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Lines of Battle won the UAE Derby on his way to the Kentucky Derby (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).

Making the Grade, which will run right up until the Belmont Stakes, will focus on the winners of the big races, usually from the previous weekend, who could impact the 2013 Triple Crown. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby based on factors such as ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey) and pedigree.

This week we take a look at Lines of Battle, winner of Saturday’s $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby.

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Lines of Battle

Dark Bay or Brown colt

Sire (Father): War Front

Dam (Mother): Black Speck, by Arch

Breeders: Joseph Allen (Ky.)

Owners: Joseph Allen, Susan Magnier,
Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Lines of Battle made his 3-year-old debut in the United Arab Emirates Derby and showed no signs of rust, winning by 1 ½ lengths in his first race since Nov. 3 and earning a starting spot in the Kentucky Derby on May 4. For trainer Aidan O’Brien, the plan was to win the UAE Derby and move on to the Kentucky Derby with Lines of Battle. Mission Accomplished.

“We are very pleased with him, and we’ll go to the Kentucky Derby with him,” O’Brien said after the UAE Derby.

Ability: Lines of Battle had not raced since a seventh-place finish after a wide trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November, so there was no way to tell how he had developed and matured from two to three until he made his season debut.

Lines of Battle answered that question by winning his first race at three impressively. But it’s difficult to tell just how good the War Front colt is off of one race that included a very easy pace and two underwhelming U.S. invaders and lacked arguably the best 3-year-old on the Dubai grounds in Soft Falling Rain, who won the Godolphin Mile against older horses earlier on the card.

On the bright side, Lines of Battle was much the best and improved to 2-for-2 on the main track. Both of his main track wins came on synthetic surfaces, however, so he will be asked to make his first start on dirt at Churchill Downs following the 7,384-mile trip from Dubai to Louisville. It’s a tall order for a young horse with a one-race foundation.

O’Brien’s 2012 UAE Derby winner Daddy Long Legs was not up to the challenge a year ago when he was eased in the Kentucky Derby. In 2011, UAE Derby runner-up Master of Hounds finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby for O’Brien’s best result in the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

Running style: Lines of Battle was very close to the leisurely pace in the UAE Derby. He seized command from the pacesetter on the backstretch but was relaxed enough to allow another challenger take over the lead approaching the stretch. He then accelerated willingly on jockey Ryan Moore’s cue and inhaled that opponent in the stretch.

“It was a farce of a race,” Moore said. “They only cantered to halfway and my horse was only doing what he needed to. I think he was just the best horse in the race.”

It stands to reason that in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby field with a considerably quicker tempo expected Lines of Battle probably will not inherit the lead on the backstretch as he did in the UAE Derby. But in winning the Star Appeal Stakes on the synthetic track at Dundalk last October, Lines of Battle relaxed comfortably in third before splitting horses in the stretch to win easily. That’s probably the type of trip Moore and Lines of Battle will seek out in the Derby on May 4.

(Click here to view the 2013 Derby Leaderboard)

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Making the Grade: Flashback

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Making the Grade: Itsmyluckyday

Making the Grade: Oxbow

Making the Grade: Dewey Square

Making the Grade: Vyjack

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Making the Grade: Overanalyze

Making the Grade: Violence

Making the Grade: Uncaptured

Making the Grade: Shanghai Bobby

Connections: Aidan O’Brien could certainly stake a claim as arguably the most accomplished active trainer in the sport of horse racing. O’Brien, trainer for the powerful Coolmore racing operation, has won the Irish Derby 10 times and the English Derby twice among 35 classic wins in Ireland, England and France. O’Brien’s dominance in European classics has not translated into Triple Crown success across the Atlantic, albeit in very limited opportunities. Master of Hounds’ fifth-place finish in the 2011 Derby is his best finish in that race from four starters.

Lines of Battle is in the expert hands of a trainer who knows how to prepare a 3-year-old for a classic race, but the extra travel miles and lack of foundation are legitimate concerns for this colt.

Joseph Allen bred and co-owns Lines of battle in partnership with Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor – associates of the global Coolmore breeding and racing operation.

Joseph Allen is perhaps best known as the owner-breeder of influential stallion Dynaformer, who sired 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro among many standouts. Allen also bred and raced Lines of Battle’s sire, War Front, and owned in partnership champion Just a Game.

Susan Magnier is the wife of Coolmore principal John Magnier and has frequently partnered through the years with Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1995 with Thunder Gulch.

Smith and Tabor raced 2004 Kentucky Derby runner-up Lion Heart and 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches.

Pedigree: Lines of Battle’s sire, War Front, has gotten off to a very nice start at stud. He made an immediate impact with Grade 1 winners The Factor and Data Link as well as 2011 Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Soldat among his top runners. The 3-year-old’s maternal family also flexes plenty of muscle.

Lines of Battle’s dam (mother) Black Speck, by Arch, is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to the aforementioned Dynaformer, a sire who was a great source of soundness and stamina. Black Speck already has produced three stakes winners and another Group 1-placed runner from her first five starters. Other notable members of this family include Grade 1 winner Andover Way, Lines of Battle’s second dam (maternal grandmother); 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos; Grade 1 winner Offlee Wild; and Grade 2 winner and sire Darby Creek Road.

Lines of Battle inherits a serious dose of class and plenty of stamina from the maternal side of his pedigree, and he is a strong bet to excel at the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby distance.

Mike Curry’s Kentucky Derby Top 20

1. Revolutionary

11. Govenor Charlie

2. Verrazano

12. Flashback

3. Orb

13. Uncaptured

4. Vyjack

14. Black Onyx

5. Hear the Ghost

15. Noble Tune

6. Itsmyluckyday

16. Mr. Palmer

7. Normandy Invasion

17. Lines of Battle

8. Will Take Charge

18. Departing

9. Oxbow

19. Overanalyze

10. Mylute

20. War Academy

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Haciendo El Grado: Lines of battle

En Español

Translated by Jose Contreras

Haciendo el Grado, que se extenderá hasta el Belmont Stakes (G1), se centrará en los ganadores de las grandes carreras, por lo general de el fin de semana anterior, quienes podrían afectar a la Triple Corona del 2013. Le estaremos dando un vistazo de cerca a los impresionante ganadores y evaluar sus posibilidades de ganar el Kentucky Derby 2013 (G1) basado en factores como la habilidad, estilo de carrera, conexiones (dueño, entrenador, jinete) y pedigree.

Esta semana le echamos un vistazo a Lines of Battle, ganador de el United Arab Emirates Derby valuado en $2 Millones de Dolares.

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Lines of Battle

Potro Bayo Oscuro o Cafe

Padre (Sire): War Front

Madre (Mother): Black Speck, por Arch

Criador (Breeder): Joseph Allen (Ky.)

Owners (Dueños): Joseph Allen, Susan
Magnier, Michael Tabor, y Derrick Smith

Entrenador: Aidan O’Brien 

Lines of Battle debutó su temporada de 3 años de edad en el United Arab Emirates Derby y no mostró signos de óxidacion, ganando por uno y medio cuerpos de longitud en su primera carrera desde el 3 de noviembre y a si ganarse un puesto de titular en el Kentucky Derby, el 4 de mayo. Para el entrenador Aidan O'Brien, el plan era ganar el United Arab Emirates Derby y pasar al Kentucky Derby con Lines of Battle. Misión cumplida.

"Estamos muy contentos con él, y vamos a ir al Kentucky Derby con él", dijo O'Brien tras el United Arab Emirates Derby.

Ability: Lines of Battle no había corrido desde un séptimo lugar después de un viaje ancho en la Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf  en noviembre, así que no había manera de saber cómo se había desarrollado y madurado de dos a tres hasta que hizo su debut de esta temporada.

Lines of Battle respondió a esa pregunta al ganar su primera carrera de tres años de manera impresionante. Pero es difícil decir lo bueno que el potro War Front es tras una carrera que incluyó a un ritmo muy sencillo y a dos decepcionante invasores estadounidenses y que carecía de posiblemente el mejor caballo de 3 años de edad en Dubai, Soft Falling Rain, que ganó el Godolphin Mile contra caballos mayores de edad esa misma noche.

En el lado positivo, Lines of Battle fue mucho mejor y mejoró a 2-por-2 en la pista principal. Sus dos victorias en la pista vinieron sobre superficies sintéticas, por lo que se le pedirá que haga su primera apertura en la tierra en Churchill Downs tras el viaje de 7,384 kilómetros desde Dubai a Louisville. Es una tarea difícil para un caballo joven con una base de una sola carrera.

O'Brien tambien tuvo al ganador de el 2012 UAE Derby, Daddy Long Legs, pero no estuvo preparado para el desafío el año anterior cuando fue parado en el Kentucky Derby. En 2011, Master of Hounds, quien llego en segundo lugar en el United Arab Emirates Derby, terminó quinto en el Kentucky Derby para el mejor resultado de O'Brien en la primera joya de la Triple Corona.

Estilo de Carrera: Lines of Battle estuvo muy cerca del ritmo en el UAE Derby. Tomó control de el lider en la recta trasera, pero se relajó lo suficiente como para permitir que otro contrincante tomara el liderazgo cerca de la recta final. Luego el aceleró voluntariamente justo en el momento que el jinete Ryan Moore le pidio y aspiró ese oponente en la recta final.

"Fue una farsa de carrera", dijo Moore. "Sólo fue medio galope hasta la mitad y mi caballo sólo estaba haciendo lo que debía. Creo que simplemente fue el mejor caballo de la carrera."

Es lógico pensar que en un campo de 20 caballos como el Kentucky Derby con un ritmo considerablemente más rápido, Línes of Battle probablemente no va a heredar el liderazgo en la recta opuesta como lo hizo en el UAE Derby. Pero al ganar el Star Appeal Stakes en la pista sintética de Dundalk el pasado mes de octubre, Lines of Battle se relajo cómodamente en la tercera posicion antes de pasar caballos en la recta final para ganar fácilmente. Eso es probablemente el tipo de viaje que Moore y Lines of Battle buscaran en el Derby el 4 de mayo. 

Conexiones: Aidan O'Brien podría hacer una reclamación como posiblemente el entrenador activo que más ha logrado en el deporte de las carreras de caballos. O'Brien, entrenador de la potente operación de carreras Coolmore, ha ganado el Irish Derby 10 veces y el English Derby dos veces entre 35 triunfos clásicos en Irlanda, Inglaterra y Francia. El dominio de O'Brien en clásicos europeos no se ha traducido en un éxito de la Triple Corona a través del Atlántico, aunque ha tenido muy pocas oportunidades. El quinto puesto de Master of Hounds en el Kentucky Derby del 2011 es su mejor resultado en la carrera de cuatro titulares que ha mandado.

Lines of Battle se encuentra en las manos expertas de un entrenador que sabe cómo preparar un caballo de 3-años de edad para una carrera clásica, pero las adicionales millas de viaje y la falta de fundamento son preocupaciones legítimas de este potro.

Joseph Allen creo y es parte dueño de Lines of Battle en colaboración con Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, y Michael Tabor - socios de la global operacion Coolmore.

Joseph Allen es quizás mejor conocido como el dueño y criador de el influeyente semental Dynaformer, quien produjo al ganador del Kentucky Derby del 2006, Barbaro, entre muchos otros destacados. Allen también crío y corrió el padre de Lines of Battle, War Front, y fue parte dueño del campeón Just a Game. 

Susan Magnier es la esposa del principal de Coolmore, John Magnier, y con frecuencia ha colaborado durante años con Derrick Smith y Michael Tabor, quien ganó el Kentucky Derby en 1995 con Thunder Gulch.

Smith y Tabor corrieron el subcampeón del Kentucky Derby de 2004, Lion Heart, y Rags to Riches, la ganadora de el Belmont Stakes en 2007.

Pedigree: El padre de Lines of Battle, War Front, ha tenido un comienzo muy bueno como semental. Él hizo un impacto inmediato con ganadores de grado 1 con The Factor y Data Link así como el ganador del Fountain of Youth de 2011, Soldat, entre sus mejores corredores. La familia materna de este caballo de 3-años de edad tambien enseña mucho músculo.

La madre de Línes of Battle, Black Speck, por Arch, es una media hermana (misma madre, distinto padre) de Dynaformer, quien fue una gran fuente de solidez y resistencia. Black Speck ya ha producido tres ganadores de stakes y otro corredor colocado en grupo 1 de sus primeros cinco titulares. Otros notables miembros de esta familia incluyen ganadora de grado 1 Andover Way, la segunda madre de Lines of Battle (abuela materna); Ganador del Kentucky Derby de 2001 Monarchos; Ganador de grado 1 Offlee Wild; Ganador y padre de grado 2 Darby Creek. 

Lines of Battle hereda una buena dosis de clase y un montón de resistencia desde el lado materno de su pedigree, y es una fuerte apuesta para sobresalir en la distancia de 1 ¼ de milla del Kentucky Derby.



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Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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