Thursday, June 24, 2010

Iowa Derby

Prairie Meadows

Saturday June 26th, 2010
Estimated Local Post Time: 9:18 pm (Local Time)
Name: Iowa Derby Grade: III
Purse: $250,000
Distance/Restrictions: 1 1/16 Miles, Dirt, 3 Year Olds, STAKES

Down With Dixie
Vow To Wager
Winslow Homer
Forestry Type
Concord Point

As I’ve followed horse racing over these past seasons the Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia Derbies have become races I very much look forward too – and perhaps it’s because by this time in the three year old season I’m more familiar with the animals and there’s less likely to be any unusual surprises….or perhaps it’s because the races are back to being a little more simple – as the Iowa Derby will send merely six horses – an easy 1 1/16 miles.

Then again – perhaps I like these races because as the summer heat elevates – the horses seem more in their element, the cold beer taste better, the hot dog by my side seems more justified, and the value of having “hope” in the form of a winning ticket in your hands has far more worth than the $2 you paid to own it.

And occasionally women in Los Angeles wear bikinis to the track… no way did I list this in order of importance – but enough of that let’s focus on the first race of what I call the Barnyard Triple Crown….the Iowa Derby.

The most important news regarding this race is that Winslow Homer (#4) has returned to racing after needing a few months to repair and heal from an injury that knocked him out of Triple Crown contention.

Winslow Homer had won three consecutive races, his last one an impressive 1 mile victory in the Holy Bull Stakes. Ownership could be looking to use this race as a springboard for the Haskell Invitational a month from now – where he could face some of the nation’s best three year olds (including the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners).

Winslow Homer is certainly the most accomplished competitor in the field, the question remains how well he’ll return from his injury?

Since the beginning of 2010 Down With Dixie (#1) has two wins, a place and a show in his last six races. His last attempt was a first place finish in a one mile allowance. Dixie tends to run with the middle of the pack, and I think against this competition will probably finish in the middle of the pack as well.

Vow to Wager (#2) finished second in his last race which was at this distance of a mile and 1/16th – however in Mid-May he finished a distant fourth behind winner Thiskyhasnolimit (#3), who sloppily ran (on a perfectly dry track) in the Matt Winn Stakes.

Thiskyhasnolimit – seems to have a lot of potential, but just needs help learning to run in a straight line….that’s usually not that difficult to correct, so keep an eye on this horse! Thiskyhasnolimit is a bit of an unknown in this race, because the Matt Winn victory was his first race in almost eight months.

Forestry Type (#5) tore away from the field by more than ten lengths in his last race, a 1 1/16 allowance in Arlington, allowed his competitors to catch up to him… that he could tear away from them again. Forestry Type enters the Iowa Derby hot off of three straight victories and a second place finish in his last four races. He’ll most likely contend for the lead early….and then we’ll see what he’s made of.

And finally Concord Point (#6), an amazing gray figure, has put together two wins and a place in his last four races. However none of these races were over a mile and I suspect Concord Point will battle for top spot, most likely against Forestry Type, and struggle with the additional two furlongs that he’s unaccustomed to running.

I think the most interesting aspect of this race is where Winslow Homer and Thiskyhasnolimit will position themselves in the first half of this race?

Vow To Wager and Down with Dixie will be obstacles in their way, especially because they have the inside position – so will Winslow Homer and Thiskyhasnolimit attempt to beat them to the first turn or….will they hang furthest back in fifth and sixth place and attempt to pass four horses in the final turn and stretch?

Meanwhile Forestry Type and Concord Point will battle for first position in the early seconds of this race that could potentially set up such a hot tempo early on that both horses end up completely spent for the final furlongs.

On a personal note – I’m hopeful that Winslow Homer returns with a very strong victory, however I believe he'll be rusty and I think Thiskyhasnolimit will edge him out by a nose, while Forestry Type will fade to a third place finish.

Closing Speed likes: 3-4-5

By Painter Winslow Homer:

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