Here are the results of the 2012 Kentucky Derby prep races around the country on Saturday, February 4. The Kentucky Derby buzz was all around. Now six more owners are dreaming of Churchill Downs and thinking about the 2012 Kentucky Derby. I have put info and quotes from the trainers under some of the races.
Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park
I’ll Have Another, Empire Way, Rousing Sermon
I’ll Have Another enjoyed a perfect trip under Mario Gutierrez and shook free in the stretch to secure his first career graded stakes win and stamp himself a contender for the Santa Anita Derby.
“He’s an incredibly talented colt and we decided to take a chance in here. We thought he could hit the board and we’d move forward, but he ran unbelievable,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “Mario Gutierrez gave him a great ride. He’s always trained fantastic, but we never saw this coming to be honest with you. This is incredible. We’ll look at the Santa Anita Derby on April 7] if all goes well.
Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs
Battle Hardened, Prospective, Reveron
Stalking the pace in fourth on the inside much of the way, Battle Hardened pounced on Reveron just past mid-stretch and held on to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Prospective, the 7-2 second choice, won a three-way photo for second by a nose, with Reveron third.
Eddie Kenneally trainer of Battle Hardened said “This was a really good bunch of quality horses, but no stars, and that was one reason we decided to take a shot today. We had also entered him in a maiden race at Gulfstream today but he’s been training brilliantly and we were happy with how he was coming into the race, so we decided to come here and get some of the big money.”
Kenneally said he’ll strongly consider the Tampa Bay Derby onMarch 10 for Battle Hardened’s next start.
Withers Stakes at Aqueduct.
Alpha, Speightscity, Tiger Walk
Alpha was dominant in a 3 1/4-length win. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he was none the worse for wear on Sunday morning at Aqueduct.
McLaughlin said he expects Alpha, unbeaten in two stakes races at three, to remain at Aqueduct for his next race on the Triple Crown trail, targeting the Gotham Stakes on March 3 or the Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial Stakes on April 7, or maybe both.
“We’ll look at the Gotham/Wood, talk to Simon Crisford (Godolphin racing) manager and see if we want to run him two more times, or one more time,” McLaughlin said. “We like having him here in New York.”
Louisiana Bred Premier Night Prince at Delta Downs
Cajun Charlie, Zip Motion, Freddie One Bite
Needles Stakes at Gulfstream Park
Musical Flair, Martini Madness, Silver Menace (Hello Prince finished 2nd but was DQed and placed last)
WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park
Mr. Prankster, Phantom Fury, Magical Season
Turfway Prevue Stakes winner Mr. Prankster closed from last to take a clear lead in early stretch and powered to a 7½-length romp in the $50,000 WEBN Stakes on Saturday at Turfway Park.
Mr. Prankster beat second betting choice Phantom Fury with a sweeping bid into the stretch under John McKee. Mr. Prankster rallied from more than seven lengths off the pace to win.