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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2015

Racing Headlines

De Kock has triple threat for fourth straight Al Rashidiya win

Mike de Kock is seeking a fourth consecutive victory in the 1800-meter Al Rashidiya S., one of two Group 2 turf features at Meydan Racecourse's fourth meeting of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening, and is set to saddle three of the seven runners this year.

These include Mujaarib (Nadeem), something of a surprise winner in the race a year ago for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The owner's retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride this time with Christophe Soumillon having performed the steering last year.

This year Soumillon rides Vercingetorix (Silvano), winner of last year's Jebel Hatta (UAE-G1) on Super Saturday before finishing an excellent second in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-G1) on Dubai World Cup night. That was the bay's first career defeat in his seventh outing before he was subsequently third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-G1) in Hong Kong.

That was back in April and Vercingetorix has been off since, while Mujaarib has not run since Super Saturday in early March 2014.

"We have said many times Vercingetorix is a lazy work horse and nothing has changed," de Kock stated. "He has a touch of class and hopefully we will see that again on Thursday. You cannot get excited with his work but it was the same last year and he won well first time.

"The same applies to Mujaarib who showed little in the mornings last year before surprising us in this race. Hopefully he will go well as he certainly seems to run his best when fresh.

De Kock's third runner, Sanshaawes (Ashaawes), the mount of Dane O'Neill, was second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-G1) last year and has the benefit of a run already this season, finishing fourth in the Singspiel S. over course and distance on January 8.

"Obviously Sanshaawes is likely to have a fitness edge," de Kock noted. "He ran well on the first night and has been in good form since. He had a good Carnival last year and hopefully he can win a race this time.

"It is nice to have three genuine chances in such a big race."

As well as winning the last three renewals, the South African has also won it on a further three occasions whereas Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is seeking a fifth win in the race.

He relies on True Story (Manduro), the mount of James Doyle who was a winner of the Singspiel S. three weeks ago.

"He won well and we were very pleased with him," bin Suroor said. "He is a horse we have always really liked and he has been working well since. Obviously it is a step up in class but we expect a big run from him."

The 1600-meter Cape Verdi S. (UAE-G2), restricted to fillies and mares, has attracted a field of eight with all but two trained in Europe. It looks wide open with dual listed winner Zurigha (Cape Cross), a first UAE runner for Richard Hannon Jr. when well beaten last week, looking to hold a major chance under Richard Hughes.

Wee Jean (Captain Gerrard), trained by Mick Channon and to be ridden by Hanagan, looks a big danger. The same goes for Group 3 runner-up Anahita (Turtle Bowl), the mount of Mickael Barzalona conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, who celebrated his first winner as a trainer last Thursday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

De Kock has triple threat for fourth straight Al Rashidiya win

Mike de Kock is seeking a fourth consecutive victory in the 1800-meter Al Rashidiya S., one of two Group 2 turf features at Meydan Racecourse's fourth meeting of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening, and is set to saddle three of the seven runners this year.

These include Mujaarib (Nadeem), something of a surprise winner in the race a year ago for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The owner's retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride this time with Christophe Soumillon having performed the steering last year.

This year Soumillon rides Vercingetorix (Silvano), winner of last year's Jebel Hatta (UAE-G1) on Super Saturday before finishing an excellent second in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-G1) on Dubai World Cup night. That was the bay's first career defeat in his seventh outing before he was subsequently third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-G1) in Hong Kong.

That was back in April and Vercingetorix has been off since, while Mujaarib has not run since Super Saturday in early March 2014.

"We have said many times Vercingetorix is a lazy work horse and nothing has changed," de Kock stated. "He has a touch of class and hopefully we will see that again on Thursday. You cannot get excited with his work but it was the same last year and he won well first time.

"The same applies to Mujaarib who showed little in the mornings last year before surprising us in this race. Hopefully he will go well as he certainly seems to run his best when fresh.

De Kock's third runner, Sanshaawes (Ashaawes), the mount of Dane O'Neill, was second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-G1) last year and has the benefit of a run already this season, finishing fourth in the Singspiel S. over course and distance on January 8.

"Obviously Sanshaawes is likely to have a fitness edge," de Kock noted. "He ran well on the first night and has been in good form since. He had a good Carnival last year and hopefully he can win a race this time.

"It is nice to have three genuine chances in such a big race."

As well as winning the last three renewals, the South African has also won it on a further three occasions whereas Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is seeking a fifth win in the race.

He relies on True Story (Manduro), the mount of James Doyle who was a winner of the Singspiel S. three weeks ago.

"He won well and we were very pleased with him," bin Suroor said. "He is a horse we have always really liked and he has been working well since. Obviously it is a step up in class but we expect a big run from him."

The 1600-meter Cape Verdi S. (UAE-G2), restricted to fillies and mares, has attracted a field of eight with all but two trained in Europe. It looks wide open with dual listed winner Zurigha (Cape Cross), a first UAE runner for Richard Hannon Jr. when well beaten last week, looking to hold a major chance under Richard Hughes.

Wee Jean (Captain Gerrard), trained by Mick Channon and to be ridden by Hanagan, looks a big danger. The same goes for Group 3 runner-up Anahita (Turtle Bowl), the mount of Mickael Barzalona conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, who celebrated his first winner as a trainer last Thursday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Dubai World Cup day nominations announced

U.A.E. Derby winner Toast of New York is nominated to the World Cup this year (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)

For several months this winter, trainer Kenny McPeek had what was thought to be a formidable 1-2 punch in Repent (Louis Quatorze) and Harlan's Holiday (Harlan). Until the latter failed as the lukewarm favorite in the Kentucky Derby (G1), McPeek held a huge trump card, even though Repent missed the classics with an injury. What a difference a day, or days, or weeks, makes. Take your pick.

Flash forward five weeks, and the Lexington, Kentucky, native finally earned a classic, this coming in the $1 million Belmont S. (G1) with the overlooked SARAVA (Wild Again), who was guided to a sterling half-length upset score beneath Edgar Prado.

All of this occurred just days after Harlan's Holiday was switched to trainer Todd Pletcher in New York.

War Emblem (Our Emblem), bidding to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, stumbled badly at the break, nearly unseating jockey Victor Espinoza, and had to be rushed toward the leaders. Though the Bob Baffert trainee was eventually able to grab the lead in the far turn after being under stout restraint early, the misfortune at the break had to have taken some toll. By the time the 11 horses reached the stretch, it was clear a Triple Crown would have to wait.

A star studded cast of the world's best racehorses of 2014 highlight the nominations for the 2015 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), the 20th running of the world's richest race.

Of the current 20 highest-rated Thoroughbreds in the world that remain in training 13 feature among the 2,142 nominations from 19 countries for the meeting on March 28, including the highest rated horses from Japan, Hong Kong, Great Britain and the United States.

The $10 million Dubai World Cup attracted 296 nominations made notable by the presence of the first seven over the line in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) which includes Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) winner Toast of New York (Thewayyouare) and Belmont S. (G1) winner Tonalist (Tapit).

Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern (Offlee Wild) attempts to give trainer Bob Baffert a third Dubai World Cup success following Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001.

Also among the list is dual champion Main Sequence (Aldebaran) trained by Graham Motion, who prepared Animal Kingdom to win the Dubai World Cup in 2013.

Japanese stars also dominate, with many holding multiple nominations for the three richest races on the big day, the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-G1) at 2400 meters, the newly-named $6 million Dubai Turf (UAE-G1) over 1900 meters and the 2000-meter Dubai World Cup.

The Katsuhiko Sumii-trained Epiphaneia (Symboli Kris S), the highest-rated horse in training, holds a Dubai World Cup nomination for owners U Carrot Farm. It was Sumii who was responsible for the 2011 Dubai World Cup victory of Victoire Pisa and he is preparing his Japan Cup (Jpn-G1) winner for another tilt at the race, although the horse also holds nominations for the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Dubai Turf.

Gold Ship (Stay Gold), the Takarazuka Kinen (Jpn-G1) star trained by Naosuke Sugai, is also on the list from Japan, as is Japanese Derby (Jpn-G1) winner One and Only (Heart's Cry) and Japanese One Thousand Guineas (Jpn-G1) winner Harp Star (Deep Impact), who represent Japan's 2014 classic generation.

Hong Kong was responsible for the two sprint winners on Dubai World Cup day last season and trainer John Moore, who won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) with Sterling City, looks to hold a strong hand with the world's best miler, 2014 Hong Kong Mile (HK-G1) victor Able Friend (Shamardal), on the list for the Dubai Turf, as well as Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1) winner Designs on Rome. (Holy Roman Emperor). Second in that race, Military Attack (Oratorio), has also been nominated.

Peniaphobia (Dandy Man), the Tony Cruz-trained sprinter who won the 2014 Jockey Club Sprint (HK-G2) as well as the recent Centenary Sprint, has also been nominated for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Hong Kong Sprint (HK-G1) winner Aerovelocity (Pins), trained by Paul O'Sullivan, has also been nominated for both the Dubai Golden Shaheen and the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1).

Godolphin is well represented across the board by both Charlie Appleby and the 2014 Dubai World Cup winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, as is Dubai World Cup Carnival regular Mike de Kock. Sir Fever (Texas Fever) represents an interesting new recruit for Appleby. The multiple Uruguayan Group 1 winner has been nominated for the Dubai World Cup as well as the Dubai Sheema Classic, Dubai Turf and the U.A.E. Derby. Meanwhile, bin Suroor has nominated his 2014 winner, African Story (Pivotal), for a defense of his title.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Dubai World Cup day nominations announced

U.A.E. Derby winner Toast of New York is nominated to the World Cup this year (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)

For several months this winter, trainer Kenny McPeek had what was thought to be a formidable 1-2 punch in Repent (Louis Quatorze) and Harlan's Holiday (Harlan). Until the latter failed as the lukewarm favorite in the Kentucky Derby (G1), McPeek held a huge trump card, even though Repent missed the classics with an injury. What a difference a day, or days, or weeks, makes. Take your pick.

Flash forward five weeks, and the Lexington, Kentucky, native finally earned a classic, this coming in the $1 million Belmont S. (G1) with the overlooked SARAVA (Wild Again), who was guided to a sterling half-length upset score beneath Edgar Prado.

All of this occurred just days after Harlan's Holiday was switched to trainer Todd Pletcher in New York.

War Emblem (Our Emblem), bidding to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, stumbled badly at the break, nearly unseating jockey Victor Espinoza, and had to be rushed toward the leaders. Though the Bob Baffert trainee was eventually able to grab the lead in the far turn after being under stout restraint early, the misfortune at the break had to have taken some toll. By the time the 11 horses reached the stretch, it was clear a Triple Crown would have to wait.

A star studded cast of the world's best racehorses of 2014 highlight the nominations for the 2015 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), the 20th running of the world's richest race.

Of the current 20 highest-rated Thoroughbreds in the world that remain in training 13 feature among the 2,142 nominations from 19 countries for the meeting on March 28, including the highest rated horses from Japan, Hong Kong, Great Britain and the United States.

The $10 million Dubai World Cup attracted 296 nominations made notable by the presence of the first seven over the line in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) which includes Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) winner Toast of New York (Thewayyouare) and Belmont S. (G1) winner Tonalist (Tapit).

Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern (Offlee Wild) attempts to give trainer Bob Baffert a third Dubai World Cup success following Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001.

Also among the list is dual champion Main Sequence (Aldebaran) trained by Graham Motion, who prepared Animal Kingdom to win the Dubai World Cup in 2013.

Japanese stars also dominate, with many holding multiple nominations for the three richest races on the big day, the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-G1) at 2400 meters, the newly-named $6 million Dubai Turf (UAE-G1) over 1900 meters and the 2000-meter Dubai World Cup.

The Katsuhiko Sumii-trained Epiphaneia (Symboli Kris S), the highest-rated horse in training, holds a Dubai World Cup nomination for owners U Carrot Farm. It was Sumii who was responsible for the 2011 Dubai World Cup victory of Victoire Pisa and he is preparing his Japan Cup (Jpn-G1) winner for another tilt at the race, although the horse also holds nominations for the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Dubai Turf.

Gold Ship (Stay Gold), the Takarazuka Kinen (Jpn-G1) star trained by Naosuke Sugai, is also on the list from Japan, as is Japanese Derby (Jpn-G1) winner One and Only (Heart's Cry) and Japanese One Thousand Guineas (Jpn-G1) winner Harp Star (Deep Impact), who represent Japan's 2014 classic generation.

Hong Kong was responsible for the two sprint winners on Dubai World Cup day last season and trainer John Moore, who won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) with Sterling City, looks to hold a strong hand with the world's best miler, 2014 Hong Kong Mile (HK-G1) victor Able Friend (Shamardal), on the list for the Dubai Turf, as well as Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1) winner Designs on Rome. (Holy Roman Emperor). Second in that race, Military Attack (Oratorio), has also been nominated.

Peniaphobia (Dandy Man), the Tony Cruz-trained sprinter who won the 2014 Jockey Club Sprint (HK-G2) as well as the recent Centenary Sprint, has also been nominated for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Hong Kong Sprint (HK-G1) winner Aerovelocity (Pins), trained by Paul O'Sullivan, has also been nominated for both the Dubai Golden Shaheen and the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1).

Godolphin is well represented across the board by both Charlie Appleby and the 2014 Dubai World Cup winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, as is Dubai World Cup Carnival regular Mike de Kock. Sir Fever (Texas Fever) represents an interesting new recruit for Appleby. The multiple Uruguayan Group 1 winner has been nominated for the Dubai World Cup as well as the Dubai Sheema Classic, Dubai Turf and the U.A.E. Derby. Meanwhile, bin Suroor has nominated his 2014 winner, African Story (Pivotal), for a defense of his title.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Lady Shipman breaks track record at Ocala

The large crowd that turned out in sunny weather was treated to a track-record performance as the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company held it's 26th annual Day of Champions.

Lady Shipman (Midshipman) took charge of the $50,000 OBS Sprint for three-year-old fillies on the turn, opened a big lead in the lane and scored by eighth lengths in a track record 1:08 4/5 for six furlongs. The time surpassed the previous mark of 1:09 3/5 by Megalith in 2011 and equaled by Cor Cor in 2013.

Happy to Go (Saint Anddan) came running late to be second, a nose in front of Cool Comfort (Big Brown).

Owned by Ranlo Investments and trained by Kathleen O'Connell, Lady Shipman now has a record of 4-3-0-1 and has earned $80,400 to date.

It's Not Me (D'wildcat) went to the lead early in the $50,000 OBS Sprint for three-year-old colts and geldings and gave nothing else a chance, cruising to the wire an 8 3/4-length winner over Charlie's Brother (With Distinction). Social Request (Lookin at Lucky) was a head back in third.

Trained by Jorge Navarro for owners White Wabbit Wacing and Marco Thoroughbred Corp., and ridden by Edgard Zayas, It's Not Me ran the six furlongs in 1:09 3/5. His first stakes win leaves him 8-4-0-1 with $123,335 in earnings.

Arctic Ocean (Concord Point) scored her first stakes win in the $100,000 OBS Championship for three-year-old fillies, rallying on the outside down the stretch and scoring by a neck over Save Rock and Roll (Super Saver). Back Flip (Super Saver) was third and the time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:46 4/5.

Ridden by Rafael Hernandez and trained by Gary Contessa for the partnership of John Moirano, Nehoc Stables, and Alan Sokol, the filly is now 7-2-3-0 and has earned $125,340.

Firespike (Flower Alley) was last in the early going of the $100,000 OBS Championship for colts and geldings, but circled horses on the turn, ran by the leaders in deep stretch and drew off to a 2 1/4-length victory. Big Yum (Kantharos) put in a good late run to be second, a neck in front of Prince Vincenzo (Exclusive Quality).

Trained by Mike Maker for the partnership of Skychai Racing, Charles Warner, and Sand Dollar Stable, and ridden by Joel Rosario, the three-year-old Florida-bred ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46 2/5.

It was the second stakes win for Firespike and leaves him with a 7-3-1-1 record and earnings of $183,259.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Lady Shipman breaks track record at Ocala

The large crowd that turned out in sunny weather was treated to a track-record performance as the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company held it's 26th annual Day of Champions.

Lady Shipman (Midshipman) took charge of the $50,000 OBS Sprint for three-year-old fillies on the turn, opened a big lead in the lane and scored by eighth lengths in a track record 1:08 4/5 for six furlongs. The time surpassed the previous mark of 1:09 3/5 by Megalith in 2011 and equaled by Cor Cor in 2013.

Happy to Go (Saint Anddan) came running late to be second, a nose in front of Cool Comfort (Big Brown).

Owned by Ranlo Investments and trained by Kathleen O'Connell, Lady Shipman now has a record of 4-3-0-1 and has earned $80,400 to date.

It's Not Me (D'wildcat) went to the lead early in the $50,000 OBS Sprint for three-year-old colts and geldings and gave nothing else a chance, cruising to the wire an 8 3/4-length winner over Charlie's Brother (With Distinction). Social Request (Lookin at Lucky) was a head back in third.

Trained by Jorge Navarro for owners White Wabbit Wacing and Marco Thoroughbred Corp., and ridden by Edgard Zayas, It's Not Me ran the six furlongs in 1:09 3/5. His first stakes win leaves him 8-4-0-1 with $123,335 in earnings.

Arctic Ocean (Concord Point) scored her first stakes win in the $100,000 OBS Championship for three-year-old fillies, rallying on the outside down the stretch and scoring by a neck over Save Rock and Roll (Super Saver). Back Flip (Super Saver) was third and the time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:46 4/5.

Ridden by Rafael Hernandez and trained by Gary Contessa for the partnership of John Moirano, Nehoc Stables, and Alan Sokol, the filly is now 7-2-3-0 and has earned $125,340.

Firespike (Flower Alley) was last in the early going of the $100,000 OBS Championship for colts and geldings, but circled horses on the turn, ran by the leaders in deep stretch and drew off to a 2 1/4-length victory. Big Yum (Kantharos) put in a good late run to be second, a neck in front of Prince Vincenzo (Exclusive Quality).

Trained by Mike Maker for the partnership of Skychai Racing, Charles Warner, and Sand Dollar Stable, and ridden by Joel Rosario, the three-year-old Florida-bred ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46 2/5.

It was the second stakes win for Firespike and leaves him with a 7-3-1-1 record and earnings of $183,259.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Breeding & Sales News

Three top Barretts January Mixed leaderboard

STORMY GIGI (Storm Boot), a nine-year-old mare in foal to champion sprinter Kodiak Kowboy on an April 1 cover, was one of three offerings to bring $50,000 at Monday's Barretts January Mixed Sale.

Ron Stolich purchased Stormy Gigi, who has already produced stakes winner G. G. Ryder (Chhaya Dance). Hip No. 121 was consigned by Havens Bloodstock Agency.

Also bringing $50,000 was Hip 301, a juvenile colt by War Chant, and Hip 328, a juvenile filly by Gone Astray.

Brundo De Berdt, agent, obtained the War Chant colt from the consignment of Mary Knight, agent. He is out of Primp (Bernardini), a daughter of multiple Grade 2 winner Runway Model (Petionville).

The Gone Astray filly was gaveled down to Rozamud Barclay and was offered by H & E Ranch. The daughter of Striking T (Smart Strike) is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Cambiata (Concerto).

At the conclusion of trading, 248 horses had sold for $2,104,800, a rise of 8.2 percent from last year when 224 horses grossed $1,944,900. The average dipped 2.3 percent, from $8,683 to $8,487, while the median dropped 6.5 percent, from $5,350 to $5,000.

Full results can be viewed at barretts.com.

Racing Headlines

The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock

The Great War (center) was a solid fourth in the BC Juvenile (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Aidan O'Brien, The Great War (War Front) will make his first start for Wesley Ward in Saturday's $75,000 96Rock S. at Turfway Park. The 6 1/2-furlong dash is a stepping stone to the track's marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, the March 21 Spiral S. (G3), with the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial serving as the in-between prep.

The Great War is making a homecoming of sorts, having been bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. The close relative of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front) was sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland September.

Racing for Coolmore principals Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier in partnership with Joseph Allen, The Great War got off to a quick start as a juvenile at Ballydoyle. The precocious colt won his first two starts at Tipperary and the Curragh, respectively, before a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Norfolk (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently a subpar sixth in the July S. (Eng-G2), an encouraging second in the Curragh S., and a better-than-appears 11th under 128 pounds in a lucrative event at Doncaster.

The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.

Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.

Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.

Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.

Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

In brief

Due to severe winter weather conditions, the New York Racing Association has canceled live racing at Aqueduct on Wednesday. Aqueduct will be open for simulcasting on Wednesday, but Belmont Park will be closed.. Live racing is scheduled to resume at Aqueduct on Thursday...

Fort Erie has received approval from the Ontario Racing Commission to extend its racing season by two weeks resulting in a 40-day meet for 2015. Opening day will take place on June 2 with a 4:15 p.m. (EDT) post time, kicking off the popular Twilight Tuesday race cards for June, July and August. Post Time for Sundays will be 1:50 p.m. and beginning September 1, Tuesday post time will shift to 1:50 p.m. as well. Closing day is scheduled for October 20. The racetrack's 118th season of live Thoroughbred racing with the highlight being the 80th edition of the Prince of Wales S. to be run on July 28. The Prince of Wales is the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown as well as Canada's richest race on dirt with a purse offered of C$500,000...

Beginning with the $1,500,000 Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town on April 19, Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will once again serve as the exclusive radio home for the remaining five events in the 2015 Penn Gaming Racing Challenge. In addition to Charles Town Classic day, the HRRN team will provide coverage of Penn National's Penn Mile card on May 30, the Race for the Ribbon program at Charles Town on September 19 as well as Zia Park's Land of Enchantment day and Penn's Thanksgiving Eve Racing Festival, both of which take place on November 25 and round out the series. Much as it has the previous two years, HRRN's live Charles Town Classic coverage will originate on site and can be heard nationwide on SiriusXM and will be available worldwide via live streaming on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net. Additional information along with specific broadcast times and channels will be announced prior to April 18. HRRN's Eclipse Award-winning broadcast team will be anchored by HRRN President Mike Penna...

Laurel hosts a pair of $100,000 stakes events for three-year-olds on Thursday, which were postponed after racing was canceled January 24 due to track conditions. The seven-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. S. features nine colts and geldings while the six-furlong Marshua S. boasts eight fillies. In the Whiteley, Majestic Affair (Majesticperfection) is the likely favorite after a dominating 5 3/4-length score in the $98,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela S. at Aqueduct on January 2. Golden Years (Not for Love) will attempt to add another stakes win to his resume after taking the Maryland Million Nursery and Marylander S. last season. The Whiteley also features the return of Governmentshutdown (Exchange Rate) following a seven-month layoff. The gray gelding notably defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny (Quality Road) in the Rollicking S. at Pimlico last May. Lake Sebago (Munnings), who captured the Smart Halo S. and Gin Talking S. during her juvenile campaign, headlines the Marshua. Eloquent Tribute (Tapit) invades from Aqueduct after posting a 5 3/4-length maiden win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock

The Great War (center) was a solid fourth in the BC Juvenile (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Aidan O'Brien, The Great War (War Front) will make his first start for Wesley Ward in Saturday's $75,000 96Rock S. at Turfway Park. The 6 1/2-furlong dash is a stepping stone to the track's marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, the March 21 Spiral S. (G3), with the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial serving as the in-between prep.

The Great War is making a homecoming of sorts, having been bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. The close relative of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front) was sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland September.

Racing for Coolmore principals Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier in partnership with Joseph Allen, The Great War got off to a quick start as a juvenile at Ballydoyle. The precocious colt won his first two starts at Tipperary and the Curragh, respectively, before a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Norfolk (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently a subpar sixth in the July S. (Eng-G2), an encouraging second in the Curragh S., and a better-than-appears 11th under 128 pounds in a lucrative event at Doncaster.

The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.

Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.

Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.

Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.

Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

In brief

Due to severe winter weather conditions, the New York Racing Association has canceled live racing at Aqueduct on Wednesday. Aqueduct will be open for simulcasting on Wednesday, but Belmont Park will be closed.. Live racing is scheduled to resume at Aqueduct on Thursday...

Fort Erie has received approval from the Ontario Racing Commission to extend its racing season by two weeks resulting in a 40-day meet for 2015. Opening day will take place on June 2 with a 4:15 p.m. (EDT) post time, kicking off the popular Twilight Tuesday race cards for June, July and August. Post Time for Sundays will be 1:50 p.m. and beginning September 1, Tuesday post time will shift to 1:50 p.m. as well. Closing day is scheduled for October 20. The racetrack's 118th season of live Thoroughbred racing with the highlight being the 80th edition of the Prince of Wales S. to be run on July 28. The Prince of Wales is the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown as well as Canada's richest race on dirt with a purse offered of C$500,000...

Beginning with the $1,500,000 Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town on April 19, Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will once again serve as the exclusive radio home for the remaining five events in the 2015 Penn Gaming Racing Challenge. In addition to Charles Town Classic day, the HRRN team will provide coverage of Penn National's Penn Mile card on May 30, the Race for the Ribbon program at Charles Town on September 19 as well as Zia Park's Land of Enchantment day and Penn's Thanksgiving Eve Racing Festival, both of which take place on November 25 and round out the series. Much as it has the previous two years, HRRN's live Charles Town Classic coverage will originate on site and can be heard nationwide on SiriusXM and will be available worldwide via live streaming on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net. Additional information along with specific broadcast times and channels will be announced prior to April 18. HRRN's Eclipse Award-winning broadcast team will be anchored by HRRN President Mike Penna...

Laurel hosts a pair of $100,000 stakes events for three-year-olds on Thursday, which were postponed after racing was canceled January 24 due to track conditions. The seven-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. S. features nine colts and geldings while the six-furlong Marshua S. boasts eight fillies. In the Whiteley, Majestic Affair (Majesticperfection) is the likely favorite after a dominating 5 3/4-length score in the $98,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela S. at Aqueduct on January 2. Golden Years (Not for Love) will attempt to add another stakes win to his resume after taking the Maryland Million Nursery and Marylander S. last season. The Whiteley also features the return of Governmentshutdown (Exchange Rate) following a seven-month layoff. The gray gelding notably defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny (Quality Road) in the Rollicking S. at Pimlico last May. Lake Sebago (Munnings), who captured the Smart Halo S. and Gin Talking S. during her juvenile campaign, headlines the Marshua. Eloquent Tribute (Tapit) invades from Aqueduct after posting a 5 3/4-length maiden win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

Features

KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

JANUARY 28, 2015

by James Scully

Upstart (Flatter) was sensational in Saturday's Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, romping to a 5 1/2-length victory. His eye-catching 105 BRIS Speed rating is even more impressive given how wide he traveled throughout the 1 1/16-mile race (more than 30 feet farther than both the runner-up and third-placer).

The New York-bred colt has clearly improved at age three for trainer Richard Violette Jr., a key attribute for any Kentucky Derby hopeful with two-year-old form.

Upstart was easy to identify as a possible Kentucky Derby contender entering his sophomore season but lacked fanfare -- his 53-1 odds in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (November 28-30) were more indicative of a second-tier prospect.

The dark bay captured his first two starts over state-bred rivals in a pair of sprints at Saratoga, including the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide. In his first attempt against open rivals, he offered a solid middle move to record a non-threatening second in Champagne Stakes (G1) last October and followed with a respectable third in his 2014 finale, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winning Texas Red (Afleet Alex) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

By virtue of his Holy Bull tour-de-force, Upstart will be among the favorites in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (February 6-8). He's by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, whose runners tend to improve with age, and is out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. The presence of champion sprinter Housebuster, sire of the second maternal dam, adds a nice mix of speed to Upstart's stamina-infused bloodlines.

Violette was also on last year's Kentucky Derby trail with another New York-bred, Samraat, who opened 2014 with smart wins in the Withers (G3) and Gotham (G3) before a second in the TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1). But Samraat lacked a favorable pedigree for classic distances (out of an Indian Charlie mare) and wound up fifth in the 140th Kentucky Derby.

Upstart continued to display good tactical speed in the Holy Bull, racing within a couple of lengths of the early pace, and netted a 107 BRIS Late Pace rating while winning convincingly. He's got a lot going for him.

Frosted (Tapit) remains highly promising. After concluding last year with a commendable second in the Remsen (G2), the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was bet down to 3-2 favoritism in the Holy Bull but had to settle for runner-up honors once again.

The well-bred gray colt saved ground from his innermost post position, stalking the pace in fourth during the early stages, and finished up nicely to be clear of third-placer Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat). Frosted equaled his 98 BRIS Speed rating from the Remsen and earned a 101 Late Pace. It will be no surprise to see him keep moving forward off the encouraging performance.

Bluegrass Singer saved third in his two-turn bow, but the stakes-winning gelding probably doesn't want any part of longer distances.

Late runners Keen Ice (Curlin), Frammento (Midshipman) and First Down (Street Sense) all failed to make a significant impact; their connections will be hoping for much more next time.

Debut winner

Khozan (Distorted Humor) is behind the proverbial eight-ball, making such a late career debut on January 24, but the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is one to watch following his impressive maiden tally on the Holy Bull undercard.

A half-brother to three-time champion and $4.8-million earner Royal Delta, the $1 million yearling drew off sharply to a 3 3/4-length decision and earned a 103 BRIS Speed rating after completing seven furlongs in 1:23.63. His performance was flattered by Barbados (Speightstown), who stopped the teletimer in 1:24.39 winning the Hutcheson (G3) one race later as the 3-5 favorite.

Upcoming

There are no scoring races this weekend, but Texas Red will make his three-year-old bow in Sunday's seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs.

Results

NORTH AMERICAN NON-GRADED STAKES RESULTS

OBS CHAMPIONSHIP S., OTC, $100,000, 3YO, F, 1 1/16M, 1-27.
12—ARCTIC OCEAN, f, 3, Concord Point--Silk Sails, by Ocean Crest. ($32,000 '13 KEESEP; $33,000 2014 OBSJUN). O-Moirano, John L, Nehoc Stables and Sokol, Alan, B-Lantern Hill Farm (KY), T-Gary C. Contessa, J-Rafael Manuel Hernandez, $60,000.
7—Save Rock and Roll, f, 3, Super Saver--Miss Mary Pat, by Service Stripe. ($60,000 '13 KEESEP; $50,000 2014 OBSMAR). O-Leonard C Green and Crush Racing Stable, B-MMP Partnership (KY), $20,000.
2—Back Flip, f, 3, Super Saver--For Royalty, by Not for Love. ($200,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Bortolazzo Stable LLC, B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY), $10,000.
Also Ran: Titanium Jo, Rue Royale, B Rockett, Magnificent Margo, Jersey Jules, Danube River, More Than Rainbows, Our Sister Ania.
Winning Time: 1:46 4/5 (ft)
Margins: NK, 2, HF.
 
OBS CHAMPIONSHIP S., OTC, $100,000, 3YO, C/G, 1 1/16M, 1-27.
2—FIRESPIKE, c, 3, Flower Alley--Fairy Valley, by Dixieland Band. ($70,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Skychai Racing LLC, Warner, Charles Kevin, and Sand Dollar Stable LLC, B-Carlos Rafael, Michael Bossio &Cherie Abner (FL), T-Michael J. Maker, J-Joel Rosario, $60,000.
1—Big Yum, c, 3, Kantharos--Hi Avie, by Lord Avie. O-Murray Stroud, B-Melissa Lynn Anthony, Mr & Mrs David Nowicki & The Boys (FL), $20,000.
4—Prince Vincenzo, c, 3, Exclusive Quality--Christmas Lights, by Citidancer. ($32,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-DiBello Racing LLC, B-Brent Fernung & Crystal Fernung (FL), $10,000.
Also Ran: Toasting Master, Bordini, Royal Squeeze, Andy Po Po.
Winning Time: 1:46 2/5 (ft)
Margins: 2 1/4, NK, HF.
 
OBS SPRINT S., OTC, $50,000, 3YO, F, 6F, 1-27.
8—LADY SHIPMAN, f, 3, Midshipman--Sumthingtotalkabt, by Mutakddim. O-Ranlo Investments LLC, B-Randall E Lowe (KY), T-Kathleen O'Connell, J-Eduardo O. Nunez, $30,000.
2—Happy to Go, f, 3, Saint Anddan--Arctic Dove, by Dove Hunt. ($8,000 '12 OBSOCT; $8,000 '13 OBSAUG). O-Raul Bahena, B-Lynne Boutte (PA), $10,000.
9—Cool Comfort, f, 3, Big Brown--Singing Sensation, by Coronado's Quest. ($60,000 '13 KEEJAN; $115,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Ten Broeck Farm, Inc, B-Big Brown Syndicate, Burden Creek Farm LLC & Bill Nichols (KY), $5,000.
Also Ran: Polly My Love, Gold Value.
Winning Time: 1:08 4/5 (ft)
Margins: 8, NO, 5HF.
 
OBS SPRINT S., OTC, $50,000, 3YO, C/G, 6F, 1-27.
2—IT'S NOT ME, g, 3, D'wildcat--Jovetta, by Elusive Quality. ($30,000 '13 OBSAUG; $50,000 2014 OBSJUN). O-White Wabbit Wacing LLC and Marco Thoroughbred Corp, B-Karen Silva (FL), T-Jorge Navarro, J-Edgard J. Zayas, $30,000.
7—Charlie's Brother, c, 3, With Distinction--Rockandrollqueen, by Deputy Commander. ($25,000 '13 OBSAUG). O-Moles, Stanley S and Starr Stables LLC, B-Dr Tiffany A Atteberry & Scott Brown (FL), $10,000.
8—Social Request, r, 3, Lookin At Lucky--Silver Lilly, by Silver Deputy. ($75,000 '13 KEESEP; $100,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Rontos Racing Stable Corp, B-Machmer Hall (KY), $5,000.
Also Ran: Copper Hill, Tiger of Wales, Never Give In, Really Blue Moon.
Winning Time: 1:09 3/5 (ft)
Margins: 8 3/4, HD, 1HF.

Notebooks

AQUEDUCT NOTEBOOK

JANUARY 29, 2015

by John Mucciolo

There was no graded racing during the abbreviated week on the inner oval at Aqueduct.

Track Stats

A total of 25 races were held over the inner strip at the Long Island, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 44 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 72 percent of the wins during the week. Eight were won in wire-to-wire fashion (32 percent), while there was no turf racing.

It was hard to gauge the condition of the main oval with little racing and a slew of very small fields. We thought the Thursday oval was better for horses from off the pace and speed better over the weekend, if anything.

A total of 22 of the 25 races were taken by horses breaking from the inner six post slots (88 percent), though that once again is a case of small fields at play.

Meet Totals

RACES:   241
DIRT:   241
FAVORITES:   102 (42 percent)
2ND CHOICES:   41 (17 percent)
DIRT WIRE:   59 (24 percent)

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (1/22)

2ND -- COPERNICUS (Munnings) sped to the front and never faced a challenge in easily dispatching this group under Guillermo Rodriguez. The sophomore colt could turn out to be a nice claim for Rudy Rodriguez and we have a hunch this one might be capable of carrying his speed a bit longer under the right circumstances.

5TH -- REGULUS (Distorted Humor) easily went by the odds-on leader in the lane and powered home a strong winner in this claiming run for Rudy. The six-year-old gelding came home swiftly for the level and likely won't be in for a tag following this dash.

Friday (1/23)

2ND -- We think it's safe to say that JACKIE BLACK (Discreet Cat) appreciated the stretch out to a route run first time off the claim as the three-year-old miss rolled home to a victory stated as 35 lengths. The speedy Linda Rice trainee earned a hefty 90 BRIS Speed figure for this event and surely won't be in for a tag next time out.

4TH -- Richard Violette's debuter LEHIGH FIVE (Birdstone) overcame the rail, dueled to the top of the lane and then exploded late in a fine first-out tally over a fairly decent field of prospects. The interesting sophomore colt is bred to run long, but has fine speed and really could be any kind.

6TH -- DULCIFY (Candy Ride [Arg]) was wide early and especially wide in the lane, so her run was a lot better than it might appear on paper. The Steve Klesaris trainee had not been on the track since the summer, so to be beaten by just three lengths after giving up a ton of ground should make her very live in her subsequent outing, perhaps at a price.

8TH -- ORGANIC GEMINI (Sir Whimsey) was last early but did put in a spirited run in a much improved test for trainer Steve Asmussen. The New York-bred was more than six lengths clear of the show and should be graduating with any type of forward move in the near future.

Sunday (1/25)

6TH -- The Chad Brown-trained LONGFOR THE CITY (Langfuhr) was never getting to the winner but he did fight on gamely to get second in his first start since September. The five-year-old should be expected to move up off of this prep run.

8TH -- WENT THE DAY WELL (Proud Citizen) had been off form for some time following a big early part of his sophomore campaign, but the six-year-old has done some good things since joining the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. The Grade 3 winner put in a fine late rush to capture this race and surely looks to be moving in the right direction.

A Look Ahead

There is no graded racing this week at Aqueduct.

Results

NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

TUP, 4TH, ALW, $16,000, 4YO/UP, A7 1/2FT, 1-27.
2—TAELYNS PRINCE, g, 4, English Channel--Chaposa Springs, by Baldski. O-Todd Fitch, B-Bluegrass Hall, LLC (KY), T-Manuel Ortiz, Sr., J-Juan M. Gutierrez, $9,523.
8—Odeon, g, 6, After Market--Ing Ing (FR), by Bering (GB). ($125,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Michael Terry, B-James Gottwald (KY), $3,072.
6—Magic Cash, c, 4, Tapit--Magic Kitty, by Storm Cat. O-Mercedes Stables LLC, B-Mercedes Stables LLC (KY), $1,536.
Winning Time: 1:29 (fm)

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Wednesday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Charles Town   (2nd) Sir Warbo, 3-1
    (4th) Prisca, 5-1
Delta Downs   (4th) Train to Destiny, 7-2
    (8th) Wildcat Friendship, 7-2
Gulfstream Park   (6th) Zamarata, 4-1
    (7th) River of Dreams, 6-1
Mahoning Valley   (1st) Koncrete Kowgirl, 7-2
    (5th) Candy Chant, 3-1
Penn National   (2nd) Outhaul, 4-1
    (6th) Simple Tricks, 3-1
Tampa Bay Downs   (2nd) Always Dear, 5-1
    (5th) Desert Bliss, 4-1

North American Maiden Winners
Ish Ar--Heavenly Rules by Moses Tablet; ISH RULES, c, 3, HOU, Msw, 1-27, 1mT, 1:38 . B-P & D Racing Stable (OK.).
Mondavi--Men Are Perfect by Menifee; THAT IS SO RIGHT, g, 3, HOU, Mcl 10000, 1-27, 5 1/2f, 1:07 . B-Marilyn E. Zerhusen (IN.). $5,000 '13 INDOCT.
Super Saver--Dianehill (IRE) (MG1P$426,551), by Danehill; REALITY, c, 3, HOU, Msw, 1-27, 1mT, 1:37 4/5. B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY.). $80,000 '12 KEENOV; $40,000 2014 KEENOV; $150,000 2014 OBSMAR. *1/2 to Splash Point (G3).
Warrior's Reward--Diana My Love by Siberian Express; SENOR BIG, c, 3, HOU, Mcl 15000, 1-27, 1m 70y, 1:46 4/5. B-Brookdale (KY.). $2,500 '12 KEENOV; $4,500 2014 OBSJUN.
D'wildcat--Darian Skye by Dance Master; WILD SKYE, g, 4, MVR, Msw, 1-27, 5 1/2f, 1:08 2/5. B-David Wylie Perkins (FL.). $7,500 '11 OBSOCT.

HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.

Announcements

Help Wanted

A horse racing website is currently hiring for part-time positions as a Customer Service Representative in Lexington, Kentucky. Must be available nights and weekends. Some weekdays may also be available. Computer literacy required, horse racing knowledge and customer service experience a plus. To schedule an interview, email or send your résumé to the following: Nancy.Kanaval@brisnet.com, P.O. Box 4097, Lexington, KY 40544.

Features

KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

JANUARY 28, 2015

by James Scully

Upstart (Flatter) was sensational in Saturday's Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, romping to a 5 1/2-length victory. His eye-catching 105 BRIS Speed rating is even more impressive given how wide he traveled throughout the 1 1/16-mile race (more than 30 feet farther than both the runner-up and third-placer).

The New York-bred colt has clearly improved at age three for trainer Richard Violette Jr., a key attribute for any Kentucky Derby hopeful with two-year-old form.

Upstart was easy to identify as a possible Kentucky Derby contender entering his sophomore season but lacked fanfare -- his 53-1 odds in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (November 28-30) were more indicative of a second-tier prospect.

The dark bay captured his first two starts over state-bred rivals in a pair of sprints at Saratoga, including the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide. In his first attempt against open rivals, he offered a solid middle move to record a non-threatening second in Champagne Stakes (G1) last October and followed with a respectable third in his 2014 finale, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winning Texas Red (Afleet Alex) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

By virtue of his Holy Bull tour-de-force, Upstart will be among the favorites in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (February 6-8). He's by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, whose runners tend to improve with age, and is out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. The presence of champion sprinter Housebuster, sire of the second maternal dam, adds a nice mix of speed to Upstart's stamina-infused bloodlines.

Violette was also on last year's Kentucky Derby trail with another New York-bred, Samraat, who opened 2014 with smart wins in the Withers (G3) and Gotham (G3) before a second in the TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1). But Samraat lacked a favorable pedigree for classic distances (out of an Indian Charlie mare) and wound up fifth in the 140th Kentucky Derby.

Upstart continued to display good tactical speed in the Holy Bull, racing within a couple of lengths of the early pace, and netted a 107 BRIS Late Pace rating while winning convincingly. He's got a lot going for him.

Frosted (Tapit) remains highly promising. After concluding last year with a commendable second in the Remsen (G2), the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was bet down to 3-2 favoritism in the Holy Bull but had to settle for runner-up honors once again.

The well-bred gray colt saved ground from his innermost post position, stalking the pace in fourth during the early stages, and finished up nicely to be clear of third-placer Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat). Frosted equaled his 98 BRIS Speed rating from the Remsen and earned a 101 Late Pace. It will be no surprise to see him keep moving forward off the encouraging performance.

Bluegrass Singer saved third in his two-turn bow, but the stakes-winning gelding probably doesn't want any part of longer distances.

Late runners Keen Ice (Curlin), Frammento (Midshipman) and First Down (Street Sense) all failed to make a significant impact; their connections will be hoping for much more next time.

Debut winner

Khozan (Distorted Humor) is behind the proverbial eight-ball, making such a late career debut on January 24, but the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is one to watch following his impressive maiden tally on the Holy Bull undercard.

A half-brother to three-time champion and $4.8-million earner Royal Delta, the $1 million yearling drew off sharply to a 3 3/4-length decision and earned a 103 BRIS Speed rating after completing seven furlongs in 1:23.63. His performance was flattered by Barbados (Speightstown), who stopped the teletimer in 1:24.39 winning the Hutcheson (G3) one race later as the 3-5 favorite.

Upcoming

There are no scoring races this weekend, but Texas Red will make his three-year-old bow in Sunday's seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs.

Notebooks

AQUEDUCT NOTEBOOK

JANUARY 29, 2015

by John Mucciolo

There was no graded racing during the abbreviated week on the inner oval at Aqueduct.

Track Stats

A total of 25 races were held over the inner strip at the Long Island, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 44 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 72 percent of the wins during the week. Eight were won in wire-to-wire fashion (32 percent), while there was no turf racing.

It was hard to gauge the condition of the main oval with little racing and a slew of very small fields. We thought the Thursday oval was better for horses from off the pace and speed better over the weekend, if anything.

A total of 22 of the 25 races were taken by horses breaking from the inner six post slots (88 percent), though that once again is a case of small fields at play.

Meet Totals

RACES:   241
DIRT:   241
FAVORITES:   102 (42 percent)
2ND CHOICES:   41 (17 percent)
DIRT WIRE:   59 (24 percent)

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (1/22)

2ND -- COPERNICUS (Munnings) sped to the front and never faced a challenge in easily dispatching this group under Guillermo Rodriguez. The sophomore colt could turn out to be a nice claim for Rudy Rodriguez and we have a hunch this one might be capable of carrying his speed a bit longer under the right circumstances.

5TH -- REGULUS (Distorted Humor) easily went by the odds-on leader in the lane and powered home a strong winner in this claiming run for Rudy. The six-year-old gelding came home swiftly for the level and likely won't be in for a tag following this dash.

Friday (1/23)

2ND -- We think it's safe to say that JACKIE BLACK (Discreet Cat) appreciated the stretch out to a route run first time off the claim as the three-year-old miss rolled home to a victory stated as 35 lengths. The speedy Linda Rice trainee earned a hefty 90 BRIS Speed figure for this event and surely won't be in for a tag next time out.

4TH -- Richard Violette's debuter LEHIGH FIVE (Birdstone) overcame the rail, dueled to the top of the lane and then exploded late in a fine first-out tally over a fairly decent field of prospects. The interesting sophomore colt is bred to run long, but has fine speed and really could be any kind.

6TH -- DULCIFY (Candy Ride [Arg]) was wide early and especially wide in the lane, so her run was a lot better than it might appear on paper. The Steve Klesaris trainee had not been on the track since the summer, so to be beaten by just three lengths after giving up a ton of ground should make her very live in her subsequent outing, perhaps at a price.

8TH -- ORGANIC GEMINI (Sir Whimsey) was last early but did put in a spirited run in a much improved test for trainer Steve Asmussen. The New York-bred was more than six lengths clear of the show and should be graduating with any type of forward move in the near future.

Sunday (1/25)

6TH -- The Chad Brown-trained LONGFOR THE CITY (Langfuhr) was never getting to the winner but he did fight on gamely to get second in his first start since September. The five-year-old should be expected to move up off of this prep run.

8TH -- WENT THE DAY WELL (Proud Citizen) had been off form for some time following a big early part of his sophomore campaign, but the six-year-old has done some good things since joining the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. The Grade 3 winner put in a fine late rush to capture this race and surely looks to be moving in the right direction.

A Look Ahead

There is no graded racing this week at Aqueduct.

HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.

Announcements

Help Wanted

A horse racing website is currently hiring for part-time positions as a Customer Service Representative in Lexington, Kentucky. Must be available nights and weekends. Some weekdays may also be available. Computer literacy required, horse racing knowledge and customer service experience a plus. To schedule an interview, email or send your résumé to the following: Nancy.Kanaval@brisnet.com, P.O. Box 4097, Lexington, KY 40544.