Friday, December 13, 2013

CashCall makes final bow in Hollywood

Open since 1938, Hollywood Park will prepare to close its doors for good in the coming days, and this weekend will be the last CashCall Futurity (G1) run at the historic track. One two-year-old will etch his name into history on Saturday and join the likes of Ferdinand, Alysheba, A.P. Indy, Thunder Gulch, Real Quiet and Lookin at Lucky, all previous winners of the race.

It is disappointing that points were taken off the table this year for the CashCall, but it should still be a very competitive race as five of the 13 entered were included in the first KDFW pool. Shared Belief enters into the race undefeated from two starts in which he won by a combined 14 3/4 lengths and will likely be the post-time favorite. Bond Holder and Tap It Rich, who were fourth and fifth, respectively in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile figure to challenge the favorite along with Tamarando, the recent winner of the Real Quiet Stakes.

With the Eclipse awards looming there are many lobbying that a win by Shared Belief will give him the two-year-old crown. He would have to run away with the CashCall like he did in his first two races for me to consider jumping on that bandwagon. New Year's Day, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile is currently the top two-year-old and would be tough to deny top billing of this class.

CashCall Futurity (G1) 1 1/16m
(7:35 EST)

5 Tap It Rich 9-2

Had one of the more impressive maiden victories of the two-year-olds this year and is still immature as he showed in his fifth-place finish in the Juvenile. Broke slow from the gate and was hung out wide the entire race, but only lost by 3 1/4 lengths. Racing on a synthetic surface for the first time can always be a concern, but this ridgling looks to have talent and it is just a matter of time before he puts it all together. I'll continue to back him until he gives me reason not to

2 Tamarando 4-1

Most experienced of the group has seven starts already. Winner of both the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Real Quiet has finished no worse than fourth and will be coming late to try to run down the leaders.  Tough to pick against here. 

6 Shared Belief 7-2

Enters undefeated in two starts with a combined winning margin of 14 3/4 lengths and did so in impressive times. Has been working lights out since his victory in the Hollywood Prevue (G3) but is stepping up in class. Going around two turns for the first time will be the question mark here. Like him to be in contention.

3 Bond Holder 8-1

Winner of the FrontRunner (G1) will try to find his way through traffic from the back of the pack. Managed fourth in the Juvenile but didn't have much left in the stretch. Still room for improvement and has been game in just about all six starts. 

$56 CashCall Bankroll

$20 W: 5

$2 EX BX: 5,2,6 = $12

$1 TRI BX: 5,2,6,3 = $24

Saturday, November 30, 2013

KDFW - Remsen - KyJC

Turkey day has passed so why not make some future bets this weekend. Thanksgiving 2013 marks the first time that the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) is open for betting on the two-year-olds. This future wager pool was introduced back in 1999 but had always waited until February to kick off. It's never too early to start throwing around Derby hopefuls and the added pool this year should generate buzz and excitement, months in advance of the actual race. Wagering on the first pool closes before the two historical Derby prep races go off at Aqueduct and Churchill Downs on Saturday.

The  Remsen (G2) is the most anticipated of the two preps and will certainly test the stamina of these guys as they try the 1 1/8-mile distance for the first time in their young careers. Honor Code, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, is making his first start since missing out by a neck to Havana in the Champagn (G1) almost two months ago. He looks to join the likes of Johnstown, Carryback, Northern Dancer, Pleasant Colony, Go for Gin, and Thunder Gulch, all who have taken down this race and then gone on to win the Derby the following year.

The Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) is the other big prep and these two-year-olds would love to be back here in May. On paper this group entered Saturday are not as highly touted as the Remsen field, largely because only one horse in the KyJC is listed in the early KDFW pool. Almost Famous is that horse and is the 6-5 favorite on the morning line. He is entering in here off a six-length victory against allowance company over this track just three weeks ago. Five past winners of this race have also captured the Derby, with Super Saver being the last to do so in 2009.

It is tough enough to attempt and pick the Derby winner on the first Saturday in May but to try and do so before these unpredictable juveniles even celebrate their third birthday is borderline insane. But where there's a chance to make money, why not take a shot in the dark. It will be interesting to see how many of the 23 that are currently on the list will even make it to the starting gate five months from now. I wonder what the over/under is on that bet...

Remsen(G2) 1 1/8m
(3:49 EST)

4 Honor Code 9-5
Son of A.P. Indy should have no problem with the added distance and will be coming from the clouds to run down the leader. Tough not to back this colt out of McGaughey's barn after two impressive starts to begin his career. Won't be shocked if he gets beat but will be there at the end to make it interesting. 

1 Noble Moon 6-1
Wild card in here that will be the third-betting choice and might get overlooked a bit. He broke his maiden in his debut by wiring the field and came from last to finish third in Nashua (G2) over the track earlier this month. Despite a not-so-good trip, he still improved his BRIS Speed figs in his second start and it will be interesting to see where he is placed in this race early on. Could pull off the upset with a decent price over his head. 

9 Cairo Prince 2-1
Looks to remain undefeated after coming off a win here at Aqueduct in the Nashua four weeks ago. Made a nice move to take control of the last race and his pedigree suggests he will like to go longer. One of three in here that has just as good a shot as the other two. 

$30 Remsen Bankroll

$6 WPS: 1 = $18

$2 TRI BX: 4,1,9 = $12

Kentucky Jockey Club(G2) 1 1/16m
(5:35 EST)

$2 EX BX: 1,2,6 = $12

KDFW Pool #1

$50 W: All Others 4-5

Others to consider:
Shared Belief: 31-1
Tamarando: 29-1
Tap It Rich: 20-1

*Cashed $153.30 on the Breeders' Cup thanks to hitting the exacta in the Juvenile and tabbing Mucho Macho Man to win the Classic. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Breeders' Cup Preview

                                                                   Breeders' Cup

Santa Anita Park is the place to be this upcoming weekend as the top thoroughbreds from around the country/world converge on the Breeders' Cup to square off in 14 races, spread out over two days. With Eclipse awards, huge purses, bragging rights and winning tickets all on the line you couldn't ask for a better weekend of racing.

The three-year-old champion is down to just two colts heading into November. Palace Malice would have to be at the top of the list going into the Classic with wins in both the Belmont and Jim Dandy and also finishing second to Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup just last month. The son of Curlin will attempt to do what his daddy did seven years ago and that is win the Classic as a three-year-old, something that has only been done twice in the last 12 years. A good performance in the Classic should be enough to claim three-year-old honors.

If Palace Malice fails to show up then Will Take Charge, who is also in the field of 12, has a shot to move to the top of the division. Will Take Charge was off the board in all three of the Triple Crown races but has come on as of late to capture the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby his last two times out. Moreno ran second to Will Take Charge in both of those races and is the only other three-year-old entered in here. He did not break his maiden until June and would have to come away with a win to even enter the conversation of top three-year-old. If Will Take Charge hits the board on Saturday he might be hard to deny the Eclipse, but if he were to pull off the upset then that is who would be your three-year-old champion.

The two-year-olds have been running since the summer but a true leader has yet to emerge out of this group. The Juvenile is set with a full field of 14 on Saturday and it could decide the two-year-old champ. Recent maiden winner Tap it Rich is the juvenile to keep an eye on as he makes his stakes debut. Honor Code, the highly touted son of A.P. Indy, who just missed out by a neck in the Champagn, to 5-2 Juvenile favorite Havana, stayed home in New York and did not make the cross country trip.

Fillies Juvenile 1 1/16m
(3:05 EDT)

Sweet Reason (Leah Gyarmati) was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for good reason and would be entering in here undefeated was it not for an awkward start in the Frizette last out. If she gets a good break this time around, the daughter of Street Sense will be very tough to beat. The Del Mar Debutane winner, She's a Tiger (Jeff Bonde) hopes to break well from the outside post and will try get to the lead or as close as possible. Lost by a head in the Chandelier last time out in a race run over this track and is certainly dangerous. Untapable (Steve Asmussen) captured the Pocahontas at Churchill at the beginning of September in her second career start and tries to remain perfect. Artemis Agrotera (Michael Hushion) put up some solid pace/speed figures in her first two starts and pulled away in the end of the one mile Frizette last out, so the added distance should not be a problem. She is another filly in here that looks to escape this race without a blemish on her record.

9 Sweet Reason 5-2
10 She's a Tiger 6-1
7 Untapable 5-1
1 Artemis Agrotera 3-1

$20 W: 9

$2 EX BX: 9,10,7,1 

$1 TRI: 9 w/ 10,7,1 w/ 10,7,1,4,6

Juvenile 1 1/16m
(5:43 EDT)

Tap It Rich (Baffert) broke his maiden impressively in his racing debut earlier this month here at Santa Anita after hopping at the start and breaking last. Look for him to step forward off his last race and should be one to watch not just on Saturday but on the 2014 Kentucky Derby trail as well. Havana (Todd Pletcher) is the 5-2 morning-line favorite after wiring the Champagn but will have to overcome post 13 to remain undefeated. The winner of the FrontRunner, Bond Holder (O'Neill) will likely be coming late to try and hit the board. New Year's Day (Baffert) exits a nice maiden win in which he beat Bond Holder back in August. Has been working well over the track and if he gets the distance, will be in the mix at the end. 

6 Tap It Rich 6-1
13 Havana 5-2
5 Bond Holder 8-1
4 New Year's Day 8-1

$20 W: 6

$2 EX BX: 6,13,5,4

$1 TRI BX: 6,13,5,4

Classic 1 1/4m

Mucho Macho Man (Katherine Ritvo), the runner-up by just a half-length in last year's running of the Classic may be the one posing in the winner's circle in 2013. Posted a 4 1/4-length win in the Awesome Again over this track last month and looks to be in top form at the right time. The 8-5 morning-line favorite, Game On Dude (Baffert) exits an 8 1/2-length runaway win in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He will try to redeem himself after last year's disappointing seventh-place finish, which is his only loss at Santa Anita to date. Has won seven times in eight starts here and is very dangerous. Palace Malice (Pletcher) continues to improve and mature with each race he runs. Obviously he would have to run the race of his young career to win on Saturday, but don't write off this three-year-old because it is not out of the question for him to pull off the upset. Fort Larned (Ian Wilkes) the upset winner of the 2012 Classic is tough to overlook especially with his early speed. 

6 Mucho Macho Man 5-1
9 Game On Dude 8-5
8 Palace Malice 10-1
7 Fort Larned 6-1

$5 WPS: 6

$5 WPS: 8

$2 EX BX: 6,9,8,7

$1 TRI BX; 6,9,8,7

Happy Halloween & Happy Winnings!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Midsummer Classic Preview

The historic 144th Travers Stakes is set up for quite a showdown this Saturday at Saratoga. The famed Midsummer Classic/Derby will feature the Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Haskell winners to determine which three-year-old will be atop this wide-open division heading into the Fall.

Orb looks to bounce back from sub-par performances in the Preakness and Belmont and add his name to the short list of horses that have taken down both the Derby and Travers. Palace Malice attempts to push his winning streak to three after winning the Belmont and Jim Dandy. One loss Verazanno tries to build off his two run-away wins in the Pegasus and Haskell after flopping in the Derby and skipping out on the other two Classics. Preakness winner Oxbow unfortunately will be absent, as he has been ruled out for the remainder of the year. The resumes from those horses alone should give an indication about how good a field this is that will load the gates Saturday. While last years dead-heat will be tough to top, the talent in this year's race could certainly bring another instant classic.

It's anyone's guess on how the two-year-olds will perform this time of year as there has yet to be a multiple-stakes winner of any magnitude. The Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga on September 2 will hopefully shed some light on who will be the early front runner in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile later in the year. There is also the Del Mar Fututity (G1) on September 4 to watch out for.

Travers Stakes (G1)
8/24 Saratoga @ 5:46 EST

8 Palace Malice 5-2
Took this guy some time but he has finally come around after winning back-to-back graded races. That Derby fiasco seems like a distant memory by now and this son of Curlin only has room to grow. Has already proven he can handle the classic distance, so look for him to continue his run on Saturday and emerge as the division leader. 

2 Orb 4-1
Derby winner is the only one in here that has won at the distance. Won five in a row before disappointing starts his last two times out and can't be forgotten about. With some time off after running third in the Belmont, he should be refreshed and ready to challenge the best of his class once again. 

3 Verrazano 2-1
Will be the one to beat after coming off impressive performances following his no-show in the Derby. Can be beat as his 9 3/4-length win in the Haskell might have been inflated just a bit by Oxbow's injury and the distance is a question mark. He is good, but is going to have to prove it on Saturday with a win against the top three-year-olds. 

5 Will Take Charge 10-1
Winner of the Rebel (G2) disappeared in the Triple Crown races and came back to finish runner-up in the Jim Dandy. Would have to take a huge leap here to pull off the upset but figures to be around at the end considering he doesn't run into too much traffic. 

$75 Travers Bankroll

$27 W: 8 = $27

$2 TRI BX: 8, 2, 3, 5 = $48

*Hit $61.10 from Palace Malice's win in the Dandy to cover the bank but came up empty in the Haskell when Oxbow was injured in midrace and couldn't complete the exacta with Verrazano. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Three-year-olds return for Summer

                                                                    Haskell Stakes

The last time most of the top three-year-olds were on the track together we witnessed 13-1 longshot Palace Malice capture his first stakes by pulling off the upset in the Belmont. That left the three-year-old picture in a disarray heading into the Summer with a different winner in each of the three Triple Crown races.

After an almost much needed two-month hiatus from the grueling Triple Crown trail, most of them return to the track in this weekend's Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga and Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park. The winners will look to emerge and be at the top of this unpredictable division heading into the Midsummer Classic known as the Travers Stakes at the Spa next month on August 24.

The Jim Dandy runs on Saturday with a field of 10 entered which features four that have already run against each other in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Curlin, Palace Malice looks to pick up where he left off last time out after finally finding his form in the Belmont and will be the one to beat.

The Haskell is slated for Sunday with Verrazano heading a field of seven. After finishing a disappointing 14th in the Kentucky Derby he came back to capture the Pegasus Stakes (G3) by 9 1/4 lengths over this track last month. Preakness winner Oxbow is the second choice and looms dangerous at the 1 1/8 mile distance.

The Kentucky Derby winner, Orb has opted to skip the premier preps and is poised to return for the Travers. This means that the three-year-old picture will not come into focus until after the Summer starts to wind down as we truly will not know who is the head of the class until they all square off against each other on the same track. After this weekend we should have a better idea of the top five unless another up and coming three-year-old steals the spotlight.

The two-year-olds are also underway as they try to make an early name for themselves. Wired Bryan took the Sanford Stakes (G2) by 5 1/4 lengths and will be the likely favorite for the Saratoga Special (G2) next month. Keep an eye on these up an comers as many are just starting to break their maidens.

Jim Dandy Stakes(G1)
7/27 Saratoga @ 5:45 EST

5 Palace Malice 5-2
Belmont winner had no chance in the Derby with first time blinkers. Finally found his form last time out and might not have shown his best yet as he continues to grow. If he wins (like he should) or comes in the money Saturday it sets up for a dynamic showdown with Orb and the Haskell victor in the Travers next month.

8 Mylute 7-2
Still looking for his first stakes win but finds a way to be there close at the end. Posted three triple BRIS Speed ratings in a row and should be refreshed after some time off following his runner-up in the Preakness.

4 Moreno 10-1
Took him 10 tries before breaking his maiden but ran away with the Dwyer (G2) by seven lengths when stepping up in class earlier this month. This field is far superior to anyone he has run against, so he will have to run the race of his career to pull off the upset but certainly shouldn't be written off your exotic tickets as this could be one of those late blooming three-year-olds. 

2 Code West 6-1
Missed out by a nose in the Risen Star (G2) but came back to finish sixth in the Louisiana Derby (G1) in his only try at the distance, which took himself out of the Derby picture. Winner of the Matt Wynn (G3) last month can't be counted out but 1 1/8 miles may be too much for him to tackle.

$50 Jim Dandy Bank

$26 W: 5 = $26

$1 TRI BX: 5,8,4,2 = $24

Haskell Stakes(G1)
7/28 Monmouth Park @ 6:18 EST

5 Oxbow 2-1
Continues to get no love by the bettors and oddsmakers after being made the second choice on the morning line. Won the Preakness going off at 15-1 odds and finished second in the Belmont at 10-1 odds. This guy has one speed but when he gets going he is dangerous and the 1 1/8 mile distance is right in his wheelhouse. Look for him to dictate the pace and roll home to victory. 

7 Verrazano 9-5
Only one blemish on his resume is the Kentucky Derby and you can make all kinds of excuses for him in that race. His dominate performance last time out showed that his 6-5-0-0 record is no fluke and will try to pass Oxbow in the stretch on Sunday.

3 Golden Soul 8-1
Runner-up in the Derby was never a threat in the Belmont but don't discount him. Difficult to see him winning the race but will be coming late to try and fill out some exotics.

$50 Haskell Bank

$18 W: 5 = $18

$10 EX BX: 5,7 = $20

$2 TRI BX: 5,7,3 = $12

*Did a bankroll for the first time in the Belmont and if you played the $60 Tri ticket you got $465.50 at the window. Tabbed Revolutionary for the win but he faded to fifth in the stretch and is now taking a break until next year.

Friday, June 7, 2013

145th Belmont Stakes

This time last year the horse racing world was abuzz following I'll Have Another's come from behind wins to take the first two legs of the Triple Crown. He was just one race away from erasing a 30+ year drought that has eluded so many greats of the past. But he would never get the chance as trainer Doug O'Neil shocked the nation on Dan Patrick's radio show the morning before the Belmont announcing that his colt would be unable to run and had to be scratched from the race.

Another year and the drought continues after the highly regarded Orb ran flat in the Preakness following an impressive Derby win in the slop. While the hype is not there this year with the Triple Crown off the line, there are still some quality horses that are slated to run on Saturday and the outcome of the race might have huge implications on the three-year-old picture for the remainder of the year. Right now it is anyone's guess who will emerge as the top three-year-old at the end of the year as we could have three separate winners in each of the three legs of the crown.

The Belmont Stakes could shape up to being the best of the three races with the two classic winners (Orb & Oxbow) going head-to head, a filly (Unlimited Budget) trying her luck against against the boys and almost half the Derby field entered as they attempt to tackle the "Belmont Monster".

Belmont Stakes(G1)
6/8 Belmont @ 6:36 EST

9 Revolutionary 9-2
One that continues to impress despite coming up short in the Derby and taking third. Did not break his maiden until December 28 so he got a late start by Derby standards and is one that is continuing to develop and mature. Skipped the Preakness so he would be fresh coming into the Belmont and by doing so he has history on his side. Its not too late to jump on board this talented son of War Pass because on Saturday he will finally show the racing world how impressive he is. It's crazy to think he doesn't have a Grade 1 win yet, but come tomorrow he can add that to his resume and will go into the record books as a classic winner. Has finished in the money in all seven of his starts so you know he will be there at the end. 

5 Orb 3-1
He broke a lot of hearts two weeks ago in the Preakness but looks to bounce back here. Before his last race he had won five in a row and posted a 111 BRIS Speed rating in the Derby. Returns to New York where he started his racing career and will certainly be a contender on Saturday. Has been working well leading up to the race but you have to wonder how much the Preakness took out of him. 

7 Oxbow 5-1
They call this race the "Test of Champions", well this horse has the heart of a champion. After chasing unprecedented fractions in the Derby to finish sixth he came back two weeks later and wired the field to capture the Preakness. A grinder that figures to be around toward the end but how he does in the race will all depend on the pace scenario. 

14 Golden Soul 10-1
Runner-up in the Derby that spoiled a lot of exotics. His last two races he has posted triple digit BRIS Speed figures. Does he just need the added distance or is this a horse that just benefited from that speed dual in the Derby? Been within a few lengths of the winner his last three races, with the added distance and entering in here off a five-week layoff, it would be silly to dismiss him. 

12 Palace Malice 15-1
The rabbit in the Derby will be running without the blinkers Saturday and look for him to come from just off the pace this time. The son of Curlin should not have a problem with the distance and with the value he provides in here, certainly can't be overlooked. Has put in some impressive works while skipping the Preakness and should be ready to go. 

$100 Belmont Bank...

$40 W: 9 = $40

$1 TRI BX: 9,5,7,14,12 = $60

*Orb failed to fire in the Preakness but did have longshot and winner of the race Oxbow tabbed as the second choice. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

139th Preakness

The Shug McGaughey colt stands above the rest of the three-year-old class after an impressive 2 1/2-length victory in the "Run for the Roses" just two short weeks ago. Since breaking his maiden back in November, Orb continues to find ways to run down his rivals in the stretch as he enters Saturday's Preakness on a five-race win streak. Drawing the inside post as the even-money favorite, he looks to make it six in a row and have an opportunity to do something that hasn't been done in 35 years.

Nine horses will load the gates on Saturday to try and spoil the Triple Crown hopes of this promising son of Malibu Moon. There are three newcomers entering with fresh legs while five will try their luck again after failing to beat Orb in the Derby. Orb will be the one to beat again after going off as the post-time favorite at Churchill but the eight other challengers are not too be overlooked as six of them have won graded races during their three-year-old campaign. The Preakness has the making of another classic race as Orb hasn't run away from the fields in any of his five wins.

Preakness Stakes(G1)
5/18 Pimlico @ 6:20 EST

Orb 1-1

- This guy keeps looking better and better. Could be watching a special three-year-old emerge in front of our eyes and after Saturday will only have the 'Belmont Monster' in between him and racing immortality. If you thought drawing the rail was a concern, he already won the Fountain of Youth from the No. 1 post in a nine-horse field. 

Oxbow 15-1

- Tracked crazy fractions in the Derby and still managed to hold on for sixth. With the shorter distance and the pace expected to not be nearly as fast as the Derby, the race sets up well for him to be there at the end for second. 

Will Take Charge 12-1

- Beat Oxbow at the wire in the Risen Star so if I like Oxbow I have to throw Lucas' other colt in the exotics. Was closing in the Derby but had to virtually stop when Verrazano slowed right in front of him. Will be coming on at the end to try and hit the board.

Govenor Charlie 12-1

- Only making his fourth start but was the promising winner of the Sunland Derby (G3). A foot issue kept him out of the Derby but posted a sharp six-furlong work earlier in the week. One that could fill out some exotics. 

*Had three of the top four pegged in the Derby. Revolutionary (3rd), Normandy Invasion (4th) and Orb (1st). Golden Soul spoiled the exotics, while top pick Revolutionary finished third. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

139th Kentucky Derby Final Rankings

Mystified Ticket's Derby Hi-5(Final Rankings)

1) #3 Revolutionary 10-1

- This guy jumped to the top of my list after an improbable run from near last at the top of the stretch to win the Withers (G3) in his three-year-old debut back in February. Look for this colt to live up to his name on Saturday, give Borel his fourth winning Derby mount and Pletcher his second Derby win. 

2) #5 Normandy Invasion 12-1

-  Always in the mix at the end and figures to be there again Saturday as he will be charging late. Lost out by a total of one-length in the Remsen (G2) and Wood (G1) both at a 1 1/8 miles. Is the added distance what this colt needs to run them down at the wire for his first stakes score?

3) #16 Orb 7-2

- Tough to bet against this favorite out of Shug McGaughey's barn with the red-hot Joel Rosario aboard. Enters Derby on a four-race win streak. 

4) #10 Palace Malace 20-1

- The of son Curlin is the sleeper not too many are talking about. Has hit the board in all but one of his six starts and should have no problem with the distance. Has yet to show his full potential, gets blinkers for the first time and is one that can't be overlooked. Keep in mind there is a chance of rain in Louisville on Saturday and he posted a triple digit BRIS Speed rating over a sloppy track in his three-year-old debut. 

5)  #14 Verrazano 4-1

- Tries to become only the eighth horse to leave the Derby undefeated and also has the curse of Apollo hanging over his head if you believe in that stuff. Enters race 4 for 4 and posted triple digit BRIS Speed ratings twice. Tough to dismiss. 

Don't Count Out...

#2 Oxbow 30-1

- No excuses for wide trips here. Has an inside post and will look to be right up on the lead. This guy supposedly can run all day and with a good break from the gate he might be there in the end to fill out some exotics. 

#12 Itsmyluckyday 15-1
- Posted top BRIS Speed rating of any of the three-year-olds. Must be able to rebound from Florida Derby (G1) loss, take to the Churchill track and get the distance. 

#8 Goldencents 5-1

- Winner of the Santa Anita Derby must control his speed if he wants any chance to be there at the end. Looms dangerous if you think he can go 1 1/4 mile and build off his last win. 

#9 Overanalyze 15-1

- Winner of the Arkansas Derby is flying under the radar but must improve figures off his last two performances if he is to compete with this group. 

#18 Frac Daddy 50-1

- Broke his maiden by 9 3/4 lengths and lost out by a neck in the KY Jockey Club (G2) in his two starts over the Churchill track. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

139th Kentucky Derby Preview

As Keeneland closes their gates to the Spring Meet, a track just an hour up the road prepares to open theirs up. It is always a down weekend in Lexington come the the end of April but fans can take solace that the Kentucky Derby is only week away. It sometimes seems like Derby Day will never come but it aways does just as October will be here before you know it for Keeneland's Fall Meet.

Well, the Derby preps are all but wrapped up, many of the horses are already on Churchill Downs' grounds and that first Saturday in May has almost arrived which means it is time to focus in on which of these three-year-olds are the legitimate contenders in this years 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Mystified Ticket's Derby Hi-5

1) Revolutionary

-Watching him come from near last at the top of the stretch to win the Withers got me on board. Followed up that performance with another come from behind win in the Louisiana Derby (G1) and posted a 105 BRIS Speed rating in the process. Has the pedigree to go the distance and definitely has shown he has the talent despite his goofy nature in the races. Tends to break slowly from the gate and seems to always find traffic but has emerged at the end despite these question marks. With Calvin Borel aboard trying to nab his fourth Derby in seven years, look for him to guide this immature but promising colt to stardom next Saturday. 

2) Normandy Invasion

-Just missed by a nose in the Remsen (G2), 1 3/4 lengths in the Risen Star (G2) and 3/4 lengths in the Wood Memorial (G1). Comes closing fast as he just missed catching the undefeated Verrazano in the Wood last time out. Might be due as he is still looking for his first stakes win. While history is against him since you have to go all the way back to November 2 to find his first and only win don't write him off your tix because he will be there in the end. 

3) Orb

-Enters the Derby on a four-race win streak which includes wins over Revolutionary in his maiden win to close out his two-year-old campaign, the talented Violence (recently injured) in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Itsmyluckyday (posted the top speed rating of any three-year-old so far) in the Florida Derby (G1). Is trained by the popular Shug McGaughey and has the red-hot jockey Joel Rosario aboard. Both are looking for their first Derby win and this colt is one that could take them to the winners circle under the twinspires. 

4) Verrazano

-Undefeated in four career starts will be the morning-line favorite. Took an optional claimer by 16 1/4 lengths in his second start, won both the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Wood Memorial (G1) along the way. But just like Bodemeister last year, he faces the curse of Apollo (1982) and looks to erase the 130 plus years of history as he tries to become only the second horse to win the Derby without a start as a two-year-old. Don't let history deter you from this guy as we saw last year that I'll Have Another made headlines by becoming the first Derby winner to break from the 19TH post. Figures to be in the mix and could easily be better than the rest but the classic distance might just be out of his reach and I see him getting beat at the wire. 

5) Oxbow

-Longshot that many have already written off after that abysmal performance in the Arkansas Derby (G1) even though he broke last and got dirt thrown in his face. Mark through that race and you have a Lukas horse who has been game in his starts against graded company as a three-year-old. Despite extremely wide trips in the Risen Star (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) he only got caught at the wire by a half-length and a head respectively. His only decent post draw came in the LeCome (G3) where he put away the field by an astounding 11 1/2 lengths. Has an ace up his sleeve in that he is only one of two in the Derby field that has a win over the Churchill Downs track. All eyes will be on this horse on Wednesday come the post draw. If he gets a decent post position include him in your exotics because he is bred to run all day, will be up on the lead, if not the lead and will be there in the end with a good price on his head. 

Don't Count Out...


-Will certainly be one of the favorites after his win in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Enters the Derby with the highest last race BRIS Speed rating and is one that will contend if he can control his speed. Questions surround this colt about who he has beaten and will he be able to go the 1 1/4-mile distance. 


-Winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1) that is flying under the radar entering the Derby. Posted a 104 BRIS Speed rating as winner of the Remsen (G1) back in November. Did not run as a three-year-old until March where he finished fifth in the Gotham (G3). With only two starts in 2013 he could be peaking at right time but needs to return to his Remsen form to have a shot because he posted speed figures that are well below par in his last two races. 

Palace Malace

-Had to add this son of Curlin who looks more and more intriguing and will jump in final rankings if he draws well on Wednesday. Has hit the board in five of six starts and you can throw out his Louisiana Derby due to the pitiful trip he had to endure. Gets blinkers for the first time and might just be a sleeper in the race. 


-Posted the top speed figure (111) of any of the three-year-olds this year but he got run down in the stretch of the Florida Derby (G1) by Orb. Like many of the others entered in the Derby, there are questions if he will be able to get the distance. 

Java's War

-Winner of the Bluegrass Stakes (G1) likes to come from the back of the pack. His preference is the Polytrack as he finished sixth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in his only start over the Churchill track but Dullahan (winner of last year's BG) hit the the board in the Derby last year. His speed figures are also well below par entering the Derby and his slow break from the gate could be his undoing in a field this large.

*Govenor Charlie 

-Lightly-raced son of Midnight Lute exits off an impressive five-length victory in the Sunland Derby (G3). Like Verrazano, will have to overcome history and the curse of Apollo since he did not run as a two-year-old. Currently the lone Baffert horse entered in the Derby will certainly be a wildcard. Did not have any competition in the Sunland but if he continues to improve in his fourth start who knows what will happen. Dealing with a foot issue so will be interesting to see how he works out leading up to the race.

*Not likely to run. Looks like Baffert might be without a Derby horse this year

-Check back at the end of the week to see my final Derby rankings after the post position draw and morning-line odds are set....