TDN Derby Prime 12 for Mar. 30

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We’re on the cusp of the one-month mark to the GI Kentucky Derby, and this Saturday marks a very powerful weekend of nine-furlong preps on the Triple Crown calendar, with important stakes at Santa Anita, Keeneland, and Aqueduct. Subsequent week, the Prime 12 expands to the Prime 20 because the race for qualifying factors intensifies and the precise area begins to take form.

1) GREATEST HONOUR (c, Tapit–Tiffany’s Honour, by Road Cry {Ire})
O/B-Courtlandt Farms (KY). T-Claude R. McGaughey III. Lifetime File: MGSW & GISP, 7-3-1-3, $422,440.
Final Begin: third GI Curlin Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 27
Accomplishments: 1st GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S., GP, Feb. 27, 1st GIII Holy Bull S., GP. Jan. 30
Subsequent Begin: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, Could 1
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 80

Best Honour has not been dethroned from his prime rating regardless of a so-so third because the 4-5 fave within the GI Florida Derby as a result of he is nonetheless the horse to beat over 10 furlongs with a extra sturdy tempo in entrance of him. Since he burst into the Prime 12, I have been cautioning that it may be tactically harmful to fall in love with a deep nearer as your Derby horse as a result of late runners are so typically on the mercy of visitors. That actual state of affairs labored in opposition to this Tapit-sired Courtlandt Farms homebred on Saturday, when jockey Jose Ortiz tried to observe the rail journey of eventual winner Identified Agenda (Curlin), however as a substitute had his momentum halted thrice when hemmed in on the backstretch and on the far flip. Best Honour bought pelted with kickback and briefly needed to pause on the heels of a number of rivals earlier than tipping out for a belated rally that lacked true spark. Ortiz correctly did not hammer on his horse when it was apparent Best Honour wasn’t in it to win it down the lane, and we should always anticipate to see the tightest model but of this long-striding stayer by the point coach Shug McGuaghey will get him to Louisville.

2) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit–Pleasant High quality, by Elusive High quality)
O/B-Godolphin (KY). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime File: Ch. 2yo Colt & MGISW, 4-4-0-0, $1,785,144.
Final Begin: 1st GIII Southwest S., OP, Feb. 27
Accomplishments:TDN Rising Star, 1st GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6, 1st GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, KEE, Oct. 3
Subsequent Begin: GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 40

The undefeated juvenile champ closed because the 4-1 favourite Sunday in Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. This Tapit-sired ‘TDN Rising Star’ and Godolphin homebred is a high-energy stalker who has demonstrated an adept degree of consolation each urgent the tempo and ranking from farther again. However he is but to come across a severe, multi-pronged, deep-stretch problem in any of his victories, and to this point he is been superior sufficient that jockey Luis Saez has been in a position to park him exterior and within the clear, giving up floor in order to not encounter visitors. That technique may not work in a crowded 20-horse race just like the Derby. However then once more, elite-level horses make their very own breaks, and in-race agility may be very a lot on the aspect of this athletic grey. As of this writing, no different Prime 12 horses are listed as probables for Saturday’s GII Blue Grass S., and Important High quality figures to go off as one of many heavier prep-race favorites we have seen this spring. He is already gained twice at Keeneland going lengthy (albeit over the short-stretch configuration that ends on the sixteenth pole). However we’re now occurring 30 years because the final winner of the Blue Grass–Strike the Gold in 1991–parlayed that win right into a blanket of roses on the primary Saturday in Could. In that interim, nonetheless, three horses–Road Sense in 2007, Thunder Gulch in 1995 and Sea Hero in 1993–misplaced the Blue Grass of their ultimate Derby tune-up then gained in Louisville.

3) CONCERT TOUR (c, Road Sense–Purse Strings, by Tapit)
O/B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc (KY); T-Bob Baffert. Lifetime File: MGSW, 3-3-0-0, $756,600.
Final Begin: 1st GII Insurgent S., OP, Mar. 13.
Accomplishments: ‘TDN Rising Star‘, 1st GII San Vicente S., SA, Feb. 6
Subsequent Begin: GI Arkansas Derby, OP, Apr. 10
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 50

The tempo state of affairs within the Arkansas Derby figures to be one of many extra intriguing tactical matchups of the Triple Crown prep season. The final time the 2 seemingly favorites met, within the GII Insurgent S., Live performance Tour outbroke Caddo River and Caddo River gave up the rail and the result in let him go, however then regarded uncomfortable and rank and by no means engaged when requested for run on the far flip. Will the 2 ‘TDN Rising Stars’ hook up from the outset in a dedicated duel within the Arkansas Derby? Or will jockey Joel Rosario flip the tables and choose out of a kamikaze confrontation? Live performance Tour regarded fairly assured bounding alongside at a measured clip on the lead within the Insurgent, however the model of his run did not stamp him as a needs-the-lead sort of horse. At 3-for-3 lifetime and with two of these wins in sprints, Live performance Tour will nonetheless be gentle on expertise over a distance of floor within the Arkansas Derby. However his Road Sense (out of a Tapit mare) breeding line needs to be stout sufficient to allay any considerations he’ll hit a wall at 9 furlongs. Favorites have crossed the end wire first within the Arkansas Derby for 5 straight runnings, together with break up divisions in 2020 (when there was a subsequent drug constructive DQ).

4) KNOWN AGENDA (c, Curlin–Byrama {GB}, by Byron {GB})
O/B-St Elias Steady (KY); T-Todd Pletcher. Gross sales Historical past: $135,000 RNA Ylg ’19 FTSAUG. Lifetime File: GISW, 6-3-1-1, $541,700.
Final Begin: 1st GI Curlin Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 27
Subsequent Begin: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, Could 1
Accomplishments: third GII Remsen S., AQU, Dec. 5
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 102

Identified Agenda has now bested No. 1-ranked Best Honour twice in head-to-head matchups and his Florida Derby win demonstrated marked development and an elevated degree of midpack stalking consolation whereas racing in blinkers for the second time. He now has a stamina-centric base of three victories over 9 furlongs, and coach Todd Pletcher mentioned Sunday that this $135,000 RNA at FTSAUG “got here again in nice form [with] good vitality.” Identified Agenda and Best Honour each opted for rail journeys within the Florida Derby, however this colt is a contact faster out of the gate and attained a extra distinguished placement, and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was in a position to deftly information Identified Agenda via tight passages that closed by the point Best Honour tried to observe him. A 3-wide transfer off the flip put Identified Agenda in cost via the lane; he wandered out below left-handed stickwork but responded ably when roused (though it needs to be famous that the one rival he needed to actually run down was a 12-1 shot who had been softened up within the tempo duel and was on his left lead via the stretch). “I have been happy with the best way he is been in a position to get a greater place within the race and enhance his place going alongside. We have at all times had a powerful feeling that added distance was going to be to his liking,” mentioned Pletcher.

5) HOT ROD CHARLIE (c, Oxbow–Indian Miss, by Indian Charlie)
O-Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing LLC & William Strauss; B-Edward A Cox (KY); T-Doug O’Neill. Gross sales historical past: $17,000 Ylg ’19 FTKFEB; $110,000 Ylg ’19 FTKOCT. Lifetime File: GSW & GISP, 7-2-1-2, $1,005,700.
Final Begin: 1st GII Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, FG, Mar. 20
Accomplishments: 2nd GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6; third GIII Robert B. Lewis S., SA, Jan. 30
Subsequent Begin: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, Could 1
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 110

Sooner or later in late April, jockey Joel Rosario–at the moment main the continent in each earnings and graded stakes wins–goes to have to decide on between two stay Derby mounts, Live performance Tour and Scorching Rod Charlie. If Rosario opts off of this two-time Fasig-Tipton gross sales grad ($17,000 FTKFEB; $110,000 FTKOCT), jockey Flavien Prat might wind up with the experience. “That is the time of yr the place the jockeys are jockeying, actually, for his or her greatest likelihood to win the Derby,” Invoice Strauss, a co-owner of Scorching Rod Charlie, instructed the San Diego Union-Tribune over the weekend. He added that his partnership has been conserving contact with Prat, the runaway chief in wins and earnings on the present Santa Anita meet, and he famous that Prat rode this Oxbow colt again in September when Scorching Rod Charlie was fifth, crushed 3 1/4 lengths, in a Del Mar grass MSW. “With these two, it is like, would you like [Babe] Ruth or [Joe] DiMaggio?” Strauss quipped. “You’d reasonably have the man that is confronted the identical pitcher, although. Expertise on the horse is invaluable.” So is proficiency within the Derby itself: Prat has ridden in three Derbies, inserting third in 2017 aboard 40-1 Battle of Halfway, and crossing the wire second however getting elevated to first through DQ on 65-1 Nation Home in 2019.

6) CADDO RIVER (c, Arduous Spun–Pangburn, by Congrats)
O/B-Shortleaf Steady (KY). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime File: SW, 5-2-2-0, $196,092.
Final Begin: fifth GII Insurgent S., OP, Mar. 13.
Accomplishments: TDN Rising Star, 1st Smarty Jones S., OP, Jan. 22
Subsequent Begin: GI Arkansas Derby, OP, Apr. 10
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 10

The Kentucky Derby is the last word aim for each Prime 12 contender, however do not overlook the truth that the Arkansas Derby at all times figured to be excessive on the want checklist of this colt’s connections. This Arduous Spun homebred races within the colours of Shortleaf Steady, the outfit run by Scorching Springs native John Ed Anthony. Previously racing as Loblolly Steady, Anthony has gained the Arkansas Derby a report thrice, with Temperence Hill in 1980, Demons Begone in 1987, and Pine Bluff in 1992 (the latter two had been half-brothers). This ‘TDN Rising Star’ who simply hit his third birthday Mar. 29 is a speed-centric risk, however after Caddo River handed the result in Live performance Tour within the Insurgent S., he refused to settle and spent most of his vitality preventing the rider down the backstretch earlier than struggling a self-inflicted meltdown turning for residence. That subpar efficiency has a “too unhealthy to be true” aura to it although, and it is positively not consistent with the poised {and professional} enchantment that Caddo River flashed earlier within the winter. This colt completely wants a qualifying factors inflow to make the touring workforce to Louisville. Proper now he is ranked thirtieth with 10.

7) MIDNIGHT BOURBON (c, Tiznow–Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon)
O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Steve Asmussen. Gross sales Historical past: $525,000 Ylg ’19 KEESEP. Lifetime File: GSW & GISP, 7-2-2-3, $461,420.
Final Begin: 2nd GII Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, FG, Mar. 20.
Subsequent Begin: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, Could 1
Accomplishments: 1st GIII Lecomte S., FG, Jan. 16, 2nd GIII Iroquois S., CD, Sept. 25, third GII Risen Star S., FG, Feb. 13, third GI Champagne S., BEL, Oct. 10
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 66

In case you like Derby contenders with ample seasoning, Midnight Bourbon ought to enchantment to your style. This $525,000 KEESEP colt by Tiznow out of a Malibu Moon mare has made seven begins, all at a mile or longer. 5 had been in graded stakes, and he is by no means completed worse than third whereas racking up Beyers of 93, 96 and 96 in begins at age three. However Midnight Bourbon has but to unleash that breakthrough effort he appears able to. He earned his maiden at Ellis Park in a race that yielded just one next-out winner from 9 starters, and his GIII Lecomte S. rating was achieved below a super tempo state of affairs when Midnight Bourbon unexpectedly discovered himself on the lead with no strain. This colt is a tough trier able to digging in when challenged, however Scorching Rod Charlie pasted him fairly solidly once they connected for the ultimate 2 1/2 furlongs of the Louisiana Derby. Midnight Bourbon looms as a second-tier risk at this level. But when chaos reigns within the Derby, we at the very least know that he is match sufficient to deal with a distance of floor and has skilled just a few stretch fights which will have toughened him up.

8) PREVALENCE (c, Medaglia d’OroEnrichment, by Ghostzapper)
O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brendan Walsh. Lifetime File: 2-2-0-0, $52,800.
Final Begin: 1st Allowance/Decide. Clm., GP, Mar. 11
Accomplishments: TDN Rising Star
Subsequent Begin: GII Wooden Memorial S., AQU, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 0

‘TDN Rising Star’ Prevalence wowed in his 89-Beyer maiden debut on the GI Pegasus World Cup undercard (different next-out starters collectively 1-for-8), then bought a helpful allowance tightener at 1-10 odds when coasting residence when below gentle encouragement in a Mar. 11 one-turn mile at Gulfstream. Now this Godolphin homebred will hit the highway in quest of Derby qualifying factors in Saturday’s GII Wooden Memorial S. at Aqueduct, the place he’ll be making each his two-turn and stakes debuts whereas foregoing Lasix for the primary time. “He is a really good, quiet, easy-going horse and I do not assume the journey will have an effect on him in any respect,” coach Brendan Walsh mentioned. “We’ll see how he handles the monitor. He hits me as a horse who can deal with any type of floor.”

9) MEDINA SPIRIT (c, Protonico–Mongolian Changa, by Briliant Pace)
O-Zedan Racing Stables. B-Gail Rice (FL). T-Bob Baffert. Gross sales Historical past: $1,000 ylg ’19 OBSWIN; $35,000 2yo ’20 OBSOPN. Lifetime File: GSW, 4-2-2-0, $165,200.
Final Begin: 2nd GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 6
Subsequent Begin: GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, SA, Apr. 3
Accomplishments: 1st Robert B. Lewis S., SA, Jan. 30, 2nd GIII Sham S., SA, Jan. 2
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 14

At 2-for-4 with a stakes win to his identify, Medina Spirit’s overachieving SoCal kind regarded fairly good in and of itself for a horse who twice offered at public public sale for comparatively brief cash ($1,000 OBSWIN and $35,000 OBSOPN). Then got here final week’s revelation from coach Bob Baffert that this Protonico colt was found to have a barely entrapped epiglottis and has just lately had surgical procedure to appropriate it. “Fairly spectacular he nonetheless ran that properly,” Baffert instructed DRF.com. “We scoped him after [the GII San Felipe Mar. 6]. Gave him just a few additional days for it to clear up.” Medina Spirit has since twice labored properly, firing one coaching bullet. His GIII Lewis S. wire job was notable for the best way he took warmth on the lead via swift splits, then by no means let one other horse by him in a three-way combat that had him a neck in entrance on the wire. That efficiency took on added significance when third-place finisher Scorching Rod Charlie wired the Louisiana Derby with a 99 Beyer subsequent day out. Medina Spirit’s solely two losses had been seconds behind now-sidelined stablemate and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Life Is Good (Into Mischief), who had been ranked as excessive as No. 2 on the Derby Prime 12 via mid-March.

10) REBEL’S ROMANCE (IRE) (Dubawi {Ire}–Minidress {GB}, by Road Cry {Ire})
O/B-Godolphin (IRE). T-Charles Appleby. Lifetime File: GSW-UAE, 5-4-0-0, $549,879.
Final Begins: 1st G2 UAE Derby, MEY, Mar. 27
Subsequent Begin: Uncommitted
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 100

Insurgent’s Romance (Ire), a Godolphin homebred by Dubawi (Ire), has a Kentucky Derby berth if his connections choose to ship the UAE Derby winner (at the moment fourth in qualifying factors with 100). This can be a massive gelding generally known as a sluggish breaker, and he at first regarded out of contact in the back of the pack whereas careening six paths off the fence via the primary flip at Meydan. Insurgent’s Romance settled on the backstretch run, then methodically started selecting off half the pack with an outdoor swoop. At all times making headway, he responded to rousing down the lengthy residence straight to win simply by open lengths. “He’s nonetheless very a lot a piece in progress and he regarded a lot better tonight than he did in Saudi Arabia,” mentioned coach Charlie Appleby. “I believe the largest attribute to him at the moment is that he was going to remain. We had been at all times assured he was going to remain. Stepping up in journey was going to be his forte.”

11) HELIUM (c, 3, Ironicus–Thundering Emilia, by Thunder Gulch)
O-D J Steady LLC; B-Teneri Farm Inc &
Bernardo Alvarez Calderon (KY); T-Mark Casse. Gross sales Historical past: $55,000 Ylg ’19 FTKOCT. Lifetime File: GSW, 3-3-0-0, $287,763.
Final Begin: 1st GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, TAM,
Mar. 6. Subsequent Begin: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, Could 1
Accomplishments: 1st Show S., WO, Oct. 18
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 50

Stabled at Palm Meadows in Florida and coaching as much as the Kentucky Derby, the 15-1 winner of the GII Tampa Bay Derby had his first breeze since that victory on Saturday, going a half mile in :49.25 (17/58). This $55,000 FTKOCT (and subsequently privately bought) first-crop Ironicus colt owns a 3-for-3 report whereas displaying a flexible working model, profitable on the lead, whereas stalking, and from closing farther off the tempo. At Tampa, Helium was 4 large on each turns, bought first run on the tiring pacemaker, then gamely held off a recent nearer late within the lane. Whereas Helium will go eight weeks between begins, the third- fifth- and sixth-place horses who ran behind him within the Tampa Derby ran again on Saturday in stakes at Turfway and Gulfstream; two ran sixth, the opposite was eighth. Just one horse has ever parlayed wins within the Tampa/Kentucky Derbies—Road Sense in 2007. However Helium’s maternal grandsire, Thunder Gulch, was the 1995 Derby winner, and Helium’s odds on this yr’s Run for the Roses most likely will not be too far off grandpa’s juicy 24-1 worth.

12) RISK TAKING (c, 3, Medaglia d’Oro–Run a Danger, by Distorted Humor)
O-Klaravich Stables Inc; B-G Watts Humphrey Jr (KY);
T-Chad Brown. Gross sales Historical past: $240,000 Ylg ’19 KEESEP. Lifetime File: GSW, 4-2-0-0, $182,530.
Final Begin: 1st GIII Withers S., AQU, Feb. 6
Subsequent Begin: GII Wooden Memorial S., AQU, Apr. 3
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Factors: 10

The two-for-4 Danger Taking was dedicated to the Wooden Memorial quickly after he gained the GIII Withers S. when coach Chad Brown articulated a want to maintain this $240,000 KEESEP bay racing over a monitor and distance at which the colt has demonstrated potential. However over the previous 10 days or so, the checklist of probables for the Wooden has morphed from a comparatively shallow stakes to a reasonably deep lineup that now contains No. 8-ranked Prevalence, a pair of Aqueduct stakes victors, the crushed fave within the Tampa Bay Derby, and perhaps a West Coast invader. After Danger Taking gained the Withers with a candy stalking journey, Brown mentioned “everybody that is touched the horse has commented about how stylish he was, the power that he has, and the way he’ll get higher with time and distance.” On Saturday, we’ll discover out.

On the Bubble (in alphabetical order):

Sweet Man Rocket (Sweet Experience {Arg}): Winner of the GIII Davis S. however crushed fave within the Tampa Bay Derby rerouted from Arkansas Derby to Wooden Memorial on Saturday at Aqueduct.

Defunded (Dialed In): Spectacular MSW dash layoff winner for Baffert might resurface in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby.

Hush of a Storm (Inventive Trigger) This New York-bred winner of the Battaglia S. scratched out of the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks in favor of Saturday’s Blue Grass S. at Keeneland.

Just like the King (Palace Malice): Massive, rangy colt with affinity for turf and Tapeta survived foul declare to win the Jeff Ruby Steaks.

Soup and Sandwich (Into Mischief): Fought the tempo battle and gallantly caught round late within the lane regardless of being on his left lead via the stretch of the Florida Derby. Coach Mark Casse additionally reported this grey bought “somewhat labored up” transport over from Palm Meadows. “He’ll run so much higher out of his stall at Churchill Downs.”





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