March 1, 2016
Lane’s End sires currently account for 8 of the top 50 point-getters on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. No other farm has more, and only one sire has a horse with more individual points that CANDY RIDE (ARG)’s progressive son Gun Runner. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt beat a deep field when he rallied to win the G2 Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds Feb. 20.
Gun Runner was recently ranked #5 on Bill Finley’s Derby Top 12 in the Thoroughbred Daily News. Wrote Finley, “Gun Runner made a major jump in this week’s TDN Top 12, going from an ‘on the bubble’ horse to claiming the fifth spot on our list. He did so with a solid win over a solid bunch in the Risen Star. It was his first stakes win, but it hardly came as a surprise since he had won two of three prior starts and his lone defeat came in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club S.”
Finishing fourth in the Risen Star, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths, was another son of CANDY RIDE, Candy My Boy, who was coming off a maiden special and first-level allowance win at the Fair Grounds.
Also registering a breakout win recently was MINESHAFT’s Suddenbreakingnews, a dramatic last-to-first winner of the Southwest S. at Oaklawn Park Feb. 15. The bay has plenty of room for improvement, too—he won’t turn three by the calendar until May 2.
The Blood-Horse’s Steve Haskin is one fan of Suddenbreakingnews, and said while ranking him 10th in his Derby Dozen, “There really is little to dislike about this gelding, with his ability to beat you from anywhere on the track and his explosive late kick. What was most impressive in the Southwest Stakes was the way he ran right on by a very good horse in Whitmore [who is by former Lane’s End stallion PLEASANTLY PERFECT].”
CITY ZIP’s Collected represents the always-dangerous Bob Baffert barn, and with a good-looking win in Santa Anita’s Sham S. on his resume, sits in 15th on the Leaderboard.
QUALITY ROAD’s Frank Conversation has done little wrong in 2016, winning the California Derby on Jan. 16 and the G3 El Camino Real Derby Feb. 13—both at Golden Gate—and trainer Doug O’Neill said he trains like a serious horse on conventional dirt. QUALITY ROAD has another on the list in the form of In Equality, who broke his maiden at Aqueduct in mid-December, then finished third in the G3 Jerome S. two weeks later.
Others with Derby points include Lane’s End’s own Gift Box, from the first crop of TWIRLING CANDY, and LANGFUHR’s well-named Van Damme.