Saturday, April 15, 2017

Arkansas Derby 2017

Oaklawn Park
Race 11 - 6:18 PM
Arkansas Derby   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,000,000
Distance - One And One Eighth Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 – Rockin Rudy
2 – Classic Empire
3 – Silver Dust
4 – Petrov
5 – Grandpa’s Dream
6 – Lookin at Lee
7 – Sonneteer
8 – Rowdy the Warrior
9 – Untrapped
10 – One Dreamy Dude
11 – Conquest Mo Money
12 - Malagacy
I’m going to start off by writing that I believe there could be a sizeable upset in the Arkansas Derby – the favorites have a few things going against them…..enough, I believe,  to cost them a trip to the winner’s circle.

And some of these long shots only need a little edge to steal a big race – and they may get it here at Oaklawn.

The Arkansas Derby serves as a rematch for several of these horses who last raced in the Rebel Stakes 28 days ago.

#12 Malagacy earned a commanding victory over #7 Sonneteer (2nd), #9 Untrapped (3rd), #4 Petrov (4th), #3 Silver Dust (5th) and #6 Lookin at Lee (6th).

See Video:

As the announcer so aptly stated there were three noses on the wire for 2nd place – and I believe one of these three horses could be the one to steal a victory here in the Arkansas Derby.

Before I “show my work” on the upset – here’s a quick briefing on the field.

#1 Rockin Rudy – 1 victory in 3 career starts , I think he’ll be overwhelmed by the talent here. If he somehow breaks from the gate well and grabs the rail and sets the early pace….he could position himself for a top three spot…..but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

#2 Classic Empire – He’s the Favorite in this race - currently going off at 8/5. This son of Pioneer of the Nile (half-brother to Grand Slam Champion American Pharoah)  enters this race as the Breeders Cup Juvenile Champion , BUT most recently 3rd place finisher in the Holy Bull Stakes.

An additional issue I see for this horse is that he last ran 70 days ago – and this race is set up to be a kind of Boom or Bust for Classic Empire. He’s got a great post, but I’m concerned he either peaked too soon (his 2 year old season) or that he’ll have too much rust coming into this one…..or both!

From a bettors standpoint I think you either bet against him heavy……or you sit on your hands…i.e. not bet at all.

Image result for holding a bunny
Or, instead of sitting your hands, you could hold a giant rabbit
Happy Easter everyone.

#3 Silver Dust (1 win in 4 attempts) and #6 Lookin at Lee (2 Wins in 8 attempts) – neither have shown me enough to win in this one.

#4 Petrov – 1 win in 5 attempts – I thought he had a very tough trip in his 4th place finish…..he got bunched up in traffic coming out of the final turn and it seemingly took forever for him to find a gap to run through……I love his starting spot…..but I HATE that he only has one victory. 12/1 odds – worth a look!

#5 Grandpa’s Dream – 1 win in 4 races – 30/1 odds – in a race with a possible upset he may be worth a $2 bet…..but I think you and Grandpa will both be dreaming at that point.

#7 Sonneteer – He REALLY caught my attention with his 2nd place finish in the Rebel Stakes and I was ready to GUARENTEE a big finish from this horse……I mean a BIG GUAAAAAA-----ROOOONNN---TEEEEE this horse was going to do something special here in the Arkansas Derby…..and then I reviewed his full history.

0 wins in 9 Races…….I mean that ZERO feels REALLY PUNCTUATED!

Image result for westbrook dunk
I do think there’s an upset brewing here…..and 15/1 odds looks mighty nice…..but ZERO Wins…Zero.....I could be mumbling that all during the race.

#8 Rowdy the Warrior – he’s going off at 30/1 and has 1 victory in 9 races. Which of course makes it even more difficult to forget that ZERO sitting with Sonneteer.....I mean even Rowdy the Warrior a horse clearly with some kind of complex could put together 1 win.

Likely you’ll see Rowdy the Warrior begin at the back of the pack….and finish there as well.

#9 Untrapped – 1 win in 5 attempts – this horse is very good at finishing 2nd or 3rd --- he could be the upset contender here but I’m not loving his starting spot.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
refers to himself as
One Dreamy Dude
on his dating profile -
at JC Date
Jungle Cats Date
#10 – One Dreamy Dude – 0 Wins in 6 Attempts --- I think he’s basically a part of the field so that I have material for Strangely Sensitive Cheetah.

#11 Conquest Mo Money – 3 wins out of 4 attempts – and he finished 2nd in the Sunland Derby. In the Sunland Derby he was forced to go far wide in the first turn and it really cost him ground he couldn’t make up --- he’s sitting at 15/1 and he very well could pose as an upset threat!

#12 Malagacy – Undefeated in 3 lifetime races – he’s definitely the horse to beat in this one, and in my opinion should still be considered the favorite in this race over Classic Empire.

So here is my breakdown of how I see this race going

Malagacy “could” and likely will push to be a part of the early lead (i.e. the Pace) – Conquest Mo Money will do EVERYTHING in his power to make sure to keep Malagacy on his outside shoulder and not give Malagacy the opportunity to get an inside position…..this could be KEY.

If Malagacy goes for the rail and Conquest Mo Money succeeds in keeping him from getting it – both of these horses could come out of the final turn exhausted – leaving someone inside -- or someone with a reserve an opportunity.

That someone very well could be Classic Empire – who will have a shorter trip on the rail into the first turn and could (and should) position himself to have the inside track coming out of the final turn 

*IF both Malagacy and Conquest Mo Money are sucking wind --- he could breeze the final furlongs and take a solid victory….that is….unless he comes out flat, or he’s not up for the distance?!?!

IF (and this is a solid IF) Conquest Mo Money presents issues for Malagacy and both of them are wiped out coming out of the final turn AND Classic Empire comes out rusty – this makes way for a sizeable upset.

I SO BADLY want to go with Sonneteer but WHO picks a horse to win a HUGE Kentucky Derby Prep that has Zero Wins…….

Image result for be brave
This is what betting on Sonneteer feels like.....
I'm going with Petrov for the win....but I think there are a number of possible upsets here -- if you're betting tomorrow -- Be Brave!

Closing Speed likes:  Petrov / Malagacy / Classic Empire

If I’m betting $30 on this race I like:
$1 Trifecta Box 4/2/11/12

$6 Win Bet #7