Pappacap

Smile Happy, Zandon Square Off in Risen Star

'TDN Rising Star' Smile Happy (Runhappy) and Zandon (Upstart), one a graded winner in their second trip to the races and the other unlucky not to achieve the same, meet for their respective sophomore debuts in Saturday's GII Risen Star S. at the Fair Grounds. The Risen Star is the first of 16 races that comprise the 'Kentucky Derby Championship Series' and offers Kentucky Derby points on a 50-20-10-5 scale. A $185,000 purchase out of the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase, Smile Happy was the recipient of an inside-out ride...

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TDN Derby Top 12 for Feb. 8

We're inside the three-month mark to the GI Kentucky Derby. The Top 12 portfolio has been re-balanced by culling highly rated contenders who have yet to post published workouts in 2022. So 'TDN Rising Stars' Corniche (Quality Road) and Jack Christopher (Munnings) are out, and new shooters who emerged from this past weekend's trio of stakes have rushed forward to fill the gap. Nature abhors a vacuum--and so do Derby lists. 1) SMILE HAPPY (c, Runhappy--Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Lucky Seven Stable. B-Moreau Bloodstock Int'l Inc....

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TDN Derby Top 12 for Jan. 25

We're about to tear the January page off the calendar, a ritual that signals a welcome thaw in the prep schedule for the GI Kentucky Derby. Over the next two weekends there will be four qualifying points stakes from coast to coast. Here's who's hot (and not) heading into February. 1) SMILE HAPPY (c, Runhappy--Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Lucky Seven Stable. B-Moreau Bloodstock Int'l Inc. & White Bloodstock LLC (KY). T-Kenneth G. McPeek. Sales History: $175,000 wlg '19 KEENOV; $185,000 ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: GSW,...

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Call Me Midnight 'Nose' Way Home in Lecomte

Let go at 28-1 and apparently overmatched on paper, the well-tried Call Me Midnight (Midnight Lute) stormed down the center of the long Fair Grounds stretch to just nose out narrow second choice Epicenter (Not This Time) in Saturday's GIII Lecomte S., the first of three local preps on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. A maiden winner at fifth asking going Churchill's one-turn mile last Nov. 13, the $80,000 OBS March grad raced well back in the field as Surfer Dude (Curlin) and last-out Gun Runner S. hero Epicenter...

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This Side Up: Back to the Future on Lecomte Day

Fastest two minutes in sport? You'll excuse us a bitter laugh here. By the time Mandaloun (Into Mischief) leaves the gate Saturday for the GIII Louisiana S., he'll be 382,968 minutes into a GI Kentucky Derby without end. And, with no sign of anyone putting their attorneys back in the holster, it's plainly going to be a while yet before we know whether Mandaloun will finally be anointed the 147th winner of a race that drives so many millions of dollars of investment in our industry. (Listen to this column...

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Pappacap Brings Strongest Juvenile Form Into Lecomte

Much to the delight of owner/breeder Rustlewood Farm and trainer Mark Casse, Pappacap (Gun Runner) will face nothing of the quality of the likes of 'TDN Rising Star' and likely Eclipse Award winner Corniche (Quality Road) when he makes his sophomore debut in Saturday's GIII Lecomte S. at the Fair Grounds. The homebred was off the board just once from five runs in 2021, winning the GII Best Pal S. by open lengths at second asking before completing the exacta underneath the OBS April topper when beaten 3 1/4 lengths...

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TDN Derby Top 12 for Jan. 4

We're inside the 125-day mark for the May 7 GI Kentucky Derby. The initial Top 12 rankings are largely based on 2-year-old form, but a speculative element is baked into the equation with an eye toward projecting how these still-developing contenders will blossom over the next four months. 1) PAPPACAP (c, Gun Runner--Pappascat, by Scat Daddy) O/B-Rustlewood Farm, Inc. (FL). T-Mark E. Casse. Lifetime Record: GSW & MGISP, 5-2-2-0, $576,000. Last Start: 2nd GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile presented by TAA. Next Start: GIII Lecomte S., FG, Jan. 22. KY...

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Taking Stock: Gun Runner Flexes Candy Ride/Storm Cat Nick

Two sons of Candy Ride (Arg)--Gun Runner and Twirling Candy--were represented by three 2-year-old Grade l winners over the weekend, and do you know one thing they had in common? Each was produced by a Storm Cat-line mare. This affinity for the Storm Cat line was also an important feature of Candy Ride's own success, and breeders appear to be copying that formula with his sons. It's not surprising; it's something that usually happens when a stallion is successful with the females of another sire line, and this type of...

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Pappacap Looking to Step Up in Del Mar Futurity

Having ascended through his conditions with aplomb, Pappacap (Gun Runner) hopes the trend continues in Monday's GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity. A first-out winner going five panels at Gulfstream May 14, the Rustlewood Farm homebred came from just off the pace to make it two straight in the Aug. 7 GII Best Pal S. Joe Bravo, who was aboard last time, reunites with the Florida bred again here. Never one to be disregarded, on either coast, trainer Steve Asmussen is represented by American Xperiment (Nyquist), who shipped to the West...

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Top Gun Lands Running

Everyone knows how the system works; how lavishly choreographed is the promotion of new sires. Center stage is cleared, the footlights are turned up, the make-up and costume departments go into overdrive. But we also know that most of them will go out there, clear their throats nervously, and murmur a few lines that barely qualify them, in the longer term, for a place in the back row of the chorus line. Every now and then, however, one of these rookies steps up and you sense within moments that a...

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Gun Runner's Pappacap An Easy Winner of the Best Pal

Dispatched as the 23-10 second choice in Saturday's GII Best Pal S. at Del Mar, Pappacap (Gun Runner) became the first stakes winner for his freshman sire (by Candy Ride {Arg}) with a convincing victory. Away smoothly from the three hole, the homebred was content to sit in third position beneath Joe Bravo, stalking the dueling duo of Bet On Mookie (Uncaptured) and Thirsty Always (Stay Thirsty) through an opening quarter in :22.11. Ridden quietly past the five-sixteenths pole, Pappacap was asked to come after the pacesetters three wide on...

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Pappacap Ships West for Best Pal

Pappacap (Gun Runner), who broke his maiden in Florida, made the trip to the left coast to try to become his freshman sire's first black-type winner in Saturday's GII Best Pal S. at Del Mar. The Rustelwood Farm homebred wired the field in his five-panel debut at Gulfstream May 14 and displays a pair of speedy works at this oval in the interim. Fellow Florida-bred Bet on Mookie (Uncaptured) is a California resident in the Peter Miller barn. Second on debut on the Santa Anita main track May 23, the...

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