Drum Roll Please, Muth add their names to Kentucky Derby leaders' list

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Muth wins Saturday's Grade II San Vicente for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita. Benoit photo/courtesy of Santa Anita
1 of 2 | Muth wins Saturday's Grade II San Vicente for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita. Benoit photo/courtesy of Santa Anita

Ja. 8 (UPI) Drum Roll please. No, really. Add Drum Roll Please -- and Muth -- to the roster of legitimate Kentucky Derby prospects after nice weekend victories.

Drum Roll Please won Saturday's Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, giving trainer Brad Cox three of the top 10 Derby contenders. Muth won the Grade II San Vicente at Santa Anita.


There also were some nice filly and mare races around North America. And two Group 1 events in South Africa awarded "Win and You're In" spots in the Breeders' Cup -- if the winners' connections can figure out how to make that happen.

Let's make this happen.

The Road to the Roses

Drum Roll Please raced last of five down the backstretch in Saturday's $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, moved up around the turn and ran down the leader, El Grande O, with relative ease to win by 3 3/4 lengths.


The victory was worth 10 points on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" leaderboard, bringing his total to 13.

Drum Roll Please, a Hard Spun colt, earned 3 points by finishing third in the Grade 2 Remsen Dec. 2. He joins two other Brad Cox contenders -- Timberlake and Catching Freedom -- in the leaderboard Top Ten.

"It's a good preparation for the Kentucky Derby," said winning jockey Javier Castellano, who rode Mage to victory in the 2023 Run for the Roses. "It's the first step and we're here to develop the young horses for the big picture in the future."

Connections said the $250,000 Grade III Withers at 1 1/8 miles Feb. 3 is the next likely slot for Drum Roll Please.

Meanwhile, Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-olds finished first and second in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II San Vicente at Santa Anita. Muth and Pilot Commander both tracked the early pace made by Slider, and then slid by that one heading for home.

Muth, a Good Magic colt racing for Zedan Racing Stables, drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over his stablemate.

The San Vicente, at 7 furlongs, was an extended sprint but Muth has gone farther, finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after winning the Grade I American Pharoah, both at 1 1/16 miles.


Jockey Juan Hernandez said he let Muth gallop out strongly after the finish "because he was trying to keep going."

Baffert remains banned from Churchill Downs so horses he trains don't accrue points on the "Derby Road". None were available in the San Vicente anyway. Baffert didn't address that issue but said, "I was happy with their performance. ... I'm proud of both of them."

Elsewhere in the division:

Vote No unleashed a powerful turn of foot to win Saturday's $125,000 Turfway Preview at Turfway Park, a 6 1/2-lengths prep for the Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks in March. He has won on both turf and artificial tracks.

Ship to Shore led gate to wire in Saturday's $125,000 Limehouse Stakes at Gulfstream Park, drawing off late to win by 8 lengths.

Three-year-old turfers also were in action Saturday on the Gulfstream Park lawn. Both $125,000 heats were at 1 mile.

Tocayo was quickly out front in the Dania Beach Stakes for 3-year-old colts and wasn't caught, reporting first by 1 1/2 lengths over the odds-on favorite, Agate Road.

In the companion Ginger Brew Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Ozara bided her time, rallied late and was up to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Life's an Audible.


Distaff / Filly & Mare Sprint

Comparative tracked the early speed in Saturday's $150,000 Ladies Stakes at Aqueduct, engaged Saddle Up Jessie in a spirited stretch duel and won by a neck. Evidencias rallied from last of six to finish third in the 1 1/8-mile contest over a fast track.

A 4-year-old Godolphin homebred by Street Sense, Comparative, trained by the aforementioned Brad Cox,is 3-for-3 since returning from a six-months break.

In Saturday's $150,000 Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Misty Veil got first run to the lead in the stretch and held off the favorite, Ice Orchid, to win by 1 length. Butterbean was another neck in arrears while third.

Misty Veil, a 6-year-old Tonalist mare trained by Mike Maker, ran 1 1/16 miles on a muddy track in 1:44.27.

Kopion, the overwhelming favorite, ran to her notices in Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. The Omaha Beach filly shot right to the lead and wasn't caught, finishing the 7 furlongs 5 3/4 lengths in front of her nearest pursuer while clocked in 1:23.89. She now is 2-for-2 for trainer Richard Mandella.

Into Champagne ran into the picture in the stretch run of Sunday's $100,000, 6-furlongs Glitter Woman Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park, quickly rolling by the early speed, then drawing off to score by 1 1/4 lengths.


Launch was best of the rest, as the winner, by Into Mischief, got home in 1:11.58 on a sloppy track, remaining undefeated after two starts.

Around the world, around the clock

A pair of formfully run Group 1 races Saturday at Kenilworth landed "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup opportunities to Charles Dickens and Beach Bomb. Both winners are Drakenstein Stud homebreds, trained by Candice Bass-Robinson. Both claim Dynasty as broodmare sire.

Charles Dickens, a 4-year-old son of Trippi, saw off See It Again by a decisive 2 3/4 lengths in the L'Ormarin's King's Plate. The two went to the post as joint favorites.

Charles Dickens avenged his second-place finish in the 2023 King's Plate while making his first start off a 210-day layoff. He earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Nov. 2 at Del Mar.

Beach Bomb, second-favorite in the Cartier Paddock Stakes field of just six, edged the favorite, Princess Calla, by a neck, securing a reservation in the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She is a 3-year-old daughter of Lancaster Bomber.

Quarantine regulations and nomination issues cast doubt on the chances either horse will make it to Del Mar in November.


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