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Feb 07, 2014



               Believe it or not we as less than three months away to the Kentucky Derby so lets take a look at some of the prep races starting in early January.

               On January 4th at Aqueduct they hosted the Grade II Jerome Stakes. The odds-on on choice in the race was Noble Moon who was breaking from the rail post, he came out running, gave up the lead to a huge longshot, came outside that rival into the backstretch and stalked for a ¼ mile. After taking over the lead, he took pressure into the lane and was hard ridden to edge away late to score by two lengths over Classic Giacnroll with the maiden Scotland checking in third. The time of the race was just ok, running 1:45 for 1 mile and 70 yards. Noble Moon, is now 2 for 3 for trainer Leah Gyarmati and would need to improve to make an impact come May.

               On January 11th at Santa Anita in the Grade III Sham Stakes, a field of four went postward with Midnight Hawk going off as the 2-5 odds-on choice. After breaking well from post 4 he quickly latched on to Kristo, the 2-1 second choice. Those two continued from the start and into the lane through solid fractions of 23:1, 46:1, 1:10:2, and they finished up the mile in 1:36:2. This Bob Baffert trained three year old is by Midnight Lute, he has a ton of talent but is still learning the game and could make an impact come the first Saturday in May.

               The following week at the Fair Grounds in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes, Vicar’s in Trouble ran his record to 2 for 3 with both of his wins coming at the Fair Grounds. After breaking outward slightly he got a good stalking spot behind the leader, Roman Unbridled, he tracked that runner past the ¾ mark, took over into the lane and drew away despite racing greenly, interesting runner still has some room to improve and should be followed closely.

               On January 20th at Oaklawn Park in the Smarty Jones Stakes, Tanzanite Cat scored the upset getting the job done at 9-1. After breaking his maiden in an off the turf race at the Fair Grounds, Tanzanite Cat shipped into Oaklawn, showed good speed to make the early lead, gave up the lead before the half mile while stalking the leaders, engaged the leaders and edged away late to score by more than a length. The final time of 1:38:3 was nothing special but it was terrible either, but it seem that he would need to show more to be considered a serious contender.

               At Gulfstream Park on January 25th they hosted the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes with a field of 11 going postward. The favorite in the race was Cairo Prince who was 2 for 3 with a second (lost by nose) as a two year old. After breaking well and getting a good spot early on in fourth, Cairo Prince started to move up on the final turn to engage the leaders into the lane. He took over that lead and drew away smartly to score by more than five lengths in a solid time of 1:42 flat, Conquest Titan closed well from way back to get up for second while Intense Holiday checked in third. This three year old colt by Pioneerof the Nile out of a Holy Bull mare is certainly bred to get the Derby distance and has proven in his short career that he does have plenty of talent. His trainer Kiaran McLaughlin knows his way around the big races and he knows how to get them ready.

               At Aqueduct on February 1st they hosted the Grade III Withers Stakes, a race for three year olds with a purse of $250,000. There were six horses that went postward and the co even money choices just so happened to be New York breds. Uncle Sigh who was coming into the race with two races under his belt, a second in his first try and a dominating victory in his second start going two turns, both of those races against New York breds. Samraat who was 3 for 3 heading into this race scoring by a combined 26 lengths also all against New York breds. When the gates opened Uncle Sigh held his rail position and was quickly engaged by Samraat. Both of those horses continued to battle around the clubhouse turn, down the backstretch and into the lane through fractions of 24, 48:1, 1:12:3. They continued down the lane inside the 1/16th pole and Samraat edged away late to finish in front by a length over Uncle Sigh who was more than 10 lengths clear of the show horse, Scotland with third choice Classic Giacnroll checked in fourth. The third and fourth place finishers in the Withers were the second and third place finishers in the Jerome stakes to Noble Moon. Samraat and Uncle Sigh easily defeated those two rivals and moved up to the top of the list of Derby contenders on the New York circuit. It will be interesting to see how far these two New York breds can go despite having to face off against open company.

               We are looking forward to the Derby preps as we head towards the first Saturday in May.

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