Chitu gets his chance to shine and does

Mar 23rd, 2014 | By TrackSide View | Category: Handicapping

Ron Correll
Senior columnist
Tracksideview.com

(Updated 3-23-14)

With the announced March 23 that Honor Code is injured and off the Derby Trail and the emergence of two Bob Baffert-trained colts it’s time to see some movement on this list. I’m going to recap what happened during the weekend in the Spiral and Sunland and then list the colts.

A little more than a week ago it looked like trainer Bob Baffert was going to be on the outside looking in at this year’s Kentucky Derby. But it takes time for some young colts to mature and now Baffert is sitting with three colts that have a lock on getting into the starting gate on May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Two of them, Hoppertunity and Chitu, have legitimate chances of winning the mile-and-a-quarter race. The other, Midnight Hawk, looks like a mile-and-an-eighth is as far as he wants to go.

Chitu earned his way into the starting gate on the first Saturday in May with a determined win in the Sunland Derby on May 23 at Sunland Park in New Mexico. He pulled away from stablemate Midnight Hawk in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by two lengths. He gain 50 points from that race and now has 54. Midnight Hawk received 20 for second and has 52 points.

Commissioner rallied to be third and picked up 10 points, but time is running out for this guy. Early fractions in the Sunland Derby were quick, but Commissioner could get no closer than seven lengths in the end. Rebranded got 5 points for finishing fourth but he isn’t Triple Crown nominated, so there’s no sense in talking about him.

You must take a close look at We Miss Artie after his win in the Spiral Stakes Saturday at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky. Although I think he is a pure synthetic and turf horse, it seems that colts that run well on the Polytrack at Turfway and Keeneland seem to do well on the dirt at Churchill Downs.

I don’t like the horse at all as a pure dirt horse, but you must be forewarned about how you use him in betting on Derby day.

The son of Artie Schiller has 60 points for the Kentucky Derby and is guaranteed a spot in the starting gate. He also could run in the American Turf at Churchill on Derby day or he could head north and run in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine in Canada. It just depends on which one he has the better chances of winning. Of course, “Derby Fever” by his owners could make all that mute. He is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Enough said.

The minor awards in the Spiral went to Harry’s Holiday (20) (he’s not Triple Crown nominated), Coastline (10) and Asserting Bear (5)

I will list the number of points each horse has behind their names.

Cairo Prince (14) is by Pioneerof the Nile and dominated the Grade 2 Holy Bull and stays here until another colt really impresses me. He will wait until the Florida Derby.

California Chrome (50) is by Lucky Pulpit and destroyed the field in the San Felipe. The race was first run in 1952 and California Chrome’s winning time of 1:40.59 was the second fastest in the history of the race. All he has to do is get to Kentucky and I think he’ll surprise a lot of people. He’s listed for the Santa Anita Derby.

Social Inclusion (0) is by Pioneerof the Nile and made Honor Code look average in an allowance race March 12 at Gulfstream Park. Colt is headed to Wood Memorial.

Chitu (54) is by Henny Hughes (Hennessey) but he’s out of an A.P. Indy mare, so I’m not that concerned about distance. He did run a very respectable Sunland Derby, edging away from Midnight Hawk late.

Intense Holiday (53) is by Harlan’s Holiday and he won the Risen Star and this may be Pletcher’s Derby horse.

Samraat (60) is by Noble Causeway and fought gallantly to win the Gotham. Wood Memorial is next.

Hoppertunity (55) is by Any Given Saturday and won the Rebel on March 15.

Tapiture (42) is by Tapit and was second in the Rebel after a rough stretch run.

We Miss Artie (60) is by Artie Schiller and won the Spiral at Turfway Park.

Ride On Curlin (15) is by Curlin and was third in the Rebel, a half-length behind the winner.

Candy Boy (10) is by Candy Ride and the Santa Anita Derby is next.

Wildcat Red (50) is by D’Wildcat and he won the Fountain of Youth but I don’t think he wants to go farther.

General a Rod (20) is by Roman Ruler and he could not run down Wildcat Red in the Fountain of Youth.

Albano (24) is by Istan and was second in the Risen Star. He too may have distant limitations.

Uncle Sigh (24) is by Indian Charlie and lost the Gotham by a neck. Wood is next.

In Trouble (10) is by Tiz Wonderful and was another neck back in third in the Gotham. He’s a probable for the Louisiana Derby.

Ring Weekend (50) is by Tapit and won the Tampa Bay Derby.

Vicar’s in Trouble (20) is by Into Mischief and he was third in the Risen Star. Owner (Ramsey) blamed the jockey (Napravnik) for the loss. He said she moved too soon on the colt. We’ll see.

Rise Up (10) is by Rockport Harbor and had a terrible start in the Risen Star, rushed up and was rank. He did himself in. He gets one more chance. Headed for Louisiana Derby.

Tamarando (12) is by Bertrando and ran poorly in the Spiral Stakes.

Midnight Hawk (52) is by Midnight Lute and was second in the Sunland Derby. I don’t think he wants to go any farther in distance.

Noble Moon (10) is by Malibu Moon and he’s under consideration for the Wood.

Havana (14) is by Dunkirk was scratched from Swale with quarter crack. I think this guy is off the Derby Trail. No official announcement.

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