04/23/2014 1:28PM

Kentucky Derby: Who's hot, who's not for April 23



Maybe this should be “who’s lukewarm.” The newcomers – Vinceremos and Harry’s Holiday – are the two horses who ascended into the top 20 on points this week owing to a pair of defections. Both are 50-1 on the future line set by Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form ’s national handicapper, for the May 3 Kentucky Derby. Watchmaker lowered the odds on five horses, with Candy Boy, Dance With Fate, and Intense Holiday all going to 15-1 from last week’s 20-1 and both Medal Count and Ride On Curlin dropping to 20-1 from last week’s 30-1. California Chrome remains the 3-1 favorite.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 list | Maker flying into Kentucky Derby under radar]


Cairo Prince, the co-fourth choice at 12-1 last week, was withdrawn because of injury, and Midnight Hawk, a 30-1 chance last week, was officially removed from the Derby following his second-place finish in the Illinois Derby last Saturday.


Commanding Curve is 21st on the points list, so he’ll make the Derby field as soon as one of the horses in the top 20 comes out. Next up is Pablo Del Monte. The connections of both horses are eager to run in the Derby. Entries for the Derby are taken April 30, and posts are drawn that day from 5-6 p.m. during a live telecast on NBCSN. In addition to the 20 who make the field, up to four also-eligibles can be entered. They would have until scratch time, 9 a.m. on May 2, the day before the Derby, to draw in.

Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Love commanding curves post position, let them all go up and sit back duplicate the run from La derby. Bridgman up, no stranger to the horse as he was up for his maiden score at same track last year. A win over the surface prior is a huge plus.
whyme More than 1 year ago
Is this big weather system in Central US gonna hang around 'til Saturday...track might be muddy...whos the mudders!!!
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Commanding Curve has been the horse I have liked since the LA Derby. Gets pinched horribly at the start and comes from the clouds closing, how many people here can look at that race and tell me that if it were 1 1/4 miles that he wouldn't of had something to say at the wire? If there are no defectors to get him in and you see Ring Weekend's connections bow out then Curve getting in, I would expect a monster performance from him, but only based upon how he works leading up to May 3. His works thus far look pretty good and Dallas Stewart has been knocking on the door. Chrome is a good horse and by all means looks the part of being worthy to be the favorite. That being said there are also so many other factors that would go into him winning the race as this is not a mail it in easy effort. Clean trip, he might just duplicate his last race. We do not even know the post he is getting yet, on top of the other factors. If he gets the dreaded 1 or 20 posts then it makes things all the more interesting. If he got the 1 post I declare him as an automatic throwout! This field appears to be marginal in terms of years past and beyond a small group of horses the others are just there to get into the gate in my opinion. Anything can happen on Derby day and anyone of them can certainly step up and win given any set of factors. Only 3 trainers in the race currently have ever won the Derby out of 20 entrants. I do believe the winning trainer would potentially be winning his firstone this year. Could be Chrome!, but could also be Commanding Curve. He is the wise guy horse, and he is the horse that many people have been hoping to get into the starting gate. I will be doing some serious wheeling of Tri's and Supers. If Commanding curve gets in and his works look good I will wheel , Commanding Curve, Chrome, Hopportunity, Wicked with all. I believe the rest of the field is running for 5 place and beyond. Just my opinion, I could be wrong. Everyone I know thought I was crazy for keying Animal Kingdom, in a 60.00 wheel exacta with 3 horses and the tri for $4.00. I walked away over 16 grand richer that day. I also had Thunder Gulch, Giacamo, and Mine that bird as notable key longshots in the past. Good luck to everyone and have a great day regardless who you like.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
You lost me at Giacamo. Mine that Bird! Cmon man. Only someone with savant syndrome picked that horse. Did you get kicked in the head by a horse or something when you were a kid. Hope you have a sense of humor too.
Scott More than 1 year ago
Hindsight being 20/20 I can see why someone might have taken a flyer ($10 to $20 to win depending on how much you have to risk) on Giacomo. The speed in that Derby was clear to see and I simply had my eyes closed to it. (Note: this Derby has that feel for me too, so I will be looking long and hard for the closers) Giacomo was a grinder plain and simple and caught a lucky day, but the scenario was there to see if you looked close enough. Sadly, my assessment was - "not a snowball's chance in He'll!" OOPS! Mine That Bird on the other hand...the only reason to bet him was because you were the type of "Handicapper" who always includes the longest shot on the board or you knew his connections had found a better way to cheat effectively. If the points system had been in place that year, MTB not only doesn't make the field, but the only people who would have really ever heard of him would have been from Canada. I got Animal Kingdom too. His works leading up to the Derby and then his look of absolute royalty in the Post Parade was too much to pass on even with his lack of dirt experience. Didn't make the same killing Nick is claiming, but a profit in the Derby is worth noting. Good luck to all!
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Mine that bird.....out of Birdstone, Grindstone, Smart Strike., Unbrideld Lets see.....Birdstone ---Derby winner, Grindstone----Derby winner, Unbrideld---Derby winner Smart Strike Sired....Curlin, Papa Clem, Lookin at Lucky, Square Eddie, most notable now My Miss Aurelia. Not sure what others didn't see. That year and the year prior I was keyed into horse pedigree of smart strike, and they were winning everywhere. I made a ton of money off of his prog.. There are many factors that go into this though and they all have to go right in order for it to happen. I bet Saratogajunkie above played ORB in the Preakness last year.
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
Mr. Nick, what Derby did Birdstone win? I know it wasn't the Kentucky Deby.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Kicked in the head? no. But I do tend to immerse myself and spend countless hours studying. I have systems set in place that enable to break horses down in over 200 categories. So does it make me a savant? I guess with Mine that Bird, I looked really dumb when he wheeled back and was 2nd in Preakness. For those that think he didn't belong, the preakness wasn't a 2 horse race, it flattered him as a derby longshot with no hope. Not all my derby longshots win, but like last year my pick was Oxbow, I bet him huge. I did in fact stay on him in the Preakness and I then picked the other longer shot in the Belmont with Palace Malice. I scoped another nice looking horse this year in my opinion. He has all the right things I look for. And as I write this we are just finding out that Ring Weekend magically spiked a fever and he is now out. Putting Commanding Curve in. I got what I wanted and I have the horse in that mattered most to me and thats all I am concerned about. Check out yesterdays 1st at Tampa. That was a single for me, hitting all the exotics with it, including the pic 3.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Nick sometimes I think people are just posting BS on here you clearly know more than I gave you credit for. Best of luck this year u should get box car odds on the Curve....I think he ran a sneaky good third in the Ark derby.
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
LA derby
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Nick, MTH did validate his derby win with a strong showing in the Preakness. Many times people just blow smoke on here You clearly know far more than I give u credit for.Good luck in the Derby.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Lol....thanks. I hope we all have some good luck BTW, I grew up on the track. Saratoga actually. I'm from that area. I have several friends and associates in the business. There is a lot of people on here that do blow smoke I agree. With Curve I just think with his Ragozin numbers, and some other things besides the fact that he is one of the freshest horses entering the mix he has a decent shot. Not crazy about Bridgmohan on him but I'll take it. He's 45-1 right now. I do not see him taking any money to speak of. His sneaky good third in the LA Derby, was strong. With no trouble where would he of been? I'm not sure...but I do feel as though its enough of an excuse for him in his last, and one to move forward from. Chrome is a beast, it will take a major effort to stop him, I do believe the Beyer numbers on Chrome were a little skewed from his last 2 races based on how other horses of less talent beyered that day and would be somewhere in the 100-102 category if it were at churchill. Now I hope for a good post.
BIGBADGINO More than 1 year ago
I think I'm gonna ride Nicks' coattails on this one.... we all know in horse racing ANYTHING can happen, but the odds are usually against the jock falling off his mount out of the gate !! Nice hit at Tampa Nick, keep up the good work. I usually smash the undercard races, but I'll be with ya at Derby time !! GL TO ALL !!!
Raymond St Clair More than 1 year ago
I am impressed that you spend so much time on a sport that seems to defy logic at times. Someone had MTB!!! Tickets were cashed so who am I to say otherwise. Looking forward Nick, to your upcoming blogs as the Derby approaches.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
BTW I gave Animal Kingdom pic to probably 5 or 6 strangers that day that asked me who I liked. They all looked at me like I was on dope. They all looked envious too when I was yelling as they were coming down the stretch, as my hopes were getting brighter and their tickets were quickly being snuffed out, worth only the paper they were written on.
Darrin More than 1 year ago
Nah,he is just that Fukin good man!
Frank Hamilton More than 1 year ago
First off, Commanding Curve is the wise guy horse which all but guarantees he has no shot. A throw out. And remember I had Thunder Gulch also but if you're telling me you bet Giacamo and or Mine That Bird I'm calling you either a liar or an idiot. I wouldn't have bet those horses after the race or with your money. And another thing about Hoppourtunity forget about him too - Baffert doesn't send his top horses to New Mexico, only the B team.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Last I checked hopportunity didn't ride in the Sunland derby...that was Chitu, now your showing your real smoke. Lol...he ran at Oaklawn park and won in slop. Doh!
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
You actually look like a clown too not just act like one.
Henry De Silva More than 1 year ago
You are right on some angels. However, I would advice you to include Candy Boy in your tri-fectas and Super-fectas. Good luck. By the way, I am including Commanding Curve in my tries. Henry
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
I like candy boy in the mix, long powerful strides, he has a nice kick and takes him a bit to get up to cruising speed, Def one of the contenders in my opinion.
Douglas Robert More than 1 year ago
Nick, You are a great handicapper and way to make the call today! Doug
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Commanding Curve has some very good numbers his problem is that he needs to overcome a 35 day layoff from the LA Dby. and also has had only 2 preps. His Dosage is in line and he does have stamina. Go back and watch the Risen Star race where he did very little to make an impact but did return in the LA Dby. while improving. Good luck to those of you who are thinking of backing him on Derby Day.
Ann More than 1 year ago
Not sure if the Louisiana form was all that great this year. It changes from year to year, you know, and depends on which trainers get which young horses. A shipper won the RIsen Star and his form has been depreciated by the subsequent form of Cairo Prince and Conquest Titan.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
very true to note with every tracks bias and what type of talent is running there. Take this year for example every horse coming from Gulfstream shipping into other places is killing it everywhere this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Constitution wound up twisting his ankle, he should be fine.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
he's out!
Eric Burns More than 1 year ago
what happened to constitution i did not catch the news
Will Shewalter More than 1 year ago
hairline fracture in leg...maybe he will never run again, sry to say
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
cannon bone I believe.
Harvey Lipsky More than 1 year ago
If West Point really wants to run Commanding Curve & they think he's superior to Ring Weekend, then maybe they can work out a deal with their co-owners so that they dump Ring Weekend from the Derby. If they're stuck at 21 & don't do this, then I wouldn't have a lot of confidence in Commanding curve anyway. I've looked at the 2 sheet makers numbers & get a different read on Curve depending on whose sheet I look at. 1 sheet indicates an explosive move may be coming, but he has such a long way to go it may not matter. The other sheet looks like he has a forward move in him that might put him right up with the top ones. Either sheet I expect a big forward move but on 1 it's not enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ring weekend should've been out three weeks ago but the other owners want him to run 17th. As opposed to curve being at least in the super unless so etching happens in the race.
Nick DAgostino More than 1 year ago
Looks like we are going to see him run!
Bereaver More than 1 year ago
I know I'm not alone on this, but I really hope C.C. runs. He could make some noise with a decent trip. Luckily, it's now more likely than not that he does get in.
awillywit More than 1 year ago
Cali Chrome has earned the right to be the only CC in this field. It would be good if Commanding Curve got in but he needs a different shortened name.
Kendall Daniels More than 1 year ago
If you mean Commanding Curve, he’s already in. Chitu’s running Saturday in the Derby trial and despite what B. Baffert says he’s not running a horse back a week later in the Kentucky Derby. Last week he said he’d run Midnight Hawk back in 2 weeks if blah blah blah. It’s all a smoke screen.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Bob scratched Chitu from Friday, will run in the derby
Paul More than 1 year ago
If Baffert runs chitu in the derby it will be only for him to be a rabbit. He's a sprinter that did what many a horse that only broke their maiden did, beat midnight hawk. Chitu should not run and if he does should not be bet as be will finish last unless someone breaks down.
Maynard More than 1 year ago
Chitu is the enigma in the race because, despite his tremendous speed he has a lot of stamina influence from his damside. She won some long races and her sire is A. P. Indy. Chitu won the Sunland Derby at 1 1/8 and got the fourth highest speed figure of any contender in the Derby. When Candy Boy beat him he put up a good fight. You could be right that he is a rabbit for Hoppertunity to soften up the other speed types, especially California Chrome. You say he should not run but I hope he does his job and tarnishes some Chrome. I am upset that Sherman does not seem to realize his horse needs more time to adjust to a radically different track and ambience than Los Alamitos offers where they have even closed the track to all other horses when he wants his "rock star" to train. How is Chrome expected to live up to the hype if he is not even exposed to the track and the atmosphere?
Scott More than 1 year ago
Paul, Wildcat Red is the rabbit in this field. The other two horses that might be on the be on the lead if he doesn't get there are Vicar's In Trouble and California Chrome. Chitu is quick, but he isn't a need the lead type by any means. VIT probably is and CC may simply be the quickest of the quick. I loved his patience in the SA Derby, but his jockey will let his natural speed get him to a good position and he might just be too fast for his own good. I think Chitu is an interesting play, because he has the tactical speed to put him in position to be out of major trouble, but likely will be far enough back not to get cooked by too fast early fractions.
Maya Joffe More than 1 year ago
Which CC? California Chrome or Commanding Curve?
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
There are so many with C's, Chrome, Commanding, Chitu, Count, Candy...
Sir More than 1 year ago
And could very well be a superfecta play.