04/25/2011 11:59AM

Derby Prep Graded Handicap

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Now that the preliminaries are over, I thought it would be fun to do a graded handicap of all of the final major preps for the Kentucky Derby from the angle of potential impact on the big race. Please keep in mind that as a graded handicap, these preps are ranked in my order of preference, not in odds order. Here goes:

ARKANSAS DERBY – 4/16 – OP – (Winning Beyer) 98        7-2

Produced two first-rate Derby win candidates in Archarcharch and Nehro

WOOD MEMORIAL – 4/9 – Aqu – 94                                        4-1

Result exposed Uncle Mo, advanced Toby’s Corner, opened up Derby picture

SANTA ANITA DERBY – 4/9 – SA – 97                                       10-1

Winner would be first in 129 years to win without racing at 2; good fig, though

FLORIDA DERBY – 4/3 – GP – 93                                                 5-2

Yielded Derby favorite Dialed In, but opposition didn’t show, time was slow

LOUISIANA DERBY – 3/26 – FG – 94                                          8-1

Nehro validated the form of this at OP, but six weeks out is too big a gap for me

SPIRAL – 3/26 – TP – 93                                                                 20-1

Winner of this synthetic prep has considerable upside, has never raced on dirt

UAE DERBY – 3/26 – Mey – n/a                                                  15-1

Might be the year for a Euro, but this has never been a viable route to the Derby

BLUE GRASS – 4/16 – Kee – 93                                                   30-1

Synthetic prep resembled a turf race; dirt form of first two finishers is pretty bad

SUNLAND DERBY – 3/27 – Sun – 89                                          50-1

Slow time even by ‘11 prep standards; runner up subsequently beaten in Jerome

ILLINOIS DERBY – 4/9 – Haw – 93                                               100-1

Only one coming out of this race is Watch Me Go, and he was beaten 17 lengths