Friday, July 25, 2014

Down to the Wire: Haskell Invitational Edition

Down to the Wire is back this week with a loaded preview that covers a maiden race for two-year-olds featuring a half to top American sire Tapit, as well as, the Jim Dandy, San Diego, Bing Crosby, and the Haskell. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014: Monmouth Park Race 12 -- G1 Haskell Invitational S. (9f): Wildcat Red
The featured Haskell Invitational is race twelve of a very nice fourteen race card on Sunday at Monmouth Park. The favorite here should be Untapable, who won the Kentucky Oaks and is facing the boys for the first time. I think she's definitely capable of winning this race, but at what will be very short odds, I'll pass and look for more value elsewhere. I think the second choice Bayern is up against it from a pace and distance standpoint, as I went into further detail about for Danonymous Racing. Ultimately, I've sided with two contenders who I think will be overlays, but still have a good chance of winning here. My top choice is Wildcat Red, who not only is fast, as he's shown us on multiple occasions including his most recent run at Gulfstream Park, but he can rate just slightly off the pace if necessary. With Bayern and Social Inclusion in this field, third place just behind the two of them may turn out to be the "sweet spot" and if Wildcat Red can find himself thereabouts, he should have a big chance. His most recent race was visually one of the most impressive I've seen from any of these three-year-olds and runner-up East Hall has since come back to win the Ohio Derby. It's also worth noting he lost his only attempt at nine furlongs by a neck to the highly regarded Constitution. It may not have been a win, but he's more proven at this distance than most of these in my book. The other runner I'll be using everywhere is Medal Count. I'm a big fan of this horse and really think of this three-year-old crop, he's one of the later developing types who will continue to improve. He, in my opinion, is a legitimate ten furlong horse, so nine may be a touch on the shorter side, but his versatile running style puts him in just about every race and if the pace gets a bit chippy up front, which is possible, he'll be flying late. 

Plays: #8 Wildcat Red (M/L 10/1) and #9 Medal Count (M/L 8/1) to win (if odds 8/1 or better) and in an exacta box. Also, play the double (starting race 11): #7 Mshawish / 8,9

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 23, 2014: Saratoga Quick Picks

Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5f): #6 Kisses for Romeo (M/L 5/1)
This isn't the easiest of two-year-old races to dissect, but Kisses for Romeo is by Malibu Moon, whose progeny are often fairly precocious. She's the first filly out of a G3 placed turf router, who is a half to MSW Golden Strategy. I mostly like that this gal logged a bullet work over four furlongs locally leading into this race for a trainer who has a touch better record at Saratoga than overall. 
Others to consider: #3 Empressive Humor (M/L 4/1), #8 Overspending (M/L 7/5)

Race 8: $25,000 Claimer (7f): #5 Shankopotamus (M/L 15/1)
Six-year-old son of Greatness enters here off lower level win and first up for new trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Englehart's stats for horses making their first start with him, horses who won last out, and claimers up by 50% or more are all very good. Not to mention the form of his most recent win has come back solid with the second, fifth, seventh, and eighth place finishers all winning next time out. The only negative I can find is that Englehart's recent record at Saratoga isn't great, but other than that, all signs point to this fellow being ready to run. 
Others to consider: #8 Photon (M/L 12/1), #3 Bernie the Maestro (M/L 6/1)

Race 9: G2 Lake George (8.5f, turf): #1 Daring Kathy (M/L 6/1)
This may be a class test, but I think this daughter of Wildcat Heir out of a Kingmambo mare is more than up to the task. Undefeated in three starts on turf, Daring Kathy appears to prefer to be on the lead, but can sit just off the pace, if necessary, which will be important considering there's a wire-to-wire winner in Speed Seeker, who may very well end up being a bit keen in what will only be her second career start, in this field. Her win two-back came up strong with the second and third place finishers winning next time out, the latter of which won in a stakes. She's won twice at this distance and looks to make it four-straight for the red hot David Fawkes barn. Velazquez gets the mount. 
Others to consider: #7 A Little Bit Sassy (M/L 5/2)

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014: Saratoga Quick Picks

Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5.5f, turf): #6 Sashay (M/L 6/1)
Stroll, who broke his maiden in his third career start on the turf at Saratoga, is one of the better sires of early developers around, as his progeny win in debut about 25% of the time. The dam of this filly never won, but she is by Storm Cat, who is a solid sprinting influence. All in all, this pedigree seems to blend perfectly for a first time sprint on the turf and it doesn't hurt that shes's been working very quickly leading up to a race that's all about speed. Throw in that Clement is very good at having his debut runners ready to run (even moreso on the turf) and this looks like a horse who has all the ingredients to pull off a minor upset. 
Others to consider: #2 Partisan Politics (M/L 5/2)

Race 8: Shine Again Stakes (7f): #2 Grace Hall (M/L 9/5)
Despite the morning line price, I fully expect My Miss Aurelia to ultimately go off favored, but I couldn't have her here off the long layoff and even moreso since the reason she was absent for so long was reportedly due to foot issues. Grace Hall is a class above all of everyone save My Miss Aurelia here and her form this year has been alright with two graded stakes second place finishes to her name. I think 2/1 may be a possibility here and that price seems more than fair.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19, 2014: Saratoga & Del Mar


Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (8.5f, turf): #6 Luck of the Kitten (M/L 5/2)
In what appears to be a nice two-year-old maiden race routing on the turf, I've opted to side with Luck of the Kitten, who is of course by strong turf sire Kitten's Joy. Wesley Ward is one of the best in America with firsters and Frankie Dettori made his presence known in a big way on opening day. 

Race 7: G3 Sanford S. (6f): #5 Mr. Z (M/L 15/1)
Repole homebred Nonna's Boy was impressive on debut, but that was over a muddy track on which he was bred to do well over, but I question whether he'll be able to run back to that effort over a dry track. Mr Z., a son of Malibu Moon and a Storm Cat mare, enters here off a solid debut victory and is eligible to improve in what will be his second start. Lanerie retains the mount. 
Others to consider: #7 Bessie's Boy (M/L 5/1)

Race 10: G1 Diana (9f, turf): #8 Alterite (M/L 3/1)
Normally a long layoff is a slight concern, but since coming to the US last year, Alterite has finished 1-2-3 in three runs, all of which were in G1s and she typically runs best fresh. Chad Brown's barn is in flying form and Castellano, who rode her while finishing third in the BC Filly and Mare Turf, retains the mount. 
Others to consider: #10 Tannery (M/L 6/1)

Del Mar

Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (5f, AW): #11 Big Changes (AE) (M/L 6/1)
He's an also eligible, but let's hope he gets into the field. A son of Midshipman out of a Giant's Causeway mare, Big Changes is bred to win early and relish the synthetic. Autrey does well with first time starters and Joe Talamo gets the mount. Also of interest will be a $1.6 million Tapit named Iron Fist, trained by Hollendorfer, who is also fantastic with first time starters, and ridden by Mike Smith.
Others to consider: #2 Iron Fist (M/L 5/2)

Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (5f, AW): #10 American Sailor (M/L 9/2)
We're going to try to make it an Autrey double in the baby MSW's with American Sailor, a son of City Zip out of a Yes It's True mare who won in a big way in her second start. As noted in our piece for Danonymous Racing, progeny of City Zip did well in sprints over the Del Mar Polytrack last meet. 

Race 9: G2 San Clemente (8f, turf): #7 Sandiva (M/L 5/1)
On class and form, this should be Sandiva's race to lose. A G3 winner earlier this year over seven furlongs at Newmarket, she was an impressive juvenile who appeared to have lost her way in her last two starts, albeit against top company. Progeny of Footstepsinthesand tend to take to the firm turf of Southern California, so I'm not concerned about the ground for her. The only scenario where I can really see her being beaten is if Istanford, who beat the boys two-back, gets an easy lead, which is a distinct possibility. 
Others to consider: #8 Istanford (M/L 8/1)

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014: Saratoga and Del Mar Plays


Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5.5f): #3 By the Moon (M/L 8/1)
Michelle Nevin's first time starter stats this year aren't good, which makes this a lukewarm selection, but everything about the breeding of this filly screams early developer. Indian Charlie won his first four starts (one as a two-year-old) and is a pretty good sire of debut starters and the dam of this filly is the Malibu Moon mare named By the Light, who won her first five starts (four as a two-year-old) and blew 'em away over this distance in her debut. She's been working just about as fast as who I feel is the most likely winner in Wall Street Lady, but the nicer price makes this gal our top selection.
Others to consider: #8 Wall Street Lady (M/L 3/1)

Race 3: G3 Schuylerville Stakes (6f): #4 Fashion Alert (M/L 3/5)
Not much to say here, but I really tried to find a case to make for another runner in here and I really couldn't. Although Take Charge Brandi ran nicely in debut, but the speed figs for Fashion Alert's debut were faster in a race where she ran further and against what I considered a stronger field. She enters this with faster works and Pletcher's two-year-olds are in flying form. It pains me to land on a 3/5 shot, but just single and move on. 

Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (6f): #3 Mumtaazah (M/L 5/2)
In what figures to be a bit of a chalky segment of the card, the Kiaran McLaughlin trained daughter of Tapit returns from a lengthy break with first time Lasix after finishing second to the talented, and dearly departed, Onlyforyou after what was a bit of a troubled trip in debut. McLaughlin is one of the best in priming horses to run off these extended layoffs, so expect her to be ready to run. 
Others to Consider: #7 Premura (M/L 5/1)

Race 9: Sir Cat Stakes (8f, turf): #8 Gourmet Delight (M/L 30/1)
Is this son of Gottcha Gold the most talented runner in this field -- probably not. He does only have a maiden win to his name, but I think he could very well get the perfect pace setup that could see him finishing in the placings. He's one his only start on the turf (albeit a maiden race), but he did so despite being completely blocked on the stretch and having to steady before being redirected around a wall of horses at Monmouth over this distance. While it was only a maiden win, he did defeat Clement and Pletcher firsters in doing so despite running closer to a solid pace than either of them. Not your most likely winner, but could hit the board at a monster price. As for the others, Storming Inti is about as consistent as they come, but he runs much better on the lead and as a result, it's hard for me to not see him Ring Weekend, and potentially Tourist getting into a duel up front. Cabo Cat, the one true closer in the field, is the most likely winner given the potential pace scenario and the company he's run with this year, but he tends to play the role of fast closing runner-up more often than winner. 
Others to Consider: #2 Cabo Cat (M/L 4/1), #5 Tourist (M/L 8/5)

Del Mar

Race 6: $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (5f, turf): #3 Wine Police (M/L 6/1)
It's fair enough to say he's struggled as of late, but also remember that he finished second two-back in a G3. Perhaps the switch to turf is a bit of a question mark, but he has won over synthetic in the past and gets a major class drop here. 

Race 7: California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Stakes (5.5f, AW): #7 Lost Bus (M/L 5/2)
This daughter of Bring the Heat won impressively in debut over 4.5 furlongs at Santa Anita with Espinoza aboard (who retains the mount here). She flashed plenty of speed and simply ran away from the field late. Her breeding suggests synthetic shouldn't be an issue, but she will need to get in a decent position early to combat her post position given the inside seemed the place to be yesterday. 
Others to Consider: #4 Desert Thief (M/L 8/1), #3 Singing Kitty (M/L 3/1)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Del Mar Opening Day Plays

No Down to the Wire this week while I'm recovering from being a bit under the weather, but a lingering hoarse voice won't stop me from enjoying one of the better racing weekends of the year. Without further ado, here are my plays for opening day (7/17) at Del Mar. Best of luck if you're playing!

Race 5: $62,500 Allowance Optional Claiming (8.5f, turf): #3 Fast Track (M/L 15/1)
Won three straight allowance races over a mile at Turfway Park before struggling in a G3 over yielding ground at Golden Gate. He returned nearly two months later over a mile at Santa Anita where he finished fifth (two and 3/4 lengths back) after finding himself in close quarters late. Speed figures suggests he fits in this spot, a likely quick early pace should suit, and Pereira retains the mount for Pearson for what should be an improved effort second time off a short break. 
Others to Consider: #9 Full Dancer (M/L 12/1)

Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (5f, AW): #10 Noble Hawk (M/L 12/1)
Lost all chance in his debut after being bumped and steadied at the start, but didn't lose any further ground in what effectively became a schooling run after that. He's bred to relish the synthetic and getting hot jockey Drayden Van Dyke aboard definitely doesn't hurt in what appears on paper to be a pretty wide open race. 
Others to Consider: #7 Pulmarack (M/L 9/2), #6 Zinvor (M/L 6/1)

Race 7: $40,000 Starter Allowance (8f, AW): #5 Sir Macho (M/L 7/2)
If by this point you're like me and looking for a single, I think this guy is your best bet. He ran a nice second over this distance in a $40,000 claimer at Santa Anita last out before being claimed. Mike Smith hops aboard here for William Sprawr, who is good first off the claim.

Race 8: Oceanside Stakes (8f, turf): #3 Home School (M/L 15/1)
He's not the easiest to win with, but Home School has been consistent this year having finished second and twice third in three starts. This class and distance seems to be right up his alley and after being on the front end of moderate-fast paces in his last two starts, he should enjoy what could very well be one of the softer leads he's had in a while. With Home Run Kitten in such fine form this year, there's no shame in having finished a close second and (relatively) close third behind him, especially over this distance. 
Others to Consider: #9 Enterprising (M/L 7/2), #12 Forever Juanito (M/L 20/1), #1 Argyle Cut (M/L 9/2)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Down to the Wire: Arlington Handicap Edition

Another week and another group of nice turf races on tap. This time around, @Derbyologist and I previewed a large field of two-year-olds going 6f on the turf at Belmont -- plus, four stakes races from Arlington on Saturday. 

**A note, this video was filmed on Wednesday night and since filming, Eskendereya has gotten his first winner: Isabella Sings at Belmont (6f, turf, MSW).

Picks from the video: 

Friday, July 11, 2014 -- Belmont Race 4
--Candice: #8 Magic Apple over #3 Security Risk
--Craig: #3 Security Risk, #6 Escondido

Saturday July 12: Arlington Park Races 7-10:
R7: Candice: #5 Finnegans Wake
Craig: #2 War Dancer

R8: Candice: #3 Suntracer, #6 Seton Hall, #7 The Pizza Man 
Craig: #8 Olympic Thunder

R9: Candice: #7 Our Channel, #10 Afortable
Craig: #4 Schoolofhardrocks

R10: Candice: #5 Kepi, #11 Maid on a Mission
Craig: #1 Embarr

Friday July 11, 2014 -- Newmarket:

Race 1: Bragging (e/w if odds 9/1 or better, to win only otherwise) (Non Runner)
This American-bred daughter of Exchange Rate is one of the more unexposed runners in here. A winner two back at Windsor, the form of that race has since come back quite strong with the second, third, fifth, and seventh place finishers having won since. That was over good to firm ground, which she won't get today. She did finish second last out behind Native Heart, who has now won two straight, does her best running over soft ground, and carried much less weight than Bragging. Better off in the weights here, I think Bragging could take another step forward for Juddmonte and Sir Michael Stoute.

Race 3: Kiyoshi (no bet if odds less than 5/1, e/w if odds 9/1 or more, to win only otherwise)
Followers of this blog will know this isn't the first time I've tipped up Kiyoshi and on potentially soft ground, she looks likely to stand a better chance and even moreso if Sky Lantern and/or Integral end up not running due to the ground. She clearly needed the run at Ascot and will be better off for it. The jockey booking is a bit worrisome, but I can't not give her one more chance to fulfill the potential I've thought she had. This will be a very telling race for the young daughter of Dubawi as far as where she stands in this crop.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Down to the Wire: Belmont Derby Edition + Weekend Quick Picks

This weekend is so loaded with races that we couldn't even discuss all of the ones I would've liked to have been able to get to on this week's Down to the Wire. On there, we previewed the Belmont Derby, Suburban Handicap, Belmont Oaks (races 7-9 on Belmont's Saturday race card), and the Los Alamitos Derby. 

Saturday, June 5

Belmont Race 6 -- G3 Belmont Sprint Championship S:
Another day brings another race that Clearly Now should win, but after him not finishing any better than third in three starts this season, I feel compelled to look elsewhere. The seven-year-old son of Unbridled's Song, Moonlight Song may be one of the longest shots on the board, but he's certainly not without a chance. Since May of last year, he's never finished worse than second albeit not at this level of competition, but his speed figures are plenty fast enough to put him in the mix here. He last ran in January at Aqueduct, where he defeated Palace despite breaking through the gate beforehand. In my opinion, he's the value here and he has performed well of a layoff in the past, so that doesn't worry me too much. 

1. #4 Moonlight Song (M/L 12/1)
2. #5 Dads Caps (10/1)
3. #3 Clearly Now (3/1)

Belmont Race 7 -- G1 Belmont Derby:
In this race, we have some interesting European shippers along with the more talented American three-year-old turf routers, but many of whom are questionable at this distance. To me, Bobby's Kitten is the clear bet against. As much of a fan of his I may be, I couldn't possibly have him going this far and in a larger field where he's likely to face a bit more pace pressure than he did in the Penn Mile. Gala Award is another I couldn't possibly have at this distance either. Even though he's won twice over nine furlongs, he looked spent at the end of both of those races, so another furlong does him no favors here. In my opinion, the standout in this field is Gailo Chop, who ships in from France. Since finishing second (ahead of Flamboyant) in a two-year-old stakes race, he's won four straight including two at this distance and one going further. On top of that, the horse he defeated two back at Longchamp Free Port Lux, came back to win the Group 2 Hocquart over Adelaide, he's versatile as far as his running style is concerned, and he's won over both Good and Soft ground. He's a gelding and thus ineligible for the French Classics, so this spot makes perfect sense for him. Adelaide comes here after having finished second at Ascot in the King Edward VII S. He's a consistent horse and class-wise he fits, but having last ran only two weeks ago, I'm thinking this was an afterthought, so I'll pass. After running in mostly minor events, Pornichet finished third in the French 2000 Guineas and he now comes over as the first of world renowned trainer Gai Waterhouse's to run in America. He likely needs a bit softer ground than he'll get here though and the distance is a question for him. Of the American runners, Mr. Speaker seems best suited to this distance. Throw out his last, which was an ugly, slow race from the start, and he fits in this spot. His runner-up finish in the G3 Palm Beach was very nice against a solid group and based off his run there, I think another furlong would suit him just fine. Both Global View and Dance With Fate are plenty classy enough to compete in this spot, but I'm a bit iffy on the distance for either of them and I wonder if their running style hinders them a touch when running against the Euros, who are known for their sharp turn of foot. Flamboyant's debut win over Home Run Kitten, who has since won two straight, puts him in the mix here. He was lugging in last time out and yet was still catching Gala Award. Perhaps not a win threat, but wouldn't be surprised to see him turn up underneath.

1. #7 Gailo Chop (M/L 5/1)
2. #9 Mr. Speaker (15/1)
3. #4 Adelaide (7/2)
4. #5 Flamboyant (15/1)

Belmont Race 8 -- G2 Suburban S:
I tipped up Romansh for the Met Mile and he ran big to finish third. This is a step down in class, so I'm going to stick with him here in a race where I see the pace being contested, but not overly fast. The only concern for him is his history of not stringing together multiple good efforts. Norumbega was visually impressive when winning the Brooklyn upon his return to dirt and on paper appears the biggest threat to the top choice.

1. #6 Romansh (M/L 3/1)
2. #4 Norumbega (6/1)
3. #1 Micromanage (9/2)

Belmont Race 9 -- G1 Belmont Oaks:
While I picked a Euro to win the Derby, I'm sticking with the home team and Room Service in this spot. After dead-heating with Rosalind in the Ashland, she backed that up in a big way when taking the G1 American Oaks with ease over Diversy Harbor over today's distance. This is a filly who really seems to be coming into her own and I'll gladly take her on top here. Flying Jib has never ran this far, but she intrigues me in this spot. She's won her three most recent starts, runs well on faster ground, and her being by Oasis Dream out of a Mizzen Mast mare suggests she may be good for a furlong or two further than she's ran to this point. Xcellence will certainly stay the trip, but she seems to be one who just doesn't get the job done when she has chances late albeit against top company. The morning line odds on her are ridiculous and I doubt we'll get anywhere near that, but My Conquestadory, twice a graded stakes winning juvenile is one of the more unexposed runners in here, having only four starts to her name. She did finish second by a nose in a G3 last time out, but that was her season debut and return back from a six month layoff, so one could expect her to improve with a run under her belt.

1. #2 Room Service (M/L 3/1)
2. #3 My Conquestadory (12/1)
3. #5 Flying Jib (5/1)
4.  #7 Xcellence (5/2)
**Add #6 Recepta as fourth choice w/the scratch

Weekend Quick Picks:

Saturday July 5 -- Los Alamitos Race 8: G2 Los Alamitos Derby: With racing having just began at Los Al, how the track will play is a bit of an uncertainty in and of itself, but Shared Belief has done nothing wrong in his career and should have every chance to win once again in this spot. Top Fortitude intrigues on the stretchout and at what will likely be a pretty nice price.

Sunday, July 6 -- Monmouth Race 12: G1 United Nations: I'm siding with a horse I've been a fan of for quite some time in Kaigun who has steadily been stepping up in trip and running well, as of late. He ran very well behind Real Solution in the G1 Manhattan and this trip should be right up his alley. I'm not really sure what the plan has been with Twilight Eclipse and two miles certainly wasn't his trip, but he'll appreciate stepping back down here and looks to be the chief threat to our top selection. Side Glance has performed well in the US before, but he seems to have lost a step this year and Main Sequence, second to Camelot in the 2012 Epsom Derby, is interesting in debut although likely more of a place chance. 

Sunday, July 6 -- Woodbine Race 11: Queen's Plate Stakes: We Miss Artie enters here the heavy favorite and deservedly so, as he by far has the most accomplished resume for top connections and his last win was mighty impressive. I expect the pace here to be pretty fast, which would hinder the hopes of Asserting Bear and Coltimus Prime, who have shown flashes of talent to this point. At a large price, Tower of Texas is very interesting. He's run well as of late to be somewhat in the mix despite contending with a very speed favoring surface on occasion and if this race is in fact quick early on, he should benefit. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrating Fourth of July Horse Racing Style!

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American friends! Not only is this a day to celebrate the independence of our nation, but often it's a time for us to spend with our loved ones. Whether it be during a family picnic or watching fireworks after the sun goes down, some of us get to spend quality time with those who matter -- the kind of time that can be tough to come by on occasion. I, personally, don't live near my family and closest friends, so after going out for a run, I spent much of my day watching the horses (shocker, I know ;)). While watching, however, I couldn't help but think of some of the more patriotic horse names and moments on this day when we celebrate the red, white, & blue. 

How could you not start a list like this with Constitution, the talented G1 winning son of Tapit who's not only undefeated in three starts, but who stamped himself among the favorites for the Kentucky Derby before injury took him off the Derby Trail? Thankfully, WinStar Farm announced earlier this week that he's back galloping. Hopefully, he progresses nicely and we'll see him back in action soon. 

Looking for a few two-year-olds to add to your stable mail? How about the aptly named Fourth of July, a son of Street Cry out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Holiday who is a half to multiple stakes winner Holiday Runner. Bred on the same TrueNicks A-rated cross as Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Fourth of July was sold for $190,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September 2013 sale. Another worth keeping an eye on is Glory a $260,000 Keeneland September 2013 purchase, who is by Tapit out of Ki Maniere, by Sadler's Wells. She's recently began working at Barretts. 

More into pedigrees and family lines? Well, look no further than the legend Man o'War's family line, which includes War Admiral, who in his illustrious career that included a Triple Crown won the Great American Stakes and Stars and Stripes Handicap. War Admiral was the damsire of Hoist the Flag, a dominant two-year-old who unfortunately suffered a catastrophic leg injury before the Gotham. Hoist the Flag was the damsire of multiple G1 winner Personal Flag, as well as, Personal Ensign who on top of her Hall of Fame worthy career was the dam of My Flag and the second dam of Storm Flag Flying

Even this year, we saw runners who were running for a lot more than just a horse race. Take, for example, Uncle Sigh who represented the Wounded Warriors in the Kentucky Derby and Wicked Strong, who was named in honor of those who were tragically lost in the Boston Marathon bombings. 

And at the end of the day, that's what Fourth of July is all about, so while you enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, and a beer (or five...) take a moment to not only think of those who serve our country, but their families, and those who we've unfortunately lost along the way. It's because of their sacrifices that we're able to enjoy the freedoms of which we are so lucky to have, and all to often we take for granted. 

Happy Independence day to you all and before you take in your local fireworks show, here's one of the greatest and most emotional wins in modern American racing, courtesy of the champion Tiznow.