2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Preview

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October 31st 2018 – Updated November 3rd 2018 4:40 PM CST

Below is the starting field for the 2018 Breeders Cup Classic with post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds. The race will be aired live by NBC. Post time is 4:44 PM CST/5:44 PM EST.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

Post Position/ Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Thunder Snow – Soumillon/Suroor – 12-1
2. Roaring Lion – Murphy/Gosden – 20-1
3. Catholic Boy – Castellano/Thomas – 8-1
4. Gunnevera – Ortiz Jr/Sano – 20-1
5. Lone Sailor – Graham/Amoss – 30-1
6. McKinzie – Smith/Baffert – 6-1
7. West Coast – Velazquez/Baffert – 5-1
8. Pavel –  Gutierrez/O’Neill – 20-1
9. Mendelssohn – Moore/O’Brien – 12-1
10. Yoshida – Ortiz/Mott – 10-1
11. Mind Your Biscuits – Gaffliaone/Summers – 6-1
12. Axelrod – Bravo/McCarthy – 30-1
13. Discreet Lover – Franco/Lewis – 20-1
14. Accelerate Rosario/Sadler – 5-2

Also Eligibles:
15. Collected – Trainer Bob Baffert – 30-1
16. Toast of New York – Trainer Jamie Osborne – 20-1

Race Commentary:  Overall, I feel that this is one of the weaker Breeders’ Cup Classic fields we have had in awhile. But this race carries a $6 Million dollar purse and I still think this will be an exciting race that could produce a surprise winner. There is no horse in this field that I think is a lock to win it this year.

My feeling right now is that Accelerate is really the class of this field. Usually the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic has had a Beyer Speed Figure (BSF) greater than 115. Only two horses in this field have met or exceeded this standard this year: West Coast in Pegasus World Cup way back in January with a 117 BSF and Accelerate in the Pacific Classic in August with a 115 BSF. For any other horse in this field, this means that they will have to run way better than they have ever had in their career. 

Please note that Accelerate beat West Coast in their most recent race, the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita (shown below), despite Accelerate having to travel the greater distance since he beat him coming from the outside.

Also note that jockey Mike Smith opted to ride McKinzie over West Coast. That tells me all I need to know. That Smith likes his chances better on a 3 year-old (McKinzie) vs the 4 year-old (West Coast).

Accelerate really has the tougher post-position starting from gate 14. If he drew an inside post or a post in the middle of the field, I would key Accelerate to win in my exotic bets. However, also note that trainer John Sadler has never won a Breeders’ Cup Classic. Trainer Bob Baffert, who trains McKinzie and West Coast, has won three.

Overall, I like big Win bets on Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race on Friday than any win bet on a horse in this Breeders’ Cup Classic field. So what I would do is place smaller Boxed Exactas on Accelerate-McKinzie (6,14 over 6,14) and Boxed Trifectas on Accelerate, McKinzie and West Coast (6,7,14 over 6,7,14 over 6,7,14). A $1 Boxed Trifecta would cost $6. 

If I had to pick one horse who I think could surprise everyone, it would be Mind Your Biscuits who won the Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs in late September and earned a 108 BSF. However, note that Mind Your Biscuits has never raced further than 9 furlongs but he has finished 1st or 2nd in his last six starts.

Updates

Click on Hyperlink for each race to see Brisnet Past Performances

Breeders’ Cup Mile (Turf Race #8): This race is too wide-open for my tastes. But if you want a selection for a Pick 4, I’d go with the Chad Brown trained Analyze It from post position #12. However, there are a number of unknowns in this field. So if you are playing a Pick 4 and like another horse in the field, throw them in. You might want to throw in Next Shares and Oscar Performance. So 2-5-12.

Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Race #9)I like Mike Smith riding on Abel Tasman from post-position #2. This one is no lock but I will take my chances with Mike Smith and the better inside post-position.

Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf (Race #10): I like Enable from post position #2. Enable has won eight straight, including two prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe races. Career: 10 starts, 9 wins. This is as much of a lock as you will find for a turf race and a European shipper. But bet cautiously as Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners haven’t fared well in this Longines Turf race.

Breeders’ Cup Classic (Race #11): You have got to be concerned with trainer John Sadler’s record in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and especially with how Catalina Cruiser bombed in the Dirt Mile earlier. So Sadler’s trainee Accelerate, the morning line favorite, may end up the third or fourth favorite by post-time. I am warming up to McKinzie a bit more as my race winner. However, note that Catholic Boy was the early betting favorite for this race on Friday. I still think this race is wide-open and will be must-see TV. I still like Accelerate.

My advice, on the Breeders’ Cup Classic: Bet Small and Enjoy. It will be a fun race.

–Michael

2018 Preakness Stakes Preview

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May 16th 2018 – Updated May 19th 2018 at 12:05 PM CST

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The race will be aired live on NBC this coming Saturday around 5:48 PM CST. Be sure to catch my latest article on US RacingTriple Crown Fever: Why Justify Could Become The 13th Triple Crown Champion.” 

2018 Preakness Stakes Starting Field

1) Quip (12/1) – The 19-1 odds winner of the Tampa Bay Derby. He followed up this effort with a 2nd place finish behind Magnum Moon in the Arkansas Derby.

Career: 5 Starts 3-1-0-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 7th->1st->2nd
Sire: Distorted Humor
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Tampa Bay Derby

2) Lone Sailor (15/1) – The Tom Amoss-trained colt is a deep closer who briefly took the lead in the Louisiana Derby only to lose by a neck to Noble Indy (shown below). Although I had questioned whether he would like distance, he finished 8th in the Kentucky Derby.

Career: 9 Starts 1-3-1-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>8th
Sire: Majestic Warrior 
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

3) Sporting Chance (30/1) – In his most recent start, he finished 4th in the Pat Day Mile (shown below). He has had problems in a couple of races with lugging out down the stretch. He’s talented but quirky.

Career: 7 Starts 2-1-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>4th–>4th
Sire: Tiznow
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1980,1985,1994,1995,1999, 2013 Preakness S.Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91 – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes

4) Diamond King (30/1) – The Federico Tesio Stakes winner (shown below). He will be ridden by two-time Preakness Stakes winning jockey Javier Castellano. However, note that he has yet to produce a 90+ Beyer Speed Figure in 6 career starts. But he did eclipse the 37 second mark in the last 3 furlongs of the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

Career: 6 Starts 4-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Quality Road
Trainer: John Servis (2004 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano (2006 & 2017 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 84 – 2018 Federico Tesio Stakes

5) Good Magic (3/1) – The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and the Eclipse 2-year-old Male Champion. The Blue Grass Stakes winner finished 2nd behind Justify in the Kentucky Derby.

Career: 6 Starts 2-3-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Curlin (Finished 1st in the 2007 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Chad Brown (2017 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Jose Ortiz Jr.
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

6) Tenfold (20/1) – The Steve Asmussen-trained colt finished 5th in the Arkansas Derby (shown below). He’s a bit inexperienced, having 3 career starts with his debut in February.

Career: 3 Starts 2-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>5th
Sire: Curlin (Finished 1st in the 2007 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 & 2009 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.  
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 – 2018 Arkansas Derby

7) Justify (1/2) – The 2018 Kentucky Derby winner and race favorite. Trainer Bob Baffert was a little surprised by the short morning line odds of 1/2. So was I. However, if Justify doesn’t win the Preakness Stakes, consider it a huge upset. When Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby, he has always went on to winning the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown (1997, 1998, 2002, 2015)

Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997-98, 2001-02, 2010 & 2015 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1993 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 107 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby

8) Bravazo (20/1) – After opening up his 3-year-old campaign with two wins, most notably the Risen Star Stakes (shown below), he had a disappointing 8th place finish in his final Derby prep at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby. However, he recovered nicely and finished a surprising 6th in the Kentucky Derby.

Career: 9 Starts 3-1-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>8th–>6th
Sire: Awesome Again
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1980,1985,1994,1995,1999, 2013 Preakness S.Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2018 Risen Star Stakes

Handicapping Advice

Justify will win this race so key him in all of your exotics.  It appears that we are going to have a wet track, so I am using Bravazo with Justify and Good Magic. I think the finishing order will be #1) Justify, #2) Good Magic with Quip and Bravazo battling it out for third. Watching races on the wet Pimlico track yesterday, it appears that favorites are doing well and horses who get out up front early do well. Drawing the rail, Quip’s owner said they are sending him early so I suspect he is a horse who we might see in the early lead.

So here is what I am doing but please note that a race with a 1/2 favorite who will likely move to 1/5 or 2/5 by post-time,  exotics won’t pay out well unless Justify gets upset.

Exacta: 7/5 (beware it won’t pay out well)
Trifecta #2: 7/1,5/1,5,8
Superfecta #1: 7/5/1,8/1,8
Superfecta #2: 7/1,5,8/1,5,8/1,5,6,8

For those who are thinking about placing win bets on Justify, below is a scale that will tell you how much you should expect to get back .

Win Bet Scale

1/9 odds – $20 pays back $22.22, $100 pays back $111.11
1/5 odds – $20 pays back $24, $100 pays back $120
2/9 odds – $20 pays back $24.44, $100 pays back $122.22
2/5 odds – $20 pays back $28, $100 pays back $140
3/9 odds – $20 pays back $26.67, $100 pays back $133.33
1/2 odds – $20 pays back $30, $100 pays back $150
4/9 odds – $20 pays back $28.89, $100 pays back $144.44
3/5 odds – $20 pays back $32, $100 pays back $160
4/5 odds – $20 pays back $36, $100 pays back $180


On the docket…

My next blog will be a preview of the Belmont Stakes.

–Michael

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Preview

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May 1st 2018

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby. The race will be aired live on NBC this coming Saturday around 5:45 PM CST.

As I have said in previous blogs, I think this is going to be one of the most exciting Derby’s we have seen in a long while.

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2018 Kentucky Derby Starting Field

1) Firenze Fire (50/1) – The Jerome Stakes winner (shown below). His  career best Beyer Speed Figure of 90 was accomplished as a 2-year-old in the Champagne Stakes. He will be one of the longershots in the field but has a very underrated jockey in Paco Lopez.

Career: 9 Starts 4-1-0-3   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>4th->4th
Sire: Poseiden’s Warrior
Trainer: Jason Servis (2004 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.59 (estimated) – 2018 Wood Memorial
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – 2017 Champagne Stakes

2) Free Drop Billy (30/1) – The Dale Romans-trained Breeders’s Futurity winner. He had a disappointing 9th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race. He has been consistent but unspectacular since. Not a huge threat to win in this field.

Career: 8 Starts 2-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>3rd–>3rd
Sire: Union Rags (Finished 7th in the 2012 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.70 (estimated) – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – 2018 Holy Bull Stakes

3) Promises Fulfilled (30/1) – The Fountain of Youth Stakes winner led 6 furlongs in the Florida Derby but faded down the stretch with a 9th place finish. Not a good sign when you are jumping up from 9 furlongs to 10.

Career: 5 Starts 3-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>9th
Sire:  Shackleford (Finished 4th in the 2011 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Corie Lanerie
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:55.12 (estimated) – 2018 Florida Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96 – 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes

4) Flameaway (30/1) – The Sam F. Davis winner at Tampa Bay Downs. He finished 2nd in the Blue Grass Stakes (shown below).

Career: 9 Starts 5-2-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd—>2nd
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.42 (estimated) – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes

5) Audible (8/1) Last year, the Florida Derby winner who was trained by Todd Pletcher–Always Dreaming–went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Can lightning strike twice? Apparently last year’s Always Dreaming rider doesn’t think so as John Velazquez has chosen to ride Vino Rosso on Derby Day.

Career: 5 Starts 4-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st->1st–>1st
Sire: Into Mischief
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.48 – 2018 Florida Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 99 – 2018 Florida Derby

6) Good Magic (12/1) – The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and the Eclipse 2-year-old Male Champion. He had a somewhat disappointing 3rd place finish in the 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes but bounced back to win the Blue Grass Stakes.

Career: 5 Starts 2-2-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts:  1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz 
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.18 – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

7) Justify (3/1) – The race favorite. He is fast but inexperienced. However, he has 100+ Beyer Speed Figures in all three career starts. He’ll be up against the Curse of Apollo. But if had to pick a trainer-jockey combo to break the Curse, it would be Baffert-Smith.

Career: 3 Starts 3-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (2005 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.72 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 107 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby

8) Lone Sailor (50/1) – The Tom Amoss-trained colt is a deep closer who briefly took the lead in the Lousiana Derby only to lose by a neck to Noble Indy (shown below). I question whether he really wants the 10 furlong distance.

Career: 8 Starts 1-3-1-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 9th–>2nd–>2nd
Sire: Majestic Warrior 
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: James Graham
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.32 (estimated) – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

9) Hofburg (20/1) – A second place finisher in the Florida Derby. He’s talented but very inexperienced with only 3 career starts under his belt. However, he should like the added distance as a son of Tapit.

Career: 3 Starts 1-1-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: William Mott
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.96 (estimated) – 2018 Florida Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Florida Derby

10) My Boy Jack (30/1)   While he is not a huge threat to win on a dry, fast track in this field, he certainly has a chance and his chances improve exponentially on a wet track. I wrote an article on his chances in the Kentucky Derby for US Racing which can be accessed HERE. And for movie buffs, no he is not named after Jack Kipling who the “My Boy Jack” movie is based on. Great movie though.

Career: 10 Starts 3-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Creative Cause (Finished 5th in the 2012 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (1998, 2000 & 2008 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.40 (estimated) – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

11) Bolt d’Oro (8/1) – Much like Classic Empire was last year, a star as a 2-year-old who hasn’t seemed to take it to the level we expected as a 3-year-old. He’s has an excellent pedigree and I generally feel we have yet to see him run his best race. He’ll have two-time Kentucky Derby winner Victor Espinoza as his jockey.

Career: 6 Starts 4-1-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 4th in 2002 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Mark Ruis
Jockey: Victor Espinoza (2014 & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.20 (estimated) – 2018 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2017 FrontRunner Stakes

12) Enticed (30/1) – The other son of Medaglia d’Oro in the field. He won the Gotham Stakes and then finished 2nd in the Wood Memorial behind Vino Rosso.

Career: 6 Starts 3-1-1-1   
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 4th in 2002 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.27 (estimated) 2018 Wood Memorial
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Gotham Stakes

13) Bravazo (50/1) – After opening up his 3-year-old campaign with two wins, most notably the Risen Star Stakes, he had a disappointing 8th place finish in his final Derby prep at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby.

Career: 8 Starts 3-1-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>8th
Sire: Awesome Again
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1988,1995,1996 & 1999 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:53.68 (estimated) – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2018 Risen Star Stakes

14) Mendelssohn (5/1) – The 2018 UAE Derby winner. UAE Derby winners haven’t fared all that well in the Kentucky Derby but Mendelssohn should be viewed as a serious contender setting a UAE Derby track record and winning by 18 1/2 lengths.

Career: 7 Starts 4-1-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Aidan O’Bryan
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2018 UAE Derby

15) Instilled Regard (50/1) – A consistent colt. In seven career starts, he has never finished out of the Superfecta.

Career: 7 Starts 2-2-1-2  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th->4th
Sire: Arch 
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.24 (estimated) – 2018 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 – 2018 Lecomte Stakes

16) Magnum Moon (6/1) – The 2018 Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby winner. His final 3 furlong time in the Arkansas Derby is the fastest in the class. Like Justify, he will be vying to break the Curse of Apollo.

Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st>1st–>1st
Sire: Malibu Moon
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.86 – 2018 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Arkansas Derby 

17) Solomini (30/1) – The Bob Baffert-trainee was yet to win since his first start as a 2-year-old. However, noteworthy that he finished 2nd in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race behind Good Magic (shown below). His 3-year-old campaign has been a bit disappointing with a 2nd place finish in the Rebel Stakes and a 3rd place finish in the Arkansas Derby. And he draws post-position #17, a post that no colt has ever won the Derby from.

Career: 6 Starts 1-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  3rd–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Flavien Prat 
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.54 (estimated) 2018 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

18) Vino Rosso (12/1) – His name in Italian means “Red Wine” and he’s moving up my board. The Wood Memorial winner will get last year’s Derby winning jockey John Velazquez. His reasoning? He thinks he has more potential than Audible at getting the distance (SEE). I was a bit surprised Churchill Downs handicapper gave him 12/1 morning line odds. I think he will be well south of that number on Derby Day. So many love Italian red wine.

Career: 5 Starts 3-0-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>4th–>1st
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velazquez (2011 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.79 – 2018 Wood Memorial
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Wood Memorial

19) Noble Indy (30/1) – The surprise winner of the 2018 Louisiana Derby winner and yet another Derby horse trained by Todd Pletcher. Noble Indy is an above average colt in this field, but I don’t feel that he has the speed of the other Pletcher trainees. 

Career: 4 Starts 3-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Take Charge Indy (Finished 19th in 2012 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.28 – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

20) Combatant (50/1) – The lone Steve Asmussen Derby entry. Combatant is yet another son of Scat Daddy in this field. He’s a quality horse but not a serious threat to win in this very talented field. He’s only win came in a Maiden Special Weight race as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs. He’s a deep closer who you might consider in your superfectas

Career: 7 Starts 1-3-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>3rd–>4th
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.56 (estimated) 2018 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Smarty Jones Stakes

Note: In a rush to get this out early as possible, I caught and already corrected a few minor errors and typos. If you see any more, let me know.


On the docket…

My next blog will provide handicapping advice for the Derby. I should have this out by Thursday evening.

–Michael

2018 Louisiana Derby Preview

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March 21st 2018

It is kind of hard to believe but the first of the final major Kentucky Derby prep races are among us with the Louisiana Derby scheduled for this Saturday. With 170 Derby points up for grabs, the 1st and 2nd place finishers are virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby field.

Although run since 1894, the Louisiana Derby doesn’t have a sterling record of producing Kentucky Derby winners. Only two Louisiana Derby winners have gone on to win the in the Kentucky Derby: Black Gold (1924) and Grindstone (1996). However, 2016 Louisiana Derby winner, Gun Runner, finished 3rd in the 2016 Kentucky Derby and had a wonderful career, retiring as the 2nd all-time leading money earner in North American racing behind Arrogate.

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for the 105th Louisiana Derby.

The Louisiana Derby

The Louisiana Derby – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #11 at Fair Grounds – Post-Time: Saturday March 24th at 5:21 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/
1. Bravazo – Stevens/Lukas -7/2
2. Noble Indy – Velazquez/Pletcher – 7/2
3. Marmello – Gilligan/Yanakov – 50/1
4. Givemeaminit – Castellano/Stewart – 20/1
5. Retirement Fund –  Bridgmohan/Asmussen – 12/1
6. Hyndford – Bravo/Pletcher – 8/1 
7. Snapper Sinclair – Ortiz/Asmussen – 9/2
8. Lone Sailor – Graham/Amoss – 20/1
9. My Boy Jack – Desormeaux/Desormeaux – 5/2
10. Dark Templar – Geroux/Walsh – 12/1

Race Commentary: Overall, I like the talent in this field. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Bravaso draws the rail, the same post position he used to edge out Snapper Sinclair by a nose in the Risen Star Stakes with a nice time of 1:42.95. The Desormeaux brothers have entered the Southwest Stakes winner My Boy Jack. The Todd Pletcher-trained Noble Indy is entered. Noble Indy finished 3rd in the Risen Star Stakes. From Steve Asmussen’s barn: Snapper Sinclair and Retirement Fund. 

My Boy Jack is a closer so I foresee this race coming down to Bravaso trying to hold off a late charging My Boy Jack. It this race is a dry race, I like Bravaso. If run in wet conditions, I like My Boy Jack who proved that he liked the slop in the Southwest Stakes.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the 2018 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park scheduled for Saturday March 31st.

–Michael