2012 Kentucky Derby prep races February 25 results

February 25, 2012 Kentucky Derby preps

The 2012 Risen Star Stakes saw favorite El Padrino edge Mark Valeski out in a close finish to win the final prep for the Louisiana Derby. Neither horse was separated by more than a neck for most of the final stretch, leaving the rest of the field of 11 up the track. El Padrino is trained by Todd Pletcher. It was his third win in five career races and his first win in a graded stakes race. Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard.

“You hope it’s the kind of race that he’ll improve from,” Todd Pletcher said. “He’s become battle-tested a little bit and is getting more professional all the time. Hopefully he’s learning how to win.”

Mark Valeski, part of a dual entry with Mr. Bowling, is trained by Larry Jones. Z Dager took third place.

The Louisiana Derby is April 1 and five weeks before the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Pletcher said that running El Padrino there would be one of his top options. “He’s got two good mile-and-a-sixteenth races under his belt this year, so we’ve got a good foundation,” Pletcher said. “He’s a big, strong colt. He’s the kind of horse we need to race to get him more and more fit.”

The 2012 Turf Paradise Derby in Phoenix, Arizona saw Taylors Deal rally five wide at the top of the stretch to a win over Makors Finale. The three-year-old gelding picked up his third win in five career starts and successfully stretched out over two turns for the first time.

Taylors Deal settled in fifth through the backstretch under Mario Gutierrez before moving into contention on the outside of Makors Finale and Silvanus through the turn. Makors Finale continued through the final furlong but could not overcome Taylors Deal’s and settled for second. Born Force closed to finish third.

The 2012 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park saw Isn’t He Clever defeated six opponents. He is now a winner in all four of his starts in New Mexico. This was the first start for Isn’t He Clever since he placed fourth after setting the pace in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita February 4.

Even-money choice Zackn’ Mat, a recent maiden graduate invading from Santa Anita for trainer Marty Jones, rallied from last to finish second with Hector Barrios aboard. They were 10 lengths clear of the third-place finisher Major Hope, a maiden trained by Steve Asmussen.

The 2012 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park saw The Lumber Guy overcome a bobble at the start to post a 4 1/4-length victory. Barry Schwartz’s New York-bred has earned a Beyer speed figure of 90 in his only previous start.

Brimstone Island finished second with Xavier Perez aboard and Rocky Gap was third with Forest Boyce aboard.

Now many of the connections of horses that ran well on Saturday are thinking about the 2012 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Wonder who will actually be needing those 2012 Kentucky Derby tickets on the first Saturday in May?