Kentucky Derby Analysis

Horses coming around the first turn at the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Post positions are drawn and major training is done.  The Kentucky Derby is finally days away and its time to dive into the past performances for this great day of racing.  I will blog picks for the day Saturday mornings but for now I wanted to just focus on the big race.

The years Derby is very perplexing in many ways, everyone says this isn’t a fast group and that is true, but that also means there’s about 15 horses all running high 80 beyers-mid 90 beyers.  How do you separate them all? Nyquist is undefeated and won the Florida Derby yet doesn’t get the respect any other undefeated favorite would get.  Maybe its American Pharaoh hangover, or maybe its his distance challenged pedigree? Its the latter to me as I don’t think he will relish this 1 1/4 mile distance.  I also am a little pushed back by the one two-turn race this season.  So lets get in to my pick and my analysis…..

On paper my pick hasn’t hit a 90 beyer, finished out of the top 4 in his last race, and has run to many times this year according to the spreadsheet, but as they turn for home SHAGAF will be the one to come and catch! His breeding says the distance will be no problem.  I loved the conservative approach Chad Brown has taken with him, and don’t think he was 100% cranked up earlier in the season.  In the Wood Memorial he hated the slop, fell further back then he wanted to be and made a eye catching move on the turn only to have his momentum stopped behind slowing horses.  After all that he flattened out in the stretch, which is excusable to me. He has looked AMAZING over the Churchill Downs surface training and his last work was very fast for a Chad Brown horse and he did it easily.

    My analysis is this, I think the pace will be an even pace, not helping or hurting speed or closers. With Danzing Candy on the outside he will have to hustle to cross over to the rail, with other speed such as Outwork and Nyquist to his inside, this will be no easy task.  Also from watching the daily gallops online and some workouts, don’t be surprised to see Mohaymen upfront and on the muscle, he has been very aggressive all week and might be tough to control in this big field which would add to the pace.  I could see a 47 3/5 half or something close to that.  I picture SHAGAF and MOR SPIIRIT sitting right behind the front group, with Gun Runner not far off of that.  Turning for home I think Danzing Candy retreats and Nyquist’s Distance challenged pedigree slows him down.  Outwork takes control, but Shagaf collars him at the 1/8th pole and they run 1-2 to the finish line, with Gun Runner and Brodys Cause clunking up for the minor awards.
    I think you don’t want to be to far out of it turning for home, with a lot of the favorites and wise guy horses being deep closers, they might get in each others way.  There will only be a handful of holes to sneak through, and all 5-7 of them aren’t going to fit.
Check back later for Oaks day picks and Derby day picks!


Kentucky Derby Analysis

Super Stakes Saturday Across the Country

keeneland-race-courseWhat a day of racing we have from across the country.  Something like 14 graded stakes with 6 of them being grade 1’s, and then out of those, 3 being major final Kentucky Derby preps. There is a multi track pick 4 between Keeneland and Aqueduct as well as a guaranteed 300,000$ all stakes pick 4 at Keeneland. Lots of opportunities to make some money out there, lets just hope the weather cooperates. All of these picks are before scratches and assuming grass race stay on the grass. So lets begin at Aqueduct…..

Aqu Race 3-The Excelsior has a short field and wont be much of a betting race.  No-one really wants to show much pave here but I’m going to pick KID CRUZ hoping he can sit on the lead or right off of it like he did in his last.  He also likes the main track at Aqueduct.

Aqu Race 6 is a OC62k/N2X on the turf that looks pretty deep.  I’m leaning towards the Clement horse, IROMEA, coming off a slight layoff.  Last 2 races were very good and should come running for Johnny V. OFF LIMITS should also be tough with a clean trip.7-6-4

Aqu Race 8-The Gazelle. LEWIS BAY probably needed her last race while making a solid move to come up to superstar Cathryn Sophia who would be 1-9 here.  With some speed signed on, she should get a suitable pace to run at and will be tough to deny 2nd off the layoff. ROYAL OBSESSION is a longer shot that looks interesting.2-5-1

Aqu Race 9-The Bay shore.  I think Cocked and Loaded will be over bet here and that will make the price on my top choice, AWESOME GENT, creep up.  Love that he was able to sit second in his last and with the same trip should be able to wear down UNIFIED as he tries winners for the first time off a great debut race. 4-5-6

Aqu Race 10- The Wood Memorial.  New York’s big derby prep worth 100 derby starter points and 1 Million dollars. Doesn’t get much bigger then this.  Really competitive field here but I have to lean on the favorite and my early derby choice, SHAGAF.  I think you might get better then 2-1 because I think MATT KING COAL and OUTWORK will both take some money.  I also feel they might get hooked early and set it up for a horse who can sit right off, and that horse is SHAGAF.  At a price I would also look at FLEXIBILITY and TALE OF S’AVALL, to round out the exotics. 1-5-4

Aqu Race 11- The Carter.  Another Grade 1 here and a great field has lined up for it with all the usual cast of NY sprint characters. I think SALUTOS AMIGOS is back to his old form and if that’s the case he will be dangerous tomorrow.  7F isn’t his ideal distance but he should have enough pace upfront to run at.  Look for him to mow them all down late. Same can be said for CALCULATOR who ships in from California.  Should be rolling late.  A horse who might get overlooked in the wagering is ANCHOR DOWN and that might be a mistake, I love the cutback from a mile to this 7F and should be tight, third off the lay off. 5-7-6


Kee Race 5 – This Allowance race on the turf looks pretty good so lets take a look.  I’m looking for DEA to turn the tables on SYMPATHY for Mark Casse. Last 2 races have been really good for this filly and should be able to get the jump on her main rival today. 5-9-2

Kee Race 6- The Ashland. A grade 1 for fillies aiming at the Kentucky Oaks, this short 5 horse field has 3 standouts and from those only one has raced this year and that is Cathryn Sophia.  She looks to over power these but I will take a shot with RACHELS VALENTINA for the upset.  Todd knows how to get them ready off a layoff, and this might be a prep for the oaks, but I cant take low odds on SOPHIA. 4-3-5

Kee Race 7 _ The Commonwealth for sprinters going 7F is a deep race with no clear standout.  I am leaning towards comebacker HOLY BOSS here for Asmussen, who has put a steady diet of works into this stakes winner.  Didn’t get beat much in the Breeders Cup sprint on this track in his last and has fired fresh in the past. BARBADOS on the outside looked good in his first start of the year, and should sit a good trip also. 9-10-8

Kee Race 8- The Shakertown. Always a fun race, this turf sprint looks like a great rendition. POWER ALERT is such an honest horse.  Almost always runs his race and knows how to win.  Back to back super races at Gulfstream, he should be able to sit right off the pace, and if he can swing out should be tough in the stretch. SUMMATION TIME is a closer for Christophe Clement and Castellano who should get a good pace to run into, just needs to stay clear of traffic. 1-3-8

Kee Race 9- The Madison.  A great Grade 1 race every spring, this years field will not disappoint as you have multiple grade 1 winners in the field. I am going to go with 2 longshots on top here as they have the recency edge over the 2 favorites.  They are CLOTHES FALL OFF and DANCING HOUSE. Both trained by Kiaran Mclaughlin, and both coming off impressive wins.  Both can sit close and make a run and should get the jump on probable favorite Wavell Avenue. 8-7-3

Kee Race 10-The Blue Grass. Another Grade 1, million dollar derby prep and this one got a field of 16 to sign up (with only 14 being allowed to run). I am going with a price and that horse is STAR HILL for Rusty Arnold.  Loved his maiden breaker and I’m going to excuse his Tampa race.  Ran good, but didn’t have the kick I thought he would.  He also was running into a slow pace and that track can be funny.  Shows 2 great works for this race, breeding says he will love the distance, and just needs to get over to save some ground from the 13 post. Same for MY MAN SAM who ran a great second in an Aqu allowance race last month.  Should drop down easily as he comes from behind. 13-14-3

Santa Anita

SA Race 5- The Providencia With the weather possibly being an issue and the chance for a wet turf course very much in play, I ended up on MIRAGE here, last 2 wins have been great and both come over a good turf course. Can sit and make a run which looks like the perfect set up here. 2-5-9

SA Race 7 The Santa Anita Oaks. Theres really nothing to say here, Songbird should dominate here.

SA Race 8-The Santa Anita Derby. The last Derby prep of the day and Santa Anitas biggest race of the meet. A great field here as the top 3 return from the San Felipe. Im going MOR SPIRIT here. Had a weird trip last out and those last 2 works make you think Baffert is tightening the screws now as the big derby is approaching. Should get some pace to run at as DANZING CANDY should have more pressure up front with Iron Rob and Uncle Lino. 4-2-3

SA Race 9-The Thunder Road is a great race full of comebackers and grade 1 winners. Not bad for a ungraded 100k stakes. It looks to me like a 2 horse race between possible lone speed WHAT A VIEW and comebacker TWENTYTWENTYVISION with me leaning towards the latter. I think he will be close to the soft pace and should be able to quick home a head. Mandella 21% with this type of layoff horse. Dangerous. 7-12-9

Good luck everyone, any questions or comments feel free to ask me on twitter and ill get right back to you.





Super Stakes Saturday Across the Country

Hope for New England racing?

 So yesterday the New England HBPA released an article pretty much saying they have made a coalition with horsemen to go forward with a plan to create a equestrian center somewhere in mass that will be owned by the horseman and not a private company. This plan would create a racetrack, polo grounds, indoor/outdoor areans for all types of equine competition and access to public trails. I personally feel like its a great idea and could be the future for New England horsemen who have felt like there is no light at the end of the tunnel lately. Of course a lot of approvals need to be put in place and the funding has to be there but this is a great step to bring back full time racing back, not just a 6 day Suffolk Downs meet.

Hope for New England racing?