04/23/2011 11:25AM

Last Chance Derby for Silver Medallion, Rainbow 6 Guaranteed

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Two weeks to the Kentucky Derby and the field is still in flux. 

It's the last chance for Silver Medallion, the El Camino Real Derby winner that bombed as the chalk in the Santa Anita Derby.  He'll get his opportunity to run for the roses if he win today's Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland.

Preakness hopefuls will clash over wet going at Aqueduct, but the major story of the weekend is the guaranteed payout of the Rainbow Pick Six on closing afternoon at Gulfstream Park. 

I'm sitting out this one, but you guys have at it.  I wouldn't call it an "official" FormBlog contest, but I'd love to hear your opinions on the sequence.

Ace handicapper Mike Welsch has his Rainbow Six video analysis at the link below:

http://www.drf.com/news/gulfstreams-rainbow-pick-six?utm_source=DRF.com&utm_medium=Marquee&utm_campaign=Rainbow%2BPick%2B6

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Here are a few opinions on some of today's stakes races:

Jerome Stakes - Aqueduct - Race 9:
ASTROLOGY will attempt to move forward off his first start of the year, a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby.  He was pretty close to a wicked pace that afternoon so I'll give him a mulligan for that defeat off the bench.  I wasn't a big Astrology fan, however, last year at two.  He seemed green when winning a weak running of the Grade 3 Iroquois at this one-turn mile, then scored in a slow edition of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.  He'll have to break from the inside post coming out of the chute and will try a wet track for the first time in his career. 
I prefer CAL NATION, a lightly-raced Pletcher-trainee that did nothing wrong in two career starts at Gulfstream Park.  He won his debut over weak maidens with the greatest of ease and then raced 3-4 wide over a speed-favoring track when outnodded by stablemate Dance City in his first race against winners.  Dance City flattered the race by returning to run so very well in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.  Cal Nation has good tactical speed so John Velazquez has several options on where to place him in the early furlongs. 
Selections:  CAL NATION, JUSTIN PHILLIP, ASTROLOGY

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Lexington Stakes - Keeneland - Race 9:
If the Lexington was being contested on dirt, I would be pretty confident with my selection of PRIME CUT.  But, it's on polytrack so I'll have to decide if I'll:

A)  Play the race as usual.
B)  Cut my bet in half
C)  Land on a different horse
D)  Save with others
E)  Eat a hamburger instead.

A game winner over the highly-touted Bind in a race that was only one-fifth off the track record at Fair Grounds last time out, Prime Cut has improved since being allowed to stretch his legs around two turns.  The main issue is the polytrack as we've seen plenty of horses with good dirt form regress at short prices when running on synthetics for the first time.  If he handles the surface, I would expect him to be close to the pace with a prominent placing at the head of the stretch.
Selections:  PRIME CUT, SILVER MEDALLION, TAPTOWNE

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Snow Chief Stakes - Hollywood - Race 9:
Cal-breds get their time to shine at Hollywood Park, and I'll be very interested to see if THIRTYFIRSTSTREET can rebound off a poor showing in the Grade 3 Spiral at Turfway Park.  Two starts back, for his first race of the year, Thirtyfirststreet was ambitiously-spotted in the nine-furlong, Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita.  He stumbled badly at the break, made a slightly premature move from last along the inside on the backstretch, and finished evenly without threatening.  I think that race might be good enough to get it done in the Snow Chief and the addition of blinkers may allow him to get into the running a bit earlier. 
Selections:  THIRTYFIRSTSTREET, CHILOQUIN, DRINK AT BUSTER'S

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Ben Ali Stakes - Keeneland - Race 7:
RESEARCHER may not be Seabiscuit or Secretariat, but I wonder if his life would make an interesting movie.  A former $25,000 claimer, Researcher has earned over $1.3M after taking two runnings of the Charles Town Classic over his favorite surface.  Proving he's not just a one-state pony (he's also won a stake at Mountaineer), Researcher took the Grade 3 Queens County Handicap over the Aqueduct inner dirt in 2008.  But a funny thing happened to Researcher after he won last year's Charles Town Classic.  His new owners (they purchased him just prior to the Classic) decided to forge on with the plan of converting Researcher into a steeplechaser.  Apparently, this was news to Researcher, who didn't take to jumping at all and is now back on the flat after a long layoff. 
In his first start back, Researcher finished a tiring fourth going a demanding nine furlongs around three turns at Charles Town.  The connections wanted Researcher to make it a three-peat in this year's Charles Town Classic, but Researcher was mired on the also-eligible list and had to scratch.  Now, he'll try polytrack for the first time, a test in and of itself let alone one for an aging veteran of the turf wars. 
Researcher looks in tough here as the probable favorite, EXHI. seems loose on the lead for Todd Pletcher.  Exhi hasn't raced in a bit, however, and nine furlongs off the layoff isn't an easy feat to accomplish.  Exhi is the horse to beat, but I'll play something on Researcher.
Selections:  RESEARCHER, EXHI, DEAN'S KITTEN

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Inglewood Handicap - Hollywood - Race 7 (Sunday):
Rafael Bejarano is one of the best riders in the world, but I wonder if he rode favored Caracortado as much as his own mount, JERANIMO, in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita on April 9.  Perhaps figuring that Caracortado was the main danger in the race, Bejarano and Jeranimo kept Caracortado hemmed in along the inside before swinging into the stretch.  In the meantime, LIBERIAN FREIGHTER, the lone speed of the Arcadia, was allowed to back down the fractions to his liking.  Jeranimo came with a strong late rally in between horses, but fell three-parts of a length shy to Liberian Freighter. 
Liberian Freighter and Jeranimo will meet again in Sunday's Inglewood at Hollywood, but the pace dynamic may be much different thanks to the entry of RYEHILL DREAMER.  A gate-to-wire winner last time out, Ryehill Dreamer may put heat on Liberian Freighter, setting things up for a closer like Jeranimo.  THE USUAL Q. T is only considered questionable for this race after battling foot issues for most of the spring.
Selections:  JERANIMO, LIBERIAN FREIGHTER, RYEHILL DREAMER

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Saturday Quick and Dirty Pick:
Texas Mile - THISKYHASNOLIMIT, KATE'S MAIN MAN, FRIESAN FIRE (trying to beat the chalk, Gladding)

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For a more-detailed analysis of this week's races, please check out the video analysis at the below link (just click on the race name on the right side of the video player):

http://www.drf.com/news/weekend-stakes-preview-videos

I'm wiped out.  Anyway, I'm more interested in your opinions on this week's races so let me have them.

Best of luck.

Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Uh Oh !! Warp Factor Negative 4..........Beam me up Scottie.........& make it quick...
BigEasyigChok More than 1 year ago
Everyone, Dumb question- Did I see a derby stat posted here that said all winners of past derby's had a beyer over 100 before the derby they won? Does that mean only 1 horse in this years derby would qualify under that historical guideline? Help a brother out here as I think Uncle Mo is only horse with a 100+ beyer so far?? Could it be that easy?? I dont really like Uncle Mo in the win spot but sometimes I find myself superstitiously using stats like that. Somebody, please hep me! BEBC
don More than 1 year ago
Hi Dan, I hope you had a great Easter weekend with family, friends and a couple of cold ones. You deserve some time off to get over that burned-out feeling. There is nothing wrong with getting back to the basic fundamentals like WP and exacta's it is probably where we all started. It is very rewarding when you find a race with a false favorite, I find that it is one the best races in which to go vertically because when you are right you have already put in most of the handicapping necessary and your payoff needs only one winner instead of the consecutive winners required in multi-race wagers. Also if the winner is 5-1 or better and you have a large wager, and hit the exacta it is a really nice score which does not require an IRS removal from your pay-off. When your choice just misses at those odds or better the place wager will usually return your investment maintaining your bankroll and if you box your exacta ( which I recommend )and you are right you can still turn a profit while running second , where as in the multi-race wager if your single loses you are out your whole wager. Only in horse racing can your choice not win but you can still turn a profit. Thanks for all your hard work, may you be well rewarded, Don
Alan More than 1 year ago
Pete, If you go to the drf.com Kentucky Derby webpage, you can get a summary of each contender, including charts and videos of each stakes race they entered, a profile by one of the DRF writers and a Pedigree Analysis Analysis by our own Dan Illman. This is the DRF Top 20 Derby List - you can click on any horse's name on the list to pull up their Contender Page: http://www.drf.com/news/kentucky-derby-contenders-derby-watch-top-20-horses For example, this is the Contender Page for Stay Thirsty: http://www.drf.com/news/stay-thirsty While on the Contender Page, you can also click on a link to that particular horse's PPs. Here are Stay Thirsty's PPs: http://www1.drf.com/tc/kentuckyderby/2011/profile-assets/PPs/StayThristyPP.pdf You can find R Hear Lightning's PPs on the Watchmaker Watch 3yo fillies Top 4 List: http://www1.drf.com/row/watch_pps/three_females.pdf
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Tuesday notes... So who was the big winner of the Rainbow 6 on Saturday at GP?? Why it was GP!! Hate to see those chalks come rolling on in. Started OK, then fizzled out... Strange race at Aqueduct in the Jerome. Nice to see the winner fight back at a price to make for a profitable weekend for me. No wagering on Easter Sunday. Church, and family time...... MH01 Thanks for the shout out. Keep on picking winner's!!!! Build up that bankroll for the Oaks Friday / Derby Saturday. My opinion is that Bullett Bob is full of himself with The Factor!!! No way, no how this colt makes it to the starting gate for the Derby!!! Why take the chance?? Surgery on the throat, speed will be on the engine, closer's will be a coming, etc. This Colt can have a big year if rest's and has a smart path chosen for him to the Breeder's Cup Sprint. Money is in the bank if Bob can get over HIS ego and sells it to the owners!!!! Run him and he could be out for 6 months. Just my opinion!!! Keep an eye out for the weather and the works in KY. Good Luck!!! PS : Boy did MMM look good in that picture in the DRF!!! What a stride Baby!!! Whackymacky Out!!!
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Whachymacky good call on the factor as ive been saying all along that he was to short to get the distance you were right mh01
Ron Zuercher More than 1 year ago
To Kelley_Belles You wrote: Posted by Kelley_Belles Mr Bass, ”How much should we be concerned about CttT's tendency to "drift out"? 4 of the last 5 races is more than just a coincidence. Have you noticed anything that Miller is doing to offset this habit? I hope that it isn't some type of injury that they can't find.” I have been following Comma to the Top for some time now. My contention was and still is, the reason for his bearing out is his wearing of blinkers. He needs to lose the blinkers and be allowed to look at what he wants, when he wants. Following Is my argument why the horse might run better without blinkers. He has worn blinkers in all of his races. Comma to the Top’s races can be found on calracing.com, free to all. Under Racing Information, race replays, horse (Comma to the Top), LC on CttT. Click on “horse” to watch another replay, not the back button. 11-6, The Real Quiet , no bandages , moderate fractions, 46:86, hugged the rail around the turn and maybe ended up in the two path. A timely lead change and no competition in sight to distract him. 11-27, turf, Rear bandages, probably for rundown purposes and not for rear suspensory problems, I hope. I am not a vet. On the first turn he drifts a bit while there is a horse to the outside of him to look at. On the replay, start watching at about 40 seconds to get used to his head action and then at 47 seconds he tries to look at the horse coming up to him on his outside. It’s subtle but noticeable once you see it. He changes leads at about the 1/8th pole. A bit late I’m thinking. 12-18, HOL Futurity, moderate fractions, 47.57, relaxes nicely off of the leader, passes the leader on his own, is in the 3 path (but who would know for sure, for some odd reason, California tracks do not provide an entire head on replay. Thanks Stronachs), stays in the 3 path, no competition around to look at, to drift in or out, changes leads at the right time and draws off. 2-12, El Camino Real Derby, immediately bears out early from the 1 post position looking for his competition, when the leader horse clears him he settles down and looks straight ahead, moderate fractions, 48,09, passes the leader on his own with no urging, at 1:40 when a horse comes up to the outside he looks over and is distracted and appears to lose a little interest after being passed. Excuses? Maybe Tapeta, maybe 7 weeks off. This horse needs to race and work. 3-12, adds front adhesive wraps to go with the rear wraps, scorching fractions, 44,58, 108.98, tracks behind two leaders, passes on his own, does bear out without any competition on his outside, but this is probably due to being tired and not changing leads til late, when he does change leads, he runs straight and is beaten 1-1/2 for 2nd. 4-9, SA Derby, moderate fractions 111.53, takes over the lead from the two front runners on his own, starts to drift ever so slightly after the turn and before he changes leads, and a bit late again for me. When Midnight Interlude comes up to his outside, he looks over and drifts out again, looking at his competition and is distracted for the rest of the race, while not being put away by MI. My belief is that all of his drifting is due to the blinkers and late lead changes. That could be physical, but to me once he changes leads he doesn’t drift or lose ground. The jockey really has to change his weight on Comma to get him to change leads. I see Comma as a relaxed stalker and front runner if necessary without blinks. I think he has grown up and looks pretty professional to me. If for some reason they take the blinkers off for the Derby, I don’t know what I would do, probably bet him. So, for the Derby, with blinkers on, his best post position draw would be to the outside of two or three speed horses, even post 20. That way he would be 2-3 wide on the first turn in 2nd ,3rd, or 4th position. Would take over the lead on his own mid turn, or hopefully a bit later with moderate, not suicidal fractions and see how far his “1’s” take him. Besides, if no one else can get the distance, the first one to the wire is still the winner, even if he comes home in 28 seconds. By the way, I am not a horseman, have not been around horses much, my only qualification is I have observed racehorses since Secretariat. RonZ
Laura More than 1 year ago
I'm almost done with my pedigree analysis on all of the derby contenders. I'm hoping for rain again this year. STAY THIRSTY has a superior mud pedigree. He has the oommph to go 1 1/4 miles and the slop will move him up big time. The last 3 derbies that were run in the rain - all 3 winners had superior mud pedigrees. So did Closing Argument and Pioneerof The Nile. All three winners also had pedigrees to win at 1 1/4 miles too. What about Stay Thirsty's flop in the FL Derby? I chalk it up to change in the weather (no, not Changintheweather the horse, lol). It's a lot cooler in NY than FL. switching from hot to cool is fine, but not the other way around. Yes, he did train here, but the shipping can also take a toll on a horse. He regressed in his second race, but should be ready to move forward in his next. He's in KY now and working well, moving from hot to cool weather and could rebound. (Note to C - I did NOT say bounce!). Laura PS - Thanks everyone for responding to the poor newbie's question. PS - Make plans to attend the DERBY CHAT next week!! (omg, it's next week, I have to get to work!!!!!!!)
tencentcielo More than 1 year ago
Laura, I know you didn't mean my first, my last, my everything [ :-) ] Derby crush horse Closing Argument in your comment. As much as I love him, he wasn't bred for the 1m & 1/4. Dick W, Nehro is the early buzz horse, but once all the media arrives next week, Mucho Macho Man will be become it. Remember, the connections are a big part of who becomes the "steam" horse. Asmussen is too cold to the media, while MMM's connections will have a TON of media. He will go off as the SECOND choice around 7-1
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Laura looks like TF is out of the derby probably will run in the preakness mh01
johnny d More than 1 year ago
Dan, Quick question re: KD grades stakes winnings. Do overseas stakes count more than North American? Why is Master of Hounds shown with $441K when lifetime pp's reflect $169K?
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Vicstu, Mickey, and others Nehro... I think there is a lot to like with this horse, and as of right now he would be my pick. I don't think, however, that he will be 7 or 8 to 1. I think he will be this years wise guy horse and will end up either 2nd or 3rd favorite and not be far off from Dialed In and Archarcharch at something more like 9 to 2 or 5 to 1. I know with this field that the money will get spread around quite a lot, so I hope I am wrong and he goes off closer to what Vicstu suggested. Still considering the Factor and Soldat as well. Dick W
Kelley_Belles More than 1 year ago
Mr Bass, How much should we be concerned about CttT's tendency to "drift out"? 4 of the last 5 races is more than just a coincidence. Have you noticed anything that Miller is doing to offset this habit? I hope that it isn't some type of injury that they can't find. Kelley_Belles
BigEasyBigChok More than 1 year ago
Vicstu, Alan, thanks for info. Helps quite a bit. Currently before works and pp I am leaning toward archarcharch and Muchomachoman. On top. Think Negro will be 4th choice around 8-1 and will use underneath both those in my exotics. As you know little chok and I use thorographs as 1 of several tools and both archarcharch and MMM have very nice running lines. Both should pair their last efforts and both may improve which puts both in the money. Surprisingly MMM showed improvement from risen star in La derby. I believe he is very dangerous in derby but if archarcharch repeats his figure in derby I think he wins. Still have to wait on pp though before I fire the bazooka. Gotta love this blog. Great comments, stories and handicapping. Still need a translator for curt v though as I'm just a dumb lawyer. Hope mike A keeps reminiscing about his uncle and tbta releases her derby angles soon, vicstu with his logic and Alan with his bet structures. Everyone else have great thoughts and ideas as well. Thanks to all of the boxers BEBC
Annie More than 1 year ago
Big Easy, Stop that! His name is Nehro. N E H R O. LOL Annie