Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes preview

Taylor Made Stallions
by TCI 6 years ago

The TCI boys were on location at Keeneland for the Blue Grass draw, which includes a full 13-horse field featuring two from the TCI Top 10. Can the champ Hansen be beaten? They also discuss the Arkansas Derby, and tell you why it’s the most critical Derby prep of the weekend.

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top Ten with top speed rating

Rank Name Bris Comments
1 Union Rags 103 No longer the clear-cut Kentucky Derby favorite
2 Creative Cause 107 Consistent & classy, but again lacked total focus in stretch of SA Derby
3 Gemologist 104 Undefeated Wood winner has everything needed for Triple Crown success
4 Hansen 105 Needs to be staying on well late in the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass
5 Bodemeister 102 Now it’s his turn to pass the graded earnings test in Arkansas Derby
6 Alpha 104 Stepped up nicely and passed a needed class test in the Wood
7 Take Charge Indy 109 Took advantage of easy pace to score a breakthrough win in FL Derby
8 Dullahan 98 Sizzling work lessens concern about splint injury; Blue Grass-bound
9 I’ll Have Another 102 Showed that he’s for real with solid SA Derby score
10 El Padrino 111 Slides because he might not get into Derby, but very dangerous if in

through 4/9/2012


  • JR

    Good morning Joel, a little of topic, Kiaran doesn’t have a jockey yet for Alpha, I read where he has six or eight names floating out there and the decision won’t be made until after Saturday.  With such an evenly matched field, I think the jockey’s are going to be a more critical component this year in who wins the derby. Any thoughts on who currently out there without a ride, who would be of the caliber to ride Alpha?
    Kind Regards,

    • Joel Cunningham

      Good point, JR. Let the jockey musical chairs begin!

      I was shocked to read Mike Smith and his agent have already chosen Daddy Nose Best..especially considering they’re on the Arkansas Derby favorite this Saturday.

      Garrett Gomez is the first rider that comes to mind who is a big-time finishing jock without a Derby mount at this time…and he’s ridden Alpha before, obviously…and Kiaran has turned to Alan Garcia as his NY barn rider a lot so you would think it would be between those two.

      Kiaran obviously likes Johnny V a lot too, but is JV committed fully to Went The Day Well? What if El Padrino looks like he’ll make it into the field of 20 for Pletcher? Will Johnny V get an opportunity there? I’d love to see Gomez on El Padrino…would seem to fit him like a glove.

      Martin Garcia will very likely end up on one of the Baffert runners depending on who gets in (Liaison, Secret Circle, Bodemeister), with Bejarano getting first choice perhaps.

      I would guess that Aiden O’Brien will probably be looking for an American jockey too for his one or two that could come over. With Mike Smith also leaving Rousing Sermon, you would think Hollendorfer would turn to Russell Baze if RS gets in.

      The jockey carousel should get interesting, that’s for sure!

  • JR

    Hi Joel, musical chairs have begun, with Mike Smith deciding to stay with Bodemeister, from a public relations person, Mike should have not committed to Steve in the first place. I saw Mike after the race on HRTV and when asked about the derby, he was vague, and just said he was filling in for Bejarano. Interesting dynamics are at play.
    Kind Regards,

    • Joel Cunningham


      I personally was very surprised when Smith and his agent publicly commited (maybe it wasn’t intended to be public) to a colt that will be a longshot in the Derby, when the timing was prior to riding the 9-5 ML fave for the Ark Derby. Obviously, Bejarano chose Secret Circle and Garcia chose Paynter, so if Bodemeister wins the Ark Derby then there is no way Smith wouldnt have the opportunity to stay on him for the big dance on May 5th.

      But it happened, and then Bode ran to his potential – leaving Smith and agent in this predicament. I commend Asmussen for being ok with it and releasing Smith of his commitment to Bode. Steve picked up Garrett so it’s not like he took a drop in class to find a capable rider.

      Speaking of Gomez, I was surprised that team didn’t go after El Padrino since he has a history of riding for Pletcher. Perhaps with El Padrino on the fence to get in they took the sure thing. But I think El Padrino has a great shot of drawing in 3 weeks from now and I’m curious to see who Todd gets to ride.

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