Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby

Churchhill Downs

Saturday May 7th, 2011
Name: Kentucky Derby Grade: I
Purse: $2,000,000
Distance/Restrictions: 1 1/4 Miles, Dirt, 3 Year Olds, STAKES

#1 Archarcharch
#2 Brilliant Speed
#3 Twice the Appeal
#4 Stay Thirsty
#5 Decisive Moment
#6 Comma to the Top
#7 Pants On Fire
#8 Dialed In
#9 Derby Kitten
#10 Twinspired
#11 Master of the Hounds
#12 Santiva
#13 Mucho Macho Man
#14 Shackleford
#15 Midnight Interlude
#16 Animal Kingdom
#17 Soldat
#18 Uncle Mo
#19 Nehro
#20 Watch Me Go

The news came in on Friday that a gastro infection will be keeping Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Champion  #18 Uncle Mo from running this Saturday – while I’m disappointed that he won’t be apart of racing history – his #18th spot might have knocked him out of a win at Chuchhill anyway. Hopefully Mo will be able to return for Saratoga later this year, or a return to the Breeder’s Cup - either way get well soon Uncle Mo.

As I review this race, as much as I like #19 Nehro, I’m scratching off horses #14 - #20 for a trip to the Winner’s Circle. With Shackleford, Soldat and Watch Me Go – being so far away from the rail I doubt they’ll get the early position they need for this race, and for Midnight Interlude, Animal Kingdom and Nehro – I think there are horses with better late speed who will see less of a struggle.

***I'm hearing that Soldat is made to run in the slop - so if the rain is falling - keep an eye out for Soldat at 12-1.

Working outside in – I believe that #13 Mucho Macho Man (12/1) could pose a threat – he should be able to run his preferred style of racing in the first mile – and coming into the final stretch he may have separated enough from the heavy traffic to pull off a slight upset. However he only has two wins in eight attempts – one of those losses against favorite #8 Dialed In.

#12 – Santiva – is the one horse I don’t think deserves to be in this race….I saw much better horses this year that aren’t in the field, sadly I wrote the same thing about a horse called Mine That Bird a few years ago. If this horse wins - that huge slapping sound at Hollywood Park will be my hand and forehead reuniting....and it won't feel good!!!!

I'll sing Reunited
at Karaoke if
Santiva Wins!
#11 – Master of the Hounds finished an impressive second in the UAE Derby, however that’s the only race he’s looked impressive in. I like his running style out of the 11th spot – however his resume and the fact he’s had to travel from so far away (the Middle East), justify his 30-1 odds.

#10 – Twinspired – finished 2nd in the Bluegrass – at 30-1 in a race supposedly wide open, he could be the “surprise”…..but I think there are better longshots out there.

#9 Derby Kitten (aka Senior Salsa) – now here’s a horse that runs with panache – I prefer him to Twinspired – but again the 30-1 odds seem justified. He’s fresh off a victory in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes…but he lacks a victory against a major horse.

#8 Dialed In – the current favorite – has everything working for him.
  • · A victory in a significant stakes race (Florida Derby) check!
  • · Solid post position (#8 the Barbaro spot) check!
  • · A previous victory at Churchhill Downs – check!
  • · Looks solid for extended distance – check!
The biggest obstacle for this horse will be that he’s a late closer and he’ll hit a ton of traffic in the final turn and into the final stretch, however if he sees an open path in the final furlongs – I think he can close the deal. However this race will be made up of mostly late closers – so I’m not loving his 4/1 odds.

#7 Pants On Fire – okay, seriously how can you not root for a horse called Pants On Fire?!?! Years ago I promised myself not to fall in love with any Louisiana Derby or Santa Anita Derby winners because in Kentucky they always seems to fall flat – but I like this horse….he could position himself with an early lead and leave the heavy traffic for everyone else – he’s got a little fight in him…..and his jockey Anna Napravnik has been a sensation this year!

 <---- Tell me NBC wouldn’t love to see this jockey in the winner’s circle.

I know I would!
What??? She'd be the first female jockey to ever win the Kentucky Derby........what were you thinking??

#6 Comma to the Top – This horse has been all potential and no victories….I think he’ll be a solid horse after some rest – I think he’s outmatched here. Great starting spot though - and he may provide the early speed.

#5 Decisive Moment – Solid resume of racing – but only 2 victories – and has been beaten soundly before by horses in this field. (Again - great starting spot).

#4 Stay Thirsty – Looked GREAT in the Gotham! Looked asleep in the Florida Derby ?!? Possible bounce back here???

#3 Twice the Appeal – the Sunland Derby winner is being ridden by Calvin Borel who has won three out of the last four Kentucky Derbies – and he’s won on horses with far worse previous performances. You’re betting on the jockey here….and it’s not a bad bet.

#2 Brilliant Speed – Won the Bluegrass Stakes, by edging out Twinspired, however he hasn’t looked good on Dirt – as his Trainer and Ownership has moved him to Turf a few times and his most recent victory was on Synthetic. Another horse with a great starting spot.

#1 Archarcharch – This horse tends to follow up a good race with a bad race and vice versa…..his last outing was a solid victory in the Arkansas Derby, so I’m guessing he’s due for a bad race. I believe he’ll get pinned early – and finish much worse than he’s capable, just because of a difficult post position.

As a bettor for this race – I think you lay $2 on the these six horses for the WIN (total $12):

1. Twice the Appeal (Calvin Borel)
2. Stay Thirsty (Bounce Back Possible)
3. Pants On Fire (Avoiding Traffic / Jockey is a hottie very capable)
4. Derby Kitten (Good Odds for a deep closer)
5. Master of the Hounds (The Unknown)
6. Comma To the Top (early speed - solid post).

I believe any of these horses could pull off a decent upset – and with their current odds – if one of these horses win, you could cash in for between $40 to $70, for a $12 bet.

If you’re looking for a Triple Crown contender – you’re rooting for Dialed In who certainly has the tools and the ability against this field of horses. That is of course unless Uncle Mo returns for the Preakness….but my guess is he’s out for a few months, to refresh.

Closing Speed likes: Pants on Fire, Dialed In, Nehro

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