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Dan “The Fan Man” Waite had the most at stake last weekend, with three horses running in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes and one horse in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes. The good news? He gained 16 points over the weekend. The bad news? None of his horses actually won. This weekend highlights the first 50-point race of the season, the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. President’s Day will feature the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, which will serve as the final 20-point race of the contest. Let’s see where we currently stand:
1. Aaron Halterman – All five of his horses will be running this weekend, with Instilled Regard, Principe Guilherme, and Noble Indy heading to the Risen Star, and Combatant and Mourinho pointing for what could be a split division of the Southwest. While already in front points-wise, this team could really pad its lead with a successful weekend.
2. Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector – This team has had mostly good news for the second week in a row. Avery Island seemed to come out of his race in good shape and will likely be pointing for a 50-point prep event in March. Bolt d’Oro is still on schedule for the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, and you would think that the flashy maiden winner Restoring Hope will also be geared up for a Kentucky Derby prep race soon. The iffy news comes with Copper Bullet: while he’s been working steadily at Fair Grounds, his trainer says that he isn’t thinking about a race just yet. Also, Navistar is a real mystery after blowing the turn in a recent allowance event at Gulfstream Park.
3. Ryan Stillman/Jon White – The injuries are starting to pile up for this team, as Montauk is officially off of the Kentucky Derby trail. The Chad Brown-trained Mask is also on the shelf, although it may only be temporarily. The team really needs Enticed and/or Untamed Domain to bounce back in their next starts after each disappointed in their respective Gulfstream Park races on February 3. However, this team still has McKinize, who is trainer Bob Baffert’s number-one Kentucky Derby prospect.
4. Jared Welch – This is the only remaining team with zero points, but the news seems to be getting a lot better. Zulfikhar and Sporting Chance are set to make their 2018 debuts in the Southwest this weekend. That race could split into two separate events, each with matching points and purse distributions, which would be even better. Two more positive notes are that Solomini continues preparing for a race in early March and Greyvitos is “definitely not off the Kentucky Derby trail,” according to his trainer. The only “missing” horse on this team now is Dak Attack who is reportedly off the Kentucky Derby trail.
5. Curtis “Magic” Kalleward – His team is out of the cellar! As always, this team begins and ends with Good Magic, and all systems are still go for the reigning 2-Year-Old Horse of the Year’s planned start in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. Marconi is somewhat of a bright spot; his third-place effort in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes was good enough to give him another shot at a points race. The Mendelssohn news is still quiet, but while Vision remains missing from the worktab, this team recently got some inside information that he’s scheduled to return shortly after being turned out for the winter. Curlin’s Honor continues to be this team’s wild card, but he’s been putting in some serious workouts at Fair Grounds.
6. Dan “The Fan Man” Waite – The Sam F. Davis really needed to be a win for this team, but in the end, his star horse, Catholic Boy, came up short, finishing second. His other horses in the race, Vino Rosso and Hollywood Star, were third and fourth, respectively. Vino Rosso ran well enough to be intriguing moving forward, but Hollywood Star left a lot to be desired. It’s not like the team is falling apart, but it must have been discouraging to start three horses in a six-horse race and still not win. On the plus side, Nero ran well enough to be interesting, finishing a decent second in the San Vicente. Finally, Concur, as always, is still a maiden.
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