My love affair with Street Sense aside, right now who are some the runners people see as the mostly likely winner? Of course my vote is for Street Sense, but where does the consensous lie? Circular Quay, No Biz, Tiago, Curlin, AGS, Hard Spun, etc....?!?
Almost every horse in the field has some trend going against him; too long a layoff, no races as a two year old, Juvenile winner etc., so it's pretty much a level playing field. Street Sense, Scat Daddy and No Biz probably have the most "traditional" preparation; good foundation as a 2 year old and good preps leading up to the race, so they're probably the most logical. Personally I like Circular Quay, who has to overcome the layoff and no races at 1 1/8 miles, but I still think he has the most talent. Curlin will not be on my tickets especially at ridiculuosly underlaid odds.
reg...I think that any given saturday is sitting on a race...I think he has as good a chance to win as the leaders & most certainly a better one than most of the others...like that he's got some foundation in graded races...also like his wood...classic tuner-upper imo...
also like chelokee...cant get too excited until he's in, but I still think he will...any horse that has hit the brakes (twice) like he did & still came back competitively shows me a lotta heart...would like to see a traffic expert jock on him...
another Im curious about now is stormello...seems they've changed tact with this one...too late perhaps, but I like the thinking going on there in that camp...if he could be successfully rated in the second wave with something in the tank, his kick could be devastating...time will tell & I'll be watching his progress carefully...
have always like c-quay, but Im perpplexed by where he's at...one thing's for sure is that the way he's being brought into the race is a departure from not only traditional derby methods, which doesnt worry me as much as that the methods are surely not traditional "pletcher" methods...that concerns me more...a wait and see on this guy...wouldnt be surprised at all to see him taken off the path in the next week or so....
I'm usually clueless on this race,but I'll take a crack.
CURLIN-might be the goods,but from a gambling and handicapping standpoint he won't find his way onto my tickets.
NOBIZ-another who might be a monster,but he runs a little too rank for my liking,and even with the blinkers added he isn't real good on the turns.
STREET SENSE-wouldn't be a surprise,but I'll play against at single digits.Decided to take a stand against months ago.A bore in or bore out notation for the Bluegrass would make me feel better about tossing him.
CIRCULAR QUAY-would need the blistering pace and a clean trip all off an 8 week layoff,and never having run farther than 1 1/16th.Odds won't be long enough for me to get involved with that.Legit runner,but too many question marks.
HARD SPUN-I like him a lot.Seems like a lack of crazy speedballs this year(only Stormello-maybe Nobiz rank-maybe Cobalt Blue-Tuefelsberg isn't that quick)I think he'll get a nice trip sitting close stalking.I don't think he'll have a problem with distance.Six weeks is a question mark.Odds somewhere between 10-1 to 15-1 seem reasonable.
AGS-His TB Derby was excellent.The Aqueduct race really looked like a prep.The thing about the Wood was the ride.It was almost as if JR wasn't interested in giving him the best possible chance to win-hung him 5 wide on a solid quarter going into the first turn.Questionable tactics if you're trying to win.I guess it was a fine line they were walking to use the race as a prep and to make sure he got a 3rd place check.
If you watch tapes of his first two career races he had outside posts at Turfway and Keeneland,and he won both races from farther off the pace and a nice turn move.He's tractable,and can be ridden a couple of different ways.Leparoux rode him in those first two races last year.JR bailing for CQ wouldn't bother me.If he can get back to the TB Derby performance he's got a good shot IMO.
Odds between 10-1 and 15-1 would be fine.
All this talk about leaving Curlin off tickets is hogwash. When he finishes on the board, you guys who hit the gimmicks will say you had him on based on general principle. Mark this post down. No way he doesn't hit the board against this crop of 3yos where outstanding is a superlative that doesn't fit any of them. Big time short on seasoning, extremely long on talent. Broke his maiden at 7/8 by 12 lengths at GP, track with the best 3yo's pedigree wise. Time will tell.
1 Street Sense: Ducked in a couple of times in the Bluegrass. Only two preps at age three. How much fitness could he have gotten out of the Bluegrass when they ran such slow early fractions? Running style means heíll need traffic help. At shortish odds, Iím passing.
2 Scat Daddy: It took me a long time to warm up to this guy, but Iím finally there. Iíve heard some say heís slow, but I think his FL Derby was actually fast. He stopped the timer in 1:49 flat. Compare this to 5-year-old AP Arrow's effort in the stakes race prior, in which he covered the same ground in 1:49.70. This is the same AP Arrow who finished two lengths behind the best horse in the world two races back, and who finished 3/4 lengths behind the up-and-coming Corinthian in his previous. Note too that Scat Daddy's final time compares favorably to those of recent FL Derby winners who also won the KY Derby: Barbaro stopped the Gulfstream timer in 1:49.01, and Monarchos did it in 1:49.95. Another point to consider is that Scat Daddy beat a horse in Notional who's been faring well not just against horses in Florida, but also against horses in Louisiana and California. Whatís more, the form of other FL horses Ė Nobiz, Sightseeing, Cowtown, etc. Ė has been holding up when they travel outside the Sunshine State.
3 Circular Quay: Has a horse ever won the Derby without having a 9F race to his credit? Couple this question with his 8-week layoff prior, and I just canít see this horse having the fitness necessary to win.
4 Curlin: Wonderfully talented animal. But I give him very little chance to win the Kentucky Derby. This horse has no two-year-old foundation and will only have three career starts heading into Churchill. Sure, great horses do great things -- but they don't do the impossible. No matter how mentally or physically gifted he is, he doesn't have the bottom -- the race-earned foundation in his muscles, joints, ligamants, tendons and bones, and the subsequent remodeling that comes with the physical stress of racing -- to withstand the rigors of the most demanding race in North America and emerge victorious. Dating back to 1942, more than 30 entrants have tried to win the Derby with FOUR career starts. Several were exceptional race horses with gaudy speed figs: Congaree, Indian Charlie, Medaglia, Flower Alley, etc. All failed. I say thereís no way Curlin is wearing the roses with only THREE career starts under his belt.
5 Nobiz Like Shobiz: Didnít like his rankness in the Wood. Figure-wise, he hasnít really progressed as a 3-year-old, and I donít think heíll like the full field and 150,000 screaming fans.
6 Great Hunter: Only two preps at age three. Bore in in his first effort as a 3-year-old, the Lewis Stakes, and then had to check badly in the Bluegrass and basically galloped the rest of the way. This horse really needed a solid race in the Bluegrass to get him fit, and he didnít get it.
7 Stormello: Game runner, but I donít see him getting 10F.
8 Dominican: Polytrack wonder. Only two starts at age three. Has never won on dirt. Iíll take my chances and make him beat me.
9 Tiago: Decent closer needs pace and traffic help. Can lightning strike twice for Shireffs and co.? I say no.
10 Cowtown Cat: I regret not grabbing this horse at 150/1 in the futures when I had the chance. Heís never beaten really good horses before, but he likes to win, he relaxes nicely, and he has a solid foundation. Live longshot.
11 Hard Spun: Good horse, good tactical speed, good prep schedule. Heís in with a real shot.
12 Storm in May: Too slow.
13 Zanjero: Always fires but seems to be a cut below the best.
14 Any Given Saturday: If he can pull the Pletcher rebound, a la Bluegrass Cat and Invisible Ink, I say this guy has a huge chance.
15 Liquidity: Long strider is going the wrong way right now, but he clearly has talent, based on his runs against Ravel and Stormello a few months back.
16 Cobalt Blue: Talented, but he isnít ready for this kind of test yet.
17 Sam P.: Even-paced runner likes Churchill and is bred to run all day. Sneaky trifecta bomb?
18 Teuflesberg: Horse shouldnít be entered.
19 Sedgefield: Ditto.
20 Chelokee: Bullet work over the weekend suggests heís sitting on a big race if he gets in. Very close in talent to Scat Daddy right now, and he may relish the 10F even more than that one. Likes Churchill, has good foundation, never throws in the towel, and looks like he wants to go all day.
I can promise you that the only way Curlin is on any of my tickets is as part of an all slot in tri combinations with Hard Spun and AGS.
I'll also play either Hard Spun or AGS top and bottom in token exacta wheels.Then I'll go back and use a few other horses top and bottom with my AGS or Hard Spun for more.Curlin won't be one of them.He only gets the minimum.
It might make me a dope and a bad handicapper,but I'm trying to beat Curlin in all 3 slots.
I'm setting up a booth in Rittenhouse Square and booking all the Curlin action I can. He's got no shot-for all of the reasons mentioned. The Arkansas Derby pace figures seal the deal. Gaudy-looking margins of victory earned against inferior horses off way-below-par paces while not even posting an eye-popping number. Probably not a total fraud, but close enough for my purposes in three weeks. Plus, I get to root against Asmussen.
I like this discussion. Like? No I love it. The 2 differences between Curlin and Congaree is Congaree had a start at 2, albeit a dud at Del Mar, and Congaree's 3 starts in 2001 prior to the Big One were all at 2 turns. Congaree defeated a real racehorse in Monarchos in the Wood and Curlin hasn't beaten anything to date. However, Teuflesberg ate Curlin's dust in the Rebel by 7+ lengths and Dominican, Street Sense and Zanjero were all out to get by T-berg. I don't know folks, this might be the Year of the Aberration. Be Careful.
"Teuflesberg ate Curlin's dust in the Rebel by 7+ lengths and Dominican, Street Sense and Zanjero were all out to get by T-berg."
Point taken. I'm a big advocate of comparative handicapping, but in a case like the Bluegrass -- which featured the oddest pace scenario I can recall for a Derby prep -- I think you have to draw a big fat line through it. I'd argue that if Teuflesberg had been able to set bizarre loose-on-the-lead fractions of 26.12, 51.46 and 1:16.65 against Curlin, he wouldn't have finished close to that one too. Just my take.
If you liked Street Sense before Saturday, as I did, I don't think you saw anything to put you off him. Fluky race on a goofy surface and he put in a nice sustained run from the quarter pole home.
Someone posted elsewhere that this might mark the return of the dual qualifiers. Possibly so and even more it should mark the return of a classic ten furlong pedigree to the winners' circle.
Archer gave us a compelling look at Nobiz' pedigree and although his running style is still somewhat a work in progress, the genetic ability to get the distance should be there.
So too, to my eye, with Street Sense. His sire was twice a winner at ten furlongs, including a drubbing of the high-class Sahkee in the Dubai World Cup. He was also a Grade 1 winner at nine furlongs over the Churchill strip. Street Cry's sire, Machiavellian, was a superior two-year-old and a fine miler with an eye-popping 60 points in his dosage profile. He traces back on his dams' line to Ribot, through Tom Rolfe and Hoist the Flag. His dam Helen Street won the twelve furlong Irish Oaks. Her sire Troy had one of the best three-year-old seasons in recent memory-a dual Derby winner (by seven lengths at Epsom) and wins over older horses in the King George and Benson and Hedges. He had a somewhat unfashionable "old-style" European stayers pedigree.
Street Sense' dam side shows Ribot again through His Majesty and names like Bold Ruler, Northern Dancer and Reviewer. His damsire, Dixieland Band, has already sired the dam of a Derby winner in Monarchos. In that Derby, Monarchos beat the most accomplished three-year-old of this decade in Point Given. In the 2000 BC Juvy, at Churchill, Point Given was beaten a nose while clear of third place finisher Street Cry. Does Street Sense revenge his sire this year, or does the two-start prep campaign prove his undoing, like Point Given?
Some great reading and opinions, I'll use Lance's list and throw my pitiful two cents worth on the heap.
1 Street Sense: The two preps at three are a big concern, lots have tried and failed at bringing down the top prize. The antics last race aside, watch the works and is tough to leave off any ticket.
2 Scat Daddy: Seems to get little respect, Holy Bull, FoY and FD. Classy, and a fighter, more traditional route in terms of number of preps. I'm not a fan of his sire nor grandsire for taking down the top prize. And if I read the pedigree correctly has the RAN curse on the broodmare side, and if I'm wrong somebody please correct me! That'll be sure to get somebody going - lol. Another that's tough to leave off tickets.
3 Circular Quay: The 8-week layoff, Pletcher or no Pletcher is of major concern. Will have to negotiate traffic, could loom boldly at the top of the stretch but don't expect him to be wearing the roses. If he shows up in fronts, he's a complete toss for any of the consolation prizes.
4 Curlin: Wonderfully talented animal - agreed. Destroyed an overmatched and underwhelming field of horses Saturday. No foundation, hasn't been tested for class, skip the Derby and go for the Preakness a la Red Bullet.
5 Nobiz Like Shobiz: His sire ATG was about as honest as they come, his grand daddy won the Derby, if he gets the trip, they'll have to run him down.
6 Great Hunter: Another with two preps at three, another wtih the RAN curse, another who while talented doesn't look to have the bottom to win it all.
7 Stormello: Another Storm Cat, really game but . . . trainer is now "changing" his running style? Had the absolute perfect opportunity to do that in the FD and he wanted no part of being rated. Can't see him responding to the change in tactics come 125K screaming people on the 1st Sat. in May. Kind of like a boxer changing his style, 1st time out when crunch time comes...revert to what you know best.
8 Dominican: One more with only two starts at age three. Has some bottom on the dam side but don't think 10Fs is his cup of tea. Fired his shot in the BG.
10 Cowtown Cat: Distance shouldn't be the issue but is he fast enough or classy enough? Pletcher's 4th stringer or so. Has not faced anything near as tough as what he will in the Derby. Foundation is there for sure. Wouldn't surprize to be on the board.
11 Hard Spun: "Good horse, good tactical speed, good prep schedule" and RAN. Really on the fence with this one as I really disliked the way he spit the bit two back.
12 Storm in May: hadn't even considered.
13 Zanjero: "Always fires but seems to be a cut below the best." He does seem to be a bit of a hanger, but actually, one of the few I consider to be a live longshot coming in. He needed to prove he belonged in the BG and while a funny race for sure, I think he did that. A real change in running style, yes, the fractions were $3.5K trotter like but he still came home quick and the rail didn't seem to be that good (is that possible on Poly???). Katman noted, watch where Gomez goes and if he stays, I'd love to see blinkers on for the big one.
14 Any Given Saturday: Can't argue too much with what he's done so far, the trip in the Wood wasn't the best and would not surprise to see him right there at the end. It'll come down to post draw and the trip.
15 Liquidity: think by and large the So. Cal. contingent is a cut below/
16 Cobalt Blue: See above.
17 Sam P.: not on my radar screen.
18 Teuflesberg: see #17.
19 Sedgefield: see #18.
20 Chelokee: Has potential, shown some guts, on the improve, can be on the board. Another with RAN on the wrong female side.
21 Tiago: Love the Pleasant Tap/Pleasant Colony on top and think he could be a major force to be reckoned with in the very near future. Problem at the moment is he didn't beat a whole lot in the Santa Anita, King of the Roxy was at his outer limits in terms of distance I feel and there was nothing much behind him. Could be a board crasher at a good price but will need another great trip and ride from Mr. "Wide".
This message has been edited by Forego on Apr 16, 2007 6:30 PM
Curlin is my key. I'm not about to watch him win off by 5 lengths and say it was so obvious afterwards. He's undefeated going in like Smarty Jones and Barbaro. True he was unraced as a 2YO but he'll have 3 races going in this year with two of them at two turns and the mile and an eighth looked like no problem. That extra eighth can be telling but nobody's run it yet.
Mainly, he looks very professional and looks to have push button gears. I thought that Pletcher's horse might have stolen the race on Saturday only to watch Curlin rate kindly, take off without apparently being asked and draw off under minor urging. Albarado might be a liability but what are you gonna do? The horse can be placed anywhere and the smart move would be to lay outside off the pace on the backstretch and make the winning move on the final turn (unless of course the rail is a paved highway at CD again). I think this one is special and will be the heavy play on top. May even see 4-1 or better.
Others in my exotics:
Street Sense Ė Iím tossing the Bluegrass for everyone. It was a turf race from start to finish. He parlayed a flattening move on the KEE polytrack into a stunner at CD last fall and should be right there again.
Nobiz Like Shobiz Ė Seems like a big goof but is definitely very talented and is somewhat rateable. Has all the tools and three starts this year.
Scat Daddy - Looks a little slow but keeps winning. Not sure Iíd put him on top of the ticket but heíll be everywhere else.
Cowtown Cat - I think this is Pletcherís best shot. Is rateable, fast enough and has the breeding.
Hard Spun Ė May toss this one. Seems to like to run of front and may be so fresh off the long layoff that heíll run too fast, too soon. Still in the mix though.
Beyond that Iíll only use the others for 4th. Circular Quay has too long a layoff and will have to pick his way through 19 runners in what promises to be a fair and not suicidal pace in the early going. On second thought, if Chelokee gets in, I may put him as high as third.
I know Smarty Jones and Barbaro -- and Curlin is no Smarty Jones or Barbaro. Not at this point in their careers, at least.
Smart Jones was much faster -- and much more consistently fast. The Ark. Derby was Curlin's first triple-digit Beyer. And even though his 103 is the best (by a hair) in this pokey 3YO class, it's nothing to write home about. His margins of victory are more indicative of the duds running behind him than of his blinding speed.
Barbaro was better seasoned and had beaten better horses. He'd been challenged more than once -- and prevailed.
Curlin hasn't been challenged at all. What will he do when another talented animal (or two or 10) looks him in the eye at the 1/8 pole?
And Curlin, despite weak opposition and having everything his way, trip-wise, still hasn't posted a speed fig that says "I'm truly special."
He MIGHT be the real deal. But he WILL be a real underlay on 5/7.
Some excellent responses so far. I've really enjoyed reading them.
I'll use the same list as Jerry and Lance. Take my whacko comments with a grain of salt.
1) Street Sense - I'm not going to try and discredit anything this horse has done. He's obviously talented and has a great trainer behind him in Carl Nafzger. I have one major problem with him. Can he make the rally wide move and win? His two major wins came with rail skimming rallies. I will be shocked if he gets that trip in the Derby. I honestly will. In addition, how many Derby days have we seen where it's the complete opposite of this past BC day and there's a dead rail. Watching the early part of the day will be of extreme importance as always, but as the expected favorite (I expect him to be) I'm tossing him.
2) Scat Daddy - I'll give him credit for his wins and tenacity. With that said, I view his Derby chances as minimal. I consider him as a 3 year old to be a slightly more talented version of Zito's High Fly from two years ago. Not using.
3) Circular Quay - Another extremely talented runner. Noone is going to sell me on the idea that the connections intent was to bring him in off an 8 week layoff. I'm rather surprised that JRV chose to ride him. I look for a late move with a possible finish between 4th and 8th. Sets him up well for the Belmont in my opinion.
4) Curlin - Put me in the camp of those that feel he's a very special runner. I feel he has the most natural ability of anyone in the field. That doesn't guarantee success, but in this crazy year I think he has a legitimate shot. I wasn't planning on using him, but after having a chance to review all the preps, he's a must use. His Arkansas Derby really sold me. His final 3 F was run in approximately 37.15 with a final 1/8th in 11.91 seconds. He was well within himself in the stretch and was very professional. He's a racehorse plain and simple. A lot of these horses aren't talented enough to win the Derby. He is. Good enough for me this year.
5) Nobiz Like Shobiz - I keep waiting for the breakout race. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more. I really thought it would come last time out with the addition of blinkers. Didn't happen. Even 1st time cotton balls in the ears didn't do the trick. If this horse had trouble with the crowds at Gulfstream, how exactly will he react to the crowd on Derby day? Not for me, but I will throw up one disclaimer. If he's working tremendous, draws an advantageous post, and is forgotten in the early betting, I'll consider using him in the multi race exotics. Most likely I won't though.
6) Great Hunter - I was high on him as a 2 year old. His 1st start at 3 was really good. His last in the Crown Royal American Turf, oops I mean Blue Grass wasn't that good. I wouldn't be surprised to see him run well on Derby day, but I'm not using him on the win end.
7) Stormello - Trainer Bill Currin stated after the Florida Derby that you can't try to restrain him, you've got to just let him run. Now he's talking about rating him in the Derby. Huh? Either way he's not good enough in my opinion. Not using.
8) Dominican - I'll side with the he loves Polytrack argument.
9) Tiago - Using. Maybe he's getting good at the right time. He put in a sustained run in the SA Derby with a final 3 F in approximately 36.91 seconds. That's a strong finish on the dirt. I'll be keeping a close eye on what Shirreffs does to crank down on him. The one thing he has going for him is that he'll be running on down the stretch. Many may be looking for an oxygen tank at that point.
10) Cowtown Cat - Took advantage of an inside speed advantage through soft fractions in the Illinois Derby. No thanks.
11) Hard Spun - Allow me to quote his trainer Larry Jones. "In a perfect world we'll use the Derby as a prep for the Preakness." What kind of bull$hit is that? Next.
12) Storm in May - Not so much.
13) Zanjero - If I needed a live longshot I'd go with this guy. Was probably on the worst part of the track in the Blue Grass and ran well. It was such a strangely run race with the turf like fractions that there is just so much you can make of it. He could possibly be the crazy longshot underneath. Since I concentrate most of my play to multi race exotics, I've probably spent more time than I should typing about this guy.
14) Any Given Saturday - Has been my clear cut top pick and will continue to be. Why JRV didn't choose him surprises me a great deal. Getting Gomez doesn't hurt one bit and may help him through the lane. I've typed enough about AGS so many know where I stand with this guy. All I need to see is that he's working well and draws a decent post. One thing I will add about him is that his 3rd place finish in the Wood enhanced his odds on 5/5 a great deal. Too many will be ready to toss him without looking at the circumstances involving that race. When he came out of the Tampa Bay Derby, he was being trained for a race 4 weeks later. Not just with his workout schedule, but his galloping and jogging schedule as well. He missed his final work by running a week early so in my opinion he ran as well as can be expected in the Wood. Plus with the wide trip and battle in the lane it should help toughen him up a bit more. That's never a bad thing.
15) Liquidity - No thanks.
16) Cobalt Blue - Not happening. Sorry Merv.
17) Sam P - Maybe the Ohio Derby. Not the Kentucky Derby.
18) Teuflesberg - If this horse wins the Kentucky Derby I'll kiss Jamie Sanders a$$ in Macy's window.
19) Sedgefield - Should be in the Crown Royal American Turf on Oaks day. Next please.
20) Chelokee - If in then say hello to the Wise Guy horse. Has talent, but I'll be very surprised to see him wear the roses.
*Subject to change due to final workouts, post position draw, alcohol intake, and which horse Andy Beyer selects.
Great stuff! I'll continue the trend of commenting on the potential field:
1) Street Sense - Still think he's the most likely winner. The most likely reason he gets beat is that Calvin Bo-rail lives up to his name (the antithesis of Mike Smith) and stays on the inside no matter what. It won't be because he was short or couldn't get the distance. Also, I'd like to offer this up to the detractors who say his ground saving trips are why he's won. First, even if he goes wider than CQ in the BC, do you honestly think he doesn't still draw off? Second, in the Tam Derby, how many times have you seen a horse who wasn't on the lead already win a duel from inside up against the rail? I'll close this by saying, none of these has raced against as many of their tier one peers as he has. It's good he got beat, if he hadn't he'd probably be 7/2 or lower on derby day. Dominican beat him because he who moves last on Poly at Keenland wins, his shoulder was actually in front of Dominican he just lost the bob.
2) Scat Daddy - Slow as molasses (Yeah, Elk I know his Champagne was fast, but I'm talking now ). Obviously not viewed too highly as both Garret and JV pass, as too will I.
3) Circular Quay - You'd think this was a Darley horse with the 8 week layoff schedule Pletch is taking. Would've of given him a shot to hit the board, but not seeing it now.
4) Curlin - Oaklawn has a screwy teletimer. When Lawyer Ron won the Oak Handy he had a curiously slow 6f split, as did Curlin which made his last 1/8th appear ultra quick. Is the run to the turn uphill? I know the stretch at OP has a gentle downward slope. Anywho, this guy is good, but he ain't no super horse. His pattern showed that hew as ready for a top effort and he gave it. A top-pair-new top pattern spells regression to me. Robby A. (aka Mike Smith's apprentice) in the irons doesn't help the cause either.
5) Nobiz Like Shobiz - He's been sitting on a big race for like 4 starts now, not sure if/when it's going to come. The most likely to be on the lead, can hang around for a piece if he can get there without too much difficulty.
6) Great Hunter - Was never a fan and he hasn't done anything this year to make me one. Was one of the slowest going into the BG and ran like it. His race earlier this year while visually impressive was against a supremely lackluster group. Claim to fame is beating a juvenile Street Sense over Poly
7) Stormello - If they can get him to rate then he can clunk up for a piece, I seem to recall a Pletch horse who performed in a similar fashion a few years back.
8) Dominican - Poly lover, who's also a good horse, but like Curlin he was poised for a forward move and gave it. Doubt he moves forward again.
9) Tiago - Just fired a snappy 6f work and is rapidly becoming Street Sense's main thread (in my mind). This horse has got to be magic, as I told the Cali crew on SA Derby day, if he can make Mike "5 Wide" Smith rally up the inside then he can do anything.
10) Cowtown Cat - "Took advantage of an inside speed advantage through soft fractions in the Illinois Derby. No thanks." (Boozer, 07). Agree 100%
11) Hard Spun - Of all the stalkers he's the most likely to survive a derby like pace. Shown that he can be on top of a quick pace and still finish. Probably the most likely to hit the board as he will avoid traffic problems with his speed no matter what post and his jock Pino is as cool a customer as there is. Tons to like here.
12) Storm in May - My mother's name is Mary and my father's pet name for her is May so there's no way in hell I'm going to leave this horse off my tickets
13) Zanjero - Looks to be the best of the slow closers, looks to do a Blumin Affair, Invisible Ink, Saarland.....ooops, not THAT slow, but you guys get the point
14) Any Given Saturday - Another with a big shot, Pletcher best hope he's ever had. Don't like the fact that he's lost both of the dogfights he's been in, but he'll get his name called when the running starts.
15) Liquidity - Has ability, but probably should be freshened for a Summer campaign.
16) Cobalt Blue - Slow slow slow, not even really fast enough to have lead, unless he's hell bent on getting there.
17) Sam P - "Maybe the Ohio Derby. Not the Kentucky Derby." (Boozer, 07). Once again agree 100%
18) Teuflesberg - Shouldn't be in the gate.
19) Sedgefield - They still planning on running him?
20) Chelokee - I'd like to see Matz be successful, but don't think this guy is good enough. Would've won the Fl Derby with a clean trip, but that will still leave him wanting in the derby. Also, if this guy was a little more shifty and less of grinder perhaps maybe he wouldn't find trouble in every race. I'm just sayin
Let me weigh in with my two cents for what it's worth.
Street Sense- sorry Reggie, but I don't like him. The more I see, the more I think the Juvenile was an aberation. I don't know what to make of that Bluegrass figure, but even before that, I didn't really like him, and as the second choice or so, I don't think he offers any value.
Scat Daddy- I've always liked him, although I'm not sure if the 1 1/4 miles will be his game. Still, with Prado up, I think he has a good shot to hit the board.
Circular Quay- don't like the way he's being trained up to the race, but still think he's the most talented of the bunch. I do know he'll be motoring down the stretch while some of the others are tiring. Just hope he gets clear sailing. My pick to win it all.
Curlin- what can you say. Obviously very talented, but doesn't have the foundation. Will be wilting in the last 1/8, and at ridiculously underlaid odds. Will certainly put him in the underneath slots, but not on top.
No Biz- another with tons of talent. Like everyone else, waiting for him to explode. A must use in all wagers.
Great Hunter- never liked him and the Bluegrass didn't do anything to change my mind.
Stormello- trying to change his tactics, but don't think it will work. Don't see him in the picture.
Dominican- know he loves the poly, but it's possible he's coming into his own. Can get a piece of the purse at decent odds.
Tiago- doesn't really send me. Another who can get a piece of the purse, but don't like him in the top slots.
Cowtown Cat- prefer the other Pletchers to him
Hard Spun- interesting possibility. Except for that Oaklawn debacle has done nothing wrong. His last Beyer of 101 stamps him as a threat to hit the board.
Storm in May- no thanks.
Zanjero- not a bad animal, but not with these.
Any Given Saturday- another Pletcher with a big shot, although I think the final 1/8 will find him wanting. Will use in the bottom slots.
Liquidity- no thanks.
Cobalt Blue- Merv Griffin should stick to producing game shows.
So going against trends, Circular Quay is my choice to wear the roses, with Scat Daddy, and No Biz filling out the tri.
This is all subject to change, depending on the next few weeks workouts.
Steve, do you really think Pletcher sent his best prospect to Louisiana, ran him twice against bad fields and laid him up for eight weeks?
There may have been some surprising winners recently or some prepared in an unorthodox manner, but they were all in the hands of good horseman who mapped out a plan, stuck with it and had the good fortune for the horse to remain healthy enough to perform.
Pletcher seems to have been calling audibles with his horses. Probably had too many prospects and it's not Europe where they sort themselves out on the gallops. That none of them have stepped up and asserted themselves diminishes all of them to me.
The best of the bunch I think is Any Given Saturday, which seems to have the most logical progression. He's the only one with a plausible shot IMO.
There has been only 1 positive comment about Pletcher's best horse in this thread:
<<<17 Sam P.: Even-paced runner likes Churchill and is bred to run all day. Sneaky trifecta bomb?<<<
He made 6 moves in the Santa Anita Derby and got beat by only 3 1/4. When is the last time a horse did that in a mile and an 1/8th race and lived to tell about it. That was a sneaky good prep. He beat Chelokee at CD as the chalk at a mile last year. He finished 2nd to AGS with a brutal trip last year as the chalk. Prior to the SA Derby, he finished well to be 2nd to Great Hunter. I see him as a *live 50-1 bomber* to hit the board.
Soaring By may gain the #1 status for Todd after the Lexington.
***Disclaimer - My thoughts may be slightly warped based on the fact that I have a Future Wager on Sam P.****
I truthfully don't know what to make of the Pletcher situation. You're right; he has so many prospects I think he didn't know how to handle all of them. I can't believe anything is physically wrong with this horse, because I don't think he would still be on the trail if there was. I think it was big daddy, who mentioned he expected him to be pulled out. If that happens, fine, but if he stays in, I think he has a big shot. JR sticks with him over all the others, so that also tells me he's well meant.
I have the utmost respect for you as a 'Capper, but I need help with your line of reasoning regarding CQ. Well not so much that you like CQ, but you seemed to be enarmored with CQ, but give SS no shot? Are you strictly talking from a value perspective? Things like he wants no parts of 10f and CQ is more talented I just don't see. Is it the two preps? Calvin Bo-rail in the irons? Or just some intuitive confluence of minor things that are leading you to toss him? Help me understand.
Hey Reggie. I respect you too and don't mean to ruffle any feathers. First of all, I didn't say I give Street Sense no shot. He definitely belongs in the top few to consider, but at the price, and the fact that I don't think he'll care for the distance, I don't like him. Maybe you can help me understand why you like him so much. As far as I'm concerned, too much emphasis is being placed on the Juvenile race. Here's a horse who is running mid 80 Beyers, who all of a sudden jumps out of his skin and runs a 108. I still think it's an aberration. Yes he came back and ran a 101 in his 3 year old debut, but he hasn't been that impressive to me. As far as my liking of CQ, I've always felt he was at the top of the crop and the way he finishes, just makes me think he'll love the distance. Listen I've been wrong many times before, especially on calling the Derby, but like you said, some of it is just gut feelings that have no rhyme or reason. If I don't cash on the first Saturday in May, I hope you do.
Re Street Sense, maybe I'm biased because he was such a nice win for me at the Breeders Cup when I bet him on breeding and the very nice middle move he had made the race before (a big angle for me with young horses), but I don't think his win was an aberration, maybe the size of it but not the win.
I'm not sure what the fair price will be but I think he has more going for him than anybody else:
This appears to be an average crop of 3YO's. The only horse that has stood out in any way is Street Sense, but I don't think he's distinguished himself enough to make him a value bet at the 9/2 odds that I would expect. I think there's 10-12 colts in here with a chance to win. It's all going to come down to the trip and how the race and pace evolves.
Personally, I'm going to limit my contenders for the win slot to horses that have faced some adversity in their careers, and persevered through the adversity to do well in that race.
That would eliminate Curlin.
At this point, I like Chelokee and hopefully he'll be in the gate.
Reggie, I don't believe that Street Sense has ever been bumped/faced adversity in a race. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Steve, has Circular Quay ever been bumped/shuffled back in a race.
And for all the other possibilities....who else has had a rough trip. I'm not talking about a wide trip. Who else has been bumped or forced to check hard? I know Chelokee has in his last 2 races. But I'm sure there are other horses who have had a rough trip and meet MY criteria.
I don't think overcoming trouble is that big of a deal, I'm more of a fan of winning a stretch duel. Many of our recent derby winners had enough gears and were quick enough as to avoid trouble pretty much altogether Silver Charm, Real Quiet, FuPeg, Funny Cide, Smarty, Barbaro, etc... I don't recall any of these having a prep race where they encountered the same kind of trouble as say Chelokee. Barbaro, SC, RQ, and FC all however were involved in stretch duels at one point. Real stretch duels at that, Keenland Poly notwithstanding.
I agree re showing grit in a stretch duel is more important than having faced trouble especially if its a case of having faced trouble and lost. A bad trip once can be bad luck. A bad trip again and again means one of two things to me- an unskilled jock or an unathletic horse.
Thanks Reggie for your stretchrun vs. bad-trip thoughts. You've made the 9/2 look more valuable. And if Street Sense winds up going off higher than that it's a must cover at the very least. I forgive the poly race but one has to wonder if we're dealing with a great one like Easy Goer. I'll have some exacta boxes for sure with SS and Chelokee. I like that SS is your pick, but I'm a little worried that SS will probably be the cursed Beyer pick.
And thank you Pas for the back-history on CQ. I'm inclined though to throw out all the Pletcher's until he figures out a way, if possible, to sneak his EPO into the state for this race. He and any of the horses in that barn will have to beat me before I bet them in this race. That being said, it's probably a good idea to do a super box on the 4 or 5 Pletcher's.
If you like Street Sense, or any horse for that matter, this is one occasion where I say screw the odds (unless maybe you're strictly a win bettor). The exacta's gonna be three figures, the trifecta four figures and the super five figures. The multi-race race bets with twenty horses will make 9-2 more like 12-1. I don't think anyone with a winning ticket will be disappointed.
How can you not like Street Sense? He's consistent in top company, loves the track and bred for the distance. The 2 starts Pre-Derby argument goes back to Sunny's Halo in 1983, but if there's anybody most apt to break that curse it's Street Sense. A definite use in the Big One. Probably the one to key if you're not going to box. CB.
This message has been edited by CroixBoy on Apr 18, 2007 1:10 PM
I would not be shocked if any of the following won:
1) Any Given Saturday
2) Circular Quay
4) Great Hunter
5) Hard Spun
6) Nobiz Like Shobiz
7) Sam P.
8) Scat Daddy
9) Street Sense
11) Cowtown Cat
1) Was 1 1/4 behind Great Hunter after chasing the pace.
2) SA was a sick prep. He was used several times and got a decent 3rd. That's how I viewed it.
3) Figures are light, but certainly within range with a minor jump.
4) I've got a future wager on him.
These animals are so tighly packed this year (figure-wise), that with a great journey (assuming they want a mile and a quarter), I can see almost any of them hitting the board. Of course, odds play into it. I wouldn't touch these slugs at 10-1...but 50-1....
1) Was 1 1/4 behind Great Hunter after chasing the pace.
2) SA was a sick prep. He was used several times and got a decent 3rd. That's how I viewed it.
3) Figures are light, but certainly within range with a minor jump.
4) I've got a future wager on him."
I watched the replay of the SA Derby again, and I agree with you. Sneaky-good prep for the big dance. He made several moves within the race and never really got a breather, racing inside and between horses the entire way. With his good tactical speed, he could conceivably get a nice trip, he's already shown he likes Churchill, and he's bred to run all day and then some. This horse has a puncher's chance to land in the tri at odds of 50/1 or thereabouts. It's the Derby, the single best betting race in America -- 20 separate wagering interests -- so why not shoot for the moon?
Held back on any thoughts until now because I had trouble separating this bunch. For what it's worth:
(E2/LP) from best 3yo race
(rough guess of posttime odds)
Street Sense: (90/116)- Borelís inside move at TB probably made the winning difference, though he would not be passed in the stretch by a horse outside him, which is rare at TB. Has faced both fast and slow paces with success; with his lack of early foot, however, he will have to come from far back in a big field. His two-race prep schedule I can see--big comeback in March, maintenance race in April, meet or exceed 3yo top in Derby. On the fence. (5-1)
Scat Daddy: (101/95)- Prado rides back and horseís GP form was terrific; just not seeing any forward development with this guy, and his running style doesnít suggest to me that it will happen stretching out to 10 panels. Has faced the best of his generation in virtually all of his races, but can only see him grudgingly giving way in the Derby stretch. (15-1)
Circular Quay: (101/105)- No one would benefit more from a hot, contested pace than this guy, but that doesnít appear to be in the cards this go-round. Nevertheless, Velazquez has no choice but to sit far back and try to work out a Grindstone-like trip, where every hole opens. His two-race prep schedule makes no sense to me whatsoeveróFeb. 8.5F non-race, March 8.5F new top, eight week layoff stretching out to 10F to repeat March race? Donít see it. (25-1)
Curlin: (89/110)- Has run three very good races in a row, yet none fast enough to win this Derby. His main question, in my mind, is how he responds to the class hike here; heís never faced the best before, but that doesnít mean he canít hold his own; I just donít think heíll both step up to the new pace/field demands and improve enough to win at 10F. (9/2)
Nobiz Like Shobiz: (113/86)- Has run well against both slow and fast paces, and that will help him here. His ppís are right out of the traditional-route-to-the-Derby playbook, as you would expect from Tagg. Holy Bull was fast, then a maintenance race in the FOY, then a forward move up on the pace in the Wood. Will be very close to the front in this Derby and should have less chance to encounter trouble. Dangerous. (8-1)
Great Hunter: (89/108)- Like Street Sense, tries the Mar./Apr. two-step approach, though the spacing doesnít thrill me. I think his best chance is to try to repeat his off-the-pace Bob Lewis race. Not as fast as he needs to be yet and I think heíd need a perfect-storm scenario to win. (20-1)
Stormello: (113/83)- If heís entered he will be in the first flight, no question. Too fast early and will have nothing to offer in the stretch. Confident toss for me. (30-1)
Dominican: (88/99)- Much too slow and offers no closing punch, Bluegrass was a turf-race in disguise. Next. (40-1)
Tiago: (87/108)- SA Derby was his breakout performance and a repeat is very likely; unfortunately, that will get him 3rd or 4th at best here. A must use underneath, though (15-1)
Cowtown Cat: (97/110)- Illinois Derby numbers have now become suspect for me, as the last several years the late-pace figs are huge and the horses do nothing in the big one. This guy has beaten no one of note and will get a serious pace wake-up call after his last two races. Siding against. (25-1)
Hard Spun: (111/97)- Major threat on the front end, perhaps moreso than Nobiz; trainer has gone to plan B, if not C, but the horse says itís working. Has improved his finish in each race this year, against par to fast paces. Despite being in the b.d. crosshairs once again, I canít put down the pipe and back away. Big chance. (12-1)
Zanjero: (88/107)- too slow and closing kick not good enough. Eligible for nw2x. Nope. (40-1)
Any Given Saturday: (96/110)- traditional-road-to-the-Derby playbook, part II. New jock Gomez needs to take him back a bit and make a move leaving the backstretch to keep the class speed in sight. Does seem like a carbon copy of Bluegrass Cat to me, if not a tad better. Contender. (8-1)
Liquidity, Chelokee, Sam P. and any others are not fast enough.
Thatís my take on things. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I havenít hit a Derby bet in over ten years. So feel free to line the birdcage with this speculation.
Closing Argument won the Holy Bull (98 Beyer-his best going into the Derby) and then finished 3rd in the Bluegrass, 9 lengths behind Bandini and 3 behind High Fly. Prior to that he raced on December 4th, cioming in 2nd in the Delta Jackpot to Texcess. So his last three races were spaced Dec 4th>Feb 5th>April 16th..
That link provided by Katman does make for interesting reading and I too recommend it.
Not sure of it's overall accuracy though. On the horse that I like, Chelokee, he gets 3 strikes, supposedly on #1,2, and 3. But Chelokee passes #1. So he really should have 2 strikes. And Chelokee comes within a stride or 2 of passing the eighth pole test, #3, which would leave him with only 1 strike.
...Which means Chelokee's chances of making the starting gate just got a little slimmer. This is from DRF.com:
Despite a series of races that seemingly took him out of consideration for the Derby, Imawildandcrazyguy is still possible for the race, trainer Bill Kaplan said Friday. Imawildandcrazyguy was sixth in the Florida Derby in his last start, which followed a fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby.
"I spoke with the owners and they said if he can get in they want to run, but we won't make any definite decision until after we see what happens on Saturday and where we stand on the graded earnings list," Kaplan said.
Imawildandcrazyguy has $104,000 in graded stakes earnings, which put him 21st on the list prior to the running of the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland. His inclusion affects the likes of Florida Derby third-place finisher Chelokee, who has $100,000 in earnings. Reporting for Duty, the Illinois Derby runner-up, also has $100,000 in graded earnings.
The Lexington will push Chelokee down to 23rd or 24th. He'll need a minor miracle to get in.
I hope he gets it. He's a fine young horse but I don't think he's quite ready to win the Kentucky Derby right now. So I want him to get in and take a bunch of wise-guy money. And sentimental Barbaro money. Thus fattening the odds on the real contenders.
There always seems to be a a horse on the bubble that needs to get in that everyone is so high on - like I believe a Sunday Break for example like Chelokee is this year. Does anyone have any knowledge of any that got in and how they ran?