Road to the Derby – 2/25/17

There was more going on in the “Big Easy” than Mardi Gras. A field of eleven runners assembled at Fair Grounds and like the party in New Orleans. This was a coming out party to celebrate new faces, and question for some tried and true players. – As we’re 69 days away from the first Saturday in May. There is plenty to watch, and wager as we finalize our Derby hopeful list.

The 1 1/16 G-2 Risen Star was a glimpse at some new faces this past weekend. As horse players it is up to our inner-handicapper to decide if this was a fluke, a stroke of luck or a sign of very good things to come. Mo Town came into the race as the (7-2) morning line favorite. ┬áThe son of Uncle Mo was 2/3 with wins and training strong in the morning. His last effort in the Remsen was questioned by the wagering public and many doubts about the strength of the race were called into play. – Tony Dutrow brought his runner to New Orleans to catch the glimmer of the party and take down 50 points for the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

Girvin from the Joe Sharp barn was an outsider that had an odd glimmer. A son of Tale of Ekati had the services of Brian Hernandez Jr. and drew the rail post. At (6-1) on the morning line this caught my eye as he had two starts with a win and second place effort. His lone win was on the turf in the $50,000 Keith Gee stake, and the barn wins 15% on the change of surface. His two starts both in late 2016 may have been the late stages of growing into himself. For some reason he caught my interest. Hernandez is a very good underrated rider, and he’s one you can’t count out.

Untrapped had the look of a typical Asmussen trainee. Two starts in 2016 to break his maiden and a solid effort on the stretch-out in the G-3 Lecomte where he was forced to tap on the brakes and wait for clear sailing. Ricardo Santana was aboard and he is a go-to rider for Steve Asmussen winning 19% the past couple months as a team. This son of Trappe Shot appears to enjoy the added distance from 2016.

Local Hero had the look of a wire-to-wire runner for Asmussen with the services of Florent Geroux. They have been on a big run as late winning 41% as a team. Two races in 2016 showed good speed sprinting 7f and the come-out party for this son of Hard Spun was ultra impressive winning by 7 1/4.

Guest Suite from the Neil Howard barn was attractive 5/5 ITM with three wins. The son of Quality Road owned two bullet works and has the look of a good runner who may encounter distance limitations down the line. Three back at Churchill he ran a tough effort against McCrakin and looked the part of a runner to be followed.


After the winner was crowned and the runners headed back to the barn. I was impressed with the lightly raced Curvin under the guidance of Brian Hernandez. – The runner who really impressed was Untrapped. He floated off the rail for clear sailing and was a little wide. Take a look at his final five strides once he got his momentum in full gear. If the Wagering Gods smile kindly on this colt, he’ll give us good things to watch moving forward off this solid effort.