03/25/2015 10:25AM

Jerardi: Searching for Derby prospects to use with Dortmund

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Firing Line, easy winner of the Sunland Park Derby, is an intriguing prospect for the Kentucky Derby.

We are five weeks away from the Kentucky Derby, and I admit to feeling confused. You ever look at a race over and over until all the horses start to look the same? You eventually get a headache and finally just move on to the next race. I am just about there with this Derby.

I still like Dortmund, but I can make a case for 10 other contenders to be part of the superfecta. I am looking for separation this weekend in Florida and Louisiana, next weekend in New York, Kentucky, and California, and some final inspiration from Arkansas.

There is certainly a possibility that American Pharoah blows away the competition in the Arkansas Derby and I have to reevaluate everything. Failing that, I am in no-man’s-land at the moment, caught between what I know and what I don’t know, the latter being much more prominent.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

I know Dortmund has not lost. I know he has run fast enough to win the Derby. I expect he will run beautifully in the Santa Anita Derby, which I will watch as always from courtside at the Final Four. Until then, I am plotting.

Let’s see about Upstart, Itsaknockout, and International Star on Saturday. Upstart has clearly done the most, has been the most consistent, and appears to have the highest upside. But you have to keep watching with an open mind.

Carpe Diem screams potential. If the Derby were won on bloodlines, he would be heading for the winner’s circle. I was totally impressed by Prospect Park’s late run when second to Dortmund in the San Felipe Stakes. Prospect Park, a son of Tapit, has the running style and perhaps the price to be a key superfecta horse for me. I love El Kabeir’s heart, but in my heart and on the numbers, I just don’t think he is going to be fast enough to win. But he could get a share of it because he is just so tough.

Firing Line gets more fascinating every time he runs. I understand that he beat nothing in the Sunland Derby, but each race is just a bit better visually than the previous one, and I love horses who win final preps with zero duress.

Could I decide on some horse not on this list to key in my supers? Yes, but that would depend on what we see in the next few weeks and what I hear Derby Week at Churchill Downs.

Could I change from Dortmund? I could, but I am not planning on it – unless something significant happens that makes me reconsider.

Hall of Fame choices

I don’t particularly understand why the Hall of Fame ballot includes horses, jockeys, and trainers. I am not quite sure how I am supposed to evaluate Craig Perret in relation to Lava Man, King Leatherbury vs. Chris Antley.

I do understand that the more people or horses I vote for, the less my vote actually matters. So, I voted for two horses and two people – Lava Man and Xtra Heat were the horses, Leatherbury and Perret the people.

I have no idea why Perret was not elected years ago. He was Jerry Bailey before Jerry Bailey, the best big-race jockey of his time. He just did not last as long at the top or ride as many great horses as Bailey eventually did. Like Bailey, Perret read a race like a player. If you wanted to bet on a Perret horse and hoped that horse would be placed in a certain spot to give the horse his best chance for success, you could count on him knowing that before you ever did and acting on it when the race started.

I have no idea why it took Leatherbury so long to get on the ballot. His sheer numbers alone should get him into the Hall easily, but who else had his best horse at the end of a career that has spanned seven decades and managed that horse as well as the King has managed Ben’s Cat? We all love the track because of the stories. Few have a better story than the man from Maryland, and nobody deserves to tell his story this August at Saratoga more than Leatherbury.

Jim More than 1 year ago
American Pharoah just reminds of so many great horses who will go wire to wire just watch his run in the rebel how just won't let others pass him.
Mark Colgan More than 1 year ago
I have Frammento in my sights as a major Derby contender. He seems to finally be maturing into a horse that could raise some eyebrows in May. We'll see how he fares at the BlueGrass next weekend.
Chas More than 1 year ago
On the Hall of Fame balloting, it should be so easy to list four categories: Horses, Jockeys, Trainers and Contirbution to Sport-Owner, Track Announcer, Executive, ie. Each would have 5 choices with the following getting voted in: Horses (3); Jockeys, Trainers and Contribution (1) each How difficult is that? Oh yeah, it is horse racing and nothing is ever done the easy or right way... As for the Derby...Carpe Diem and International Star our my picks...
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
How can you say Upstart has done the most compared to International Star? Star has shipped, run on multiple surfaces, and shows up every time so far.
Oliver Benavidez More than 1 year ago
Actually, Upstart probably has the best "foundation" of ANY of the potential Derby prospects. He's seasoned, has run over the slop, 3 different tracks and other than a freshening after the BC Juvenile, he's remained sound and hasn't missed any training. Unlike some of the other prospects. He proved his class by "winning" the FOY, regardless of what the stewards decided, when he wasn't even cranked up by the trainer. Good luck with International Star. He should be a nice price come Derby time.
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
He's a grinder, we saw that in last race, if gonna win Yum Brands will have to do it like Giacamo, but won't get 50-1, I'll look at P'P's 30 Apr
Scott More than 1 year ago
Dick, I'm with you, I'm really looking for a few things to shake loose this coming weekend and next weekend. I'm actually THRILLED that Upstart drew the far outside post in the Florida Derby, because it creates problems for him to overcome. I think he can overcome them, but it's going to be really interesting how they run him: do they gun him out of the gate to try to avoid being wide on the first turn, do they drop back to avoid the wide trip or do they just break normally and not worry about being 5 wide on the first turn. Upstart is ready to fire, but unlike Carpe Diem and American Pharaoh, his race has actually got some other talent involved: Itsaknockout and Materiality are both solid horses who could probably beat any of the competition showing up to face AP and CD in their respective races.
Oliver Benavidez More than 1 year ago
ALWAYS enjoy the pre-Derby chatter regarding who everyone is going to bet or why this horse is better than that horse...it's AWESOME! Ultimately, it comes down to post position draw, pace of the race, quality of the field and who gets the best trip. Last year, California Chrome ran his worst race of the year up to that point, Beyers wise, and STILL won. He got a dream trip and well, that field has proven to be pretty bad. Just look at how the horses that ran behind him performed after that race. This year's crop looks remarkably strong, which should present some juicy prices come Derby day on ACTUAL quality horses.
Debbie Gardner More than 1 year ago
Just curious how most play the Ky. Derby supers, what your ticket would look like, i.e. 1x2x4x8 ? Being such large field size, and the minimum $1 Ky. Derby super cost. As a general rule, if you single on top, would you carry over any horse in 2'nd to 3'rd and 4'th also? Anybody care to share their thoughts?
Scott Kromer More than 1 year ago
This year I am going to try the super with a 4x6x7x7 with the top 4 carrying over. $400 is peanuts if you hit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The problem with these bets are in your example of $400, you are carrying $398 in losing bets before he race starts. Your odds are also so very small on hitting.
Debbie Gardner More than 1 year ago
I don't think I can sink that much into one bet. I realize the payoff potential is huge, but that would take out too big a bite of my total betting money. I may have to do something on a smaller scale. I was curious if most betters would carry down their picks from one spot to others, 2'nd to 3'rd and 4'th. and maybe add a couple more extra on bottom. I'll have to fool around with it before I hit submit. thanks
Scott More than 1 year ago
Debbie, I don't care how much money you have to bet, I wouldn't recommend chasing the Superfecta too hard. I approach it much like a lottery ticket with just a little more research. LOL! I actually usually set aside $20.00 for Superfecta losses: Box a .10 Super with 5 horses costs only $12.00 and then I like to bet a couple $2.00 straight bets. I go harder for the Trifecta with a 3 x 5 x 7 format - $60 for every dollar you bet. And I've been hitting my exactas the last couple years by picking going with a 2 x 10 format.
Debbie Gardner More than 1 year ago
Scott, I don't think you can bet 10 cent supers on Derby day at Churchill, I believe the min. is $1, but I appreciate the suggestions from everybody.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Dont use the same betting style as others. If you use commonly used racing angles, many others are also using them. Do some research and think outside the box.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I will not bet Dortmund and upstart in the kentucky derby 1st or in pick 3 and 4 !! Heck, I will not even bet upstart 1st in Florida derby because he's not a good horse!! I will have upstart 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in Florida derby whether he's the favor or the long shot!! Firing line ran 1 1/8 in all most the same exact time as upstart ran 1 1/16 !! That's a huge difference !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not an apples to apples comparison two different tracks. You also think Stevens was all out on this horse with a 10 length lead ?
tommy More than 1 year ago
Nope, In my database, I have firing line breezing 1 1/8 @ 1:47 and handling all out @ 1:43 !!!!! Firing line can overlap upstart if he wanted to!!!