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Three Kentucky Derby prep races highlighted last week’s action, and in the end, Team Halterman dominated. He had the 1-2 finishers in both the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes and the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes while also picking up an allowance win at Gulfstream Park with Noble Indy. The only other team to have a runner this week was Dan “The Fan Man” Waite, as Nero broke his maiden by a nose at Santa Anita.
1. Ryan Stillman/Jon White – After a great showing last week, all was quiet this week. Their star horse, McKinzie, was flattered even further when Instilled Regard won the LeComte. Trainer Chad Brown confirmed that Mask will be running in a Kentucky Derby prep race next, hinting that the Grade 2 Risen Star could be his destination. Enticed continues to prepare at Palm Meadows with another solid recent work out for either the Grade 3 Withers Stakes or the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes. The same can be said for Untamed Domain as he preps at Palm Meadows for his dirt debut. The only horse missing in action is Montauk, who hasn’t been seen on the work tab in a very long time.
2. Aaron Halterman – It was the perfect week for this team, as they are now number-one in the standings. Noble Indy won an allowance at Gulfstream to kick off the week on Thursday. On Saturday, Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme finished 1-2 in the Lecomte, earning a total of 30 points. Finally, team members Mourinho and Combatant finished 1-2 in the Smarty Jones, earning 30 more points. It couldn’t have gone any better, but he remains second in the power rankings. He has a lot of solid and consistent prospects at this point, but is he missing that one superstar that it takes to win the Kentucky Derby?
3. Jared Welch – Last week was mostly bad news, but this week seems to be a little better. There’s no doubt that losing Greyvitos to injury stings even more since the 1-2 finishers in the Smarty Jones were runners-up to him in their last races. Solomini was flattered big-time with Instilled Regard’s victory in the LeComte. Sporting Chance put in another solid work at Oaklawn Park as he prepares for the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Dak Attack seemed to have bounced out of his third-place effort in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes well, and trainer Dale Romans is very confident that he’ll run much better next out. Zulfikhar continues to work well for Bob Baffert in preparation for a likely start in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes.
4. Dan “The Fan Man” Waite – The good news is that the star of this team, Catholic Boy, had his first workout since winning the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes, stretching his legs over 4 furlongs in :49.60 at Bridlewood Farm. More good news came Saturday when Nero broke his maiden at Santa Anita by a nose in a maiden special weight without being asked for his best. Hollywood Star and Concur, meanwhile, continue to record steady workouts. Concur should be nearing a maiden race soon, while Hollywood Star is probably two works away from entering a Kentucky Derby prep race. Finally, allowance winner Vino Rosso had his first work since his latest win at Tampa Bay Downs and could be pointed for a Derby prep race next.
5. Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector – It was a tough break for his team when Navistar couldn’t make it to Oaklawn to run in the Smarty Jones Stakes. That was a soft spot in terms of Kentucky Derby prep races, and it’s now up in the air as to when he’ll start next. His star, Bolt d’Oro, is starting to progress towards the San Felipe, but that race is still a long ways away. Copper Bullet had his second work back at Fair Grounds as he prepares for a possible start in the Rebel. Avery Island is also steadily preparing for a start, in either the Withers or the Holy Bull. Restoring Hope also had his first workout since a disappointing third in a maiden special weight at Santa Anita.
6. Curtis “Magic” Kalleward – It’s still fairly quiet for this team, but Good Magic is set to get back to work soon because he’s targeting the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth for his first start of 2018. After that, though, it gets very scary for this team. Mendelssohn is a real wild card, as it’s unknown what he’ll end up doing, but he’s the least of this team’s worries. Vision hasn’t had a workout since 12/10, Curlin’s Honor has had one work (on 12/28) in the last 90 days, and Marconi recorded his first work since his maiden special weight score, but it was in turtle-like fashion. He needs Good Magic to come back in a big way!
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