ALGORITHMS CREATES PERFECT FORMULA FOR HOLY BULL SUCCESS
Todd Pletcher Calculates Future Derby Road Plans
By Jim Hurley - Monday, January 30
The first of five Graded Derby Prep races to be run at Gulfstream Park was run yesterday (Sunday, January 29.) Kentucky Derby fixture, trainer Todd Pletcher sent out a decisive winner in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes, which was run at a mile (around one turn) over a sealed sloppy track. The less than odds-on favorite HANSEN was beaten by an emerging son of Bernardini by the name of ALGORITHMS.
The ROAD TO THE 2012 KENTUCKY DERBY IS OFFICIALLY OPEN.
As far as I'm concerned there are still 31 KEY DERBY PREPS remaining on the lead up to the running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5. So obviously I am not going to know much more than the isolated information I gleaned from Sunday's Holy Bull Stakes. Before I continue let me produce, in post position order, a brief Report Card on the six participants in the Holy Bull.
SILVER MAX...showed good tracking speed in the early going as he went turf to dirt, but was clearly losing his footing over the sloppy surface as they got into the late stages of the race. It remains to be seen whether he would be a player on a fast track and/or better suited to rating at longer distances. GRADE - Incomplete.
COSORTIUM...off a layoff and a solid series of works the Kieran McLaughlin trained son of Bernardini was taken back off the pace early, bumped with ADONIS before moving wide on the turn and then quickly faltered. He appeared to dislike the slop, but looked like he packed it in when he wasn't on the front end, where he'd been in his previous two races.
GRADE - D
MY ADONIS...rebounded very nicely from major disappointment in Grade III Delta Jackpot (previous race on 11/19/11) and perhaps more importantly rated very professionally despite a series of three brisk bullet works for trainer Kelly Breen prior to the race and a history of wanting to be among the front runners. Players always begin to fall in love with closers in one race moving forward as the distances get longer so this still unproven son of Pleasantly Perfect might wind up a bit over-valued in his next start. Nonetheless he turned in a solid effort.
GRADE - B
HANSEN...return race is difficult to evaluate because of the sloppy surface and the fact that he did stumble at the start before moving right to his customary pace setting position. He did open a clear margin through the first half mile and was not pressed. He did, however, turn in a quick :45 3/5 half mile and had no answer when ALGORITHMS ran up alongside him near the furlong marker and was desperate to hold the place spot. As a 2-year old he did clear the field in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park, although the final 5/16ths in :34 2/5 was slow, yet could have also been a product of his not being pushed and when he won the BC Juvenile at CD last November he lasted by a head after running even fractions throughout. His sire Tapit has so far sized up as a developer of mile speed horses so only time will tell if this one can learn to rate and go long.
GRADE - B
FORT LOUDON...in his first foray outside the cozy confines of restricted company at Calder Race Track he packed it in early at 54-1 in the BC Juvenile. On Sunday, once again seemingly up in class going in he was reserved off the pace in the early going and had no strength in the stretch as he passed only SILVER MAX who had tired from his early efforts and CONSORTIUM, who never showed up. Would have to step up big time next out if trainer Stanley Gold thinks he still belongs on the trail.
GRADE - C
ALGORITHMS...the Bernardini colt couldn't have done it any better. He stayed three wide as he chased the early pace, remained relaxed and in hand when SILVER MAX briefly put a head in front at about the half mile pole when both were moving up on HANSEN and then after dispatching that one moved up resolutely on the front runner under mild urging. He drew away handily while kept to task and gave a very professional appearance for a colt making only his third career start and first as a 3-year old.
GRADE - A
Ridden by Javier Castellano, ALGORITHMS ran in a style you love to see in a still developing youngster. Trainers will tell you that teaching these precocious talents to settle down and conserve energy through even fractions is a most difficult task, but one which is paramount to Kentucky Derby success. Obviously the Holy Bull winner passed that test.
ALGORITHMS broke in relaxed fashion through a first quarter in :24 1/5, quickened up in quarter number two in :22 2/5 as he kept pace with the speedy HANSEN drew closer with an in hand third quarter in :24 flat and finished up the final two furlongs in :25 2/5. Even fractions built around the one needed-to-be quick burst: again, to utilize the pun, it was a perfect formula for solving the race. And given the breeding history, the further they go, that sort of mature running style should serve his connections even better.
ALGORITHMS' sire Bernardini was brilliant on the race track and has been just as productive in the breeding shed. Bernardini is already 3rd on the earnings list in 2012 despite the fact that the two sires ahead of him in the standings and the next three that follow have had anywhere from 23 to 61 more starters.
This shouldn't be surprising as the Darley standard-bearer has 52 winners from 131 starts in 2011 (his first crop), including Grade I winner Stay Thirsty. Bernardini is a son of A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew-Weekend Surprise-Secretariat) and in his female line traces back through his mare the graded stakes winning Cara Rafaela, who is the daughter of sire Quiet American (Fappiano) and broodmare Oil Fable (Spectacular Bid). If blood has a say, 10 furlongs is well within reach.
The remaining four races of the Gulfstream Derby Prep series are...
Hutcheson Stakes - 7 Furlongs - February 11
Fountain Of Youth - 1 1/16th Miles - February 26
Swale Stakes - 7 Furlongs - March 10
Florida Derby - 1 1/8th Miles - March 31
These are 4 of the 31 races that still remain on my...
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...and Gulfstream has arranged them so that late developing 3-year olds can move from a 7 furlong to mile-and-a-sixteenth prep (Hutcheson to Fountain Of Youth) or 7 furlong Swale or mile-and-a-sixteenth Fountain Of Youth to the 9 furlong Florida Derby...each in strategically spaced intervals.
Trainer Mike Maker has not discussed any plans for the next start for HANSEN while Pletcher has indicated that right now the Fountain Of Youth looks like the next step for ALGORITHMS.
My next step is this coming Saturday, February 4 when I release a TRIO OF DERBY PREPS...
February 4 - Sam F. Davis Stakes - Tampa Bay
February 4 - Withers Stakes - Aqueduct
February 4 - Robert B. Lewis - Santa Anita
I'll have the Win-Exacta-Trifecta selections available early Saturday morning as part of my DERBY ROAD PACKAGE...or you can find out HOW TO GET ALL THREE FREE by calling me any time between 9:00 AM (E) and 7:00 PM (E) M-F or up until 2 PM (E) on Saturday. Just give my phone associate the CODE: TRIPLE PREP SCORE.
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