2016 Pennsylvania Derby – Nyquist vs Exaggerator once more

 

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September 21st 2016

Coming this Saturday is another interesting battle of the top three finishers in this year’s Kentucky Derby: Nyquist, Exaggerator and Gun RunnerWith a purse of $1.250,000, the Penn Derby always attracts some of the top 3 year olds and this year’s field (shown below) is no exception. Other entries include: the West Virginia Derby winner Cupid, the Smarty Jones Stakes winner Awesome Slew and the Withers Stakes winner Sunny Ridge who placed 3rd in the Haskell Invitational. 

The Pennsylvania Derby – 1 1/8th Mile – Saturday September 24th – Race #11 at PARX – Post-Time: 4:45 PM CST. Televised by TVG

Post Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/ Odds
1. Awesome Slew (122) – Lopez/Plesa – 10-1
2. Exaggerator (124) – Desormeax/Desormeax – 9-2
3. Summer Revolution (117) – Smith/Rodriguez – 8-1
4. Connect (119) – Velazquez/Brown – 12-1
5. Cupid (122) – Bejarano/Baffert – 5-1
6. Wild About Deb (117) – Pejeira/Preciado – 20-1
7. Gun Runner (122) – Geroux/Asmussen – 6-1
8. My Man Sam (117) – Franco/Brown – 20-1
9. Nyquist (124) – Gutierrez/O’Neill- 5-2
10. Sunny Ridge (122) – Bravo/Servis – 12-1
11. Discreet Lover (117) – Flores/Lewis – 30-1  
12. Hit It Once More (119) – Ortiz Jr./Sciacca – 20-1

Race Analysis: This should be one helluva race. Summer Revolution will provide the speed and early pace which will bode well for Exaggerator’s closing style. He should get Awesome Slew to go with him from the #1 post. Right now the weather forecast shows that it will be a dry race by post time (25% chance of early morning showers). So I think Nyquist will bounce back and finish ahead of Exaggerator. But will it be good enough for the win? Nyquist deserves to be the race favorite but not at odds lower than 2-1. He hasn’t won since the Kentucky Derby back in May.

Nyquist is my reluctant top choice but I think we could have a surprise winner in this one. The Bob Baffert-trained Cupid is capable of providing the upset as is Gun Runner. But my longshot choice would be the son of Awesome Again–Awesome Slew–who might be prime to wire this field like he did in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx shown below. And he won’t have to come from the outside post  across traffic to get there starting in Post #1.

Summer Revolution seems initially inviting with Mike Smith on-board but he has never raced further than 7 furlongs and finished 4th in his last start (King’s Bishop Stakes) against lesser competition. Connect is a good horse who I was high on entering the Travers Stakes. He received a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Curlin Stakes but disappointingly finished 6th in the Travers. And he was 6th after 9 furlongs in that race too.

So I would probably recommend a boxed Superfecta of five horses (1,2,5,7 & 9). A 10 cent boxed Superfecta with 5 horses would cost $12. If any of these horses are scratched, then add the 4 horse Connect. If you believe Connect will bounce back, another 10 cent Superfecta you can try is 1, 2, 7, 9 with 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 with 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 with 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 which would cost $12.60. This bet eliminates Cupid from winning and Nyquist from a 4th place finish but adds Connect as a 4th place finisher.

–Michael

2016 Travers Stakes Preview – Will Exaggerator prevail at the Graveyard of Champions?

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August 24th 2016 – Updated 8/26/16 (see below)

Coming this Saturday on NBC is the 147th running of the Travers Stakes for 3 year-olds. Consider the history of this race at the hallowed grounds of Saratoga. It was first run in 1864 when Abraham Lincoln was President. That was seven score and twelve years ago. It was once viewed as the fourth leg of the Triple Crown. It seems to produce upsets or controversy. Most notably in 1930 when the Triple Crown champion Gallant Fox was upset by the 100-1 longshot Jim Dandy. More fresh on everyour minds was last year when Keen Ice shocked the Saratoga crowd by beating American Pharoah.

Then there was the Affirmed vs Alydar showdown in 1978 that resulted in Affirmed being disqualified by a foul. To date, the only Triple Crown winner to ever win the Travers Stakes was Whirlaway in 1941.

There is no Triple Crown winner this year to test the Saratoga racing gods but we do have a number of horses in this field that competed in this year’s Triple Crown races:

Exaggerator – Preakness Stakes winner, 2nd in the Kentucky Derby, 11th in the Belmont Stakes
Creator – Belmont Stakes winner, 13th in the Kentucky Derby
Destin – 2nd in the Belmont Stakes, 6th in the Kentucky Derby
Gun Runner – 3rd in the Kentucky Derby 
Governo Malibu – 4th in the Belmont Stakes
My Man Sam – 11th in the Kentucky Derby
Majesto – 18th in the Kentucky Derby
Laoban – the surprise Jim Dandy Stakes winner who finished 6th in the Preakness
Forever d’Oro – 13th in the Belmont Stakes

Plus some late bloomers like the Curlin Stakes winner Connect, Bob Baffert’s Iowa Derby winner American Freedom who finished 2nd to Exaggerator in the Haskell Invitational and Bob Baffert’s other promising colt–Arrogate–who produced a 103 Beyer Speed Figure at Santa Anita Park in June.

Then there’s the once promising Chad Brown colt Gift Box who was sidelined during the Derby trail season due to illness. He gave Connect a real battle in the Curlin Stakes. And the 50-1 odds horse Anaximandros. I think his name means longshot in Latin.

Here are the post-positions, riders and morning line odds:

The Travers Stakes – 1 1/4th Mile – Saturday August 27th – Race #11 at Saratoga – Post-Time: 4:44 PM CST. Televised by NBC

Post Horse/(Jockey/Trainer/ Odds
1. Arrogate – Smith/Baffert – 10-1
2. American Freedom – Bejarano/Baffert – 6-1
3. My Man Sam – Franco/Brown – 20-1
4. Governor Malibu – Rosario/Clement – 12-1
5. Forever d’Oro – Saez/Stewart – 30-1
6. Anaximandros – Reyes/Yakakov – 50-1
7. Exaggerator – Desormeax/Desormeax – 3-1
8. Destin – Castellano/Pletcher – 10-1
9. Gift Box – Alvarado/Brown- 12-1
10. Connect – Velazquez/Brown – 4-1
11. Majesto – Santana/Delgato – 30-1   SCRATCHED
12. Creator – Ortiz Jr./Asmussen – 15-1
13. Laoban – Ortiz/Guillot – 15-1
14. Gun Runner – Geroux/Asmussen – 10-1

My Prediction: This will be an interesting race. Exaggerator is the class of the field. He has won before at Saratoga as a 2 year old. He has a good starting position in the middle of pack. It would be hard to bet against him here but why would this year be any different for a race that typically springs upsets? Especially when there is no rain in the forecast. This race is very hard to handicap since a few of these horses, and some very promising ones like Connect, have yet to race 10 furlongs. And those who raced in the Kentucky Derby may have significantly improved by now. This race’s exotic bets should payout nice if you are lucky enough to hit one. 

Here are the Top Beyer Speed Figures for horses in this field at races longer than one mile

Arrogate              SA           24 Jun   1 1/16M         103
Exaggerator       SA           09 Apr   1 1/8M           103
Connect               SAR        29 Jul     1 1/8M           101
Exaggerator       CD          07 May 1 1/4M            101
Exaggerator       MTH      31 Jul     1 1/8M            101
Exaggerator       PIM        21 May 1 3/16M           101
Laoban                 SAR       30 Jul  1 1/8M               101
Destin                  TAM      12 Mar  1 1/16M           100

This is why I would lean towards picking Exaggerator (The Slopmeister) to win this race even on a dry track surface. Connect and American Freedom are probably good bets to finish in the superfecta. After that, it depends on which Gun Runner, Creator and Destin shows up. Arrogate is hurt by drawing the rail. I have no magic crystal ball for this one folks. Good luck and happy viewing!

Update! 8/26/16

One thing I noticed in my research tonight is how the top 3 finishers in Jim Dandy Stakes fared in the Travers Stakes the past 4 years. The Jim Dandy Stakes is a 9 furlong (1 1/8th mile) race that is a prep race for the Travers.

2015 – Frosted finished 2nd in the Jim Dandy and 3rd in the Travers
2014 – Wicked Strong and Tonalist finished 1-2 in the Jim Dandy and then 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Travers.
2013 – Will Take Charge finished 2nd in the Jim Dandy and won the Travers
2012 – Alpha and Neck ‘n Neck finished 1-2 in the Jim Dandy and tied in a dead heat in the Travers.

The Top 3 finishers in this year’s Jim Dandy Stakes were: 1) Laoban, 2) Governor Malibu and 3) Destin. So if you are looking for horses to put into your superfecta bets, it would be a good idea to include one or two of these horses. Of the three, Governor Malibu seems to be the safest bet of the three to hit the board based on his career history.

Two horses that I wouldn’t put in my superfectas are: Anaximandros and My Man Sam. Majesto has been scratched. Forever d’Oro is the only longshot that might have a chance to hit the board. He is a half-brother to Songbird but he has yet to run like it. He crapped out in the Belmont Stakes but moved up well in the Curlin Stakes to finish 3rd.

As I stated earlier, this will be an interesting race. Sort of a mini Kentucky Derby. Since the Haskell Invitational was a wet race, which some horses don’t run well in, we could see a return to form for a horse like Gun Runner. But I am not convinced he likes a mile and a quarter.

–Michael

The 2016 Kentucky Derby Starting Lineup, Post Positions, Odds and Analysis

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May 4th, 2016 – Updated May 7th, 2016

The “most exciting 2 minutes in sports” is less than 3 days away and the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby promises to live up to the hype. We have a talented horse in Nyquist who is trying to join a “Who’s Who in Thoroughbred Racing” of horses who entered the Kentucky Derby undefeated and came away with the Roses. Previous undefeated Derby horses who went on to win the Kentucky Derby are Regret in 1915, Morvich in 1922, Majestic Prince in 1969, Seattle Slew in 1977, Smarty Jones in 2004, Barbaro in 2006 and Big Brown in 2008.

Nyquist drew post #13 but before anybody views this as unlucky, this is the same position he won from in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race (shown below). And Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby in 2004 from post 13:

And now for the analysis…

Since 1990, the lowest Kentucky Derby winning Beyer Speed Figure was 97 when California Chrome won in 2014. All other winners eclipsed a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. I generally feel that if a horse wants to “be the part”–a Kentucky Derby winner, he should at least “look the part” and have produced a 97 or higher Beyer Speed Figure thus far. Only 6 horses in the 2016 Kentucky Derby field meet this criteria: Exaggerator, Nyquist, Destin, Danzing Candy, Outwork and Mor Spirit.

Danzing Candy will likely be the pacesetter and I don’t believe that he has the stamina to be able to hang on for the win. Outwork had to struggle to beat a 81-1 odd horse in Trojan Nation in the Wood Memorial. Destin is a fast horse but he has never raced further than 1 1/16th mile. Will he have the stamina to go an extra 1 1/2 furlongs?

Mor Spirit has never finished below 2nd in 7 career starts but I view him more as a horse to round out a Trifecta. So I think the 2016 Kentucky Derby will come down to Nyquist, Exaggerator and Destin. Although it didn’t happen last year, usually one 20-1 or greater odds horse finishes in the Top 4. So keep an eye on the odds for Suddenbreakingnews. Majesto and Whitmore.

Generally, I don’t see a lot of early speed in this field so this doesn’t bode well for closers. This is one of the factors that I think will aid Nyquist. Nyquist has won several different ways: as a pacesetter, as a stalker and coming off the pace and from mid pack like he demonstrated in the 15 horse Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race. He is the deserved race favorite and my pick to win the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

Handicapping Advice: Large win bets on Nyquist if his live odds are 5/2 or greater. Right now his live odds are 2-1. I placed two $10 Boxed Exactas that cost $60 each. The first was 9-11-13 (Destin, Exaggerator and Nyquist) because these are the three fastest horses in the field by times and Beyer Speed Figures. The second Boxed Exacta I placed was 11-13-17 (Nyquist, Exaggerator and Mor Spirit).

I like Majesto as a longshot for Superfectas and his current live odds are 62-1. A $10 win bet here seems inviting but I expect these odds to lower. I always like to place ten to twenty $1 straight Superfectas with various combinations and throwing in a few longshots. It is tough to hit a Superfecta in the Kentucky Derby. Usually you are doing real good to hit 3 out of 4 horses. But “you can’t win if you don’t play” as they say and hitting a Superfecta in the Kentucky Derby usually pays out nicely.

Here are a few of the Straight Superfectas I have placed: (11-13-17-9), (11-9-3-13), (11-9-13-17), (13-9-18-11), (13-11-9-17), (18-13-17-11). I placed a $1 Super High Five bet of (13-11- 9-17-15).

Below are the 2016 Kentucky Derby Post Positions, Jockeys and Morning Line Odds by Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia. Note that a bold font text is hyperlinked to either a horse’s Equibase profile or a race video from Youtube. This is to aid in your own research:

The 142nd Kentucky Derby – Churchill Downs Race #12 – Post Time 5:34 PM CST (NBC)

1) Trojan Nation (50/1) – Has never won a race, draws dreaded rail
Career: 6 Starts 0-1-3-1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>2nd
Sire: Street Cry  
Trainer: Patrick Gallagher
Jockey: Aaron Gryder
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:52.96 (calculated) – Wood Memorial
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures:  74, 93  – 83.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – Wood Memorial

2) Suddenbreakingnews (20/1) – A closer to consider for your Superfecta
Career: 8 Starts 3-4-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>5th–>2nd
Sire: Mineshaft 
Trainer: Donnie Von Hemel
Jockey: Luis Quinonez
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.30 (calculated)Arkansas Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 86, 94  – 90 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – Arkansas Derby

3) Creator (10/1) – Arkansas Derby winner, a closer
Career: 8 Starts 2-4-1-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen 
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.14 – Arkansas Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 96  – 93 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96 –Arkansas Derby

4) Mo Tom (20/1) – Lecomte Stakes winner who has regressed in 2 consecutive starts
Career: 7 Starts 3-0-3-1
Last 3 starts: 1st->3rd–>4th
Sire: Uncle Mo  (Finished 10th in 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Trainer: Thomas Amoss
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:52.02 (calculated) – Louisiana Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 82  – 84.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 88 – Lecomte Stakes

5) Gun Runner (10/1) – Louisiana Derby winner, meager Beyer Speed Figures
Career: 5 Starts 4-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>1st

Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Steve Asmussen 
Jockey: Florent Geroux 
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.06 – Louisiana Derby 
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 91  – 90.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91 – Louisiana Derby 

6) My Man Sam (20/1) – Surprise 2nd place finisher in Blue Grass Stakes
Career: 4 Starts 1-2-0-0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Trappe Shot 
Trainer: Chad Brown 
Jockey:  Irad Ortiz Jr
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.48 (calculated) – Blue Grass Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 95, 88  – 91.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – Aqueduct Opt Claiming Race 3/6/16

7) Oscar Nominated (50/1) – A turf horse who has never raced on real dirt
Career: 7 Starts 3-2-0-2
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Kitten’s Joy
Trainer: Michael Maker 
Jockey:  Julien Leparoux
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.82 – Spiral Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 79, 82  – 81.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 82 – Spiral Stakes

8) Lani (30/1) – Japanese trained horse who displayed great fight in winning the UAE Derby
Career: 6 Starts 3-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>5th–>1st
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga 
Jockey:  Yukata Take
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A – 1:52.84 (estimated time from 1900 Meter UAE Derby)
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: ?, 83 (estimated)
Best Beyer Speed Figure: N/A

9) Destin (15/1) – Set track record at Tampa Bay Derby, never raced further than 1 1/16th mile
Career: 5 Starts 3-1-0-1
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>1st
Sire: Giant’s Causeway  (Finished 2nd in 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A – 1:49.37 (projected time from 1 1/16 mile Tampa Bay Derby)
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 98, 100  – 99 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – Tampa Bay Derby

10) Whitmore (20/1) – A closer with a favorable post position & new jockey Victor Espinoza
Career: 6 Starts 2-2-1-0 
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: Pleasantly Perfect (2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Trainer: Ron Moquett 
Jockey: Victor Espinoza (2002, 2014 & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:52.89 (calculated)
 – Arkansas Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 92, 92  – 92 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 –Arkansas Derby

11) Exaggerator (8/1) – A closer & most likely threat to Nyquist. Best Beyer average in 2016
Career: 9 Starts 4-2-1-1 
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby, 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (1998, 2000 & 2008 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.66 – Santa Anita Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 96, 103  – 99.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – Santa Anita Derby

12) Tom’s Ready (30/1) – Not sure what he is ready for
Career: 9 Starts 1-4-0-1
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>2nd

Sire: More Than Ready
Trainer: Dallas Stewart 
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr 
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.74 (calculated) – Louisiana Derby 
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 69, 85  – 77 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 85 – Louisiana Derby 

13) Nyquist (3/1) – Undefeated race favorite, my projected winner
Career: 7 Starts 7-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo  (Finished 10th in 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill (2012 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez (2012 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.11 – Florida Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 101, 94  – 97.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 101 – San Vicente Stakes

14) Mohaymen  (10/1) – Coming off disappointing 4th place finish in Florida Derby
Career: 6 Starts 5-0-0-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>4th
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.43 (calculated) – Florida Derby 
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 95, 80  – 87.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – Holy Bull Stakes

15) Outwork  (15/1) –  Might be Pletcher’s best Derby horse
Career: 4 Starts 3-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo (Finished 10th in 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velazquez (2011 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:52.92 – Wood Memorial
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 98, 93  – 95.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – Tampa Bay Derby

16) Shagaf (20/1) – Coming off disappointing 5th place finish in the Wood
Career: 4 Starts 3-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>5th
Sire: Bernardini (Finished 2nd in 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Trainer: Chad Brown 
Jockey:  Joel Rosario (2013 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:56.73 (calculated) – Wood Memorial
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 87  – 87 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 88 – Aqueduct MSW 11/22/15

17) Mor Spirit (12/1) – No horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from post #17
Career: 7 Starts 3-4-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>2nd
Sire: Eskendereya 
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997, 1998, 2002, 2015 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Gary Stevens (1988, 1995 and 1998 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.66 (calculated) – Santa Anita Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 97, 94  – 95.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 97San Felipe Stakes

18) Majesto (30/1) – Coming off his career best performance
Career: 6 Starts 1-2-2-0
Last 3 starts:  3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Tiznow (2000 and 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Jockey: Emisael Jaramillo
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.63 (calculated) – Florida Derby 
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 84, 89  – 87.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 89 – Florida Derby 

19) Brody’s Cause (12/1) – Blue Grass Stakes winner, a closer to consider for your Superfecta
Career: 6 Starts 3-0-1-0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>7th–>1st
Sire: Giant’s Causeway (Finished 2nd in 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Luis Saez
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.20 – Blue Grass Stakes
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 80, 91  – 85.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91 – Blue Grass Stakes

20) Danzing Candy  (15/1) –  A speed horse who is viewed as the most likely pacesetter 
Career: 5 Starts 3-0-0-1 
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>4th
Sire: Twirling Candy
Trainer: Clifford Sise
Projected Jockey: Mike Smith (2005 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.78 (calculated) – Santa Anita Derby
Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 100, 83  – 91.5 avg
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100San Felipe Stakes


RANKINGS

Since the Kentucky Derby is usually won by the horse that gets to the 1 1/8th pole first, below is the Kentucky Derby field ranked by time in their last race (1 1/8th mile) along with Beyer Speed Figures. Destin and Lani’s times are projected since their last race wasn’t at 1 1/8th mile.

Horse – Time (track condition) Finishing Position/Race – Beyer Speed Figure
1) Nyquist – 1:49.11 (good) 1st Florida Derby – 94 BSF
2) Destin – 1:49.37# (fast) 1st Tampa Bay Derby – 100 BSF
3) Majesto – 1:49.63* (good) 2nd Florida Derby – 89 BSF
4) Exaggerator – 1:49.66 (sloppy) 1st Santa Anita Derby – 103 BSF
5) Creator – 1:50.14 (fast) 1st Arkansas Derby – 96 BSF
6) Brody’s Cause – 1:50.20 (fast) 1st Blue Grass Stakes – 91 BSF
7) Suddenbreakingnews – 1:50.30* (fast) 2nd Arkansas Derby – 94 BSF
8) Mohaymen – 1:50.43* (good) 4th Florida Derby – 80 BSF
9) My Man Sam – 1:50.48* (good) 2nd Blue Grass Stakes – 88 BSF
10) Mor Spirit – 1:50.66* (sloppy) 2nd Santa Anita Derby – 94 BSF
11) Gun Runner – 1:51.06 (fast) 1st Louisiana Derby – 91 BSF
12) Tom’s Ready – 1:51.74* (fast) 2nd Louisiana Derby – 85 BSF
13) Danzing Candy – 1:51.78* (sloppy) 4th Santa Anita Derby – 83 BSF
14) Oscar Nominated – 1:51.82 (fast, synthetic) 1st Spiral Stakes – 82 BSF
15) Mo Tom – 1:52.02* (fast) 4th Louisiana Derby – 82 BSF
16) Lani – 1:52.84@ (fast) 1st UAE Derby – 83 BSF
17) Whitmore – 1:52.89* (fast) 3rd Arkansas Derby – 92 BSF
18) Outwork – 1:52.92 (muddy) 1st Wood Memorial Stakes – 93 BSF
19) Trojan Nation – 1:52.96* (muddy) 2nd Wood Memorial Stakes – 93 BSF
20) Shagaf – 1:56.73* (muddy) 5th Wood Memorial Stakes – 87 BSF

* – Estimated time from 1 1/8th mile race
# – Projected time from 1 1/16th mile race
@ – Projected time from 1900 Meter race

Ranking by Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last 2 Races:

1) Exaggerator (8/1)  Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 96, 103  – 99.5 avg
2) Destin (15/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 98, 100  – 99 avg
3) Nyquist (3/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 101, 94  – 97.5 avg
4) Mor Spirit (12/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 97, 94  – 95.5 avg
5) Outwork  (15/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 98, 93  – 95.5 avg
6) Creator (10/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 96  – 93 avg
7) Danzing Candy  (15/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 100, 83  – 91.5 avg
8) Whitmore (20/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 92, 92  – 92 avg
9) My Man Sam (20/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 95, 88  – 91.5 avg
10) Gun Runner (10/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 90, 91  – 90.5 avg
11) Suddenbreakingnews (20/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 86, 94  – 90 avg
12) Majesto (30/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 84, 89  – 87.5 avg
13) Mohaymen  (10/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 95, 80  – 87.5 avg
14) Shagaf (20/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 87  – 87 avg
15) Brody’s Cause (12/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 80, 91  – 85.5 avg
16) Mo Tom (20/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 87, 82  – 84.5 avg
17) Trojan Nation (50/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures:  74, 93  – 83.5 avg
18) Oscar Nominated (50/1) Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 79, 82  – 81.5 avg
19) Tom’s Ready (30/1) Derby Last Two Beyer Speed Figures: 69, 85  – 77 avg


ODDS

Below are the Kentucky Derby Morning Line Odds and the direction I think the Live Odds will go:

Nyquist – 3/1 – a bit lower but not below 5/2
Exaggerator – 8/1 – lower
Mohaymen – 10/1 – lower
Creator – 10/1 – higher
Gun Runner – 10/1 – higher
Mor Spirit – 12/1 –  same
Brody’s Cause – 12/1 – higher
Outwork – 15/1 – lower
Destin – 15/1 – lower
Danzing Candy- 15/1 – higher
Suddenbreakingnew – 20/1 – lower
Mo Tom – 20/1 – higher
Whitmore – 20/1 – lower
My Man Sam – 20/1 – higher
Shagaf – 20/1 – higher
Lani – 30/1 – lower
Tom’s Ready – 30/1 – much higher
Majesto – 30/1 – lower
Trojan Nation – 50/1 – much higher
Oscar Nominated – 50/1 – much higher

***You can follow the live Kentucky Derby odds by clicking HERE

Stay tuned for updates and more handicapping advice.

–Michael

Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial and Blue Grass Stakes Previews

April 6th 2016

This coming Saturday April 9th are three big Derby Trail races–the Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby. All three have $1 Million dollar purses and offer 170 Derby points. The winner and 2nd place finishers in these races will qualify for the Kentucky Derby as they pay out 100 points for 1st and 40 points for 2nd. 40 points will be enough to get a horse into the Kentucky Derby. 3rd place and 4th place pay out 20 and 10 points respectively. You can follow the Kentucky Derby point standings by clicking HERE.

Below are the post-positions and morning line odds for all three races. Please note that all three races will be televised in NBC Sports between 4 and 6 PM Central Standard Time.

Wood Memorial Stakes – 1 1/8th Mile at Aqueduct- Race #10 Post Time: 4:30 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Shagaf – Ortiz Jr./Brown 2-1
2. Adventist – Carmouche/Gyarmati 10-1
3. Trojan Nation – Gryder/Gallagher 30-1
4. Tale of S’avall – Velasquez/Tagg 20-1
5. Flexibility – Franco/Brown 8-1
6. Matt King Coal – Ortiz/Rice 3-1
7. Dalmore – Alvarado/Desormeaux 12-1
8. Outwork – Velazquez/Pletcher 5-2

Commentary: My projected order of finish 8-6-1 (1st: Outwork, 2nd: Matt King Coal and 3rd Shagaf). I would probably recommend an 6-8 Boxed Exacta. Matt King Coal is a horse that has shown a lot of promise but has zero Derby points. So he must finish 1st or 2nd to make the Kentucky Derby field. Flexibility has 15 Derby points and needs to a top 3 finish to make the Derby.


Blue Grass Stakes 1 1/8th Mile at Keenland- Race #10 Post Time: 5:00 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Lookin for a Kiss – Gaffalione/Tomlinson 50-1
2. Donegal Moon – Garcia/Pletcher 5-1  
3. Cherry Wine – Lanerie/Romans 12-1
4. Zulu – Castellano/Pletcher 5-2
5. Crescent Drive – Graham/Amoss 20-1
6. Brody’s Cause – Saez/Romans 4-1
7. Laoban – Lezcano/Guillot 12-1
8. Twizz – Murrill/Maker 12-1
9. Goats Town – Albarado/Lukas 20-1
10. American Dubai – Landeros/Richards 20-1
11. Cards of Stone – Lopez/Pletcher 20-1
12. Zapperini – Torres/Foley 30-1
13. Star Hill – Jaramillo/Arnold 10-1
14. My Man Sam – Leparoux/Brown 10-1
AE. Pinson – Bravo/Maker 30-1
AE. Hint of Roses – Geroux/Maker 30-1

Commentary: Zulu is the class of this large field. I like his post position draw so I think he wins this one. It is difficult to project who will finish 2nd through 4th because we don’t know which Brody’s Cause will show up. The one who was a non-factor and finished 7th in the Tampa Bay Derby or the who showed great promise as a closer as a 2 year-old? He has 14 Derby points so he will need to finish in the top 3 to make the Kentucky Derby field. So my advice is to stick to win bets for Zulu or key him to win over Donegal Moon, Star Hill, My Man Sam and Brody’s Cause in Trifectas and Superfectas.


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Santa Anita Derby 1 1/8th Mile at Santa Anita Park- Race #8 Post Time: 5:30 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Jockey/Trainer/ Odds
1. Denman’s Call – Bejarano/O’Neill 15-1
2. Exaggerator – Desormeaux/Desormeaux  4-1
3. Danzing Candy – Smith/Sise 9-5
4. Mor Spirit – Stevens/Baffert 8-5
5. Smokey Image – Espinoza/Gaines 15-1
6. Iron Rob – Elliott/Papaprodromou 12-1
7. Dressed in Hermes – Prat/Armstrong 15-1
8. Rare Candy – Talamo/Hofmans 30-1
9. Diplodocus – Baze/Baltas 30-1
10. Uncle Lino – Perez/Sherlock 20-1

Commentary: Danzing Candy benefited from getting out into the lead on a semi-damp track at Santa Anita to win the San Felipe Stakes back on March 12th. I watched the San Felipe live that day and my thought was that day that Mor Spirit will bounce back and win a rematch. So I would key #4 Mor Spirit to win in your Trifectas and Superfectas.

It is difficult to access if Smokey Image bounces back after a lackluster performance in the San Felipe. So I would recommend Trifectas 4 over 2,3 over 2,3. Exaggerator could excel with an additional furlong so don’t be surprised if he finishes 2nd. I am also perplexed how the Santa Anita handicapper could assign Uncle Lino 20-1 morning line odds when he finished 4th in the San Felipe and 2nd in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Denman’s Call and Iron Rob have never raced further than 7 furlongs. Iron Rob will probably be the early pacesetter in this race.

–Michael