The Kentucky Derby and Oaks trails saw some interesting performances over the weekend in maiden and allowance company while the stakes scenes provided several exciting races.
At Aqueduct Street Life, by 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, overcame traffic trouble and displayed an impressive turn of foot to win in his second start (chart). At Santa Anita, Bodemeister (named for Trainer Bob Baffert’s son Bodie), had a completely opposite trip. The son of Empire Maker got an uncontested lead and never looked back (chart). While his trip was easier, he looked professional nonetheless. Triple Crown nominated filly Princess Arabella, also trained by Baffert, brought her record to 2-2 in what amounted to a paid workout in an allowance race (chart | replay). No word on what’s next for any of these talented 3-year-olds but it wouldn’t be surprising to see any any of them in stakes company next out.
Thunder Moccasin kicked off the stakes action at Gulfstream Park on Saturday with an easy win in the Grade 2 Hutcheson (chart). Trainer Todd Pletcher, who recently scored his 3,000th career win, noted that he thought Thunder Moccasin would be best at shorter distances and plans to point him towards the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at 7-furlongs on March 10. Snow Top Mountain broke a three race slump by storming home to take the Grade 3 Suwannee River (chart). Her last three losing margins where a neck, 3/4 of a length and a head. This time she was on the right side of the photo, earning her first graded win by 1/2 length. No word on what might be next.
Hymn Book gave Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughy his first win in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap when he nailed Mission Impazible on the wire after a brief duel (chart). The exciting rendition of the race also included 3-year-old classic winners Shackleford and Ruler on Ice, who didn’t have have much impact. Shackleford was on the pace early and faded in the stretch while Ruler on Ice was never in contention. Hymn Book might try the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap next April 14.
Get Stormy (Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap – chart) and Slim Shady (Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes – chart) both won their turf races by controlling the pace. The two also have something else in common, they’re both Foolish Pleasure damline descendents! (read up on pedigree basics here and turf pedigrees here). And, after having having a rough second part of the year as a 3-year-old, Joyful Victory ended her four race losing streak with an impressive win the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds (chart). Trainer Larry Jones said that we would either see Joyful Victory or stablemate and reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace in the New Orleans Ladies Handicap on March 17 next, but that he planned to keep the two apart.
The first pool of the 2012 Kentucky Derby Future Wagers closed on Sunday with the majority of the money going to “all others”, be sure to check the final odds and will pays in our Back to the Futures post! Later on this afternoon we’ll be publishing Understanding Luck for the third episode which aired last night. Be sure to check to back!
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Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!