2014 Kentucky Derby Prep Horses To Watch
Texas Two Step
This son of Distorted Humor stamped himself as one to watch with a sustained rally from near the back of the pack to win a 6f Oaklawn Park maiden race in his 2/15 career debut. Ridden by Channing Hill, Texas Two Step easily whipped 10 rivals, drawing away late for final margin of 2 ¼ lengths and time of 1:11.26. The Kellyn Gorder trainee was awarded an excellent 91 BRIS Speed Rating for his effort, as well as a check for $34,200. Bred in Kentucky by Fares Farm, LLC, the chestnut is out of the Unbridled mare Miss Salsa and was foaled on March 1, 2011. He is a half-brother to graded stakes winner Pacific Ocean, who earned $245,389 and also won at 1 st asking, and was purchased as a yearling at the Keeneland September 2012 sale for $325,000. The colt races for WinStar Farm LLC and is nominated to the Triple Crown.
While he has yet to compete in a graded stakes or race in a route, this Pennsylvania-bred displayed tenacity when winning the Christopher Elser Memorial S. on 2/8 at Parx over stablemate Sonny Inspired. Contesting the lead out of the gate, Elevated took command after a half mile and withstood a late charge by his stablemate to prevail by a nose in the 6 ½f event restricted to colts and geldings who had spent 90 days in South Carolina. With Frankie Pennington in the irons, the Phil Schoenthal- trained colt covered the distance in 1:16.48 and earned an 86 BRIS Speed Rating, two points higher than his previous best. Elevated began his career with maiden and allowance wins at Parx then finished 4 th in the restricted Mark McDermott S. over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs. Returning to dirt, he posted his only dull effort in the James F. Lewis S. at Laurel Park to conclude his juvenile campaign. Bred by Nina H. Gardner, the gray/roan is by Jump Start out of the Waquoit mare We Wak Harbor and was foaled on March 18, 2011. He was purchased for $30,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2012 Eastern Fall Yearling Sale and is campaigned by D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock, Inc. The Triple Crown nominee has banked $126,780 for his connections.
2013 Kentucky Derby winning trainer Shug McGaughey was already holding a strong hand for this year's Run for the Roses with Honor Code and Top Billing when Ragtime broke his maiden in his 2 nd career start at Gulfstream Park on 2/1. Under apprentice Dylan Davis, the son of sprinter Henny Hughes forced the issue early in the 6 ½f contest and was in control by the time he hit the half-mile pole in :45.32. Ragtime then cruised to a 3 ¼-length victory over seven rivals, five of them fellow Triple Crown nominees. His final time of 1:16.77 was good for a 93 Equibase Speed Figure. The colt was a closing 3 rd in his debut, a New Year's Day 6f maiden race also at Gulfstream. The handsome chestnut is out of the El Prado mare Castanet and was foaled on April 25, 2011. His earnings now stand at $28,200 and McGaughey suggested that grass could be in his future since his dam is a half-sister to the trainer's former turf star Dancing Forever.
After burying his Parx opponents in a maiden race over the slop on 12/29, this John Servis trainee was sent off as the $4.20 to $1 3 rd betting choice in a field of five Aqueduct allowance runners on 1/26. Despite stumbling at the start, brushing with a rival and checking early, Undertaker assumed control by the 1 st call in the 1 1/16m race and led all the way to hit the wire in 1:44.33. With jockey Eswan Florence taking the return engagement, the Unbridled's Son colt posted a 100 BRIS Speed Rating to easily top the 91 earned in his maiden-breaker. Trained by John Servis of Smarty Jones fame, Undertaker began his career with two dull efforts from well off the pace at Parx before Flores took the reins and guided the grey/roan to consecutive front-running scores. Undertaker was bred in Kentucky by Manganaro LLC. He is out of the Forestry mare Kris' Sis and was foaled on March 14, 2011. Owned by Leonard C. Green, the colt was purchased as a yearling for $150,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Sale. Undertaker has banked $69,080 and will surely step into stakes company for his next start.
Dismissed at nearly 25/1 when he debuted in a one-mile Santa Anita maiden race on the turf on 1/20, this Carla Gaines trainee looked more likely to finish last through three quarters of the contest as he remained at the back of the pack. After veering a bit towards the rail when he broke from the inside post against eight foes, Texas Ryano was 12 lengths behind the leader at both the 1 st and 2 nd calls. The Curlin colt then began advancing only to run up on the heels of a rival and drop back again. Jockey Irving Orozco guided him to the outside and Texas Ryano commenced a powerful rally to win by half a length. His final time of 1:34.84 earned him an 82 BRIS Speed Rating. A homebred for Warren Williamson, the chestnut is out of the Irish mare Blending Element and was foaled on April 16, 2011. Texas Ryano banked $33,600 for his victory and even though his dam has produced four turf stakes winners, a try on dirt could be in the future for the Santa Anita Derby early bird nominee.
You won't see many 1 st -time starters overcome more than this son of Tiz Wonderful did to make a winning debut when taking the Oaklawn Park finale on 1/11. Squeezed back to last out of the gate, Paganol quickly advanced wide into contention, was knocked around and off stride in the stretch by a rival then dug in between horses to prevail against 11 foes in a photo finish. Under Norberto Arroyo, Jr., the colt covered the 6f in 1:14.24 and earned a 95 Equibase Speed Figure. The chestnut was bred in Kentucky by Bob Feld and Mark Toothaker. Paganol is out of the Artax mare Glittering Tax and was foaled on March 1, 2011. Cody Autrey's charge originally sold for $40,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale before owners James and Ywachetta Driver purchased him for $250,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company 2013 Selected Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The winning debut was worth $33,000 to his connections, and Paganol seems a logical candidate for the Kentucky Derby prep races in Hot Springs.
Bob Baffert's charge may still be a bit under-the-radar as a Kentucky Derby candidate, but the word was certainly out on his ability when the colt was bet down to 80 cents on the dollar for his debut in a 1/4 Santa Anita maiden race. Bayern ran as advertised, easily handling eight rivals, including five with racing experience. With Hall-of-Famer Gary Stevens aboard, the son of Offlee Wild pressed pacesetting stablemate Hold Everything through the 1 st two fractions, took over on the turn and pulled away to a 3 1/4 length victory. He covered the 7f in 1.22.24 and was awarded an 82 Beyer Speed Figure. The dark bay was bred in Kentucky by Helen Alexander and is out of Alittlebitearly, a daughter of Thunder Gulch. He was foaled on May 3, 2011, and sold for $320,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2013 Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale .