Monday, March 12, 2012

Some 2012 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

It's hard to believe it, but it's already time to start talking about the 2012 Kentucky Derby trail. Some key early prep races have been run - here's a quick recap of a few that caught my eye:

Union Rags, the 2nd choice in the the 2nd Kentucky Derby Futures Pool after "all other 3-year-olds," crushed the G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on February 26th. Another powerful win in the Florida Derby on March 31 would pretty clearly install him as the morning line favorite on Derby day.

Hansen, the third choice in the 2nd Futures pool, made it look easy in the G3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 3. My Adonis gave chase in the stretch and was well clear of the rest of the field, but Hansen just skipped away in the last 100 yards. Look for both to run in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7, one of my favorite races of the year.

Todd Pletcher's El Padrino narrowly won the G2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in spite of a game challenge from Mark Valeski in deep stretch. El Padrino's final prep will most likely be either the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 31, or the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on April 1. Mark Valeski is slated to appear in the latter, which would give him a shot at revenge.

My favorite finish was definitely handed in by Creative Cause in the G2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita (shown at the top of this post). CC came into the field 4-wide and closed like a steam engine. It might have been a suspect field but man, it sure looked nice.

Stay tuned to No Hassle for more race coverage, including our highly anticipated, in-depth analysis of the afore-mentioned Wood Memorial.