- Road to the Kentucky Derby
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Bob Baffert reports that Triple Crown hopeful THE FACTOR (War Front) is back on the track after missing three days with a foot bruise.
"He had a little setback," Santa Anita's leading trainer said.
The Factor opened his career with a fourth-place run over Hollywood Park's synthetic Cushion Track. He stepped up in a major way next out, though, to score by 8 1/4 lengths in his first try over Santa Anita's dirt track, setting a track record of 1:06.98 for six furlongs on December 26.
After Jean Lafitte S. winner DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction) worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 3/5 at Calder on Friday, trainer Juan Arias announced that he would head to Fair Grounds for the February 19 Risen Star S. (G3).
Decisive Moment's drill easily ranked as the fastest of 21 moves at the distance on the fast track.
"He was galloping out the five furlongs this morning," Arias said. "I got him going the half in :48. Last week he got the half in :49 and change."
The 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) chase is a month old and the early favorite, unbeaten Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie), recorded his first workout last Sunday at Palm Meadows, breezing three furlongs in :39 4/5. He's being pointed to the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 12.
We have races to recap from January, but let's begin with a look back at some top horses from last year.
The Derby is 13 weeks from Saturday.
TURBULENT DESCENT (Congrats) puts her undefeated mark on the line Saturday while taking on six rivals in the one-mile Las Virgenes S. (G1) at Santa Anita. The Mike Puype trainee broke her maiden at the Oak Tree meet run at Hollywood Park, then remained at that venue to add the Moccasin S. and Hollywood Starlet S. (G1) to her resume. The bay lass is trying a conventional dirt track for the first time in the Las Virgenes, and retains the services of regular David Flores for her sophomore bow.
Count Fleet S runner-up J J'S LUCKY TRAIN (Silver Train) and unbeaten RESCIND THE TRADE (Put It Back) are top draws in Saturday's $100,000 Whirlaway S. A prep for Aqueduct's premiere event for three-year-olds, the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G1) on April 9, the Whirlaway will feature a field of seven runners over 1 1/16 miles on the inner track.
Turfway Prevue S. winner INHISGLORY (Pure Prize) makes his debut for trainer Mike Stidham in Saturday's $60,000 Black Gold S., one of two sprint stakes for three-year-olds on the Fair Grounds card.
Formerly trained by Wayne Mogge, the bay gelding was purchased by Peter Redekop on the eve of his game score in the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue, where he just lasted by a nose.
Undefeated champion UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) recorded his first official breeze since his 4 1/4-length conquest of the November 6 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), strolling three furlongs in a leisurely :39 4/5 over a fast track at Palm Meadows on Sunday. The Todd Pletcher colt is expected to begin his road to the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
“I think people are making a bigger deal out of the time than they need to,” Pletcher told Daily Racing Form.
Robert V LaPenta's DIALED IN (Mineshaft) unleashed a monster move from the tail of the field to capture his stakes debut in Sunday's $400,000 Holy Bull S. (G3), prevailing in a dramatic come-from-behind fashion not typically seen at speed-friendly Gulfstream Park. Highly regarded by Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, the Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful is now a perfect two-for-two.
In a potentially informative entry-level allowance for three-year-olds, Darley Stable's CROSSBOW (Bernardini) outdueled a stubborn Sovereign Default (Northern Afleet) in Saturday's 5TH race at Gulfstream Park. The two impressive maiden winners dominated in the wagering as well, with Crossbow the slight even-money favorite over the 6-5 Sovereign Default, and the margin of victory on the track wasn't that much larger.
Courtlandt Farms' homebred MACHEN (Distorted Humor) confirmed his potential as a Louisiana Derby (G2) prospect by dominating Sunday's 5TH race at Fair Grounds, but the unbeaten colt had anything but clear sailing as prohibitive 1-20 favorite.