There are 50 days at the time of this blog until Kentucky Derby 140. For some it’s a day to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports. Others come together for the world’s largest party in Louisville to celebrate the Thoroughbred. For me, it’s like my birthday, Christmas, Valentines Day, and every other holiday known to man. I started collecting data last year, and have been changing it up as the Derby prep races make their way into the books. As we near the first Saturday in May, here is my list of the “super seven” Derby hopefuls that I’m keeping tabs. Remember, things may change by week, day, or after a race. So be sure to drop by and see how things are shaping up. – Good luck!!
7. – California Chrome – Art Sherman
He is being talked about as the best runner to appear this year. His past races on synthetic do not have me buying more stock, and he has nine starts to his resume. I loved his turn of foot, and with the speedy way the Derby is shaping up. There has to be one of the tough guys who will standout. They tried to throttle him down after he jumped out of the starting gate in the San Felipe, but he was just too strong.
6. – Candy Boy – John Sadler
This son of Candy Ride is going to tangle with C.C. in the Santa Anita Derby. In the Robert B. Lewis, you saw something really good. It was early, and you saw a colt settle out and wait. He tipped off the rail with the patient hands of Gary Stevens, and you couldn’t have asked for more. If he continues any progression in the next race, I am going to really focus on this guy.
5. – Intense Holiday – Todd Pletcher
This member of the “Todd-Squad” intrigues me. He is working at Palm Meadows, and is targeted for the Louisiana Derby. He is a son of Harlan’s Holiday, and his dam is Intensify. His effort in the Risen Star caught my eye. The race was not overly fast, and he took to the deep Fair Grounds surface. He was bumped a bit down the lane and didn’t blink an eye. That kind of maturity is needed when you climb into the mega-starting gate in Louisville. If Hoppertunity does anything good in the Rebel. I’m moving this guy up as he blew him up in the Risen Star.
4. – Tapiture – Steve Asmussen
The Southwest was a solid race. Ricardo Santana had him under a hammer-lock, and he still drug him to the lead. After seeing that Strong Mandate didn’t inhale him, he drew off greenly and looked like a runner who will only get better with each start. His tactical speed is a big advantage. He is a “push-button” type of runner, and we’ll see if he is the real deal, or won easily because Strong Mandate had a horrible trip. They tangle this Saturday in the Rebel.
3. – Strong Mandate – D. Wayne Lukas
The “Coach” can bring the heat anytime you count him out. Strong Mandate is by Tiznow out of Clear Mandate. He was “nuked” in the Southwest as the big chalk, but even after being 5 wide at the half he mustered up an honest finish to be second. Runners that can overcome difficulty do well in Louisville. There will be a packed house with no promises, and runners who adapt and overcome can slam the door shut. Keeping a big eye on the Rebel this weekend.
2. – Wildcat Red – Jose Garroffalo
The Fountain of Youth was a street fight when they opened the gates. He impressed me at the half where it was 46.1 and General A Rod went past him by three quarters. He jumped right back in his face, and dug in gamely. Every runner needs a test on the way to the Derby, and he faced a good one. General a Rod is pointing to the Florida Derby, and they will throw it down once again if all things go according to plan. They won’t be the only ones in the race, but they have dueled before and “Wildcat” had the razor-sharp look.
1. – Cairo Prince – Kiaran McLaughlin
Luis Saez showed he had a versatile beast in the Holy Bull. He stayed outside in 5th as they traveled in 1:10.1 – He was under no pressure, and has the tactical ability to move when needed. He is by Pioneer of the Nile out of Holy Bubbette. Godolphin loves McLaughlin, and they are getting behind this runner in a big way. He is heading to the Florida Derby, and this should give the public a real glimpse of what is what. This guy may be up a little closer, or sit just off the pace. I will show my cards and let you know he is exciting to watch. – I guess that would make me “Master of the Obvious.”
These next three weeks present many clues to what we can expect. Turfway’s Sprial Stakes is next week, and don’t forget the poly track produced Animal Kingdom to win the Derby. In two weeks, we’ll see the Florida Derby, and Louisiana Derby. In three weeks we get an East-coast/West-coast throw down with the Wood Memorial and the Santa Anita Derby. Then the Arkansas Derby. The Blue Grass, and finally the Lexington Stakes. The Derby Trial is usually a race that points to the Preakness, but who knows ? – There are 50 days until they load the gate, and there is a ton of racing to watch ! – You can watch all of the replays for the Kentucky Derby / Oaks preps right here on Winning Ponies! Where do you think I have been doing my homework? Winning Ponies will have all of the major replays, and they will take you all the way to Derby 140. After you watch the prep replays, just download the E-Z Win Forms and get ready to make this year your most profitable Derby to date!