Early Derby Preview, Part 1

Pioneerof The Nile

Pioneerof The Nile

 

April 15th 2009- As the derby inches closer and closer, its time to start looking at who I believe has the best chances of bringing home the roses this year.

I will discuss 3 different horses everyday. I will start off with my personal favorite at this point ;Pioneerof The Nile, this 3-year old colt out of Empire Maker,trained by Bob Baffert; has been nothing short of impressive. With 4 consecutive wins on the west coast; the most recent he brought home the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. The only question laying upon Pioneer is whether or not he can adapt to the dirt surface at Churchill Downs. Every other start he has had has been on the synthetic track. I personally dont think this will effect Pioneer at all, and we shall see when he works out soon at Churchill.

Next I will look at I Want Revenge the 3 year old son of Stephen Got Even. Revenge has also been very impressive his last two times out. Winning the Gotham Stakes and Wood Memorial both at Aqueduct. So Revenge dosen’t bring up the question about how he will take to the dirt, already running and winning on it. He has worked at Churchill Downs, he worked an easy half-mile in 50 seconds on a sloppy track, with Joe Talamo aboard. Trainer Jeff Mullins said “They had to let I Want Revenge run, he was about to tear the barn down.” I like that sign, he is ready to get out and get it done.

Last we will look at Friesan Fire, this 3 year old colt out of A.P. Indy and is trained by J. Larry Jones. Fire is the recent winner of the Louisana Derby over a sloppy track. He also has ran great on the dirt, and has also worked out at Churchill breezing 5 furlongs in 1:00 2/5. Jones had this to say about the workout,””He went very well; this was just a prep for Sunday when he will have a long work of a mile,” Jones said.” Jockey Gabe Saez also commented on the colts workout,”Saez was also pleased. “I thought he worked well. He handles this track well and he is getting better and better all the time.” Fire is coming off 3 straight wins and is looking mighty sharp leading up to May 2.

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General Quarters Claims Bluegrass

General Quarters Claims Tampa Bay Derby

General Quarters Claims Tampa Bay Derby

April 15th 2009- The last sixteenth-mile of  last saturday’s $750,000, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes came down not only to a two-horse race between 14-1 General Quarters and favored Hold Me Back but to a poignant matchup between racing’s elite and the ultimate little guy. Score this one for David, or rather Tom, as one-time claimer General Quarters — the one-horse stable of 75-year-old owner/trainer Tom McCarthy of Louisville — held on for a 11/2-length victory over Hold Me Back, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, ridden by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux and owned by internationally known WinStar Farm. I think this horse is just as good as any of them,” said McCarthy, who has had a horse or two at a time for almost a half-century but now will have one in the Kentucky Derby. “I think he’s got the pedigree to go on. … I’ve been looking at other people training good horses. And this time, thank God, I’ve got a good horse.”Mott surely was the happiest loser in the field of 11: Back in the early 1980s when he was starting his own stable, he trained for McCarthy, who for decades was a biology teacher and principal in Jefferson County.

“If I couldn’t win it, I’m glad he did,” Mott said. “It’s wonderful.”

McCarthy told all who would listen — and surely more will now — that General Quarters tipped his hand with a huge 581/5-second workout for five furlongs a week earlier at Churchill Downs. He noted that after winning Tampa Bay Downs’ Grade III Sam F. Davis, General Quarters got in a world of trouble when fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby. He switched to Eibar Coa to get a jockey more experienced in big races.

Yesterday Coa settled General Quarters into midpack, coming wide around the first turn. Reacting to the leisurely pace set by Join in the Dance, Coa cruised toward the leaders up the backstretch. On the far turn, General Quarters collared Join in the Dance, drew away from the pack and gave the hard-charging Hold Me Back no opportunity to catch him.

“He’s all right when he’s wide, as long as you don’t stop him,” McCarthy said. ” … When he gets moving, he’s like a big train.”

Said Coa: “You’re always concerned about somebody coming, but he never stopped running. … He’s definitely going to be one of the horses to beat in the Derby.”

Coa would not commit to riding General Quarters in the May 2 Kentucky Derby because he also won the Illinois Derby on Musket Man.

General Quarters, whom McCarthy claimed 11 months ago for $20,000, covered 11/8 miles in 1:49.26 over Polytrack. That reflects a final eighth-mile in 11.94 seconds and final three furlongs in a lively 35.85.

The strapping gray colt — a son of Sky Mesa out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Ecology — improved to 3-2-3 in 11 starts, and the $465,000 purse grew his earnings to $641,735.

Hold Me Back, Turfway’s Lane’s End winner in his first 3-year-old start, ran very well.

“The last time (a favorite) finished second here, he won the Derby,” said Desormeaux, referring to 2007 Derby winner Street Sense.

Said Mott: “Maybe this wasn’t his best race, and maybe it doesn’t need to be. … He ran a good, hard, honest race, and they’ll have a little more pace down the road.”

The Blue Grass could produce up to four starters for the Derby. General Quarters and Hold Me Back are definitely in.

Fourth-place Terrain has enough graded-stakes earnings to run in the Kentucky Derby. Al Stall Jr., Terrain’s trainer, noted that in the Louisiana Derby, Terrain finished only a head behind runner-up Papa Clem, who yesterday won the Arkansas Derby.

British invader Mafaaz, who gets an automatic entry into the Derby because he won the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park, broke in the air, got up to fourth and finished eighth.

Trainer John Gosden was noncommittal about running Mafaaz in the Derby.

“He didn’t finish at all, but there was no pace in there,” he said. “He ran a little flat, but that is to be expected after the long journey. … We’ll see how he is (today) and then regroup and see where we’re at.”(By Jennie Rees,Louisville Courier-Journal)

 

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Reds Pick Up First Win Of 2009

Votto Continues To Deliver

Votto Continues To Deliver

    April 10th 2009, The Cincinnati Reds picked up their first win against the New York Mets thursday night. Bronson Arroyo put together a quality start on the mound. Producing back-to-back three-hit games, Joey Votto drilled a three-run shot and collected the go-ahead RBI single as Cincinnati won its first game. Paul Janish hit a two-run single and Bronson Arroyo got the victory, allowing five runs in six innings. Francisco Cordero also picked up his first save of the season. I’m content that Votto is beginning to become one of the biggest hitting threats in the National League. Let’s just say im extremly glad that he is on my fantasy team!

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Reds Drop Second In A Row

Reds Starter Edinson Volquez

Reds Starter Edinson Volquez

April 9, 2009- Bases loaded, bottom of the 9th,down two runs…. Decent odds right? Well not when one of the most dominant pitchers in the big’s is toeing the rubber. Francisco Rodriquez shut down the Reds in the 9th inning Wednesday night. I even had a second of joy, when the last pitch of the game was driven deep to right-center by Reds back up out fielder Lanyce Nix; but it didnt have enough juice to get out of the park. The Reds dropped their second game in a row to the Mets to start of this 2009 season. On Monday it was a pitching duel between Aaron Harang and Johan Santana. The Mets topped them 2-1, all of the Mets offense coming from rookie Daniel Murphy who powered a ball out of left field of Harang in the 5th inning. The Reds then got an RBI single from 2nd Baseman Brandon Phillips in the 6th. All was quite after this. Wednesday went from pitchers duel to slug-fest. Their was a couple bright spots for the Reds throughout this game 1st Baseman Joey Votto, contiuned his solid hitting that he has carried over from playing for Team Canada in this years World Baseball Classic. Votto blasted a 3-run homerun of Mets starter Mike Pelfrey in the bottom of the 1st. The Mets got a very solid performance from their 1st baseman also Carlos Delgado lifted his first long ball of the year of Reds starter Edinson Volquez in the first. Delgado went on to tack up another hit and 2 more RBI’s. Volquez struggled early on with location and it showed, as he was chased of the mound in just the 4th inning. The Reds looked down and out going into the bottom of the 7th down 9-4. But squeezed across two runs in the 7th, and one more in the 8th. Bottom of the 9th showed promise with K-Rod walking two, to start off the inning; but quickly regained his composure fanning Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a full count. Then got Nix to fly out to left.
Joey Votto Lifted His 1st Home Run Wednesday

Joey Votto Lifted His 1st Home Run Wednesday

It’s a good thing Cincinnati isn’t another New York, fans are calling for heads after the Yanks dropped their first two games to the Orioles. They dished out more money than I can think of to bring in top players C.C. Sabbathia and Mark Teixeira. Both struggled in their first games with the pinstripes on. Believe me New York, you got the talent give them at least 3 games. I know people dream to play a game in the “Big Apple”, but I can even begin to function how tough it must be to make a mistake and believe me you are going to hear it from fans and the media. But in Reds country we give chance after chance, and I dont know if its just me but I really would like to see the Reds put together a winning season for once. I honestly believe for the first time in years, that they have the talent to do it; pitching staff and the lineup. I love the new young look that Walt Jocketty and his crew have brought in. I was personally getting tired of the old and slow lineup that we had to deal with in the past couple of years. After a great Spring Training, I really thought the Reds would come out and show what they where made of these first few games,but not to knock the Mets down they are a serious contender in the NL East. I think give em’ a month and we can predict how the Reds season will pan out. I’m going to pray we can pull off a ummm “Tampa Bay Miracle in Cincinnati”?

                            

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Hold Me Back Early Favorite In Bluegrass

Hold Me Back With Kent Desormeaux Up.
Hold Me Back With Kent Desormeaux Up.

                                      

        April 8, 2009- Hold Me Back the winner of the Grade 2 Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park, is listed as the early morning favorite today at 3-1. The Bill Mott trainee is looking to take the Bluegrass Stakes as a serious prep for next month Kentucky Derby. Hold Me Back drew the 10th post coming out of the gate. The 11 horse field also headlines Theregoesjojo,Terrain, and Charitable Man. Hold Me Back is the 3 year old son of racing legend Giant’s Causeway he was breed and is owned by Winstar Farm LLC. He is a graduate of the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sales, he was bought for 400,000 dollars. Bill Mott gave two-tumbs up when asked about how the colt was doing, he most recently worked at 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 on April, 5th. Kent Desormeaux who rode Hold Me Back to the Lane’s End victory will have the mount on saturday.

Not to early to make predicitons for this race but I personally favor the improving Hold Me Back in this race, after his brilliant win in the Lane’s End I think he is too much to handle. But I will also give a look at Terrain the 3 year old son of Sky Mesa, his most recent outing was a 3rd place finish in the Louisana Derby on a sloppy track. He showed promise coming around the turn but was brutally cut off from making his move down the stretch. I definilty intrigued at the fact that Julien R. Leparoux will get the mount of Terrain. Leparoux has been an outstanding stakes rider in the past couple of year, espically when the stakes race is at Keeneland. He has already claimed the Grade 3 Transylvania stakes on April 3rd aboard Stormalory. The other horse to pay attention to in this race is Theregoesjojo, the 3 year old son out of Brahms. Theregoesjojo placed in the Florida Derby on March 28th behind early Derby favorites Quality Road and Dunkirk. Jojo is trained by Kenny McPeek and will be ridden by Calvin Borel this saturday. “”He’s doing great since the (Florida Derby),” McPeek said. “I had babied him between races and he had a little bit of trouble. That race was a good test against two very good horses. Our horse is doing well and I think he’s going to love Polytrack. We should learn a lot. He was anxious early in the Florida Derby, so we hope he’ll relax better this time. I don’t think distance will be a problem. I think the key will be just getting away from Quality Road.” The confidence that McPeek is showing in this promosing colt is enough for me to give him a serious look when I place my bets this saturday.

   

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Bluegrass Stakes Set For Saturday At Keeneland

Keeneland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2009- The running of the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes is set to take place this saturday at Keeneland. A field of 10 will compete for the $750,000 race at 1 1/8 miles over the Polytrack surface. The post were drawn today, here is a look at the card. Clicking on the name of the horse will lead you to their bio on the Bloodhorse.

                     Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), $750,000, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds:
1—Patena, Robby Albarado, 10-1
2—Join in the Dance, John Velazquez, 10-1
3—Theregoesjojo, Calvin Borel, 7-2
4—Cliffy’s Future, Jesus Castanon, 20-1
5—Mafaaz, Richard Hills, 12-1
6—Terrain, Julien Leparoux, 6-1
7—Loch Dubh, Jamie Theriot, 50-1
8—General Quarters, Eibar Coa, 15-1
9—Charitable Man, Alan Garcia, 4-1
10—Hold Me Back, Kent Desormeaux, 3-1
11—Massone, Garrett Gomez, 12-1

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Top Recruit To Join Kentucky Front

DeMarcus Cousins   April 8, 2009– Early this morning, ESPN reported that one of the nations top recruits DeMarcus Cousins was to follow John Calapari to the Bluegrass. Cousins is the number 4-rated prospect in the country according to the ESPNU100 top players. He is rated as high as the 2nd top prospect, by such sites as rivals.com. Cousins who had previousley verbally committed to Memphis, withdrew his commitment when Coach Cal decided to pack his bags and head for Kentucky. I think it would be safe to say that Cats fans are not complaning about this one. Cousins is a 6-10 post player out of LeFlore High in Mobile,Alabama. He helped LeFlore to a state 5A championship game his senior year, averaging 29 points and 12 rebounds a game. Things are starting to look very bright in the future for the Cats, Cousins being added to a front line of already committed prospect Daniel Orton and 2nd Team All-SEC forward, Patrick Patterson.

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