeful Stakes winner Dublin.

FRAC DADDY (Scat Daddy - Skipper's Mate, by Skip Away)was one-paced in the Holy Bull Stakes in his first start of the season. He's picked it up in his morning training and has posted two consecutive bullet works. The colt has plenty of stamina in his distaff line, as his second dam Power Play won the Delaware Handicap at 1 ¼ miles. Read his pedigree profile here.

PONTIFF (Giant's Causeway - Preach, by Mr. Prospector) is a well-bred maiden who was second by a neck going 1 1/8 miles over a sloppy track last time out. A produced of careful Claiborne Farms breeding, Pontiff is a half brother to the recently deceased international sire Pulpit. Nine other half siblings have raced with only two of them earning blacktype. His dam and second dam are multiple graded stakes winners. Other members of this distaff family include Champion Johannesburg and his dam Champion Juvenile Minardi, plus popular sire Tale of the Cat and multiple stakes winner Fed Biz. Pontiff's works haven’t been spectacular and he's giving away experience in the Florida Derby.

MERIT MAN (With Distinction - Precise Strike, by Precise End) won the Spectacular Bid Stakes in January, but was a non-threatening fourth in the Hutcheson after being steadied. The Robert Hess, Jr. trainee's pedigree is light on stamina. His sire was a sprinter with moderate ability at the G-3 level. He won at a mile and was beaten 1/2 a length at 1 1/8 miles in an allowance race. Merit Man's dam was a sprinter. She won between 5 1/2F - 7F, but could do no better than third when stretched out to 1 mile 70 yards in 3 attempts. Damsire Precise End won at 1 1/6 miles and shorter. He has only two stakes winners as a broodmare sire. Neither have won past a mile. Adding more speed to the pedigree is the 2nd damsire Phone Trick.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME (Run Away and Hide - Sweet Awakening, by Street Cry (IRE)) experiments on dirt for the first time in his career. He made his first start of the season 21 days ago in a turf mile race at Tampa, where he was nipped by a nose at the wire. His sire was a very precocious speedball who won all three starts before becoming injured. So far, his offspring are doing well as sprinters, but have failed to win past a mile. Are You Kidding Me carries some stamina on his distaff side. His dam failed to win in two starts. She's a half sister to Illinois Derby (G-2) victor Recapturetheglory. The second dam Cold Awakening was stakes placed as a juvenile. She's a half sister to the popular stakes veteran Chilly Rooster. Are You Kidding Me posted two post-race breezes at Payson Park.

NARVAEZ (Holy Bull - Miss Lulu, by Unbridled) was up in time to dead heat in a 7 ½ furlong allowance race 21 days ago. Both his sire and damsire won their respective Florida Derbies and his damsire went on to capture the Kentucky Derby, so there's no shortage of stamina in Narvaez's pedigree. There's little blacktype in the first two generation's of his female family, although his dam is a half sister to a stakes placed runner and his second dam Miss Margi won the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap.



69% of the pace setters/pressers have won at 1 1/8 miles this meet. Outside posts are a distinct disadvantage as there are literally six steps to the first turn.

MERIT MAN takes the blinkers off, perhaps in an effort to get him to relax. He does his best running on the front end and his outside post guarantees that he'll have to be used early to grab that lead. His stamina challenged pedigree suggests that he'll be running out of steam around the second turn. He may also have to contend with SHANGHAI BOBBY on the front end with ITSMYLUCKYDAY, INDY'S ILLUSION and FRAC DADDY chasing in hot pursuit. ORB and ARE YOU KIDDING ME will do their best running late.

#6 ORB



#7 INDY'S ILLUSION – longshot pick

Louisiana Derby

Louisiana Derby trophyIn the last three years, three colts who hit the board in the Louisiana Derby (G-1) also had a say in the outcome of the Triple Crown races. In 2010, Drosselmeyer was third in Louisiana’s premiere event and later won the Belmont Stakes. In 2011, the second and third place finishers in Louisiana also placed second and third in the Kentucky Derby.

This year, five colts who exited the Risen Star face one-another and nine new faces in the Louisiana Derby. Like the Florida Derby, the Louisiana Derby is worth 100 points to the winner, granting a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

CODE WEST and PALACE MALICE finished second and third in the Risen Star just missing in a blanket finish. Both have been training well and have the pedigrees to handle 1 1/8 miles.

GOLDEN SOUL, PROUD STRIKE and MYLUTE all tired after chasing the pace in the Risen Star. Of the three, Golden Soul have been working the best. Mylute may improve in his second start off of a layoff.

REVOLUTIONARY (War Pass - Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy) is getting a ton of attention after his courageous neck win in the Withers Stakes (G-3) in January. The well-bred colt has a speed over stamina pedigree. His works are average and trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race twice in the last six years. Read his Revolutionary's in-depth pedigree profile here.

Stablemates Departing and Sunbean scratched out of the Risen Star to race in the Texas Heritage Stakes and Gentilly Stakes.

DEPARTING (War Front - Leave, by Pulpit) is undefeated in three starts. Departing's distaff family is filled with Claiborne-bred stakes winners. His unraced dam is a full sister to the stakes winner Laity. She's a half sister to multiple G-3 winner Trip and also a half sister to the dam of multiple G-1 winning sprinter Zensational. Departing fired a very quick bullet in his last breeze.

SUNBEAN (Brahms - X Strawdnair, by Malagra) is a nose away from being undefeated in four starts. He takes a huge class jump from state-bred ranks into graded stakes company. Five of six of Sunbean's half siblings are Louisiana stakes veterans, including Mean Butterbean, Miss Bean Wah, Brother Bean, Good Human Bean, and Beanwah'smachine.

TITLETOWN FIVE (Tiznow - D' Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat) jumps from 6F to 1 1/8 miles and takes a huge step up in company. He has a stamina over speed pedigree. Titletown Five's dam D' Wildcat Speed was a stakes winner in Puerto Rico and his second dam Velvet Panther was a Champion mare in Puerto Rico. D' Wildcat Speed is a half sister to the Calder stakes placed runners D' Broken Speed and D'Court Speed. Titletown Five has been breezing has been breezing well at Oaklawn.

Six colts are coming into the race at 20-1 odds or higher. The two best appear to be Ground Transport and Brazilian Court.

GROUND TRANSPORT (Big Brown - Extry, by Broad Brush) has won his last two races at the Fairgrounds and owns the highest late pace speed figure. His dam has yet to produce a blacktype runner, but she is a half sister to two Grade/Group 1 winners, the popular top turf mare Fire The Groom (dam of Group 1 winner and sire Stravinsky) and the English Group 1 sprinter Dowsing. Ground Transport has fired three consecutive bullets since his last win.

BRAZILIAN COURT (Harlan's Holiday - Devotedness, by Anet) has been stuck in maiden claiming races for much of his career, but suddenly turned the corner when he freaked in a 1 mile race, finishing in a different realm than his competition, over 19 lengths in front in a very sharp 1:36.83. He returned with a very strong second place finish, beaten ½ a length in the OBS Championship Stakes, a race his half brother Devoted Wildcat won last year. Brazilian Court's unraced dam is a half sister to the multiple stakes winner Join Effort. His damsire Anet was a multiple graded stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles.


Only three races have been held at 1 1/8 miles this meet. Two were won by pace setters, while the third was won by a closer. All broke from posts 4 – 7.

In a full field of 14 horses, anything and everything can happen. The best horse may receive the worst trip. This race will be a good lesson for those horses entering the Kentucky Derby. Titletown Five may be used early from his outside post to grab the lead. Code West and Proud Strike might be right there with him, along with Departing. Revolutionary will make his best run from the back of the pack and may wind up going wide. Sunbean can settle and come with a late run and Palace Malice may do the same. The last two editions of the Louisiana Derby were won by longshots. Let's go with a price for the win.

#7 Departing

#3 Revolutionary

#6 Sunbean

#13 Ground Transport – longshot pick

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spiral to the Kentucky Derby

Check out the analysis and selections for the Sunland Derby at ThoroFan's Weekend Handicapper's Corner 

The Spiral Stakes (also run as the Jim Beam Stakes from 1982 – 2001) has sent two colts to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle. The race has also produced two Preakness heroes and a couple of Classic runner-ups.
Picture by Mel & Rick at Daily Racing Funnies check them out!

A full field of twelve colts will scramble 1 1/8 miles over the Turfway Park Polytrack for a chance to win 50 points in the Kentucky Derby points system. Second place is worth 20 points, 10 points for third and 5 points for fourth place.

Here's where pedigree handicapping comes in handy. 1 1/8 miles separates the middle-distance/classically bred horses from the sprinter/milers. Also, certain sires are noted for getting runners over Poly.

Below are the horses who should handle poly and 1 1/8 miles:

BALANCE THE BOOKS (Lemon Drop Kid - Kreisleriana, by Seeking the Gold) by a Champion Older Horse out of a stakes mare by the sire of four Breeders' Cup winners, Balance The Books has the pedigree to handle 1 ¼ miles. He hasn't tried Poly, but his sire is an above average producer of poly runners. Of concern is the lack of stamina works and the tough spot to come back off of a layoff.

CHANNEL ISLE (English Channel - Dandanna (IRE), by Linamix (FR)) placed behind Taken by the Storm twice as a two year old. His sire is an excellent producer of turf and Poly runners and Channel Isle is a winner at 1 1/8 miles. Trainer Wayne Lukas has revived his career this year with wins in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Sprint, Lecomte Stakes and one-two finishes in the Rebel.

UNCAPTURED (Lion Heart - Captivating, by Arch) the only black mark on this colt's record is an off the board finish in the Gray Stakes after encountering racing trouble. He's a winner over Poly and he has the pedigree to handle classic distances. Like Balance The Books, Uncaptured is making his three year old debut in the Spiral. Unlike that rival, Uncaptured has been prepared with a string of stamina works.

FEAR THE KITTEN (Kitten's Joy - Dynarhythm, by Dynaformer) has strong Spiral implications. Kitten's Joy sired 2010 Spiral winner Dean's Kitten and Dynaformer produced 2002 Spiral winner Perfect Drift. Trainer Mike Maker trained Dean's Kitten and 2006 Spiral winner With a City. Fear the Kitten is making his third start off of a layoff, has improving BRIS speed figures and owns a second to last bullet work. Fear him.

FOR GREATER GLORY (Afleet Alex - Lady's Touch, by Touch Gold) found trouble in the stretch of the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, but was right there at the finish. His polytrack pedigree is average and he is likely a better dirt horse. On the plus side, there's no shortage of stamina in his pedigree. His sire won the Kentucky Derby/Preakness; his damsire won the Belmont Stakes and second damsire is the legendary Secretariat. For Greater Glory's unraced dam is a ¾ sister to Ashland Stakes (G-1) winner Well Chosen (by Deputy Minister). That one is the dam of two-time Sword Dancer (G-1) hero Telling.

GENERAL ELECTION (Harlan's Holiday - Menekineko, by Kingmambo) won the John Battaglia Memorial after going eight wide on the turn at Turfway in his last race. With the Classic/Stout Chef-de-race Kingmambo as his damsire and three-time Champ Spectacular Bid as his second damsire, General Election should have no difficulty navigating 1 1/8 miles. General Election is a half brother to Breeders' Cup Mile winner Ready's Echo (by More Than Ready).

BLACK ONYX (Rock Hard Ten - Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town) showed instant improvement when switched to the grass in his last start. Not surprising, since his sire's progeny are best over turf and Poly. Rock Hard Ten spent his racing career on the dirt and won the Santa Anita Handicap (G-1), but as a son of Kris S. his turf genes are showing. Black Onyx's damsire Cape Town won the Florida Derby. As a damsire, he's represented by only one stakes winner at 1 1/8 miles, Louisiana Derby surprise Pants on Fire.

GIANT FINISH (Frost Giant - Apocalyptic, by Hickman Creek) made all of the pace in the John Battaglia Memorial to just miss the win by ½ length to General Election. The colt was shipping, trying a new distance and surface for the first time. His young sire has only 18 starters, but 13 of them have won, including two stakes winners. His sire Giant's Causeway gave us 2009 Spiral winner Hold Me Back. Giant Finish's dam is a half sister to the dam of multiple G-1 sprinter Crafty C.T.

TAKEN BY THE STORM (Stormy Atlantic - Paint Brush, by Broad Brush) is a winner over Polytrack. He has the bloodlines of Derby/Preakness runner-up Broad Brush, plus Classic heros Unbridled and Seattle Slew as his second and third damsires. There is little blacktype in his immediate female family, however, Taken by the Storm's third dam is a full sister to the dam of Lemon Drop Kid and she's a half to the dams of A.P. Indy and Summer Squall. Taken by the Storm breezed a bullet in his last work and won an optional claiming race over the turf in his last start.

MAC THE MAN ( El Corredor - Marchmont, by Mountain Cat) has dominated the prep races at Turfway Park by a combined 14 ½ lengths. He's a half to Charlies Quest (by Quest), who placed in a 1 ½ mile stakes race. Mac the Man has shown improving BRIS speed figures in every start. He may try to gallop them into submission, but lone speed doesn't fare well in the Spiral.

The following horses are borderline for 1 1/8 miles or may not handle Polytrack.

MY NAME IS MICHAEL (Macho Uno - Graciously Soft, by Vindication) is a stakes winner over Poly. He closed quickly to finish third in the Sam Davis stakes, his first start of the season. The colt missed almost a month of training due to illness and his pedigree is light on stamina. His damsire's daughters are just starting to bear offspring. Vindication has one other stakes winner, Sunland Derby entrant Shaken It Up. My Name Is Michael's dam is a half sister to the multiple Grade 1 router Spoken Fur and to Grade 1 turf sprinter Unbridled's Note.

CAPO BASTONE (Street Boss - Fight to Love, by Fit to Fight) won his maiden over the DelMar Pol, but the colt appears distance challenged. His second crop sire never raced beyond 7 furlongs and set a new track record for 6 furlongs. So far, his offspring have yet to win beyond 1 1/16 miles in the US. Capo Bastone's dam and half siblings won at 1 1/6 miles, but not beyond. A half sister placed at 1 1/8 miles. Fit to Fight,  Capo Bastone's damsire, won from a mile to 1 1/2 miles, including victories in the Met Mile, Suburban and Brooklyn, plus the Jerome and Stuyvesant.  No problem with stamina there....except that as a broodmare sire, his offspring appear more stamina oriented. Only four have won a stakes at 1 1/8 miles and none beyond that distance. Capo Bastone barely held on to win his three year old debut at 1 1/6 miles in a slow 1:48 at Gulfstream. He should benefit greatly from the race.


Track bias: In the last six years, three press pacers, two stalkers and one mid-pack runner won the Spiral. Frontrunners, even lone speed, haven't fared well. Only one pace setter has finished in the money in the last six editions of the Spiral.

Four colts like to be on or pressing the pace. Mack the Man, Uncaptured, Giant Finish and For Greater Glory. Uncaptured has an almost perfect race record and it would be a masterful training job by Mark Casse to ship in and win a 1 1/8 mile stakes race in his first race off of a 119 day layoff. At M/L odds of 3-1 I'll pass for the win, but the colt might finish in the money. Balance The Books is entering off of a 140 day layoff. Same goes for him. Could Capo Bastone advance over the Poly? Possible, but there are still distance considerations. Pletcher has had a Spiral entrant in almost every edition of the race. He's won twice since 2001.

There are some intriguing longshots in the race. Fear The Kitten has Spiral connections, is making his third start off of a layoff and owns a sharp bullet work two back. His speed figures appear a little slow, but that was over dirt. He should get a boost on Poly. Another horse who should show improvement with a switch to poly is Channel Isle. The colt was three wide and improve his position in the Southwest Stakes and he's a winner at 1 1/8 miles. If he's kept a little closer to the pace we could be looking at a winner. General Election is co-owner of the highest late pace speed figure. He flew eight wide yet won his last race and he should love the extra real estate.

#8 General Election
#4 Fear The Kitten
#3 Uncaptured
#2 Channel Isle – longshot pick

Friday, March 8, 2013

San Felipe: Flashback vs. Goldencents


Tampa Bay Derby Analysis & Selections here.

Since 2000 the San Felipe Stakes (G-2) has produced two Kentucky Derby winners, a Belmont Stakes winner and two colts who have placed in the Derby and Belmont.

This year Flashback and Goldencents headline a weak San Felipe Stakes (G-2). The 1 1/16 mile contest attracted eight colts and it is worth 50 Derby points to the winner.


FlashbackOne of two entries by trainer Bob Baffert, FLASHBACK (Tapit - Rhumb Line, by Mr. Greeley) flashed his heels to his rivals in the Robert B. Lewis (G-2) in his last start. The pretty gray colt has fired two bullet works and owns the second highest late-pace figure in the field. Read his pedigree analysis.


CarvingFlashback's stablemate CARVING (Any Given Saturday - In Seconds, by Giant's Causeway) gets a switch to jockey Bejarano, shortens up in distance and gets back to the dirt. Despite the changes, the son of Any Given Saturday appears to be a cut below graded stakes competition. Carving's dam did her best work over the turf and his sire has produced some turf stakes winners. Perhaps a switch to the lawn would better suit him.


GoldencentsSham Stakes hero GOLDENCENTS proved that he wasn't a one dimensional speed ball when he sat a length behind the front runner in the Sham. The son of first crop sire Into Mischief has no difficulty stretching his speed around two turns. The O'Neil trainee couldn't be working any better. He's fired seven consecutive bullet works since December. Read his pedigree analysis.


Hear the GhostIn his second start, HEAR THE GHOST (Ghostzapper - Rehear, by Coronado's Quest) made up four lengths in the stretch of the San Pedro Stakes to finish second, beaten only 1 ½ lengths. By a Horse of the Year out of a daughter of a Travers Stakes winner, Hear the Ghost will appreciate the extra real estate. He's a half-brother to Spinaway (G-1) heroine Mani Bhavan (by Storm Boot) and stakes placed Datt Echo (by Stormy Atlantic). Hear the Ghost gets a jockey switch from JJ Hernandez to Cory Nakatani. He and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer are 0-5 together.


Tiz a MinisterTIZ A MINISTER (Ministers Wild Cat - Tiz a Mistress, by Cee's Tizzy) has been competing at the state-bred level for most of his life. He has finished in the money in three open company races, but takes a big step up here. Trained by Paul Aguirre, the colt most recently won the one mile California Breeders Champion Stakes over Omega Star. Tiz a Minister should handle the extra distance of the San Felipe, but may not want to go much farther.


Omega StarOMEGA STAR (Candy Ride (ARG) - Pride of Pegasus, by Fusaichi Pegasus) lead briefly in the stretch of the California Breeders Champion Stakes, but he couldn't hold off the challenge of the more experienced Tiz a Minster. The John Shirreffs trainee is the first foal produced by his dam. His second dam Alpride was a highweight filly in Italy and was victorious in the Yellow Ribbon Invitational and Beverly Hills Handicap, both Grade 1 events over the lawn. Omega Star has been working well and could show improvement in his third start off of a layoff.


Salutos AmigosSALUTOS AMIGOS (Salute the Sarge - Sarasota (ARG), by Luhuk) is a last time out maiden winner. He dueled the whole way to prevail by 1 ¾ lengths, getting 6F in a sharp 1:08.56. Salutos Amigos is bred for speed. His sire never won a stakes past 6 ½ furlongs and his dam was an Argentinian Group 1 sprinter.


In his debut, KOCHEES (Lion Heart - Costume Girl, by Maria's Mon) was a longshot maiden winner over the downhill turf course. Next time out, the Michael Pender trainee went four wide early but held his place, although he was beaten 6 ½ lengths by Southwest Stakes winner Super Ninety Nine. Kochees owns a ton of classic stamina. His sire was second in the Kentucky Derby, damsire Maria's Mon produced two Kentucky Derby winners and his second dam is Classic/Solid Chef-de-race Nijinsky. Kochees dam is stakes placed and his third dam was a Champion Juvenile Filly in France. Kochees adds blinkers and has worked very well for his stakes debut.


Track bias: Early/pace pressing speed accounts for 66% of the wins at Santa Anita in 1 1/16 mile races.

Salutos Amigos owns :21 early speed. Both Flashback and Goldencents are able to sit off of the pace. It's hard to separate the two colts, however, Flashback owns higher late pace figures and has the benefit of a more recent race. If one of the colts decides to speed things up and the pace gets too hot, Tiz A Minister, Hear the Ghost or Kochees could score.




#6 TIZ A MINISTER – longshot pick

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gotham Stakes Analysis & Selections

GothamA trend is starting to appear. A Gotham Stakes (G-2) winner has won or placed in a Triple Crown race every eleven years.

In between however, the Classic prospects are slim pickings. In 2011 Stay Thirsty won the Gotham and was second by a narrow margin in the Belmont Stakes. In 2000 Red Bullet won the Gotham and went on to win a Classic Race, when he spoiled Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus’ Triple Crown bid in the Preakness. Eleven years earlier, Easy Goer also pulled a Gotham/Belmont Stakes double.

With the new Kentucky Derby points system, perhaps the eleven year cycle will be broken. This year's Gotham field doesn't appear as strong as the Fountain of Youth or Risen Star.

Kiaran McLaughlin has entered three well-bred colts, all of whom are jumping into stakes competition after maiden wins. The colt with the most experience is TRANSPARENT ( Bernardini - Habiboo, by Unbridled's Song). He needed five rehearsals for the light bulb to go on, and Transparent won his maiden decisively in his sixth start. He powered home a 5 ¾ length winner traveling 1 mile 70 yards at Aqueduct. Transparent has the pedigree to handle 1 ¼ miles. His young Horse of the Year sire has already produced winners at 1 ¼ miles and his son Stay Thirsty won the Gotham and was second in the Belmont Stakes. Transparent's dam is a multiple graded stakes placed runner. She's also a half sister to the Grade 1 winning sprinter Street Boss (By Street Sense).

ElnaawiPossibly the most well bred colt in the field is ELNAAWI ( Street Sense - Pilfer, by Deputy Minister). The half brother to multiple Grade 1 winner To Honor And Serve splashed his way to a four length victory in his second start. During an eventful race, Elnaawi bumped at the start, raced three wide while pressing the pace and drew off to a four length victory going a mile.

McLaughlin's third entry is NOW AND THEN (Tiznow - Holiday Runner, by Meadowlake). He galloped to a 1 ¼ length victory over Champion Boy in his only start. Now And Again is a half brother to multiple Grade 1 heroine Seventh Street, winner of the Apple Blossom and Go For Wand handicaps. He's also a half brother to stakes placed Reynaldothewizard and American Story. Their dam beat the boys in the three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes at Churchill and also won the Fashion Stakes, both sprints.

OveranalyzeA lot of attention will be paid to OVERANALYZE (Dixie Union - Unacloud, by Unaccounted For). The Pletcher trainee is making his first start since a gritty nose decision in last year's Remsen Stakes. Read his pedigree profile.

Vyjack_Jerome_StakesVYJACK (Into Mischief - Life Happened, by Stravinsky) battled from start to finish in a game effort in the Jerome Stakes (G-2) prevailing by a head over second place finisher Siete de Oros despite bumping through the stretch with that rival. It was three lengths back to Amerigo Vespucci. The son of Into Mischief is undefeated in three starts. Read his pedigree profile.

ESCAPEFROMREALITY (Read the Footnotes - Queen of the City, by Medaglia d'Oro) was on the losing end of a neck photo finish in his last two starts. Unlike the above-mentioned colts, Escapefromreality hails from a modest distaff family. His second, third and fourth dams all own blacktype and their offspring are mainly tough allowance/claiming class runners. Escapefromreality has improving BRIS speed figures and he's been working strongly for the race.

AMERIGO VESPUCCI (Henrythenavigator - Senza Paura, by Fly Till Dawn) was four wide around the second turn and ran evenly for fourth place in the Withers. He appears to be an average dirt runner and slightly a cut below the top of this group. Amerigo Vespucci's pedigree strongly leans towards turf. His second crop sire was a multiple Group-1 winner in England and Ireland and was runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic when it was held over Polytrack. Amerigo Vespucci's dam won her maiden sprinting on dirt, but the remainder of her victories, including a stakes win and Grade 2 placing, came over the lawn. His damsire was a long-winded multiple G-1 turf router.

Siete de orosSIETE DE OROS (A. P. Warrior - Crafty Sarah, by Crafty Friend) tired to finish third, two lengths behind the winner in the Withers. Despite stamina oriented bloodlines, his sire failed to win past 1 1/6 miles. Siete de Oros' dam was a veteran of 26starts at the claiming level, winning between 6F and 1 1/16 miles. Siete de Oros is the first American stakes winner in his distaff line in two generations and appears to be outrunning his pedigree.

CHAMPION BOY (Big Brown - My Amandari, by El Prado (IRE)) was five wide around the turn and into the stretch of the Withers Stakes. The maiden has been beaten by over nine lengths on the dirt. The pretty gray colt has a pedigree better suited to the turf. His dam was an allowance level miler over the lawn. His second dam is a Grade 3 winner, but that's it for class in the immediate female family.

OrePassORE PASS (War Pass - Wisconsin Lady, by Stephen Got Even) ships in from Laurel after out-classing his rivals in the Frank Whiteley, Jr. Stakes. He has a speed over stamina pedigree. His dam made 11 starts at the allowance level, finishing in the money in four tries. She's a full sister to Time To Get Even, a Grade 3 winning sprinter. A half sister produced a stakes placed runner, so there's some modest ability in the family. Ore Pass posted a bullet in his first breeze after his victory, so the colt could step up here.

SKY CAPTAIN (Sky Mesa - Anchors Away, by Smarty Jones) was second in an 1 1/8 mile allowance race behind Cerro in his last start. It was a good effort and he should appreciate the cut back in distance. Sky Captain is the first foal produced by his unraced dam. She's a half sister to the classy Eight Belles who was second to Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby. A half brother Escape Route, is multiple stakes placed. Sky Captain's second and third dams are stakes winners and his fourth dam Straight Deal is a Champion Handicap Mare and blue hen.

WestHillsGiantWEST HILLS GIANT (Frost Giant - Outtawesthills, by Take Me Out) won a couple of state-bred races last year and got up for third in his first start of the season. He adds blinkers for the Gotham. The Chestnut colt is by the second crop sire sensation Frost Giant, whose breaking all sorts of state-bred sire records in New York and is currently #17 on the national second crop sire list. His offspring should improve with maturity. West Hills Giant is the first blacktype runner in three generations of his distaff family. He's already won at 1 1/6 miles and has been working well.


Track Bias: 38% of the early speed wins on the inside track at Aqueduct. All except three runners have and early pace-pressing running style.

The undefeated Jerome Stakes winner Vyjack has proved his tenacity and maybe this will be his break-through win. Pletcher Derby hopefuls have finished second in their three year old debuts. Overanalyze wants to go longer, but let's tag him for the #2 spot. Escapefromreality has improving speed figures and a strong work pattern. He also owns the highest current late pace figure. I'd like to see Elnaawi on dry dirt first, either that or pray for rain. He too has improving figures and has one of the classiest pedigrees in the field. His stablemate Now And Again is also well bred. McLaughlin is 17% with the maiden to stakes angle. West Hills Giant is an intriguing longshot. His first race off of a layoff wasn't bad and he's bred to go longer. He adds blinkers and his post-race work was pretty good.

#7 Vyjack

#11 Overanalyze

#3 Escapefromreality

#10 West Hills Giant – longshot pick