WEST / CALIFORNIA-BRED CARACORTADO CONTINUES ROLL IN ROBERT B. LEWIS, JOINS KENTUCKY DERBY PICTURE
Unbeaten Caracortado, a California-bred gelding who scored his first victory in a race for $40,000 claiming horses at Fairplex, knocked off some 3-year-old rivals with bigger reputations with an easy victory in Saturday’s rain-delayed $150,000-added Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grade II) over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
The son of Cat Dreams – whose name means “Scarface” in Spanish – rolled from third to whip the late-running Dave in Dixie by 1 ¾ lengths. The runner-up was a wagering interest in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), as were third-place finisher American Lion and the favored Tiz Chrome, who tired after setting the pace and faded to fourth.
Jockey Paul Atkinson was aboard Caracortado, who competed 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.75 – the fastest time of the meet. The winner is trained by Mike Machowsky, who also bred the new Kentucky Derby contender and co-owns Caracortado with Don Blahut.
“Every time I ask him, he does what I want,” Machowsky said. “If he’s under the radar now, he shouldn’t be.”
The Lewis was the fifth career victory for Caracortado, who is expect to run next in the San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita on March 13. His opponents in that race could include 2010 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who is expected to make his 2010 debut for trainer Bob Baffert in that race.
Three California-bred horses have won the Kentucky Derby. That group includes Morvich (1922), Swaps (1955) and Decidedly (1962). California-bred Cavonnier just missed when he was nipped at the Churchill Downs finish line by Grindstone in 1996.
Sidney’s Candy, a well-regarded 2-year-old in Southern California, will get a chance to restore his reputation in the $150,000 San Vicente (GII) at seven furlongs on a special Monday card to mark the President’s Day holiday. The John Sadler-trained colt is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish as a heavy favorite in a Santa Anita allowance race on Dec. 30, a contest that was his first race in four months.
Baffert has a pair of runners among the seven 3-year-olds entered in the San Vicente that includes Tiny Woods, who has two wins over Sidney’s Candy, and Quiet Invader.
SOUTHEAST / UNBEATEN RULE ROLLS IN TAMPA BAY’S SAM F. DAVIS – Heavily favored Rule led from start-to-finish to notch an impressive win in Saturday’s $200,000 Sam F. Davis (GIII) at Tampa Bay. Now the WinStar Farm star is ready for bigger races and tougher foes.
The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Roman Ruler drew off from Schoolyard Dreams under jockey John Velazquez to win by three lengths. Previously unbeaten Uptowncharlybrown rallied to finish third as Rule covered 1 1/16 miles over a “fast” track in 1:44.15.
IIt was the second consecutive stakes win for Rule, who won the $750,000 Delta Jackpot (GIII) in December and the colt has now earned $570,000 in his career – and should have more than enough graded stakes earnings to guarantee a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
Pletcher said Rule would likely bypass the Tampa Bay Derby (GIII) on March 13 in favor of a run in a Grade I stakes race.
“We’re in good position with him now because we’ve got a race under his belt, he has the money, and we have the time to look around for a spot,” said Pletcher, who is searching for his first win in the Kentucky Derby. There are plenty of options such as the Florida Derby, (Toyota) Blue Grass and Wood (Memorial).”
KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER / AS USUAL, THE FANS SHOWER LOVE ON ‘ALL OTHERS’ – The first of three pools of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager concluded on Sunday with a Valentine’s Day display of affection for the mutuel field, which was a strong 3-2 favorite at the close of betting.
The wagering interest that included all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses in Pool 1 closed as the 3-2 favorite. Lookin At Lucky, the 2009 juvenile champion, was the favored individual horse at 8-1 and unbeaten Buddy’s Saint was next at 10-1.
Wagering in the first three-day pool in KDFW history totaled $466,048. All pools in the previous 11 years of the bet had lasted four days. The 2010 Pool 1 total included $385,995 in win betting and $80,053 wagered on exactas.
Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is set for March 5-7, while the year’s final pool is scheduled for March 26-28.
SOUTH / DUBLIN, DRYFLY AND CONVERGENCE MEET IN MONDAY’S SOUTHWEST – A strong field of 10 3-year-olds is set to contest Monday’s $250,000 Southwest Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn Park and three horses featured in the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool are in the race.
The most accomplished of those is Dublin, the Hopeful (GI) winner trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas. Dublin has undergone throat surgery after a disappointing run in Churchill Downs’ Iroquois Stakes (GIII) in early November, but drew the outside post for his first start of 2010 in the one-mile Southwest.
Other KDFW wagering interests are unbeaten Conveyance, winner of Santa Anita’s San Rafael (GIII) and Dryfly, the winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn for track owner Charles Cella and trainer Lynn Whiting, who won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee.
Meanwhile, contenders are gathering for Saturday’s Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds, the New Orleans track’s major prep for the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (GII) on March 27. Ron the Greek and Maximus Ruler, 1-2 in the Lecomte (GIII) over the track, and Florida invader Drosselmeyer are expected to be among the competitors in the Risen Star.