Saturday, May 5, 2012

Californians rock the field and other surprises

Four horses out of California tracks finished among the top six finishers, including the top two finishers, a surprise to many who thought that the eastern horses would dominate the race.

Aside from the winning horse, I’ll Have Another, the first winner out of Santa Anita since 1989, Bodemeister finished second with Creative Cause and Liason running big races. One of the longest shots on the board, Liason, who came out of the 20-hole at odds of 26-1, finished a very game sixth. Creative Cause was a prime player and he finished in fifth place.

Went the Day Well at 14-1, finished fourth coming from 17th place in the early going. . Rousing Sermon, out of the tough two post and at odds of 18-1, surprised many by finishing in eighth place.

On the other side of the coin, Gemologist, 16th, and favorite Union Rags, 7th, disappointed their backers.

Who are the Connections of I’ll Have Another?

Jockey Mario Gutierrez is a 25-year old jockey from Mexico who began riding in Canada. He was the leading jockey at Hastings in Vancouver, BC before taking his tack to southern California. Kentucky Derby 138 was his first, the 42nd jockey to do so in his first Derby outing…..on Cinco de Mayo!

Trainer Doug O’Neill won the 2012 Kentucky Derby for the first time in three tries. He trained 2007 entrant Great Hunter, who finished 13th. He also trained the great Lava Man. O’Neill has 1600 career wins in a career that started in 1986. He took out his license in 1994.

Owner J. Paul Reddam, a native of Canada, earned a Ph.D in philosophy at USC. He is President of CashCall, a finance company. Reddam started in the harness racing industry and now has 25 thoroughbreds in training. He started two horses in the Kentucky Derby in 2007, Liquidity and Great Hunter.

I’ll Have Another Joins the immortals by winning Kentucky Derby 138

I’ll Have Another, with a masterful ride by jockey Martin Gutierrez, joined the ranks of the immortals by winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby.

With Bodemesier taking the lead out of the gate and I’ll Have Another set behind the leader by about 12 lengths in 15th place, the jockey moved in position to stalk before Gutierrez gunned him to catch the leader in deep stretch. The winning margin was 1-1/2 lengths with I’ll Have Another looking like he could go another 3 furlongs.

Trainer Doug O’Neill said after the race that his faith in I’ll Have Another never waned despite the son of Flower Alley having been considered by some a cut below other California Derby contenders. “That race (The Robert B. Lewis that he won at 43-1) really surprised me. They wanted to try that spot (the Lewis) to see if he was a Derby hose and then he repeated in the Santa Anita Derby.”

I’ll Have Another went off at odds of 15-1 and paid $32.40.

“I don’t know what to say,” Gutierrez said. “Thanks to Mr. (Paul) Reddam , the owner, for having the confidence he showed in me at Santa Anita….” Gutierrez kicked around tracks in Canada before getting his shot in California.

“Maryland here we come, baby!” O’Neill said about I’ll Have Another going to the Preakness in two weeks.

Bodemeister, who led for most of the race, finished second with Dullahan coming from deep stretch to close a strong third.

More than 160,000 attend Kentucky Derby 138…a new record

While the official attendance hasn’t been announced, Churchill Vice President of Communications told the crowd during a presentation before the Derby that “a new attendance record has been set. More than 160,000 in attendance.”

More to come soon.

Little Mike gets big win in Woodford Reserve Turf Classic

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 5, 2012) – 

Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike continued a major afternoon for trainer Dale Romans by posting a front-running 2 ½-length triumph over Slim Shadey (GB) in the 26th running of the $561,500 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I) on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

        Earlier on the Kentucky Derby Day card, Romans sent out Shackleford to a victory in the Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII).

        Ridden by Joe Bravo, Little Mike led the field of 11 through fractions of :23.78, :48.27 and 1:12.81 while being unchallenged. Little Mike, who has now won 10 of 13 turf starts, continued to the wire unopposed and covered the 1 1/8 miles on a Matt Winn Turf Course labeled as “good” in 1:48.81.

        Little Mike, 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Spanish Steps out of the Wavering Monarch mare Hay Jude, added $327,242 to his bankroll and increased his career earnings to $830,412 with a record of 17-10-2-0.

        Little Mike returned $26.40, $13.40 and $8.20. Slim Shadey, ridden by David Flores, returned $11.60 and $6.80 with Brilliant Speed rallying for third a half-length back under John Velazquez and paying $6.40 to show.

        Doubles Partner finished a nose back in fourth and was followed in order by Data Link, Papaw Bodie, Turallure, Turbo Compressor, Get Stormy, Boxeur des Rues and Al Khali.

Groupie Doll shatters track record in winning Grade I Humana Distaff

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 5, 2012) – 

Fred Bradley, trainer Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns’ Groupie Doll made shambles of the field in winning the 26th running of the $334,500 Humana Distaff (Grade I) for fillies and mares by 7 ¼ lengths in track record time.

        Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Groupie Doll ran the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:20.44 to break the track record of 1:20.50 set by Alannan on May 5, 2001 and the stakes record of 1:20.70 established by Dream Supreme in 2001.

        It was the second consecutive Grade I victory for Groupie Doll, who had won the Vinery Madison at Keeneland on April 12. Left in her wake were the 1-2 finishers from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) here, Musical Romance and Switch.

        Mildly Offensive led the field of nine sprinters through the first quarter-mile in :22.42 with Groupie Doll in closest pursuit. Maragh moved Groupie Doll to the lead on the far turn and poured it on in the lane without being threatened.

        A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Bowman’s Band out of the Silver Deputy mare Deputy Doll, Groupie Doll earned $199,094 with the victory and increased her earnings to $688,850 with a record of 13-6-3-2.

        Groupie Doll returned $8.20, $4.40 and $3.20. Musical Romance, ridden by Juan Leyva, returned $5.40 and $4 in finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of Magical Feeling, who finished third under Roberto Alvarado Jr., and paid $5.80 to show.

        Mildly Offensive finished another three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Switch, Sassy Image, Salty Strike, Hot Summer and Fantasy of Flight.

Hungry Island wins Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 5, 2012) –  

Emory Hamilton’s homebred Hungry Island collared Tapitsfly at the eighth pole and then drew off to win the 27th running of the $223,400 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (Grade II) by a length on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

        Trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by John Velazquez, Hungry Island ran the mile on a Matt Winn Turf Course labeled as “good” in 1:36.20.

        Daisy Devine, winner of all four of her career starts on turf, led the field of seven through fractions of :24.78 and :48.68 with Marketing Mix and Tapitsfly in closest pursuit.

        At the head of the lane, Ramon Dominguez sent Tapitsfly to the lead with Velazquez swinging Hungry Island five wide from the back of the pack. Hungry Island drew even at midstretch and then pulled away for her first victory since the Lake Placid (GII) in August at Saratoga.
        The victory was worth $135,738 to Hungry Island, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready out of the A.P. Indy mare Flying Passage, and increased her bankroll to $390,770 with a record of 12-5-2-4.

        Hungry Island returned mutuels of $13.80, $6.40 and $4.60. Tapitsfly returned $6 and $3.80 with La Reine Lionne finishing 1 ½ lengths back in third under Javier Castellano and paying $5 to show.

        Favored Marketing Mix finished 1 ½ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Daisy Devine, Heavenly Landing and City to City.