Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby - who do I like?

This years Kentucky Derby goes off tomorrow, and Thunderstorms are on the weather forecast.  With working full-time, chasing two kids, and helping John keep the house-hold on track - my usual breakdown of the Oaks-Derby just a single this year.  So  here's my breakdown... I think we've got some potential for a nice Triple Crown Series - even though many don't think this class of 3yo is that great.  We've got a couple horse in there if they hold form - I think the Triple Crown drought could come to an end.

137th Kentucky Derby
Purse: $2 million; 1 1/14 miles; Grade 1
Post time: 6:24 p.m. ET

1. Archarcharch, J. Court, 10-1   Sentimental Favorite, stuck in the 1-hole. Has the pedigree to go the distance and the heart to match his desire.  I think he’d run better w/o blinkers.  If he survives the run to the first turn...could be wearing roses.
2. Brilliant Speed, J. Rosario, 30-1  Has the pedigree, but you have to question his ability on dirt…though if its muddy watch out he likes the slop and the forecast is projecting afternoon thrunderstorms leave him out of your exotics if you dare…has the heart and form to get the distance, not 100% sure he’s the top of this class, but he could steal this
3. Twice the Appeal, C. Borel, 20-1 Doesn’t really belong…the only thing going for him is Calvin Borel.  He’ll get bet down in price b/c of Calivn.  Play at your own risk…
4. Stay Thirsty, R. Dominguez, 20-1 Adding Blinkers as new equipment…could help this horse & he’s had some stellar works at Churchill. I expect him to move forward.  He does have the pedigree to go the distance, the question is can he step out of his comfort zone of running with the pack – I think he’ll relish the throng of horses surging to the first turn.  
5. Decisive Moment, K. Clark, 30-1  Expect him to be on the front vying for the lead.  Not sure how he’ll handle the other speedsters coming at him & I think he’s better at mile.  He’ll hang in the front, then begin to start backing up around the 3/4pole especially if the intial fractions are HOT – which most likely the will be
6. Comma To The Top, P. Valenzuela, 30-1  All speedball.  The only impact I think this guys gonna have is on the opening 1/2mile.  He’s got some brilliant speed, and I expect that if he breaks well, he’ll be fighting for the rail and the lead.
7. Pants On Fire, R. Napravnik, 20-1  Another horse stepping up in distance who’s probably  better suited for a mile.  I expect him to be on the front or just stalking, but I don’t think he’s gonna have anything left in the tank for the last ¼ of a mile.
8. Dialed In, J. Leparoux, 4-1  Grinder,  His presence on the track kinda reminds me of Zenyatta, he just barrels home knowing he’s going to be first to the wire.  He’s got the pedigree, a closing kick, and Nick Zito at the helm.  It’s hard not to like him. I don’t think traffic will be much of a problem , as he likes to shoot through tight spaces, and Leparoux knows this horse will go through and around anything. I won’t be surprised to see him in the winner circle or go on to take the Triple Crown.
9. Derby Kitten, J. Castellano, 30-1  Meeehhhh??? What can I say, this horse does not belong here, and he doesn’t like the dirt.  But he is improving, though he’s a true turfer in my opinion
10. Twinspired, M. Smith, 30-1  Again, another one I believe doesn’t belong here.  He has been improving with his last sets of races, I just don’t see him cracking the top 2.  Now could he break in to the Superfecta – you bet. But I’m not playing him there, go ahead if you must.
11. Master of Hounds, G. Gomez, 30-1 Pedigree, pedigree, pedigree.  I think this is one of the most talented horses in this field.  There is no question he can get the distances, and he’s run counter clock wise before at Churchill.  The question is can he handle the dirt?  I think he can based upon his pedigree, and his confirmation.  I expect that he’ll rate off the pace, and come flying at the end.  He’s got good tactical speed and he’s improving.  Could be we’ll be seeing a 2nd international horse wearing roses. Gogo Gomez would getting to the wire first after last year debacle.  If he gets the roses, he's got the breeding and talent to take the Crown.
12. Santiva, S. Bridgmohan, 30-1  I’m kinda meehhh on this one.  I think if he breaks well, he could be a factor, but he’s not in the top tier in this group.
13. Mucho Macho Man, R. Maragh, 12-1 I’m not sure he’s physically or emotionally ready to take on a field of 18. He’s a june foal, and they don’t perform well at the derby.  I expect he’ll learn a lot on this run and I see him being a factor in the Haskel and Travers.  That said, he’s got a nice presence and will go anywhere his jockey points him…that’s a plus. 
14. Shackleford, J. Castanon, 12-1  I like this horse,  If he gets loose on the lead, he could pull an upset. He reminds me of Hard Spun.  But I don’t think he’s going to get loose on the lead, he’s gonna hook up and set some blistering fractions…I think he’ll be a great miler who can hold on for a mile & ¼.   If he’s not buringing up the pace he’ll settle back just off the pace – the question is can he rate at a higto h crusing speed and have enough left to put away the closers?
15. Midnight Interlude, V. Espinoza, 10-1 Baffert, Baffert, Baffert – for those of you who know me – I’m not a Baffert fan.  But the man does know how to get a horse ready for the Derby.  His only hurdle – history, its been 129 years since Apollo won the Derby as an unraced 2yo.  Bet him if you like Baffert.  
16. Animal Kingdom, J. Velazquez, 30-1  Another horse I like. He’s got the pedigree to run all day, a high cruising speed, and a monster late kick.  Everything looks like his form is going to transfer to dirt, based upon his work outs over the grounds at Churchill.   I expect he’ll be stalking, waiting to make his move around the final turn.  And with Johnny V in the saddle… that doesn’t hurt either. Another Crown Contender if he takes to dirt.
17. Soldat, A. Garcia, 12-1 Ok, I don’t like this horse. Its his action when he runs, he’s off kilter to me…but even given that I do expect him to hit the after burners to avoid the Fl Derby.  If he makes the lead I expect him to hook up with Shackelford, Brilliant Speed or Comma to the Top.  I expect he’ll be burnt out by the time they’re coming off the turn heading for the stretch. 
18. Uncle Mo, J. Velazquez, 9-2 SCRATCHED Best decision the connections could make.  This horse just wasn’t present in the Wood.  What ever’s going on, at least they’re giving him the option to come back health this summer, though if they were even thinking about scratching at the beginning of the week, they should have pulled him then… In my opinion this horse will do very well at a mile… but anything over a 1&1/16 is asking a little much for his pedigree and class.
19. Nehro, C. Nakatani, 6-1 Given how this horse runs, I don’t think the 19 post will bother him.  I think he’ll fall in behind in an attempt to save ground.  He’s a horse that likes to mix it up in the pack, and shoots through and around opponents when it time.  The question is can Cory Nakatani be patient enough to let this horse run his race.  I expect to see him starting to pick off horses being at the ¾ pole without much effort.  Every one’s going to be watching for Dialed in, and Archarcharch, but he could sneak in at take it away without anyone noticing. If he sneaks in - his pedigree and confidence in a crowd will buoy him for Crown contention
20. Watch Me Go, R. Bejarano, 50-1 Another horse who’s not quite up to the challenge.  He’ll give it ago, but he just doesn’t have the quick turn of foot, or speed to get him out of the 20 slot and in to the winners circle.  He’s no Big Brown that’s for sure.

All starters carry 126 pounds

So after breaking it down…my top 6 are: Dialed In, Animal Kingdom, Master of Hounds, Shackelford, Nehro, and Archarcharch.

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