4 horses return to action this weekend


Photo: Sue Kawczynski / Eclipse Sportswire

Kentucky Derby entrants dominated the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga on July 30. Epicenter cemented his place at the top of the 3-year-old division, dashing a length and a half clear of Zandon. Tawny Portthe other Kentucky Derby contender in the field, was only half a length further back in third.

Tiz the Bomb dropped in class and stayed on the grass for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) on Aug. 5, where he flattened late to finish fourth behind Ready to Purrform. Happy Jack returned to the track in an allowance at Ellis Park July 24. He has a rough start, but finished well to be third behind Ethical Judgement, beaten just a neck for top honours.

On Saturday, both Classic Causeway spirit Ethereal Road return to the track in the Saratoga Derby (G1). Classic Causeway starts for the first time since upsetting the Belmont Derby (G1) over the Belmont grass. Ethereal Road, last seen running third in the Ohio Derby (G3), tries lawn for the first time.

Derby Horse Last Race Notes
1 Rich Strike 6th, Belmont Stakes (G1) Worked 5f Aug. 1 at Churchill Downs
2 Epicenter 1st, Jim Dandy (G2) Worked 4f July 25 at Saratoga
3 Zandon 2nd, Jim Dandy (G2) Worked 5f July 23 at Saratoga
4 Simplification 6th, Preakness (G1) Worked 5f July 29 at Gulfstream Park
5 Mo Donegal 1st, Belmont Stakes (G1) Sidelined with bone bruising
6 Barber Road 7th, Belmont Stakes (G1) No works since last race
7 Tawny Port 3rd, Jim Dandy (G2) No works since last race
8 Smile Happy 8th, Kentucky Derby (G1) No works since last race
9 Tiz the Bomb 4th, National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) No works since last race
10 Zozos 10th, Kentucky Derby (G1) No works since last race
11 Classic Causeway 1st, Belmont Derby (G1) Entered in Saratoga Derby (G1) Aug. 6
12 Taiba 2nd, Haskell Invitational (G1) No works since last race
13 Crown Pride (JPN) 13th, Kentucky Derby (G1) No works since last race
14 Happy Jack 3rd, Allowance Optional Claiming (July 24, ELP) No works since last race
15 Messier 15th, Kentucky Derby (G1) Worked 4f June 18 at Santa Anita
16 White Abarrio 7th, Haskell Invitational (G1) No works since last race
17 Charge It 1st, Dwyer S. (G3) Worked 4f Aug. 5 at Belmont
18 Cyberknife 1st, Haskell Invitational (G1) No works since last race
19 Pioneer of Medina 19th, Kentucky Derby (G1) Worked 5f July 15 at Belmont Park
20 Summer Is Tomorrow 20th, Kentucky Derby (G1) Worked 5f July 25 at Belmont Park
SCR Ethereal Road 6th Ohio Derby (G3) Entered in Saratoga Derby (G1) Aug. 6
SCR Rattle N Roll 7th, Indiana Derby (G3) Worked 4f Aug. 6 at Churchill Downs

After a promising allowance win May 28 at Belmont, Highly Motivated took a strong step forward July 23 when he won the Monmouth Cup (G3) in convincing fashion. He made a strong move into the lane, opened up to win by a length and three quarters, and broke a 37-year-old track record for 1 1/8 miles on the Monmouth Dirt. (His record would only stand for about two hours, as Cyberknife would eclipse it in the Haskell.)

Keepmeinmind made his first start for new trainer Todd Pletcher on July 22; he posted a smart 2 3/4-length allowance victory at Saratoga. Like the King turned up in the Niagara Stakes over the Woodbine grass on July 30, where he was forward for much of the race and held on to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Who’s the Star.

Two other 2021 Kentucky Derby entrants raced recently, although both ran off the board. Mandaloun made his second start back from Saudi Arabia in the San Diego Handicap (G2), and ran fourth behind long shot Royal Ship. Soup and Sandwiches tried Tapeta in an allowance optional claiming race July 22 at Woodbine; although he ran eighth, he was beaten only three lengths by winner Last American Exit.

Hot Rod Charlie will return to the track Saturday to contest the Whitney (G1). It will be his first start since finishing a game second behind Mind Control in the Salvator Mile (G3).

Derby Horse Last Race Notes
1 Medina Spirit 2nd, Breeders’ Cup Classic Deceased
2 Mandaloun 4th, San Diego Handicap (G2) No works since last race
3 Hot Rod Charlie 2nd, Salvator Mile (G3) Entered in Whitney (G1) Aug. 6 at Saratoga
4 Essential Quality 3rd Breeders’ Cup Classic Stands for $75,000 at Darley America
5 O Besos 3rd, Commonwealth (G3) Worked 3f Aug. 2 at Churchill Downs
6 Midnight Bourbon 5th, Dubai World Cup (G1) Deceased
7 Keepmeinmind 1st, Allowance (SAR, July 22) No works since last race
8 Helium 2nd, Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes Worked 4f July 29 at Churchill Downs
9 Known Agenda 4th, 2021 Belmont Stakes (G1) Stand for $10,000 at Spendthrift Farm
10 Highly Motivated 1st, Monmouth Cup (G3) No works since last race
11 Sainthood 5th, 2021 Belmont Derby (G1) No works since last race
12 Like the King 3rd, Niagara S. No works since last race
13 Bourbonic 7th, Queen’s County Worked 4f July 29 at Churchill Downs
14 Hidden Stash 7th, Monmouth S. (G3) Worked 4f June 30 at Keeneland
15 Brooklyn Strong 3rd, Saginaw Stakes Worked 5f July 27 at Belmont
16 Super Stock 6th, Blame S. No works since last race
17 Rock Your World 9th, Twilight Derby (G2) Stand for $10,000 at Spendthrift Farm
18 Dynamic One 1st, Suburban Stakes (G2) Worked 5f July 29 at Saratoga
19 Soup and Sandwiches 8th, Allowance Optional Claiming (WO, July 22) No works since last race

Despite stumbling at the start in the Jeff Hall Memorial Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong dirt race at Ellis Park on July 24, Necker Island nevertheless delivered as the 1.28-1 favourite. He battled on to the finish and won by a neck over Tut’s Revenge. Necker Island switches back to grass for the Twin Spires Turf Sprint Aug. 7 at Ellis Park, where he drew post No. 8 in a field of 10.

On July 30 at Saratoga, New Traffic stepped back into top company for the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1). Near the rear of a compact field, he could not muster the needed kick in the lane and finished fourth, six lengths behind division leader Jackie’s Warrior.

In the Wickerr Stakes July 24 at Del Mar, Storm the Court sent forward after a slow break. He flattened in the lane to finish sixth, 2 1/2 lengths behind winner Irideo.

Derby Horse Last race Notes
1 Authentic Retired Stands for $75,000 at Spendthrift Farm
2 Tiz the Law Retired Stands for $35,000 at Ashford Stud
3 Mr. Big News 4th, Allowance Optional Claiming (CD, Sept. 17) Worked 6f July 20 at Churchill Downs
4 Honor AP Retired Stands for $15,000 at Lane’s End
5 MaxPlayer 4th, Suburban Stakes (G2) No works since last race
6 Storm The Court 6th, Wicker Stakes No works since last race
7 Enforceable 8th, Allowance Optional Claiming (April 15, KEE) Worked 4f June 19 at Woodbine
8 New Traffic 4th, Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) No works since last race
9 Necker Island 1st, Jeff Hall Memorial S. Entered in Twin Spires Turf Sprint Aug. 7 to ELP
10 Major Fed 4th, Allowance Optional Claiming (May 13, CD) No works since last race
11 Sole Volante 5th, Elkhorn (G2) No works since last race
12 Winning Impression 3rd, Allowance (Nov. 12, 2020, CD) Deceased
13 Money Moves Retired Money Moves was retired for retraining at New Vocations.
14 Attachment Rate 7th, Allowance Optional Claiming (Feb. 21, OP) Worked 5f May 11 at Churchill Downs
15 South Bend 5th, Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes Worked 4f July 27 at Churchill Downs

On July 30 at Saratoga, Long Range Toddy returned to Grade 1 company for the first time since May, contesting the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. He tracked in range early, although he was carried out near the nine-sixteenths, flattened, and finished sixth and last behind Jackie’s Warrior.

Taxi, who won his return in the Battery Park Stakes on July 9, worked for the first time since that race. He drilled four furlongs in 50.78 over the Saratoga dirt. No next spot has been confirmed for the Danny Gargan trainee.

Derby Horse Last race Notes
1 Country House Retired Stands for $7,500 at Darby Dan Farm
2 Code of Honor Retired Stands for $10,000 at Lane’s End
3 Tacitus Retired Stand for $10,000 at Taylor Made
4 Improbable Retired Stands for $35,000 at WinStar Farm
5 Game Winner Retired Stands for $30,000 at Lane’s End
6 Master Fencer (JPN) 4th, 2021 Hakusan Daishoten
7 War of Will Retired Stands for $25,000 at Claiborne Farm
8 Plus Que Parfait 10th, Jebel Ali Mile (G3)
9 Win Win Win Retired Stands for $5,000 at Ocala Stud
10 Cutting Humor Retired Stands for $1,500 at McDowell Farm
11 By My Standards Retired Stands for $7,500 at Spendthrift Farm
12 Vekoma Retired Stands for $17,500 at Spendthrift Farm
13 Bodexpress Retired Stands for $5,000 at Barton Thoroughbreds
14 Taxi 1st, Battery Park Stakes Worked 4f Aug. 5 at Saratoga
15 Roadster 7th, Oaklawn Mile (G3) Worked 4f July 31 at Delaware Park
16 Long Range Toddy 6th, Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) No works since last race
17 Maximum Security Retired Stands for $15,000 at Ashford Stud
18 Spinoff 4th, 2021 Woodward (G1) No works since June 6, 2021
19 Gray Magician 4th, $12,500 claiming (June 5, SA) Worked 5f July 15 at Santa Anita

Only one Kentucky Derby horse from before 2019 has worked or raced recently: Noble Indy, who ran 17th in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Based at Gulfstream through May 2022, he raced in the Clásico Barbosa Memorial (G1) at Camarero in Puerto Rico on July 24. In range between horses early, he weakened to finish seventh, 21 1/2 lengths behind winner Sope.

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