Thursday, January 1, 2015

El Kabeir vs. the Rest in Jerome Stakes

KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL The Jerome Stakes kicks off is the first New York prep race for colts aiming to enter the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby. The Withers, Gotham and Wood Memorial make up the quadrumvirate.

Eight colts will take on the morning line favorite, El Kabeir, who was last seen winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Read his pedigree profile.

Greatest Challenge:

The only colt in the field with blacktype is Nasa (Smarty Jones - Shootforthestars, by Seattle Slew). The bay colt galloped to a 2 ½ length victory in the restricted Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes, a race his sire won. Like the popular 2004 Kentucky Derby champ, Nasa races for the same connections as his sire. Nasa has a quality pedigree. He’s a full brother to the G-1 winning sprinter CENTRALINTELIGENCE; a ¾ brother to My Elusive Star and a half to General Consensus and Golden Rainbow, all stakes placed. Nasa’s unraced dam is a half sister to Super Derby (G-2) champ FANTASTICAT. Their dam LOTTA DANCING (by Alydar) is a graded stakes winner and third dam LOTKA (by Danzig) was a multiple graded stakes winner from a mile to 1 ½ miles. Like El Kabeir, Nasa has won each of his victories on the lead.


Allowance Winners:

Three Jerome Stake’s entrants won at the allowance level last time out.

Mini Cosmo (Unbridled Energy - Eyedontblink, by El Corredor) won his debut, but was nosed out for third by Nasa in his next start. Mini Cosmo came back to beat allowance foes at PARX by 1 ½ lengths. Mini Cosmo has no blacktype earners in his first three generations.


Now We Are Free (First Samurai - Ice Cool Kitty, by Tomorrows Cat) enters with a two-race win streak under his girth. After besting maiden claimers by 1 ½ lengths at 1 1/16 miles, the Michelle Nevin trainee beat allowance foes by a head. Now We Are Free’s dam is a multiple stakes winner from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. There isn’t much blacktype in his family, however, the colt is inbred to the good mare Sand Buggy through full brothers DIXIELAND BAND, First Samurai’s damsire and NORTHROP, Now We Are Free’s third damsire.


Ackeret (Mach Ride - Lady Zieg, by Touch Gold) sandwiched a loss in a listed stakes between his maiden and allowance victories. All three starts were at six furlongs. Ackeret’s dam is a half sister to the turf stakes veteran CLASSIC CAMPAIGN and Ackeret’s second dam is a G-3 stakes veteran over the lawn. Ackert’s owners won the 2013 Jerome with VYJACK.


Getting another chance:

Todd Pletcher sends out two charges who disappointed in the Remsen Stakes, where they finished last and second to last.

Ostrolenka (Musket Man - Pumpkin's Pride, by Louis Quatorze) raced four and five wide in the Remsen and gave up by the half, fading to 32 lengths behind Leave the Light On. He owns victories at the state-bred level. Ostrolenka is a half brother to multiple stakes placed miler Great Gracie Dane (by Royal Academy). We have to go back a few generations to find the class in his distaff line. Third dam is Champion Filly and blue hen QUEEN EMPRESS. She’s the fifth dam of Champion Older Mare JEWEL PRINCESS.

Royal Burgh (Street Sense - Amazed by Grace, by Bowman's Band) for another try for a graded stakes win. After winning his maiden by a neck, Royal Burgh bobbled at the start of the Remsen and was never in the game, finishing 28 lengths behind Leave the Light On. There’s little blacktype in Royal Burgh’s female family, although his dam is a stakes winning sprinter and placed in a grade three race.


Bringing up the field:

General Bellamy (Bellamy Road - Sweet Again, by Awesome Again) found the third time is the charm, winning his maiden by 3 ½ lengths going a mile at Aqueduct. The colt’s dam is an unraced daughter of Alabama Stakes (G-1) winner SWEET SYMPHONY. Bill Mott trained the G-1 winner and also trains her grandson.

Tencendur (Warrior's Reward - Still Secret, by Hennessy) is still a maiden. The son of the top ten Freshman Sire is a half brother to the multiple restricted stakes winner MOTHER RUSSIA.


There are no world beaters here and it looks like a good opportunity for El Kabeir to pick up an easy check and more points towards the Kentucky Derby. However, there’s a lot of speed in here. Nasa, Ostrolenka, Now We Are Free and possibly Mini Cosmo could all vie for the lead.

Nasa may give the graded stakes winner his toughest challenge. Roya Burgh could rebound and Ackeret could get a nice stalking trip.