Only three horses running? I love Fear the Kitten's name. My early derby pick is already washed out.
Not sure what race the reference is to three Three scratched from the Risen Star, but 12 will break from the gate. Lukas is already having a solid day in the bayou with Optimizer winning the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap for Calumet Farm.
Trained by Kent's brother J. Keith Desormeaux, Ive Struck A Nerve jumps to the top of the leader board with the win, which earned him 50 points. This was his ninth start; if he makes it to the Derby, he'll certainly be one of the most seasoned colts in the race.
Regarding the rest of the Fountain of Youth - Orb, Violence, then Speak Logistics rallied mildly to best the tiring Majestic Hussar by two lengths to be third. He was followed by He’s Had Enough, Cerro, Sr. Quisqueyano, Joshua’s Comprise, and Elmutahid.
I think "He's Had Enough" is now truth in advertising. Not gonna be a Derby contender IMHO.
From the Risen Star - 50 Derby qualifying points went to Ive Struck a Nerve, Code West earned 20 points, Palace Malice 10 points, and Oxbow 5 points, giving him 16 points. Ive Struck a Nerve already had 1 prior point for 4th place finish in the Lecomte back on Jan 19th.
In the UK, the Royal Lodge Stakes is a Group 2, limited to colts and geldings. The Dewhurst Stakes, Group 1, also run at Newmarket a month later, is a serious test of classic potential open to colts and fillies. The winner is often favorite for the Derby in the next season.
It would be interesting to know how the supporting races were selected outside the USA
CVPeg, I saw a tweet that said Normandy Invasion will be pointed to the Wood next. Presuming he doesn't have a poor break again and firms up his talent I'd expect him to hit the board if not win. That will be 100-40-20-10 points awarded race. Admittedly if he takes 3rd and only garners 20-points it could be rather doubtful of a Derby start should they have decided to only race in the Risen Star and Wood.
Violence has a perfect record, and he just might be the perfect racehorse, a smooth blend of speed and stamina, an ideal partnership of physical ability and mental tractability. In other words, he's boring. Perfection always is, and he's likely to remain perfect after Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a perfect contender for the Triple Crown.
I'm sure (although I wish it wasn't so) he won't be the last higher profile horse with Derby dreams getting sidelined. As for Orb - owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable - he was shipped back to Payson Park after the FoY victory. He'll likely run again at Gulfstream Park:
McGaughey said a decision on Orb's next appearance will wait for Janney to return from New Zealand the week of Feb. 25. The $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream on March 30 is a strong option.
Stuart Janney III is (in case anyone didn't know) is a member of the Phipps family - great-grandson of Henry Phipps, partner of Andrew Carnegie - and like the rest of them tied into Bessemer Trust. That wealth management firm doesn't sponsor races like they used to claiming the return wasn't there for the cost. Anyhow the origins of Bessemer:
[Founded] in 1907 by Henry Phipps after he had sold his share of Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan. Phipps named his family office for Sir Henry Bessemer and that English inventor's eponymous steel process, which Phipps championed and which helped Carnegie Steel out-process its rivals.
I wonder why Kent Desormeaux wasn't riding Ive Struck a Nerve again for his brother? He rode him previously in the LeComte Stakes. James Graham, like Rosie, knows the Fair Grounds track exceptionally well and can find the winner's circle provided he has a live one.
“We were so much the best horse when you look at the race,” Porter said. “We got beat a length and a half and must have spotted the leader 15 lengths, by the time we finished stumbling, then going wide. The winner was the one horse behind us. We made our move together between the half-mile pole and three-eighths pole. He (Ive Struck a Nerve) went the good route….
“… It was almost impossible to win the race from where we were. We would have had to have been Secretariat. I’m not discouraged. I think if we’d had a clean break we win by five, six lengths – if we’d gotten decent position, tucked in sixth or seventh and made the move we made… He came running and almost caught them. I’m still very encouraged.”
Of having little margin for error in the Wood, Porter said, “If we don’t get in the Derby, we don’t get in the Derby. We think about the next race we want to get to – the Belmont or Preakness. At that point we’ll be aiming for the Travers.