Uncaptured tops Jockey Club; Golden Rod draws nine
"He's always acted like he was a little on the special side," trainer Mark Casse said. "The way these things go, it's about how they progress and he's progressed. It looks like he's a really nice horse, but we still have to figure out if he's top of the class. Hopefully on Saturday, he'll pass another test."
Part of the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, the Kentucky Jockey Club offers 10-4-2-1 points, respectively, to the top four finishers.
"Anytime you have a good two-year-old, you're thinking about the Derby," Casse said. ?That's why we brought him to Louisville and ran him in the Iroquois, to see how he handled Churchill. You always have a focus on the first Saturday in May. If he pulls off the win Saturday, I think he'd have to be considered one of the best two-year-olds in the country."
Tesseron and Indiano Jones, the second- and third-place finishers in the Grey, will both try dirt for the first time. Tesseron ships in from his Woodbine base for Josie Carroll while Indiano Jones should be more acclimated to the oval, recording four workouts under the Twin Spires since October 20 for Casse. Joha, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on Keeneland's Polytrack two back, will also be making his dirt debut. The Kenny McPeek-trained colt experienced a rough trip from post 10 before eventually checking in eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last out, and Joha figures to show speed Saturday with jockey Joe Rocco Jr.
Gal About Town sustained her first loss when finishing second in the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs, but she won't have to face the winner of that one, Sign, and trainer Bret Calhoun is hopeful that his charge will build off that effort and prove best in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod.
"I thought she ran well last time; she was just outrun," Calhoun said from Fair Grounds. "Everything went well, she just ran into one that was better that day. She came out of the race good and is training very well."
The one-mile Pocahontas was the first race at a distance greater than six furlongs for the City Zip filly.
"I think until you try it, the (distance) is a question," Calhoun said. "We came out of that race with a lot more confidence in her ability to go two turns based on what (jockey) Jesus (Castanon) said. He told us she galloped out very strongly. So, the distance wasn't an issue. We just got outrun."
As a ?Road to the Kentucky Oaks? race, the top four finishers in the Golden Rod will receive 10-4-2-1 points, respectively.
"We were enticed by the $500,000 in the (Grade 3) Delta Princess (on November 17), but I felt like in the long run this was the best path," Calhoun said. "So we waited, and went for the less money and are going to run her out of her own stall. I think in the long run, it'll be beneficial for her looking forward to her maybe turning out to be an Oaks filly."
Gal About Town will face eight rivals from the far outside post position, including Pocahontas third-placer Cloudy Vow.
Broken Spell, runner-up in the Grade 1 Alcibiades on Keeneland's Polytrack two back, exits a sixth versus better in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies for Hall of Famer Lukas, and Seaneen Girl will make her dirt debut for new trainer Bernie Flint following a second in the Grade 3 Mazarine on Woodbine's Polytrack.
Silver Strike exits a a close third in an allowance/optional claimer over the track and recent Churchill maiden winner Liberated is also entered.
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