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One of the unintended consequences of this weekend's soaking rainstorm forecast for Southern California is that Monday's $100,000 La Habra S. (G3) has the potential to develop into a prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Scheduled for about 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf, the La Habra might have to be moved to the main track if the turf does not dry out sufficiently.
Jockey Joe Bravo rode PANTS ON FIRE (Jump Start) for the first time at Monmouth Park in the summer of 2010. That didn't last very long.
"That afternoon in the post parade he shied from something," Bravo recalled. "He's so powerful and strong, next thing I knew, he dropped me on my keister. He's real talented, just a big playboy."
Three Kentucky Derby (G1) prep races were offered last Saturday and BRETHREN (Distorted Humor) proved to be the biggest star, recording an easy four-length victory in his stakes debut, the Sam F. Davis S. (G3). We'll take a closer look at his performance below, as well as a recap of the Robert B. Lewis (G2) and El Camino Real Derby (G3).
We also have a dynamite race to preview this Saturday, the Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds.
THE FACTOR (War Front), who set a new track record for six furlongs when breaking his maiden in 1:06.98 at Santa Anita on December 26, will make his highly anticipated stakes debut against eight rivals in Sunday's $150,000 San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita, and the Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful will pick up a new jockey in Martin Garcia, who replaces Rafael Bejarano in the saddle.
Sham Stakes (G3) winner TAPIZAR (Tapit), a tiring fifth as the odds-on choice in last Saturday's Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) at Santa Anita, has been removed from Kentucky Derby (G1) contention after being diagnosed with a bone chip in his knee. Trainer Steve Asmussen revealed the news to Daily Racing Form on Tuesday.
"It's very, very disappointing," Asmussen said. "I feel bad for everybody involved."
Churchill Downs’ “Road to the Roses” Kentucky Derby Fantasy Challenge presented by WinStar Farm is back. The free online contest that allows racing fans to manage a stable of Kentucky Derby contenders during the three-month buildup to the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) is now open for registration.
Saturday's Louisiana Derby Preview Day at Fair Grounds will live up to its billing with six stakes, four which are graded and serve as the final preps for the meet highlights on the March 26 Louisiana Derby Day program. The $300,000 Risen Star S. (G2) is the main attraction on Preview Day and there is no shortage of intrigue among the 10 three-year-old colts entered for the 1 1/16-mile test.
Seven three-year-old fillies will do battle in Saturday's $150,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at 1 1/16 miles, a tune-up for next month's Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). Renamed this season from the Silverbulletday to honor the 2009 Horse of the Year, the race is lead by Grade 2 vixen KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat), who stole some of the colt Santiva's (Giant's Causeway) thunder at Churchill on November 27 with an 8 1/2-length romp in the Golden Rod.
Highly-regarded three-year-old THE FACTOR (War Front) smoked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:24 2/5 over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track on Monday, punching his ticket to the San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita on Sunday.
The Bob Baffert pupil, who broke his maiden by 8 1/4 lengths in track-record time at Santa Anita on December 26, was battling foot issues last month. As a result, the gray colt shifted base to Hollywood. The Factor was recording his second drill since renewing residence here, having blazed six furlongs in 1:12 last Tuesday.