Derby Prep Alert
Derby Prep Alert

April 1, 2016Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Sponsored by BRIS, our Preferred Past Performance Provider

Last week Gun Runner fortified his credibility with a win in the Louisiana Derby while Mo Tom encountered traffic trouble, again. U.A.E. Derby winner Lani may add some international flavor to this year’s Derby, and Land Over Sea had clear sailing in the Fair Grounds Oaks. If you missed any of the action, check last week’s edition for replays, links to recaps/post-race analysis and Brisnet charts.

Looking for an easy way to view Brisnet charts for all of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks points races? Be sure to check our schedule pages. We’ve also listed Beyer, Brisnet, Equibase and TimeformUS speed figures for each race.

2016 Kentucky Derby Prep Schedule
2016 Kentucky Oaks Prep Schedule

Download Free Past Performances

Blood-Horse: UAE Derby Winner Lani Arrives at Churchill
Blood-Horse: Outwork, Cards of Stone Set for Wood
Blood-Horse: Undefeated Nyquist Arrives at Keeneland
Blood-Horse: Mohaymen in ‘Good Shape’ After FL Derby
Blood-Horse: Shagaf, Flexibility Drill for Wood Memorial
Courier-Journal: Cox may send Dazzling Gem straight to Derby
DRF: Privman: Road to the Derby: Florida Derby (post-race analysis)
DRF: Privman: Road to the Derby: Spiral Stakes (post-race analysis)
DRF: Watchmaker: Florida Derby leaves some questions unanswered
NYRA: Wood Memorial Notes
Twinspires: Pletcher confirms Outwork, Cards of Stone for Wood Memorial
Twinspires: Whitmore readies for Arkansas Derby with half-mile move
Twinspires: Zulu expected in Blue Grass

Blood-Horse: Untapable, Whitmore Breeze at Oaklawn
Blood-Horse: American Dubai Works at Keeneland
DRF: Santa Anita: Six Santa Anita Derby candidates have final works
Twinspires: Shagaf, Flexibility work in company for Wood

News About the Contenders
Blood-Horse: Suddenbreakingnews Works for Arkansas Derby
Blood-Horse: Brody’s Cause Among Blue Grass Probables
Blood-Horse: Top Horsemen Question Florida Derby Faceoff
Blood-Horse: Making the Grade: Nyquist
Blood-Horse: Haskin’s Derby Dozen
Blood-Horse: Making the Grade: Cupid
DRF: Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Fellowship
DRF: Derby Watch: Reddam hoping Nyquist can light the lamp
DRF: Connections thinking Preakness with Abiding Star
TDN: Pletcher Formulating Plans for 3yo Stars; Zulu to Pass Florida Derby
TDN: Swipe Pointing for Lexington; Derby Possible
TDN: Lanerie Retains Mo Tom Mount
TDN: Pedigree Insights: Lani
Twinspires: Probables for Wood Memorial Day stakes announced
Twinspires: Maiden winner & late TC nominee American Pioneer headed to Arkansas Derby
Twinspires: 2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Lani

Gulfstream Park Oaks Kentucky Oaks prep race

Gulfstream Park, Saturday April 2, post time: 2:50 pm ET
1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs)

2016 Gulfstream Park Oaks Replay

Download the 2016 Gulfstream Park Oaks Chart courtesy of our partners

2016 Gulfstream Park Oaks News & Recaps
Blood-Horse: Go Maggie Go Gallops in Oaks
DRF: Go Maggie Go jumps from maiden sprint to win Gulfstream Park Oaks
TDN: ‘Maggie Goes’ in GP Oaks

2016 Gulfstream Park Oaks Preview
With Grade 2 Davona Dale winner Cathryn Sophia skipping the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in favor of the April 9 Grade 1 Ashland, a rather underwhelming cast of fillies will vie for the available points necessary to earn a spot in the Kentucky Oaks starting gate. The fact that five of the seven starters enter off maiden wins while the sole Grade 1 stakes winner will be making her first start off a 6-month break presents a handicapping challenge to be sure.

Doug O’Neill-trained Gomo shipped in from California last fall to capture the 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Alcibiades over a sloppy Keeneland track. Her past performances prove she’s perfectly adept at winning on practically any surface and certainly at the distance. The real concern is whether or not she can fire big off a long break that started when an ankle chip kept her out of the Breeders’ Cup. In town to ride her stablemate Nyquist in the Florida Derby, regular rider Mario Gutierrez is aboard.

The only other graded stakes winner entered is new to trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn, Grade 3 Schuylerville victress Off the Tracks. Sidelined by knee surgery off that victory last July, the Curlin filly successfully captured her 2016 debut in the 6 1/2-furlong Margate Handicap before a new majority owner made the switch from small trainer Roderick Rodriguez to mega-conditioner Pletcher. She’s never stretched out beyond a sprint, but her pedigree certainly suggests she may appreciate the longer distance. Her half-brother Concord Point won the 9-furlong (1 1/8 miles) Grade 2 West Virginia Derby. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez takes the reins.

A speedy 6-furlong maiden winner at Laurel last December, Hold On Momma has finished well out of the money in her last two starts, including an allowance optional claiming event at Tampa Bay most recently. Even with the addition of Lasix and a rider change to jockey Julien Leparoux, stepping up this far in class is a big ask for her.

Maiden winners Paola Queen and Go Maggie Go face the dual challenge of stepping up in class and stretching out beyond a sprint distance. From a pedigree standpoint, both appear capable. Paola Queen’s dam Kadira finished third in the 1 1/16-miles Grade 3 Honeybee behind subsequent Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles and multiple Grade 1 winner Pure Clan. A daughter of 10-furlong (1 1/4 miles) Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Ghostzapper, Go Maggie Go is a half-sister to Wallyanna, a colt who captured the 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes over subsequent Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby’s Kitten. All things considered, it’s Go Maggie Go that may have the edge here. A sharp 5-furlong workout signifies she’s on top of her game. In addition, regular rider Luis Saez chose to stay aboard her, thus Javier Castellano takes the ride on Paola Queen.

Both Double Entendre and Mo’ Green broke their maidens at the 1 1/16-miles distance, but neither effort was particularly fast. Double Entendre’s 8-length victory at Sam Houston was visually impressive enough to result in a private purchase and trainer switch to south Florida stalwart Peter Walder. Her unraced second dam is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Safely Kept, but she has also produced 1 1/16 miles Grade 1 runner-up Santiva and Grade 2 Alcibiades third-place finisher Her Majesty, so there’s a nice balance of speed and stamina in her damline. By current leading second-crop sire Uncle Mo just like Gomo, Mo’ Green may not have a lot of early speed, but she could be closing well late.

Valerie Grash

Bourbonette Oaks Kentucky Oaks prep race

Turfway Park, Saturday April 2, post time: 5:07 pm ET
1 mile (8 furlongs), synthetic surface

2016 Bourbonette Oaks Replay

Download the 2016 Bourbonette Oaks Chart courtesy of our partners

2016 Bourbonette Oaks News & Recaps
Blood-Horse: Wonderment Wires Bourbonette Cast
DRF: New York-bred Wonderment pulls away in Bourbonette
TDN: NY Invader Blows Them Away in Bourbonette

2016 Bourbonette Oaks Preview
Though the Kentucky Oaks will be run on dirt, 14 fillies will be taking a shot over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park to try to earn enough points to make a run for the lilies on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

The Bourbonette Oaks attracted a full field of fillies with a range of experiences, though only one of them, Marquee Miss, cracks the top 20 on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard. Her 10 points put her far outside the top 14 fillies who will be able to run in the Oaks, so if there are aspirations in that direction among the connections of the Bourbonette Oaks’ contenders, their filly will have to finish in the top four to have a hope at getting in.

Marquee Miss’s seven-race record shows that when she’s good, she’s very, very good, and when she is bad…well, she’s not very good. Three of those dismal performances came in the slop, including her last-place, distanced finish last month in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn. She debuted in a stakes race last summer over Arlington Park’s synthetic track, skipping the maiden ranks, to win first out, then notched two more stakes victories earlier this year. She’s won both stalking and on the lead; given the presence of several speedy types here, regular jockey Channing Hill may well let the others fight it out up front, and running on Turfway’s Polytrack will insure that Marquee Miss will avoid the off-track that trainer Ingrid Mason says her filly doesn’t like.

The New York-bred Wonderment hopes to return to winning ways after finishing third in her 2016 bow in the restricted Franklin Square Stakes at Aqueduct in February. She started her career at Belmont with two wins in quick succession last summer, one of them the Lynbrook for New York-breds, then was off for eight months. Making her second start off the layoff, she’s another that’s won from both setting the pace and closing into it; she stretches out beyond 6 furlongs for the first time and makes her first start on synthetic, a surface she should like, given that her sire Cosmonaut was a multiple graded stakes winner on turf.

Lookout Sister returns to the races for the first time since October, when she finished 10thin the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland in the mud. Given the off track and that it was her first effort beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, one might excuse that poor performance; she faltered last summer in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga last summer, but she meets nothing here of the caliber of horses she ran against there. She’s done her best running near the lead, but making her first start in six months at a distance at which she’s untested are reasonable cause for concern. Perhaps offsetting those doubts can be that her trainer is Graham Motion, who doesn’t tend to run his horses where they don’t have a shot, and his name alone may be enough to give her some consideration.

American Doll made her first two starts for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner WinStar Farm before heading to the barn of Ben Colebrook for new owners Woods Edge Farm last fall. She’s won three in a row, including her maiden-breaker, all at Turfway, two of them at the Bourbonette Oaks’ distance.

A proven runner on turf with a record of 6-1-2-1, Lope makes her synthetic debut here. She hasn’t won since last October at Keeneland, and she missed a month of training early this year, but she lost her two last races by a combined distance of less than a length. She’s been keeping modest company, running in only one stakes race and losing by a head, but trainer Al Stall hits at a 40% rate when making the switch from turf to synthetics.

Lemon Drop Belle, Red Fern Doll, Dorodansa, Miss Meteor, Castiel’s Angel, and Red Atlantic (the last two on the also-eligible list and will need horses to scratch in order to get in) all come to the race off just a maiden win. Artesian is undefeated with a win over Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic surface and she’s won at 1 1/16 miles, but she’s raced just twice, both times last October, and she gets her third jockey in as many starts.

Inconclusive gets the services of hot jock Florent Geroux, but she’s struggled in each of her five stakes attempts, never finishing better than fourth. Egyptian Honey likes both the distance and the track and makes her second start off a four-month layoff.

Teresa Genaro

Spiral Stakes Kentucky Derby prep race

Turfway Park, Saturday April 2, post time: 5:43 pm ET
1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs), synthetic surface

2016 Spiral Replay

Download the 2016 Spiral Chart courtesy of our partners

2016 Spiral News & Recaps
Blood-Horse: Oscar Nominated Takes Spiral for Ramseys
Courier-Journal: Ramseys into Derby with Spiral Stakes win
TDN: Kitten’s Joy Colt Springs Major Upset in Spiral

2016 Spiral Preview
The lone “win and you’re in” race on a racing surface other than dirt is Saturday at Turfway Park in the form of the $500,000 Spiral Stakes, which in addition to the half-million-dollar purse offers 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with 50 to the winner of the 1 1/8-miles race on the synthetic Polytrack surface.

The opportunity to qualify for the Kentucky Derby via a synthetic surface was a popular one, as the connections of 15 3-year-olds entered the race with 12 able to start.

Airoforce is the morning line favorite, but bettors will have to forgive his last race if they’re to back this horse at a short price. Making his 3-year-old debut after finishing second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club as a 2-year-old, Airoforce finished tenth of 11, beaten 39 lengths at odds of just under 2-1 in the Grade 2 Risen Star on February 20 at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Mark Casse said that race was “too bad to be believed” and that Airoforce deserved another chance at qualifying for the Derby. Airoforce has never run on a synthetic surface, but he has won two of three turf starts, including the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes before the Breeders’ Cup.

The top performers on a synthetic surface in the field are stakes winners Surgical Strike and Don’t Be So Salty. The former won the local prep for this, the Battaglia Memorial, while the latter scored in the Display Stakes last year at Woodbine. That’s where the similarities end, however, as Surgical Strike does his racing from the back of the pack while Don’t Be So Salty will be closer to the pace.

Another top performer on synthetic is Kasseopia, who finished second in the Grade 3 Grey last year at Woodbine and third in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby this year at Golden Gate Fields. H. Graham Motion trains Kasseopia for Team Valor—the same connections that won the 2011 Spiral and Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, one of three Spiral wins for Motion in only three attempts.

The other graded stakes winners in the race (along with Airoforce) are Ralis and Azar. Ralis is the lone graded stakes winner on dirt, having won the Grade 1 Hopeful last year before dropping three straight, including the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes last out in his 3-year-old debut. Azar won the Grade 2 With Anticipation on turf as a 2-year-old at Saratoga and won his dirt debut last out at Gulfstream Park.

Jensen is the up-and-comer in the field, having never finished worse than second in four races and now trying stakes company for the first time for breeder-owner-trainer Larry Jones. He is the co-third choice on the morning line at 6-to-1 and has won from both off the pace and on the front end.

All other horses who drew into the field are expected to come from off the pace and are each at least 10-to-1 on the morning line: Oscar Nominated, Strike Up the Band, Swagger Jagger, That Makes Sense, and Two Step Time. The two horses who are also eligible and would need a scratch to start are Crescent Drive and Diplodocus.

Ed DeRosa

Florida Derby Kentucky Derby prep race

Gulfstream Park, Saturday April 2, post time: 6:48 pm ET
1 1/16 miles (8.5 furlongs)

2016 Florida Derby Replay

Download the 2016 Florida Derby Chart courtesy of our partners

2016 Florida Derby News & Recaps
Blood-Horse: Nyquist Trounces Mohaymen in Florida Derby
TDN: Nyquist Dominates in FL Derby
Twinspires: Nyquist posts convincing victory, earns $1 million bonus in Florida Derby; Mohaymen fourth

2016 Florida Derby Preview
The Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park is the marquee race of the year at the racetrack in Hallandale, Florida. The Florida Derby has had three winners go on to win the Kentucky Derby since 2006. The last came in 2013 when Orb won in Florida on his way to winning the roses at Churchill Down.

The 2016 edition of the Florida Derby attracted two heavyweights of the 3-year-old division. Mohaymen and Nyquist have raced a combined 11 times without a loss. It’s rare that two colts boasting such resumes would meet prior to the Kentucky Derby, but such is the case this year, and it’s likely that the Florida Derby will produce the favorite on the first Saturday of May.

Nyquist is the reigning 2-year-old champion and winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he counts five graded stakes wins among his six career victories. He won his 3-year old debut over 7 furlongs in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park in California back in February. On the surface, it seems a curious decision to ship Nyquist to Florida when he could have stayed at his homebase of California and run in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, as it offers the same $1 million purse as the Florida Derby. However, Nyquist is eligible for an additional $1 million bonus if he wins the Florida Derby. The bonus is attached to his purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale hosted by Gulfstream Park in March 2015. While staying home in California looks like an easier path for Nyquist, the bonus seems the logical motivation for taking on Mohaymen. He will be racing at 1 1/8 miles for the first time in his career, coming off a single 7-furlong race in 2016. Nyquist’s human connections–owner J. Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neil, and jockey Mario Gutierrez–won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with I’ll Have Another in 2012.

Mohaymen has scored four straight graded stakes, including the Grade 2 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on the Gulfstream oval this year. His previous graded stakes wins came as a 2-year-old with wins in the Grade 2 Nashua and Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct in New York. The two stakes victories he has recorded so far as a 3-year-old have looked very easy, both coming by multiple lengths with little encouragement from his jockey Junior Alvarado. He has yet to face a challenge like the one he is expected to see on Saturday from Nyquist. If he wins the Florida Derby, he would lock up the role of favorite heading to the Kentucky Derby on May 7th. His trainer, Lexington native Kiaran McLaughlin, has counted many of the country’s biggest stakes races among his wins, but he has yet to win a Kentucky Derby. His owner Shadwell Stable has won major stakes races around the world but continues to pursue its first Derby win.

After Nyquist and Mohaymen there is a significant dropoff in talent among the rest of the field of ten entered in this year’s Florida Derby. Fellowship is the most accomplished entry outside of the top two. He finished third in his last two races to Mohaymen, the Holy Bull and the Fountain of Youth, and he has seven finishes in the top three from 10 career starts. The additional distance of the 1 1/8-miles Florida Derby should be to his advantage considering the perseverance he has shown in the stretch in his most recent starts. He has notched 12 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Another finish in the top four should give him enough points to earn a berth in the gate for the Derby at Churchill Downs in May.

The remainder of the field includes eight colts that have only a maiden win in their past performances and one colt that has yet to win. Of this group, Takeittotheedge is intriguing since he exits a career debut at 7 furlongs that he won by a dominant eight lengths. Soundly beating the competition first time out is the sign of a promising horse, but he will be making a significant class jump in the Florida Derby.

Fashionable Freddy has one win from five career starts and has finished behind colts like Battery and Cherry Wine who were recently well beaten in stakes races. While his career so far makes him tough to tout, he is trained by Nick Zito who has been known to pull hard-to-figure upsets, including the 2010 Florida Derby with Ice Box at odds of 20-1.

Copingaway has the most experience in the field with 14 career starts. He won his first race in his third career start last year and has lost nine straight since. He has graded stakes experience on the turf, finishing ninth of ten runners in the Grade 3 Dania Beach in January. He was beaten 11 lengths his most recent race at Gulfstream Park.

Majesto won for the first time in his fifth lifetime starts last out. He has experience at the 1 1/8-miles distance, finishing third in a maiden race. His sire, Tiznow, won the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice at 1 1/4 miles.

Sawyers Mickey has raced seven times without a win on his resume. In his last start he finished third in a listed stake at Turfway Park over the synthetic surface.

Isofass ran a respectable third against allowance company behind the previously mentioned Battery.

Chovanes, who won a maiden claiming race at Gulfstream in February, rounds out the field.

Kevin Martin