- DRF Bets
- Handicapping & PPsThoroughbred Past Performances
ReportsPremium NewsDigital PapersHorsemen's Products
- DRF Classic PDF PPs
- DRF Formulator PPs
- DRF EasyForm PPs
- Daily Racing Program PPs
- Equibase PPs
- TrackMaster PPs
- NewsCategoriesTrack Notes
- DRF TV
- StorePast Performances
- Compare all DRF PPs
- DRF Formulator PPs
- DRF Classic PPs
- DRF EasyForm PPs
- Daily Racing Program PPs
- Expanded Closer Looks
- Equibase & Trackmaster PPs - Thoroughbred
Crist: Whittling it down to five contenders
The central question of the 2016 Kentucky Derby is whether Nyquist is simply better than his 19 opponents or a vulnerable favorite in a subpar year.
The case for Nyquist is that he is unbeaten in seven starts and is already a four-time Grade 1 winner. His résumé would make him the Derby favorite in most years, and if this is indeed a season where there has been more mediocrity than brilliance, he could continue separating himself from this crop. In his last three starts, he has had little trouble defeating Exaggerator, Brody’s Cause, and Mohaymen, three of the most accomplished colts in the bunch.
The knocks are that he has yet to run a particularly fast race (his top Beyer Speed Figure going a mile or more is a moderate 94), his Florida Derby victory over two unaccomplished longshots proved little, and the pace-pressing son of Uncle Mo may have trouble with the Derby’s 10th furlong.
Nyquist is the most likely winner of the race, but that doesn’t mean you have to pick or bet him at 3-1. While California Chrome and American Pharoah won the last two Derbies as the favorites, they sported much bigger figures in their final Derby preps – a 107 for California Chrome’s Santa Anita Derby and a 105 for American Pharoah’s Arkansas Derby, compared to Nyquist’s 94 at Gulfstream.
Almost all of this year’s Derby preps came up on the slow side – the average winning Beyer was a 95.4 as opposed to a 103.8 a year ago.
This has led many contrarians to predict that virtually any longshot could light up the board and that this is a year to bet on chaos. My problem with that theory is that I think at least half the field has virtually no chance. The lineup is filled with slow horses who have been clunking up late in races that were falling apart. These horses are not suddenly going to beat a bigger and better field when there is no guarantee of a pace meltdown.
Rather than trying to choose among the chronic losers on the theory that anything could happen, it may be wiser to focus on the smaller group who have shown at least a hint of brilliance or looked something like genuine Derby contenders at some point in their careers. From that group, I can’t endorse Danzing Candy or Outwork, who seem like need-the-lead types who will have trouble getting 10 furlongs. I can’t take Exaggerator off a romp in the slop, Destin off an eight-week layoff, or Gun Runner and Brody’s Cause off unusually slow victories.
That leaves me with five horses who will be on my pick-whatever tickets. In alphabetical order, they are Creator, Mohaymen, Mor Spirit, My Man Sam, and Nyquist.
Since I have to pick one of them on top, I’ll go with Mor Spirit. He was the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby but came up flat on a sloppy track and did not run his race. The time before that, he was left with too much to do after falling eight lengths behind a loose Danzing Candy early. He has been first or second in all seven career starts, has been favored every time, and has never been beaten more than two lengths on a fast track. If you can overlook his final prep, he’s playable and should be a decent price.
I can’t put Nyquist worse than second. I acknowledge all the reservations mentioned above, but horses this dominant in their division’s biggest events should not be taken lightly, especially in a year short on stars.
Mohaymen was favored against Nyquist in the spring’s biggest showdown race, the Florida Derby, and I am more than willing to draw a line through his dull fourth-place finish. He turned in such an uncharacteristically poor performance that the race did not definitively prove Nyquist the better horse, and you’ll get a lot better than the 4-5 Mohaymen was in Florida.
My Man Sam and Creator are my preferred closers in the closer-laden field and may have the most upside. My Man Sam has had just four starts, and while he emerges from a second-place finish to Brody’s Cause in a slow Blue Grass, his two previous starts, which came over the Aqueduct inner track, earned solid figures that would put him in the mix with routine improvement. Creator has had plenty of chances but appeared to improve sharply when stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in the Arkansas Derby.
This has been a very quiet Derby season, with few dramatic developments or defections. Perhaps it’s a bit of a hangover from American Pharoah’s Triple Crown a year ago, with few anticipating consecutive Crowns after a 37-year gap between the last two. The race is generating little buzz outside of the racing world, and expectations for the group are generally low.
On the other hand, someone has to win, and whoever it is will look a lot better than he does right now once he’s wearing that blanket of roses – and is the only 3-year-old who can still win the Triple Crown.
This is a jockey's race if there ever was one. Position and racing luck will decide this Classic.
MY MAN SAM #6 Go back and watch and watch his move mid-turn to finish (although he wobbled twice in the lane) in Blue Grass. Then add 220 yards after the wire and then figure what would have happened in that 1/8. Has the speed and stamina but needs to be closer when he starts his run. Near perfect trip hard to get with 19 others. Will be best odds of possible winners.
Hi Steve: This is a hard race to pick & you're right, it is a "hangover" from last yr & yr before. The Derby is still the race everybody wants to win so good luck to all the runners.
2016 will be a replay of the 2014-2015 Derbies. Nyquist will sit off the pace and make his move around the far turn and win just like California Chrome and American Pharoah, but I think he will win by a wider margin. Take the 3-1.
No way to handicap this race. Just make a pick. $100 show Mo Tom
wow ..guess this is the year im going to be totally wrong..i like GUN RUNNER and MO TOM and SHAGAF as well as CREATOR...my 5th would be SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS. im throwing out NYQUIST weird training lots of jogging and walking. poor work with lead changes and that FLORIDA DERBY was an awful field after the top 2. Looked tired to me late and weird action. Im also chucking MOR SPIRIT once again weird uncharacteristic work pattern for a Baffert horse .also trainer not very upbeat. also chucking OUTWORK speed horses work well so im not surprised he's working well.still i cant see him getting the distance and he is a Pletcher. also chucking MOHAYMEN has beaten nobody was exposed last time will be part of what i believe will be a decent pace (despite what the experts say) DANZIGS CANDY (would like this horse a little had he gotten a better draw,will be tough to outsprint 19 horses while trying to get to the rail and then duel with OUTWORK ,NYQUIST,MOR SPIRIT). DESTIN is either improved a lot or really loves tampa.either way i dont think he is good enough or he would have gone to the bigger preps and not wound up in tampa.and ofcourse he is a pletcher. MY MAN SAM little horse can close some but i just dont think he is nearly as good as others do .TROJAN NATION is a maiden with the right pedigree for this but that was a slow wood.and he drew the dreaded one hole. BRODYS CAUSE reminds me of CARPE DIEM last year and will probably run like him. i say put him on turf. EXAGGERATOR is another that's a tough read he probably wont get the distance (i know CURLIN is the sire) and that last race must have taken something out of him. If it rains again he has a shot on a dry track toss. WHITMORE another tough read but im guessing he is a miler at heart makes his move then flattens out again. LANI the crazy horse from dubai. no distance limitations here but there are just too many negatives the traveling from dubai. the fact that he beat a weak field in slow time (yes. much slower than MUBTAHIJ the previous year.) .but he did make a beautiful sweeping move to get into contention or to be close to the filly ,you pick. Then seemed to wait on her in deep stretch. unfortunately for him no fillies in the field .ive read he hollers every time one goes by .if only SONGBIRD was healthy and had run here.another negative i think is that he has done almost no fast work since arriving.lots of long slow work but refuses to work fast. TOMS READY oh yes by now everybody's heard of the Dallas Steward magic for finishing second at long odds.and if he does i wont complain due to some futures bets i made in a moment of insanity. the others in the field not worth mentioning...this is just an opinion.just like yours..i could be wrong have been in 10 of the last 22 derby's including last years ( actually knew AP was a freak and would probably win but decided to put him underneath FROSTED ) but i did have ILL HAVE ANOTHER very early on in the futures right to the derby. also hit the ORB/golden soul exacta. And the CALCHROME/COMANDING CURVE exacta. Top picks included BARBARO ..ILL HAVE ANOTHER ..MONARCHOS..ORB..STREET SENSE..BIG BROWN..CALIFORNIA CHROME..FUNNY CIDE... .but on the other side i hated SMARTY JONES ,FUSHAICHI PEGASUS, WAR EMBLEM and CHARISMATIC.did not see GIACOMO or MINE THAT BIRD as contenders.
Creator picking up 8 lbs off Ark Dy win. Could wear him down late
Really hope Steve and Eddie are correct in their assessment of My Man Sam because I have him at 175-1 from a bet at the Wynn in early April for $20.00. Also have Mo Tom at 40-1.
Think Sam had not or was just made eligible then.
Good luck all,
Oh! I had Creator in the Ark Derby, will hook him up with Lani
Below is how I believe the final running order of the 2016 Kentucky Derby will finish. While I think almost anyone can win this year's derby, because it is that wide open. Nyquist should be the favorite going into the race, the horses in my top 12 I believe to have the best chances to win the race. The last 8 have very little chance in my opinion. I would love to hear everyone's thoughts or comments about the race and my list!
1) Exaggerator 6) My Man Sam 11) Tom's Ready 16) Shagaf
2) Mo Tom 7) Brody's Cause 12) Mohaymen 17) Danzig Candy
3) Nyquist 8) Gun Runner 13) Majesto 18) Outwork
4) Suddenbreakingnews 9) Creator 14) Destin 19) Oscar Nominated
5) Mor Spirit 10) Whitmore 15) Trojan Nation 20) Lani