Classic Causeway Climbs Five Spots in ‘Dozen Rankings

1. Rattle N Roll
Owner/Trainer: Lucky Seven Stable/Kenny McPeek
Pedigree: Connect Jazz Tun by Johannesburg
Breeder: St. Simon Place (KY)

The Feb. 12 victory in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) from Classic Causeway was encouragement to see from a form comparison standpoint as this colt defeated him by 4 3/4 lengths in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last year at Keeneland. Rattle N Roll might be set for another tussle with Classic Causeway as both are under consideration for the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs March 12. Rattle N Roll’s training will amp up soon after two relatively moderate half-mile works to begin this month at Gulfstream Park.

2. Smile Happy Click Here!
Lucky Seven Stable/Kenny McPeek
Runhappy Pleasant Smile by Pleasant Tap
Moreau Bloodstock International and White Bloodstock (KY)

The 8-1 favorite among individual betting choices in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is perfect in two starts, both around two turns. The second of those victories came in the Nov. 27 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), in which he defeated three next-out graded stakes winners. We’ll get our first look at him as a 3-year-old in the Feb. 19 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slotswhere he faces four other horses ranked in the ‘Dozen.

3. Zandon Click Here!
Jeff Drown/Chad Brown
Upstart Memories Prevail by Creative Cause
Brereton Jones (KY)

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Another Risen Star entry heading to Fair Grounds by way of Florida, he too appears ready to roll in his first start as a 3-year-old, showing a steady series of moves at Payson Park for trainer Chad Brown. Encouraged his race in the Remsen Stakes (G2) when he was three-wide around both turns, proved stubborn in the lane, and galloped out ahead of Mo Donegal after being bumped by that rival nearing the wire.

4. White Abarrio
C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable/Saffie Joseph Jr.
Race Day Catching Diamonds by Into Mischief
Spendthrift Farm (KY)

After rolling in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull Stakes (G3), plans call for him to remain idle until the April 2 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream. In recent years, Holy Bull winners Audible (2018) Tiz the Law (2020) similarly skipped the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) before taking the Florida Derby and later hitting the board in Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). (Tiz the Law ran second in a COVID-19-postponed Derby in September.) Spacing between races should leave fresh White Abarrio not only for the Florida Derby but also for the Triple Crown.

5. Mo Donegal Click Here!
Donegal Racing/Todd Pletcher
Uncle Mo Callingmissbrown by Pulpit
Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stables (KY)

As promisingly as he closed down the stretch in the Holy Bull, finishing third and just missing second, he was a bit slow to accelerate on the second turn, leaving him with too much to do late. Admittedly, the conditions of the Holy Bull didn’t suit after slow fractions and with 1 1/16-mile races at Gulfstream ending at the sixteenth pole. The Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) April 9 could be next, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher told Thoroughbred Daily News.

6. Classic Causeway
Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper/Brian Lynch
Giant’s Causeway Private World by Thunder Gulch
Kentucky West Racing and Clarke M. Cooper Family Living Trust (KY)

On the heels of his sharp comeback win in the Sam F. Davis, he climbs five spots in the ‘Dozen, up from 11th. He is blessed with stamina in his pedigree and also possesses natural speed—a potent combination. He took pressure in the Sam F. Davis from a stretch-out sprinter, and still had plenty left, beating a deep field, though not a group of the same quality seen in the Holy Bull or that is set to line up in the Risen Star.

Classic Causeway wins the Sam F. Davis Stakes Saturday, February 12, 2022 at Tampa Bay
Photo: Spencer Tulis/SV Photography

Classic Causeway leaves the opposition far behind in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs

7. Epicenter Click Here!
Winchell Thoroughbreds/Steve Asmussen
Not This Time Silent Candy by Candy Ride
Westwind Farms (KY)

Provided he breaks well, he will likely attempt to dictate terms in the Risen Star. He is quickest on pace figures, and one of the other frontrunners in the lineup, Pioneer of Medina , is drawn outside him, which may lead that rival to play more of a chasing role. The Risen Star isn’t void of pace, but Epicenter doesn’t project to have to throw down fractions as fast as those he set when second in the Lecomte Stakes (G3).

8. Simplification Click Here!
Tami Bobo/Antonio Sano
Not This TimeSimply Confection by Candy Ride
France Weiner and Irwin Weiner (FL)

With White Abarrio and Mo Donegal likely to remain idle early next month, he should head into the March 5 Fountain of Youth as one of the favorites. Five years ago, trainer Antonio Sano and jockey Javier Castellano won the FOY with Gunnevera , who also ran second in the Holy Bull. White Abarrio’s runner-place finish in the Holy Bull was a fine effort, coming despite a slow start and wide second turn rally. Note that he didn’t switch leads down the stretch, which nearly resulted in him getting nailed late for the runner-up spot.

9. Emmanuel Click Here!
WinStar Farm and Siena Farm/Todd Pletcher
More Than Ready Hard Cloth by Hard Spun
Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust (KY)

A bright future is ahead for this colt, who after a debut win at Gulfstream, garnered two-turn experience and rolled to a 4 1/2-length win in a first-level allowance optional claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs Jan. 30. He did everything right, though enjoyed an easy trip, setting soft fractions that left him full of energy for the stretch. Five weeks between his last race and the Fountain of Youth leaves that race as a leading target.

10. Slow Down Andy
Reddam Racing/Doug O’Neill
Nyquist Edwina E by Square Eddie
Reddam Racing (CA)

After his performance in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), in which he lost focus in midstretch and leaned in on rival Messier , trainer Doug O’Neill considered adding blinkers to Slow Down Andy’s racing equipment but will not for his upcoming start in the Risen Star. The colt has worked with and without blinkers over the past couple of months. Form from the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) was flattered by Bob Baffert-trained Messier taking the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) by 15 lengths.

Reddam Racing's Slow Down Andy and jockey Mario Gutierrez, right, win the G2 $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity Saturday, December 11, 2021 at Los Alamitos Race Course, Cypress, CA.
Photo: Benoit Photo

Slow Down Andy defeats Messier in the 2021 Los Alamitos Futurity at Los Alamitos Race Course

11. Pappacap
Rustlewood Farm/Mark Cassie
Gun Runner Pappascat by Scat Daddy
Rustlewood Farm (FL)

Returning in the Lecomte last month, he threatened when jockey Joe Bravo found a seam inside heading into the lane, but the colt flattened out a bit and settled for third. Perhaps it was due to being idle for a couple of months, or maybe it was the inside trip, as some dirt horses are typically more apt to rally past horses on the outside than inside. Tyler Gaffalione, who teamed with Cass on Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will in 2019, gains the Risen Star mount.

12. In Due Time Click Here!
Edge Racing/Kelly Breen
Not This TimeSweet Sweet Annie by Curlin
Gary & Mary West Stables (KY)

Having won a Feb. 4 allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream and possessing more experience than recent Maiden winner Charge It , he clings to the final spot over that 3-year-old in the ‘Dozen rankings. He is the more seasoned of the two, having made three starts, the best of which was his recent 5 3/4-length score over a one-turn mile. Look for him next in a stakes race in Florida.

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