Three weeks remaining until the Kentucky Derby! The Derby is shaping up to be a top class affair. Seemingly each prep has showcased the kind of talent that a Derby winner must possess. Now, the final preps and finishing touches for preparing these champions.
1. Friesan Fire – Rock solid. Should absolutely love the distance. 7 weeks doesn’t worry me with Larry Jones, and could actually help the price. I really like that he skipped the Blue Grass Stakes, which could have been a grueling race. Looking like the solid “Key” horse.
2. Quality Road – Most talented 3yo Bar None. “Superstar” was huge in Florida Derby, cruising near the front, rating patiently and showing a good response when shaken up in the stretch. Got a great trip, but impressed most with his professional behavior. Quarter-crack puts his Derby status in doubt.
3. I Want Revenge – Talented and Versatile. Left at the break, trapped behind a wall of horses, and responded well to beat a weak bunch in the Wood Memorial. I’m not 100% sold that he will appreciate the Kentucky Derby’s added class and distance, but he could also be the winner.
4. Dunkirk – His Florida Derby was a huge race. However he faced a more talented rival, and spotted that one multiple lengths in trip dynamics. Appeared to flatten a little at the end of the Florida Derby, which is a bit of a concern. On the graded earnings “bubble”.
5. Old Fashioned – Old Fashioned is a puzzle. Hopefully we know a lot more after the Arkansas Derby. In the Rebel Stakes, Old Fashioned dueled with sprinter Silver City at such a fast pace, that he was shocked late by 50-1 shot Win Willy. Is he capable of staying out of an unwanted speed duel? He has a good deal of stamina, and one of the better trainers. I like the switch to regular workout jockey Terry Thompson.
6. Chocolate Candy – Conformation is a little wide up front. However he should handle the distance, and has “big-game” talent. Ability to make headway and finish strongly. Santa Anita Derby finished fast which could be the perfect prep for developing form.
7. Desert Party – So he couldn’t catch stablemate Regal Ransom over that extremely speed-favoring track in the UAE Derby… He looked good and finished willingly. I was more surprised with jockey Frankie Dettori’s comments that the horse felt a bit flat. His loss in Dubai only strengthens his price. Maybe a consideration for single race exotics.
8. Pioneerof the Nile – I think he is a toss for me. No value, and 10 furlongs is a question. Not even sure about his class level on dirt! However he is 100% racehorse. Baffert has him in good shape over that consistent pro-ride surface. I really like that he has developed the ability to make multiple moves in “push button” fashion.
9. Charitable Man – Longshot "unknown" going into his final prep. He has talent, and should get the distance. A strong effort in the Blue Grass Stakes, will make him one to respect, and could be a big price in the Kentucky Derby.
Spot on ! The first 8 are pretty much the way I feel at this time.
But then we come to #9 Charitable Man:
comments by Mr. Kassa:
A strong effort in the Blue Grass Stakes,
will make him one to respect,
and could be a big price in the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Kiaran McLauglin must really know something if he would put their entire Triple Crown itinerary on a race on the synthetics at Keeneland.
Charitable Man has no two turn experience
and no races altogether in 2009. How he will
transfer his form as a juvenile would better be better interpreted if he went in a race like The Arkansas Derby. That race would prove a solid barometer of where Charitable Man stands in relation to the rest of his peers.
Another reason is that Mr. McLaughlin is planning on a turf campaign for Charitable Man,
and what better beginning to that than to take advantage of his Lemon Drop Kid breeding on a synthetics course that plays like a turf course?
That maybe smart horsemanship, but one cannot help but thing that Graded Stakes earnings are being accrued by the horses not best qualified to be in the Kentucky Derby field.
The Knight Sky - good points about some of the thinking behind Charitable Man's decision to run in the Blue Grass, as well as the current Graded Stakes system.
With Charitable Man, I am going to assume that if he likes the distance on the poly track, that his form will transfer to 2-turns on dirt.
As you mentioned it isn't necessarily straightforward.
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