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Derby Profile #4: Vicar’s In Trouble

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Highlights:

  • G2 winner at 9 furlongs
  • No off-the-board finishes in 5 starts

Basics:

  • Trainer: Mike Maker (Hansen, Furthest Land, Stately Victor)
  • Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
  • Owned by: Ken & Sarah Ramsey
  • Record: 5: 3-0-2
  • Earnings: $788,900
  • Best speed figures: 97 Beyer (Lecomte Stakes & Louisiana Derby), 104 BRIS Figure (Louisiana Derby), 105 Equibase

Background: If speed succeeds, this colt has had it from the beginning of the Derby prep season to near the end when the distances got a bit closer to 10 furlongs. The prowess of Maker-Napravnik-Ramsey seem to have an effect akin to the stars aligning, and so they have with Vicar’s In Trouble, who has been running to the nines in the southern state preps all year. The Ramseys have been hankering for a solid shot at the Derby, and seem to have found progress with Vicar.

Prep Schedule: Finishing an even 3rd in his October debut race at Keeneland, Vicar won easily enough switching to dirt at his future stomping grounds at Fair Grounds, romping home wire-to-wire to win by 13 lengths going 6 furlongs just 2 months later. Sprinter? One turn only? Vicar answered those two questions with a definitive no next out in his stakes debut and first start as a three-year-old, wiring the 1 mile and 70 yard Lecomte (III) by nearly 7 lengths. His streak took pause next out in the Southwest Stakes (II) after he drew a wide post in a large and messy field, but still managed to work his way up to 3rd, losing by 5 1/2 lengths. Rebounding and running further, Vicar dismissed doubters in the Louisiana Derby (II), going wire-to-wire again to hold off Southwest winner Intense Holiday by 3 1/2 lengths after having an uncontested lead most of the way.

Pedigree: Part of the second crop to race by Into Mischief, who spawned two Derby starters and a Breeders’ Cup winner with his first, Vicar’s In Trouble benefits from his sire’s rich and speedy family featuring Leslie’s Lady, the dam of Into Mischief and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (I)/Eclipse winner Beholder. Into Mischief’s sire Harlan’s Holiday had been a success at stud with many top runners throughout the juvenile and spring prep stages. Dam Vibrant is an Ontario-bred by Vicar, who made a career out of sprinting but did win the Florida Derby (I). Damsire Tanks Prospect was precocious but had enough stamina in him to win the Arkansas Derby (I) and the Preakness (I).

Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant: 131.08

Dosage Index: 5.00

Running Style: Pacesetter

Pros: Aside from a bad trip/very wide post in the crowded Southwest, Vicar has done little wrong in the prep races and has cleared every hurdle in front of him at this point, and his figures have been consistently good every race. Rosie Napravnik is a regular force in the saddle and should be able to give this colt more than a good shot.

Cons: Into Mischief’s best progeny, Goldencents and Vyjack, have both appeared to be distance limited beyond 8-9 furlongs although you can’t rightly shake them both off looking at last year’s muddy mess of the Kentucky Derby. Vicar’s pedigree isn’t there when it comes to staying the distance.

Final Word: A classic example of a horse who was more than good enough to win up to 9 furlongs, but will likely fail the test when asked to go one more. He’ll likely go for the front early, but he unfortunately won’t be alone in trying to grab the lead right away which decreases his chances of doing well— let alone winning— even more.

Derby Profile #3: California Chrome

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Highlights:

  • G1 winner (Santa Anita Derby) at 9 furlongs
  • Undefeated at age 3
  • Won 6 of 10 total career starts, current win streak of 4 races with consistent quality performances

Basics:

  • Trainer: Art Sherman (Ultra Blend, Carthrage, Summer Movie)
  • Jockey: Victor Espinoza
  • Owned by: Coburn, Steven; Perry, Martin
  • Record: 10:6-1-0
  • Earnings: $1,134,850
  • Best speed figures: 107 Beyer (Santa Anita Derby), 99 BRIS Figure (4 straight races), 109 Equibase

Background: A seemingly unlikely Derby favorite in a year full of blue bloods and promising standouts, the California-bred chromey colt harks from the barn of Art Sherman, who is perhaps just as unlikely to train a winner of the Derby despite having been the assistant trainer of the unforgettable 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps, who also won the Santa Anita Derby on his way to acing the roses. Bearing blinkers, sheer talent, and a fantastic backside story, California Chrome looms large as the horse to beat this year.

Prep Schedule: An early bird to the races, Chrome started his two-year-old career at Hollywood Park in late April, racing wide to register 2nd in a nondescript maiden race on the all-weather. He would win next time out, lying closer to the pace to run clear by nearly 3 lengths on poly. He lost his stakes debut in the William Procter Memorial next out scarcely two months later by getting into an early duel and fading, but won his next try in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar, edging clear to win the same way he snatched his maiden. Upgrading to G1 status, California Chrome ran too late into tight quarters in the Del Mar Futurity (I), losing by just 2 lengths in a scrambled ending. Next out was his dirt debut at Santa Anita and his final loss, getting off slow at the start but still within 3 lengths of the win. From there, and with the addition of Victor Espinoza, it’s all winner’s circle photos: a win in the 7-furlong King Glorious in December by 6 coming from off the pace, the California Cup Derby by 5 in a stalking trip, the San Felipe (II) by 7 lengths going wire-to-wire, and the Santa Anita Derby (I) wire-to-wire by an unurged 5 lengths.

Pedigree: Certainly not what you would expect with his credentials, California Chrome comes from a modest family tree with Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, and the mare Numbered Account make two appearances in the first five generations. Sire Lucky Pulpit begat another good Derby colt similar in appearance with Rousing Sermon, but has largely been quiet on the national scene, as a son of sire maker Pulpit and out of the Cozzene mare Lucky Soph. Chrome’s dam Love the Chase is a daughter of Maryland stallion Not For Love, a son of Mr. Prospector and Dance Number, a G1 winning daughter of Eclipse winning 2-year-old Numbered Account, who is featured again on Love the Chase’s dam side with Polish Numbers (by Danzig). And yes, Swaps is mentioned in Chrome’s pedigree through Numbered Account!

Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A Variant 3.98

Dosage Index: 3.40

Running Style: Generally off-the-pace or stalking

Pros: Cool and professional mentally, California Chrome is more experienced than much of what he’ll be facing and has some of the best numbers and visually impressive past performances that have prepared him for the Derby. His connections appear very confident in his chances to parlay his win streak at least one more. A stalking sort of runner, he’s very advantaged should he draw and break well.

Cons: The Santa Anita Derby has plagued many as a prep race in recent years with the exception of I’ll Have Another’s storied success, the last being Sunday Silence in 1989, and before Sunday was Affirmed back in the 1970s. Many Californian racehorses— never mind a California-BRED racehorse— struggle in eastern soil.

Final Word: So much about California Chrome draws my attention along with the interest of many others. His jockey piloted my first Derby pick (and winner) to the winner’s circle in 2002 with War Emblem, Art Sherman is perfectly old school, and Chrome himself is a ground-eating athlete with homegrown appeal. Who dares to hate the Chrome? He’ll be the horse to beat on the first Saturday in May, and while far from invincible, he’s got the right mental mindset and one of the best strides I’ve seen in this year’s field going forward.

Derby Profile #2: Dance With Fate

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Highlights:

  • G1 winner (Blue Grass Stakes on poly) at 9 furlongs
  • 6 out 8 times finishes in the top 2

Basics:

  • Trainer: Peter Eurton (Weemissfrankie, My Gi Gi, Euroglide)
  • Jockey: Corey Nakatani
  • Owned by: Alesia, Sharon; Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC
  • Record: 8:3-3-0
  • Earnings: $680,050
  • Best speed figures: 97 Beyer (Blue Grass Stakes), 99 BRIS Figure (Blue Grass Stakes), 108 Equibase

Background: Bloodstock agent Larry Zap has only acquired two horses in his career for more than $100,000: Whitney (I) winner Bullsbay for $108k, and Blue Grass (I) winner Dance With Fate for $130k. It seems to have paid off. Seen by many as a grass/poly type horse, Dance With Fate was given the go-ahead to give the Derby a shot following the Blue Grass by trainer Peter Eurton, who has yet to enter the Run for the Roses. 

Prep Schedule: Misfiring in his debut race at Hollywood Park, DWF returned to nail his target a month later at Del Mar in August of his two-year-old year, running clear of the field by 1 1/2 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs on the poly. Bumped and unable to go straight to the front again in the Del Mar Futurity (I), he ran a winning race while stretching out to 7 furlongs, but wound up missing by a head to rival Tamarando. Turning to dirt for the first time the next month in the 1 1/16-mile Frontrunner (I), DWF had a bad brush with fate again, stalking the pace as the favorite but was unable to hold off eventual winner Bond Holder, who swept in to win by nearly 3 lengths. One of the many to spin his wheels in the Breeders’ Cup, DWF made a flurried attempt to run 8th before calling it quits for the year, and won a grass allowance in his first race as a three-year-old going a mile at Santa Anita in one of his most impressive starts to date. Rolling in top form, he ran a winning race next out in the El Camino Real Derby (III) on Golden Gate’s synthetic course, but was unable to hold off Tamarando who defeated him by a half length. Shipping and surging in form, DWF showed his best at Keeneland in the Blue Grass (I), making an impressive charge in the straight from the back to win by nearly 2 lengths over G3 winner Medal Count.

Pedigree: Part of sprinter-mile Two Step Salsa’s first crop, Dance With Fate is speed on top with distance on the bottom with plenty of dirt influences despite his success on turf and poly. Two Step Salsa didn’t do all that much on the track, but did manage to win the Godolphin Mile and over $1 million in earnings while mainly racing from 7-8 furlongs. A son of Petitionville, Two Step is out of the unraced Seattle Slew mare Two To Waltz to give him a good foundation. Dance With Fate is out of the Saint Ballado mare Flirting With Fate, whose dam Biogio’s Baby features dual traces to Northern Dancer. Danzig and Halo are key additions, providing this Derby puzzle with speed and distance.

Estimated TrueNicks Rating: D Variant 0.19

Dosage Index: 1.91

Running Style: Adaptable

Pros: Aiming to be the first Florida-bred since Affirmed to win the Kentucky Derby, Dance With Fate has shown great dimension in his turf and poly wins as a horse who was a promising juvenile-turned-even better three-year-old. 

Cons: Since poly came into force, how many of its dominators have gone on to do well on dirt and win such a prestigious race? The stakes are high for Dance With Fate, with the last Blue Grass winner to win the Derby being Strike the Gold in 1991 when it was still a dirt race, with polytrack winners largely disappointing in the big race. Dance With Fate will also have do more shipping than most, as he shipped out for the Blue Grass and has shipped back to Santa Anita to train.

Final Word: The big question is whether or not Dance With Fate was disadvantaged in preparing exclusively on turf and polytrack for the Kentucky Derby as well as the quality of company he was able to defeat in his races. Tamarando, his arch rival and meter stick for comparison, was seemingly a poly-only horse and the bulk of the Blue Grass field was composed of horses trying to get into the Derby field despite having little to no dirt ability. However, while some will try to argue it, Dance With Fate DOES have dirt ability and he does belong in the Derby. I currently peg him in my top 5 as of right now.

Wicked Strong walks back a Wood Memorial (I) winner

Wicked Strong walks back a Wood Memorial (I) winner

Derby Profile #1: Hoppertunity

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Highlights:

  • G2 winner at 1 1/16 miles
  • G1-placed at 9 furlongs
  • By a G1 winner out of a G1 producer from a great dam line
  • High percentage connections shipping, Triple Crown races

Basics:

  • Trainer: Bob Baffert (Silver Charm, Game On Dude, Real Quiet)
  • Jockey: Mike Smith
  • Owned by: Watson, Karl; Pegram, Michael E.; Weitman, Paul
  • Record: 5: 2-1-0
  • Earnings: $610,720
  • Best speed figures: 100 Beyer (Rebel Stakes), 100 BRIS Figure (Rebel Stakes), 105 Equibase

Background: A good young horse who managed to become the latest of Bob Baffert’s to ship well into the Midwest ranks, Hoppertunity improved in the ability and luck department to score a surging win in the Rebel Stakes (II) at Oaklawn, edging graded winners Tapiture and Strong Mandate to establish himself as one of the top Derby prep horses in the region. Trainer Bob Baffert and co-owner Mike Pegram are no strangers to Triple Crown success having campaigned Real Quiet together to a near-Triple Crown.

Prep Schedule: Hoppertunity was regarded as a quality runner when making his 7-furlong debut in January at Santa Anita Park; despite running 5th to his ultra talented stablemate Bayern, the colt made up ground late going wide into the stretch. Sent off at 6-1 his next try, Hoppertunity broke his maiden going away at a mile with a much better trip, winning by 3 lengths. Jumping into stakes competition, Hoppertunity shipped to the Risen Star (II) at Fair Grounds 3 weeks later while stretching out a half furlong, but missed the board by a length while getting crowded in heavy traffic on the turn. Turning back 3 weeks later to the Rebel (II) and getting Mike Smith to ride him at Oaklawn, Hop found his stride late, making up 6 lengths in the stretch to win by a half length. Back in California 3 weeks later, he made a valiant bid in the Santa Anita Derby (I) in his first try at 9 furlongs, but was second best to California Chrome, defeated by about 5 while beating the rest of the field by at least 3 lengths.

Pedigree: Hoppertunity combines a lot of great genetics into one solid yet overlooked family tree. Sire Any Given Saturday has not done much a stallion, with the bulk of his progeny doing best on the grass with Hoppertunity being his best U.S. runner to date. Any Given Saturday, a son of classic horse producer Distorted Humor and out of the A.P. Indy mare Weekend in Indy, ran well at 9-10 furlongs with his major wins being the 9-furlong Haskell (I) and Brooklyn Handicap (II) while finishing 8th in the Derby. The Danzig influence is reaffirmed again in his dam side with the Unaccounted For daughter, Refugee, who also produced the very talented G1 winner Executiveprivilege, with Danzig siring her dam Polish Maid, who is out of the super filly Davona Dale.

Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant: 11.11

Dosage Index: 2.64

Running Style: Off-the-pace

Pros: Hoppertunity is backed by serious connection power, as trainer Bob Baffert has won 10 Triple Crown races including 3 Kentucky Derby wins, one of which was with the owners’ Real Quiet. Jockey Mike Smith has been on fire this spring snapping up graded stakes despite the odds, and he himself has a stellar record with the Triple Crown races having won each of them once and won the Belmont last year with Palace Malice. Hoppertunity comes from a strong distance family, and his backers proclaim that this horse will thrive with even more ground as a late-improving horse.

Cons: Hoppertunity faces a steep challenge from the Apollo curse as a horse who has never run as a two-year-old, making his first start on January 4 of this year. He is the only horse in the field countering this issue.

Final Word: Not really urged in the Santa Anita Derby, Hoppertunity seemed to store something in the tank off his last start, which he didn’t need to win off that Rebel (II) victory. Despite having no experience as a two-year-old, Hoppertunity hasn’t shown his greenhorn side to anyone and comes from a strong racing family who has done little but excel given the opportunity (pardon the pun) for more ground, and has been able to separate from the bunch late in the game. A strong underdog play, I am a complete believer that Hoppertunity’s best will shine through at the 10-furlong stage— however good that “best” may be, is still unknown.

Social Inclusion rushes up to meet Samraat at the start of the Wood Memorial (I), with Noble Moon and Schivarelli up behind them.

Social Inclusion rushes up to meet Samraat at the start of the Wood Memorial (I), with Noble Moon and Schivarelli up behind them.

"Before the Weekend" Derby Top 10

This will probably be my last Derby list before the profiles are started for the big race. This was a bit tougher to make since there are still a lot of major points races left to be run and things could easily get complicated. Ranked in order:

10) Commissioner - Got going too late after a bad start in the Sunland Derby to be up for second. If he can get a clear run to get some point gains in the Arkansas Derby, he’s a candidate.

9) Hoppertunity - Gets a big boost if Mike Smith sticks around as a horse who clearly wants more ground. 

8) Social Inclusion - If he shows something in the Wood— and by something I mean a first or second place finish— I’ll become a believer. Fast, late-improving son of Pioneerof the Nile.

7) Bayern** - Hope he goes to the Arkansas Derby and wins. He’s talented enough for it. I’m stubborn to completely drop him out of sight.

6) Samraat - Stays on the list if he can show me something in the Wood tomorrow. I need to see him not immediately go to the lead and try to hang on.

5) Strong Mandate - Whether or not this Tiznow colt shines in May, he’s a legitimate 10-furlong horse who doesn’t really display any pickiness in regards to surface conditions or what kind of trip he has to make.

4) Candy Boy - His win in the Robert B. Lewis told me all I needed to know. He’s been in my top 10 for the bulk of the year and there’s little telling me he won’t yield at 10 furlongs. My biggest concern is the Candy Ride curse…

3) Tapiture - This horse just needs a better jockey and he’s very game to do well and even show yet another dimension. His off-the-pace style and tactical speed speaks for itself.

2) California Chrome - Brilliant horse who I’ve been watching for a while… but I admit, I was too stubborn to include immediately in the very first top ten list as he hadn’t shown me enough to include a California-bred. He looks like he just needed some time just like another really good California horse who won a couple years ago…

1) Ring Weekend - I can’t really explain this one much more beyond a good feeling and all the right subtle winks. He’s chestnut, he’s by Tapit, trained by Graham Motion, and the thing that really sold me after his impressive Tampa Bay Derby (II) win was the fact he’s being sent to the Calder Derby instead of the Blue Grass. They’re giving this colt time to develop— not throwing him into a huge field in a big points race— and chances to boost his confidence before shipping to Churchill. He’s getting better and better and has some tactical speed to boot.

Woes of racetrack panning: when third place grabs your autofocus away from the top two finishers! Wicked Strong in the foreground, Cairo Prince and Honor Code in the background of the Remsen Stakes finish.

Woes of racetrack panning: when third place grabs your autofocus away from the top two finishers! Wicked Strong in the foreground, Cairo Prince and Honor Code in the background of the Remsen Stakes finish.

Tamarando Ships East for Spiral Stakes

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Week 8/10 of the Derby Handicap Contest! Submit your choice of horse through this link by 6:08pm EST (20 minutes before post time). Read the Contest tab for rules and more information.

The Sunland Derby and the Spiral Stakes complete another weekend of Derby preps, with some interesting up-and-coming talents taking the stage for each of these G3 events and the fields filling well enough as the races begin to lengthen. The jewel of Turfway Park, the Spiral Stakes often yields an upset winner so it’s a great value race to play if you know your polytrack well, with past winners including Lil E. Tee, Animal Kingdom, and Serena’s Song, overall yielding 3 Kentucky Derby winners. Turf types have excelled in this race.

$550,000 Spiral Stakes (III) - 3-Year-Olds. 1 1/8 miles on all-weather track at Turfway Park. Post Time: Saturday, March 22 at 6:28pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, All carry 123 lbs, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Big Bazinga - Luis Contreras, Katerina Vassilieva - A Woodbine transplant, the Bluegrass Cat gelding excelled on Woodbine’s all-weather as a juvenile and returns to it for the first time as a three-year-old in an attempt to bounce back on what could be his preferred surface. He lost the Holy Bull on dirt by some 33 lengths, but bounced back once placed on turf in his last start, missing by a neck in a Gulfstream allowance. Bluegrass Cat throws plenty of nice turf/poly horses…ahem, Kathmanblu, one of my favorite fillies! Usable in exotics.

2) Asserting Bear [ON] - Joe Rocco Jr, Reade Baker - A winner on Woodbine’s poly, the Bear Kid colt turned in career-best figs on the all-weather at this distance mark. He was a mere 3 3/4 lengths in the scrambled finish of the Sam Davis (III) last out on dirt. Bear Stables has had some luck in the past, and Asserting Bear has some good efforts on all-weather. Not that special an entry, but not a total toss-out.

3) Poker Player - Channing Hill, Wayne Catalano - Hyped and wide into the stretch of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (I), the Harlan’s Holiday colt hopped nicely off an extended layoff to run 2nd in the Battaglia prep for the Spiral, beaten nearly 5 lengths by Solitary Ranger but making up ground at the end. There is some pace here for Poker Player, who has shown he can do Turfway’s poly. He should improve off that layoff, but needs some stronger numbers to win.

4) Tamarando - Russell Baze, Jerry Hollendorfer - A titan on poly, the Bertrando colt boasts 4 wins in 7 tries on the all-weather and trainer Hollendorfer is no stranger to shipping and winning. Victorious in his last start, the 9-furlong El Camino Real (III), Tam looks fit as the likely favorite. In a field this size, it’s easy to see how Tam is among the best, but he won’t be at a worthwhile price.

5) Coastline - Stewart Elliott, Mark Casse - Speightstowns can pretty much do anything, and this one broke his maiden over Keeneland’s all-weather track only to fizzle in subsequent dirt starts, save one at Churchill. He has the best speed figure on the surface and is usually forwardly-placed. He can win at a nice price.

6) Smart Cover - Corey Lanerie, Dale Romans - Stumbling at the start of his three-year-old debut in a nice turf stake at Gulfstream, the Any Given Saturday colt is being given another try in this, his first start on all-weather. He ought to improve 2nd off the layoff, but his class is very questionable.

7) All Tied Up - Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher - Even the Score’s other son Dullahan loved poly, so why not All Tied Up? A victor in 2 of his 7 starts— all on the lawn— Pletcher sends this one to the poly for the first time. Pletcher is gifted at churning out some poly stars as he demonstrated with Silsita and In Lingerie in Turfway’s Bourbonette Oaks. All Tied Up with reap some pace should he liken to poly.

8) Solitary Ranger - Florent Geroux, Wayne Catalano - I really like the first US Ranger foals, and Solitary Ranger could be among the best of them, as he put on a show romping in the Battaglia stake prep and is 2-for-2 as a three-year-old and an artist on the all-weather. His works look excellent and he’s humming off that Battaglia win. Very nice horse who will look to help set the pace.

9) Almost Famous - Calvin Borel, Pat Byrne - A winner twice as a two-year-old, the Unbridled’s Song colt didn’t make an immediate lead in the Holy Bull (III) and just never got into the race, an action he repeated in the Fountain of Youth (II). He needs that lead, and by the looks of it, an uncontested one which he probably won’t get. I feel good about dismissing this one.

10) Harry’s Holiday - Rosie Napravnik, Mike Maker - Hansen’s owners return to the Derby preps with this Harlan’s Holiday colt, who went wide to finish 3rd in the Battaglia prep, but before that, romped in the 96 Rock prep at Turfway by 8 lengths. Can he route, or was the Battaglia not his day? Either way, he gets an upgrade with Rosie Napravnik.

11) We Miss Artie - John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher - The other G1 winner in the field, the Ramseys are taking another shot at the Derby preps with this son of Artie Schiller, last seen being whipped by 17 lengths in the Fountain of Youth (II). He won his only poly start— the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland from the 10-hole— and missed beating Storming Inti by a head before that, so talent is in check. Class alone could hand him the victory, but he doesn’t have the type of speed figures necessary to beat out many of these horses, even on poly. I also don’t like the way he was caught by Storming Inti in a race he should have had in the bag.

12) Arctic Slope - Albin Jimenez, Ken McPeek - Making his first start since November, the Van Nistelrooy colt is shooting for the moon after being beaten 12 lengths last out in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (II). His lone poly start put him nearly 5 lengths behind We Miss Artie, albeit after a wide trip and a bad start. Very steep challenge for a horse to try hot off the bench.

Top 3 Picks in Order:

1) All Tied Up

2) Coastline

3) Solitary Ranger

Before I start, there are a lot of horses in here that could win this, and for that reason, I’m playing against the scary favorite Tamarando, who may very well win, and I’m not a huge fan of We Miss Artie, despite generally liking Artie Schillers… on turf. All Tied Up hit a wall of horses while closing things up like a zipper last out, and I think he could easily take to poly with 2 wins at 1 1/16 miles so he’s not just a turf sprinter. As a fan of the saying “Don’t overlook the Speightstown,” I include Coastline, who may very well be the horse for the course and a poly specialist. Solitary Ranger I’m just a fan of and he’d be the kneejerk pick here had I not been able to analyze the race. He could stick it out in the front end.

Value Pick: Value can be had in most places. All Tied Up would be a keeper at 6-1 or better, Coastline 8-1 or better.

Contest Wager: All Tied Up

does the points system make it (virtually) impossible for fillies to be entered in the Derby now?

Asked by Anonymous

I don’t think it’s “impossible.”

Let’s say there’s a really really nice filly one year. Her owners decide to take it easy with her, competing only against fillies, until they sense she might be better than that, then they shoot for a 100-point race which is basically a “win and you’re in” type of deal. All she needs to do is win that race, and let’s face it, not all of them fill up very well quality-wise *cough cough* Wood Memorial *cough*.

It’s not impossible! But it’s still quite unlikely that a filly can win the Derby…

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