Week of February 14, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
With only a few exceptions, it was a weekend of upsets that saw some major shifts in the 2011 Kentucky Derby picture. Brethren, one of the few winning favorites, brought his record to three for three in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. Unlike others making their 3-year-old debut recently, he was able build upon his juvenile form and put away a moderate field with relative ease. No word yet on his next start. Comma to the Top was a favorite and Derby hopeful making his 3-year-old debut that was not able to build upon his juvenile form. According to rider Corey Nakatani he was going well but “didn’t finish” going into the stretch of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Winner Silver Medallion, who last won the Eddie Logan on turf (replay), displayed a strong will and impressive turn of foot after being floated wide by Comma to the Top and accelerating in the stretch to win. Apparently trainer Steve Asmussen was impressed.
One of the biggest head-scratchers of the weekend was Tapizar in the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. Rank and speedy out of the gate, he seemed to take himself out of contention by throwing down insanely fast fractions and understandably fading in the stretch. Will he be able be able to settle going forward? Should we simply hope his connections point him toward shorter distances and forgo the Derby trail all together? Only time will tell. The winner, Anthony’s Cross either held off Riveting Reason or was the fortunate that Riveting Reason didn’t want to pass him, it’s hard to tell. It’s likely that we’ll have to wait and see what this group does next out before we really learn something about them. Well regarded Boys at Tosconova was also taken off the Derby trail.
In the Distaff division, the Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita was won by first time stakes starter Vision in Gold. The fourth choice on the board wired the field and held off the late charge of Zardana and fast closing favorite St. Trinians. Favorite Hilda’s Passion took the Hurricane Bertie with ease at Gulfstream Park while La Canada favorite Blind Luck ran second to Always a Princess, who controlled a slow and deliberate pace under Martin Garcia for Bob Baffert. And finally, Tackleberry, the upset winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic (replay) proved that he is both versatile and not a fluke by cutting back in distance to win the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championships Stakes.
Coming up this week is the first pool of Kentucky Derby Future Wagers! Now that the nominations are out you might want to put a few bucks on some interesting prospects and we’ll provide some helpful pointers this week at the site. We’ll also take a look at the newly renamed Rachel Alexandra Stakes in Ten Things You Should Know.
The Road to the Roses Fantasy League also kicks off this week and we’ll have our Hello Race Fans League again this year! Stay tuned for information on how to join and in the meantime keep up with all the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks news at Raceday 360 Wire!
JP’s Gusto Galloping at Oaklawn Park
2011 Kentucky Derby contender looking good while he gets the lay of the land at Oaklawn Park
Albergatti’s Maiden win at Santa Anita
Asmussen trainee makes a strong second showing to break his maiden. His next stop might be in stakes company.
2011 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes Replay
Tackleberry proved he’s no fluke while simultaneously showcasing his versatility by cutting to back to a sprint after winning the Sunshine Millions Classic at 1 1/8 miles last out.
2011 Robert B. Lewis Stakes Replay
Heavily favored and rank Tapizar threw down incredibly fast fractions and flamed out, leaving an improving Anthony’s Cross to make up for his third in the Sham by holding off Riveting Reason.
2011 El Camino Real Derby Replay
Favorite Comma to the Top could not sustain his bid but up and comer Silver Medallion stepped up in the stretch to make trainer Steve Asmussen’s first start at Golden Gate Fields a winning one.
Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!