Oaklawn Swag Part 2: The Arkansas Derby

Here are some of the pictures we captured from the paddock area right before the running of the Arkansas Derby!  Enjoy!

Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) Preview

1. Danza

DanzaRace Record:(3) 1-0-2

Earnings:$66,428

Jockey: Joe Bravo

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:One of two Pletcher entries kicks us off as we move through this competitive field of nine!  Pletcher won this race last year with Overanalyze, but Danza comes in lightly race and needs to step up big time to compete.  He’s had just one race since August of last year.  In his lone start this year he was third in an allowance at Gulfstream, so it’s hard seeing him beating this talented group.

2. Knock Em Flat

Oaklawn 2011Race Record: (5) 1-2-0

Earnings:$63,800

Jockey:Luis Quinonez

Trainer:Donnie K Von Hemel

Graded Stakes Victories: 0

The Verdict:Tough to see how this one can match up class wise with most of these.  I think the light bulb finally came on last time out in his crushing maiden win, but this will be asking too much.  He is cross entered in a smaller stakes earlier on the card, and that should probably be where he ends up

3. Tapiture

tapRace Record: (6) 2-2-2

Earnings:$440,838

Jockey:Joel Rosario

Trainer:Steve Asmussen

Graded Stakes Victories:2

The Verdict:He was the clear-cut winner of the Southwest Stakes, and with a clean trip he probably would have won the Rebel Stakes as well.  He currently sits at number two on our Kentucky Derby rankings list, and deserves favoritism in this race.  The son of Tapit has gotten a mile and one-sixteenth without any problems at all, and I think he’ll stretch out to this distance fine.  Likely winner with the right trip.

4. Ride On Curlin

ROCRace Record:(8) 2-1-4

Earnings: $214,687

Jockey:Jon Court

Trainer:William Gowan

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:We saw a major progression from him last time out in the Rebel Stakes, as he battled with Strong Mandate all the way around the track before finishing a close third.  The workouts since that race have been huge, and many locals are picking this horse to pull off the upset.  We know the breeding is there, and we’ve seen flashes of brilliance talent wise, but can this “wise guy” horse get it done on the big stage?

5. Thundergram

Oaklawn 2011Race Record:(6) 1-3-1

Earnings:$65,600

Jockey: Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Trainer:Mark Casse

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:Curious spot for him to land…especially since trainer Mark Casse has a much more worthy competitor in Conquest Titan.  You can’t see much in the past performances that gives Thundergram any kind of a chance against this tough bunch of runners.

6. Commissioner

Commissioner_Top-Billing_Coglianese-684x533Race Record: (5) 2-1-1

Earnings:$189,100

Jockey:Mike Smith

Trainer:Todd Pletcher

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:I’m not ready to give up on him just yet!  Commissioner will finally get off of a track that favors speed when he runs in this one, and should benefit greatly from it.  He’ll need a little pace to run at, which he should get, and I love the mile and one-eighth distance for him.  Many people think the horse is too slow, but I believe the tracks he’s been running on made him look that way.  He’s my long shot pick!

7. Conquest Titan

ConquestTitanSwynfordStakes2013MB298Race Record:(7) 2-1-0

Earnings:$208,995

Jockey:Calvin Borel

Trainer:Mark Casse

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:While most have jumped off he Commissioner bandwagon, I’ve jumped off the Conquest Titan bandwagon.  Actually I was never on it to begin with.  I’ve never seen why this one had all the hype that he’s had, and I’ll make him beat me before I believe.  It is a little scary that so many still believe in him though…if you are one of those people maybe you can comment on this preview and explain why.

8. Bayern

bayern1Race Record:(2) 2-0-0

Earnings:$68,400

Jockey:Gary Stevens

Trainer:Bob Baffert

Graded Stakes Victories:0

The Verdict:File this one under the “wouldn’t be surprise with anything” category.  He’s a wild card in every sense of the word.  Lightly raced, been off for a while, but he’s showed a tremendous amount of talent.  I’ve heard lots of comparisons to Bodemeister this week, but Bode came to Hot Springs off a second place effort against a tough stakes field.  Bayern comes in off an easy allowance victory.  That lack of seasoning might keep him from winning.

9. Strong Mandate

Strong MandateRace Record:(7) 2-1-1

Earnings:$522,900

Jockey:Luis Saez

Trainer:D Wayne Lukas

Graded Stakes Victories:1

The Verdict:It’s put up or shut up time for Strong Mandate.  There is no question he had legit excuses when finishing third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and second in the Southwest Stakes, but his fourth place effort in the Rebel with a perfect trip was concerning.  His breeding suggests he can run all day, but his races suggests one turn races are best of him.  He truly is a question mark.

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Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #9

Ky

COMING SOON: In the coming weeks stayed tuned for our brand new website and logo update!!  It should be a major upgrade across the board, and we hope you all will enjoy it!
New to the Top 20: Wicked Strong
Dropped Out: Ride On Curlin

1. California Chrome – We didn’t believe for the longest time…but now we do!  He’s now the favorite to win this one with the only question being how well he’ll run over the Churchill Downs surface.  From now on I’ll refer to him as “The Freak.”

2. Tapiture – It’s finally Arkansas Derby week, and Tapiture will have a tough task in front of him.  He’ll have the services of Joel Rosario, and with a clean trip I don’t think he can be beat this week.

3. Wicked Strong – Will the real Wicked Strong please stand up?  If the Kentucky Derby was ran at Aqueduct he’d be looking really good right now.  This proves how terrible a fit the Gulfstream track was for him, and now he’s stamped himself as a legit player.  One thing that is so important to note: He’s the only horse that has won one of these preps from off the pace.

4. Hoppertunity – California Chrome may have crushed him, but I really like what I saw out of Hoppertunity in the Santa Anita Derby.  He’ll have no problem with the Kentucky Derby distance, and if he can just continue to progress he’ll have a big shot.  Ran to my expectations, just not good enough to beat the freak.

5. Constitution – Huge victory in the Florida Derby!  I liked his willingness to go through a small hole along the rail, and you had to admire how gamely he fought off the pesky Wildcat Red.  Of course zero starts at two is scary, and he also still doesn’t seem to good about sitting behind horses.  He might have the most raw talent, but his lack of experience could be his downfall.

6. Samraat – My respect for him grows with each and every race.  He may have been defeated for the first time, but it took a giant effort to do it.  His game finish to out-nose Social Inclusion at the wire was respectable, and shows me he will fight all the way to the wire.  Win or lose in Kentucky…this horse is so likable.

7. Intense Holiday – It was a wild stretch run for Intense Holiday in the Louisiana Derby as he banged into the rail and had trouble switching leads.  Still, he managed to finish second and still is one that will have a shot in Kentucky.

8. Candy Boy  – Much like Cairo Prince, Candy Boy did not run his best race after a long layoff in the Santa Anita Derby.  He still is sitting in a good spot as far as making the field, and hopefully for his sake he’ll rebound with a better effort if he makes it into the race.

9. Cairo Prince – Talk about your all time back fire…Cairo Prince now sits on the bubble of even making it to the Kentucky Derby.  It was obvious that the Florida Derby was not his best effort, but I do think he’ll bounce back and run better next time out.  Not completely writing him off…

10. Strong Mandate – Still believe this one has a big race left in him somewhere…maybe we’ll see it in the Arkansas Derby.  If not, he may not even make the race.

11. Bobby’s Kitten – It’s now or never in the Blue Grass Stakes this weekend.  He’ll most likely be the post time favorite, but can he live up to the expectations?

12. Wildcat Red – My hat goes off to this horse, he’s not supposed to be running this far but he just keeps on fighting.  I thought for sure General A Rod and Constitution would leave him in the dust in the Florida Derby, but this guy has a big heart.  He’s earned his shot in the Derby.

13. Vicar’s In Trouble – Ran a terrific race when winning the Louisiana Derby, but still can’t see him getting the mile and one-quarter distance.  Nice story to have a Louisiana bred making the race though.

14. Toast of New York – Dubai winner has a ton of things going against him, but also has an abundance of talent.  Might be classier than all of these, but can he run on dirt and will he handle the trip well?

15. General A Rod – His third place effort in the Florida Derby was a tad disappointing considering it looked like he had every chance to go by for most of the stretch run.  He’ll have a small chance in Kentucky, but might not be good enough.

16. Uncle Sigh – Picked the wrong time to run a bad race, but I still think he’ll end up running in the Kentucky Derby.  Nice horse, but the distance will likely wear him down.

17. Ring Weekend – Second place efforts in the Calder Derby usually don’t lead to wins in the Kentucky Derby.  I’ll leave him on the list based on the number of points he’s earned.

18. We Miss Artie – We’ve already seen him falter on dirt.  Nice synthetic horse, will be tough for him to win the Derby though.

19. Chitu –Not liking his chances at all at a mile and one-quarter.

20. Social Inclusion – I’ll keep him on the list for now because he might still get into the field with a lot of luck.  I actually thought his third place performance in the Wood was impressive, especially since his ride was curious to say the least.  The jock basically thought they were going to cruise home to an easy win, then the water got real deep real fast and he panicked.  Don’t forget about this one…

Free Brisnet past performances from Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager available here.

More information on the KDFW is available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.

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Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #8

Ky

COMING SOON: In the coming weeks stayed tuned for our brand new website and logo update!!  It should be a major upgrade across the board, and we hope you all will enjoy it!
New to the Top 20: Vicar’s In Trouble, Toast of New York
Dropped Out: Albano, Midnight Hawk

1. Candy Boy  – This has turned into an impossible task!  This Kentucky Derby is as wide open as ever, but somebody has to be number one so it’s Candy Boy that assumes the spot.  He runs this Saturday in the Santa Anita Derby, which is starting to look like a loaded race.

2. Tapiture – He’s probably ran the two most consistent prep races, and will be favored in the Arkansas Derby in two weeks.  I’m still not sold on him getting a mile and one-quarter, but if he can he has a real shot to win.  Remember…he has a victory at Chruchill Downs.

3. Samraat – Looks to make it three Kentucky Derby prep races in a row this weekend in the Wood Memorial!  What a story this horse has been, and it would be great if he stay undefeated heading into the Kentucky Derby.  This weekend will be his toughest challenge yet…

4. California Chrome – Speaking of great stories, how about this California bred who might become the number one prospect for the Kentucky Derby after this weekend?  He’s proven to be faster (at least speed figure wise) that Candy Boy, but can he beat him head to head as the distances get longer?

5. Hoppertunity – Wow, did everyone see the workout he put in last weekend?  This could be the horse to look out for, as he’s definitely improving at the right time.  Baffert indicated that the Santa Anita Derby this weekend will be next for Hoppertunity, as the horse looks ready to roll.

6. Constitution – Huge victory in the Florida Derby!  I liked his willingness to go through a small hole along the rail, and you had to admire how gamely he fought off the pesky Wildcat Red.  Of course zero starts at two is scary, and he also still doesn’t seem to good about sitting behind horses.  He might have the most raw talent, but his lack of experience could be his downfall.

7. Intense Holiday – It was a wild stretch run for Intense Holiday in the Louisiana Derby as he banged into the rail and had trouble switching leads.  Still, he managed to finish second and still is one that will have a shot in Kentucky.

8 Ring Weekend – It’s amazing that this horse has moved up eighth.  He’ll have the oddest final Derby prep race of all time…The Calder Derby.

9. Social Inclusion – Time to find out what this horse is all about in the Wood Memorial this weekend.  He’s pretty much the only true wildcard left out of the bunch.  He could be a total freak, or he could flop when up against stakes company.  It will be fascinating to watch.

10. Uncle Sigh – He’ll get one more swing at Samraat this weekend, but I think the added distance will probably hurt him.  I do expect him to give us another gutsy performance, and one that might be good enough to propel him into the Kentucky Derby.

11. Cairo Prince – Talk about your all time back fire…Cairo Prince now sits on the bubble of even making it to the Kentucky Derby.  It was obvious that Saturday was not his best effort, but I do think he’ll bounce back and run better next time out.  Not completely writing him off…

12. Strong Mandate – Still believe this one has a big race left in him somewhere…maybe we’ll see it in the Arkansas Derby.

13. Bobby’s Kitten – If this horse can handle the dirt it’s looking more and more like he can really be a player.  Personally I think he’s classier than almost anyone on this list.  The plan is to run in the Bluegrass Stakes in two weeks…if he wins that one I’ll start believing.

14. Wildcat Red – My hat goes off to this horse, he’s not supposed to be running this far but he just keeps on fighting.  I thought for sure General A Rod and Constitution would leave him in the dust in the Florida Derby, but this guy has a big heart.  He’s earned his shot in the Derby.

15. Vicar’s In Trouble – Ran a terrific race when winning the Louisiana Derby, but still can’t see him getting the mile and one-quarter distance.  Nice story to have a Louisiana bred making the race though.

16. Toast of New York – Dubai winner has a ton of things going against him, but also has an abundance of talent.  Might be classier than all of these, but can he run on dirt and will he handle the trip well?

17. General A Rod – His third place effort in the Florida Derby was a tad disappointing considering it looked like he had every chance to go by for most of the stretch run.  He’ll have a small chance in Kentucky, but might not be good enough.

18. We Miss Artie – We’ve already seen him falter on dirt.  Nice synthetic horse, will be tough for him to win the Derby though.

19. Chitu –Not liking his chances at all at a mile and one-quarter.

20. Ride On Curlin – Showed his class in the Rebel Stakes last time in a big way, and with another solid effort in the Arkansas Derby he could be a nice “under the radar” prospect.  He’s had trouble putting two in a row together though.

Free Brisnet past performances from Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager available here.

More information on the KDFW is available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.

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Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #7

Ky

COMING SOON: In the coming weeks stayed tuned for our brand new website and logo update!!  It should be a major upgrade across the board, and we hope you all will enjoy it!
New to the Top 20: We Miss Artie, Chitu, Midnight Hawk
Dropped Out: Honor Code, Commissioner, Tamarando

We’ve also thrown in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 4 Morning Line odds and current Kentucky Derby 2014 point standings.

1. Cairo Prince (6-1 KDFW Morning Line) – It’s Florida Derby week and basically the moment of truth for our top ranked horse.  With his lack of Derby points, he must finish in the top three here to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

2. Candy Boy (12-1) – It looks like he’ll have a legit threat in the Santa Anita Derby as California Chrome looks pretty impressive.  Still liking this one a bit more, especially with the added distance.

3. Tapiture (15-1) – There is no question in my mind he was the best horse in the Rebel.  He got mugged in the stretch, but still battle through it all to finish second.  Not sure how he’ll be with added distance, but he hasn’t shown signs of slowing up yet.

4. Samraat (15-1) – Quietly moving up the ranks!  The colt has done nothing wrong, but will be tested with the extra distance of the Wood Memorial next time out.  That seems to be the only question mark on him.

5. California Chrome (5-1) – Welcome to the Kentucky Derby picture California Chrome!  You can never quite trust a state bred until you see them against open company, but just like Samraat this guy proved he’s for real in a big way as he crushed open company in the San Felipe.  His beyer number is the highest of any horse in the crop.  Will he travel well?

6. Intense Holiday (20-1) – To me this is the horse that has the most to gain this weekend.  He was a narrow winner in the Risen Star, but you would think the added distance of the Louisiana Derby could move him up even more.

7. Hoppertunity (12-1) – The horse showed he’s legit, although his trip was better than Tapiture’s.  With them both getting fair trips Tapiture is probably better, but Hoppertunity is on the improve and moving up the ranks.

8. Constitution (30-1) – He’ll be one of Cairo Prince’s main challengers in the Florida Derby.  Much like Cairo Prince, Constitution needs to hit the board in this one to have any chance of qualifying.

9. Ring Weekend (50-1) – Absolute runaway winner of the Tampa Bay Derby came out of nowhere!!  The trip and set up were perfect for him, but I still like that he drew away from this field nicely.  It may have not been the strongest group, but this runner proved he has to be taken seriously.

10. Social Inclusion (20-1) – From super allowance win to Wood Memorial winner??  That’s what Social Inclusion will be trying to do next Saturday at Aqueduct.  If he wins…we could be looking at the top rated three-year old in the country.

11. Uncle Sigh (30-1) – The Kentucky Derby distance is a serious question mark, but you can’t underestimate this ones heart.  The rivalry with him and Samraat has been a bright spot during the early prep races.

12. Strong Mandate (20-1) – No question the Rebel was a disappointing effort.  Will we ever see the real Strong Mandate, or have we already seen him?  Still think the potential is there…

13. Bobby’s Kitten (30-1) – He’s back, and he looked as good as ever!  We all are skeptical as to if he can run a step on the dirt, and if he makes the Kentucky Derby it will be his first start on something other than turf of poly track.  He has an all or nothing shot at the Derby as he’s scheduled for the Bluegrass Stakes in April.

14. Wildcat Red (30-1) – Will he stretch out to a mile and an eighth??  We’ll found out this week in the Florida Derby!

15. General A Rod (30-1) – He’s quietly flying under the radar, but I think the added distance of the Florida Derby will help him turn the tables on Wildcat Red.  However, is he good enough to beat Cairo Prince and Constitution?

16. Albano (50-1) – Rematch time for Albano in the Louisiana Derby vs. Intense Holiday!  He’s definitely on the improve, but can he stretch his speed out going even longer and hold off all challengers?

17. We Miss Artie (30-1) – I don’t give him much of a shot in Kentucky, but he won the Spiral last weekend so I have to rank him because he has qualified for the race.

18. Chitu (10-1) – Another that I give zero shot at winning, but like We Miss Artie, Chitu has qualified by staggering home to finish first in the Sunland Derby.

19. Ride On Curlin (30-1) – This one ran a big race in the Rebel to finish third, and probably surprised more than a few people with that effort.  Maybe he’s not a “miler” like many have said.  The Arkansas Derby is next for him, and it should tell the story of where he’ll go one way or another.

20. Midnight Hawk (20-1) – I put him here for my own amusement more than anything else.  He has 34 points which makes him a lock for the Kentucky Derby if they want to run him there, but the horse can barely stand up after a mile.  Definitely should not be pointing towards this race.

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.

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Blinkers Off 065: Kentucky Derby Road En Fuego Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page.

Blinkers Off 065: Kentucky Derby Road En Fuego – March 21, 2014

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes recap the controversial stretch drive in the Grade II Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn Park, and preview the last two 50 point races of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series at Turfway and Sunland Park with the Grade III Sprial Stakes and Grade III Sunland Derby.

[audio https://racingdudes.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/blinkers-off-065.mp3|titles=Blinkers Off 065: Kentucky Derby Road En Fuego]

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Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #6

Ky

New to the Top 20: Hoppertunity, Social Inclusion, Ride On Curlin
Dropped Out: Kobe’s Back, In Trouble, Vinceremos

1. Cairo Prince – With Top Billing now off the Derby trail, Cairo Prince assumes the top spot for the first time this year.  He’s ran the best and most consistent races out of any of the others in the crop, and his competition in the Holy Bull that he beat have come back to run well.  The Florida Derby is up next for him.

2. Candy Boy – It looks like he’ll have a legit threat in the Santa Anita Derby as California Chrome looks pretty impressive.  Still liking this one a bit more, especially with the added distance.

3. Tapiture – There is no question in my mind he was the best horse in the Rebel.  He got mugged in the stretch, but still battle through it all to finish second.  Not sure how he’ll be with added distance, but he hasn’t shown signs of slowing up yet.

4. Samraat – Quietly moving up the ranks!  The colt has done nothing wrong, but will be tested with the extra distance of the Wood Memorial next time out.  That seems to be the only question mark on him.

5. California Chrome – Welcome to the Kentucky Derby picture California Chrome!  You can never quite trust a state bred until you see them against open company, but just like Samraat this guy proved he’s for real in a big way as he crushed open company in the San Felipe.  His beyer number is the highest of any horse in the crop.  Will he travel well?

6. Intense Holiday – It’s odd that you still don’t hear much buzz about Intense Holiday, but he’s looking better and better everyday.  The horse is scheduled to run in the Louisiana Derby next, and you can bet his running style will fit in quite well once he gets to Kentucky.

7. Hoppertunity – New to the list after upsetting in the Rebel Stakes over the weekend.  The horse showed he’s legit, although his trip was better than Tapiture’s.  With them both getting fair trips Tapiture is probably better, but Hoppertunity is on the improve and moving up the ranks.

8. Constitution – He’s a perfect two for two, but he has not faced stakes company yet.  His last victory at Gulfstream was against a super group of allowance horses which might project that he will be able to handle the jump up in class that is sure to happen next time out.

9. Ring Weekend – Absolute runaway winner of the Tampa Bay Derby came out of nowhere!!  The trip and set up were perfect for him, but I still like that he drew away from this field nicely.  It may have not been the strongest group, but this runner proved he has to be taken seriously.

10. Social Inclusion – Talk about coming out of nowhere!!  Social Inclusion was a runaway winner over Honor Code in an allowance on Wednesday, and will look to a Derby points stakes race next time out.  He’ll have one opportunity to qualify, so he must make the most of it.

11. Uncle Sigh – The Kentucky Derby distance is a serious question mark, but you can’t underestimate this ones heart.  The rivalry with him and Samraat has been a bright spot during the early prep races.

12. Strong Mandate – No question the Rebel was a disappointing effort.  Will we ever see the real Strong Mandate, or have we already seen him?  Still think the potential is there…

13. Bobby’s Kitten – He’s back, and he looked as good as ever!  We all are skeptical as to if he can run a step on the dirt, and if he makes the Kentucky Derby it will be his first start on something other than turf of poly track.  He has an all or nothing shot at the Derby as he’s scheduled for the Bluegrass Stakes in April.

14. Wildcat Red – Believe he’s more of a miler, but he has run very fast races and deserves to be ranked for now.  The Florida Derby will tell us if he stays in the rankings.

15. General A Rod – Recently defeated by Wildcat Red, but the added distance of the Florida Derby will most likely help him turn the tables next time out.  He’s probably the better of the two prospects when projecting who will run well in the Kentucky Derby.

16. Commissioner – Very curious to see where he ends up next, and how well he runs.  I was very high on him in the Fountain of Youth, but that track did him no favors.  Still think he could be something special…

17. Honor Code – He really looked off when getting smoked by Social Inclusion in that Wednesday allowance race that was basically made for him.  His connections claim he came out of the race in good order and could point for the Florida Derby next.  Still, the signs all point to this not turning out well.

18. Albano – Narrowly defeated by Intense Holiday in the Risen Star, and will look to turn the tables on him next time out in the Louisiana Derby.  Trainer Larry Jones knows how to get them ready so you can’t count Albano out.

19. Tamarando – Runs this weekend in the Turfway Spiral Stakes, and should have a decent chance over a surface that he likes.  Like I’ve said from day one, he’s very respectable.

20. Ride On Curlin – This one ran a big race in the Rebel to finish third, and probably surprised more than a few people with that effort.  Maybe he’s not a “miler” like many have said.  The Arkansas Derby is next for him, and it should tell the story of where he’ll go one way or another.

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.

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Blinkers Off 064: Oaklawn Park Stakes Racing Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page.

Blinkers Off 064: Oaklawn Park Stakes Racing – March 14, 2014

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes preview a huge weekend of racing at Oaklawn Park including the Grade II Rebel Stakes, Grade II Azeri Stakes and Grade III Razorback Handicap.

[audio https://racingdudes.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/blinkers-off-064.mp3|titles=Blinkers Off 064: Oaklawn Park Stakes Racing]

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Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #5

Ky

New to the Top 20: California Chrome, Ring Weekend, Vinceremos, Kobe’s Back
Dropped Out: Top Billing, Shared Belief, Bayern, Midnight Hawk

With the Kentucky Derby fast approaching, you can find odds information by clicking here: 2014 Kentucky Derby Odds

1. Cairo Prince – With Top Billing now off the Derby trail, Cairo Prince assumes the top spot for the first time this year.  He’s ran the best and most consistent races out of any of the others in the crop, and his competition in the Holy Bull that he beat have come back to run well.  The Florida Derby is up next for him.

2. Tapiture – It’s Rebel week, which means round two of the showdown between Tapiture and Strong Mandate.  Tapiture is plenty talented, but whether or not he can get the mile and one-quarter is still in question.  That question won’t have to be answered this weekend, but they only get longer after the Rebel.

3. Strong Mandate – The tough luck Strong Mandate gets another shot this week at Tapiture in the Rebel Stakes, and hopefully he can finally get a half way decent trip.  The talent and ability are there, now we’ll see if the maturity level can rise to match that ability.  If it does, he can become the number one horse in the crop.

4. Candy Boy – It looks like he’ll have a legit threat in the Santa Anita Derby as California Chrome was impressive last weekend.  Still liking this one a bit more, especially with the added distance.

5. Samraat – Quietly moving up the ranks!  The colt has don’t nothing wrong, but will be tested with the extra distance of the Wood Memorial next time out.  That seems to be the only question mark on him.

6. California Chrome – Welcome to the Kentucky Derby picture California Chrome!  You can never quite trust a state bred until you see them against open company, but just like Samraat this guy proved he’s for real in a big way as he crushed open company in the San Felipe.  His beyer number is the highest of any horse in the crop.  Will he travel well?

7. Intense Holiday – It’s odd that you still don’t hear much buzz about Intense Holiday, but he’s looking better and better everyday.  The horse is scheduled to run in the Louisiana Derby next, and you can bet his running style will fit in quite well once he gets to Kentucky.

8. Honor Code – Skipping the Rebel and running in an allowance Wednesday at Gulfstream.  Seems like a curious move, and one that will make his only Derby prep race an all or nothing shot.  The move makes me skeptical…

9. Constitution – He’s a perfect two for two, but he has not faced stakes company yet.  His last victory at Gulfstream was against a super group of allowance horses which might project that he will be able to handle the jump up in class that is sure to happen next time out.

10. Ring Weekend – Absolute runaway winner of the Tampa Bay Derby came out of nowhere!!  The trip and set up were perfect for him, but I still like that he drew away from this field nicely.  It may have not been the strongest group, but this runner proved he has to be taken seriously.

11. Uncle Sigh – The Kentucky Derby distance is a serious question mark, but you can’t underestimate this ones heart.  The rivalry with him and Samraat has been a bright spot during the early prep races.

12. Bobby’s Kitten – He’s back, and he looked as good as ever!  We all are skeptical as to if he can run a step on the dirt, and if he makes the Kentucky Derby it will be his first start on something other than turf of poly track.  He has an all or nothing shot at the Derby as he’s scheduled for the Bluegrass Stakes in April.

13. Wildcat Red – Believe he’s more of a miler, but he has run very fast races and deserves to be ranked for now.  The Florida Derby will tell us if he stays in the rankings.

14. General A Rod – Recently defeated by Wildcat Red, but the added distance of the Florida Derby will most likely help him turn the tables next time out.  He’s probably the better of the two prospects when projecting who will run well in the Kentucky Derby.

15. Commissioner – Very curious to see where he ends up next, and how well he runs.  I was very high on him in the Fountain of Youth, but that track did him no favors.  Still think he could be something special…

16. Vinceremos – New to the list and very deserving off two consistent Tampa Bay efforts.  He’s not going to blow you away with his talent, but he’s the kind of horse that will find his way into the Derby field just by being an honest effort kind of horse.

17. Albano – Narrowly defeated by Intense Holiday in the Risen Star, and will look to turn the tables on him next time out in the Louisiana Derby.  Trainer Larry Jones knows how to get them ready so you can’t count Albano out.

18. In Trouble – Was very impressed with his effort in the Gotham last time out off a long layoff.  Now the question is whether he can repeat that again, and find himself a spot in the Derby

19. Tamarando – Hard knocking and honest horse, but perhaps a little short on talent.  He’s got a great shot to make the Derby, but perhaps not a great shot at winning it.  Could see him passing tired horse late though…maybe a superfecta crasher. 

20. Kobe’s Back – We’ll find out how he does going two turns this weekend in a tough Rebel Stakes.  If he can carry his speed going longer, he could be especially dangerous.

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.

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Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #4

Ky

New to the Top 20: In Trouble
Dropped Out: Mexicoma

1. Top Billing – 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 – 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 – Strong workout last weekend as he prepares for the Rebel Stakes next week.  Questions loom about him wanting the mile and one-quarter distance, but he’s obviously very talented.

4. Strong Mandate – Also came in with a big workout in preparing for the Rebel Stakes.  Needs a better trip than what he got in the Southwest as the Rebel looks to be coming up tough.  Still think if/when he puts it all together he could be scary good.

5. Candy Boy – Skipping the San Felipe and waiting for the Santa Anita Derby.  Risky move perhaps, but who in California can beat him right now?

6. Samraat – I really expected this one to kind fizzle out, but I don’t have that opinion anymore.  His Gotham win was very impressive, and he looks to have Uncle Sigh measured.  Can he do it outside of Aqueduct?  Can he get ten furlongs?  Questions that still need to be answered…but it’s clear that this is a talented horse.

7. Shared Belief – The world is still waiting for something….anything…a sign…anybody have a clue what’s going on?

8. Honor Code – He’s like Shared Belief in the injury department, but unlike Shared Belief in other ways as we at least know he’s making steady progress for a return in the Rebel Stakes.  That race will likely have a tremendous impact on things.

9. Intense Holiday – 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 – 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 – Takes his first swing at a Stakes this Saturday in the San Felipe at Santa Anita, and judging by the looks of the field he should be the post time favorite.  Really good spot for his first try against tougher.

12. Uncle Sigh – This guy is a fighter!  Twice he’s ran winning races only to finish second to the talented Samraat.  Of course ten furlongs still is in question, but there is no doubt this horse will give it his best effort.

13. Bobby’s Kitten – 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.

14. Wildcat Red – 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.

15. General A Rod – 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.

16. Commissioner – 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.

17. Midnight Hawk – He’ll be looking for a bit of redemption this weekend in the San Felipe after finishing third last time out.  He matches up favorably against a field that has come up short; it could come down to him and his stable mate Bayern.

18. Albano – 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.

19. In Trouble – He’s our only new addition to the list this week as he finished a solid third in the Gotham Stakes off a layoff.  If he improves off that effort he could really shoot up the standings, but would it be asking too much of him to get involved this late in the game?

20. Tamarando – 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.

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