Rocket Fuel
Please provide a valid email address.


Normandy Invasion battles Overanalyze in the 99th running of the Remsen Stakes, in which he finished second. Photo courtesy 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 Normandy Invasion, runner-up in the Wood Memorial Stakes on April 6 at Aqueduct.

red white blue Bar

Normandy Invasion

Bay colt

Sire (Father): Tapit

Dam (Mother): Boston Lady, by
Boston Harbor

Owner-Breeder: Betz/Kidder/Gainesway/ 
Graves/D.J. Stable/Cole (Ky.)

Trainer: Chad Brown

Normandy Invasion will enter the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby with only a maiden victory to his credit, but don’t expect the Tapit colt to be one of the biggest longshots in the 20-horse field. Normandy Invasion has generated significant buzz from a pair of runner-up finishes in graded stakes - rallying boldly from off the pace to come within a length of victory in both races – and instead figures to be the “wise guy” pick for the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Usually, when those “in the know” all seem to land on the same horse, the best bet is to flee in terror from that horse. But in this case, I see quite a bit to like in Normandy Invasion.

Ability: After an unplaced finish in his career debut in September 2012 at Belmont Park, Normandy Invasion showed a flash of brilliance with a 9 ¼-length runaway win in November at Aqueduct. He came back three weeks later in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes and charged from ninth in a 10-horse field to finish second by a nose to a determined Overanalyze in his final start of the year.

In his 3-year-old bow, Normandy Invasion got off to a terrible start in the Risen Star Stakes and was last of 12 after a half-mile as the overwhelming 3-2 favorite. Again, he closed powerfully to come within a length and a half of the winner in a fifth-place finish. Following the unplaced finish in the Risen Star, Normandy Invasion’s stock as a Derby hopeful plummeted, but he regained credibility and more importantly earned enough points to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby with a second to unbeaten Verrazano in the Wood Memorial Stakes.

Making the Grade: Java's War

Making the Grade: Govenor Charlie

Making the Grade: Lines of Battle

Making the Grade: Black Oynx

Making the Grade: Will Take Charge

Making the Grade: Super Ninety Nine

Making the Grade: Orb

Making the Grade: Verrazano

Making the Grade: Revolutionary

Making the Grade: Itsmyluckyday

Making the Grade: Oxbow

Making the Grade: Vyjack

Making the Grade: Goldencents

Making the Grade: Overanalyze

Normandy Invasion was subsequently flattered when Overanalyze, whom he battled to the wire in the Remsen, rebounded from a fifth-place finish in the Gotham Stakes by winning the Arkansas Derby convincingly.

Normandy Invasion improved his Equibase Speed figure in each of his starts at two – from an 81 in his debut to a 95 in his maiden win to a 115 in the Remsen. If he follows a similar pattern in his third start at three, he could be sitting on a big race. He earned a 95 Equibase Speed Figure for the Risen Star and a 105 in the Wood Memorial. The top speed figure this year from among the probable Derby entrants is a 111 (earned by Goldencents, Mylute, and Revolutionary), so an improvement back to his top figure of 115 or better would make Normandy Invasion a serious contender.

Running style: It’s probably safe to assume Normandy Invasion will not be anywhere near the lead in the Kentucky Derby. Normandy Invasion has closed from well off the pace in both of his starts this year and in two of three races at two. Of course, in both races this year it was out of necessity and not necessarily design as he got off to a slow start in the Risen Star and was bumped and shuffled back in the Wood Memorial.

Normandy Invasion is not devoid of early speed, however, and thus probably will be closer to the back of the field than the front but not pulling up the rear. A decent start would be a huge help.

Normandy Invasion should get plenty of pace to set up his closing speed in the Kentucky Derby, but closer’s in the first jewel of the Triple Crown must avoid traffic trouble and often face wide trips trying to find clear running room.

Expect Normandy Invasion to be finding his best stride late. If he can navigate an unimpeded path to the finish line, he could be extremely dangerous.

(Click here to view the 2013 Derby Leaderboard)

Connections: Fox Hill Farms races Normandy Invasion. The racing operation of Northeast car dealer Rick Porter twice finished second in the Kentucky Derby — with Hard Spun in 2007 and with ill-fated Eight Belles in 2008. Fox Hill also raced 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.

Chad Brown was mentored by a pair of Hall of Fame trainers, Shug McGaughey and Bobby Frankel, before going out on his own in 2007 and enjoying immediate success. He won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2008 with Maram and the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Zagora. Normandy Invasion will be the first Kentucky Derby starter for one of the top young trainers in the U.S.

Jockey Javier Castellano was the regular rider of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and secured a classic win in 2006 when he guided Bernardini to victory in the Preakness Stakes. He was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 2011 and 2012.

Pedigree:  Normandy Invasion is by Tapit, winner of the 2004 Wood Memorial Stakes and one of the top sires in the U.S. Tapit’s top runners include champions Stardom Bound and Hansen, both of whom excelled at 1 1/16 miles. 

Unraced Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor, is the dam (mother) of Normandy Invasion. His maternal grandmother, Gay Senorita, was a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to three stakes winners, including graded stakes winners Gulls Cry and Gala Regatta.

Mike Curry’s Kentucky Derby Top 20

1. Revolutionary

11. Goldencents

2. Verrazano

12. Java's War

3. Orb

13. Black Onyx

4. Normandy Invasion

14. Lines of Battle

5. Vyjack

15. Palace Malice

6. Itsmyluckyday

16. Oxbow

7. Will Take Charge

17. Frac Daddy

8. Govenor Charlie

18. Departing

9. Mylute

19. Falling Sky

10. Overanalyze

20. Charming Kitten

red white blue Bar

Haciendo El Grado: Normandy Invasion

En Español

Translated by Jose Contrera

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 Normandy Invasion, quien terminó en segundo lugar en el Wood Memorial Stakes el 6 de abril en Aqueduct.

red white blue Bar

Normandy Invasion

Potro Bayo

Padre (Sire): Tapit

Madre (Dam): Boston Lady, por Boston Harbor

Dueño (Owners): Fox Hill Farms

Criador (Breeders): Betz/Kidder/Gainesway/
Graves/D.J. Stable/Cole (Kentucky)

Entrenador (Trainer): Chad Brown

Normandy Invasion entrará en la puerta de salida para el Kentucky Derby con sólo una victoria en su carrera, pero no esperes que el potro de Tapit sea uno de los más grandes precios en el campo de 20 caballos. Normandy Invasion ha generado gran expectativa después de un par de segundos lugares en carreras de stakes graduadas - cerrando fuera de el ritmo y llegar dentro de un cuerpo de la victoria en las dos carreras - y aparenta ser la selección del "hombre sabio" para el Kentucky Derby 2013. Por lo general, cuando los "que saben" todo parecen escoger el mismo caballo, la mejor apuesta es huir despavoridos de ese caballo. Pero en este caso, veo muchas cosas que me gustan de Normandy Invasion.

Habilidad: Después de un acabado sin colocar en los primeros lugares en su debut profesional en septiembre de 2012 en Belmont Park, Normandy Invasion mostró un toque de brillo con una victoria de 9 y ¼ cuerpos de longitud en noviembre en Aqueduct. Después regresó tres semanas más tarde, en el Remsen Stakes de grado 2 y cerro de la novena posición en un campo de 10 caballos para terminar segundo por una nariz a un determinado Overanalyze en su última carrera del año.

En su primera carrera de 3 años de edad, Normandy Invasion tuvo un comienzo terrible en el Risen Star Stakes y estaba en el último lugar en el campo de 12 caballos después de una media milla como el gran favorito a 3-2. Una vez más, cerró con fuerza y terminó dentro de un cuerpo y medio del ganador en un quinto lugar. Tras el final del Risen Star, las expectativas de Normandy Invasion como una esperanza al Derby cayeron, pero recuperó la credibilidad y más importante, gano los suficientes puntos para asegurar un lugar en el Kentucky Derby con un segundo lugar ante el invicto Verrazano en el Wood Memorial Stakes.

Normandy Invasion fue posteriormente halagado cuando Overanalyze, quien luchó con el en el Remsen, se recuperó de un quinto lugar en el Gotham Stakes al ganar el Arkansas Derby de manera convincente.

Normandy Invasion mejoró su cifra de velocidad Equibase en cada una de sus salidas a los 2 años de edad - de un 81 en su debut a un 95 en su primera victoria a un 115 en el Remsen. Si sigue un camino similar en su tercera apertura a los 3 años de edad, él podría estar sentado en una gran carrera. El obtuvo una cifra de velocidad Equibase 95 en el Risen Star y un 105 en el Wood Memorial.  La mayor cifra de velocidad Equibase obtenida este año entre los probables al Derby ha sido un 111 (ganado por Goldencents, Mylute y Revolutionary), por lo que una mejora a su cifra máxima de 115 o mejor haría a Normandy Invasion un serio contendiente.

Estilo de Carrera: Es probablemente seguro asumir que Normandy Invasion no estará cercas de la punta en el Kentucky Derby. Normandy Invasion ha cerrado desde fuera de ritmo en sus dos aperturas este año y en dos de las tres carreras a los 2 años de edad. Por supuesto, en las dos carreras de este año lo hizo por necesidad y no necesariamente por diseño ya que tuvo un comienzo lento en el Risen Star y fue golpeado y revuelto para atrás en el Wood Memorial.

Normandy Invasion no está provisto de velocidad temprana, y por lo tanto probablemente estará más cerca de la parte posterior del campo que de la parte delantera, pero no tirando hacia la parte trasera. Un buen comienzo sería una gran ayuda.

Normandy Invasion parece que tendrá mucho ritmo para establecer su cierre veloz en el Kentucky Derby, pero los cerradores en la primera joya de la Triple Corona deben evitar problemas de tráfico y muy seguido se encuentran con viajes muy abiertos tratando de encontrar un camino claro. Esperen ver a Normandy Invasion tratando de encontrar su mejor paso tarde en la carrera. Si es capaz de navegar por una ruta sin obstáculos a la línea de meta, el podría ser extremadamente peligroso.

Conexiones: Fox Hill Farms corre a Normandy Invasion. La operación de carreras del distribuidor de coches del Northeast, Rick Porter, ha terminado segundo dos veces en el Kentucky Derby - con Hard Spun en 2007 y con la desafortunada Eight Belles en 2008. Fox Hill también compitió al Caballo del Año del 2011, Havre de Grace.

Chad Brown fue apadrinado por un par de entrenadores del Salón de la Fama, Shug McGaughey y Bobby Frankel, antes de salir por su cuenta en 2007 y disfrutar de un éxito inmediato. Él ganó el Breeders 'Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf en 2008 con Maram y el Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf en 2012 con Zagora. Normandy Invasion será el primer caballo en el Kentucky Derby para uno de los entrenadores más jóvenes en los Estados Unidos.

El jinete Javier Castellano fue el piloto regular del Caballo del Año del 2004, Ghostzapper, y aseguró una victoria clásica en 2006 cuando guió a Bernardini a la victoria en el Preakness Stakes. Él fue un finalista para el Premio Eclipse como jinete excepcional en 2011 y 2012.

Pedigree: Normandy Invasion es por Tapit, ganador del Wood Memorial Stakes 2004 y uno de los mejores sementales en los Estados Unidos. Los mejores corredores de TapIt incluyen los campeones Stardom Bound y Hansen, ambos de los cuales sobresalieron en la distancia de 1 1/16 millas.

Boston Lady, quien nunca corrió, por Boston Harbor, es la madre de Normandy Invasion. Su abuela materna, Gay Senorita, era una media hermana (la misma madre, diferente padre) a tres ganadores de stakes, incluyendo ganadores de stakes graduados, Gaviotas Cry y Gala Regatta.


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.

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.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Sponsors & Partners

  • FoxSports1
  • NBC Sports
  • Logo 6
  • Saratoga
  • Santa Anita
  • CBS Sports
  • Monmouth
  • Keeneland
  • Gulfstream Park
  • Del Mar
  • Belmont Park
  • Arlington Park
  • OwnerView