When the gates start loading for the 54th running of The Rebel stakes (gr.2) there will be an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Although we all know the weather can quickly change; the current forecast for Hot Springs Arkansas is slated for a very wet and humid weekend! Alas, weather can surely influence the outcome of a race and a sloppy- muddy track could definitely result in surprising results. With a much smaller field than originally anticipated, 8 sophomores will be taking a plunge in stretching out to 2-turns (some for the first time). With the end in mind; trainers/owners hope their young colts will thrive the added distance when stretching out to 2-turns. A victory will guarantee the winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby since only the top twenty 3-year olds will make it to the gate on the first Saturday in May.
This past weekend was the start to the Championship Series and a pivotal point on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Contenders are starting to emerge and slowly revealing themselves, as each prep win is now worth a whopping 50 points. Most 3-year olds at this time are stretching out from 1 to 2 turns for the first time, as well as facing much larger fields.
Post position and traffic problems can affect an inexperienced horse, but each race is a stepping-stone to learning, growing and gaining the experience that is needed to make it to the first Saturday in May .
The Risen Star Stakes and the Fountain of Youth started off the series with both winners exemplifying a “fighting spirit” to the very end! Re-watching both races will leave you on the edge of your seat with spine-chilling finishes that will leave you wanting more. It’s just the start to new beginnings as we experience these young colts develop into pure competitors, and amazing athletes.
Things are starting to brew as we all jump aboard the Derby Trail!
The end of January marks the start of the South Florida Prep Series leading up to the Florida Derby and it all starts today with the Holy Bull Stakes. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed, and we are all starting to form our own opinions on who’s got what it takes to earn a prestigious spot in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
A wide open filed of eleven colts will be lined up to go 1- 1/16 miles. For most, this will be the first time stretching out 2-turns, but for a few– they have ran and actually won at today’s distance.
I am counting down the days to this year’s Breeder’s Cup races . Santa Anita Race track is our favorite track in California and yes, we prefer it over Del Mar, but it’s just our personal preference because Del Mar is also a beautiful track. The track is nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and the scenery looks like something you’d see on a post card. I kid you not, it’s beautiful and a visit to Santa Anita should be on your bucket list; if it isn’t already, and if you haven’t heard about this yet… Next year’s Breeder’s Cup races will once again be held in Arcadia, California! 3-straight years in a row, how exciting!
My very first visit to a race track was at Santa Anita for the 2009 Breeder’s Cup Races and for a newbie just learning about the sport; I was in awe. How lucky was I to have my first racing experience to be at the Breeder’s Cup World Championships! Everywhere around me was filled with excitement. The racing fans, the horses, the jockey’s the energy was buzzing around me, and it took me awhile to catch my breath!
Since this is the 30th year for the Breeder’s cup races; I’m sure we can all recall a favorite Breeders Cup moment/or moments, and I wanted to share with you one of mine. For the avid race fan, you will probably recognize this memorable call by Trevor Denman and could tell me the exact race I’m talking about:
“This is Un—Be—Liev—Able! Zenyatta! What a performance one will never forget” ….
Yes, one of my favorite horse’s of all time… The Great, Zenyatta. There were many in the industry who doubted her ability to triumph against the best male horses in the world, but this would be her time to shine.
The public loved her, and everywhere you looked there were people holding these awesome signs: Girl Power! Go Zenyatta. I love to collect horse racing memorabilia, so my sentimental bet was a $2.00 win ticket on the #4 in Race 9 of the Breeders Cup Classic race.
I still get super excited when I watch this A—Mazing race! Just imagine yourself in the middle of this excitement as people around you are cheering, then crying tears of joy as Zenyatta became a part of racing history. She scored her 14th straight victory, and become the first female horse to beat the males in the richest race in all of North America.
What a memorable moment for everyone in the crowd to have been there to watch Zenyatta’s spectacular race!
Video Courtesy of YouTube, by: HappyDane95
Great weather, and firm turf is in the forecast for tomorrow at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. – Grade 1 has a competitive field of 9 talented fillies going a distance of one-eighth mile on turf. This is an important prep race to the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf which will be held at Santa Anita Race Track on Saturday, November 2nd.
This race was first inaugurated on October 11, 1984 in honor of English Royalty Queen Elizabeth II who was in attendance for this first race. The time record for this race at the current one-eighth mile distance was set my Memories of Silver in 1996. Her daughter Winter Memories ran this race back in 2011. She was went off as the favorite at 7-5, but unfortunately came in 4th with filly Together winning this race.
Please meet the field for the Running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. – Grade 1:
Post 1 – Sarach Trainer – R. Mandella Jockey – M. Garcia ML – 10-1
Post 2 – Say (IRE) Trainer – A. O’Brien Jockey – J. Graham ML – 10-1
Post 3 – Caroline Thomas Trainer – B. Tagg Jockey – R. Napravnik ML–12-1
Post 4 – Alterite (FR) Trainer – C. Brown Jockey – J. Velazquez ML – 9-5
Post 5 – Emotional Kitten Trainer – W. Ward Jockey – G. Gomez ML – 6-1
Post 6 – Concise Trainer – G. Motion Jockey – E. Prado ML – 12-1
Post 7 – Kitten’s Dumplings Trainer – M. Maker Jockey – J. Leparoux ML– 3-1
Post 8 – Leigh Court Trainer – J. Carroll Jockey – G. Boulanger ML – 10-1
Post 9 – I’m Already Sexy Trainer – W. Catalano Jockey – F. Geroux ML – 8-1
Here are several things to keep in mind for this race. Brisnet.com forms are a great resource for obtaining useful information:
- There are 5 fillies within this race whom are already graded stakes winners, so this race really looks wide open; with very attractive odds on some great fillies
- Owner/Trainer Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey + “Kitten Horses” + Keeneland + Turf is hard to ignore. They have both Emotional Kitten and Kitten’s Dumplings in this race
- Don’t ignore Julien Leparoux + Keenland + Turf
- If you are about speed, there is only 1 filly in this race that has posted numbers above 100, and she’s done it twice. I’m Really Sexy posted a Brisnet speed score of 101; also at one-eighth mile going wire to wire in the G-3 Pucker Up on September 14th, which is the best turf speed amongst the competition. She also posted a sharp workout on October the 6th as well as a bullet workout going on September 26th . She has improved in numbers from her last race in rating as well as in class. She’ll be one of the speed fillies in this race so she’ll have company along side Sarach from Post 1, and “speedster” Leigh Court in Post 8. Leigh Court is another filly who also won her last race going wire to wire. She is moving up in class from her last start (this will be harder competition), but has had a very sharp bullet workout on October the 4th . Her speed ratings meet the speed par of this race; which is 95. She could be another filly that once she runs, you’ll have to catch her
- Closers Kitten’s Dumplings and Caroline Thomas will need an honest pace to get a piece of “victory pie”. Pace will definitely make the race
- Say – Blinker on. She also ran 6 days ago in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Belmont Park, finishing 6th on “yielding” turf. Weather was extremely bad; she did make a move on the backstretch going 3 wide before letting up so this may indicate current form. She has run back on a week’s rest in the past, and has done well each time so this should not be a problem. Her Brisnet Speed score of 88 could be pardoned since last week’s weather was rainy and the turf was yielding. What is interesting, is her connections did the same scenario with “Together”, who won this race 2 years ago after making her American debut against elder females in the First Lady. She came in 2nd, and a week later ran in the QE II and won the race paying $11.20 to win. Will ‘Say’ be able to follow with the same success? She’s a multiple graded stakes winner back in Europe, and “added” blinkers could improve her run. Her mother, Riskaverse won this race in 2002
- Morning line favorite Alterite a European shipper won her first race in the US in the Garden City – Grade 1 on September 16th at Belmont Park. She’s also a graded stakes winner in Europe and leaves us wondering if her form will stay consistent in the US. Still tough to say since she could need a couple more starts to figure her out. High jockey + 33% trainer + 2nd time lasix + 94 Brisnet Speed rating. This morning line favorite is one filly difficult to ignore
- Caroline Thomas reunites with one of the best female jockeys of all time, Rosie Napravnik, a plus for this filly. Caroline Thomas’s mother, Bit of Whimsy won this race back in 2007
- Emotional Kitten has improved numbers in race rating, and class rating from her last race. She is the only filly who has won at Keeneland, while breaking her maiden over the main course. 24% Trainer: Shipper + Hot Jockey + One of the best turf speeds + finished 3rd in last race. She has not won a graded stakes yet, but she has ran second to Del Mar Oaks winner Discreet Marq and American Oaks winner Emollient. She could be in striking position if the leaders falter and like I previously said, a “Kitten” horse on turf, at Keeneland… watch out!
It’s a great field of talented fillies good luck to everyone!