Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coolmore Lexington Stakes - Recap

Coolmoore Lexington Stakes- Recap

Derby Kitten
Prime Cut
Casper’s Touch

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Silver Medallion, Hurricane Lake, Taptowne

If you watch the very end of the race (after the wire) you’ll notice that Derby Kitten has a unique “flow” to his run – his feet splay out, his torso swerves, his head grooves slightly – I’m not sure if Derby Kitten is running or dancing a salsa??

Whatever Derby Kitten was doing it works….he positioned himself at the back of the pack for the bulk of the race, and as they approached the final turn he rallies to pass up the three early leaders: Silver Medallion, Casper’s Touch, and Prime Cut.

Unfortunately for Silver Medallion this fourth place finish knocks him out of the Kentucky Derby and probably the Preakness – he never looked quite right in this race. I don’t think this horse liked being glued to the rail….then again, with only a two week turn around that included traveling from California to Kentucky – they may have been asking too much of this horse, because he looked jet lagged.

I’ll be curious to see where Derby Kitten (a.k.a. Senior Salsa) races next – he looks like the kind of horse who would do well in the Ohio and Iowa Derbies.

Video to follow:


Friday, April 22, 2011

Coolmore Lexington Stakes


Saturday April 23rd 2011
Name: Coolmore Lexington Stakes Grade: III
Purse: $200,000
Distance/Restrictions: 1 1/8 Miles, Dirt, 3 Year Olds, STAKES

Derby Kitten
Silver Medallion
Prime Cut
Hurricane Lake
Casper’s Touch

The Coolmore Lexington Stakes and next week's Derby Trial will serve as “last call” for an opportunity to run in this year’s Kentucky Derby. The winner of this race will earn $120,000 in graded stakes, which would put (#2) Silver Medallion in the top 15 three year old earners and afford him the opportunity to run for the roses.

For Silver Medallion this could end up being a test of stamina – he finished a disappointing 4th two weeks ago in the Santa Anita Derby….if he wins here and they decide to make a run in the Kentucky Derby that will be three races in a month – which once upon a time wasn’t that rare – but that’s a lot of racing for today’s three year old.

It’s also possible that Silver Medallion is using this race to prep for the Preakness Stakes, a month from this Saturday. Either way they're looking for a win here in the Coolmore for the opportunity to advance to greater stakes.

The two horses that I think pose the biggest threats to Silver Medallion are (#1) Derby Kitten who will be making a transition from turf to synthetic dirt – this horse loves to crash the party late and he’ll have a sweet starting spot for this outing.

(#3) Prime Cut arrives from Louisiana where he defeated a very heavy favorite in a recent allowance victory. Prime Cut will sit a few lengths off the pace and then make a move near the final turn. He showed me a lot of maturity in his last race, and a lot of power in the final furlongs.

I’m not a big fan of (#4) Hurricane Lake in this race – he’s only been successful in 1 mile races….and when you consider his only victory at a mile was a fairly slow 1.38.93, it’s hard to get interested in this 6/1 horse.

(#5) Taptowne has a great predigree, sired by Tapit who was the grandpony?? of A.P. Indy…..but unlike his predecessors Taptowne has never managed to win a race. Does anyone else see this name and immediately begin humming Taptowne ladies sing this song…do da do da….

Finally (#6) Casper’s Touch who hasn’t been terribly successful against top of the line horses (finished 7th in the Fountain of Youth), but then again these aren’t top of the line horses, and Casper’s Touch is fresh off a victory here at Keeneland in a 7 furlong allowance. He’s currently the 2nd favorite behind Silver Medallion – and that’s probably because he’s the most familiar with this track.

Despite Casper’s home field advantage – I’m concerned he won’t succeed in this 1 1/16 race with strong finishers flying in the home stretch.

I like Prime Cut to edge out Silver Medallion, with Derby Kitten finishing 3rd.

Closing Speed likes 3/2/1

1959 Johnny Cash - Camptown Ladies -

Monday, April 18, 2011

Arkansas Derby - Recap

Arkansas Derby - Recap

Dance City

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Sway Away, Alternation, J.W. Blue, The Factor, J.P.’s Gusto, Elite Alex, Saratoga Red, Brethren, Caleb’s Posse, Truman’s Commander

When I began writing about horse racing – I knew very little about the sport – and while it may seem odd to showcase one’s own ignorance – I figured that the more I watched, and the more I wrote – the more I would learn….so that’s where this all began.

For me, the Arkansas Derby was yet another learning experience to draw from.

Last week, before the race, I wrote that I didn’t hold much hope for the horses numbered #7 - #12. I also wrote that I didn’t foresee a horse in that grouping bolting to the lead…..

What I should have wrote – was I didn’t foresee a horse in the group #7-#12 bolting to the front and actually winning this race!

The lesson I learned this past weekend is – just because I don’t see a way for certain horses to win a race, doesn’t mean that those same horses won’t prevent “my horse’ from winning.

As you watch the race unfold you’ll see J.P. Gusto – fly to front of the pack and he’ll hold the lead for ¾ of a mile – while pushing a fairly hot pace.

As I’ve already stated I’m certainly no expert, but in my opinion the Trainer/Jockey/Owners – were basically sending J.P. Gusto on a fast, but futile pace….I’ve seen nothing that indicates this horse can win a race with this kind of early sprint strategy.

However after giving this race some thought – while there was very little chance J.P. Gusto would win the Arkansas Derby with this smoking early lead, the people in charge may have thought it was his only opportunity to win this race - after all he doesn't possess the greatest late rally ability in this field either.

And if winning the Arkansas Derby meant having the only chance at a trip to the Kentucky Derby – I believe this group went for broke…..in the end J.P. Gusto runs out of steam (which comes as little surprise to people who have watched this horse) and finishes 8th.

However J.P. Gusto’s early (and futile) charge changes the entire landscape of the race I foresaw, and it appears to throw The Factor off of his game.

For the entire Arkansas Derby, it seems that The Factor is never in control of the race as he has been in his two previous victories, instead it appears that “the race” is always in control of him.

J.P. Gusto cuts The Factor off at the first turn just as Dance City manages to box him in.

The Factor, in turn, drops back and then surges to go three wide while stalking the early leaders. Very near the ¾ mark – Sway Away begins his rally and it appears to me that The Factor begins to push the tempo as well – however when they swing out of the turn, the Factor who went three to four wide in both turns is out of energy…and he just begins to slowly fade.

Weeks ago I wrote that in the Timely Writer, Uncle Mo’s people were hoping to see how he would handle an early speedster, so that perhaps they would have time to adjust in the Kentucky Derby….well The Factor just failed that same test – and now we’ll see if his group has an answer for May 7th.

As we hit the final stretch – I’m cheering because Sway Away has finally, FINALLY – seemed to figure it out….he’s pushing the lead and from what I’d seen from this horse he’ll just get stronger with every stride….that is unless…you know…he doesn’t ??

Sway Away who I thought had substantial closing speed – simply falters for a 4th place finish – It’s frustrating that this horse can’t seem to put it all together – my guess is he’ll be a very strong four year old – or he’ll start picking up wins when he faces a little less talent.

The two horses that do have substantial closing speed are Archarcharch and Nehro --- both of these guys make powerful final furlong strides and Nehro (similar to his 2nd place finish in the Louisiana Derby) just misses stealing the race.

I'm not terribly surprised that Elite Alex finished so far behind….but I am very surprised that Brethren and especially Caleb’s Posse finished even further back.

The scuttlebutt is that this is the most “wide” open Kentucky Derby in years…..we soon shall see.

*I apologize in advance for what is perhaps the worst commentary I’ve ever heard for a race….maybe they were having technical difficulties….or it was the guy’s first day on the job…..sheesh!

Video to follow:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Arkansas Derby

Oaklawn Park
Saturday April 16th 2011
Name: Arkansas Derby Grade: I
Purse: $1,000,000
Distance/Restrictions: 1 1/8 Miles, Dirt, 3 Year Olds, STAKES

Caleb’s Posse
Elite Alex
The Factor
Sway Away
Truman’s Commander
Dance City
J.P.’s Gusto
J W Blue
Saratoga Red

Historically the Arkansas Derby has showcased a few of “my favorites” for the Triple Crown.

Champions such as:

1. (2004) Smarty Jones – KY Derby & Preakness

2. (2005) Afleet Alex – Preakness & Belmont Stakes
(also father to Elite Alex & Sway Away)

3. (2007) Curlin – Preakness

Florida Derby winner Dialed In remains a little spotty with his past performances for my taste – (however the Florida Derby has showcased horses like Barbaro and Big Brown – so I’m definitely taking a hard look at Dialed In).

Also with news coming out of New York that Uncle Mo has a slight health issue –


I feel that an Arkansas Derby victory for The Factor will definitely make him a favorite for the Triple Crown.

However after watching Upset Saturday last week….the task of winning the Arkansas Derby certainly isn’t a foregone conclusion.

For the bulk of these horses this will be a rematch of the Rebel Stakes – a race that featured The Factor pushing an early lead and finishing the final furlongs with enough strength to earn a trip to the Winner’s Circle.

Following The Factor in the Rebel –
2nd  (#1) Caleb’s Posse
3rd  (#9) Archarcharch
4th (#12) Saratoga Red
5th  (#11) J W Blue
6th (#6) Sway Away
and 7th  (#10) J.P. Gusto

Making a quick turn around from the Louisiana Derby (Mar. 26th) – (#2) Nehro (2nd place) and (#3) Elite Alex (4th place) look to improve their graded earnings – and possibly secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

For (#1a) Alternation, (#7) Truman’s Commander, and (#8) Dance City this will be their first graded stakes endeavor.

And finally there is Sam Davis Stakes winner (#6) Brethren – who enters the Arkansas Derby after a disappointing 3rd place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby.

As I look at the line-up for this Saturday – I don’t hold much hope for any of the horses to the right of Sway Away (meaning the horses numbered 7 – 12).

I haven’t seen any evidence that these horses will be able to rally late as well as Sway Away and certainly Caleb’s Posse – so waiting until the last furlongs to make a big push will only be effective if Sway Away and Caleb’s Posse hit traffic or come out flat.

I also don’t foresee these horses (#7-#12) bolting to the front and giving a significant challenge to The Factor, Nehro and Brethren – these three will most likely separate from the pack early and settle in as close to the rail as they can – meaning any of the horses outside of these three will have to go at least 3 or 4 wide in the first turn. And for those “outside” horses (#7-#12) I just don’t see them having the speed or endurance to pull that off.

So I’m knocking them off my list – (which means you should probably bet on them with abandon).

The Factor is positioned beautifully in this Derby – unless he falters early I’m looking for him to enjoy an early lead – looking for a half mile just under 48 seconds – I also see Brethren just off his right shoulder – waiting to make a move – which could happen as early as the ½ mile or as late as the final turn.

Nehro has an interesting spot in this race – because he’ll have the opportunity to get right behind The Factor (or the early leader) and run along the rail until everything shakes out in the final turn. If The Factor and Brethren wear each other out in the first mile – and Nehro has an opening in the final stretch – he has a prime spot for the upset he “could” have had in the Louisiana Derby.

Of course should the early leaders take an impossible pace in the opening mile – Nehro will have some company with his late charge from Caleb’s Posse and Archarcharch.

I also think Sway Away has a chance to rebound in this race after a very disappointing Rebel Stakes….however I think this horse could either win this race or finish 9th --- currently he’s priced at 6-1 odds – I think at 8-1 odds you’d have to consider him worth a look.

Two horses that are priced “nicely” are Caleb’s Posse (10-1) and Brethren (10-1) – I think Caleb’s Posse will need help to win this race, but it’s certainly not out of the question.

And Brethren had a set-back in the Tampa Bay Derby – but if he regains his stride here, I think he contends from the very beginning of this race.

If you’re looking to “make” money in this race I think you bet against the 7-5 favorite The Factor – if someone pushes him too fast and too furious early – he’ll be vulnerable to a few very solid late charging horses (Caleb’s Posse, Sway Away, Nehro).

Also Brethren may find his giddy up again – and pass him in the final turn.

However as a fan of the Triple Crown – nothing would be more satisfying than to see The Factor win with conviction, leave the winner’s circle healthy, and then board a plane to Kentucky.

Closing Speed likes: The Factor, Nehro, Sway Away

To make your weekend swing a little - Jackie Wilson and Count Basie

Monday, April 11, 2011

Santa Anita Derby / Illinois Derby / Wood Memorial - Recap

Santa Anita Derby / Illinois Derby / Wood Memorial - Recap

Santa Anita Derby

Midnight Interlude
Comma To The Top
Mr. Commons

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Silver Medallion, Anthony’s Cross, Indian Winter, Bench Points, Quail Hill, Offlee Wild Boys.

Comma To The Top enjoyed an early lead – found himself in the perfect position to land a big derby win and a little momentum for the Kentucky Derby, but instead went flat (again) at the defining moment.

Some are saying Midnight Interlude may be a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby, I just think he found a way to beat a number of sub-par horses….after all somebody “had” to win this race.

Video to follow:

Illinois Derby

Joe Vann
The Fed Eased

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Sour, El Grayling, Watch Me Go, Roman Flame, Lagoon Of Diamonds, Vouch For Victory, Smarter Than Ever, Southern Sculptor, Future Empire.

First of all I’d like to point out that Future Empire was ridden by T. Riggs and not Anna Napravnik.

From what I’m reading Joe Vann will be going to the Ohio Derby next (not the Kentucky Derby). Should tell you a little something about the talent pool in this year’s Illinois Derby.

I think Watch Me Go could be one of those horses that bounce back – he may have not taken to the travel….then again he may have just been a fluke in the Tampa Bay Derby….only time will tell.

Video to follow:

Wood Memorial

Toby’s Corner
Arthur’s Tale
Uncle Mo

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Norman Asbjornson, Isn’t He Perfect, Starship Caesar, Son Of Posse, Preachintothedevil, Duca

The announcer makes an interesting comment at the end of this race – reminding us that a horse hasn’t suffered this big of an upset in the Wood Memorial since Secretariat. (There is nothing lower than 1-9 odds!)

Of course Secretariat went on to win the Triple Crown…..we’ll see if Uncle Mo has the same ability to bounce back.

I do disagree with the announcer that the Kentucky Derby is “now” up for grabs - I believe with this race all eyes turn to the Arkansas Derby – and if The Factor can win with conviction I believe he will be your Kentucky Derby favorite along with Dialed In, after his victory in the Florida Derby.

Uncle Mo will still be in the mix as a favoriter it’s just here in New York he simply runs out of gas – while his competitors sail right past him. It appeared to me (and from the sounds of it the announcer) that Uncle Mo had found the race he wanted – he paces himself well in the first ¼ and ½ miles – he hits the final turn in complete control and he builds a length or two from his surrounding early leaders….and that’s when this horse is “supposed” to respond.

Questions abound as to – if the 1 mile Timely Writer has thrown this horse off – after all it’s been since November since he’s raced any further than a mile….and he needed a mile and 1/8th here.

Video to follow:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Santa Anita Derby / Illinois Derby / Wood Memorial

Santa Anita Derby / Illinois Derby / Wood Memorial

This weekend is usually one of my favorite racing weekends of the year. The winners of the Santa Anita Derby, Illinois Derby and Wood Memorial will accrue enough graded stakes to insure a spot in the Kentucky Derby – for me there’s something very special about watching three horses score a date with destiny.

In previous years I believed that the winners of the Santa Anita Derby, and occasionally the Illinois Derby had a solid shot at winning the Kentucky Derby or any of the Triple Crown races. This year, however, the Santa Anita and Illinois horses lack the promise that we’re seeing in other areas of the country – such as the Florida Derby winner Dialed In….or the Wood Memorial Favorite, and Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Champ Uncle Mo.

Santa Anita Derby

Santa Anita received some bad news this week as it appears the San Felipe Winner, and morning line favorite Premier Pegasus will be scratched due to a minor injury that will take him off of the Triple Crown trail. In my opinion Premier Pegasus was the only horse still on the West Coast that could have been a difference maker in the Kentucky Derby.

Also *possibly scratched is Jaycito. Jaycito had a number of experts excited about him from his efforts in 2010. Personally I never saw the potential in this horse that others seemed to see.

With these two horses off the Kentucky Derby trail and out of the Santa Anita – the Santa Anita Derby becomes a much more wide open affair, however I don’t think the winner of this race gives the West Coast much of a “contender” in the Triple Crown.

(#4) Silver Medallion will most likely be the favorite in this race, and he’s in a great starting spot for his style.

(#5) Comma to the Top had a lot of people excited about his potential at the beginning of the year, but he hasn’t been able to make the leap from potential to winner’s circle yet….could be his golden opportunity.

(#9) Anthony’s Cross – winner of the Robert B. Lewis stakes in Feb. here at Santa Anita could go off as the second favorite and if he doesn’t win – I suspect he’ll finish second.

(#10) Bench Points – Morning odds have him at 12-1, but I suspect his odds will go down when the other horses are officially scratched….I think this horse could pull off a minor upset here – I’m not crazy about his outside post, but if the price is right - he might be a tempting win bet.
In closing I’m rooting for Anthony’s Cross – I think he’ll need a little help, but I believe he’s the best horse left in this bunch.

Illinois Derby

Twelve horses take the field in the Illinois Derby – and the morning line favorite is Tampa Bay Derby winner, and former 43-1 long shot, (#4) Watch Me Go who scored an impressive victory in the T.B. Derby against quality talent like Brethren.

The second favorite in this race is (#10) El Grayling, the 8th place finisher in the Fountain of Youth, followed by the 5th place finisher in the Gotham Stakes (#7) The Fed Eased.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a 10-1 horse or higher (meaning like 20-1 odds) wins this race. While Watch Me Go was fantastic in the Tampa Bay Derby – it was a complete surprise and it may end up being a fluke, especially now that he’s traveling to a new track.

My confidence doesn’t increase when I see 8th place and 5th place finishers immediately behind him on the tote board. I think The Fed Eased could do very well in this race – and I also believe (#6) Sour has a great opportunity to score a trip to Kentucky….but I think this race is completely up for grabs.

As a Triple Crown enthusiast I would be very happy to see Watch Me Go repeat his last outing and show some great momentum as we head to the Triple Crown….but if I were betting on this race I might just throw some money at:

15-1 (#2) Smarter Than Ever, sired by Smarty Jones,
15-1 (#5) Vouch For Victory – who won his last race here at Hawthorne
30-1 (#12) Future Empire, sired by Empire Maker – who is being ridden by red hot jockey Anna Napravnik.

Too many variables and not enough evidence – if you’re somebody who just likes the color of a horse, a funny name or a jockey….this might be the race for you.

Wood Memorial

The real reason to tune in this weekend – is to see what Uncle Mo is going to do in the Wood Memorial. There are a number of people writing that this horse is more hype than talent – and they point to a sloth-like ¼ mile in the Timely Writer to back-up their premise that this horse isn’t as good as he’s cracked up to be.

Well the morning line seems to think that Uncle Mo is exactly as good as he’s cracked up to be. His odds for this race are 1-5.

That’s no typo, 1-5, which is about as strong of odds as they dole out at the track (there’s also 1-9 odds – however both pay $2.20 for a $2 win ticket).

Perhaps it’s a more telling sign to look at the odds board and see that there are two horses going off at 20-1, followed by three horses going off at 50-1, and one horse going off at 100-1. I don’t believe these horses are that bad – it’s just that Uncle Mo has looked that good!

I think a few of these horses would be the favorites in either the Santa Anita Derby or the Illinois Derby – like (#8) Norman Asbjornson who receives 15-1 odds here, or (#2) Toby’s Corner going off at 8-1.

As a racing enthusiast I want Uncle Mo to receive a challenging race that really tests his ability, I’d like to see how he handles an early speedster flying out for a 21 second ¼ mile – in the end however I’m hoping to see him in the winner’s circle for his fifth straight victory.

As a bettor – I’m thinking take the six long shots (20-1 thru 100-1) and put them in an exacta with Uncle Mo. So that if Uncle Mo wins and a long shot comes in second you’ve got a winning ticket….and if a long shot wins with Uncle Mo finishes second you’ve got a really great winning ticket. It would cost $12 for a $1 exacta bet covering those horses.

These are still very young horses – so Uncle Mo could come out flat, and another horse could finally put together his talent and find a winning stride….it happens.

Closing Speed likes:  Anthony's Cross / Future Empire and Anna Napravnik / Uncle Mo

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Florida Derby - Recap

Florida Derby - Recap

Dialed In
To Honor and Serve

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Flashpoint, Soldat, Arch Traveler, Stay Thirsty, Bowman’s Causeway

I knew I was in trouble with my selections when I tuned in Saturday afternoon to watch the race and found out it wasn’t until Sunday (my bad).

My picks and Trackmasters looked pretty solid as the horses turned for the final stretch.

To Honor and Serve was perfectly positioned to kick in his final gear and take over the race from long shot Shackleford (who I was positive would just begin a sad pitiful fade) – and Soldat was sitting pretty on the rail ready to make a move and give us a great show down at the wire between my one and two selections – in what I foresaw as payback for the Fountain of Youth defeat To Honor and Serve had suffered.

As I heard Dialed In was quickly approaching in the final turn and had already passed up Stay Thirsty – I took comfort in knowing that I still had the first two horses on the board.

And then, in what one usually only sees in a Freaky Friday kind movie, my two horses seemed to exchange talents with Shackleford ?!?! To Honor and Serve, Soldat and Stay Thirsty have nothing left in the tank for the final couple of furlongs, and towards the end they look like they’re running in molasses.

And instead of watching Shackleford lose ground – as his 68-1 odds suggested he would – he pushes Dialed In to the wire and almost sends Gulfstream Park into a delirium!! One of the joys of three year old horse racing is watching a horse make a "jump" like this - if Shackleford is able to get into the Kentucky Derby and he gets a favorable post position - he'll  be a huge headache to bettors.

Dialed In, whom many liked in this race, proved to be the only top favorite to run the race everyone expected. He goes straight to the rail, and 14 lengths back in the early outset – and then makes a late charge to the winner’s circle.

A number of race fans think he’s got what it takes to challenge Uncle Mo…the intrigue continues.

Video to follow:


Friday, April 1, 2011

Florida Derby

Gulfstream Park
Saturday April 2nd 2011
Name: Florida Derby Grade: II
Purse: $1,000,000
Distance/Restrictions: 1 1/8 Miles, Dirt, 3 Year Olds, STAKES

To Honor and Serve
Arch Traveler
Bowman’s Causeway
Stay Thirsty
Dialed In

I believe it’s easiest to analyze the upcoming Florida Derby by writing about how I believe these horses will approach this race.

(#8) Flashpoint will most likely shoot out of the gate and attempt to cut off his seven competitors and get as close to the rail in the first turn as possible. Flashpoint was nothing less than impressive in his last victorious outing, the Hutcheson Stakes, where he seemed to fly for the first ½ mile and then kick in the after burners for the last three furlongs.

However that race was only 7 furlongs – and the Florida Derby will add an additional 2 furlongs to the distance. There’s also a very impressive horse who will most likely challege him for the rail – and that is (#1) Soldat.

Soldat had the 1st post position in his last race, The Fountain of Youth, and used it to his advantage as he cruised to the early lead – and maintained enough of a lead to defeat 3rd place (#2) To Honor and Serve and 5th place (#5) Shackleford.

At the head of the pack, the question is –

Will Flashpoint offer an impossible pace for the first mile and just fade in the last few furlongs….additionally will Soldat want to run with him early, and in doing so join him in a pitiful fade? In the first ½ mile we’ll probably learn a lot about Flashpoint’s strategy in this race, and Soldat’s ability to be patient and run at his own pace.

Just off the pace – To Honor and Serve will most likely run in the 3rd or 4th position early, and Gotham Stakes winner (#6) Stay Thirsty will also keep in the middle of the pack and look to make a move coming out of the final turn.

On a bit of a side note – Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo are apart of the same stables (Repole Stables). Stay Thirsty probably left New York to race in Florida because Uncle Mo will be at the next big prep in New York – The Wood Memorial. Obviously the Stable would prefer two winners in different derbies – as opposed to 1st and 2nd in the same derby.

Also Stay Thirsty and To Honor and Serve are half brothers – both sired by (2006 Preakness winner) Bernardini.

In the far back will be (#7) Dialed In who may actually appear to be running backwards in the first ¼ mile – this horse could be nearly 20 lengths behind the leaders at the ½ mile marker…..especially if Flashpoint decides to go for a 43 second ½ mile. However Dialed In will…dial in at about the ¾ to 1 mile marker and attempt to make a late rally past the impressive early leaders.

I’ve read where a number of writers like Dialed In at the Florida Derby because his style will be unique against his competitors – however in Dialed In’s last 1 1/8th mile race – he finished 2nd against a less then impressive field – I’m just not sold that he’ll do better against this caliber of horse. Currently Dialed In is the second favorite at 2/1 odds – just slightly behind Soldat who is currently being priced at 9/5.

The horse that I think is being overlooked a little is To Honor and Serve – who finished 3rd behind Soldat in their last outing (the Fountain of Youth), however To Honor and Serve had to make the most out of his 7th post position – and struggled slightly with how the race played out in the first turn. Now positioned in the 2nd post – I think To Honor and Serve will bounce back here – and unlike Flashpoint or Stay Thirsty – has experience (2 races) at this distance.

In closing – I believe that if Flashpoint decides to burn up the track early – Soldat will fall for the speed trap – and To Honor and Serve will be in a great position to win this race. To Honor and Serve will most likely sit at the rail in third place and breeze past the two exhausted leaders as they fade…..I also believe he’s got more going for him then Stay Thirsty who will probably have to go wide in the final turn, and I also believe To Honor and Serve won’t be caught from behind by Dialed In.

However if Soldat (and/or Flashpoint) decide to keep the pace reasonable in the first ½ mile – I think Soldat will be in the perfect spot to repeat his Fountain of Youth performance.

Checking in with Trackmaster here is who they like:

Trackmaster likes: Soldat, Stay Thirsty, To Honor and Serve.

Closing Speed likes: To Honor and Serve, Soldat, Stay Thirsty.