March Derby Thoughts

33 days! We are only 33 days away from the Kentucky Derby! The Derby picture is getting a bit more in focus, we got five prep races left to go and 695 points up for grabs

Okay, I cheated. I should have put this out on Friday but with the Florida Derby and the Spiral the next day I had to put it off. I’m sorry, I really couldn’t resit.

If the Derby was run tomorrow, here is the field and how many points they have

  1. Gun Runner, 151
  2. Nyquist, 130
  3. Lani, 100
  4. Mohaymen, 80
  5. Destin, 50
  6. Cupid, 50
  7. Oscar Nominated, 50
  8. Danzing Candy, 50
  9. Shagaf, 50
  10. Mor Spirit, 44
  11. Tom’s Ready, 44
  12. Majesto, 40
  13. Mo Tom, 32
  14. Fellowship, 32
  15. Exaggerator, 26
  16. Whitmore, 24
  17. Laoban, 22
  18. Azar, 20
  19. Forevamo, 20
  20. Dazzling Gem, 20
    1. AE Zulu, 20
    2. AE Outwork, 20

If there is one thing I love in racing it is undefeated horses, and we still have two with bae Nyquist and Shagaf.

Still maintain that Greenpointcrusader will never win another race.

That Florida Derby was so great, mostly because I am a huge fan of Nyquist. Admittedly I wasn’t that much on the boat last year, but he is great. Him drifting in the final stages is a bit worrisome, but he also wasn’t asked for run until the final furlong. While Mohaymen was being hard ridden at the quarter pole Mario and Nyquist were sitting pretty. It looked bad on Mohaymen and looked awesome on Nyquist. He doubled his earnings in just one race, had 4G1s to his name and now has $3.3mil in the bank. He’s already been sold to stud to Darley so it is really smooth sailing from here with him. Lots of people are questioning the 10f with Nyquist because he is by Uncle Mo which is a solid concern, but since we have an absolutely tiny sample size of Mo babies its something to recognize but not give a hard knock too. Tapit went a few years before he had a 10f winning colt, and now one of his kiddos won the Belmont. Pedigree is overrated.

Speaking of overrated pedigree, Mohaymen had a rough go at it huh? People are blaming the track and going wide but he was soundly beaten and went totally belly up while Nyquist and company were accelerating. Kiaran must be having some pretty hardcore Cairo Prince flashbacks, right?
One horse I absolutely love is Cupid. He is cautiously my Derby pick right now ahead of Nyquist because the way he turned away Whitmore in the Rebel was awesome. He absolutely found another gear. I don’t want Nyquist to leap-frog Cupid just yet since Cupid hasn’t gotten his final prep, but man it is awfully close.
If Lani wins I think that would just be awesome. He has no real shot, but neither did stupid Mine That Bird, but him winning would just be cool. Wouldn’t even be mad.
Ken Ramsey’s Derby obsession is taking form with Oscar Nominated who wasn’t even nominated to the Triple Crown until Ramsey found someone to put up the $200k to stick him in. As per usual from Spiral horses (yes I know Animal Kingdom, but give me just one other relevant Derby horse from that race in the last 10 years, the only other is Hard Spun this is including all the also rans), not really expecting much from ol’ Oscar. On that note, Azar is really silly for Derby consideration too.
This next week is the Wood Memorial and looks like Shadwell’s remaining undefeated Derby hope Shagaf will be headlining with his main opposition being Outwork and Flexibility. Kinda like the Spiral I don’t take the Wood Memorial into much consideration, but with Outwork’s solid run in Tampa a win here would really be interesting with him.
The Blue Grass field also kinda sucks. Got the wonderful allowance winner Zulu making an appearance, as well as the delightful maiden Laoban perhaps and even Brody’s Cause after his super awkward Tampa Bay Derby. I was pretty high on him and then he really just sucked down there. I’d love to see him bounce back, he is pretty good at Keeneland after all, but who knows.
The Santa Anita Derby is actually a pretty tight field. It’ll be great if  Danzing Candy is able to roll along again, but being a bit longer than the San Felipe in theory should help out Mor Spirit who is now awkwardly Baffert’s other Derby horse after Cupid stole the show. My man Smokey Image really sucked in the San Felipe for absolutely no reason, maybe he really just isn’t that good. Assuming it was a fluke I do expect him to show up and do at least a little bit better than second to last.
Still a big fan of Exaggerator. He did great chasing Nyquist in the San Vicente and I think held his own in the San Felipe. I am very excited for his post-Triple Crown career as he is a great runner and has a lot of promise just might be a slight cut below the top three year olds at this point. But he dude tries hard and gives awesome performances.
Mo Tom also may be the unluckiest horse of all time poor dude. I don’t know what to make of Gun Runner, those dazzling Louisiana horses are pretty hard to trust going forward holla at ya International Star and Vicar’s in Trouble. Difference being is he has a totally different team, but he is really great down there you can’t just ignore him.

 

Last 10 Derby winners at this point (April 1) of the year.

American Pharoah: Dazzled winning in the slop in the Rebel Stakes.

California Chrome: Dominantly won the California Derby on January 25 and did very well stepping up in the San Felipe winning by more than seven lengths.

Orb: Won his stakes debut in the Fountain of Youth and made it four in a row by winning the Florida Derby comfortably over Itsmyluckyday.

I’ll Have Another: Stakes-placed at two, but stepped into the Derby picture after winning the Robert B Lewis. Did not race in march.

Animal Kingdom: Four races and two wins under his belt including the Spiral Stakes.

Super Saver: Won the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs at two and finished third in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Mine That Bird: Had a fantastic juvenile season at Woodbine, but absolutely sucked in the Breeders’ Cup. Came in second in the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park and then was fourth in the Sunland Derby.

Big Brown: Only raced once at two, raced once in an allowance in 2008 before winning the Florida Derby easily. Three races under his belt before the KY Derby

Street Sense: Had a sensational win in the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. Opened 2007 with a gritty win in the Tampa Bay Derby

Barbaro: Won the Tropical Park Derby on the turf on New Year’s Day and took home a win in the Holy Bull and the Florida Derby.

With five weeks between the FL Derby and Kentucky people were wondering if that as too long of a break for Barbaro, meanwhile they are now wondering if it is not enough for Nyquist. Funny how quickly that mindset changes, eh?

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