Kentucky Derby Update

Kentucky Derby Update

Saturday’s 105th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com (Grade II) and Sunday’s 15th running of the $800,000 Sunland Derby (GIII) are the featured stops on this week’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series as 3-year-old Thoroughbreds continue their quest for points to secure a berth in the 144th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on Saturday, May 5 at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds – headlined by Southwest (GIII) winner My Boy Jack and the Risen Star (GII) top three Bravazo, Snapper Sinclair and Noble Indy – is the first of seven prestigious races over the next four weeks that will award 170 points to the Top 4 finishers – 100 to first, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.

Meanwhile, the 1 1/8-mile Sunland Derby in New Mexico is worth 85 total points or 50-20-10-5 to the first four placings.

In the last three years of the point system that has determined the preference list for the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby, the final horse to make the Derby field had garnered between 22 and 32 points.

A win or a runner-up effort in these select races should have the upper hand, while horses that earned points during the Prep Season could be in the mix with Top 4 placings.

Saturday’s Louisiana Derby anchors an action-packed 14-race program at Fair Grounds that features eight stakes races and purses cumulatively worth $2.36 million. The first race is 1:30 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Louisiana Derby goes as Race 11 at 6:21 p.m.

The Fair Grounds stakes bonanza also includes the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) for 3-year-old fillies. The 1 1/16-mile race will award 100-40-20-10 points to the Top 4 finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

The Fair Grounds Oaks and Louisiana Derby are the final two legs a special $200,000-guaranteed All Stakes Pick 4 pool that will cover Races 8-11. The sequence begins with the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (GII) at 4:39 p.m., which is immediately followed by the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap (GII) at 5:06 p.m.

Sunday’s Sunland Derby goes as Race 11 at 7:15 p.m. on a 12-race Sunland Park card that also includes the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The 1 1/16-mile Sunland Park Oaks, which goes as Race 6 at 4:44 p.m., will award 50-20-10-5 points to the Top 4 finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. – Darren Rogers

MY BOY JACK, RISEN STAR TOP THREE FACE OFF IN LOUISIANA DERBY

An exciting edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII) is set for Saturday at Fair Grounds with a field of 10, including Southwest Stakes (GIII) romper My Boy Jack and the top three finishers from the local Risen Star Stakes (GII) all lining up.

The 1 1/8-mile affair kicks off the second part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby by offering 100-40-20-10 points toward a starting berth in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI).

Trainer Keith Desormeaux ships My Boy Jack outside of California for the second straight time in this spot. The Creative Cause colt spent his first seven races competing over tracks in the Golden State, beginning with his debut at Santa Anita Park last June. My Boy Jack was no factor that day on the main track, finishing sixth, but appeared to take to the grass when switched next out for a turf maiden at that same venue.

The Kentucky-bred racked up a trio of seconds, including the Del Mar Juvenile Turf in early September, before earning his initial victory in the grassy Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 9. My Boy Jack showed back up at Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) and was beaten only three lengths when seventh on that occasion.

The dark bay colt ran third in the Jan. Sham Stakes (GIII) while returning to the main track for his sophomore bow at Santa Anita, then shipped outside of California for the first time to take the Southwest on Feb. 19 at Oaklawn Park. Regular rider Kent Desormeaux makes the trip to pilot My Boy Jack, who has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Louisiana Derby.

“As soon as he crossed the wire in Arkansas, we started thinking about our next move,” Keith Desormeaux said. “When you win over a track, it makes sense to run right back there, but (part-owner) Sol Kumin brought up a good point. The (March 17) Rebel (at Oaklawn) is not an equal weights race, so off a graded stakes win, we would be at an immediate disadvantage. The Louisiana Derby is equal weights and there are twice as many points offered. It gives us an extra week, one million is a monster pot, and if we are forced to scratch or have an unlucky trip, there is time to get into another prep race and still make the Kentucky Derby.

“I live in California, but I’m 100 percent Louisiana-bred. I look for any good reason to come home, but that has no bearing on our racing decisions. Last year was my first time running in the Louisiana Derby, and we ran fifth with a (37-1) longshot Sorry Erik. We’ve had a nice run of success the last couple of years. It has been very rewarding for me and my family, anything that happens from this point forward is welcomed with appreciation and gratitude. A lot of hard work has gotten me here, and I just want to enjoy it.”

The last local prep for the Louisiana Derby was the Risen Star on Feb. 17, which saw Bravazo and Snapper Sinclair battle throughout before the former prevailed by a nose over his rival. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee was sent off at 21-1 in the nine-horse field but easily outran those odds to earn his first stakes victory. The Awesome Again colt, who is now two-for-two on the year after taking his seasonal bow at Oaklawn by a neck on Jan. 13, gets jockey Gary Stevens back in the irons and breaks from the rail as the 7-2 co-second choice.

  Snapper Sinclair was actually sent off at longer odds than Bravazo in the Risen Star. The bay son of City Zip was the 41-1 second longest shot on the board despite finishing third in the Lecomte Stakes (GIII) one race earlier. In fact, the Steven Asmussen pupil has gone off at double-digit odds in his past three races, with his 2017 finale coming as a 12th-placing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) at 20-1. Snapper Sinclair reunites with Jose Oritz, aboard for the Kentucky-bred’s career debut last July at Belmont Park, and the pair have been made 9-2 on the morning line.

  Noble Indy suffered his first career loss while making his stakes bow in the Risen Star for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Take Charge Indy colt wired his maiden debut by 8 ¾ lengths in early December at Gulfstream Park, then posted a three-quarter length score back at that track on Jan. 11 while stretching out to 1 1/16 miles against allowance/optional claiming foes. The Kentucky-bred bay ran third throughout the Risen Star and on the wire was two lengths behind the top pair while a neck in front of Instilled Regard, who captured the Lecomte Stakes (GIII) over the track one race earlier. Noble Indy keeps John Velazquez in the irons as the 7-2 co-second choice on the morning line.

Both Snapper Sinclair and Noble Indy have stablemates also entered in the Louisiana Derby.

  Retirement Fund comes from the Asmussen shedrow, having suffered his first defeat from three career starts when seventh in the Southwest last out. Prior to that, the Eskendereya colt wired both his races going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds under returning jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. He’s listed at 12-1 on the morning line.

Pletcher sends out Hyndford, who breaks just outside of Retirement Fund at 8-1 early odds. The Street Cry chestnut thus far has sandwiched a maiden claiming victory at Gulfstream between a fourth in a turf maiden at that venue and a runner-up effort in an allowance/optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs. Joe Bravo will be aboard for the first time in this spot.

  Dark Templar drew the far outside post and makes his stakes debut here for trainer Brendan Walsh at 12-1 on the morning-line. The Tapit colt broke his maiden sprinting six furlongs first out at Churchill Downs in November, then filled the third and second spots against allowance/optional claiming rivals at Fair Grounds in his next pair. The latter of those two came behind Retirement Fund on Jan. 20, but Dark Templar returned to the winner’s circle most recently on Feb. 19 with a 1 ¼-length wire job against similar going a mile and 70 yards. Florent Geroux has the call.

  Lone Sailor finished third to Bravazo’s second in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) last fall at Keeneland, then held that rival to third by 3 ¼ lengths when second by a head in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs next out. The Tom Amoss trainee closed out 2017 with a fifth-placing in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and didn’t show much in his seasonal bow while finishing ninth in the Lecomte. The Majestic Warrior colt rallied for second behind Dark Templar most recently and gets James Graham holding the reins once again. He’ll open at 20-1 on the morning line.

  Givemeaminit is also listed at 20-1 early following a well-beaten eighth-placing in the Risen Star last out. Before that the Dallas Stewart charge was an eight-length maiden winner going six furlongs over a good, sealed track. The Star Guitar colt seems to do his best work sprinting, finishing in-the-money in all four attempts thus far including a neck third in last year’s seven-furlong Hopeful Stakes (GI) at Saratoga. Javier Castellano takes the mount.

  Marmello completes the field for the 105th running of the Louisiana Derby. Installed as the 50-1 longshot on the morning line for trainer Mikhail Yanakov, the bay son of Concord Point will attempt to earn his first career win in this spot following a third over Fair Grounds’ turf and a fourth-placing on the dirt at that track March 1. Jack Gilligan will be aboard. Jennifer Caldwell, Brisnet.com

ALL OUT BLITZ, NEW YORK CENTRAL TOP 12-HORSE SUNLAND DERBY

Kentucky Derby contenders assemble in New Mexico ON Sunday for the $800,000 Sunland Derby (GIII). A qualifier worth a total of 85 points (50-20-10-5 scale) toward a berth in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the 1 1/8-mile race drew 12 runners including multiple graded stakes-placed All About Blitz and last-out allowance scorer New York Central.

First held in 2003, the Sunland Derby was the launching point for Firing Line, who parlayed a 14 ¼-length romp into a close second to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Of course, 50-1 upsetter Mine That Bird rates as the most distinguished alumni and his long odds are attributable to a non-threatening fourth in the 2009 Sunland Derby.

All About Blitz broke his maiden in mid-December and returned three weeks later with a runner-up to McKinzie in the Robert B. Lewis (GIII), finishing four lengths clear of third-placer My Boy Jack. That rival followed with a victory in the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn and is listed as the morning-line favorite in Saturday’s $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (GII), but All About Blitz faltered when cutting back to a sprint in his next outing, recording a well-beaten third in the Feb. 10 San Vicente (GII).

A son of Concord Point, All About Blitz was made a late nominee to the Triple Crown this week and the Simon Callaghan pupil adds the services of Martin Garcia for his second route attempt. He’s listed as the slight 4-1 morning line favorite from the innermost post.

New York Central invades from Oaklawn Park for Steve Asmussen following a commendable allowance victory on Feb. 19, gamely re-rallying to edge a well-regarded rival over a muddy track. The gray Tapit colt will bring jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. with him and is the early 9-2 second choice.

Asmussen also has Dream Baby Dream, a rallying third to New York Central in the aforementioned allowance. Listed at 10-1, the Into Mischief colt adds blinkers and picks up leading local rider Alfredo Juarez Jr.

  Hollywood Star, fourth when opening his sophomore season in the Sam F. Davis (GIII) at Tampa, ships in from Gulfstream for Dale Romans and Robby Albarado rides. He’s 6-1 on the morning line along with stablemate Seven Trumpets, a close second in the Jerome two back but seventh in the Southwest; and restricted stakes winner Prince Lucky, who makes his first start for Todd Pletcher following an unplaced effort in the Lecomte (GIII) at Fair Grounds.

  Runaway Ghost is the top local hopeful, easily winning the Riley Allison prior to a runner-up effort in the Feb. 25 Mine That Bird. Peace, a non-threatening fourth in the San Felipe (G2), wheels back after a 15-day rest for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and Drayden Van Dyke has the call. – James Scully, Brisnet.com

DERBY DETAIL

RISEN STAR SUCCESS IN LA DERBY – Risen Star (GII) winner Bravazo will attempt to add his name to the roster of horses who have completed the Risen Star-Louisiana Derby (GII) double. In the last 10 years five horses have completed the sweep:

Year Risen Star Winner Louisiana Derby Result
2017 Girvin 1 (1 1/4 lengths)
2016 Gun Runner 1 (4 1/2 lengths)
2015 International Star 1 (neck)
2014 Intense Holiday 2 (3 1/2 lengths)
2013 Ive Struck a Nerve N/A
2012 El Padrino N/A
2011 Mucho Macho Man 3 (3/4 lengths)
2010 Discreetly Mine 4 (1 1/4 lengths)
2009 Friesan Fire 1 (7 1/4 lengths)
2008 Pyro 1 (3 lengths)

 

– Kevin Kerstein

WATCHING THE WEATHER – Below is a look at the National Weather Service forecast for this weekend’s Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series races:

Track Location Weather Race
Fair Grounds New Orleans Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Louisiana Derby; Fair Grounds Oaks
Sunland Park Sunland, N.M. Patchy blowing dust after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80 Sunland Derby; Sunland Park Oaks

DOWN THE STRETCH – Withers Stakes (Grade III) winner Avery Island has been taken off the Kentucky Derby trail and will miss approximately 90 days of training, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. … Owner Ron Paolucci reported on Twitter Tuesday that Fountain of Youth (GII) fourth-place finisher Machismo is now being pointed towards to the April 7 Blue Grass at Keeneland. … The backstretch at Churchill Downs is now open. Training is scheduled to begin Friday at 6 a.m. (all times Eastern). The exclusive training period for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders is scheduled to begin Saturday, April 21 from 7:30-7:45 a.m. and will continue through Thursday, May 3. … Multiple Kentucky Derby winning trainer Todd Pletcher and Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel have been added to the roster for a special autograph signing on “Champions Day”, which will be held Tuesday, May 1. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.kentuckyderbyweek.com. – Kevin Kerstein

 

SPOTLIGHT HORSE: MAGNUM MOON

 

Trainer Todd Pletcher will attempt to win the Kentucky Derby in back-to-back years with undefeated Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon. The $300,000 purchase from the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale is undefeated through three starts and three different racetracks. The son of Malibu Moon broke his maiden on Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park by 4 ½ lengths and was successful in a first-level allowance at Tampa Bay Downs by two lengths prior to defeating nine rivals in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel by 3 ½ lengths.

  • Horse information: (3-3-0-0—$577,800)
    • o        Owner: Robert and Lawana Low
    • o        Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    • o        Last Jockey: Luis Saez
    • o        Breeder: Ramona Bass LLC (Ky.)
    • o        Sire: Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy)
    • o        Dam: Dazzling Song (Unbridled’s Song)
    • o        Named After: His sire Malibu Moon
  • Owner information: Robert Low founded Prime, Inc. trucking company in 1970. Prime is one of top industry trucking transportation businesses with more than 6,800 trucks and 12,800 trailers. The Low’s also own Palace Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi, Miss. The husband and wife duo have one starter in the Kentucky Derby: Steppenwolfer, who was third in 2006.
  • Trainer Information: Pletcher, 50, began working for his father, J.J., as a hot walker when he was 7-years-old in New Mexico. A graduate of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, the Texas native began working for Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas while he was still in college. Pletcher oversaw much of Lukas’ east coast-string of horses from 1991-’95 until he took out his trainer’s license. Pletcher is a seven-time Eclipse Award-winning Outstanding Trainer (2004-’07, ’10, ’13-’14) and has two Kentucky Derby winners through a record-equaling 48 starters: Super Saver (2010), and Always Dreaming (’17). – Kevin Kerstein

SCULLY’S KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

Magnum Moon easily proved up to the task making his stakes debut in the Rebel (GII) at Oaklawn Park, drawing away through the stretch to a 3 ½-length decision, and his 100 BRIS Speed rating ranks among the upper echelon of Kentucky Derby contenders.

By Malibu Moon, sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Magnum Moon was unveiled by Todd Pletcher in mid-January and has overwhelmed the competition in three consecutive starts. And along with Justify, who remained unbeaten with a powerful allowance victory on March 11, Magnum Moon looks capable of being a serious factor this spring despite being unraced at age 2.

The Rebel epitomized the 2018 Kentucky Derby picture as even-money favorite Solomini returned with a non-threatening second, becoming the latest 2-year-old star to come up short in his sophomore opener. Champion Good Magic, multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro, Remsen (GII) romper Catholic Boy, Hopeful (GI) scorer Sporting Chance and Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) winner Enticed also failed to finish first in the first start back this year (Bolt d’Oro was placed first by stewards but wasn’t beating McKinzie without the bumping or if they went around again).

Justify and Magnum Moon filled a void with captivating performances and bettors have been willing to ignore the 136-year gap since the last unraced juvenile won the Kentucky Derby, hammering Justify down to 6-1 favoritism among individual interests in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager and lowering Magnum Moon’s odds to 10-1 at the Wynn Las Vegas Sportbook.

Look for movement over the next four weeks as the first of seven major prep races, the $1 million TwinSpires Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds, will be offered Saturday. It’s worth a total of 170 points (100-40-20-10 scale) as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

Rebel

Purchased for $380,000 as a yearling by Robert and Lawana Low, Magnum Moon crushed rivals on the front end when making his debut in a six-furlong maiden at Gulfstream. He shipped to Tampa Bay Downs for his first two-turn start and proved versatile rating off a slow early tempo, netting a 101 BRIS Late Pace figure rallying to a two-length decision on Feb. 15.

The bay colt left the Rebel starting gate as the 3-1 second choice among 10 rivals with regular rider Luis Saez. He established a forward position into the first turn and tracked about a length back in third as the field traveled down the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile race.

Magnum Moon made his move nearing the completion of the far turn. After dismissing pacesetter Title Ready, he accelerated clear into the stretch and proceeded to defeat a solid group of rivals with complete authority.

Pletcher, who won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Always Dreaming, will be seeking his third overall victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown. Magnum Moon became his second major contender to emerge in recent months, joining Holy Bull (GII) winner Audible, who is scheduled to make his next appearance in the Florida Derby (GI) on March 31.

Magnum Moon has the $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) on April 14 circled for his final tune-up. And with Justify expected to make his stakes debut in the same spot, the Arkansas Derby promises to be a thrilling affair between up-and-coming talents.

  Solomini didn’t break smoothly and was blocked along the inside while advancing into the stretch. He wasn’t going to match strides with Magnum Moon but the Bob Baffert-trained colt showed good determination overcoming trouble, getting up in the final strides to edge Combatant by a head for runner-up honors. His BRIS Speed ratings declined from a 100 his juvenile finale to a 96 and that’s more of a concern than the defeat.

I want to see Solomini earn a triple-digit Speed rating in the final prep, the April 7 Wood Memorial (GII).

Combatant never threatens for the win but always gets part, recording his fourth straight placing in a qualifier. I don’t know if the late-running son of Scat Daddy can elevate his game for Steve Asmussen, but Combatant looks like the type you’ll want for exotic tickets on Derby Day at expected long odds.

 

Jeff Ruby Steaks

 

Blended Citizen rallied to edge Pony Up by a neck in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) (formerly the Spiral) and earned 20 points toward a Kentucky Derby berth in the 1 1/8-mile event on Turfway Park’s Polytrack. Owners Greg Hall of Sayjay Racing made the son of Proud Citizen a late nominee to the Triple Crown and plan to point toward the Kentucky Derby, but Blended Citizen (who also earned 2 points finishing third in the El Camino Real Derby on a synthetic track) will probably need more than 22 points to qualify.

He’s making fine progress for Doug O’Neill but it’s difficult to have much faith in the Blended Citizen, whose fortunes turned around when being switched from the main track to turf. He opened his career with three dismal dirt performances.

Multiple turf stakes runner-up Pony Up, who ran poorly in the Holy Bull on dirt, is expected to stick with turf racing for Pletcher.

 

Up Next

Fast conditions appear probable and the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby drew a field of 10 including My Boy Jack, the 5-2 morning line favorite following a minor upset win in the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. The late runner could receive the right set-up in a speed-laden field, but I won’t take short odds as the turf stakes winner caught favorable muddy track he relished and raced on the right part of the track last time.

  Noble Indy was banged around a little and stuck in tight quarters behind horses on the inside finishing a close third in his stakes debut, the Feb. 17 Risen Star (GII), and the well-built Take Charge Indy colt rates as a legitimate rebound candidate for Todd Pletcher. But an inside draw (post 2) doesn’t appear favorable and we’ll see what tactics are utilized with the addition of blinkers: Noble Indy must improve his BRIS E1 Pace numbers (87-89-89) to match strides early with speedy rivals Bravazo, Marmello and Snapper Sinclair.

I’m tabbing an upset with Lone Sailor. Fifth when concluding last year in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), his previous stakes form isn’t good enough but I was encouraged by the improvement displayed in a Feb. 19 allowance at Fair Grounds as Lone Sailor overcame a slow pace and being last on the far turn to just miss, registering a 103 BRIS Late Pace number for the neck second. This race looks ripe for an improving colt and Lone Sailor could be finishing fastest of all. I’ll also include the winner of Lone Sailor’s allowance, Dark Templar, in any multi-race bets. – James Scully, Brisnet.com

TAKING SHAPE

 

The possible fields for Kentucky Derby Championship Series races are fluid as horsemen vie for points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. Below are known horses (with Road to the Kentucky Derby point totals) mentioned to be under consideration for each race based on published news reports and other sources. Again, the shape of these fields is fluid and some horses are considered “possible” for multiple races:

 

MARCH 31 UAE DERBY – $2 million UAE Derby (GII) to be run over 1 3/16 miles at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai: Mendelssohn (20)**, Threefourpence (8)**, Seahenge (4)**, Gold Town (GB) (0), Raaya (0), Reride (0), Ruggero (JPN) (0), Taiki Ferveur (JPN) (0), Yulong Warrior (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.

MARCH 31 FLORIDA DERBY – $1 million Florida Derby (GI) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.: Promises Fulfilled (50), Strike Power (20), Catholic Boy (14), Audible (10), Fire When Ready (0), King Zachary (0)*, Millionaire Runner (0)*, Mississippi (0)*, Storm Runner* (0), Tip Sheet (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.

APRIL 7 WOOD MEMORIAL – $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct in Ozone Park, N.Y.: Enticed (63), Quip* (50), Solomini (34), Firenze Fire (29), Old Time Revival (20), Gronkowski (20)**, Instilled Regard* (19), Good Magic* (10), Vino Rosso (7), Gidu-IRE (0)*, Westerdale (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.

APRIL 7 BLUE GRASS – $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (GII) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.: Quip* (50), Flameaway (30), Free Drop Billy (24), Blended Citizen* (22), Gronkowski (20)**, Instilled Regard* (19), Good Magic* (10), Machismo (5), Gidu-IRE (0)*, Storm Runner* (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.

APRIL 7 SANTA ANITA DERBY – $1 million Santa Anita Derby (GI) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.: Bolt d’Oro (64), McKinzie* (40), Blended Citizen* (22), Instilled Regard* (19), Restoring Hope (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.

APRIL 14 ARKANSAS DERBY –$1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.: Magnum Moon* (50), Blended Citizen* (22), Sporting Chance (2), Gidu-IRE (0)*, Justify (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.

APRIL 14 LEXINGTON – $200,000 Lexington Stakes (GIII) to be run 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.: Greyvitos (10), Core Beliefs (0), Exclamation Point (0), Mask (0), Telekinesis (0). Points to Top 4: 20-8-4-2.

*Under consideration for multiple races.

** Points were earned in European Road to the Kentucky Derby.

OAKS

CLASSY ACT TOPS FAIR GROUNDS OAKS – The Road to the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series continues Saturday with the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II) and will award 100-40-20-10 points to the Top 4 finishers.

Classy Act, slated as the 5-2 morning line favorite, was the runner-up finisher behind top Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) contender Monomoy Girl in the Feb. 17 Rachel Alexandra (GII) at Fair Grounds. Monomoy Girl is expected to enter the April 7 Ashland (GI) at Keeneland, according to trainer Brad Cox.

Trained by Bret Calhoun, Classy Act broke her maiden by four lengths over the turf at Fair Grounds in late December and was successful four weeks later in a first-level allowance when she switched surfaces back to the dirt and defeated a field comfortably by 2 ½ lengths prior to her runner-up effort in the Rachel Alexandra.

The main competitor to Classy Act could be Demoiselle (GII) Stakes winner Wonder Gadot. The Medaglia d’Oro filly was third in the Rachel Alexandra for trainer Mark Casse. – Kevin Kerstein

BLAMED HEADLINES SUNLAND OAKS – Multiple stakes winner Blamed leads a field of five in Sunday’s Sunland Park Oaks that will award 85 total points to the Top 4 finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

Based in New Mexico for trainer Joel Marr, Blamed was the 6 ½-length winner of the Island Fashion Stakes on Feb. 25 at Sunland, the local prep for the Sunland Park Oaks.

There are no fillies in the Sunland Park Oaks nominated for the May 4 Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI). The late nomination period remains open for the Kentucky Oaks until Saturday, April 14 in which a fee of $1,500 must be paid to be eligible to compete in America’s premier and most lucrative race for 3-year-old fillies. A supplementary nomination of $20,000 may be made at the time of entry if a late nomination fee is not paid. – Kevin Kerstein

INSIDE CHURCHILL DOWNS

Inside Churchill Downs” begins its fourth season next Friday, March 30, at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The weekly one-hour horse racing radio show is co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, and delivers a wide-ranging list of interesting guests, from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders. Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/ or via podcast on the station’s website or https://soundcloud.com/.

PAST PERFORMANCES & HISTORY

ROAD TO DERBY VIDEO SERIES

 

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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