Final Kentucky Derby Rankings

2014KentuckyDerbyLogoColor

1. California Chrome – There is no questioning the talent this horse has…can he take his show on the road is the only question mark left to answer for this Kentucky Derby Favorite. He brings a huge fan following with him, and also a bit of mystery as he won’t arrive to Churchill Downs until the week of the race. One of the more unlikely and entertaining favorites in Kentucky Derby history!

2. Hoppertunity – Just keeps getting better and better with each race and workout. He’s been clearly defeated by California Chrome, but if Chrome doesn’t show up with his best effort this is the horse that can take him down. His work on Wednesday morning was very strong.

3. Wicked Strong – Can he give his best effort outside of the state of New York? Wicked Strong is one of the few horses to win from off the pace which is great news in this field that should have a fast pace, but he’s ran a few duds outside of New York. Will Churchill suit him?

4. Intense Holiday – He’s been forgotten about since finishing second in the Louisiana Derby, but I look for him to rebound with a nice race. The long Churchill Downs stretch will be to his liking.

5. Samraat – This might be the toughest horse out of them all. He’s yet to run a bad race, and in the only loss of his career he was still a game second to Wicked Strong. Has a little bit of pedigree problems, but you can’t underestimate him.

6. Tapiture – Fairly disappointing effort in the Arkansas Derby, but perhaps he can rebound at the right time. Pedigree has always been in question…looked flat going a mile and one eighth.

7. Candy Boy – The Santa Anita Derby was not a good effort at all, but I do believe he’ll improve in this one. The extra distance should be right up his alley, and hopefully they can get him to settle early and make one big run at the end.

8. Wildcat Red – He’s outrunning his pedigree distance wise so you can’t discredit this ones heart. Most likely will be close to the lead the whole way, and also will most likely be the one fighting to stay around at the end.

9. Danza – Is he for real…or is he a one hit wonder? The first Saturday in May will give us an indication, but as of now this one has me puzzled.

10. Ride On Curlin – His level of improvement throughout the prep season has been great, and many are raving about his workouts leading up to this race. Can he make those workouts translate into a big time victory? Maybe…you also have to like that Calvin Borel has jumped aboard.

11. Uncle Sigh – Pedigree wise this one is shaky, but he’s another that has a lot of heart. I don’t look at him as a horse that can win, but he might keep trying while others will quit.

12. General A Rod – I’ve wanted to like this horse for awhile now, but he just has kind of developed into a hanger. In both his last two races at Gulfstream it looked like he was going to win during the stretch, and both times he’s come up short.

13. Dance With Fate – Really great performance in the Bluegrass, but his connections even hinted that this one is a poly track specialist. Will make him beat me.

14. Commanding Curve – Definitely a logical longshot pick here. Had a pretty nice closing kick last time out, and this trainer proved to us last year that you can’t leave him off any tickets.

15. Vicar’s In Trouble – I love the talent this one has…his natural turn of foot and early speed is something to be respected. However, I just have zero confidence that he can get the mile and one quarter Derby distance. If by some chance he can he could become very dangerous.

16. Vinceremos – Forget about his performance last time out in the Bluegrass Stakes as it was obviously he didn’t care for the surface. His races on dirt have been ok, but I’m not sure he’s quite good enough to make an impact in a tough spot like the Derby. You could find worse longshots though…

17. Medal Count – Certainly looks like a poly track specialist to me. He’s had a few chances on the dirt and none have turned out to be very pretty.

18. Ring Weekend – Usually horses don’t lose the Calder Derby and then come back to win the Kentucky Derby. He was able to win the Tampa Bay Derby by getting the right trip, but that most likely won’t happen again.

19. We Miss Artie – Got into the Derby by winning the Spiral Stakes, but that race wasn’t all the impressive. It’s also worth mentioning…he’s been terrible on dirt.

20. Harry’s Holiday – Complete toss for me as even if he brought his poly track form to this one he still wouldn’t be fast enough to compete.

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!

The 3rd Annual Racing Dudes Oaklawn Awards

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Will Take Charge Winning the Oaklawn Handicap was the Moment of the Year

Horse of the Meet: Close Hatches – This was a tough award to decide on this year, but in the end it had to be Close Hatches who won based on the fact that she was the only horse to win more than one Graded Stakes race this meet.  With no standout three-year old, and Will Take Charge only running atOaklawn once, Close Hatches is the most worthy of the group.

Older Male of the Meet: Will Take Charge – He was our three-year old horse of the meet last year, and now he is our older horse of the meet this year!  Even though he only ran once at Oaklawn, he proved much the best out of the other horses in the Handicap Division.  He also put on a show for the locals every morning during training hours, as he was the first horse to hit the track each morning.  Many thanks to Willis Horton and D Wayne Lukas for running the horse once at his home track.

Older Female of the Meet: Close Hatches – Obvious choice here as she won both the Azeri and Apple Blossom.  The last horse to accomplish this feat was Havre De Grace, who went on to win horse of the year.

3 Year Old Male of the Meet: Tapiture – Another tough award to decide on, but in the end Tapiture got the nod over Ride On Curlin and Danza.  Tapiture wo nthe Southwest Stakes, nearly won the Rebel, and finished a decent fourth in the Arkansas Derby.  He now has lost some hype heading to Kentucky, but still made his presence felt in Hot Springs.

3 Year Old Female of the Meet: Sugar Shock – She was a courageous winner of the Fantasy Stakes, and crossed the line first in the Honeybee before being disqualified.  She’ll go up against much tougher next time out in the Kentucky Oaks, but there is no doubting that she was the best of the bunch at Oaklawn Park.

Sprinter of the Meet: Alsvid – Even though he didn’t win any of the sprint stakes at Oaklawn this meet, his consistent performances land him this award.  He was a solid second in the King Cotton, Hot Springs, and Count Fleet while others in the division had up and down moments.  You can bet this horse is due for a win soon.

Owner of the Meet: Danny Caldwell – An absolutely dominating performance by Caldwell as he won the owners title by nine races.  We had the privilege to get to know Danny early on in the season, and after meeting him it’s easy to see why he’s so good at what he does.  He’s one of the best claimers in the game, and puts in the time and effort it takes to be successful.  The award couldn’t have been won by a nicer guy.  Caldwell will be heading to Prairie Meadows next!

Trainer of the Meet: Steve Asmussen – Amongst all the controversy, Asmussen just kept on winning.  As usual he took the last two weeks by storm and crushed his competition once again.  This is Asmussen’s second straight Racing Dudes Award.  Also Asmussen’s assistant Darren Fleming deserves a mention as well as he looked over the stable for most of the year and always does a great job.

Jockey of the Meet: Ricardo Santana Jr. – Another guy who is receiving his second straight Racing Dudes Award.  Santana proved that last year was no fluke as he easily won the jockey’s title for the second straight year.  This is a guy who is getting better and better with every mount, and is a rising star in the game.

Flop of the Meet: Strong Mandate – It’s painful for us to admit it…but Strong Mandate never lived up to the expectations we had for him.  After running decent in the Southwest and Rebel, he was last in the Arkansas Derby and now sits on the outside looking in as far as the Kentucky Derby is concerned.  Hopefully he can regroup and regain his form.

Favorite Moment of the Meet: Will Take Charge Wins the Oaklawn Handicap – He pretty much stole the show on Derby day.  It was a thrill to see the home town horse win in front of all his fans.  Major shout out to Brady Lukas for allowing us get in the winners circle with one of our favorite horses of all time!

Restaurant of the Meet: TIE – Hawgs and Jahna’s – That’s right…we like to eat. The Dudes have been to many places in Hot Springs over the years, but Hawgs Pizza and Jahna’s Italian easily are the two best.  We highly recommend them to anyone who visit’s the Hot Springs area.

Race of the Meet: The Rebel Stakes –

 

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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Oaklawn Report #10

Close Hatches won the Azeri Stakes this Weekend

Close Hatches won the Azeri Stakes this Weekend

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: Close Hatches (KY) – She shipped in and stole the show from the three year olds!  Sometimes horses struggle with the Oaklawn surface when shipping, but Close Hatches proved to be a champion Saturday when winning the Azeri Stakes and turning back several worthy challengers in the stretch run.  When you consider her race record, and also considering when she did lose last year it was to some seriously good horses, this one could be turning into a super star.  You’d think they’ll come back now for the Apple Blossom, and unless someone ships in with some serious class it could be lights out for everyone else who enters.

– 2nd Star: Hoppertunity (KY) – It’s a Rebel Stakes that we’ll be talking about for a long time, but through all the bumping, grinding, and controversy it was Hoppertunity who came out on top.  Is Hoppertunity the best horse moving forward?  That’s certainly up for debate, but it also doesn’t matter when it comes to this particular race.  All the credit must be given to jockey Mike Smith for this one as he made things as difficult as possible for Tapiture and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.  Santana rode a brave race himself, but the veteran Smith did just enough to make the difference.  Hopefully we’ll see the top four finishers of this one all come back for the Arkansas Derby.

– 3rd Star: Golden Lad (KY) – Pletcher’s success at Oaklawn isn’t as strong as many of the other tracks he comes too, but Golden Lad broke that trend as he dominated the Razorback Handicap over a field that looked evenly matched.  The field is probably not the best Grade 3 you’ll find, but it still included several horses that like Oaklawn and were highly touted.  Who knows where he’ll pop up next, it could be virtually anywhere.  It would be nice to see him back in a month to run in the Oaklawn Handicap…but will he come to challenge Will Take Charge?

Flop of the Week

Govenor Charlie (KY) – He was bet down to the 2-1 favorite and thought of by most as being the better of the two Baffert horses that had shipped in for the weekend, but Govenor Charlie didn’t run a step in the Razorback step.  He was out-ran from the beginning, and never got into the race at any point.  With the track starting to play strangely his connections could point to that as an excuse, but to me it looks like he’s not a true two turn horse.

Trainer Standings

Rank Trainer Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Steven M. Asmussen 92 21 20 6 $1,117,655 23% 47 51%
2 Chris   Richard 61 19 5 6 $472,416 31% 30 49%
2 Federico   Villafranco 58 19 13 7 $394,153 33% 39 67%
4 Cody   Autrey 81 17 16 11 $477,911 21% 44 54%
5 Chris A. Hartman 59 15 10 6 $441,515 25% 31 53%
6 Ron   Moquett 76 9 9 6 $389,282 12% 24 32%
6 Brad H. Cox 43 9 6 7 $335,329 21% 22 51%
8 D. Wayne Lukas 72 7 8 10 $410,471 10% 25 35%
8 Kellyn   Gorder 30 7 5 2 $285,976 23% 14 47%
8 Randy L. Morse 54 7 8 3 $278,087 13% 18 33%
8 David R. Vance 28 7 4 1 $162,441 25% 12 43%
8 Joseph R. Martin 58 7 7 11 $156,050 12% 25 43%

Jockey Standings

Rank Jockey Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Ricardo   Santana, Jr. 195 37 34 14 $1,721,982 19% 85 44%
2 Norberto   Arroyo, Jr. 183 28 27 24 $973,504 15% 79 43%
2 David   Mello 149 28 18 19 $658,411 19% 65 44%
4 Ken S. Tohill 99 18 16 10 $526,001 18% 44 44%
5 Ramon A. Vazquez 108 17 17 16 $492,874 16% 50 46%
6 Terry J. Thompson 135 16 12 16 $555,867 12% 44 33%
7 Channing   Hill 98 14 11 13 $691,055 14% 38 39%
7 Alex   Birzer 165 14 20 14 $530,800 8% 48 29%
7 Jon Kenton Court 112 14 11 14 $412,090 13% 39 35%
10 Luis S. Quinonez 121 13 13 15 $489,342 11% 41 34%

Owner Standings

Rank Owner Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Total $ Win% Top3 Top3%
1 Danny R. Caldwell 56 18 13 7 $383,293 32% 38 68%
2 Maggi   Moss 32 12 3 4 $226,655 38% 19 59%
3 Steve   Landers 51 10 9 8 $175,719 20% 27 53%
4     Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. 43 8 8 3 $244,740 19% 19 44%
5     Ulwelling, Al and Bill 24 6 4 2 $149,162 25% 12 50%
6     Driver, James L. and Ywachetta H. 15 5 5 2 $238,737 33% 12 80%
6 William   Stiritz 40 5 3 1 $191,852 13% 9 23%
6     Zayat Stables, LLC 21 5 1 3 $174,792 24% 9 43%
6 Craig   Drago 15 5 0 4 $162,780 33% 9 60%
6     Poindexter Thoroughbreds LLC 22 5 3 3 $124,436 23% 11 50%
36     N P H Stable 11 5 1 2 $73,407 45% 8 73%

Preview to Next Week

– Saturday: The Gazebo Stakes – Three Year Olds – Six Furlongs – Purse: $100,000

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