HRI's Triple Crown Power Rankings

The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings is a consensus opinion of HorseRaceInsider's editorial staff compiled and written by executive editor John Pricci. It is an amalgam of achievement and opinion relative to the merits of the 2013 Triple Crown. The HRI Triple Crown Power Rankings will be adjusted each week following significant prep race developments.

Rolling Another One, Just Like the Other One

With Saturday’s El Camino Real of little consequence in the big picture, there is no change to HRI’s initial Derby Power 10, but we can assure you there will be in Week 3 next weekend.

On Monday, Uncontested will try to reaffirm his position as a serious Kentucky Derby contender by confirming his Smarty Jones form in the G3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park.

Mo Town finally will get his season started in Saturday’s G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds.

Meanwhile, the HRI cold exacta has lots of verification in many with virtually no argument against the top two at this juncture other than flat-out opinion.

As stated last week, the HRI poll at once tries to balance racetrack accomplishment with the promise of things to come, according to HRI staffers.

HRI’s Kentucky Derby Power 10, Week 1:

1-McCRAKEN (39): Undefeated Sam F. Davis Memorial winner will have three preps for the big dance, the second of 2017 will be back in Oldsmar for the Tampa Bay Derby.
2-IRISH WAR CRY (36): Graham Motion still mulling his options for the brilliant, undefeated colt but indicated his next run will come in South Florida. The March 4 Fountain of Youth is squarely on the table.
3-MO TOWN (28): Finally, a serious workout and then a commitment from Tony Dutrow that the colt will be on his way to NOLA on Tuesday. Good decision, as the Risen Star will be a good test for this two-prep campaigner.
4-CLASSIC EMPIRE (26): Was his Holy Bull an example of extreme quirkiness or did the stress of an oncoming foot abscess cause him to balk at the gate? He is going to miss the Fountain of Youth as the abscess not completely drained--schedule compromising.
5-MASTERY (21): He, too, is undefeated and Bob Baffert will eventually decide whether this brilliant runner remains in SoCal and American Anthem goes to Hot Springs, or vice versa.
6-EL AREEB (18): Cal Lynch uis also keeping his options open on future prep sites. Worked a half-mile in 47 4/5 at Laurel Saturday, galloping out in 1:00 and 1:13 for six furlongs.
7-GUNNEVERA (13): Fought dynamics and classy Irish War Cry but was a gallant Holy Bull runnerup. He worked five furlongs in 1:01 Saturday and galloped out another furlong in 13 seconds.
8-GORMLEY (11): One of two Derby hopefuls for John Shirreffs, who pronounced a recent five-furlong trial “perfect.” Mr. Shirreffs is not given to hyperbole.
9-UNIQUE BELLA [f] (10): The camp has been quiet recently relative to future plans. Does she run on Friday or Saturday on the first weekend in May?
10-UNCONTESTED (9-tie): Southwest is no gimme’. He’s giving five to seven pounds to no less than a dozen rivals in Monday’s Grade 3. Catalano’s rain dances may be working; strong chance of showers predicted.
10-PRACTICAL JOKE (9-tie): Continues to train very strongly for season’s debut. Has great competitive attitude and heart. Only question: Will he be as effective rounding two turns as he is around one?

Also getting votes:
American Anthem, Battalion Runner, Royal Mo, Tapwrit, Three Rules

Impertinent Questions and Observations from a Simulcast Saturday

Everybody into the Pool: “Literally everyone,” is nominated to the Fountain of Youth said Todd Pletcher, who has 2-for-2 One Liner for major client Winstar, et al, in Monday’s Southwest. He’s going to try keeping Derby runners separated. The two he’s looking at for GP’s March 4 prep are Sonic Mule and Made You Look…

Frank Stronach’s On a Roll: Everywhere--on the racetrack, at his racetracks, and in his home country, Canada. Homebred Delta Prince, a half-brother to Royal Delta, made it 2-for-2 on grass, winning Gulfstream’s Saturday finale with another impressive turn-of-foot rally.

Laurel Park's Winter Carnival, topped by G2s Barbara Fritchie and General George, produced record handle of $4.9 for that program, Saturday. Temps hovering around 70 certainly didn’t hurt on-track receipts. In 2016, Maryland Jockey Club tracks set record handle of $559 million, up nearly 20% year over year.

And finally, in recognition of lifetime achievement and dedication to Canadian racing, Stronach was awarded the E.P. Taylor Award of Merit. He breeds Thoroughbreds in three U.S. states, winning a 10 combined Eclipse Awards in the owner and breeder categories. Recent business at Gulfstream and Laurel has been record setting, bucking national handle trends. Imagine if California were not so dysfunctional?

Curlin’s Hot: Terra Promessa extended undefeated streak at Oaklawn Park to five straight, winning Saturday’s G3 Bayakoa with disdainful dispatch. Similarly, at Gulfstream, Curlin’s Princess made an impressive two-turn debut, taking the G2 Royal Delta for older fillies and mares with complete authority; should be a major divisional player in 2017.
Rain, Rain Go Away: Otherwise Gun Runner, scheduled to make his debut in Monday’s G3 Razorback, will live to run another day. Newly turned four-year-old showed up in every dance at 3, except on two wet tracks.
Ladies First: Going to go out on a limb here: Yesterday’s Barbara Fritchie marked the first time women have saddled three early line favorites in an American graded stakes. Linda Rice’s High Ridge Road (3-1) won it; Michelle Nevin’s By the Moon (7-5) was an unlucky second, nailed in final jump after a stumbling start. Leah Gyarmati’s Wonder Gal (4-1) just missed completing the trifecta, fading late after pace-setting over an outside-sweepers racetrack.

It was the second of the day for Rice at Laurel as the talented but issues-plagued Matt King Coal took an allowance flat-mile. Rice also won the Broadway Stakes at Aqueduct with Hot City Girl.

Bets ‘N Pieces: Paco Lopez
, having a sensational Gulfstream meet, rode five winners Friday. He was born in Veracruz, Mexico, just sayin’… In the first 22 days of the meet, there have been 163 claims at Oaklawn Park totaling more than $2 million… Speedy Three Rules had a maintenance work for the Fountain of Youth on Saturday, 5F in 1:01.77.

Written by John Pricci - Comments (3)


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