02/29/2012 2:31PM

Kentucky Derby 2012: Who's hot, who's not for Feb. 29


Mark Valeski’s close second-place finish in the Risen Star vaulted him onto the Derby Watch top 20 this week. He is 20-1 on the Kentucky Derby future line of Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper. Returning to the list, after being dropped as the odd horse out last week, is Midnight Transfer, who is 40-1 on Watchmaker’s line. Union Rags solidified his position as the Derby favorite with his impressive victory in the Fountain of Youth. He is down to 3-1 on Watchmaker’s line after being 4-1 a week ago. El Padrino, the Risen Star winner, is now 8-1 after being 12-1 last week.

Tough to say that a guy who won the Risen Star had a rough week, but trainer Todd Pletcher saw his number of contenders on the Derby Watch top 20 halved from four to two. Both Algorithms (injured) and Discreet Dancer (disappointing performance) were dropped from the list this week. And how about jockey Javier Castellano? He takes the Risen Star with El Padrino, and the next day can only watch as Union Rags wins the Fountain of Youth, having surrendered that mount in favor of Algorithms. Tough game.

American Act, Bodemeister, Daddy Nose Best, News Pending, On Fire Baby, and Scatman are others who received consideration this week and are primed to move onto the list should anyone in the top 20 falter. My Adonis could leap onto the list should he win the Gotham on Saturday. He certainly drew well, landing the rail in a field of 13.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 contenders | Dominguez still looking for first Triple Crown win]

Riposte More than 1 year ago
Any chance we can have the horse names blacklit? Thanks.
L.S. Heatherly More than 1 year ago
Just A few solid reasons why El Padrino is the horse to beat in any Triple Crown race: Watch the replay of The Risen Star several times and see: (1) El Padrino had to pause for a early horse in front (add about 1/3 length). 2. He fell back unneccessarily, from 1 length behind the 1A horse, to 2 lengths; then recovered to 1 length stalking(add about 2 lengths). 3. J.J. Castellano had to briefly pause the whip 150 yards before the wire-- and the horse-- to avoid bumping into Mark Valeski-- (add 1/2 length)by switching to rally with both reignsto straighten the rally; then he went back to the right hand whip to overtake 1A. He was not worried-- you can tell he knew he had the win-- 150 yards before the wire. 4. Add about 1/2, 2-3, and 1/3 from the above considerations; and the the final time would be about 142.26. 5. The winning time as is-- 142.96 is the fastest Risen Star back to at least 2007 ; AND 5 lengths faster than the 2nd fastest in those 6 years. 6. The ninth race at the same distance by won by Nates Mineshaft in , a 5 year-old with 5lbs off ; and in hand at wire, was run only 1/2 length faster than El Padrino-- before you add about 3 lengths to his race. 6. The risen stars adjusted winning time would be 2 lengths short of a 3 year track record. 7. El Pad was moving PAST the 1A and would have won at 1 1/8 mile by 4 to 6 lengths. 8 in summery, Union rags ran an average Fountai of Youth-- compared to an outstanding Risen Star ran by El Padrino. Sincerely, L.S. Heatherly
Bradford Solomon More than 1 year ago
Yeah but it was Union Rags first start since the BC and he wasn't even asked.