Sunday, April 10, 2011

Likely Derby Field - Four Weeks Out

Yesterday's final furlongs of the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby certainly muddled the Kentucky Derby picture while befuddling fans and gamblers in equal measure.

Uncle Mo did what many, seasoned Thoroughbred followers thought he just might do - quit in the final eighth of mile on his way to a humbling defeat in his final Kentucky Derby prep.  Sired by the fast developing, yet classically distance-challenged Indian Charlie, Uncle Mo likely showed distance limitations through his much-ballyhooed, weak two-Derby prep schedule. Which leaves a clamouring public praying for a Triple Crown champ, wondering just who turn to their lonely eyes to.

Midnight Interlude simply continued the winning ways of Bob Baffert, giving him another Derby hopeful. Did I mention Midnight Interlude's SA Derby prep was a maiden victory! C'mon Man! 

Where this leaves us less than four weeks until the Run for the Roses is a likely field of 20 with really no stand-out in the crowd. Unless The Factor dominates the Arkansas Derby, there will be mass confusion among bettors come Derby Day. With anything less than a daylight win next week by The Factor, you're looking at lots of value in the full field - a couple favorites hovering around 5-1. How about a quick look at the probable Derby starters as they stand today? (These are the leading stakes earners to date with a few projections based on remaining stake earnings out there. For kicks and giggles I tossed in some projected morning line odds.)

  • Uncle Mo - leading money winner surrounded by clouds of doubt; not sure workouts will tell us anything, we don't already know - projected morning line: 9-2
  • Dialed In - to date only two-stake winner in his three-year-old season; light on seasoning and slow closing Florida Derby gives pause - projected morning line: 4-1
  • Pants on Fire - late arrival via Louisiana Derby, not a winning trail of late - projected morning line: 12-1
  • Midnight Interlude - surprise Santa Anita Derby winner has more than one hundred years of history to overcome with no wins as a two-year-old - projected morning line: 20-1
  • Toby's Corner - giant killer or just inherited Wood Memorial in shambles turning for home; at least he came home faster than Dialed In - projected morning line: 5-1
  • J P's Gusto - has failed to live up to expectations, but has enough graded stakes for a Derby start, so you'll likely see him in the gate - projected morning line: 20-1
  • Soldat - strong Fountain of Youth followed by weak Florida Derby; will have to go back to pace setting - projected morning line: 15-1
  • Twice Appeal - unlikely Derby winner, so why not toss two bucks on his nose - projected morning line: 40-1
  • Mucho Macho Man - his stock continues to rise in my view; if he keeps his shoes on he makes some noise on Derby Day - projected morning line: 10-1
  • Decisive Moment - it would take a perfect storm of events for him to hit the board on May 7 - projected morning line: 50-1
  • Animal Kingdom - certainly looked good beating much less, but did it in style after being shuffled back early in Spiral Stakes - projected morning line: 10-1
  • Astrology - chief qualifier is stake's money earned as a two-year-old, but hasn't lived up to potential this year; overrated - projected morning line: 20-1
  • The Factor - fast early and late during paceless Rebel Stakes; if he wins the Arkansas Derby, he's the chalk - projected morning line: 3-1
  • Stay Thirsty - another Todd Pletcher trainee - blinkers on and now off for Derby, but it won't make a difference - projected morning line: 30-1
  • Jaycito - if he makes it, not likely to factor as much as other Bob Baffert trainees - projected morning line: 20-1
  • Santiva - likely gets into Derby gate with decent Blue Grass Stakes; not sure what to make of him - projected morning line: 12-1
  • Watch Me Go - failed to follow Tampa success in Second-City - projected morning line: 50-1
  • Shackleford - playing the waiting game; not likely to get in Derby gate
  • Nehro - another light on seasoning, but gets one more chance following solid second in LA Derby to make the gate - projected morning line: 30-1
  • Caleb's Posse - only horse to make up ground on The Factor and extra 1/16 miles may give him opportunity to get by Arkansas chalk - projected morning line: 30-1
  • Elite Alex and Sway Away - both need either a first or second place finish in next start to Run for the Roses - projected morning line: 40-1
Just one man's humble opinion. Of course, much can and probably will change in the next 26 days. 

    1 comment:

    1. I'm surprised that Pletcher isn't going to try and get some stiff works into Mo before the Derby. He looked short to me in the Wood but when he came back after the race he wasn't blowing hard at all. He needs to be given some 5 and 6 furlong works that will get some bottom into him before the Derby.