Sunny and warm Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia hosted the 2015 EARCOS Teacher Conference. I used a great resource called storify to share my take aways and resources.
The spring has flown by like no other I can remember. A few months ago I was watching a Shanghai Bobby dominate two year olds at Santa Anita. The new prep race format and points system has been hailed as successful and horses have emerged from the major regional circuits as the one’s to beat. Todd Pletcher holds pocket aces in this race (superpletcherfecta anyone), but Doug O’neil, Shug McGaughey, and Kenny McPeek are looking to crack them. The greatest two minutes in sports indeed.
Unfortunately, I am too busy to get Bill Simmons-y and crank out a 1000 word post so I’ll get right to the picks.
The interesting thing about this year is that there will be an absence of a sprinting specialist to set suicidal fractions to set up closers. That makes horses like Goldencents and Verrazano very likeable to most. The extra quarter mile of the derby generally is the biggest factor outside of traffic troubles. The first horse I am inclined to back is Itsmyluckyday. One of the things I look for in a contender is a bottom and this guy has one. With ten lifetime starts dating back to June, he has seemed to blossom since coming to Churchill. I liked his Florida Derby race in that he did what he was supposed to do and got beat by a better horse on that day. Since then I am sure he has only moved forward and should come into this race very sharp. His pedigree on both sides says he’ll get the distance so I expect him to be right there in the final furlong.
My third choice is Overanalyze. Pletcher’s tier three horse is a sneaky play when considering he won the slowest Arkansas Derby in 20 years. I believe his consistency, style, and rider are reasons to back him. Versatility is key in these races and he appeared to be “push button” in his most recent start.
My second choice is Orb. An absolute beast and his work earlier in the week was just outstanding. He can rate, relax, and roll as demonstrated by his Florida Derby win which could have been by more. His training suggests an affinity for the track and I think Johnny V took off the wrong horse. Without a legit speed horse in the race, he is at a disadvantage but he has looked like the best horse this year. I think he’ll run like it Saturday.
My top pick is Revolutionary….my friend Shaun loves this guy and so do I. When we heard he picked up the services of Calvin Borel, there was suddenly more to like. He can race in and out, behind horses, and a closers run which matters in classic races. All things point to this guy so I will take him on top.
If I need to come up with a long shot then two come to mind right away but one, Mylute, seems to have the most upside. He was gaining down the lane on Revolutionary and I think very highly of the trainer who knows what it takes to win a big race at Churchill Downs (ask John Shirreffs). Lots to like in the racing lines and is peaking right now. I’d like to see Rosie Napravnik win the derby. Normandy Invasion is another horse worth looking at in big trifecta and super tickets. He is getting better and better but is the lightest looking horse in the race. He can definitely get the job done after running off with his exercise rider yesterday.
Good luck and enjoy the day.
My picks: 3 – 16 – 9 – 12
Live longshots: 5 – 6
With the big race just a few days away, I will be in the devils playground, Pattaya, Thailand for some R&R with the family. After foaming it up at the Hard Rock Hotel Saturday, I’ll get up around 5am to watch the derby using the Slingbox Ipad app. Hopefully without issue.
Also, if you see my Dad, wish him a happy birthday!
This is gearing up to be a very interesting betting race as 11 of the horses raced on Breeders Cup, with nine exiting the key race Juvenile. What that tells me is that those horses have held their form to some degree and that there has been little development from the crop since November. Except for Bodemeister of course. So if you believe that the best three year olds now were the best two year olds 6-7 months ago, then this race is a slam dunk with Union Rags being the horse to beat.
Here are my selections and thoughts on the outcome of the 138th derby.
My top choice is Creative Cause – cheaters on! I know he likes the track and he’ll be able to rate behind the speed. Triniberg’s presence guarantees a quick pace scenario and this guy is tough; his form is ideal for this kind of race and I want to believe that the trainer did not have the screws tightened for the SA Derby. He’s fit and proven. And you’ll get 8-1, maybe 10-1.
Another top selection is a horse that may just be blossoming and ready to step up. Alpha was beat a head to Gemologist in the Wood and though it looked like he wasn’t going to go by him, he did encounter a troubled trip. His pedigree says 1 ¼ miles and something tells me his juvenile race can be thrown out.
Take Charge Indy is my third choice. His Florida Derby was impressive and he will very much in the race with tactical speed. He has perhaps the most prolific CD rider and impeccable classic breeding. If he can stay clear, avoid traffic issues in the first turn, he could get first run on Hanson and Bodemeister.
Why I’m off Bodemeister. He had 26 works before he ever ran a race! Wow. That actually is a case for him since I wonder how much of a bottom he has being so lightly raced. When horses have their way in a race, expect a huge performance. The Ark. Derby went that way for Bodemiester. He was unchallenged and exited a race that adds little to field. The likelyhood that happens on Saturday is slim….he will be tested by traffic, pace, and history.
Union Rags is hard not to like….but if he continues to race 90 feet further than other horses (and Leparoux’s ride in Fla. did not instill confidence) then he is at a huge disadvantage.
I may play Gemologist because of the Tiznow breeding which was demonstrated when he wouldn’t let Alpha get by….you can’t train that Toddster.
And if you want a BOMBER : Liaison — has back class and I have read that he has blossomed since leaving Southern California.
Good luck. Especially you Al.
My picks: 8-11-3 Live longshots: 20 & 10 (Daddy Nose Best)
And if you are a teacher thinking this was just an education blog, then go here please.