Tag Archives: Kentucky Derby 2009 Trail

THE PAMPLEMOUSSE

WINS the SAN RAFAEL at Santa Anita! 

The Pamplemousse wins the San Rafael wire-to-wire/image from bloodhorse.com

The Pamplemousse wins the San Rafael wire-to-wire/image from bloodhorse.com

Gotta love a horse named after a restaurant named after the French word for grapefruit.  Heh, I just bought a bunch of red grapefruit snack cups; it musta been an omen!

Seriously, though, TheBigFruit got away with the race from the beginning, setting easy fractions on the lead.  He showed his class by putting the squeeze on Square Eddie in the final turn.  Ryehill Dreamer made a move, too, but just couldn’t catch the top two.  The Big Fruit juiced Square Eddie by 3.

Square E needed the race, but he seems to be afflicted with 2nditis.  The Big Fruit is now 2-for-2  in his career, but much bigger challenges await him on the Derby trail. 

In terms of the Derby picture, it’s early, but the way this race played out, it probably won’t make any difference except to fill up posts 15-20.  The Pro-ride surface is a question mark, and there is no way The Big Fruit gets an easy lead like that again. 

IN OTHER RACES: 

CHOCOLATE CANDY won the California Derby today at Golden Gate Fields.  I like this one and hope he continues to progress.  He could be a Derby sleeper but he hasn’t tried dirt yet.

 SILVER CITY won the Dixieland Stakes at Oaklawn on Opening Day.

The next big 3yo preps are the Holy Bull and Hutcheson Stakes on Jan 30-31.

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Filed under Derby Prepes, Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita

Get In Line Early for the Corned Beef Sandwiches–OAKLAWN OPENS TOMORROW!!

It’s that time again, for weekend trips up to the Arkansas hill country for a dip in the Hot Springs bathhouses and afternoons at OAKLAWN PARK!

The traditional first Friday is Founders’ Day, and since the track is celebrating 105 years, the concessions will have prices from that past century: the famed corned beef sandwiches are only fifty cents and cokes are a dime!  And seriously, you get you money’s worth with the pile of beef they stack on the thick wheat bread slices.  I like mine with mustard, but a dab of mayo is fine, too.  Or even plain!   The lines for the sandwiches snake all around the grandstand, and the wait can be 30 minutes at least, but it is worth it for the great tips you get while chatting with the other players.  I hit a nice exacta the very first year I attended opening Friday after hearing about a John Servis colt making his debut that day.

The racing at Oaklawn is always competitive.  For the first card, all but one of the races is filled to 12 starters, and the one exception is the Dixieland Stakes with a solid field of 8 3yos.

I like Malibu Maverick and Dance Caller in the Dixieland.  

In the 1st race, I like Doctor EtbauerIndian Blossom in the 7th…and for the Elvis connection, Flaming Star in the 9th

Oaklawn promises to be a major stop on the Derby trail yet again.  With the proliferation of synthetic surfaces, many trainers are sending strings to Arkansas because of its traditional dirt surface, which the track management seems to keep in good condition.  Last year there were only 2-3 breakdowns for the entire 54 day meet.  Among those on the grounds is OLD FASHIONED, my top Derby pick.  He is probably going in the Southwest Stakes in Feb., but I am hoping he makes a start in the Rebel on March 14.  I plan on being there that day, for the next Infield Trip!

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Filed under Derby Prepes, Handicapping, Oaklawn Park

Elvis Presley Day Special PICKS

Happy Birthday, Elvis

Happy Birthday, Elvis

Tomorrow would have been Elvis Presley’s 74th birthday.  What does this have to do with thoroughbreds, you ask?  Not much, really, except that I wouldn’t have the financial resources to play my favorite game or attend my favorite races without him.  Plus, Elvis liked horses.

In honor of EAP’s birthday celebration (free cake & coffee if you’re in Memphis that day) here are the PICKS!!

There are 2 really great 3yo allowance races at Gulfstream tomorrow, featuring some promising maiden winners who could show up later on the Derby trail.

GULFSTREAM #6: $42,000 Allowance 3yos, 1 1/8 miles, dirt

PP:

1. FREE COUNTRY
2. BOUNISSIMO
3. SINCERO
4. ATOMIC RAIN
5. DA GULLAH
6. STATELY CHARACTER
7. PRESSURE POINT
8. STORMALORY

I like ATOMIC RAIN in this race.  His last out was a second to Old Fashioned in the Remsen, a big deal 2yo race in which Atomic Rain gave a good run in his 2nd place finish.  Next, I see STATELY CHARACTER finishing well, having won a minor stakes already in his career.  For the show spot, STORMALORY looks good to complete my ticket.  PRESSURE POINT will gain some experience in his 2nd start, as will FREE COUNTRY.  Either one will be in my EX/TRI boxes, too.  It is amazing to see Repent and Big Country listed as the sires of these colts, because it seems like just a year ago, I was handicapping *them* in these same Derby trail races!!  Gaahh I’m getting old!

 4|6|7/8/1

GULFSTREAM #8, $42,000 Allowance 1 1/8 miles, 3yos, dirt

1. IDOL MAKER
2. DANGER TO SOCIETY
3. D.C.’S LEGACY
4. AWESOME MITCH
5. AP CARDINAL
6. BRUCE N AUTUMN
7. THEREGOESJOJO
8. THEY’RE LATE
9. ABE IS HONEST

Another great group of sophomores!  IDOL MAKER and AP CARDINAL are tough to beat in here, coming into the race off good workouts and losing efforts against Old Fashioned.  IDOL MAKER was 4th in the Remsen, AP Cardinal was 4th to him in an allowance race.  AWESOME MITCH is also coming out of the Remsen, a dull 7th but he has been working well for this race.  BRUCE N AUTUMN is an interesting son of Lemon Drop Kid, in my picks, too.

5|1|4/6

Tomorrow’s races will do a lot to confirm the quality of the Remsen.  If none of the horses coming out of that race run like I think they will, then Old Fashioned may have to drop in my Derby list.  But we’ll see.

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

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Filed under Derby Prepes, Gulfstream Park, Handicapping, Kentucky Derby