03/11/2013 2:58PM

Kentucky Derby trail: Weekend's winners get focused

Emily Shields
Hear the Ghost (5), with Corey Nakatani riding, wins the San Felipe over Flashback..

ARCADIA, Calif. – While Verrazano on Saturday was reconfirming his position as the ante-post favorite for the May 4 Kentucky Derby with his easy victory in the Tampa Bay Derby, the depth chart on the West Coast took on a new look as Hear the Ghost upset the previously unbeaten Flashback and highly regarded Goldencents in the San Felipe Stakes here at Santa Anita.

All the major principals were reported by their barns as having emerged from their races in good condition, but with the Derby drawing ever closer, a lot of maturity will have to happen in a hurry, as those four – Verrazano, Hear the Ghost, Flashback, and Goldencents – are scheduled for just one more prep each.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Verrazano and Hear the Ghost both were making their two-turn and graded-stakes debuts in their third lifetime starts, and both passed their tests. Flashback and Goldencents will have more to answer next time – specifically, can they harness their natural speed and talent over the required distance?

Verrazano returned to the Palm Meadows training center after his brief visit to Tampa and will now be pointed to the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial on April 6 at Aqueduct, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday morning.

Pletcher, speaking from the 2-year-olds in training sale in Ocala, Fla., said it is “90 percent certain” Verrazano would run in the Wood. His other options are the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 30 and the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 13, but he described the chances of running in either of those races as “5 percent each.”

“The Wood is the logical choice,” Pletcher said.

Hear the Ghost, Flashback, and Goldencents all are scheduled for a rematch in the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6, according to their trainers, Jerry Hollendorfer, Bob Baffert, and Doug O'Neill, respectively

The Wood and the Santa Anita Derby are worth 170 points – with 100 to the winner – under the new system put in place this year by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility to the Derby should the field, as expected, have more than the maximum 20 entrants. The Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe were worth 85 points, with 50 to the winner.

With eyes locked on the points list, Pletcher on Monday said that Overanalyze, who was fifth in the Gotham in his 3-year-old debut, is under serious consideration for the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby on March 24 instead of the Wood, in which he would have to face stablemate Verrazano.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

If Overanalyze does runs at Sunland, he would be able to retain regular rider John Velazquez, who rides Verrazano. In addition, the Sunland race – worth 85 points overall – is six weeks before the Derby, so Overanalyze could conceivably race again, perhaps in the Arkansas Derby, if necessary.

Also, Capo Bastone, whom Pletcher had been targeting for the Grade 2, $600,000 Rebel Stakes this Saturday at Oaklawn, will instead wait another week and run in the Grade 3, $550,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 23. Both the Rebel and Spiral are worth 85 points overall.

The Rebel is expected to have a large field, though the defections of Capo Bastone and Park City, who ran in the Tampa Bay Derby, reduced the number of likely entrants. Super Ninety Nine, the Southwest winner, is scheduled to head back to Oaklawn from California for the Rebel for Baffert. Another California-based Rebel contender, Treasury Bill, worked a half-mile in 48 seconds Monday morning at Betfair Hollywood Park for trainer Ron Ellis
Ive Struck a Nerve, the longshot winner of the Risen Star, came off the Derby trail over the weekend after suffering a fractured sesamoid in his left front ankle in a workout at Fair Grounds in preparation for the Louisiana Derby.

Ive Struck a Nerve was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday at the Rood and Riddle equine hospital in Lexington, Ky. He is expected to be sidelined for perhaps six months.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux said Ive Struck a Nerve departed Fair Grounds by van early Sunday and was to be operated on by Dr. Larry Bramlage, the noted equine surgeon.

“Obviously, the whole ordeal is very disappointing,” said Desormeaux, who never had been close to having a Derby runner. “It doesn’t look like it’s career-threatening, and he’s not in peril. It’s the kind of injury that happens quite a bit in this game. The good news is we know we still have a nice horse.”

– additional reporting by Marty McGee

Larry Terry More than 1 year ago
how can the san flepie have faster times and have a beyer speed figure so much slower....somebody please explain
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Santa Anita is like running on a paved highway, and Tampa Bay like running on the beach.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
I guess churchill downs is some where in between???...ty...
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Churchill can be cuppy, usually in between, but is always tightened up for the Derby.
Albert More than 1 year ago
Look past the raw numbers and the times....the results were not that far apart when you consider that Verrazano had the shorter trip and the Ghost ran 3 wide the entire way. Some people will tell you that he had the perfect pace setup and that is true to some extent. However, Verrazano had the easier field and a really perfect pace setup. He laid over his field by the numbers; Ghost's previous numbers were further behind the top two in the field; he had to step up his game to catch those frontrunners and he did just that.
Nathan More than 1 year ago
it's called "track variant". start using brisnet . much more accurate.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
time in horse racing is subjective. The time for a 1|16 mile race at Santa Anita will be faster than a 1|16 mile race at Tampa Bay. Pure physics. Extremely different surfaces. But again, I have no faith in Steven Beyer. I think his figures are and always have been a bunch of hocus pocus. I try to trust my own intuition as to what facts and figures mean. Not saying I`m a genius. But I have more sucess relying upon myself.
george cernansky More than 1 year ago
I think his name is Andrew. Maybe why you lose at the races is because you use Stevens numbers.
Elizabeth More than 1 year ago
I Can't Agree With You More! I've Reada Lot About The Better System And ThereAre Too Many Numbers That Are Assigned That Are So Subjective. I Pay No Attention To Them.
B More than 1 year ago
No prominent horses in the Blue Grass?
ddwage62 More than 1 year ago
Rydilluc. your derby winner.
Tommy More than 1 year ago
Poly has rendered the Blue Grass somewhat irrelevant. Street Sense notwithstanding, as he truly used the race as just a prep.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
To all those speculating who Johnny V. would ride; Verrazano or ORB...your question has been somewhat answered.. ORB running in Florida Derby so Verrazano commits to Wood. Not solely due to Shanghai Bobby in Florida either..PLETCHERruns multiple horses in same races often.
miguelmunozlaw More than 1 year ago
Anyone else think that Krigger gave Goldencents a bad ride on Saturday? No need to jump to the lead so soon on the backstretch.
Randy Atkins More than 1 year ago
In my opinion he is not that good of a jockey and O'Neil surely has better choices than that for a TC horse. I thought it was a horrible ride...and most of the time he is a bad judge of pace. They need Gary Stevens on that horse !!!!!!!!
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Krigger jumped on JL like a cheap suit!!!...The Iceman would be a no brainer!!!...ty...
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
i def think krigger is concerned about his ride the way he bashed julian so quick and too the press at that. i think that was a desperate plea to save his mount will see. personally i dont think hes any better then average. he happens to be on a horse that made him look good till sat.
Sam Cooper More than 1 year ago
I don't think Krigger is in danger of losing his mount. His horse was rank, Krigger was pulling back on the reins, but as Denman said, he was "having none of that." Watch when Leparoux swung outside and Flashback briefly passes Goldencents around the first turn. Goldencents starts shaking his head all around and darts past Omega Star. Flashback went with him and the speed dual was on. Krigger was right, Leparoux initiated it.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Van Cushny More than 1 year ago
No jockey alive could have restrained Goldencents. O'Neil needs to teach Goldencents haow to rate by working him behind horses in the AM.
Alberto More than 1 year ago
Once krigger could not control Goldecents, instead of pulling and fighting with the horse he was supposed to let him go and do his thing!! I bet Goldecents next race will be with Martin Garcia up!! So keep an eye and make some money!!
Nicholas Heaven More than 1 year ago
If u think kreigger ride was Bad what about leperieux. He force a horse that has natural speed and can take control of the anytime to run 22:45. This jock has no brains. After such brutal fractions he still ran second by a half a length. Baffert pls replace him withda veteran Mike Smith to harness his speed on the front end.
edb More than 1 year ago
Goldencents wants to run fast. Coming off 62 day layoff and trying to run like Groovy is not what I call a good ride. He needed the race and will be a beast in his next races. Get enough points to get in the derby and get ready to run with Shanghai Bobby. Will be an awesome derby finish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Annie and SR Vegas, Many thanks for the Super Ninety Nine info. It looks like a decent race to prove his worth. Talking of decent races, anyone with the slightest interest in steeplechasing will want to search out TV coverage of the Tuesday through Friday Cheltenham Festival. 4 days great racing, both fences and hurdles, a tremendous Anglo / Irish rivalry, it draws a total crowd around 200,000. The small town of Cheltenham is completely swamped for the 4 days, but the visitors spending power is a massive boost for the local economy. Think Saratoga's best week, but with bells on. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Black More than 1 year ago
Sir Bernard of Downes, How'd you get over here Bernard ? Make a mistake ? Just letting you know Bernard that it's not my choice to be absent. I've been exiled to Elba. Have a nice Festival. Best Regards BSB
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Blackseakreskin; I didn't know that you had been exiled, but of course, you knew that I didn't know this... Anyhow, I'll leave you some notes over there...presuming you can still access it... late vs
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
BSB: Just want to let you know I miss your thoughts about the 3 year old crop approaching the Triple Crown races over at FormBlog. I always loved reading the old Rasmussen articles but you've retained a lot more than I have. The little emperor got tired of Elba and launched a comeback - so hope to see you in the other place again soon.
Keith More than 1 year ago
There was only one (1) nine (9) furlong stakes race in the US of A on the weekend for 3 yr olds, and that was the Private Terms, won by the Mott colt, Mr. Palmer, who unleashed a strong kick to collar and pull away by 4 lengths in the stretch wrapped up under Junion Alvarado. This Pulpit colt out of a Quiet American mare will await the shippers into NY, undoubtedly, for the running of the Wood Memorial for his lay it all down on the line attempt to gain the qualifying points to get to the Derby starting gate. Keith L.
Elijah Allison More than 1 year ago
Tommy More than 1 year ago
It's a path.