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Anthony's Eleven (3/28/14)

Welcome to “Anthony’s Eleven,” your source for anything and everything leading up to Kentucky Derby 140 on May 3rd at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In the coming weeks, Anthony Stabile, best known for picking 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide at odds of over 12-1, will break down the top contenders for this years Run for the Roses on VegasInsider.com, culminating on Friday, May 2nd with an extensive analysis of every runner that steps into the gate for the most exciting two minutes in sports. On both May 2nd and May 3rd, Kentucky Oaks and Derby Day, you’ll be able to purchase Stabile’s Pick Packs, full of selections and plays for two of racings’ most exciting days of the year. 

Breakdown
Rank Horse Jockey Trainer Next Race Derby Points
1 Cairo Prince Luis Saez Kiaran McLaughlin Florida Derby (3/29 at GP) 14
2 Tapiture Ricardo Santana, Jr. Steve Asmussen Arkansas Derby (4/12 at OP) 22
3 Commissioner John Velazquez Todd Pletcher Arkansas Derby (4/12 at OP) 10
4 Hoppertunity Mike Smith Bob Baffert Santa Anita Derby (4/5 at SA) 55
5 Conquest Titan Shaun Bridgmnohan Mark Casse Arkansas Derby (4/12 at OP) 9
6 Ride On Curlin Kent Desormeaux Billy Gowan Arkansas Derby (4/12 at OP) 5
7 Intense Holiday Mike Smith Todd Pletcher Louisiana Derby (3/29 at FG) 53
8 Bobby's Kitten Javier Castellano Chad Brown Blue Grass (4/12 at KEE) 0
9 Uncle Sigh Corey Nakatani Gary Contessa Wood Memorial (4/5 at AQU) 24
10 Midnight Hawk Mike Smith Bob Baffert Undecided 52
11 Strong Mandate Joel Rosario D. Wayne Lukas Arkansas Derby (4/12 at OP) 6


There is great racing, literally, all around the world this Saturday as Dubai World Cup day will start early in the morning on the east coast and stretch through early afternoon as stellar cards from Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds get under way. While happening a world away, all three cards have one thing in common: a chance to earn 100 Kentucky Derby points if you’re able to win one of the trio of regional derbies that will be run.
 
CAIRO PRINCE makes his second start of the year when he takes on seven others in the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
 
As a juvenile, Cairo Prince broke his maiden, won the G2 Nashua and lost a heartbreaker to Honor Code by a nose in the Remsen. In both stakes tries, Cairo Prince had a penchant for waiting on horses, the last characteristic you want to see in any horse, let alone a Kentucky Derby contender.
 
For me, Cairo Prince went from a boy to a man last out in the G3 Holy Bull. After sitting a few lengths off a contested early pace, Cairo Prince loomed, launched and exploded through the lane, powering away to a 5 ¾ length score, stamping himself one of the early Derby favorites in the process.
 
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin opted to skip a February prep so he’d have a fresh horse for the springtime. From all reports, Cairo Prince is training very well for this and according to McLaughlin himself in a conversation I had with him just last week he said he “wouldn’t trade places with anyone.” Regular rider Luis Saez rides from post 3.
 
I love the fact that even though they’ve faced each other just two times, it’s hard for me not to think of Wildcat Red or General a Rod without thinking about the other because there isn’t much better than a budding rivalry on the Triple Crown Trail. In fact, in both of their battles, each at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream, they’ve never been more than a length apart at ANY point of the race
 
When they first met in the Gulfstream Park Derby, Wildcat Red was sent to the top and hounded throughout as General a Rod was just that aforementioned length behind at third. The two hooked up on the far turn and duked it out through the lane, with General a Rod and Joel Rosario gutting out a head decision.
 
Trainer Jose Garoffalo opted to run Wildcat Red back in the G3 Hutcheson going seven furlongs and was rewarded with a daylight score under Javier Castellano. When Garoffalo announced his horse would run back in the G2 Fountain of Youth, Castellano had already committed to General a Rod as he needed a new rider with Rosario opting to ride the favorite, the now injured Top Billing.
 
Luis Saez climbed aboard Wildcat Red and put him on the lead, again, in the Fountain of Youth with General a Rod lapped on around the course. The two were never more than a ½ length apart around the track and just when it looked as if General a Rod was going to draw off, or Top Billing was going to overcome a 12 length chasm, Wildcat Red re-rallied and refused to lose, hitting the wire a head in front of his foe.
 
Another game of musical jockey chairs is taking place in the Fountain of Youth. With Saez riding Cairo Prince, John Velazquez has picked up the call on Wildcat Red from post 1 while Rosario is reunited with General a Rod from post 6 as Castellano opts to ride Constitution.  
 
There’s not much to say about Constitution other than the fact that he’s been visually impressive in both of his starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. After breaking a beat slow in his debut, Constitution was hurried up along the rail and made his way to the lead on the far turn before winning a stretch battle that many firsters would have shied away from.
 
In his last start, a seemingly loaded entry level allowance contest on the Fountain of Youth undercard, Constitution took advantage of a speed biased race course, got away with honest fractions on the front end and made every pole a winning one, rolling home by 3 ¼ lengths. Castellano rides from post 4.
 
Spot was able to run down the previously undefeated No Nay Never in the G2 Swale last out with a tremendous last-to-first run in his first start for trainer Nick Zito. A winner of two of his three dirt starts, this will be his first try around two turns on dirt as his lone route race came on the turf at Arlington. Corey Lanerie replaces Jose Lezcano in the saddle. Lezcano is riding in Dubai this weekend. Spot will break from post 8.
 
Matador will add blinkers for trainer Mark off a pair of starts in the Sam Davis and G2 Tampa Bay Derby in which he apparently lacked focus and appeared to have little desire to finish off an otherwise decent pair of efforts under Julie Leparoux. They’ll break from post 2.
 
With a dozen starts under his belt, East Hall is the most seasoned runner of the bunch but will need to show he can compete with the big boys. Third in the G. P. Derby to start the year, East Hall was beaten less than a length for second in the Fountain of Youth but couldn’t muster any run in the T.B. Derby last out under regular rider Juan Leyva for trainer Bill Kaplan. East Hall will break from post 5.
 
Allstar was entered for a $75K claiming tag on Thursday as a main track only runner but will run here instead for trainer Marcus Vitali. Allstar has won two of three starts on dirt since being claimed at the beginning of the year. Orlando Bocachica rides from post 7.
 
Over at the Fair Grounds, 10 Derby prospects are set to go post ward in the G2 Louisiana Derby going 1 1/8 miles on the main track, led by G2 Risen Star winner INTENSE HOLIDAY for Pletcher and Mike Smith. In fact, seven of the ten runners in here are exiting the Risen Star. The most notable exception, fourth place finisher HOPPERTUNITY, won the G2 Rebel two weeks ago at Oaklawn Park.
 
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As for Intense Holiday, his nose win in the Risen Star was a real breakthrough performance as he was the king of running “sneaky good” before the Risen Star. After breaking his maiden at second asking, Intense Holiday has run in five consecutive grade 1 or grade 2 races. He’d always grab a piece of the pie but never the winners’ share. He started to come around when he finished a hard charging third in his seasonal bow in the Holy Bull behind Cairo Prince.
 
In the Risen Star, though the pace wasn’t all that fast, I believe the long stretch of the Fair Grounds as well as the addition of Mike Smith were just what the doctor ordered as that sneaky good run finally turned into a winning won as he just kept on a comin’ at pacesetter Albano to win by a nose. He’ll break from the rail in here. Pletcher will also send out longshot King Cyrus from post 2 under Jimmy Graham.
 
Speaking of Albano, what a tough loss that was in the Risen Star, as he led every step of the way except the most important one. Second in the LeComte two starts back, the Risen Star was a much improved effort, his second around two turns but he did get saddled with outside post 10 in here under his regular rider Kerwin Clark. It might prove a bit tough for them to get to the top from there as opposed to last time when he broke from the rail.
 
Vicar’s in Trouble, the daylight winner of the LeComte and third in the Risen Star, may be one of those who’ll make it difficult on the front end for Albano. In both his maiden score and the LeComte, Vicar’s in Trouble was either on the lead or close to the pace and proved far more effective employing that running style than the one regular rider Rosie Napravnik had to employ from post 13 last out.
 
Now, from post 6 in a smaller field with all of the other apparent speed drawn to their outside, I wouldn’t be too surprised if this Mike Maker charge is back on or close to the lead.
 
Another who’ll be near the front end is the invader In Trouble for trainer Tony Dutrow. After winning both starts, including the G2 Futurity at Belmont as a two-year-old, In Trouble returned from a five month layoff in the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct and put in a giant effort as the main speed from his rail draw.
 
When they turned for home in the Gotham, In Trouble snuck away to a short lead but was on the worst part of the track, the inside, and got grinded down by the undefeated Samraat and UNCLE SIGH, a pair of New York breds, in the latter stages. Still he should move forward off of that effort under Joe Rocco, Jr. They’ll break from post 9.
 
G3 Delta Jackpot winner Rise Up will add blinkers for trainer Tom Amoss after he disappointed with a seventh place Risen Star finish last out, his first start in nearly three months. You’d figure he’ll be another horse on an already crowded front end with the equipment change under Gerard Melancon from post 8.
 
Another who’s been somewhat of a disappointment is the Steve Asmussen trained Gold Hawk. After winning his first two starts in the easiest of fashion, Gold Hawk was a lackluster third in the LeComte as the 6-5 chalk then an uninterested fifth in the Risen Star. It’s worth noting he’s a bit of a head case behind the gate as he’s unseated his rider or has been tough to load in three of his four starts. He’ll break from post 4 under Shaun Bridgmohan.
 
Trainer Dallas Stewart send out sixth place Risen Star runner Commanding Curve for another crack at some Derby points after a bit of a tough trip last out. He was bottled up on first turn, five wide on second turn and got bumped a bit through the stretch under Robby Albarado. He’s a live longshot from post 7 in here.
 
Louies Flowers won the Springboard at Remington two starts back before running abysmally when last in the G3 Southwest for trainer Bret Calhoun. Miguel Mena rides from post 3.
 
Rounding out the field is Flat Gone who is just one for eight in his career and will break from post 4 for the Desormeaux brothers, trainer Keith and jockey Kent.
 
Finally, the G2 U. A. E Derby at Meydan drew a field of twelve but is open to three-year-old and Southern Hemisphere four-year-old who are not Derby eligible. Eight are eligible to chase the Derby points but the only one I could see using them would be Giovani Boldini from Aidan O’Brien’s stable.
 
Owned by the powerful Coolmore conglomerate, Giovanni Boldini is no stranger to the U.S. having finished second to fellow Euro import Outstrip in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last season. Ryan Moore has the mount.
 
Prep Play of the Day

So I’m 0 for 4 so far. No bueno. The losing ends this week. In the Fla. Derby, bet $60 to win on Cairo Prince and a $20 exacta part-wheel using Cairo Prince over General a Rod and Spot. In the La. Derby, make a $1 trifecta box Intense Holiday, Gold Hawk, Commanding Curve and In Trouble. Good luck!!!!

Bankroll: minus $200


  
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