Week of March 26, 2012
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
It was a relatively quiet weekend with a few preps and a few marathons as we gear up for a three week stretch of major Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby prep races.
At Turfway Park John Velazquez turned in a prep race double when he won aboard In Lingerie and Went the Day Well in the Bourbonette Oaks (chart) and Vinery Spiral (chart). In Lingerie wasn’t particularly interested in loading in the gate prior Bourbonette but grabbed lead early and never looked back (replay). Last out she ran second to buzz Oaks contender Zo Impressive in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Zo Impressive is a likely starter in next weekend’s Gulfstream Oaks.
Went the Day Well was a little green in the stretch of the Vinery Spiral, but he pulled away once he got his bearings. In the post-race interview on NBC Sports Network, Velazquez told Donna Barton Brothers that “when he found himself on the lead he didn’t know what to do.” Owner Barry Irwin, who won the Vinery Spiral and Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom last year, noted that the winner would point to the Derby but “needed more experience.” The Coolmore Lexington Stakes on April 21 at Keeneland is the most likely next stop for Went the Day Well.
Barry Irwin and Team Valor were not the only ones to replicate a winning strategy last weekend, Bob Baffert shipped Princess Arabella to the Sunland Park Oaks (chart | replay) and won by 8 lengths, replicating last year’s Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty’s domination in the same race. Lightly raced Princess Arabella remained undefeated and is likely to go on to the Kentucky Oaks. In the Sunland Derby (chart) Castaway, winner of the first division of the Southwest Stakes, got caught up in a speed duel with Ender Knievel and faded to a distance 7th, leaving Daddy’s Nose Best to run down Isn’t He Clever in the stretch. Daddy Nose Best is now officially on the Derby trail according to trainer Steve Asmussen. Late nominations for the Kentucky Derby close on Monday, we’ll add links to the updated contenders when they’re available.
Update: 20 were added to the Triple Crown nominees on Monday. You can grab a free Brisnet past performance of all the 2012 Triple Crown Nominees here.
Bob Baffert trainee Bodemeister put in an impressive effort while working in company on Friday. HRTV offers video of the work, showing Bodemeister navigating through traffic and accelerating without being asked. Withers winner Alpha seems to have finally settled on the Wood Memorial as his next prep race while Hansen will now go to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14. Current 2012 Kentucky Derby favorite Union Rags impressed clockers with his work for the upcoming Florida Derby where he’ll meet El Padrino, who also put in his final prep.
Elsewhere marathoners stepped up or exacted revenge. Dynamic Host stepped up, scoring his first stakes win his 27 starts in the Tokyo City Cup (chart) at Santa Anita, last year’s Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch was his only other stakes attempt. Jockey David Flores noted in a post-race interview that the 8-year-old tends to be “lazy when he makes the lead”, despite this bad habit he held on to win by a neck. When asked about racing the son of Dynaformer, a renown turf sire, on turf (something he’s already done 10 times with only one win) trainer Art Sherman noted that he thought he had options and might point him to the 1 3/4 mile San Juan Capistrano Handicap on turf next out. At Gulfstream Park Newsdad turned the tables on Simmard in the Pan American Handicap (chart) at Gulfstream Park. Last out Newsdad just missed Simmard by a nose but this time Simmard finished third almost 10 lengths behind Newsdad. No word on what’s next for the Bill Mott trainee, but this win marked Mott’s fifth Pan American win. On Sunday at Santa Anita Bourbon Bay made the best of the extra quarter mile to turn the tables on Slim Shadey in the 1 1/2 mile San Luis Rey Stakes (chart) at Santa Anita. Last out Bourbon Bay was 4th to Slim Shadey at in the San Marcos at 1 1/4 miles. Bourbon Bay is likely to meet Dynamic Host as he’ll also point to the San Juan Capistrano according to trainer Neil Drysdale.
Next weekend’s impending “awesome off” is off as undefeated Awesome Feather will not take on Awesome Maria in the upcoming weekend’s Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Apparently Awesome Feather has not “been herself” recently but no word on where they might be looking next.
Update: Trainer Bob Baffert suffered a heart attack earlier today in Dubai and is reportedly doing well. The Daily Racing Form has a bedside video from Baffert where he’s joking with this esteemed cavalcade of visitors.
This coming weekend will be action packed with Kentucky Oaks and Derby preps as well as the annual Dubai World Cup. Well be publishing our regular Month Ahead next Sunday to let you know what April has in store. HBO’s troubled series Luck ended its short run on Sunday night. We’ll do our final Understanding Luck, where we explain the racing concepts each episode, later on today. If you’ll miss the degenerate gang of Foray Stables (and who wouldn’t!), we’ve got a book review for you: Horseplayers, Life at the Track. As a bonus, the author stopped by to leave a comment where he lists the racing books that inspired him.
Road to the Kentucky Derby Telecast Schedule
Saturday March 31 NBC Sports Network 5pm – 6pm ET
Saturday April 7, NBC 4:30pm – 6pm ET
Saturday April 14, CNBC 5pm – 6pm ET
Keep with all the commentary and news at Raceday 360 Wire!
Click the “play” arrow and follow the “Watch on YouTube” link to view this replay
Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!