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Derby 2011: Three Races in November

Derby 2011: Three Races in November

by Gary Roedemeier

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 30, 2010 at 6:18 PM

It was all over in less than a hour.
In the twilight of Saturday evening, Churchill Downs staged three races that could have a profound effect on next year's Kentucky Derby.
And in the symmetry that sometimes blesses thoroughbred racing, the outcomes had connections to the 2010 Derby winner, Super Saver.
It was this day in 2009 that launched Super Saver on the path that would lead to his muddy victory under Calvin Borel.
The Kentucky Jockey Club at a mile and a sixteenth was getting a little more attention this year, because it had produced the Derby winner, the horse for the course.
Despite being a two turn race on the same track, the Jockey Club has never been a great predictor for the Derby. You have to go back to Cannonade in 1973-74 to find another horse that won both races. And in 84 years only 5 horses have pulled off this double.
But Super Saver's Jockey Club was special. He set the stakes record at 1:42.83.  This year, Santiva won in a relatively slow 1:45.31. But a slow early pace, 49 seconds for six furlongs, moderated the time. Despite the time, trainer Eddie Kenneally thinks this is the horse that will take him to the Derby.
Santiva, a bay colt by Giant's Causeway, was a half length better than favorite Astrology, who had won the Iroquois Stakes. The stars had made Astrology the favorite and he looked the part on the race track, until the finish line.
Still he was close enough that you'll want to check his horoscope for next May before making a bet.
And Major Gain was just a head behind Astrology in third, proving that his win in Chicago's Arlington Washington Futurity was no fluke.
But the shadow of Super Saver was already on the track, before they ran the Jockey Club.
Just 30 minutes before the stakes race, a horse named Brethren came flashing down the stretch in a mile allowance race in 1:36 and change.
Brethren is now undefeated in two races and (are you getting the picture yet), he's the half brother to Super Saver.  Their dam is Supercharger, but Super Saver's sire was Maria's Mon. Brethren is by Distorted Humor. Is WinStar thinking Derby double?  I'm not sure that Brethren wouldn't have won the stakes race.
And speaking of that, we come to the third part of our late November trifecta.
It was, what could have been, an anonymous maiden race.
The crowd was filing out and the track was bathed in lights when Steve Asmussen sent Tapizar out looking for his first win in his fourth start.
The son of Tapit proceeded to beat a good and experienced field of two year olds by ten and a half lenths. The time was 1:44.19 and that's more than a second faster than the previous stakes race over the same track and distance.
I think I hear the cash register ringing over at Gainesway. Tapit has now sired five two year old stakes winners in 2010. Could Tapizar be next? His race under the lights at Churchill, certainly puts him on the Derby watch list.
And it all happened between 5:12 and 6:11 p.m. on a chilly Saturday night.
And about the same time on May 7th, we'll find out what November 28th meant in the annual Derby puzzle.

     

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