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MINUTES TO POST…CONGRATULATIONS TEAM JUSTIFY!

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It’s Post Time!

Join our COFFEEBREAKWITHFRIENDS

Table of Discussion with

2 time Kentucky Derby, Preakness,

and Belmont Stakes Winner 

Jerry Bailey, and me, his wife Suzee,

who will bring you up-to-date thoroughbred horseracing news

on all the big races and events throughout

THE THOROUGHBRED HORSE RACING  Season!

And don’t forget to share your favorite picks or questions

in the comment area below…

or visit Jerry or Suzee on Twitter or Facebook!

http://@jerrydbailey

or email us at:

coffeebreakwithfriendswebsite@gmail.com

Check out our WINNING TICKET Styln Special Edition

Click Here

BELMONT STAKES 2018

After much thought Jerry’s Superfecta:

1.Justify

2.Hofburg

3.Tenfold

4.VinoRosso

Suzee’s 4 Horse Exacta Box:

1.Hofburg

2.Tenfold

3. Justify

4.VinoRosso

1. Justify

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 4-5

Drape: We will find out here if he is a horse for the ages, and I wish him and everyone associated with him good luck. I’ll be rooting for, but betting against.

Hoppert: He towers over his peers, both literally and figuratively, and this is his race to lose. But a sixth race since mid-February, especially with the past two coming on sloppy tracks, is a tall task. But I hope he proves me wrong.

2. Free Drop Billy

Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Robby Albarado Odds: 30-1

Drape: He lost all chance breaking from the No. 2 post at the Kentucky Derby — so draw a line through that race. That leaves a colt with a grinding style and the stamina to last a mile and a half at a huge price.

Hoppert: His 16th-place Derby finish doesn’t scream bet me, especially because his somewhat-clean trip doesn’t really give him any excuses.

3. Bravazo

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas Jockey: Luis Saez Odds: 8-1

Drape: He earned his role as a potential spoiler by giving Justify all he could handle in the closing strides of the Preakness.

Hoppert: This gritty colt with an old-school trainer has put together back-to-back surprising finishes in the Derby (sixth) and the Preakness (second). Don’t leave him out of your exotics.

4. Hofburg

Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 9-2

Drape: This colt deservedly is going to take a lot of money. He is lightly raced, bred for the distance and in expert hands.

Hoppert: A Hall of Fame trainer, a star New York jockey, and a sire, Tapit, who has produced three of the past four Belmont winners. If there’s an upset, this is likely the one who is pulling it off.

5. Restoring Hope

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Florent Geroux Odds: 30-1

Drape: It’s odd that Baffert would put in a rabbit for a colt like Justify, who is his own rabbit. He has led virtually every step of the way in all his victories.

Hoppert: Justify’s stablemate is in this race to help set the pace. He won’t be around at the finish.

6. Gronkowski

Trainer: Chad Brown Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 12-1

Drape: This one is strictly for New England Patriots fans who will bet him down, then spend hours on talk radio saying Gronk gets no respect.

Hoppert: The overseas invader has never raced on dirt and hasn’t faced competition this talented. Plus, he’ll take money because of his name. Pass.

7. Tenfold

Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 12-1

Drape: He finished big in Baltimore and offers a pedigree that is long on stamina. Still, he’s lightly raced and you have to wonder how much the Preakness took out of him.

Hoppert: The sire of this third-place Preakness finisher is Curlin, who had stamina and speed, and his dam is Temptress, by Tapit. It’s certainly tempting to think he will hit the board.

8. Vino Rosso

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 8-1

Drape: Like Free Drop Billy, this colt was compromised at the start of the Derby. Still, he fought on and has been working lights-out at Belmont ever since. The pick.

Hoppert: The ninth-place Derby finisher is also by Curlin (see above), and his dam is a half sister to a Belmont runner-up. The combination of Pletcher (three Belmont wins) and Velazquez (two) puts him above Tenfold in my book.

9. Noble Indy

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 30-1

Drape: This colt should keep Justify and Restoring Hope company into the stretch. He has been fierce in the lane before. He is not the worst long shot on the board.

Hoppert: The speedy 17th-place Derby finisher will also go to the lead, and under the right circumstances, he can maybe hang around for a piece at the end.

10. Blended Citizen

Trainer: Doug O’Neill Jockey: Kyle Frey Odds: 15-1

Drape: This guy has yet to live up to the buzz he has generated on the West Coast. Don’t think there will be a breakthrough today.

Hoppert: He won the Peter Pan on this track, but he’s in over his head at this distance and versus this bunch.

06/06/2018 02:41 PM

Justify arrives for Belmont Stakes,

walks the shedrow

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Bob Baffert leads Justify through the shed row at Belmont Park on Wednesday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Justify, who will make a Triple Crown bid in Saturday’s 150th Belmont Stakes, arrived at Belmont Park on Wednesday at approximately 2:15 p.m. Eastern after a flight from Kentucky, where he had been based since his victory in the Preakness Stakes.

Justify was led off the horse van by assistant trainer Jim Barnes, who then passed the lead shank to trainer Bob Baffert, who took Justify around the shedrow several times before relinquishing him to groom Lalo Luna.

Justify, who won the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago, is scheduled to train at Belmont Park on Thursday and Friday before his Triple Crown bid on Saturday.

Baffert’s other Belmont Stakes starter, Restoring Hope, accompanied Justify on the flight from Louisville and the van ride from Islip Airport.

 

 

Belmont Stakes 2015

The Belmont History

Here is the hallowed ground where Man o’ War left the crowd in awe, breaking the American record while being eased under the wire—and where Secretariat pounded the dirt to thundering acclaim and scored a 31-length victory in world record time, while announcer Chic Anderson famously cackled, “He is moving like a tremendous machine!”

When the equine stars align, Triple Crown winners like Secretariat, Citation, Affirmed, and American Pharoah have baked themselves into superstardom. But even Belmont’s near-misses of Smarty Jones, Real Quiet, Silver Charm and California Chrome were the devastatingly thrilling events of their seasons.


The Belmont Stakes

The first Belmont in the United States was not the famous stakes race or even the man for whom it is named. Rather, the first Belmont was a racehorse that arrived in California in 1853 from his breeding grounds of Franklin, Ohio. The Belmont Stakes, however, is named after August Belmont, a financier who made quite a name and fortune for himself in New York politics and society. Obviously, Mr. Belmont was also quite involved in horse racing, and his imprint is even intertwined within the history of the Kentucky Derby.

 

One thing the Belmont does have over the Derby is that it is the oldest of the three Triple Crown events. The Belmont predates the Preakness by six years, the Kentucky Derby by eight. The first running of the Belmont Stakes was in 1867 at Jerome Park, on, believe it or not, a Thursday. At a mile and five furlongs, the conditions included an entry fee of $200, half forfeit with $1,500 added. Furthermore, not only is the Belmont the oldest Triple Crown race, but it is the fourth oldest race overall in North America. The Phoenix Stakes, now run in the fall at Keeneland as the Phoenix Breeders’ Cup, was first run in 1831. The Queen’s Plate in Canada made its debut in 1860, while the Travers in Saratoga opened in 1864. However, since there were gaps in sequence for the Travers, the Belmont is third only to the Phoenix and Queen’s Plate in total runnings.

The Belmont Stakes was run at Jerome Park from 1867 to 1889; at Morris Park from 1890 to 1904; at Aqueduct from 1963 to 1967. Not run in 1911 and 1912. Run at a mile and five furlongs from 1867 to 1873; a mile and a quarter in 1890, 1891, 1892, 1895, 1904 and 1905; a mile and a furlong in 1893 and 1894; a mile and three furlongs from 1896 to 1903 and from 1906 to 1925. No time is taken in 1907 and 1908. Run as a Handicap Stakes in 1895 and in 1913. The value for the 1987, 1988 and 1992 winners includes the $1,000,000 Triple Crown point system bonus.

Secretariat’s 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes established the world record for a mile and a half on dirt at 2:24 and will forever be engraved into our memories. With his win in the Belmont, he became the ninth horse to capture the Triple Crown. Seattle Slew took the title in 1977 with Jean Cruguet.

Five years later Affirmed trained by Laz Barrera, swept the Triple Crown races. His duel with Alydar in the Belmont Stakes earned him the titled of the 11th Triple Crown Winner. This was the start of the 37-year Triple Crown drought. The American racing world would wait anxiously each year for the start of the Triple Crown series in hopes that a savior of the dry spell would emerge.

Since 1978 many horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, I’ll Have Another in 2012 and California Chrome in 2014) and were denied racing immortality in the Belmont Stakes.

Then in 2015, along came American Pharoah. Owned by Zayat Stables, LLC ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Bob Baffert who had been previously denied not once, but twice of Triple Crown glory with Silver Charm and Real Quiet. Victor Espinoza experienced heartache as well in the Belmont Stakes in 2014 when California Chrome failed to take the third jewel of the crown.

In front of a capped crowd of 90,000, the field of eight headlined by American Pharoah, loaded into the gate. Everyone from the fans to staff to the Zayat family held their breath as the gates flew open. American Pharoah broke and went right to the lead at the first turn. Coming into the home stretch the crowd increasingly grew louder and louder cheering on the soon to be 12th Triple Crown Champion. Victor Espinoza opened him up as he made his “run for glory.” He glided across the finish line at a 5 ½ length victory and with a time of 2:26.65. It was the fastest Belmont stakes since Point Given in 2001 and the second fastest to the Triple Crown winner, Secretariat. The crowd erupted in euphoria, the 37-year wait was finally over. Tears, laughing, and cheering amongst a most grateful Belmont crowd will be remembered for years to come.

Blocked behind a wall of horses with a quarter-mile to run, WinStar Farm and Bobby Flay’s Creator weaved his way through traffic and used the length of the stretch to reel in Destin and win the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets by a nose. The margin of victory matched the smallest in Belmont history reached three times prior, most recently in 1998 when Victory Gallop spoiled Real Quiet’s bid at the Triple Crown. Victory Gallop was trained by Elliott Walden, now president, CEO and racing manager of WinStar Farm.

More About the Triple Crown

___________________________________________________________________

Watchmaker: Beyers tell a slowing story for Justify

Barbara Livingston
Justify, with trainer Bob Baffert, got a Preakness Beyer Speed Figure of 97,
the slowest Preakness Beyer Figure since 1991.

We already know Justify is a very special horse. He sealed that deal when he became the first in 136 years to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2, and only strengthened his case when he won the Preakness to now stand on the verge of becoming only the 13th to ever sweep the Triple Crown.

And we already know Justify is a fast horse. No 3-year-old so far this year has bettered the 107 Beyer Figure he earned winning the Santa Anita Derby. In fact, Justify currently owns three of the five highest 3-year-old Beyers this year at any distance.

The above is stated for context for what I’m going to note next.

As tremendous as Justify is, his Preakness was slow. It was historically slow. It was, to be precise, the slowest Preakness in terms of Beyer Figures since Preakness Beyers were first made available to the public in 1991.

Here is a table of Preakness winners since 1991 and their winning Beyers:

HORSE (YEAR) WINNING PREAKNESS BEYER FIGURE
Justify (2018) 97
Cloud Computing (2017) 102
Exaggerator (2016) 101
American Pharoah (2015) 102
California Chrome (2014) 105
Oxbow (2013) 106
I’ll Have Another (2012) 109
Shackleford (2011) 104
Lookin At Lucky (2010) 102
Rachel Alexandra (2009) 108
Big Brown (2008) 100
Curlin (2007) 111
Bernardini (2006) 113
Afleet Alex (2005) 112
Smarty Jones (2004) 118
Funny Cide (2003) 114
War Emblem (2002) 109
Point Given (2001) 111
Red Bullet (2000) 109
Charismatic (1999) 107
Real Quiet (1998) 111
Silver Charm (1997) 118
Louis Quatorze (1996) 112
Timber Country (1995) 106
Tabasco Cat (1994) 112
Prairie Bayou (1993) 98
Pine Bluff (1992) 104
Hansel (1991) 117

The 97 Beyer that Justify received for his Preakness performance fell just shy of Prairie Bayou’s previous low of 98 in 1993. It was also five points shy of the 102 American Pharoah got in his Triple Crown year of 2015, but I always considered that number a best guess under the circumstances. A wild storm before that race changed the track completely, and made generating a truly reliable number almost impossible.

Notably, Justify’s Preakness Beyer fell a staggering 21 points short of the best-ever published Preakness Beyers of 118 earned by Silver Charm in 1997, and Smarty Jones in 2004. Given the value of one length at the Preakness distance of 1 3/16 miles, that 21-point gap equals a difference of approximately 16 lengths. That’s a lot of lengths.

If you are wondering how Justify’s Derby and Preakness efforts stack up against the 10 others in the published Beyer Figure era who, like Justify, went into the Belmont Stakes with a shot to sweep the Triple Crown, I have you covered. I was wondering the same thing, and here is a table reflecting that data:

HORSE (YEAR) WINNING DERBY BEYER WINNING PREAKNESS BEYER BELMONT BEYER (FINISH)
Justify (2018) 103 97 ??
American Pharoah (2015) 105 102 105 (1st by 5 1/2)
California Chrome (2014) 97 105 98 (4th, dead-heat, by 1 3/4)
I’ll Have Another (2012) 101 109 Did not start
Big Brown (2008) 109 100 Eased
Smarty Jones (2004) 107 118 100 (2nd by 1)
Funny Cide (2003) 109 114 104 (3rd by 5)
War Emblem (2002) 114 109 82 (8th by 19 1/2)
Charismatic (1999) 108 107 107 (3rd by 1 1/2, broke down)
Real Quiet (1998) 107 111 110 (2nd by a nose)
Silver Charm (1997) 115 118 109 (2nd by 3/4)

We are obviously dealing with a small sample size, but I found two things interesting. First, the only one of these 10 Kentucky Derby/Preakness winners since 1997 who improved Beyer-wise from the Preakness to the Belmont was the only one who completed the Triple Crown sweep – American Pharoah. However, as I noted above, you have to be careful with American Pharoah’s Preakness Beyer, and it’s best not to stake your life on his three-point improvement off the Preakness in the Belmont.

Of course, I’ll Have Another didn’t start in the 2012 Belmont, so we don’t know if he would have earned a lower Beyer in the Belmont like every other horse on this list except for Charismatic. Charismatic matched the 107 Beyer he got in the 1999 Preakness in the Belmont, but it’s easy to think that with a fair shake, he might have done better. Don’t forget, Charismatic suffered a career-ending injury finishing third in his Belmont and was pulled up just past the wire.

One other thing I found intriguing on the second table is how the two horses who tailed off the most significantly Beyer-wise from the Derby through the Preakness (I’m leaving out American Pharoah for reasons already noted twice), as Justify did going from a 103 at Churchill to that 97, are the two who performed the worst in the Belmont.

War Emblem in 2002 fell off five Beyer points from the Derby to the Preakness, and finished a distant eighth in the Belmont after stumbling at the start, getting an 82 Beyer. Big Brown fell off nine points from the Derby to the Preakness, and he was distanced, and eased in the Belmont.

Now, if you still want to feel all warm and fuzzy about Justify’s prospects in the Belmont and for a sweep of the Triple Crown, go right ahead. There is plenty of reason to. Maybe Justify just needed to get a sub-par race out of his system, and it says a lot that he was able to win a race like the Preakness while delivering the weakest performance of his still-brief career, at least from a Beyer standpoint. And while history suggests Justify won’t run appreciably faster in the Belmont – take another look at that second table – no one in his class has yet run faster than he. Even if Justify doesn’t run especially fast in the Belmont, chances are no one else in the field is capable of running faster.

But you can literally see in the tables above why a lot of folks will be betting against him on Belmont Day.

** One thing is for certain, Justify’s path to a Triple Crown was made easier when it was announced Friday that Audible, winner of the Holy Bull and Florida Derby, a rallying third in the Kentucky Derby, and the one many considered to be Justify’s biggest threat in the Belmont, will not start.

Justify and Audible share common ownership and I don’t blame the owners for making the decision they did. I’d make the same decision if I were in their shoes, and I think every other sane person would, too. Sure, it’s not ideal that Justify won’t be facing the best competition available in the Belmont, but if he wins, the memory of that will quickly fade. And let’s not forget that Justify was clearly superior to Audible when they met for the first time in the Derby.

But I wish Audible’s connections would have said he was passing only because of common ownership instead of also saying Audible would be “freshened” for a summer campaign. I’d be worried about Audible if he really needed to be freshened up.

Here’s why: Audible was coming off a more-than-eight-week rest when he won the Holy Bull. He then had eight weeks between the Holy Bull and the Florida Derby, five weeks between that and the Kentucky Derby, and he would have had another five weeks into the Belmont.

Not exactly a demanding schedule.

05/24/2018 09:55 AM

Justify enjoys uneventful gallop for Belmont Stakes

Coady Photography
With Humberto Gomez aboard, Justify gallops 1 1/2 miles Thursday at Churchill,
in his first day of training since winning the Preakness.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Without any of the drama or whispers that accompanied his first day of training following the Kentucky Derby, Justify returned to training Thursday morning at Churchill Downs for the first time since his epic Preakness triumph amid building excitement toward the final leg of the Triple Crown, the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

Justify, who remained undefeated in five career starts when capturing the Preakness last Saturday at Pimlico by a half-length over Bravazo, showed no signs of wear from his demanding campaign on Thursday, with an easy gallop of nearly 1 1/2 miles on a perfect spring morning. Regular exercise rider Humberto Gomez was aboard the chestnut colt for a routine that took less than 10 minutes.

Afterward, assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes expressed his gratitude for and satisfaction with the colt, who will be gunning for a Triple Crown sweep in the 150th Belmont Stakes. The colt’s demeanor and constitution “makes it very easy for us,” said Barnes, who as usual is deputizing here in the temporary absence of his boss, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

“This horse carries his weight very well and has just made it very easy for me,” Barnes said.

After the May 5 Kentucky Derby, Justify appeared lame in his left hind foot. Baffert and Barnes treated Justify for a minor foot bruise, which momentarily raised concerns about whether the colt could continue along the Triple Crown trail. No such issues have emerged in the Preakness aftermath.

In his Thursday return to training, Justify jogged clockwise to the wire from the 5 1/2-furlong backstretch gap, then turned around for his gallop. Barnes, astride the stable pony, met him and Gomez at about the five-furlong pole following the colt’s second time around the one-mile Churchill oval, and they quickly walked back together to Barn 33.

“I saw just what I needed to see,” said Barnes. Justify “backed up, had a good bounce in his step, very happy. Just took it easy with him out there, went about a mile and three-eighths. Bob just said to give him a nice, easy first day back, which we did. He seemed to really enjoy it.”

Baffert, who ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought three years ago as the trainer of American Pharoah, is scheduled to return from his California home to Louisville this weekend to oversee training for at least a couple of mornings. Baffert has said Justify might breeze twice here before being flown to New York on June 6, including this Sunday or Monday.

Justify is one of five possible starters for the Belmont based at Churchill, where officials have reserved an exclusive training period of about 10 minutes (7:30-7:40 a.m.) each morning for those horses. Fans can watch the training session from the clubhouse on the frontside, a local tradition that dates to the 1997 Triple Crown campaign of Silver Charm, trained by Baffert.

The other Belmont hopefuls stabled here are Bravazo, Tenfold, Restoring Hope, and Free Drop Billy.

The charter that will transport Justify to Islip, N.Y., on June 6 is one of two charters being booked out of Louisville International Airport for that week by Tex Sutton, with the other scheduled for the previous day.

Bandua likely to give it a shot

Trainer Dermot Weld said Bandua is “more likely than not” to run in the Belmont Stakes after he watched the horse go through the equivalent of a seven-furlong workout in Ireland on Thursday morning.   Unlike in America where workouts are timed, Weld said there was no official clocking of Bandua’s move, which was done over a wood-chip course in his Rosewell House yard in Ireland.   “I was delighted with him this morning,” Weld said by phone. “I thought he went very nicely.”   Bandua is a Kentucky-bred son of The Factor owned by Calumet Farm. He has won both of his races, both at 1 1/4 miles on turf. “He’s a big horse, nearly 17 hands,” Weld said. “I see no reason why he wouldn’t go a mile and a half. He’s a very relaxed individual.”   Weld said he wants to confirm transportation arrangements and a jockey assignment before fully committing to run. Weld won the 1990 Belmont with Go and Go. Weld also ran in the race in 1991 with Smooth Performance (8th) and in 1995 with Off’n’Away (6th). – additional reporting by David Grening

 


 

CONGRATULATION TEAM JUSTIFY!

Post time: Saturday, 6:20 p.m. Eastern time, NBC

No. 1 Quip (12-1 morning-line odds)
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Florent Geroux

Quip won the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and finished second in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, giving him enough points to get in the Kentucky Derby; however, his connections preferred to point him to the Preakness. Only four “new shooters” over the past 28 years have won the Preakness, but don’t forget about him in your exotics.

No. 2 Lone Sailor (15-1)
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Lone Sailor was second in the Grade II Louisiana Derby and eighth in the Kentucky Derby. His running style, preferring to sit way back off the pace, might be a negative here against early speedsters and stalkers.

No. 3 Sporting Chance (30-1)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Contreras

The Hopeful winner as a 2-year-old hasn’t taken the next step as a 3-year-old after winning two of three starts as a juvenile.

No. 4 Diamond King (30-1)
Trainer: John Servis
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Diamond King won the Federico Tesio Stakes for his fourth win in six career starts. He has missed the board only once: last fall in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.

No. 5 Good Magic (3-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner had a solid showing in the Kentucky Derby, finishing second, and this son of Curlin appears well suited for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

No. 6 Tenfold (20-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Tenfold ran fifth in the Arkansas Derby in just his third career start. But you have to respect Asmussen, a Hall of Famer who has two Preakness wins: Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009).

No. 7 Justify (1-2)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith

The unbeaten colt broke the “Curse of Apollo” in the Kentucky Derby, in a rainstorm, and on a sloppy track. Baffert is 4 for 4 in the Preakness with his Derby winners. Preakness favorites are 72 for 142 in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Tough to beat here.

No. 8 Bravazo (20-1)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Saez

His connections won the 2013 Preakness with Oxbow and, like him, Bravazo’s best races have come when he has stalked the early pace.

Jerry’s Top 3

1. JUSTIFY

2.GOOD MAGIC

3.BRAVAZO

 

Suzee’s Top 3

1.GOOD MAGIC 

2.JUSTIFY

3.SPORTING CHANCE

 

CONGRATULATIONS TEAM JUSTIFY!

Memory Lane! 

              

Kentucky Oaks 2018 Overview

Monomoy Girl comes into the Oaks with only one defeat in 6 career starts. She started her career as a one-run turf horse but transitioned into a front-running dirt horse even though two back she won the Rachel Alexandra from last.. which demonstrates she has extreme versatility. I do believe she may be a bit better with a target and certainly doesn’t need the whip. She also has a win over the CD main strip. Her post fourteen is not ideal but I believe that jockey Florent Geroux can use some of her speed to clear most of the field and drop in behind the three pacesetters as they run into the first turn.

Midnight Bisou lost her only two starts last year but is a perfect three for three this year including the SA Oaks in her latest race. She can sit mid-pack if the pace is moderate but she has a tremendous late kick and can close a ton of ground late if the pace gets fast and hot.

Rayya-the Dubai shipper now in the care of Bob Baffert has two wins in her five starts. She won the UAE Oaks and next out was a distant second in the  UAE Derby to Mendelssohn. She has a ton of early speed and has been in front in every race except the Derby when she sat in the pocket behind front-running Mendelssohn and even though she was beaten 18 lengths, it was a good effort and showed she can sit behind horses. She was second twice( Guineaus trial and 1000 Guineaus) to her stablemate Winter Lightning but was forced to run fast early and was caught late. In the Okas, she made an easier lead and had plenty when she turned for home. If allowed an easy lead she will be tough to beat but I suspect that Monomoy Girl will right on her tail.

My Miss Lilly..couldn’t close enough ground sprinting at GP in the Forward Gal, so she went back to Aqueduct to run in the one-turn mile Busher Stakes. She hit the gate at the start then had a ton of traffic in the stretch but still managed a good third and was arguably the best that day. One she stretched out in the Gazelle she won although it was close and only carried 114 lbs.  She will definitely like the extra 1/16 of a mile in the Oaks.

 

Chocolate Martini.. claimed in Feb for $30,000 and won her next two starts including the FG Oaks in her most recent race form well back. There is a ton of speed in this year’s race so she would have a punchers chance.

Coach Rocks.  Broke her maiden at GP in mid-Feb leading gate to wire on easy fractions then came back in the GP Oaks to win impressively from well back of the pace even with a bit of trouble on the far turn. Big jump up and she will need to have another big improvement to win the KY Oaks.

Sassy Sienna..has won two of her four starts this year and most recently the winner of the Fantasy over Wonder Gadot and the speedy run off Amy’s Challenge. SS wasn’t overly impressive in the win but her jockey Gary Stevens was able to position her much closer to a fast pace with still enough left to get the win. Hasn’t shown she good enough to win the KY Oaks.

Wonder Gadot, is usually close but rarely a winner. She win the Demoisel last fall at Aqueduct but has since finished less than a length behind the likes of Sassy Sienna, Chocolate Matini, Eskimo Kisses and third by 3 to Monomoy Girl in the Rachel Alexandra at the FG. Her stalking style gives her options in KY.

Eskimo Kisses is interesting. She has an allowance race three back in the slop that is good enough to compete with these fillies but in general, she’s not good enough.. unless it rains

Take Charge Paulafour wins in stakes when sprinting but finished second both times going long in the Davona Dale and GP Oaks. She’s talented but the added distance of the KY Oaks is not her friend.

 

Cosmic Burst  has a win over the track last fall and won the Honey Bee stakes at Oaklawn this spring but she hasn’t run nearly fast enough to beat many of these in here.

Classy Act  trained by Bret Calhoun has been a real speedster since adding blinkers four races back. She did win her first two with them but as the races lengthened her speed with blinkers was less effective.

Patrona Margarita is also trained by Bret Calhoun and won the Pocahontas here last fall so she likes the track but was beaten  13 lengths by Monomoy Girl in the Ashland.

Note.. Bret Calhoun lost Chocolate Martini for 30 K

 

 

Jerry’s Top 4!

1.Monomoy Girl

2.Midnight Bisou

3.Eskimo Kisses

4.My Miss Lilly

 

Suzee’s Top 3

1.Monomoy Girl –A friend of ours horse…:)

2. Classy Act – Perfect for Ladies Day..:)

3.Take Charge Paula…Need I say more..LOL

4.Midnight Bisou-The Favorite…a Beauty!

Monomoy Girl drew Post 14 and opens as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the 2018 Kentucky Oaks.

Midnight Bisou is the second choice at 5-2 in the No. 10 spot.

Trainer Brad Cox will have the field bookended with Monomoy Girl, with Florent Geroux aboard, on the outside and Sassy Sienna, at 15-1 with Gary Stevens aboard, on the rail in the No. 1 position.

“This is a good enough group where I think the best horse will probably be able to win from anywhere,” said Twinspires.com’s Ed Derosa during the Kentucky Oaks draw show. “For me, I’m not looking for this draw as something that’s going to move up a horse or move down a horse on my radar.”

The 144th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be held at 6:12 p.m. Friday at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8, Grade 1 stakes race has a $1 million purse.

Derby Picks coming later today!


Kentucky Derby 2018

         Kentucky Derby 2018

                             Kentucky Derby 2018 Final Picks…

 

It’s a very competitive Derby field this year and I think there is very little separation between the top five.

The likely favorite heading into Churchill Downs for the most exciting two minutes in sports will be the lightly raced but brilliant colt named Justify. Trained by four-time Derby winner Bob Baffert(who also won the triple crown with American Pharoah in 2015), Justify has three wins in as many starts and most recently winner of the Santa Anita Derby over Bolt D’Oro, would become the first horse since  Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without having race as a two year old. With post position number seven, and drawn outside the likely pacesetter Promises fulfilled, jockey Mike Smith should have Justify in a stalking position going into the first turn and should get the perfect trip from there.

Mendelssohn is the favorite in Europe but likely the second choice here in America based upon his brilliant 18 ½ length victory in the United Arab Emirates Derby held in Dubai back on March 31 in track record time. He like Justify will race close to the lead early and post fourteen is far enough outside to allow jockey Ryan Moore to track the front-runner with little dirt getting kicked back in his face. As long a nothing goes wrong at the break this sort of early trip should give him a chance to win if he’s good enough. The fine line that jockey Moore has to ride is that of using his colt enough to get a good position but still saving enough for the finish.

Bolt D’Oro was the odds-on favorite in last year’s Breeders Cup juvenile but finished third after a very wide trip and should have finished closer with a better trip. He has finished second in his two starts this year to really good horses. First to McKinzie in the San Felipe (even though he was awarded the victory due to interference in the stretch), and then the brilliant Justify in the recent Santa Anita Derby. His sire Medaglia D’Oro is one of the hottest in the country and that heritage will certainly help him be better at the added distance in Kentucky. With new jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, he should be six or seven lengths behind the leaders and make his move at the far turn. He has looked exceptional training this week at Churchill Downs and is a serious threat to Justify this time around.

 

Vino Russo may attract a lot of attention as well based upon his recent win in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct race track in New York as well as his trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez who teamed up to win last year’s Derby with Always Dreaming. Vino Russo typically comes from mid-pack and the distance of the derby will be to his liking. This colt by Curlin was very highly thought of in Jan but was a bit disappointing in his Florida campaign. His win in the Wood Memorial while running widest of all on both turns, reinforced his connection’s earlier opinions of his talent level.

Audible is another from the Todd Pletcher barn and his win in the Florida Derby surely makes him a threat. He has great tactical speed and can adjust to whatever the pace scenario is which is a huge advantage is a twenty horse field. Watching him run through the middle of the race never leads you to believe he will win because the rider is almost always pushing for a little more run, however, when he hits the stretch he seems to find his best gear. His jockey Javier Castellano has been voted the top American jockey for four of the last five years but is winless in his eleven Derby rides. My biggest concern with this youngster is his ability to get better with the added furlong of the Kentucky Derby.

Good Magic is last year’s two-year-old champion based on his win in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and is fresh off a win in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland race track based in Lexington Ky. Good Magic, like Audible, has good tactical speed and be placed wherever his jockey Jose Ortiz desires. Ortiz and trainer Chad Brown both won individual titles in 2017 as tops trainer and jockey respectively so the connections are outstanding.

Magnum Moon like Justify is also undefeated after his win in the Arkansas Derby. Since the early pace was slow, he went straight to the lead and won by four lengths however he drifted out badly in the final furlong which is some cause for concern. Since he has never been worse than 4thearly in his races, he will certainly be able to get a decent position early in the Derby.

Hofburg is another with very limited experience(only three races) but unlike Justify, he did race as a two-year-old. His second-place finish to Audible in the Florida Derby was a huge improvement in form and another giant leap forward would give him a chance at a placing.

Jerry’s  Picks!

1. Justify

2.Bolt D’Oro

3.Audible

4.Mendelssohn

Suzee’s Picks!

1.Bolt D’Oro

2.Justify

3.Mendelssohn

4.Hofburg

Remember…these picks are always subject to change…so check back often!

It’s a very competitive Derby field this year and I think there is a very little separation between the top five.

The likely favorite heading into Churchill Downs for the most exciting two minutes in sports will be the lightly raced, but brilliant colt named Justify. Trained by four-time Derby winner Bob Baffert(who also won the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015), Justify has three wins in as many starts, with the most recent being his big win of the Santa Anita Derby over Bolt D’Oro.   Justify would become the first horse since  Apollo, in 1882, to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a two-year-old.

 

Mendelssohn is the favorite in Europe but likely the second choice here in America based upon his brilliant 18 ½ length victory in the United Arab Emirates Derby held in Dubai back on March 31 in track record time. He like Justify will race close to the lead early and post position draw will be crucial. Both of these two colts are several lengths faster than the next group which includes Vino Rosso, Audible, Magnum Moon and Bolt D’Oro.

 

Vino Russo may attract a lot of attention as well based upon his recent win in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct race track in New York as well as his trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez who teamed up to win last year’s Derby with Always Dreaming. Vino Russo typically comes from mid-pack and the distance of the derby will be to his liking. This colt by Curlin was very highly thought of in January but was a bit disappointing in his Florida campaign. His win in the Wood Memorial while running widest of all on both turns, reinforced his connection’s earlier opinions of his talent level.

 

Audible is another from the Todd Pletcher barn and his win in the Florida Derby surely makes him a threat. He has great tactical speed and can adjust to whatever the pace scenario is which is a huge advantage is a twenty horse field. Watching him run through the middle of the race never leads you to believe he will win because the rider is almost always pushing for a little more run, however, when he hits the stretch he seems to find his best gear. His jockey Javier Castellano has been voted the top American jockey for four of the last five years but is winless in his eleven Derby rides. My biggest concern with this youngster is his ability to get better with the added furlong of the Kentucky Derby.

Good Magic is last year’s two-year-old champion based on his win in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and is fresh off a win in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland race track based in Lexington Ky. Good Magic, like Audible, has good tactical speed and be placed wherever his jockey Jose Ortiz desires. Ortiz and trainer Chad Brown both won individual titles in 2017 as tops trainer and jockey respectively so the connections are outstanding.

Magnum Moon like Justify is also undefeated after his win in the Arkansas Derby. Since the early pace was slow, he went straight to the lead and won by four lengths however he drifted out badly in the final furlong which is some cause for concern. Since he has never been worse than 4thearly in his races, he will certainly be able to get a decent position early in the Derby.

 

Bolt D’Oro was the odds-on favorite in last year’s Breeders Cup juvenile but finished third after a very wide trip and should have finished closer with a better trip. He has finished second in his two starts this year to really good horses. First to McKinzie in the San Felipe (even though he was awarded the victory due to interference in the stretch), and then the brilliant Justify in the recent Santa Anita Derby. His sire Medaglia D’Oro is one of the hottest in the country and that heritage will certainly help him be better at the added distance in Kentucky.

Hofburg is another with very limited experience(only three races) but unlike Justify, he did race as a two-year-old. His second-place finish to Audible in the Florida Derby was a huge improvement in form and another giant leap forward would give him a chance at a placing.

Stayed tuned for more update,

Jerry


 

 

Kentucky Derby Prep Season

Analysis

Date
Race
Distance
Track
Winner
Beyer
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Charts & Analysis
9/16/17 Iroquois 1 1/16M
Churchill Downs
The Tabulator 76 10 4 2 1  Analysis
9/30/17 FrontRunner 1 1/16M
Santa Anita
Bolt d’Oro 103 10 4 2 1   Analysis
10/7/17 Champagne 1M
Belmont
Firenze Fire 90 10 4 2 1  Analysis
10/7/17 Breeders’ Futurity 1 1/16M
Keeneland
Free Drop Billy 79 10 4 2 1  Analysis
11/4/17 BC Juvenile 1 1/16M 
Del Mar
Good Magic 100 20 8 4 2  Analysis
11/25/17 Kentucky Jockey Club 1 1/16M
Churchill Downs
Enticed 81 10 4 2 1  Analysis
12/2/17 Remsen 1 1/8M
Aqueduct
Catholic Boy 91 10 4 2 1  Analysis
12/9/17 Los Alamitos Futurity 1 1/16M
Los Alamitos
McKinzie 91 10 4 2 1  Analysis
12/17/17 Springboard Mile  1 mile
Remington Park
Greyvitos 88 10 4 2 1  Analysis
1/6/18 Sham 1M
Santa Anita
McKinzie 97 10 4 2 1  Analysis
1/13/18 Lecomte 1M 70 yds
Fair Grounds
Instilled Regard 92 10 4 2 1  Analysis
1/13/18 Jerome 1 mile
Aqueduct
Firenze Fire 85 10 4 2 1  Analysis
1/15/18 Smarty Jones 1M
Oaklawn Park
Mourinho 99 10 4 2 1  Analysis
2/3/18 Withers 1 1/8M
Aqueduct
Avery Island 87 10 4 2 1  Analysis
2/3/18 Holy Bull 1 1/16M
Gulfstream
Audible 99 10 4 2 1 Analysis
2/3/18 Robert B. Lewis 1 1/16M
Santa Anita
Lombo 86 10 4 2 1  Analysis
2/10/18 Sam F. Davis 1 1/16M
Tampa Bay Downs
Flameaway 92 10 4 2 1 Analysis
2/17/18 Risen Star 1 1/16M
Fair Grounds
Bravazo 93 50 20 10 5  Analysis
2/17/18 El Camino Real Derby 1 1/8M
Golden Gate
Paved 86 10 4 2 1  Analysis
2/19/18 Southwest 1 1/16M
Oaklawn Park
My Boy Jack 93 10 4 2 1  Analysis

Kentucky Derby Championship Series

Date
Race
Distance
Track
Winner
Beyer
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Charts & Analysis
3/3/18 Fountain of Youth 1 1/16M
Gulfstream
Promises Fulfilled 96 50 20 10 5  Analysis
3/10/18 Gotham 1M
Aqueduct
Enticed 95 50 20 10 5  Analysis
3/10/18 Tampa Bay Derby 1 1/16M
Tampa Bay Downs
Quip 94 50 20 10 5  Analysis
3/10/18 San Felipe 1 1/16M
Santa Anita
Bolt d’Oro 101 50 20 10 5  Analysis
3/17/18 Rebel 1 1/16M
Oaklawn Park
Magnum Moon 97 50 20 10 5  Analysis
3/17/18 Jeff Ruby Steaks 1 1/8M
Turfway Park 
Blended Citizen  83 20 8 4 2  Analysis
3/24/18 Louisiana Derby 1 1/8M      Fair Grounds Noble Indy 95
04/15/2018 01:10 PM

Derby field set, with 39 points needed for a final berth

Susie Raisher
Firenze Fire slipped into the Kentucky Derby field after Runaway Ghost bowed out with an injury.

With Saturday’s final two Road to the Kentucky Derby races, plus the defection of Sunland Derby winner Runaway Ghost owing to injury, the potential Derby field is now set, with the current bottom level for making the 20-horse field a record 39 points.

The Kentucky Derby is May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Much can and likely will change over the next two-plus weeks, but at the moment Firenze Fire is 20th on the list with 39 points. Combatant, ranked 21st with 32 points, is on the bubble.

If there are no defections from the current points list, the 39 points needed to make the field would be the most required in the six years since Churchill Downs switched to a points system.

The Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes on Saturday both proved critical to determining the Derby field, with at least two horses securing berths.

Solomini moved into the Derby field with the 20 points he picked up for a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby behind one-two finishers Magnum Moon and Quip, who already were safely in the Derby field owing to prior victories in the Rebel and Tampa Bay Derby, respectively. Solomini has 54 points.

At Keeneland, the 20 points earned by My Boy Jack for his victory in the Lexington Stakes vaulted him into the top 20, with 52 points.

Magnum Moon got a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, while My Boy Jack got a 90.

Magnum Moon is one of four colts trainer Todd Pletcher has in the Derby field, along with Audible, Noble Indy, and Vino Rosso. Those four, collectively, won the Arkansas Derby, Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, and Wood Memorial, making Pletcher the first trainer to win four of the six biggest final Derby preps – along with the Santa Anita Derby and Blue Grass Stakes – in the same year with four different horses.

There are 19 horses in the top 20 who qualified through the traditional, 35-race Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule, which began last Sept. 16 with the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill and concluded with the Arkansas Derby. The 20th spot is reserved for Gronkowski, who secured his berth via the inaugural, seven-race, European Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule, which carved out a spot for the horse who topped that stand-alone points list.

A maximum of 20 horses can run in the Kentucky Derby. At entry time on May 1, however, up to four also-eligibles also can be entered, their order based on points. They can make the field, in that order, if is there is a defection from the 20-horse field by scratch time at 9 a.m. Eastern on May 4, the day before the Derby. After that, the field is set.

Immediately following the Arkansas Derby and Lexington, it appeared Firenze Fire would be the bubble horse, but he moved back into the top 20 owing to Runaway Ghost – who had 50 points – emerging from a workout on Saturday at Sunland Park with an apparent hairline fracture to his right front cannon bone.

“We can see a small line there,” said his trainer, Todd Fincher. “Right after the workout he was fine. During the cool-out period he started being off. We took X-rays and he had a little profile on the shin – a faint sign.”

Fincher said Runaway Ghost will undergo more diagnostics.  Runaway Ghost is expected to return to racing following a recovery period. Runaway Ghost was scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Tuesday.

“He’ll heal up 100 percent,” Fincher said. “We hate to miss this because everybody is so excited for the owners to live the dream, run in the Kentucky Derby. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Runaway Ghost races for his breeder, Joe Peacock.

“He earned his way in, things didn’t work out,” Fincher said. “We know he’s good enough to compete.”

Steve Asmussen, who trains Combatant, was in no hurry on Sunday morning to make a decision on the Derby regarding Combatant, who is one defection away from making the field.

Combatant, who finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby, was scheduled to join Asmussen’s string at Churchill Downs regardless of his finish on Saturday, as Asmussen is based at Churchill Downs after the close of Oaklawn and Fair Grounds, where he has strings during the winter.

“It’s easy for me because I’m at Churchill,” Asmussen said. “No decision yet. Right now we’re just petting him.”

Asmussen recalled that last year, “Lookin At Lee was 22nd on Monday of Derby Week, and on Saturday he ran second,” a reminder of how much can change over the next two-plus weeks.

–additional reporting by Mary Rampellini