Updated on 09/18/2011 12:55AM

Kentucky Derby 132 field - handicappers' profiles

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A. P. WARRIOR

OWNER
Stan Fulton
TRAINER
John Shirreffs
Jockey
Corey Nakatani
DRF Line 15-1
Record 8-3-1-1
Best Beyer 101

STRENGTHS: Trainer John Shirreffs won this race last year with Giacomo, who entered 1 for 7 lifetime and didn't have a 100 Beyer Speed Figure on his plate. Giacomo was second in the San Felipe and fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, and Shirreffs's contender this year was first in the San Felipe and third in the Santa Anita Derby. The California 3-year-olds have been super shipping East for the Derby preps.

WEAKNESSES: Very impressive in his three victories, but quite mediocre in some of his defeats; never sure which A. P. Warrior will show up. He was likely too close to the pace in the Santa Anita Derby and can't be speed-crazy in this race or he won't be around at the finish.

STRATEGY: Hasn't been very far off the pace when he has been victorious, but rated kindly in fifth in the San Felipe score and needs that kind of patient handling to pull off the upset. He is not one of the pure front-runners here, who should make for a lightning quick pace and help set it up for a stalker/closer type like him.

VALUE: This $1.3 million yearling was bet hard from the Norfolk to the El Camino Real, but finally scored at $17 to win when dismissed in the San Felipe. He figures to be double-digit odds for the first time in his career, but nowhere near the 50-1 at which Giacomo won the Derby last year. You'll need plenty of value to back him based on form, which shows previous losses to many of the top Derby contenders.

- Art Gropper

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: A.P. Indy was scratched as the favorite on the morning of his Derby in 1992 but came back to win the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic. Distance is usually a plus for runners by A.P. Indy, and the best Derby finish by his offspring was Aptitude's second to Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. Pulpit, from A.P. Indy's first crop, ran a courageous fourth while sustaining a career-ending injury in the 1997 Derby. Atswhatimtalknbout rallied dramatically to finish fourth in the 2003 Derby. A.P. Indy is by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (sire of 1984 Derby winner Swale), and the Bold Ruler sire line had a profound impact on the Derby during the 1970's (producing winners Dust Commander, Secretariat, Cannonade, Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, Seattle Slew, and Spectacular Bid).

FEMALE FAMILY: Warrior Queen was a champion 3-year-old filly in England and Ireland, and her third dam, Ocean's Answer, is a three-quarter sister to champion racehorse and sire Storm Bird (the sire of Storm Cat).

PEDIGREE PATTERN: While inheriting stamina from A.P. Indy, A. P. Warrior has a healthy amount of natural speed from his damsire, Quiet American; his second damsire, Afleet; and his third damsire, Northern Answer. He is bred to excel at 1 1/4 miles.

- Pedigree profiles by Lauren Stich

Dosage Profile 7-7-12-0-0
Dosage index 3.33
Center of Distribution 0.81
$1.3 million yearling


BARBARO

OWNER
Lael Stables
TRAINER
Michael Matz
Jockey
Edgar Prado
DRF Line 6-1
Record 5-5-0-0
Best Beyer 103

STRENGTHS: Undefeated Barbaro is a force to be reckoned with, and he shows a strikingly similar performance line in each win. He was one of the few horses to win at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream this meet when breaking from post 10. He stalked the solid pace of Sharp Humor in the Florida Derby and wore down that rival in the late yards. If that effort did not take too much out of him, he is a logical exacta candidate in the Derby.

Also in his favor are some superior recent workouts over the Churchill Downs strip. His latest drill of 59.48, galloping out in 1:12.14, was among the more impressive a.m. moves of all candidates.

WEAKNESSES: Barbaro may not be able to secure the same cozy, stalking position he secured in each of his previous wins. Post position in this year's Derby will play a major role in determining which pacesetters and pace prompters gain advantageous early position. Barbaro is a long-striding runner, though, who can make up ground quickly.

STRATEGY: Edgar Prado has shown a perfect touch aboard this colt, securing the ideal attack position in each of the last three victories. Prado remains an outstanding money rider who has enjoyed success in the Triple Crown.

VALUE: The Derby field is one difficult morning line for any handicapper to assess, a field that appears far above average in talent than in recent years. Barbaro should go off at 6-1 or better despite his flawless record and is highly recommend for an exacta wheel, in both positions.

- Jim Kachulis

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Dynaformer was a stakes winner from the deep crop of 1985, which included Brian's Time, another son of European classic winner Roberto. Dynaformer is well respected as one of the premier grass and stamina sires in this country, but his offspring are also successful on dirt. Blumin Affair was third in the 1994 Derby, and Dynaformer's top-class dirt runners include Perfect Drift, Dynever, Critical Eye, and Starrer. Roberto upset the previously unbeaten Brigadier Gerard in the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup. The Hail to Reason sire line has had success in Triple Crown races (producing winners Proud Clarion, Personality, Hail to All, Sunny's Halo, and Sunday Silence).

FEMALE FAMILY: La Ville Rouge was stakes-placed in multiple graded turf races and also was second in the Tempted Stakes on dirt. Second dam La Reine Rouge won a restricted stakes and produced California Derby winner Green Alligator and stakes winner Lucky Lavender Gal.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: Barbaro gets speed from damsire Carson City to complement Dynaformer's stamina. Second damsire is miler specialist King's Bishop (Round Table) and third damsire is Nearctic, the sire of Northern Dancer. Should have no problem with 1 1/4 miles.

Dosage Profile 10-4-21-2-1
Dosage index 1.81
Center of Distribution 0.53
Homebred


BLUEGRASS CAT

OWNER
WinStar Farm
TRAINER
Todd Pletcher
Jockey
R. Dominquez
DRF Line 30-1
Record 7-4-1-0
Best Beyer 99

STRENGTHS: He was a stakes winner at 2, including a two-turn win at Aqueduct in the Grade 2 Remsen. He has outstanding breeding, being by premier sire Storm Cat. His dam was unraced but is a full sister to Accelerator (24-4-3-9, $414,000), who ran second in the Wood Memorial. Eclipse award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher has yet to win the Derby. Jockey Ramon Dominguez replaces John Velazquez, who is injured. "He's a patient rider, and we would like to see the horse settle in mid-pack," Pletcher said.

WEAKNESSES: His Blue Grass flop as the 9-5 favorite helps his price. Chasing a lone front-runner in Sinister Minister is a viable excuse as Keeneland is a notoriously speed-biased track. Not sure about his Tampa Bay Derby loss, again as the favorite, as that track played heavily towards speed the entire day. He stalked the pace four wide before moving into contention but was never more than two lengths back in the early going. It doesn't help that the horse that beat him, Deputy Glitters (102 Beyer Speed Figure), was chasing in second before taking the lead down the stretch - or the fact that he returned to do little in the Wood.

STRATEGY: It sounds so simple but rarely is: stalk solid fractions from mid-pack or closer while saving early energy and ground. The main flaw with the strategy is that multiple foes will be trying to do the same thing, making for a crowded trip.

VALUE: He has been favored in 5 of 7 starts, but his current form will knock his price way up. As always, exotics are tempting simply because of the math. There are 380 exacta combinations for this year's Derby (20x19) as compared to a typical 12-horse field of 132 combos (12x11). It means there are 379 losing combinations and only one winning one.

- Scott Ehlers

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Storm Cat is the most dominant sire of his time, but he has yet to sire a Derby winner. His son Tabasco Cat won the 1994 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Now 23, Storm Cat is in the twilight of his stallion career, but is reminiscent of past champion stallions Bold Ruler and Mr. Prospector, whose only Derby winners (Secretariat and Fusaichi Pegasus, respectively) came in their last few crops. Storm Cat's grandsire, Northern Dancer, won the 1964 Derby and Preakness. Derby winners Ferdinand, Sea Hero, and Charismatic descend from Northern Dancer.

FEMALE FAMILY: Inbred to La Troienne, considered the most important broodmare of the last century, She's a Winner is an unraced full sister to stakes winners Accelerator and Daydreaming.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: There are more brilliant (speed) influences in this pedigree than stamina, but high class can sometimes enable a horse to win well beyond his pedigree.

Dosage Profile 10-4-10-0-0
Dosage index 3.80
Center of Distribution 1.00
Homebred


BOB AND JOHN

OWNER
Stonerside Stables
TRAINER
Bob Baffert
Jockey
Garret Gomez
DRF Line 10-1
Record 5-4-1-3
Best Beyer 102

STRENGTHS: He's certainly in good form, having won 3 of his last 4 starts, and his only loss during that span came when a slow start took him out of his game in the San Felipe. It was encouraging to see him make a late run there despite that early trouble, and he won the Wood last time with a forward trip, showing that he can prompt quick fractions and still win. He also proved that a wet track is no problem. He has the right trainer in his corner.

WEAKNESSES: He came home in exceptionally slow time in the Wood Memorial, calling into question his ability to close powerfully at 1 1/4 miles after a quick pace, a likely scenario in the Derby. He also sat a perfect trip there, and Jazil, who had never earned a Beyer above 84 before the Wood, was getting to him late. He's done a lot of shipping over the past month, from California to New York, back to California and now to Kentucky, and he has only one triple-digit Beyer.

STRATEGY: The fact that he's quick from the gate but can also rate is a plus, as rapid fractions are likely to ruin the one-dimensional front-runners. He should be in the second flight, behind the confirmed speeds, and he'll probably look to make a run on the turn to get the jump on the deep closers.

VALUE: He has the right running style and connections, so he's worth using in all exotics at about 8-1. That's a bit of an underlay for a win proposition given those fairly light Beyers, however.

- Kenny Peck

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Seeking the Gold finished seventh in the 1988 Derby but developed later that year into one of his crop's best runners. Sire of the international star Dubai Millennium, Seeking the Gold built his solid reputation as a stallion primarily through his top-class fillies (Seeking the Pearl, Heavenly Prize, Flanders, Pleasant Home, Cash Run, and Dream Supreme). The Raise a Native sire line has had astonishing success in the Derby, including Derby winners Majestic Prince, Affirmed, Genuine Risk, Alysheba, Unbridled, Strike the Gold, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, Real Quiet, Fusaichi Pegasus, Monarchos, War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones.

FEMALE FAMILY: Minister's Melody was a stakes winner and placed in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, La Brea, and La Canada stakes. Second dam My Song For You was a stakes-placed half-sister to five stakes winners: Exceller, Capote, Baldski, American Standard, and Vaguely Hidden. Third dam Too Bald was a stakes winner of extraordinary speed, and the 1986 Broodmare of the Year.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: With a pedigree full of speed influences (Mr. Prospector, Deputy Minister, Bald Eagle), Bob and John may be most effective at 1 1/8 miles, but the presence in his pedigree of names like Seattle Song and Dark Star (winner of the 1953 Derby over Native Dancer) could help him get 1 1/4 miles.

Dosage Profile 10-3-13-0-0
Dosage index 3.00
Center of Distribution 0.88
Homebred


BROTHER DEREK

OWNER
Cecil Peacock
TRAINER
Dan Hendricks
Jockey
Alex Solis
DRF Line 4-1
Record 8-6-0-1
Best Beyer 108

STRENGTHS: Generally considered the measuring stick for his class off four straight powerful Southern California victories, including a win over 2-year-old champion Stevie Wonderboy. It also bodes well that he's a sensational 5 for 5 around two turns, and his Beyer Figures rank among the best in the field.

WEAKNESSES: The only time he shipped out of Southern California resulted in one of his poorer efforts, when he was a nonthreatening fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He's also been most effective using his speed and hasn't shown he is as comfortable from off the pace, and with a ton of speed signed up here that could work against him. Then again, he hasn't really had to come from well off the pace before, so you can't say he can't do it, and he did come from sixth when he won his maiden in his 4 1/2-furlong debut at Holly-wood last May.

STRATEGY: His people can read the Racing Form, too - they understand a dizzying pace is almost certain, so they've been asking him to relax more in the mornings. His works since his Santa Anita Derby win have been slower than the big drills he posted before that. It looks like they're going to try and sit and make a run.

VALUE: If you think he's the cream of the crop you probably won't mind playing him. Even if he does go favored, in this big field with plenty of competition he still figures in the 9-2 range - not bad if you think he's the best horse.

- Michael Hammersly

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: The underrated Benchmark is by Alydar, second to Affirmed in the 1978 Triple Crown, and his dam, Winter's Love, is a half-sister to Belmont winner Caveat. Benchmark is also a half-brother to Tranquility Lake. Benchmark's grandsire is Raise a Native, whose Derby-winning descendants include Majestic Prince and Exclusive Native, the sire of Affirmed and Genuine Risk.

FEMALE FAMILY: Unraced California-bred Miss Soft Sell produced Brother Derek's older full brother Don'tsellmeshort, a multiple winner of restricted stakes. Second dam Solamente Un Vez won the Bay Meadows Lassie, Burlingame Stakes, and Senorita Handicap.

PEDIGREE PATTERN:Benchmark is the third stakes winner out of a mare by Siyah Kalem, a son of Mr. Prospector. Despite the presence of stamina influence Graustark in his fourth generation, Brother Derek's pedigree is full of speed influences.

Dosage Profile 10-3-16-1-0
Dosage index 2.33
Center of Distribution 0.73
$275,000 2-year-old


CAUSE TO BELIEVE

OWNER
Abruzzo, Redekop B.C. Ltd
TRAINER
Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey
Russel Baze
DRF Line 50-1
Record 10-6-3-1
Best Beyer98

STRENGTHS: Cause to Believe has been a major player throughout his career, from "baby race" sprints last year to two-turn Derby preps this year. He has finished first or second 9 times in 10 starts and was third in the Illinois Derby.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze have been a potent combo for years. Hollendorfer has been unlucky that some of his better colts (e.g. Event of the Year) have failed to make the Derby, though he has won the Kentucky Oaks twice.

Russell Baze has limited Derby experience, but is closing fast on Laffit Pincay Jr.'s record as the top winning rider of all time.

WEAKNESSES: Though Giacomo did not have a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure going into the Derby last year, history suggests it is usually best to have one. Cause to Believe's best Beyer Figure is 98.

Cause to Believe has generally beaten inferior rivals to this point, and the Derby will be just his third start outside his northern California base. He was beaten more than 10 lengths by Sweetnor-thernsaint in the Illinois Derby, the richest race he has run in so far.

STRATEGY: Cause to Believe's cause will be aided by an expected fast pace, something he didn't see in the Illinois Derby. Traffic, however, is always a concern for horses with his style.

VALUE: Likely to be ignored off his last race, Cause to Believe could be as high as 50-1, which given some of his strengths might be considered an overlay.

- Vance Hanson

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Maria's Mon was a champion 2-year-old and sired the 2001 Derby winner, Monarchos, in his very first crop. Wavering Monarch achieved most of his success on turf, but was versatile like his sire, Majestic Light, a major stakes winner on dirt and turf. Majestic Prince was the undefeated winner of the 1969 Derby and Preakness.

FEMALE FAMILY: Unraced Imaginary Cat is a full sister to stakes winner Katz Me If You Can, and second dam Cuddles was a multiple stakes winner and half-sister to Nuryette, the dam of Tap to Music and Northern Afleet (sire of Afleet Alex). Third dam Stellarette won the Barbara Fritchie Handicap and is a half-sister to Love Smitten (dam of Swain), Dancing on a Cloud, and Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Kamar (dam of Canadian champion Key to the Moon and stakes winners Gorgeous and Seaside Attraction, who is the dam of 2-year-old champion Golden Attraction).

PEDIGREE PATTERN: He has stamina on top coupled with a very classy female family that is rife with the names of prominent stallions (Storm Cat, Mr. Prospector, Tentam, Quadrangle). He should do well at 1 1/4 miles and is another colt equally bred for grass.

Cause to Believe
Dosage Profile 5-3-8-0-0
Dosage index 3.00
Center of Distribution 0.81
$30,000 2-year-old


DEPUTY GLITTERS

OWNER
Joseph Lacombe Stable Inc
TRAINER
Tom Albertrani
Jockey
J. Lezcano
DRF Line 50-1
Record 7-2-1-0
Best Beyer 96

STRENGTHS: He impressed with his win in the Tampa Bay Derby, and beat well-regarded Bluegrass Cat along the way. The Beyer Figure of 102 he posted gives him credibility, and he won that race without the benefit of racing on the lead, which is important since his ability to rate was in question before that effort. He has trained nicely since a poor effort in the Wood, and that subpar try can be blamed on the wet track, which he obviously doesn't care for.

WEAKNESSES: He comes into the Derby off his worst effort of the year, and if the track comes up wet on Saturday his chances plummet even further. Though he rated in the Tampa Bay Derby he was still very close to the lead, as it seems he is not capable of taking well off the pace and making one run. That could mean trouble in the Derby, as the fractions will be quick. His best Beyer came in that Tampa Bay Derby, but he would need to run much faster than that to win on Saturday, which seems unlikely since he will have to push fast fractions early and stave off a host of closers late.

STRATEGY: He needs to be close to the lead, obviously, but if he is too close he will wilt under the pressure of sizzling fractions. His best chance is to try to rate behind Sinister Minister and Sharp Humor and hold off on making a run until they hit the lane.

VALUE: He will be a big price, but given his running style he doesn't figure to last, even for a placing, if the pace is as quick as expected.

- Kenny Peck

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: A late-blooming son of juvenile champion and champion stallion Deputy Minister, Deputy Commander took after his long-winded dam, the stakes winner Anka Germania. Deputy Commander won the Travers Stakes and Super Derby at 1 1/4 miles and is the sire of Ten Most Wanted, who also won the Travers and Super Derby and finished second in the Belmont. Deputy Minister sired Belmont winner Touch Gold and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Awesome Again.

FEMALE FAMILY: Glitters was stakes-placed on dirt and turf, and Deputy Glitters's second dam, Bon Adeau, won the Michigan Oaks for Michigan-breds.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: With Deputy Commander on top, there is no concern for stamina, while damsire Glitterman adds speed.

Dosage Profile 3-2-5-0-0
Dosage index 3.00
Center of Distribution 0.80
Homebred


FLASHY BULL

OWNER
West Point Thoroughbreds
TRAINER
Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey
Mike Smith
DRF Line 50-1
Record 9-1-4-1
Best Beyer 94

STRENGTHS: He has had three prep races this year and should be set up to move forward after losing his best chance going into the clubhouse turn of the Florida Derby, the only time in his career that he has truly run poorly. His last four races all came at 1 1/8 miles, so he has a strong foundation for the extra furlong of the Kentucky Derby. His trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, trained the runner-up in last year's renewal of this event, Closing Argument.

WEAKNESSES: He is a limited winner, with only a maiden score to his credit (although that didn't keep Giacomo from winning this race last year) and he has been beaten by several of today's opponents. He has yet to run a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure, which is what it usually takes to get involved here, and his pedigree leaves something to be desired regarding his ability to stay 1 1/4 miles. Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who has been aboard in each of his last two starts, opts to pilot Point Determined.

STRATEGY: He does his best running near the lead and will likely be there again today. He would probably be best sitting several lengths off what figures to be a strong pace, hoping for the leaders to come back to him. Whether he is able to keep within striking range of an honest clip and still be able to hold off those settled in behind him early is another question altogether.

VALUE: It's not much of a stretch to anticipate odds in the ballpark of 40-1 or better on him today. While last year's Derby proved once again that anyone can hit the board in this event, this guy will need to be ready to run the race of his life to get involved in the outcome, so we would recommend limited use in exotics.

- Steve Grabowski

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Holy Bull is the sire of last year's Derby winner, Giacomo, and this sire line is known for its high speed. Great Above was purely a top-class sprinter (out of champion sprinter Ta Wee), and Minnesota Mac was a superior stakes winner on turf.

FEMALE FAMILY: His third dam, the stakes winner A Status Symbol, produced Skybox, the dam of stakes winner Sand Ridge, and Ball Chairman, the dam of Perfect Soul. Fourth dam Queen Louie was a Canadian 2-year-old champion. Fifth dam Reagent produced Canadian 2-year-old champion Gentleman Conn and stakes winners Brilliant Sandy and Bold Agent.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The Holy Bull/Mt. Livermore mare cross is speed over speed, but names like Manila and Exclusive Native in this pedigree provide much-needed stamina. He should eventually try turf.

Dosage Profile 5-2-7-0-0
Dosage index 3.00
Center of Distribution 0.86
$205,000 2-year-old


JAZIL

OWNER
Shadwell Stables
TRAINER
Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey
F. Jara
DRF Line 30-1
Record 6-1-3-0
Best Beyer 97

STRENGTHS: Anything approaching last year's intense pace in the Kentucky Derby (which featured middle fractions of 45.38 and 1:09.59) will help this colt use his superior late kick. Among his more impressive races was his second career outing, when he lost a maiden race by a few inches to the vastly improved Steppenwolfer after making up more than 18 lengths.

WEAKNESSES: The trouble with Jazil is that his sharp rally in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial was more illusion than reality, since the final eighth of that race was run in 14.14 seconds. He enjoyed a rail-skimming trip through the slop that day and angled out very late to capture the place behind the impressive Bob and John.

STRATEGY: Jockey Fernando Jara has been aboard this colt since day one and has done well in the past when riding for Kiaran McLaughin, an underrated trainer. Without an accelerated pace, however, and given the big field of the Derby, Jazil and Jara may have a tough time weaving through traffic.

VALUE: If you believe the pace will be white-hot in this year's classic, then Jazil seems a logical inclusion in your superfecta bets. A minor win bet is suggested if he is better than 30-1.

- Jim Kachulis

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Seeking the Gold was seventh in the 1988 Derby but developed into one of his crop's best runners. Sire of the international star Dubai Millennium, Seeking the Gold built his reputation as a premier stallion primarily through his top-class fillies (Seeking the Pearl, Heavenly Prize, Flanders, Pleasant Home). The Raise a Native sire line has had astonishing success in the Derby, including Derby winners Majestic Prince, Affirmed, Genuine Risk, Alysheba, Unbridled, Strike the Gold, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, Real Quiet, Fusaichi Pegasus, Monarchos, War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones.

FEMALE FAMILY: Better Than Honour was a stakes winner and placed in the Acorn, Comely, and Mother Goose stakes. Blush With Pride won the 1982 Kentucky Oaks, and third dam Best in Show won the Comely Stakes and was 1982 Broodmare of the Year. In addition to Blush With Pride, her other foals include Sex Appeal (dam of El Gran Senor, Try My Best, and Compliance), Monroe (dam of European champion Xaar and Masterclass), Nijinsky's Best (dam of Yagli), Irish 2-year-old champion Malinowski, and Minnie Hauk, who established a high-class branch of her own. Minnie Hauk produced European 3-year-old filly champion Aviance, who in turn is the dam of Denon, Chimes of Freedom, and Imperfect Circle.

PEDIGREE PATTERN:Jazil has the Rasmussen Factor or RF (inbreeding to a superior female through different individuals within five generations), as he is inbred 5x5 to the influential broodmare Traffic Court, the 1954 Broodmare of the Year, through her successful sons Hasty Road and Traffic Judge. The RF is often a barometer of high class.

Dosage Profile 11-3-14-0-0
Dosage index 3.00
Center of Distribution 0.89
$725,000 yearling


KEYED ENTRY

OWNER
Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Donald Lucarelli
TRAINER
Todd Pletcher
Jockey
Pat Valenzuela
DRF Line 30-1
Record 5-3-1-1
Best Beyer 110

STRENGTHS: This colt hails from the barn of reigning two-time Eclipse winner Todd Pletcher, who trained runner-up Invisible Ink for the 2001 edition won by Monarchos, and owns fine early speed. That zip led to his Grade 2 Hutcheson defeat of Grade 1 winner First Samurai. The 110 Beyer he earned, although posted over a wet track, is topped only by Sinister Minister's 116 in his Blue Grass triumph. The Kentucky-bred has finished in the money in all five outings and, as a grandson of Relaunch, likely has an edge over many on a wet strip.

WEAKNESSES: The speedy Keyed Entry is a question mark at the Derby's 10 furlongs. His flashy zip has led to all three victories, but such a style doesn't seem suited to this year's Derby, with Sinister Minister, Sharp Humor, and other runners set to contest the pace. He hasn't triumphed beyond six furlongs on a dry strip and, although picking up a fine rider in Patrick Valenzuela, loses the services of his regular jockey, Edgar Prado, to Barbaro.

STRATEGY: Top gate rider Valenzuela needs to break sharply aboard Keyed Entry and, against the odds, get to the front and attempt a War Emblem-type slowdown. If that unlikely scenario doesn't play out, he will probably try to locate position behind Sinister Minister and Sharp Humor, tactics similar to those in Keyed Entry's Gotham placing, and try to surge past them off the far turn before bracing for the closers.

VALUE: A 32-1 proposition in Pool 3 of the Derby Future Wager, Keyed Entry figures to go postward in that neighborhood on Saturday. This year's race doesn't appear to play to his style, so those banking on Pletcher at a price may be wise to look elsewhere for value today.

- Paul Malecki

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Honour and Glory was a top-class miler who won the Metropolitan Handicap at 3 after failing to get 1 1/4 miles in the Derby. Along with Valid Appeal, Relaunch was In Reality's most influential son at stud. The Intentionally sire line is known for its high speed on all surfaces - dirt, turf and, especially, wet tracks.

FEMALE FAMILY: Ava Knowsthecode produced stakes winner Alex's Allure. Stakes winner Ava Romance won 7 races from 56 starts and produced stakes winners Time for Romance and Ava Singstheblues.

PEDIGREE PATTERN:Keyed Entry is another RF (Rasmussen Factor), as he is inbred 4x5 to Grand Splendor through her two important daughters, Gonfalon (dam of Ogygian and Fair to All, the dam of Honour and Glory) and Killaloe (the dam of Fappiano). Class abounds because of this pattern, but despite the presence of Cryptoclearance and Avatar, he is a miler who may be able to get nine furlongs.

Dosage Profile 5-4-8-1-0
Dosage index 2.60
Center of Distribution 0.72
$145,000 yearling


LAWYER RON

OWNER
Estate of James T. Hines Jr.
TRAINER
Robert Holthus
Jockey
John McKee
DRF Line 5-1
Record 14-7-1-3
Best Beyer 106

STRENGTHS: He is a throwback in one respect - he has 14 career starts, a deeper foundation than what we've become accustomed to seeing from a Derby entrant in the last decade or two. Spent the early part of his career running on turf and Polytrack, an artificial surface, but has blossomed since moving to dirt. He is undefeated in seven starts on dirt, with an average winning margin of more than five lengths. Lawyer Ron displayed versatility in the Rebel Stakes by rating in midpack before unleashing a winning bid turning for home. That ability to rate should serve him well as this Derby is loaded with speed. Lawyer Ron won his only start on a sloppy track.

WEAKNESSES: Giacomo was the exception rather than the rule when he earned a below-par 100 Beyer Speed Figure winning the 2005 Derby. Lawyer Ron earned a 106 Beyer winning the Risen Star in January but has not earned a triple-digit figure since then. Though he showed an ability to rate in the Rebel, Lawyer Ron was more headstrong in the Arkansas Derby, taking the lead soon after reaching the backside. That may lead some to believe that he has not totally shaken his free-running tendencies.

STRATEGY: Jockey John McKee will likely try to rate Lawyer Ron but remain close enough to the leaders to take one of the first cracks at them.

VALUE: Lawyer Ron has started at 5-2 or lower in his last six starts, so his supporters will be thrilled with the higher price expected Saturday.

- Vance Hanson

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: One of the most underrated stallions of his era, Langfuhr is the sire of Canadian Horse of the Year Wando and Canadian champion Mobil, as well as U.S. stakes winners Imperial Gesture and Imperialism. Danzig is the sire of Stephan's Odyssey and Chief's Crown, who finished second and third, respectively, in the 1985 Derby. The Northern Dancer sire line produced Derby winners Ferdinand, Sea Hero, and Charismatic.

FEMALE FAMILY:Donation did not win in four starts, but produced three winners from as many foals. Second dam Ready Change was stakes-placed and raced seven years, winning 8 races from 57 starts. She descends from the important female family of Uvira II, the dam of Missy Baba. Notable runners tracing to Missy Baba include A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, Raja Baba, Lemon Drop Kid, Sauce Boat, Toll Booth, Plugged Nickle, and Christiecat.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The speed of Langfuhr is complemented by the stamina of damsire Lord Avie and second damsire Mr. Redoy. Bred for middle distances, but class could get this colt to stay 1 1/4 miles.

Dosage Profile 4-7-7-0-0
Dosage index 4.14
Center of Distribution 0.83
Homebred


POINT DETERMINED

OWNER
Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust
TRAINER
Bob Baffert
Jockey
Rafeal Bejarano
DRF Line 10-1
Record 6-2-3-0
Best Beyer 103

STRENGTHS: He has improved with racing, posting career-best Beyers in each of his last two outings. He showed some grit by re-rallying to get second money when it looked like he was about to retreat behind the loose-on-the-lead Brother Derek in the Santa Anita Derby, and that guy won't have things his own way this time. Sired by a Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner who probably should have won the Kentucky Derby as well, he should have little problem handling the Derby's 10 panels. Having the multiple-classic-winning trainer Bob Baffert in his corner is also a plus.

WEAKNESSES: In both of his graded stakes tries, he was beaten by rivals he will face again today. Like most of these, he also doesn't own a race over the track, and while his morning drills have been quite sharp, he has been preparing for this back home in California.

STRATEGY: He owns enough tactical speed to keep him within shouting distance of what figures to be a hotly contested pace, and most of the top contenders in here do their better running on or just off the lead. He should be able to gain position in the second flight of runners, and be ready to capitalize when the front-runners begin to come back to the field. Being drawn inside, in post 5, should help his chances.

VALUE: At a morning-line price of 12-1, he offers tremendous betting value. Everything in his past performances indicates that he's coming up to this well. With the main contenders battling things out early, there's a distinct possibility that big-priced runners can fall into some of the minor spots. While a straight bet at a double-digit price is reasonable, the prospect of a five-figure score keying him on top of trifectas and superfectas is much more appetizing.

- Steve Grabowski

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Point Given finished fifth in the 2001 Kentucky Derby but won the Preakness and Belmont and was Horse of the Year at 3. His sire, Thunder Gulch, was a champion at 3 when he won the 1995 Derby and Belmont. Gulch was a champion sprinter but has become a solid source of middle-distance and classic winners, here and abroad, on dirt and turf. The Raise a Native sire line has had astonishing success in the Derby, including Derby winners Majestic Prince, Affirmed, Genuine Risk, Alysheba, Unbridled, Strike the Gold, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, Real Quiet, Fusaichi Pegasus, Monarchos, War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones.

FEMALE FAMILY: Merengue was a multiple stakes winner on the Maryland circuit, and second dam Sentimental Tango, also a stakes winner, is a half-sister to Silver Tango, a multiple stakes winner who won 17 races from 47 starts.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The Point Given/Broad Brush cross creates a colt who should run all day and relish the Derby distance while others may be wilting late in the stretch.

Dosage Profile 3-7-10-0-0
Dosage index 3.00
Center of Distribution 0.65
$750,000 yearling


PRIVATE VOW

OWNER
Mike McCarty
TRAINER
Steve Asmussen
Jockey
Shaun Bridgmohan
DRF Line 30-1
Record 8-4-1-1
Best Beyer 96

STRENGTHS: Private Vow was hot going into last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile with three straight wins, but lost all chance in that race when one of his reins broke on the backstretch. He came back strong, winning a two-turn Grade 2 at Churchill in his next start. He and Storm Treasure are the only ones in this race with a win on the main track at Churchill Downs.

Private Vow has really been working well on this strip and could move up Saturday, especially if the track is muddy. The fact that he ran so well in his two starts on this track is certainly something to like. He is also making his third start of the year and is a fresh horse compared to many of these.

WEAKNESSES: This colt chased a fast pace set by Lawyer Ron in the Arkansas Derby and managed to hold on for third, but was unable to get past that horse and Steppen-wolfer in his last two starts. Private Vow earned most of his money as a 2-year-old and has not won this year.

STRATEGY: With all of the speed in this race, he will probably have to sit back and wait for a chance to make his move. The good news is that he has had some experience getting dirt kicked back at him in his last two races.

VALUE: While he is an improving sort, he won't take much action on Derby Day. He figures to be at least 20-1.

- Kristin Sadler

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Broken Vow was a late-developing colt who blossomed at 4, when he won the Philip H. Iselin Handicap, and Private Vow is from his first crop. Unbridled won the 1990 Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic, and sired 1996 Derby winner Grindstone in his first crop, as well as 2003 Derby runner-up and Belmont winner Empire Maker.

FEMALE FAMILY: Smooth as Silk won 2 races from 8 starts and second dam Sacque was a stakes winner who won 11 races from 28 starts here and in England.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: With Unbridled on top and Deputy Minister and Elegant Air (a son of European stayer Shirley Heights) on the bottom, Private Vow should really love the Derby distance.

Dosage Profile 4-2-9-2-3
Dosage index 1.11
Center of Distribution 0.10
$180,000 2-year-old


SEASIDE RETREAT

OWNER
William S. Farish Jr.
TRAINER
Mark Casse
Jockey
P. Husbands
DRF Line 100-1
Record 7-3-1-1
Best Beyer 87

STRENGTHS: Seaside Retreat closed for second behind bombs away Lane's End winner With a City, but he finished far back when Sinister Minister ran off with the Blue Grass Stakes. He should be ready to go the distance with two recent 1 1/8-mile races under his belt and will be making up ground late. His recent works indicate that he likes the Churchill oval.

WEAKNESSES: This colt won a Woodbine stakes race at 2, but the only time he hit the board this year was on Polytrack. Most of these have Beyer Speed Figures in the upper 90's or low 100's, but his best is the 85 he earned at Turfway.

STRATEGY: Sea-side Retreat is definitely a closer who will be trying to pick off horses late. He doesn't appear to have any inclination to run on the lead.

VALUE: His poor finish in the Blue Grass Stakes will scare many people away, but those who like him will love his huge odds.

- Kristin Sadler

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Six of King Cugat's seven victories were in stakes, and he was a superior performer on turf, which was expected as a son of international grass sire Kingmambo. Seaside Retreat is from King Cugat's first crop and is from the Raise a Native sire line, like Bob and John, Brother Derek, Cause to Believe, Jazil, Point Determined, Sharp Humor, and Showing Up.

FEMALE FAMILY: Shes Like Rio was a modest winner but second dam Lading Rhyme is a full sister to stakes winner Sweetest Chant, the dam of Danzig's Beauty. Danzig's Beauty is the dam of Distorted Humor, sire of 2003 Derby winner Funny Cide. Female line also produced Private Thoughts and Casseleria.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The King Cugat/Boundary cross is stamina over speed, and while he has performed well on dirt, Seaside Retreat has a pedigree that screams turf. In addition to King Cugat, Kingmambo, and Majestic Light on top, he has two powerful grass influences, Danzig and Mr. Leader, up close in his pedigree on the bottom.

Dosage Profile 5-3-12-0-0
Dosage index 2.33
Center of Distribution 0.65
$13,000 yearling


SHARP HUMOR

OWNER
Purdedel Stables
TRAINER
Dale Romans
Jockey
Mark Guidry
DRF Line 30-1
Record 7-4-1-1
Best Beyer 102

STRENGTHS: This will be his third start this year, and he is fresh and fast. Capable at the distance and is reportedly training very well over the Churchill Downs course. Also note he has a very strong Tomlinson rating for a wet track and won over a sloppy Belmont course last fall.

WEAKNESSES: His early speed could be a hindrance here if he can't be settled behind Sinister Minister. He obviously needs the front end, and if he can't relax, a speed duel is almost certain, leaving both horses out of gas in the final furlongs.

STRATEGY: If he can possibly let Sin-ister Minister go just a bit in front of him without too much of a fight he may have the talent to run him down in the stretch. He will want to stay clear of the rest of the early speed. It will take a very cooperative horse and smooth jockey to get it done.

VALUE: Should get great odds on this horse and he is a great value if the clouds open and the rain pours. Even on a fast track, though, he still may have the stamina to stay and land a share of the money.

- Kim Nelson

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Dis-torted Humor got off to a great start at stud, siring 2003 Derby winner Funny Cide in his first crop. Whitney Handicap winner Commentator is from his second crop, Travers Stakes winner and Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Flower Alley is from his third crop, and Sharp Humor is from his fourth crop. Forty Niner was a fast-closing second in the 1988 Derby, and is the sire of Jules, the sire of Peace Rules, who was third behind Funny Cide and Empire Maker in the 2003 Derby. The Raise a Native sire line has won five of the last six Kentucky Derbies.

FEMALE FAMILY: Bellona was unraced and second dam Basoof is a half-sister to 2000 Guineas winner and European champion 3-year-old miler Shadeed.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: One of four colts in this year's Derby to have the Rasmussen Factor (RF) as he is inbred 4x5 to Continue, through her descendants Forty Niner and Continuation. The Distorted Humor/Hansel cross is speed over stamina, and Sharp Humor may be most effective up to nine furlongs.

Dosage Profile 7-3-9-0-1
Dosage index 2.64
Center of Distribution 0.75
Homebred


SHOWING UP

OWNER
Lael Stables
TRAINER
Barclay Tagg
Jockey
C. Velasquez
DRF Line 30-1
Record 3-3-0-0
Best Beyer 100

STRENGTHS: Talent. Unbeaten in three starts, he passed his first stakes test by winning the Grade 2 Lexington over Like Now at Keeneland.

All of his races have earned him Beyer Speed Figures of between 97 and 100. Although those numbers are well off the 109 average winning Beyer for the Derby, they are roughly competitive with the last three figures earned by several Derby contenders, including Lawyer Ron.

His trainer, Barclay Tagg, knows what it takes to win this race - he won the 2003 Derby with Funny Cide.

WEAKNESSES: Inexperience. Besides having started only three times, Showing Up never raced as a 2-year-old. The last horse to win the Derby with fewer than five starts was Exterminator in 1918. And the last horse who was unraced at 2 and won the Derby was Apollo in 1882.

Showing Up also finished slowly in winning the 1 1/16-mile Lexington. Despite a favorable stalking trip behind a hotly contested pace, he finished his final sixteenth in 7.38 seconds.

He came out of the race with a puncture wound to his right foreleg and was treated with antibiotics.

STRATEGY: A versatile colt, he can be placed in any position. With a hot pace anticipated in the Derby, he seems likely to stalk the leaders as he did in the Lexington.

VALUE: With many observers questioning if the Derby is too much too soon, those with faith in the horse will be offered a price. He seems likely to start at odds of 30-1 or higher.

- Byron King

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Showing Up is from the first crop of Strategic Mission, a half-brother to multiple stakes winners Sultry Song and Solar Splendor. Strategic Mission won the Fort Marcy Handicap and was best on turf. The Mr. Prospector sire line has produced Derby winners Unbridled, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, Real Quiet, Fusaichi Pegasus, War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones.

FEMALE FAMILY: Miss Alethia won only once in 28 starts, but is a full sister to stakes winner It's a Rerun and half-sister to Dot O' Spice. Miss Alethia has now produced two stakes winners, Gimmeawink and Showing Up. Showing Up's second dam, the stakes-placed Shoosh, won twice in 15 starts and is a half-sister to stakes winner Within Hail.

PEDIGREE PATTERN:The Strategic Mission/T.V. Commercial cross is speed over stamina. T.V. Commercial won the Arlington-Washington Futurity and was third in the 1968 Derby (moved up from fourth via the disqualification of Dancer's Image).

Dosage Profile 8-7-13-0-0
Dosage index 3.31
Center of Distribution 0.82
$60,000 2-year-old


SINISTER MINISTER

OWNER
Mercedes Stable, LLC, Lanni Family Trust & Schiappa
TRAINER
Bob Baffert
Jockey
Victor Espinoza
DRF Line 15-1
Record 5-2-1-0
Best Beyer 116

STRENGTHS: He delivered a dominating performance in the Blue Grass, when he broke in the air, recovered quickly, set a torrid pace while accumulating a large lead, and drew away to a 12 3/4-length triumph. Keeneland was not favoring speed that day. Sinister Minister was the lone front-running winner on the dirt. He earned a powerful 116 Beyer, easily the best in the Derby field. His pace figure in that race was even higher than that. If he runs a comparable race, he will probably win the Kentucky Derby.

WEAKNESSES: He regressed the last time he ran a triple-digit Beyer. Then again, that was only his third career start, and his first start for Bob Baffert, who probably has a better understanding of him now. He improved in each of his next two races, so he might simply be a better horse at this point.

STRATEGY: Sin-ister Minister was speed crazy and out of control in the Blue Grass. He will set a fast pace in the Kentucky Derby, possibly a scorching pace. Any jockey or trainer who chooses to send his horse out to duel with Sinister Minister will almost certainly watch his horse lose that duel and stop badly.

VALUE: At odds likely to be between 10-1 and 15-1, Sinister Minister offers good betting value. He seems to be an all-or-nothing proposition, so the win slot is more likely than second or third if he finishes among the top three.

- Steve Klein

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: The late Old Trieste was a son of A.P. Indy who had blistering speed and sizzled the first six furlongs in the 1998 Derby before fading. A.P. Indy is represented this year by A. P. Warrior and two grandsons, Steppenwolfer and Sinister Minister. A.P. Indy is by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (sire of 1984 Derby winner Swale), and the Bold Ruler sire line had a profound impact on the Derby during the 1970's (Dust Commander, Secretariat, Cannonade, Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, Seattle Slew, and Spectacular Bid).

FEMALE FAMILY: Sweet Minister won multiple restricted stakes in Ohio, and Sinister Minister is her first foal. Second dam Sweet Blue, a half-sister to stakes winner Kechi, won 11 races from 56 starts and was in the money in 30 races.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The Old Trieste/The Prime Minister cross is speed over speed, and while second damsire Hurry Up Blue was a middle-distance stakes winner, other names in this pedigree include speed influences Mr. Prospector and Iron Ruler. Bred to be better at middle distances, and 1 1/4 miles is a real stretch, especially with other speed in the race.

Dosage Profile 4-2-4-0-0
Dosage index 4.00
Center of Distribution 1.00
$40,000 2-year-old


STEPPENWOLFER

OWNER
Robert & Lawana Low
TRAINER
Daniel Peitz
Jockey
Robby Albarado
DRF Line 20-1
Record 8-2-2-1
Best Beyer 94

STRENGTHS: His closing style is perfect for the way this race could unfold, with so much speed in it. He may be able to avoid traffic problems by settling in the back of the pack. Remember his sire, Aptitude, closed from last place to finish second to Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.

WEAKNESSES: Critics will note his lack of experience vs. the top members of his generation, aside from Lawyer Ron. Also, in the cavalry charge of a 20-horse Derby, a deep closer needs everything to go his way. Additionally, he has just two graded races under his belt and a top Beyer Speed Figure of 94, one of the three lowest top figures among Derby horses.

STRATEGY: Step-penwolfer will be one of just a handful of colts - along with Jazil, Seaside Retreat, and perhaps Cause to Believe - who will be bringing up the rear passing the wire the first time. Expect jockey Robby Albarado to start asking him midway down the backstretch and hope he can keep from losing too much ground around the far turn. There is no doubt that he'll be running stronger than most at the end of 1 1/4 miles.

VALUE: As a non-stakes winner who has never run in a Grade 1, Steppenwolfer should go off at odds of 30-1 or better. But those who remember Giacomo's late surge to win last year may be drawn to this colt, who is from the A.P. Indy sire line and seems to be able to run all day.

- Bill Howard

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Steppenwolfer is from the first crop of Aptitude (A.P. Indy). A.P. Indy is by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (sire of 1984 Derby winner Swale), and the Bold Ruler sire line had a profound impact on the Derby during the 1970's (Dust Commander, Secretariat, Cannonade, Foolish Pleasure, Forbes, Seattle Slew, and Spectacular Bid).

FEMALE FAMILY: His dam, Wolfer, was stakes-placed; his second dam was a stakes winner; and his third dam, Nancy's Pleasure, is a half-sister to Bold Tribute, the dam of Acorn Stakes winner Bring Out the Band.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: With Aptitude on top and Wolf Power (a grandson of Round Table) and Mr. Leader (a son of Hail to Reason) on the bottom, this is a pedigree that should love 1 1/4 miles.

Dosage Profile 4-1-9-2-0
Dosage index 1.46
Center of Distribution 0.44
$375,000 2-year-old


STORM TREASURE

OWNER
Mike McCarty
TRAINER
Steve Asmussen
Jockey
David Flores
DRF Line 50-1
Record 6-1-4-0
Best Beyer 95

STRENGTHS: Top connections saddle this guy, and his second-place Blue Grass finish was outstanding. His late charge is obviously an asset in the speed-laden field, and he could be a horse peaking at just the right time. Worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Monday.

WEAKNESSES: There are concerns with distance and the lack of a triple-digit Beyer. Except for his Blue Grass performance, his form isn't that impressive, and he backed up in his only other graded event, finishing sixth in the Tampa Bay Derby.

STRATEGY: He can only hope the speed duel everyone expects does occur and that he doesn't get buried in the first turn. He definitely needs a trip similar to last year's Derby winner, Giacomo.

VALUE: With big odds at the windows, he would be worth considering in all exotic bets. His connections are capable, and the race on paper looks like a perfect set up for closers.

- Kim Nelson

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Storm Boot is one of the many sons of Storm Cat who have achieved success as a sire, and his best runners have been sprinter-miler fillies, such as Hurricane Bertie and Bourbon Belle. Storm Cat is represented this year by Bluegrass Cat, and although he has never sired a Derby winner, Storm Cat's son Tabasco Cat won the Preakness and Belmont. Storm Bird sired the 1990 Derby runner-up, Summer Squall, sire of 1999 Derby winner Charismatic.

FEMALE FAMILY: The first three dams did not accomplish much on the track, but class runs deep in this line. His fourth dam, Shore, was a full sister to stakes winners Canal and Cabildo and a half-sister to Dike (third in the 1969 Derby behind Majestic Prince and Arts and Letters). His fifth dam, Delta, was a Broodmare of the Year and a half-sister to Levee, who was the dam of champion Shuvee, and to champion Bayou, who was the dam of stakes winner Batteur and the unraced Alluvial. Alluvial was the dam of Slew o' Gold and Coastal and second dam of Aptitude.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The Storm Boot/Cure the Blues cross is speed over speed, with questionable stamina for 1 1/4 miles.

Dosage Profile 5-3-6-2-0
Dosage index 2.20
Center of Distribution 0.69
$170,000 yearling


SWEETNORTHERNSAINT

OWNER
Joseph J. Balsamo and Ted Theos
TRAINER
Michael Trombetta
Jockey
Kent Desormeaux
DRF Line 8-1
Record 6-3-0-1
Best Beyer 109

STRENGTHS: Sweetnorthernsaint has answered every call since joining the Michael Trombetta barn, and his 109 Beyer Speed Figure for the Grade 2 Illinois Derby is the second-best figure in the field at two turns. He has earned triple-digit Beyers in his last four starts and has improved while rising in class and stretching out in distance. This gelding deserves some bonus points for demonstrating the willingness to rate; putting in two solid efforts from wide posts; and, what could be the deciding factor, showing the ability to flourish while racing over wet conditions. He has been training sharply since his last outing and has traveled well over the Churchill dirt, wet or dry.

WEAKNESSES: Des-pite the 2003 Derby win by Funny Cide, he is up against historical odds, as geldings seldom win the Derby. The major knock against him, though, is that he hasn't faced elite competition yet. The concern is that he will not be able to finish as well after being tested through the faster fractions expected in the early going of this race. There is also some skepticism about his endurance. His Tomlin-son figure for the distance is a bit weaker than many in this field.

STRATEGY: Be-cause he has shown some ability to rate and there is an abundance of front-running entries, it seems he will be vying for a spot just off the pace. He has good tactical speed and it seems he'll be able to avoid getting caught behind a wall of horses.

VALUE: His Illinois Derby win has earned him some respect, but he has yet to eclipse several others in the rankings and figures to go off at between 8-1 and 15-1. Based on his overall record, even the low end seems to be a square price.

- Elliot Safdie

Pedigree Profile

SIRE LINE: Sweetnorthernsaint is from the second crop of Sweetsouthernsaint, who was a speedy stakes winner by the late stakes winner Saint Ballado, who was a full brother to champion Devil's Bag. Saint Ballado sired Captain Bodgit, second in the 1997 Derby behind Silver Charm. The Halo-Hail to Reason sire line has produced Derby winners Proud Clarion (1967), Sunny's Halo (1983), and Sunday Silence (1989).

FEMALE FAMILY: Ice Beauty won 4 races from 20 starts and also produced stakes winner Maria's Image. Sweetnorthernsaint's second dam, the stakes winner Ice Fantasy, produced stakes winner Fighting Fantasy as well as stakes-placed Snow Forest, the dam of Snow Ridge. Eye of the Tiger and Wildwood Flower also descend from Ice Fantasy.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: The Sweetsouthernsaint-Waquoit cross is high speed over stamina. Sweetsouthernsaint has been a sire of one-dimensional sprinters, but keep in mind that horses by Saint Ballado have handled 1 1/4 miles, including last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Saint Liam.

Dosage Profile 4-1-6-3-0
Dosage index1.33
Center of Distribution0.43
Private Purchase


Dosage:

Explaining the system

The theory of Dosage was popularized in this country in the early 1980's by Leon Rasmussen and Steve Roman. They contended that a horse's potential at various distances could be mathematically determined by the presence in his pedigree of certain influential stallions, dubbed chefs-de-race.

Those stallions, such as Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector, and Stage Door Johnny, have been classified into categories based on the performance of their offspring. Roman periodically adds new sires to the list and reclassifies others.

A horse's Dosage profile is calculated by assigning points in five categories based on the chefs-de-race in his pedigree. The categories, from left to right in the Dosage profile, are called brilliant, intermediate, classic, solid, and professional.

These numbers are then used to calculate two more figures - the Dosage index and center of distribution. In both cases, the lower the number, the longer the distance that should suit the horse.

Dosage has mainly been associated with the Kentucky Derby. Adherents believe that only horses with a Dosage index of 4.00 or under are genetically predisposed to win the Derby.

Since the theory was put forward in 1981, 21 of the 25 Derby winners have qualified on Dosage. This figure is perhaps not as impressive as it sounds: In most years, a large majority of Derby runners qualify on Dosage.

Another method some Dosage believers use to narrow the Derby field is called the dual qualifier system. To be considered a Derby contender under this system, the horse must qualify on Dosage and also be either a foreign champion or weighted within 10 pounds of the highweight on the Experimental Handicap, a ranking of 2-year-olds made each year by a committee.

The dual qualifiers in this year's Derby field are Brother Derek and Private Vow.

This system has not been particularly successful in recent years. None of the last eight winners - Real Quiet, Charismatic, Fusaichi Pegasus, Monarchos, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones, and Giacomo - was a dual qualifier, and Real Quiet, Charismatic, and Giacomo were among the few horses in their fields that did not even qualify on Dosage.

The Dosage and dual qualifier systems still have some passionate adherents. But the systems' failures in recent years have left few serious handicappers among the believers.