The fragility of the animal that is the bread n' butter of the Bluegrass has unfortunately reared its head once again. Today's scratch of Uncle Mo, the most talented of this year's 3-year-old crop and the only one even close to the hackneyed "super-horse" designation, joins a handful of defects for what's shaped into one of the more mysterious, if not weakest, Derby fields in some time. But it's May and My Old Kentucky Home, so damn it, we're going to have us a horse race whether we're cheering on Big Brown, Barbaro, or a stunt double from Dreamer.
Nice horse in fine form, but don’t think he has the greatness to overcome this post. Lookin at Lucky couldn’t quite pull it off and this guy is no LaL. Still, there’s that 1% chance everything shapes up perfectly out of the gate, and he’s able to settle into the mid-pack and make a clean late run, but hard to put your money on it.
Liked the way this BG Stakes bomb was progressing before drawing dead here. Record shows a turf/synth specialist, but he’s bred to get the distance and may be able to save ground and make a late charge if he takes to the dirt/mud at all and avoids a big pinch. Huge ifs.
Twice the Appeal
Pretty similar on paper to 2009′s bomb, Mine That Bird. Obviously have to respect Borel, but will probably lead to an overbet. Has yet to show any signs of winning a GS at this distance. He’ll be well back of the pace and will probably stay there.
Well bred colt who looked good winning the Gotham, though his time was not outstanding. Ran backwards in the Fla. Derby where he never relaxed with the blinkers. Recent works point to solid form and he’d benefit from the rain, but he’s yet to show the scentilating speed to put him on top.
Yet to prove much at the graded level, and lacks the class to bank on. May show some early speed but would be a complete shocker if he’s still a factor down the stretch.
Comma to the Top
Will be looking to set the pace after nearly wiring in the SA Derby and Valenzuela on board. Stellar 2yo campaign on the Cali synthetic, hasn’t found that form yet in three starts this year. Still think he can stay up for a piece if he’s allowed the lead and not caught in suicidal fractions.
Pants on Fire
La. Derby winner isn’t getting much respect and should provide some good value for the exotics, especially if the track goes sloppy. It will be interesting to see if they chase Comma to the Top early on or settle in just behind. Honestly, I don’t quite know what to make of him.
Favorite because, well, he won his last prep and has been training like he’s ready to improve, but far, far from a sure thing. His kick is consistent as is his heart, but it’s 50/50 at best he even finds the room to uncork in time. Not sure he even has the speed to mow em all down, but in this race he may not need it. I like his consistency and form, connections can’t be beat and the son of Mineshaft should take to the added distance.
Improving colt showed a nice kick in the Lexington to get this post, just couple races removed from the claiming ranks, which if you follow the Ramsey Barn, is not quite as alarming as you’d think. What is alarming is his lone performance on dirt. Maybe he’ll take to it this time around, but not sure he can hang in mid pack here or has the speed to close from the clouds.
Another synthetic specialist who figures to be well off the pace and has the right jockey and a name right out of the book of Jim Nantz. Will this be a win for the ages? As good as it gets? Can he outrun his odds towards a rock-chalk championship? Don’t count on it.
Master of Hounds
Love his pedigree and the game effort for place in Dubai. But colour me skepical that he’ll be ready to roll 1-1/4 just days removed from quarintine after shipping from Europe. On class alone, he’s a solid play for the exotics, but would’ve loved to have seen a strong work prior to this.
Like his GSW on this track last year, but while I can toss out a dud on synthetic with traffic problems, it’s hard to forgive his BG Stakes performance. You’d hope he had the chops to run himself out of that weak field. I think they’ll try and get him closer to the pace here, which would help his chances and his pedigree is heavy on stamina. Without a strong showing here he’ll probably be back in a NWx1 allowance. Doesn’t exactly scream Derby winner but neither did Mine That Bird.
Mucho Macho Man
Gamer was a disappointment in the La. Derby, but it wasn’t a flop and he’s been working very well since. I’d like to see him sent from the start and see if the other speedsters can match his pace and stamina. Lot of room for improvement and think he could end up being the best of this bunch down the road, maybe it starts right here.
Ran his eyeballs out in the Fla. Derby, nearly wiring the field at 60-1. Has outrun his odds in nearly every race and his recent works show he’s still in top form. Not sure he’ll be able to get the lead here, and while he’s shown some ability to rate, he’ll have to step up to another level to go the distance. Don’t think he has that level.
First, the obvious: un-raced as a juvy, which hasn’t led to Derby success since the Chester A. Arthur administration. But he’s improved every time out this year, capped off by a strong final panel to take the SA Derby. Has the early speed to save ground and follow Shackleford to the front, and the ability to rate. Trainer’s record here is a huge plus and his form is impeccable right now. Looks primed for a big run but there are two major hurdles: can he hold off the late chargers at this distance and how will this green runner handle adversity?
Spiral winner has made his run in every race so far, but none of which were over the dirt. Distance shouldn’t be a factor and he settles in off the pace. Like the way he’s been training and like his versatility, which is a must coming from this post. Assuming he handles the track, his late kick could put him on the board at a nice price.
Poised for greatness before the Fla. Derby flop. Had he even just hit the board in that one, you’d probably be looking at the co-favorite. His workouts since have been ok, and if he’s feeling fresh at post time he’ll make some noise. Must get out clean and save ground and you’ll know if he’s near the lead that he’s ready to run. I like him to rebound and find the board.
Backside buzz horse whose furious finishes in the Ark. and Tampa Derbys, along with his pedigree, makes you think he’ll appreciate the added distance. If he can slink to the back early and save ground, he’ll be coming hard late assuming he gets the space and you have to like how he’s improved race to race. Will likely be an underlay but is dangerous.
Watch Me Go
Yes, Big Brown pulled it off from out here, but this fella had trouble finishing the Illinois Derby for crying out loud. Did look solid winning the TB Derby at huge odds, but it had fluke written all over it. I guess if you don’t play you can’t win, but not sure he’d win an allowance tomorrow.
So, my initial superfecta-box looks something like this…
Mucho Macho Man
Will also be playing:
Stay Thirsty, Animal Kingdom, Soldat
But really, just throw a dart or pick your favorite name. This one’s gonna be interesting, and probably pretty slow.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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