2018 Derby Preps

*Selections will be posted for each race by Noon the day before*

4/14/18, Arkansas Derby, 1 1/8M , Oaklawn Park

The Arkansas Derby

1-Solomini [3rd] faced Magnum Moon last time out in the Rebel and didn’t get the best of trips while also having to be steadied at the ¼ pole.  In this spot today I think Solomini might have a little bit better luck. There is a little more early speed signed on to keep Magnum a little more honest compared to their last face off and additionally, this will be Solomini’s 2nd start back off a layoff, so it’s natural to expect improvement going forward on his part. Going back through his past performances note that Solo did run as fast and record a final time along with interior fractions as Magnum did last time out, in a prior effort. Check out his prior effort in the Los Al Futurity. It’s faster than the Rebel and Solomini won, which makes me think that there is some reasoning that he could turn the tables on Magnum today because he did run as fast or faster than Magnum once before.  Expect another stretch battle once again.

2-Magnum Moon [WIN] looked good winning the Rebel which makes him undefeated in three career starts. People are starting to get excited about Magnum and with good cause, he hasn’t done a thing wrong and has won with ease to this point. Today the waters get deeper as he faces his toughest assignment yet, trying to get 1 1/8th miles against the best field he has faced to date. Magnum figures to have company placed towards the front end and then he’ll have to hold off some late finishers. We’ll see what he has left in the tank.

3-Machismo always showed good early speed until his last 2 starts where he just didn’t break well and get out of the gate as his prior efforts. last time out in the Blue Grass he had a very wide post with a short run up to the first turn and broke poorly. He wheels back here in just a week but seems to be sitting on a top effort with prior works going into his last start to match these expectations.

TinMan Picks: Magnum Moon [WIN], Quip [2nd], Dream Baby Dream

ScatCat Picks: Magnum Moon  [WIN], Solomini [3rd], Dream Baby Dream, Tenfold

4/14/18 , Lexington, 1 1/16M, Keeneland

1-Greyvitos [4th] had a good 2-year-old season as he showed some quality early speed while winning the Grade 3 Bob Hope and followed with a victory in the Springboard. He makes his first start as a 3-year-old in this spot and has worked very well headed into this race. I feel he has the most potential in this field and getting today’s race distance off a layoff right now should be right within his scope.

2-Pony Up [3rd] is a very strong finisher and has run well on several different surfaces. in his last race, the JR Steaks, Pony got his last 1/8th in a quick :11 3/5ths and he points out that he should be flying late once again in this spot.

3-Zanesville ran deceptively well last time out in the JR Steaks and also had some traffic problems in doing so. Zane has enough tactical speed to be stalking the early pace and figures to make one run turning for home.

TinMan Picks:  My Boy Jack [WIN,  exacta 21.80], Telkinesis [2nd], Greyvitos [4th]

ScatCat Picks:  Telekinesis [2nd], My Boy Jack  [WIN], Pony Up [3rd], Honor Up

4/7/18 , Wood Memorial, 1 1/8M , Aqueduct

Nick Picks:
 [2nd] took a big step forward last time out taking down the Grade 2 Gotham Stakes and seems to be peaking right now. Bred to get today’s race distance on both sides of his pedigree and should turn in another huge effort in this spot. Good post facing that short run into the first turn should allow him to tuck in and stalk the early speeds.
2-Firenze Fire had a very nice 2-year-old season winning the Grade 3 Sanford and the Grade 1 Champaign. Came off his winter break to win the Jerome and followed with a solid effort in the Grade 3 Withers. Not sure why he didn’t fire last time out in the Gotham but has been given 4 weeks to recover and if he runs back to his Withers or Jerome efforts, he figures to be right there at the finish. Also has a great post to tuck in and track the early leaders due to the short run into the first turn.
3-Evaluator has a strong closing kick and has shown improvement in his last 2 starts making me feel he can hit the board in this spot at a very handsome price. He is bred to get a distance and gets Blinks added for today’s race which should help him get in top gear a lot sooner than his norm. Steady works over deeper footing at Belmont is also a positive sign of his conditioning and he also gets an inside post which is a good thing considering the short run to the first turn.

TinMan Picks: Enticed [2nd], Heartfullofstars [3rd], Vino Rosso [WIN]

ScatCat Picks:  Firenze Fire, Evaluator, Enticed

4/7/18 , Blue Grass, 1 1/8M , Keeneland

Nick Picks:
has shown improvement over his last 3 starts and comes into this race in the best form of his career. Made a strong move to contention last time out but weakened late. Perhaps trying to work out a trip from the widest post hurt his chances. Oddly he finds himself in that situation again, breaking today from the 14 post, however today he gets Blinks added which could help him a great deal. Arawak is going to be a big price on the board and I feel he is a horse that has a big chance to land in the Exacta! He is bred to get today’s distance, has worked well and figures to improve further off his last few efforts.
2-Free Drop Billy[3rd] turned in some big efforts as a 2-year-old and off his winter break turned in another big effort two races back in the Holy Bull. He was supposed to improve off that effort last time out in the Gotham and he didn’t. Why? I know he was bumped and banged around at the start of the Gotham, so I have to give Billy one more chance to come back today and turn in a big effort. Working nice and easy for Romans makes me feel he might have had an excuse to run poorly last time out?
3-Good Magic [WIN] won the BC Juvenile and turned in 2 other big efforts as a 2-year-old before having his winter break. Last time out in the Fountain of Youth he ran well but didn’t fire as in his prior efforts. Perhaps he wasn’t fully cranked? Today we will see if Good Magic has the real goods as he seems set for a top effort. Working well for this race however his post could create a problem.

TinMan Picks: Quip, Good Magic [WIN], Arawak

ScatCat Picks: Blended Citizen, Good Magic  [WIN], Free Drop Billy [3rd]

4/7/18 , Santa Anita Derby, 1 1/8M , Santa Anita

1-Justify  [WIN],is seemingly a greatly talented horse and right now we really don’t know his ceiling. He looked great in winning first time out and followed with an even bigger performance last time out, winning under nice fractions and going about it easily. Today he gets a big test. He stretches out to 1 1/8th miles, He steps up to a Grade 1 stakes and he faces a much deeper and more talented field than ever before. Baffert has him working very well and he figures to sit off the early lead against today’s field and make his move on the last turn for home. Justify seemingly has a ton of talent and might be able to pull off today’s victory however trying to get 1 ¼ miles next time out without gaining any “bottom” or “conditioning” by running as a 2-year-old will catch up with him.
2-Bolt d’Oro [2nd] turned in a very successful 2-year-old season taking down two Grade 1 Stakes races and finished well in the BC Juv after getting off to a poor start. His first race back off his winter break was a big effort where he was battling another rival through the stretch and both made contact with each other throughout the drive. Has had 4 weeks to recover and should comeback and fire a huge effort in this spot. Bred to get a distance from both sides of pedigree and has worked very well for today’s race. Figures to be tucked inside, stalking the early pace setters looking to make one run at the leaders on that final turn for home.
3-Instilled Regard has shown ability stretching from sprints to routes and comes in here a fresh horse off solid works and should turn in a big effort in this spot. Drew the rail and has shown speed in the past so he figures to be forwardly placed, perhaps sitting just off the early lead, on the rail. Instilled makes for a very good Exacta and Trifecta horse as he will be a solid price on the board and he figures to be ready to move forward today.

TinMan Picks: Justify [WIN], Bolt d’Oro [2nd], Instilled Regard

ScatCat Picks:  Bolt d’Oro [2nd], Instilled Regard [4th], Core Beliefs [3rd]


3/31/18, UAE Derby, 1 3/16M, Meydan

1-Mendelssohn showed his class in winning the BC Juv Turf last year after shipping in from England. Since, he has won his first start off his winter break at one mile on a Synthetic surface which bodes well for his trainer’s thinking that he can get today’s distance on a dirt surface. He is certainly well bred to handle the distance and should give a big effort today. WIN
2-Gold Town is the morning line favorite as he comes in off an explosive win in a Grade -3 stakes. Never been more than one mile but is well bred to handle today’s distance and should give a big effort once again.
3-Reride has his Beyers going in the right direction headed into this race and should appreciate the longer distance as he is very well bred to handle the classic distances being out of Candy Ride and a Tapit Mare. ReRide has very good tactical speed which makes me feel he will break and tuck in on the rail in the early going, stalking the early leaders for the first ¾’s of one mile before making his move to the front. Asmussen & Castellano mean business. 3rd

ScatCat: Gold Town, Mendelssohn WIN, Rayya 2nd

TinMan: Gold Town, Mendelssohn, Threeandfourpence

3/31/18 Dubai World Cup 2018

1-Talismanic is the turf champ that took down the BC Turf last year and has also won on a Synthetic racing surface, so I don’t think it’s far fetched that he runs big in this spot. In fact, he has run big efforts in France and in Hong Kong and seems ready for another giant effort as he has had a race off his winter layoff.
2-West Coast gets out of the shadows of Gun Runner, where he raced very well however in this spot he travels half way around the world, is asked to get 1 ¼ miles in his first start since January and will go off as the heavy favorite. I wouldn’t take that bet. Yes, he could win and he’s the deserving favorite but…. 2nd
3-North America comes in sharp as evidenced through his last two big efforts and his top Timeform Ratings. He likes the race distance and the surface and should give a good account of himself once again.

3/31/18 , Florida Derby, 1 1/8M, Gulfstream

Nick: 1-Audible is the best finisher in the race and he will take advantage of a strong early pace set up by Strike Power & Promises Fulfilled. Note that his trainer has not pushed him through his works, although they are solid works, and has also given him about 7 weeks from his last start to try and keep Audible fresh for a Triple Crown effort. I feel he is the most talented horse in this field. WIN 5.20
2-Mississippi is the horse that will get the perfect set up in this race as he will be able to sit just off the quick early pace, stalking in say third or fourth position in the early going. Turning for home he should be in top gear ahead of the other strong finishers. Does Mississippi make it home ahead of them? We’ll see. He certainly does have a shot in here, bred to go long, working well, hasn’t run a bad one yet. 3rd
3- Catholic Boy is the only horse that has won at today’s race distance and figures to be flying late through the stretch once again. Boy is also one of the horses (Audible, Mississippi) where his trainer built up “foundation” by racing as a 2-year-old and into his early 3-year-old season then has given him about 7 or 8 weeks from his last start into today, trying to keep his horse fresh for the Triple Crown effort. Working well for today’s race and bred to run a long way, should make for a very interesting stretch battle. 4th

ScatCat: Audible WIN, Catholic Boy, Storm Runner, Promises Fulfilled

TinMan: Audible WIN, Strike Power, Mississippi, Catholic Boy



3/24/18 , Louisiana Derby, 1 1/8M, Fair Grounds

Nick’s Picks:
1-Noble Lady
well-bred for today’s race distance gets Blinkers added after turning in three very good starts. Thinking he might take another step forward with the addition and I Like the fact that when he faced tougher last time out, stepping up against Grade 2 company, he battled start to finish. Lady has some early speed to be forwardly placed or he can tuck in and stalk from the rail. Working well and figures to give a big effort. [WIN 7.40 EXACTA $74.00 TRIFECTA $95 for .50]
2-Lone Sailor showed some talent as a 2-year-old while also gaining a good amount of conditioning by running 5 races and faring pretty well throughout. Didn’t start off this year too well but showed some fire last time out and will like today’s added distance. Love his 7-furlong workout two weeks ago making me think he’s sitting on a huge effort.[2nd 7.80 ]
3-My Boy Jack finished full of run last time out and should relish today’s longer distance. Should be finishing strongly once again. [3rd 3.20]

Tinman picks: My Boy Jack, Snapper Sinclair, Noble Indy

Scatcat picks: Noble Indy  [WIN 7.40], Bravazzo, Snappy Sinclair, My Boy Jack

3/25/18, Sunland Derby, 1 1/8M, Sunland Park

Nick’s Picks:
1-Hollywood Star looked to be a top player as a 2-year-old turning in 3 top efforts against strong fields. As a 3-year-old he has looked like a different horse as judged by his last start. However, looking at his recent works he looks like a horse on fire! Worked :57 1/5th on turf a month ago, 6-furlongs in 1:14 two weeks ago and last week worked :59 1/5th in preparation for this race. If the workouts indicate he is going to turn in a top effort like his efforts as a 2-year-old, then he will be right there at the wire.
2-New York Central looked very impressive last time out battling in the mud and was able to battle back for the victory. Has improved as a 3-year-old and figures to get today’s distance so I expect another big effort as he could take another step forward.
3-Dark Vader ran a strong race last time out as he was closer to the early lead than his usual and was still game throughout the effort. Has worked very well since this last start and is bred to get the distance. Should sit a nice talking trip and finish strongly.

Tinman picks: Choo Choo, Dream Baby Dream [2nd $15.20], All Out Blitz

ScatCat picks: Peace [3rd], Dream Baby Dream  [2nd $15.20], Dark Vader


3/17/18 Jeff Ruby Steaks 1 1/8M Turfway Park

Nick Borg:

1-Blended Citizen – Finished well at today’s race distance, gets Blinks added which should allow him to get in gear quicker and could be moving forward into his best effort yet! [WIN 14.40 ] 

2- Archaggelos – Comes in off his winter break and has turned in some very nice works for a trainer that can get a horse ready off a layoff like no one else. Won a Grade 3 in Canada as a 2-year-old and hasn’t run a bad race yet. Has a nice running style to get that perfect trip.

3-Hazit – Showed sharp speed first back off the layoff and battled to the wire under quick splits and final time. Figures to move forward off this effort and could be on the early lead for a long time this Saturday.

Tinman: Hazit, Mugaritz, Cash Call Kitten, Ride a Comet

ScatCat: Blended Citizen [WIN 14.40 ], Cash Call Kitten, Pony Up [2nd 7.00]

3/17/18 Rushaway

Nick Borg: Honorable Treasure turned in a big race as a 2-year-old going 7 furlongs, breaking his Maiden and earning a 90 Beyer in doing so. Afterwards showed good speed in the Grade 1 Champaign but didn’t show much in the Street Sense. Starts fresh in this spot as a 3-year-old and figures to get a nice trip stalking the early leaders. Should finish in the Exacta at a very nice price!

Tinman: Alternate Route [WIN 17.20], Giant Honor, Year of the Kitten [2nd 9.60 / 5.40]

ScatCat: Truth Be Tolled

3/17/2018: Oaklawn – The Rebel – Race 10

Nick Borg:
1-Solomini comes in off his winter break and has worked exceptionally well in the mornings to get ready for this effort. He has just 1 win in 4 tries but he has battled in every race and he should be even better as a 3-year-old. [2nd 3.60]

2-Magnum Moon is 2 for 2 and has looked like a star in winning however the waters get much deeper in this spot. Figures to relax well off the early pace and will be roused on the final turn heading home. We’ll see is he’s good enough, today he gets his acid test! [WIN 8.00   Exacta  $22.00 ]

3- Sporting Choice has turned in several big efforts as a 2-year-old and last time out made his 3-year-old debut in the mud and seemed to be a little short as he finished 3rd. He has improved his works coming into today’s race and figures to be much sharper today which makes him a top contender.