New to the Top 20: Wildcat Red, General A Rod, Intense Holiday, Albano
Dropped Out: Gold Hawk, Vicar’s In Trouble, Chitu, Bond Holder
We’ve also thrown in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 3 Morning Line odds.
1. Top Billing (8-1 KDFW Morning Line) – A loss over a speed favoring Gulfstream track doesn’t have me wavering on him much at all. He got another race under his belt, and the mile and one-eighth Florida Derby should be in his favor. Maybe he’s not a super horse, but as of now the Kentucky Derby sets up best for him.
2. Cairo Prince (8-1) – He’s without question the best horse in the crop at this current time. Can he get the mile and one quarter distance of the Derby…I’m still not sure, but the horses he’s beaten have went on to run extremely well. Top Billing vs. Cairo Prince in the Florida Derby would be rather interesting!
3. Tapiture (15-1) – His dominating Southwest win lands him in this spot, and also stamps him as a major player from here on out. He did get a perfect trip, but you have to give the horse credit for taking advantage of it, and crushing most of the field. His rematch in the Rebel with Strong Mandate will be fun…
4. Strong Mandate (20-1) – This horse is becoming famous for brutal trips. Pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong did in the Southwest, but he still battled gamely and finished a well clear second in that race. You have to like the education he’s gotten so far. Eventually he’s going to get the trip, and then we’ll find out just how talented he might be.
5. Candy Boy (20-1) – Had to like his race in the Robert Lewis, and like I suspected it looks like he’s going to like the extra distance that is sure to come next time out. I didn’t think he could beat Midnight Hawk at the Lewis distance, but he did.
6. Shared Belief (12-1) – The news has been more positive lately for Shared Belief fans as he’s back in training and seems to be somewhat back on the Derby Trail. However, we are all still on hold with him to see what happens and where he runs.
7. Honor Code (10-1) – It’s looks like the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn could be his return race which would be entertaining to say the least considering he’d likely face Tapiture and Strong Mandate. How he and Shared Belief progress off their respective set backs still are a major story line.
8. Samraat (30-1) – Now it looks like he will be running in this weekend’s Gotham Stakes, so we’ll see if he can remain unbeaten. Nobody is really talking about this horse much, but he’s sneaking up the list. Another big win this weekend would progress him even further.
9. Intense Holiday (15-1) – It was a brilliant move to by Todd Pletcher to send Intense Holiday to Fair Grounds, as he benefited from the long stretch run to win the Risen Star. The win throws his name into the mix, and Churchill Downs should be kind to Intense Holiday as it has a long stretch as well. All along this has been a sneaky good horse for Pletcher…the mile and one-quarter could make him even more dangerous.
10. Constitution (20-1) – He was the winner of the “super allowance” race on Fountain of Youth day, and earned a 98 beyer in the process. The lightly race colt is now 2 for 2 so lets see if he can pick up some derby points next time out. His chances will be limited.
11. Bayern (15-1) – I’m not ready to be over the moon about him yet, but that allowance win at Santa Anita was eye-catching. He’ll have to prove it against the top California competition next, but you would think if he can bring that race again he can win.
12. Bobby’s Kitten (6-1 “All Others”) – Loads of talent…but can he run on the dirt? The plan is to try the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland, and then move on to Churchill if he runs well in that race. He’s as classy as they come, and if they can get him qualified he might have a say in things. In the past turf horses have actually ran well over the Churchill Downs dirt track.
13. Wildcat Red (20-1) – The track helped Wildcat Red win the Fountain of Youth, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an impressive victory. The horse has shown a tremendous amount of heart, and his early speed will always make him dangerous. I don’t think the mile and one-quarter is up his alley, but he’s earned the right to take a chance at it.
14. General A Rod (20-1) – He beat Wildcat Red the first time they met, but lost when it counted most in the Fountain of Youth. However, it was by a narrow margin, and he the two will probably be pointing towards the same race again next time out.
15. Commissioner (6-1 “All Others”) – Not ready to close the door on Commissioner yet as the track was playing too fast, and the mile and one sixteenth distance of the Fountain of Youth was too sharp for him under those conditions. He’ll make his next start away from Gulfstream Park which will be good, and I expect him to run much better.
16. Uncle Sigh (50-1) – I’ll be honest in saying I wasn’t totally sold on him going into the Withers, but he showed a ton of heart and more importantly talent in that race. The distance of the Derby could be questionable, but he’s worth a solid mention at this point. We’ll see if he can turn the tables on Samraat this weekend in the Gotham.
17. Mexicoma (6-1 “All Others”) – Finished third in the allowance race with Constitution, but much like Top Billing that track just didn’t fit Mexicoma’s running style. We’ll give him one more chance before he falls off the list.
18. Midnight Hawk (6-1 “All Others”) – I’m not ready to jump completely off his bandwagon, but as I said last week I don’t think this is a distance horse. He stays on the list because I still think he’ll make some noise on the Derby Trail in California.
19. Albano (30-1) – Larry Jones is back in derby contention once again. If the Risen Star were run at any other race track in the country Albano would have probably won the race, but he just couldn’t hold off the late run from Intense Holiday on that long Fair Grounds stretch. Still, this horse showed a lot of progression, and could be the real sleeper of the bunch.
20. Tamarando (30-1) – I’ll keep him on the list just because of his consistency. Other horses may be better at times, but this one just shows up and runs his race every time they ask him to do so.
Free Brisnet past performances from Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager available here.
More information on the KDFW is available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.