The 133rd Kentucky Derby
10th @ Churchill Downs-All carry 126
2. Curlin...Albarado...Never raced at 2 and that to me is a huge negative. Not since 1882 has a horse captured this race without a foundation in his 2 year-old year. He's going to take a ton of money as well, but I don't believe he'll end up as the favorite as he is in the morning-line. No doubt, the Arkansas derby was impressive, but I believe you need that base to run well here. Off-track won't hurt him.
3. Zanjero...Bridgmohan...This guy is quietly picking up wise-guy support. He has a good foundation at 2 finishing 2nd in the Remsen, and he was in that molasses parade at Keeneland in the BlueGrass to finish only a head back of the heavy hitters. His price will be attractive, though it will bear watching to make sure not too many pile on the bandwagon. He likes to run from off of the pace, normally. Off of the pace at Keeneland would have put him in amber so he was closer to the pace there. Possible use for exotics. Off-track should be no problem.
4. Storm In May...Leyva...10 lengths behind Curlin at Hot Springs, and he has a win over the track. That is about the extent of his positives. Not really sure why he's here other than the fact he has earned enough graded money to make the gate.
5. Imawildandcrazyguy...Guidry...See Storm in May, and subtract the two positive comments.
6. Cowtown Cat...Jara....In this spot you have to expect a reaction since he just ran the career best race in the Illinois Derby. If he were going back in a race of the same caliber then I would be more supportive. He's likely developed all he will this year, and now must face the toughest field he will ever likely face. I'll look elsewhere, though he may turn out to be a very good horse later on.
7. Street Sense...Borel...It would be hard to come in here with more positives than this guy is showing. He is set to run his best effort this year and he ran his best effort last year over this track in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November. I think Carl was surprised that he didn't fare better at Keeneland, but I am throwing that race out for most of them as it was likely no better than a decent work. He set the bar so high with the effort last year at Churchill that it may be impossible for him to get back to that level this early in the season. Lots of speed figure guys view his race here in November as too fast, for just that reason. I expect he'll give a good account of himself, and he'll take enough money to be the post time favorite. Off-track will not hurt.
8. Hard Spun...Pino....This is the guy I love the best--for now. He has worked well over this track including a blazing 57:3 on Monday. Too fast, maybe. But reports are he is full of himself every morning and looks like a million. He also received a massage on Thursday morning. To the best of my knowledge, he's the only one in the field with that angle. The breeding says 1 1/4 is no issue at all, nor is an off-track. He has tactical speed and can sit just off, or on the pace if necessary. At 15-1 morning line, which I don't expect to hold, he is my top choice as of now.
9. Liquidity...Flores...The last two have looked dismal for this guy as he has faded badly. Works have been okay. It's very difficult to project a good effort for him here.
10. Teuflesberg...Elliott...I thought he should have been disqualified in the BlueGrass, but apparently the stewards were all watching a different race. Then he was entered, and withdrawn, from the Derby Trial a week ago. Add to that, he's just not fast enough here. Has never won over a mile.
11. Bwana Bull...Castellano...Looked great in NorCal, not so great when he traveled south to meet the BIG boys. How ironic would it be if Holy Bull, who ran very poorly in this race and was life and death to get 10 furlongs in the Travers, sired another Derby winner? It's a nice dream, but he really isn't fast enough.
12. Nobiz Like Shobiz...Velasquez C....Basically drug Corny up to the front in the Wood despite better intentions. Still, he dug in and won like he knew what he was doing. You couldn't ask for a better 2 year-old campaign than he had. 2nd in the Champagne, and winning the Remsen by 6. Please let my horse, if I ever have one, have that foundation. But he has not really improved this year as expected. Winning the Wood is great. The way he won left questions. Completely respect Tagg and wouldn't surprise me to see him win easily. I have to take a stand against for the top. Track conditions may change that. Grandfather won this race in the soup in 1994.
13. Sam P....Dominguez...Shows a win over the track last year in an allowance condition. Hasn't really developed a lot this year but could be ready for a top effort. That doesn't seem likely to get him a piece, but a respectable showing should be in the cards. Blinks off. Affirmed and Alydar on opposite sides of the pedigree. That will make an interesting story if he wins.
14. Scat Daddy...Prado...This guy has done nothing wrong. Workman like wins at Gulfstream and has worked well at Keeneland since arriving from Florida. His Thorograph sheet is as pretty as a picture. Track Judge labels him the top choice. There are apparently foot issues though as he has been training in bar shoes over the last few months. He is also wearing protective boots for his baths. You hate to see any issue like this in a strong contender. Even the slightest weakness is magnified ten-fold in this race. For this reason I am downgrading him, though only slightly. Distance may be a question as well, but the dam side should carry him through at the moment of truth. I'd love to see the winner come out of Florida again this year. If we can believe Todd, the feet are nothing to be concerned with. What will they give you at the window with that information?
15. Tiago...Smith...Could be coming into this just right. I would like to see more foundation last year, and that may very well be his undoing here. If he reacts to the SA Derby he'll be nowhere. If he moves forward he'll be tough. The lack of seasoning last year will probably settle the issue.
16. Circular Quay...Velasquez J....I love closers. They are exciting to watch. But the problem that they normally run into is magnified in the Derby. You now have to negotiate 19 horses, whereas most of the time 13 would be the limit. Two preps this year , only one of which was really useful, and an 8 week gap since the last will work against him as well. I wouldn't expect the distance or an off-track will be an issue. If he gets a clean trip he can get a piece. The win may be a bit of a stretch. Daddy won in 1995.
17. Stormello...Desormeaux...His sprinter pedigree is getting the best of him. Now he stretches out. Likely to gun for the lead from the outside, and swallowed approaching the final turn.
18. Any Given Saturday...Gomez...I really , really want to like him, but Nobiz broke his heart in the Wood, and he appeared to quit badly. Before that, he lost another tough one at Tampa to Street Sense, but was much closer. I can't recommend off of those. If he bounces back and runs well here, he will screw me, and I will salute him.
19. Dominican...Bejarano...All 3 wins have come on poly. Both efforts over this track were uninspiring. He won his Derby at Keeneland over the tire chunks.
20. Great Hunter...Nakatani...Loved him in the BlueGrass. That race will live in infamy for a long time, depending upon the outcome here. The 20 post is awful as he is normally settles in a stalking position but doesn't blaze out of the gate. He'll need to use a lot just to get good position before the first turn and that will likely kill all hope for a win. I will use defensively under just in case.
Hard Spun gets top billing for me, for now. He's coming in just right and he'll be placed near the front to avoid all of the problems. Let's hope that work on Monday wasn't too much.
I'm having a tough time filling out the rest, but Scat Daddy must be considered as well. The foot issues are a concern, but I'm willing to trust Todd, just this once.
Nobiz Like Shobiz wasn't even on my radar until last night. But his breeding and the way he has won suggest that we haven't seen close to his best yet. Hope he doesn't get cooked up front.
There are several to fill out the tris and supers. Street Sense, Sedgefield, Circular Quay, and Zanjero.
1. Hard Spun
2. Scat Daddy
3. Nobiz Like Shobiz
4. Street Sense, Sedgefield, Circular Quay, Zanjero
Best of luck everyone!
© 2007 bBra