Friday, April 30, 2010

With Eskendereya out the Derby is Wide Open

For the second year in a row, the Derby favorite scratched the week of the race with an injury. This year more than ever the ability of horses to handle the synthetic to dirt transition will play a part in the outcome as the top two favorites are both synthetic surface horses. This year, another filly will attempt to beat the boys. It has now been 33 years since Affirmed became the last to capture the Triple Crown. It is the First Saturday in May. It is time to dream of what could be at least for two more weeks.

Kentucky Derby ~ Grade 1 ~ Purse $2,000,000 ~ Surface: Dirt ~ Distance: 1 ¼ Miles
Devil May Care - Post 11 – Morning Line 10/1
Won the Frizette at Belmont last fall after a terrible break but didn’t care for the pro ride while running up the track in the BC Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. She won the Bonnie Miss at Gulfstream in her last and her connections passed up favorite role in KY Oaks to run today instead. She has top notch breeding and her stalking running style suits this race. Pletcher is 0 for 24 in the Derby but this one has a chance to end that streak today. Johnny Velasquez rides for Todd Pletcher.

Jackson Bend - Post 13 – Morning Line 15/1
He is 0-3 this year but ran a good 2nd to Eskendereya in the Fountain of Youth & Wood Memorial. That one would have been a heavy favorite today before being forced out with an injury this week. He has never finished worse than 2nd in 9 lifetime races and his well respected owner and trainer are both very high on him. He is another who likes to stalk the pace and the addition of the game’s premier money rider can’t hurt. Mike Smith rides for Nick Zito and Robert LaPenta.

Lookin At Lucky - Post 1 - Morning Line 3/1
He will likely go off the favorite and deserves it. Lost by a nose after what looked like interference in the lane in the BC Juvenile and was bumped hard into the rail at the head of the stretch in SA Derby but still finished 3rd. Other than that, he has done little wrong and Baffert has been waiting a year since Pioneerof The Nile didn’t quite get it done in the 2009 Derby. On the plus side Baffert knows how to win this race and again looks like he has the best horse. On the minus side this is only his second race on dirt and he seems to always find traffic trouble plus he drew Post 1 which in this race means traffic trouble.. Garrett Gomez is aboard for Bob Baffert and Mike Pegram.

Awesome Act – Post 16 – Morning Line 10/1
He will be making his 4th North American start and has looked good in his first three running 4th in the BC Juvenile, winning the Gotham and then running 3rd to Eskendereya in the Wood after a terrible break. Irish Trainer Noseda only brings them here from Europe when they have a chance and the fact that Leparoux stays aboard while having other options confirms this as does a sharp work in the mud earlier this week. Covered him in exotics. Julian Leparoux rides for Jeremy Noseda.

Ice Box – Post 2 – Morning Line 10/1
He is a big closer who got up at the wire to win the Florida Derby and he also posted a bullet work in the slop a week ago over this track. He seems to be the second best Zito horse in the race but if he takes another step forward as he did in Florida, he could get his picture taken today. Your call as to whether 100+ Beyer in his last indicates he is sitting on a big race or ready to bounce off a lifetime best Beyer. Jose Lezcano rides for Nick Zito and R. LaPenta.

Super Saver – Post 4 – Morning Line 15/1
Ran 2nd and 3rd in two races this year but took the Kentucky Cup Juvenile impressively over this track last fall. He reunites with Borel today who knows a bit about winning this race. He is one of several speed horses in this race but if Borel can keep him out of a speed dual he has a chance. Pletcher’s horses are always ready to run and consistent high Beyers indicate he may be sitting on a big effort today. Calvin Borel rides for Todd Pletcher.

Others of Interest:
Line of David – Post 5 – M/L 30/1 – Longshot winner of Ark. Derby has won 3 straight - Berajano rides for Saddler
Dublin – Post 17 – M/L 12/1 – Best D. Wayne Lukas Derby horse in years - Thompson rides
Homeboykris – Post 19 – M/L 50/1 – Champagne winner is back with Richard Dutrow again - Dominguez rides Sydney’s Candy – Post 20 – M/L 5/1 – Post hurts and he has never run on dirt - Talamo rides for John Saddler