American Pharoah Back In Action & My Updated Top 6 Kentucky Derby Contenders

American Pharoah (Benoit Photo)

The 2014 Eclipse 2 Year-Old Horse of the Year will be back in action this Saturday March 14th at Oaklawn Park in the Rebel Stakes (Race #10). Post Time is 6:06 PM CST. American Pharoah is the Morning Line favorite at 1/2 odds. In this seven horse field, his toughest competition will come from Post #1 The Truth or Else (4/1 Odds) ridden by Calvin Borel, the Steve Asmussen-trained Bold Conquest (8/1 Odds) and Todd Pletcher’s other entry–Madefromlucky (6/1 Odds).

As with any horse coming off a long layoff, I expect bettors to push American Pharoah’s odds higher and closer to 1/1. If I were betting this weekend, I probably would steer clear from betting on this race. However, if you want my recommendation, I would probably place a $10 1-4 Boxed Exacta on American Pharoah-The Truth or Else and hope that Calvin Borel does his rail magic. I would also consider a $1 1-2-4 Boxed Trifecta (The Truth or Elise, Madefromluck and American Pharoah). If American Pharoah’s odds push closer to 2-1, then I might lay down another $20 Win bet on him.

Below is an updated list on my Top Six Kentucky Derby contenders.

1) Dortmund (Kentucky Bred- Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 70
Sire: Big Brown – 2008 Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes Winner

5 Starts, 5 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (91 Beyer), 1st (103 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts:  103.5
Fastest 1 1/16 Mile Time-: 1:40.86 at Los Alamitos 12/20/14
Next Race: Santa Anita Derby – April 4th
Dortmund’s Equibase Profile

2) Upstart (New York Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 36
Sire: Flatter whose sire was A.P. Indy – 1992 Belmont Stakes & Breeders’ Cup Classic

6 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 50%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 25%
Last Three Starts: 3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (105 Beyer), 2nd–DQ from 1st (95 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 100
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.96 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Florida Derby – March 28th
Upstart’s Equibase Profile

3) Texas Red  (Kentucky Bred – Won in 3rd start) – Derby Points: 12
Sire: Afleet Alex – 2005 Preakness Stakes & Belmont Stakes Winner

6 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 33%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 33%
Last Three Starts:  3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer), 2nd (90 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 97
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.91 at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Santa Anita Derby – April 4th or Arkansas Derby – April 11th
Texas Red’s Equibase Profile

4) American Pharoah (Kentucky Bred – Won in 2nd start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Pioneerof the Nile – Finished 2nd in 2009 Kentucky Derby

3 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 67%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 5th, 1st (101 Beyer), 1st (101 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 101
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.95 at Santa Anita Park 9/27/14
Next Race: Rebel Stakes – March 14th
American Pharoah’s Equibase Profile

5) Carpe Diem (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 64
Sire: Giant’s Causeway – Finished 2nd in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 15-1, Pool #2: 12-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 12-1

4 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 75%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 67%
Last Three Starts: 1st (91 Beyer), 2nd (93 Beyer), 1st (98 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 95.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.95 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Blue Grass Stakes – April 11th
Carpe Diem’s Equibase Profile

6) Far From Over (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Blame – 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner

2 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (78 Beyer), 1st (96 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 82
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.93 at Aqueduct 2/7/15
Next Race: Wood Memorial – April 4th
Far From Over’s Equibase Profile

And another horse to keep an eye on from the Todd Pletcher stable–Materiality who posted a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in a 1 1/8th mile race at Gulfstream Park on March 6th (shown below).


Materiality (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 0
Sire: Afleet Alex – 2005 Preakness Stakes & Belmont Stakes Winner

2 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (87 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 95.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: n/a
Next Race: Unknown
Materiality’s Equibase Profile

Below is a ranking of the average Beyer Speed Figures of my top six horses last two starts. Ties are broken by the higher speed in the last start. Materiality was added to the list for comparison purposes.

Ranking By Average Beyer Speed Figures of Last Two Starts:
1) Dortmund 103.5
2) American Pharoah 101
3) Upstart 100
4) Texas Red  97
5) Materiality 95.5
6) Carpe Diem  95.5
7) Far From Over  82

–Michael

Eight Great Horses To Consider For Your Kentucky Derby Future Wagers Pool #3

With the Kentucky Future Wagers Pool #3 coming up February 27th, below are eight horses to consider for your future wager. But first, what does a Kentucky Derby winner usually look like on paper?

Profiling the Kentucky Derby Winner

The profile of a typical Kentucky Derby winner is that 75.7% are Kentucky bred. California Chrome was the exception and not the norm last year being a California bred horse. California has produced only four Kentucky Derby winners with the last (before California Chrome) being Decidedly who won in 1962.  Florida is the next best state at producing Kentucky Derby winners with six.

Another stat to consider is that the roughly 70% of Kentucky Derby winners won their first race in their first or second start–which California Chrome accomplished. As long as a horse wins in his first four starts and gets hot in February and March, I am fine with it. Also, probably a more important stat, thirteen out of the last fifteen Kentucky Derby winners broke their maiden by December 1st of their 2-year-old campaign. All the horses in my top seven won their first race by December 1st except for Far From Over who won on December 12th.

Note: blue bold fonts are linked to race videos or Equibase references

1) Dortmund (Kentucky Bred- Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 20
Sire: Big Brown – 2008 Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes Winner

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 9-1, Pool #2: 10-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 8-1

4 Starts, 4 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (97 Beyer), 1st (91 Beyer), 1st (103 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts:  97
Fastest 1 1/16 Mile Time-: 1:40.86 at Los Alamitos 12/20/14
Next Race: San Felipe Stakes – March 7th or Santa Anita Derby – April 4th
Dortmund’s Equibase Profile

2) Texas Red  (Kentucky Bred – Won in 3rd start) – Derby Points: 12
Sire: Afleet Alex – 2005 Preakness Stakes & Belmont Stakes Winner

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 14-1, Pool #2: 9-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 12-1

6 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 33%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 33%
Last Three Starts:  3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (104 Beyer), 2nd (90 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 97
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.91 at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Santa Anita Derby – April 4th or Arkansas Derby – April 11th
Texas Red’s Equibase Profile

3) American Pharoah (Kentucky Bred – Won in 2nd start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Pioneerof the Nile – Finished 2nd in 2009 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 12-1, Pool #2: 10-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 8-1

3 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 67%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 5th, 1st (101 Beyer), 1st (101 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 101
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:41.95 at Santa Anita Park 9/27/14
Next Race: Rebel Stakes – March 14th
American Pharoah’s Equibase Profile

4) Upstart (New York Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 36
Sire: Flatter whose sire was A.P. Indy – 1992 Belmont Stakes & Breeders’ Cup Classic

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 53-1, Pool #2: 12-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 15-1

6 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 50%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 25%
Last Three Starts: 3rd (93 Beyer), 1st (105 Beyer), 2nd–DQ from 1st (95 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 100
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.96 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Florida Derby – March 28th
Upstart’s Equibase Profile

5) Carpe Diem (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 14
Sire: Giant’s Causeway – Finished 2nd in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 15-1, Pool #2: 12-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 12-1

3 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 67%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 50%
Last Three Starts: 1st, 1st (91 Beyer), 2nd (93 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 92
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:42.95 (calculated) at Santa Anita Park 11/1/14
Next Race: Tampa Bay Derby – March 7th
Carpe Diem’s Equibase Profile

6) Far From Over (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Blame – 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Unlisted in both Pools
Current Morning Line Odds: 15-1

2 Starts, 2 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (78 Beyer), 1st (96 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 82
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.93 at Aqueduct 2/7/15
Next Race: Gotham Stakes – March 7th
Far From Over’s Equibase Profile

7) International Star (New York Bred – Won in 1st Start) – Derby Points: 71
Sire: Fusaichi Pegasus – 2000 Kentucky Derby Winner

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: Unlisted, Pool #2: 40-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 20-1

8 Starts, 4 Wins, Win Pct: 50%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 50%
Last Three Starts: 4th, 1st (89 Beyer), 1st (93 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 91
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.82 at The Fairgrounds 2/21/15
Next Race: Louisiana Derby – March 28th
International Star’s Equibase Profile
 

8) Ocho Ocho Ocho (Kentucky Bred – Won in 1st Start) – Derby Points: 10
Sire: Street Sense – 2007 Kentucky Derby Winner

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Final Odds: Pool #1: 29-1, Pool #2: 26-1
Current Morning Line Odds: 20-1

3 Starts, 3 Wins, Win Pct: 100%, Graded Stakes Win Pct: 100%
Last Three Starts: 1st (80 Beyer), 1st (83 Beyer), 1st (90 Beyer)
Average Beyer Speed Figure of Last Two Starts: 86.5
Fastest 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:45.47 at Delta Downs 11/22/14
Next Race: San Felipe Stakes – March 7th
Ocho Ocho Ocho’s Equibase Profile
 

Overall, I felt confident that the 2015 Kentucky Derby winner was listed in Pool #2, but I am 100% confident that he is in this pool. I would not recommend placing any bets on horses whose Morning Line Odds are greater than 30-1. This means do not waste your money on these 50-1 horses: Bolo, Danzig Moon, Keen Ice and Mr. Z.

Also, Khozan ended with 25-1 final odds in Pool #2 and he is coming off a win in his last start in a one mile race at Gulfstream. He is listed as 15-1 Morning Line Odds. Don’t buy into the hype. I felt that he was overbet in the last pool for what he had accomplished and I expect the same in this pool. I like horses who have proven that they can win in races longer than one mile (two-turns).

What am I going to do? I already placed a $20 bet on Texas Red in Pool #1 that will payout $302 if he wins. In this pool I am going to place $20 to $40 on Dortmund (horse #6) depending upon his live odds on Saturday morning. If only place $20 on Dortmund I will be looking for value and a price for any of the above horses.

Below is a ranking of the average Beyer Speed Figures of my top eight horses last two starts. Ties are broken by the higher speed in the last start.

Ranking By Average Beyer Speed Figures of Last Two Starts:
1) American Pharoah  101
2) Upstart  100
3) Dortmund  97
4) Texas Red  97
5) Carpe Diem  92
6) International Star  91
7) Ocho Ocho Ocho  86.5
8) Far From Over  82

You can follow the Future Wager Pool #3 Live Odds by clicking HERE.

You can see the full Kentucky Derby point standings by clicking HERE 


2015 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool

For the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool, I would recommend one filly only: Condo Commando. She has already won at the Oaks distance of 1 & 1/8th mile and she demolished that field in the Demoiselle Stakes winning by 11 1/2 lengths (shown below). She is listed as 8-1 Morning Line Odds and also coming off a win in the Busher Stakes. Take Charge Brandi was listed at 6-1 odds. She has a tremendous heart but I feel that Condo Commando is the more proven commodity at this point having won at 1 1/8th mile distance. So I am placing $20 on Condo Commando (horse #4) in  this Pool.


You can follow the live Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool Odds by clicking HERE

You can see the full Kentucky Oaks point standings by clicking HERE

Pursuit of The Roses – What to make of the Derby Trail races this past weekend

This past weekend (February 21st and 22nd) gave us more useful information for determining this year’s Kentucky Derby field.

Who’s in the Derby?

The following horses have enough points to guarantee their entry into the Kentucky Derby:

1) International Star – 71 points
2) Itsaknockout – 50 points
3) Upstart – 36 points

Due to injuries, performance reasons and schedule conflicts, many horses who have enough points aren’t entered in the Kentucky Derby. The following horses historically have enough points to gain entry due to these reasons

4) El Kabeir – 25 points
5) War Story  – 24 points
6) Far Right – 22 points
7) Dortmund – 20 points

Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed with any horse this past weekend in the point paying Derby races. In the Fountain of Youth shown below, all the horses looked like they were really laboring to the finish line in this 1 & 1/16th mile race. Upstart had his win taken away due to interference and veering out into Itsaknockout’s path. There was a clear violation, but I am not convinced that it would have changed the finishing order. It certainly would have made it a closer race. Even if Upstart’s win was upheld, this race wasn’t as impressive as his last start in the Holy Bull Stakes. So this begs the question, has Upstart peaked? Nevertheless, he should be one of the race favorites for the Florida Derby.

Itsaknockout is now undefeated in three starts. Once highly regarded Frosted finished 4th.


In the Risen Star Stakes, International Star established himself as a serious Kentucky Derby contender with his second consecutive win at the Fairgrounds. I had initial concerns last fall that he was a horse that preferred turf, but all those doubts have been erased now. He should be the race favorite for the Louisiana Derby and has a good pedigree. International Star’s sire Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Kentucky Derby. However, he has yet to dazzle us with  impressive Beyer Speed figures. He earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in the Lecomte Stakes and a 93 in the Risen Star.

But he is improving, not regressing and that is the most important element at this time of year. But the big question for him now—is he a rising star that had only been racing to the level of his competition?

Race favorite Imperia has a disappointing 5th place finish,


The Southwest Stakes established Far Right as the early favorite for Arkansas Derby by beating race favorite Mr Z. The wet sloppy track at Oaklawn Park on Sunday should have hindered his closer style. But once again, under jockey Mike Smith, he managed to beat Mr Z to the finish line. Far Right is a very good horse but like International Star, he has yet to dazzle us with eye-popping speed figures. Mr Z is establishing himself as a herd runner who will finish up near the front with the lead pack but not win. A better name for him would be “Close But No Cigar”

I really loved the second-place performance from The Truth Or Else under jockey Calvin Borel. This was his first start in a race longer than 1 mile and he looks like he loved the added distance. So I expect him to be a contender to American Pharoah in the upcoming Rebel Stakes.


In Other Races…

I was really impressed with the Todd Pletcher-trained horse Khozan who absolutely demolished the field in Race #5 at Gulfstream Park this past Sunday. He is a late bloomer braking his maiden in his first start in a 7 furlong race at Gulfstream Park on January 24th.


My next blog coming up this Thursday will focus on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3 and the first Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool.

Who do I think will be dropped from Pool #2 in Pool #3? Lord Nelson, J S Bach, Gorgeous Bird and Possibly Mr Z due to the expected lack of interest from bettors.

Here is who I think will be added in their place: Far From Over, Metaboss, Divining Rod and The Truth Or Else

–Michael

The Six Best Performances On The 2015 Kentucky Derby Trail

Below is a ranking of the six best performances of this year’s Kentucky Derby contenders. My criteria uses wins in races longer than one mile (two turns) and then averaging three major speed figures (Beyer Speed, Brisnet Speed and Equibase Speed). All races were 1 & 1/16th mile.

1) Upstart – His win in the 2015 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 24, 2015.

Beyer Speed Figure: 105, Brisnet Speed Figure: 105, Equibase Speed Figure: 111
Three Speed Figure Average: 107


2) DortmundHis win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park on February 7, 2015.

Beyer Speed Figure: 103, Brisnet Speed Figure: 101, Equibase Speed Figure: 114
Three Speed Figure Average: 106


3) Texas Red – His win in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile at Santa Anita Park on November 1, 2014.

Beyer Speed Figure: 104, Brisnet Speed Figure: 101, Equibase Speed Figure: 106
Three Speed Figure Average: 103.67


4) American Pharoah – His win in the 2014 Frontrunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park on September 27, 2014.

Beyer Speed Figure: 101, Brisnet Speed Figure: 96, Equibase Speed Figure: 106
Three Speed Figure Average: 102


5) Far From Over – His win in the 2015 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on February 7, 2015.

Beyer Speed Figure: 96, Brisnet Speed Figure: 96, Equibase Speed Figure: 103
Three Speed Figure Average: 98.33


6) Ocho Ocho Ocho – His win in the 2014 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes at Delta Downs on November 22, 2014.

Beyer Speed Figure: 90, Brisnet Speed Figure: 101, Equibase Speed Figure: 104
Three Speed Figure Average: 98.33


–Michael