Horse Racing

Review of the week: Opposition attracts attention


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Two 100-point prep runs for the GI Kentucky Derby on Saturday yielded a pair of ponies that are opposite in many ways. However, stocks are rising for both Two Phil’s (Spin hard) and Kingsbarns (Uncle Mo), as their respective scores in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks and the GII Louisiana Derby are attracting attention while seeing both as a legitimate mid-range threat on the Triple Crown totem pole.

Two Phil’s ($150,000 KEESEP) has appeal as a 4 to 8 blue-collar stalker/stalker whose strengths are flexibility and adaptability. He won sprints and routing on the high-speed dirt track, the Churchill Downs slopes, and now the Tapeta surface at Turfway, where he open the button to open 101 Beyer speed figure. His racing resume includes stellar victories on the traditional Derby at tracks such as Colonial and Canterbury, and he will train until the first Saturday in May at Hawthorne looking for contacts (rider Jareth Loveberry, coach Larry Rivelli and co-owners of Patricia’s Hope LLC and Phillip Sagan) who have no Derby experience among them.

The much more expensive Kingsbarns ($250,000 FTSAUG; $800,000 FTFMAR) are growing into a force at the forefront of the business who never lose in three connected starts (driver Flavien Prat, coach Todd Pletcher and Spendthrift Farm owner) who has extensive experience at elite racing events. To illustrate Pletcher’s second level of stability this season, Kingsbarns undefeated not even considered the Hall-of-Fame conditioner’s top chance to win a third Derby–the pony is currently ranked third, behind ‘TDN’s Rising Star’ Forte (Violence) And faucet Trice (faucet).

The charm of the underdog…

If you analyze Two Phil’s past track record, he’s only run two unsuccessful races and he has a credible reason for both.

He was uncontroversial on his June 23 debut in five distances. Then, after finishing the competition in Virginia and Minnesota, he dived 68-1 deep into the bottom of the Class I group, finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Futurity S. pivotal race in Keeneland on October 8, following The ultimate division-level champion forte. But he was pinned at the break in that race, then crowded and lost the first inning before settling well and incorporating a better-looking mid-move that he maintained in the stretch. above.

Ignoring the severity of that uphill ride, bettors let Two Phil’s lead 7-1 in GIII street feeling S. at Churchill, and he won by 5 1/4 of the distance on a closed track. Initially, he earned 75 Beyer for that effort, but that number was later raised to 79.

After starting his 2023 campaign with second place in GII Lecomte S. and third place in GII Risen Star S., Rivelli chose to try Two Phil’s over Tapeta, based in part on horse licking. con lasted two minutes after being launched when training on a synthetic track. It was a test where the coach said before the race that he would take the blame if Two Phil’s “absolutely hates the surface” in race conditions. But Rivelli also notes that Jeff Ruby seems to be the “easiest spot for the money” (not to mention its coveted qualifying score for the Derby).

Loveberry, who has boarded Two Phil’s for every departure except the foal’s debut, nearly missed his mount at Turfway because he broke his fibula in a gate crash on March 2 at Fair Grounds . However, he returned to action two weeks later and was able to resume his trip on Saturday.

Spin hard, son of Two Phil’s, won the Turfway top-stakes version in 2007 when the race was called GII Lane’s End S. and overtook Polytrack. That win saw him finish 2-3-4 in three Triple Crown races and take second place later that season in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic. Through a campaign against a rather deep crop, Spin hard-like Two Phil’s is aspiring to be known as a determined, dependable runner who can handle any type of distance or surface he is tasked with.

Disqualified as second pick 2.8-1 in Jeff Ruby, Two Phil’s broke warily and immediately responded to Loveberry’s holding of a moderate rating. The pony made three wide turns into the first bend, willingly parked outside while the sixth got off the back, then followed the deep four-way through the far turn, obscuring Major Love’s movements. likes 1.7-1 (Bolt d’Oro), a Pletcher intern.

The two chalks approach the pacemaker at the top of the hometretch, then the two outermost Phils do a short job to get orders from Major Dude. No one else was shooting down the lane, and Two Phil’s dashed into the rope largely on his own, stopping the timer at 1:49.03 for nine stretches.

Two Phil | Coady

Meanwhile, in New Orleans…

About 800 miles south and 25 minutes later, Kingsbarns entered the Fair Grounds starting gate for the Louisiana Derby 9-2. Bettors lost 6-1 on his morning as Kingsbarns was expected to control the tempo and after taking the lead at every call through very moderate fractions ( :24.71, 49.50, 1:14.69, 1:39.13) and the slight pressure from During the match, Prat said after the win that he knew adjusting the speed would be a good shot his best.

“We thought there wasn’t much speed in the race,” said Prat. “[Pletcher] told me the horse was pretty straight forward, and if we were in the lead he’d be fine with that. He danced well, I was able to sit in a comfortable position, and from there he got the job done.”

Kingsbarns has 95 Beyer. His final time, however, was 1:57.33 for 1 3/16 miles, which is rated as the slowest pace in four years since the Louisiana Derby which was stretched from nine stretchers. In fact, this is almost a second slower than the previous slowest speed of 1:56.47.

Also, the main Fair Grounds track is definitely for speed on Saturday. Of the 11 ground races, four were won by string, six by the front runner and only one by the middleweight follower. Deep closes are closed.

Still, the prospect of an undefeated pony aiming for the first Saturday in May always generates some buzz – even if the historical hurdle is high.

From 1900 to the present, nine horses have participated in the Derby with a record of 3 to 3 exactly. justification (2018), Big Brown (2008) and Dirty Regret (1915) were the only films to win home under the Twin Towers by a margin of 4 to 4.

make for curly, finished third in 2007, was the only other person to come up to the table in the Derby. Others who tried but ran out of money were Helium and Rock Your World (both in 2021), Materiality (2015), Showing Up (2006) and Thunderer – Regret’s sibling – in 1916.

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