Bolt D’Oro & McKinzie Strong in San Felipe – RECAP! – Super Screener
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Bolt D’Oro & McKinzie Strong in San Felipe – RECAP!

Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

San Felipe (G2)

This was clearly the best of the 3 Kentucky Derby preps — marred somewhat by a questionable stewards ruling — though even with the flip in the order, neither the winner, McKinzie, nor the second place finisher, Bolt d’Oro (moved to first on the DQ) were denied a spot in the Kentucky Derby field as both have sufficient points to make the gate. Both horses drew away from the rest of the field and engaged in a crowd-pleasing duel once they hit the stretch. It appeared coming out of the turn that when Bolt d’Oro switched leads, he would blow by McKinzie (at that moment Bolt d’Oro also knocked McKinzie sideways). Neither horse lost momentum, however, and McKinzie had something left, which he leveraged to secure the win in the final yards.  Even though he was clearly leaning and bumping down the lane when Mike Smith, with no choice, went to whip (something McKinzie would prefer not to see, which could become problematic as the races get tougher). Bolt d’Oro should have gotten a ton out of this race and he’ll come back in the G1 Santa Anita Derby loaded for bear. It appears that we’ll have a rematch between these two top-rated rivals in that race.

The Super Screener is rating the G2 San Felipe prep as an “A”.

Tampa Bay Derby (G2)

Quip takes this one right off the long layoff, and with Enticed winning the G3 Gotham Stakes, that now makes five horses that have come out of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes race run at Churchill Downs last Fall that have gone on to win a Derby prep race (Enticed, Quip, Promises Fulfilled, Reride and Bravazo).  

This was the least impressive of the three important Kentucky Derby preps run on the day. The pace was very slow and Quip tracked the pace leader World of Trouble (who ran credibly considering it was his first time going 2 turns) and then held off a resurgent Flameaway to grab the 50 Kentucky Derby points and ensure himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby field. Flameaway ran the better race and earned enough points with that 2nd place finish to ensure himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby field as well.  

Vino Rosso, with added blinkers, had no real excuse as he got a soft pace and just ran evenly after making a half hearted move at the ½ mile pole. What was odd is that he didn’t fade but just kept on running to easily hold 4th place.  Horse has talent but he has some maturing to do as his mind isn’t quite in the game.

The Super Screener rates this Kentucky Derby prep as a C+.

Gotham (G3)

Enticed served notice that he is firmly back on the Kentucky Derby trail with a sharp looking win and the benefactor of the hot pace. This was quite a reversal in form considering his dull effort off the bench, and represented a hard-to-believe 16-point jump in his BRIS Speed Rating over that last race. Keep in mind this race was run at one turn, so let’s see if he can carry that form into his final prep and show the same prowess at 2-turns. For backers of Good Magic, this big 2nd off the layoff performance should provide some encouragement.

The Super Screener Top Long Shot pick, Old Time Revival, may have run the best race here as he dueled for the first half of the race before breaking free and then tiring late but clearly second best at odds of 35-1.  Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about this colt before the race:

#7: Old Time Revival – TOP LONG SHOT – Might get the best trip of all comfortably pressing the three pace leaders. Gets to throttle back off the faster fractions set in his last race leaving more energy for the final furlong.  Useful long shot to include “under”

Free Drop Billy and Firenze Fire came up pretty weak, getting the perfect set up, but neither fired off the bench here and now become secondary players on the Derby trail. This also makes Avery Island’s G3 Withers win look a bit suspect now.

The Super Screener gives this year’s edition of the G3 Gotham Stakes a B- and with the win by Enticed, the G2 Holy Bull remains one of the top early preps run in January and February.

Hillsborough (G2)

Fourstar Crook proved, as the Super Screener anticipated, to be the better win candidate over stablemate, Off Limits, who ended up finishing 5th as the favorite.  Fourstar Crook was able to overcome the slow pace leveraging that quick turn of foot we referenced to go on for the win at this preferred 1 1/8th miles distance.  Here’s what the Super Screener said about our second choice:

#3 Fourstar Crook: One of a pair here for Chad Brown.  Runs well off a similar long layoff.  Hasn’t missed the Trifecta in her last 11 starts and has won 9 of those races.  Possesses an excellent turn of foot which will serve her well given the softer pace here.

Proctor’s Ledge rebounded with a solid effort off the bench passing the Super Screener Top Win pick, La Coronel, for the 2nd place finish and survived a claim of foul from jockey, Julien Leparoux (who rarely pushes that button), the rider of Daddy’s Lil Darling who finished 4th.  I encourage you to check out a head-on replay and see if you agree with the steward’s call to let the results stand.

Super Screener Top Long Shot pick, Tricky Escape, finished best of the bombers at odds of 51-1 but missed the Superfecta.

 

Santa Anita Handicap (G1)

After the running of the G2 San Felipe, the rains came and the track was then sealed to move to a wet-fast track condition. Baffert scratched the Super Screener Top Board Hitter pick, Hoppertunity, due to the wet track. Mubtaahij and Accelerate were 1-2 during the first half of the race, but then Accelerate moved past him and drew off to win. Mubtaahij held on gamely to 2nd  place and that pair distanced the rest of the field.  

 

The Kentucky Derby trail focus now turns squarely on the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park headlined by Solomini, Sporting Chance and Magnum Moon and this will be a highly rated prep and it will give us some insight as to just how powerful the California-based horses are this year as Solomini makes his long-awaited 2018 debut (you can bet his ultimate target is the Belmont Stakes run at 1 ½ miles). The G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks out of Turfway Park is a minor Kentucky Derby prep race being run as well on the day,offering just 20 points to the winner. Both Oaklawn Park and Turfway Park will feature a strong undercard loaded with stakes action and many of those races boasting large fields.  Plenty to choose from.

 

Until next week, Go Fast and Win!

 

Mike

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