HAPPY EASTER to everyone out there in THOROUGHBLOG land…be well. Congrats to MARK FROSTAD for a nice win with the mare TRANSGRESSION yesterday at Gulfstream and the super run by IRISH MISSION in the Grade 3 Orchid ‘Cap. The Canadian-bred is sure to be a force in 12 furlong turf races this year in the U.S.
HE’S AN ANIMAL –
* what can you say about ANIMAL KINGDOM’S Dubai World Cup romp? It was one of those goosebump moments when he scampered clear and then held off RED CADEAUX at 60 to 1. The colt is off to ROYAL ASCOT now, eventually to Australia for stud duty. This may be the star American racing needs and will we see him on this side of the world again?
SPEED OF LIGHT – Yes, ORB was very good but JULIA ran a 114 Beyer!
(Gulfstream Park photo – Coglianese) ORB
The victory by Stuart Janney’s lovely 3yo colt ORB was what most of us expected as we handicapped the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
He won easily, in solid time (97 Beyer Figure) and is heading to the Kentucky Derby as a favourite.
However, a few races earlier, the same distance of 9 furlongs was run in the Gulfstream Oaks, 2 seconds faster.
DREAMING OF JULIA, the pretty and strong bay daughter of A.P. Indy, powered her way to a mind boggling 21 1/2 length win and hung up a 114 Beyer Figure.
“We felt she was training as well as ever and she was coming up to it in good order. But, honestly, I can’t say I was expecting that kind of victory,” said Pletcher, who has virtually clinched a 10th straight training title at the Hallandale Beach track.
The filly has won big before, by 16 lengths, 10 lengths, but this was something to watch. It was hard to believe she lost her season opener behind Live Lively in the Davona Dale but she sure was a stronger gal yesterday.
Her time of 1:48.97 was also almost 2 seconds faster than CIAO BELLA ran in the Rampart Stakes earlier in the card, a race for older mares.
Canadian-bred ORIGINAL SCRIPT was last and beaten more than 40 lengths.
Back to ORB. This could be Shug’s year. And many poll’s around the internet show that most people are cheering for him most of all.
from Gulfstream media:
Shug McGaughey has long dreamed of someday winning the Kentucky Derby, like every other Thoroughbred trainer, but the Hall of Famer has never succumbed to Derby Fever – the foolhardy condition that induces others to head to Churchill Downs each May with horses unfit for the Triple Crown.
McGaughey, who has saddled only six horses for the Derby during the past 30 years, has displayed admirable patience, preferring to wait for a worthy colt to take him to the Churchill Downs than force the issue.
The 62-year-old Kentuckian need wait no more for another shot at the Derby after watching Orb power to a 2 ¾-length victory under John Velazquez in Saturday’s $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
“The Derby is my dream, but we never tried to overdo it,” said McGaughey, whose colt was sent to post as the 5-2 third choice. “Hopefully, this is the one who can take us there.”
Upon arriving in South Florida under the radar in December, Orb has transformed from a late-developing colt with potential into an imposing Triple Crown candidate during the Gulfstream meeting. His triumph in the Florida Derby was his third success of the meeting, including an allowance victory at the 1 1/8-mile distance on Jan. 26 and a late-closing half-length victory in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 23.
“I’m pretty excited about the first Florida Derby I’ve ever won,” McGaughey said. “I’m just glad to see the horse take another step, and we’ll go from there.”
Orb settled in fifth in the 10-horse field around the first turn and along the backstretch, as Merit Man, making his first start around two turns, set the pace while pressed by Narvaez during sensible fractions of :24.74 and :48.56 for the first half mile. Merit Man continued to show the way on the final turn, joined on the outside by Itsmyluckyday, the 17-10 favorite who was sent three-wide around Narvaez by jockey Elvis Trujillo, followed by Orb.
Itsmyluckyday, who captured the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream in his last start on Jan 26, took the lead rounding into the homestretch as Merit Man fought back along the rail and Orb loomed as a danger on the outside. Itsmyluckyday opened up by a length in mid-stretch, only to be quickly passed by Orb, who drew off to his fourth-straight victory.
“Johnny did a good job getting him in position. I got a little nervous on the turn when it looked like he backed up a little bit, but he switched on his right lead and came with his run,” McGaughey said. “I do think he beat a nice horse that finished second.”
Itsmyluckyday finished second, 2 ¼ lengths clear of Merit Man, a 29-1 outsider ridden by Kent Desormeaux who finished five lengths ahead of Narvaez, the longest priced starter at 103-1.
Shanghai Bobby, the 2-1 second betting choice ridden by Rosie Napravnik, was forwardly placed behind Merit Man before fading to fifth. The Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old champion of 2012 suffered his second straight loss this year.
“We got crowded going into the first turn with everyone going for the same spot. It got a little rough going into the first turn. He was always kind of stuck on the inside with everyone jockeying for the same position. He seemed to be in a tough spot all the way around,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Rosie said he just never really relaxed in that scenario. We’ll see how he comes out of it before making any decisions for the future.”
Orb, a homebred colt owned by Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.87 to earn $600,000, boosting his career earnings to $921,050.
“It’s really exciting. I’ve never won the Fountain of Youth and now to win the Florida Derby it’s exciting. I’m happy for all the people who have put so much work into it,” McGaughey said. “I’m just tickled to death for the Janneys and the Phippses, more than I am for myself, and it’s a big thrill for me.”
Orb, who had already earned a berth in the Kentucky Derby with his Fountain of Youth victory under Churchill Downs’ newly instituted points system, collected an additional 100 points to cement his standing as a serious Derby contender. Itsmyluckyday, trained by longtime South Florida horseman Eddie Plesa Jr., chalked up 50 points for his second-place finish, giving him the right to join Orb at Churchill on the first Saturday in May.
“I expected him to win and he didn’t. Am I disappointed? Yes, but I’m also proud of him too. He’s done everything we’ve asked,” said Plesa, who trains Itsmyluckyday for the Trilogy Stable and his wife, Laurie. “I’ll be fine going to bed tonight with what he did. He won $200,000 today and $600,000 altogether.”
While the first two finishers are highly probable for the Kentucky Derby, trainer Bob Hess has not designs on the first leg of the Triple Crown for Merit Man.
“He ran a super race and got a Hall of Fame ride from Kent Desormeaux, but just got beat,” said Hess, who saddled Merit Man for a victory in the six-furlong $100,000 Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 1. “I have a lot of options, just not Kentucky Derby options.
McGaughey, on the other hand, has a rather impressive Kentucky Derby option in Orb. The Hall of Fame trainer has started only one horse, Saarland (10th in 2002) for a Derby start since he saddled favored Easy Goer for a second-place finish behind Sunday Silence in the 1989 Run for the Roses.
“When I ran this horse the first time in September I didn’t believe he would be a Derby horse, but we were hoping that somewhere along the line, one of the colts would go through the development stage and take us there, as we do every year,” McGaughey said.
BEST BEYERS OF 2013
Game On Dude SA 02 Mar 1 1/4M 116
Game On Dude SA 03 Feb 1 1/8M 116
Ron the Greek GP 19 Jan 1 1/8M 115
Dreaming of Julia (f) GP 30 Mar 1 1/8M 114
Graydar GP 09 Feb 1 1/8M 109
Joyful Victory (f) SA 16 Mar 1 1/8M 107
BEST BEYERS BY 3YOS IN 2013
Dreaming of Julia (f) GP 30 Mar 1 1/8M 114
Verrazano GP 02 Feb 1M 105
Itsmyluckyday GP 26 Jan 1 1/16M 104
Itsmyluckyday GP 01 Jan 1M 102
Super Ninety Nine OP 18 Feb 1 1/16M 102
Verrazano TAM 09 Mar 1 1/16M 101
Zee Bros SA 23 Mar 7F 101
Kauai Katie (f) GP 01 Jan 6F 100
Midnight Lucky (f) SA 16 Feb 6 1/2F 100
Shanghai Bobby GP 26 Jan 1 1/16M 100
Super Ninety Nine SA 31 Jan 1M 100
Kentucky Derby points
*It’s getting to crunch time for points – Canadian-bred DYNAMIC SKY, while some thought he would be right in range to get into the field, sits 24th on the list and needs to do something big. UNCAPTURED is in 13th and will may need a top 3 finish in the Blue Grass to get in as horses like GOLDENSCENTS and JAVA’S WAR wait in the wings..
1. Orb 150 Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps) Shug McGaughey III $840,000
2. Revolutionary 110 WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt) Todd Pletcher $720,000
3. Lines of Battle 100 Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith Aidan O’Brien $1,261,089
4. Will Take Charge 60 Willis D. Horton D. Wayne Lukas $512,971
5. Itsmyluckyday 50 Trilogy Stable (Marion Montanari & David Melin) & Laurie Plesa Eddie Plesa Jr. $593,600
6. Vyjack 50 Pick Six Racing (David Wilkenfeld) Rudy Rodriguez $405,000
7. Govenor Charlie 50 Mike Pegram Bob Baffert $400,000
8. Black Onyx+ 50 Sterling Racing (Sam Herzberg) Kelly Breen $317,130
9. Verrazano 50 Let’s Go Stable (Kevin Scatuorchio & Bryan Sullivan),
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith
Todd Pletcher $210,000
10. Hear the Ghost 50 Halo Farms (Ted Aroney) or Jerry Hollendorfer Jerry Hollendorfer $195,400
11. Mylute 42 GoldMark Farm, LLC (T. Paul Bulmahn) & Whisper Hill Farm (Amanda Pope) Tom Amoss $363,365
12. Oxbow 36 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) D. Wayne Lukas $316,000
13. Uncaptured 30 John C. Oxley Mark Casse $394,674
REVOLUTION IN MY HEAD –
93 Beyer for War Pass colt:
WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary, unhurried early, launched a bold bid outside the early leaders when set down for the drive and tallied by a neck over Mylute in the 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday.
The win earned Revolutionary 100 points and a position in the Kentucky Derby starting gate at Churchill Downs five weeks from now on May 4.
“It was a really beautiful trip,” said winning rider Javier Castellano of the Louisiana Derby score. “That’s the kind of horse we would like to take to the Kentucky Derby. He can do everything. He passed the test today and last time (in Aqueduct’s Grade II Withers Feb. 2) and way before. He is a lovely horse to ride and a come-from-behind horse – very much a true horse. He did everything the right way today. I really like him. I am looking forward big time.”
As the choice of the fans, Revolutionary returned mutuels of $6.80, $4.20 and $3, accomplished the nine furlongs in 1:50.28 and increased his earnings to $788,500 with his third straight win in six career starts.
“I think he’s got all the experience he needs and it’s nice he got the points so we are on to Kentucky,” said WinStar’s racing manager Elliott Walden. “I saw him in the paddock. He doesn’t turn a hair. He goes around there like a puppy dog. When you get to Louisville, those kinds of things matter.”