04/01/2015 3:30PM

Materiality and Apollo

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With three furlongs to go in last Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, the two favorites dispensed with the preliminaries, sized each other up and began furiously slugging it out.

MATERIALITY, the lightly-raced, undefeated phenom, had secured the rail from a retreating JACK TRIPP and braced for the battle-tested UPSTART's challenge. The pair swung into the stretch with Materiality always holding a slight advantage.

To his credit, despite being hung wide on the first turn after breaking from a disadvantageous outside post position, Upstart never gave up. He continued to jab away at Materiality and lost some momentum when the Pletcher-trained runner drifted out for a stride or two in upper stretch.

Materiality then slowly pulled clear from his game rival. Materiality completed the nine furlongs in 1:52.30 over a dull racetrack. He received a whopping 110 Beyer Speed Figure, a number sure to place him among the betting favorites for this year's Kentucky Derby.

Materiality's sire, Afleet Alex, could carry his ability a long way. Although quick enough to grab the Grade 2 Sanford at 6 furlongs and the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at seven panels as a juvenile, Afleet Alex is best known for his exploits the following spring.

He was named champion 3-year-old colt of 2005 after winning the Preakness and Belmont following a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

At stud, Afleet Alex is represented by Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red, Travers Stakes hero Afleet Express, and Grade 1 winners Iotapa and Dublin.

According to DRF statistics, Afleet Alex's progeny have won three races from 23 starts at 1 1/4 miles.

Materiality's female family also carries stamina. Although the dam, Wildwood Flower (by Langfuhr), was a stakes-winner sprinting on dirt at Golden Gate Fields (88 Beyer top), she has foaled My Miss Sophia, a filly that captured the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes at nine furlongs.

Wildwood Flower is a half-sister to the versatile Grade 2 route winner Eye of the Tiger and stakes-placed dirt sprinter Expanse (the dam of Afleet Express).

Materiality is a strapping colt with a build that hints at true classic distance potential. From a pedigree and physicality standpoint, Materiality shouldn't have an issue with 10 furlongs.

The elephant in the room remains, however.

That is the shadow of Apollo, the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without the benefit of a 2-year-old start.

Apollo notched his Derby win in 1882.

Here are the 3-year-olds that have tried to break the curse (some of them have been top horses) with their Derby finish position:

Verrazano (2013) 14th
Bodemeister(2012) 2nd
Midnight Interlude (2011) 16th
Summer Bird (2009) 6th
Dunkirk (2009) 11th
Curlin (2007) 3rd
Showing Up (2006) 6th
Greeley’s Galaxy (2005) 11th
Song of the Sword (2004) 11th
Atswhatimtalknbout (2003) 4th
Wheelaway (2000) 5th
Curule (2000) 7th
Trippi (2000) 11th
Desert Hero (1999) 13th
Valhol (1999) 15th
Pulpit (1997) 4th
Strodes Creek (1994) 2nd
Devil His Due (1992) 12th
Disposal (1992) 18th
Corporate Report (1991) 9th
Alydavid (1991) 14th
Pendleton Ridge (1990) 13th
Wheatly Hall (1986) 6th
Zabaleta (1986) 12th
Irish Fighter (1985) 11th
Majestic Shore (1984) DNF
Reinvested (1982) 3rd
Air Forbes Won (1982) 7th
Wavering Monarch (1982) 12th
Flying Nashua (1981) 8th
Great Redeemer (1979) 10th
Chief of Dixieland (1978) 9th
Affiliate (1977) 9th
Best Person (1977) 15th
Amano (1976) 4th
On the Sly (1976) 5th
Media (1975) 5th
Bold Chapeau (1975) 8th
Agitate (1974) 3rd
Confederate Yankee (1974) 12th
Forego (1973) 4th
Twice a Prince (1973) 12th
Big Spruce (1972) 7th
Kentuckian (1972) 10th
Dr. Neale (1972) 15th
Fourulla (1971) 19th
Gleaming Sword (1968) 13th
Our Dad (1959) 15th
Gone Fishin’ (1958) 8th
No Regrets (1956) 7th
Fanfare (1951) 5th
Golden Birch (1951) 19th
Coaltown (1948) 2nd
Hampden (1946) 3rd
Perfect Bahram (1946) 9th
Rippey (1946) 10th
Bert G. (1945) 14th
Comenow (1944) 12th

That's a record of 58-0-3-4 since 1937, a worrisome stat for Materiality backers.

I think he's a tremendously talented colt with a big, big future. His inexperience, while perhaps the main reason some horseplayers will pitch him in the Derby, doesn't bother me as much as his running style.

Materiality is a colt that likes to race close to the pace before quickening on the final turn. While the Florida Derby pace was fast considering the deep track, I'm not sure Materiality has faced the kind of fractions that usually occur in the Derby. I'm talking 45's and 46's to the half.

If they go that fast early at Churchill Downs, Materiality could find himself in an unfamiliar position stalking the leaders from four or five or seven lengths off the lead. Can Materiality overcome that spot as well as his inexperience? 

As always, let price be your guide.

***

Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 3/24/15 - 3/30/15:

1. MATERIALITY - 110 - Florida Derby (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Mar15-14GP
2. COMMISSIONER - 109 - Skip Away Stakes (G3) - 1 3/16 Miles - 28Mar15-5GP
3. PANTS ON FIRE - 104 - Sir Shackleton Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 28Mar15-8GP
4. IMAGINING - 102 - Pan American Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-13GP
4. TALK SHOW MAN - 102 - OC 40k/C -N - 1 Mile - 26Mar15-8LRL
6. SKY KINGDOM - 101 - Tokyo City Cup (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles - 28Mar15-8SA
7. EFFINEX - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Dirt) - 27Mar15-8AQU
8. CHOCOLATE RIDE - 98 - Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-8FG
8. HEITAI - 98 - Costa Rising Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Mar15-6FG
8. INTERNATIONAL STAR - 98 - Louisiana Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Mar15-11FG
11. LADY LARA (IRE) - 97 - Honey Fox Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 28Mar15-10GP
12. ABBEY VALE (IRE) - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 27Mar15-6SA
12. SIETE DE OROS - 96 - Alw 37600N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 24Mar15-6PRX
12. WAR CORRESPONDENT - 96 - Appleton Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 28Mar15-6GP
15. ALSVID - 95 - OC 40k/N1Y -N - 6 Furlongs - 27Mar15-7OP
15. BEAUTY PARLOR - 95 - Orchid Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-11GP
15. COMPETITIVE EDGE - 95 - Tamarac Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 27Mar15-2GP
15. RUN WITH HONOR - 95 - Clm 30000(30-25)B - 6 Furlongs - 27Mar15-5FG
19. CALL ME GEORGE - 94 - New Orleans Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Mar15-10FG
19. I'M A CHATTERBOX - 94 - Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 28Mar15-9FG
19. MIDDLEBURG - 94 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 29Mar15-11GP
22. BLUE TONE - 93 - Santana Mile Stakes - 1 Mile - 29Mar15-8SA
22. GRASSHOPPIN - 93 - Alw 58300N1X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 29Mar15-6PRX
22. MARINO'S WILD CAT - 93 - Alw 42702NC - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 29Mar15-4GG
22. RED STRIKE - 93 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-3FG
22. TEXAS AIR - 93 - OC 45k/B -N - 1 Mile - 26Mar15-8OP

*The lifetime past performances for MATERIALITY are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

Sheriff Dan or others – does anyone know where King Bishop was rated going into the World Cup. I searched and could not find him weighted.
DavidM9999

Here are the last-race Racing Post Ratings for the World Cup runners prior to the event:

Prince Bishop - 118
California Chrome - 125
Lea - 118
Candy Boy - 112
Hokko Tarumae - 112
African Story - 119
Long River - 56
Side Glance - 115T
Epiphaneia - 119T

***

For those of you beginning to come down with a dose of Kentucky Derby fever, I've posted the lifetime past performances of the last 22 winners. Let me know if you find any interesting patterns.

***

Annie and SR Vegas have compiled a second updated version of "The 2015 MKB Book of Kentucky Derby Prospects." I have attached it to the bottom of this blog post. Enjoy!

***

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to tune in to DRF LIVE's streaming coverage. I'll be with Matt Bernier recapping, previewing, handicapping and, hopefully, winning.

Here's the schedule:

Wednesday - Friday:  12:30 - 1:30 ET

Saturday:  2:00 ET thru last graded stakes race

***

Congrats to dodgevadar for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.


dodgevadar selected Saturday's Santa Anita Oaks for this week's exercise.


Rick M's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.


PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.


SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to streamline all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

HANDIGAMBLING:

-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

-  You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose and that is available for that HG race.
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE POST.  Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST sign yourself at the end (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to recognize you .

- (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes.  Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

-In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

- The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!

Harpo
---------------------------------

A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

AttachmentSize
Materiality.pdf631.87 KB
DERBYWINNERS.pdf901.9 KB
2015 MKB Bio Document 3 31 15.pdf459.01 KB
HGSAOAKS.pdf166.64 KB
Copy of Formblog Florida Derby 3-28-15.xls75 KB