2019 Derby Preps

 Selections will be posted here by Noon each Friday before the races.

View March 16 Rebel
View March 23 LA Derby
View March 24 Sunland Derby
View March 30 Florida Derby and UAE Derby
Buy April 6 Selection Package: Wood, Bluegrass, Santa Anita Derby
View April 13 Lexington and Arkansas Derby

March 9, 2019
Gotham AQU

Mind Control, Much Better, & Knicks Go all have sharp early speed and figure to be near or on the early lead. This being the case it makes sense that the early pace of the race will be on the quick side. Instagrand is an interesting horse because he has had only two career starts and his running style is a bit of a tricky read. In his first career start he broke on top under quick splits and cruised home to break his Maiden. In his following start he jumped into a Grade 2 stake and showed the same running style, but the opening quarter was much slower as were the following early fractions, perhaps indicating that Instagrand can rate off that early lead, perhaps he isn’t a “need the early lead” type? Yes, I know the surface was much slower in his 2nd career start however DelMar is rarely very slow, so there is a pace drop off. We’ll see today, because if Instagrand can rate off the contested early pace and settles into a nice stalking stride, then he stands a better chance of being there at the finish line. He comes in off his winter layoff and should relish a one turn mile. Haikal is a strong stretch runner and figures to get a needed quick early pace in front of him. He will make his move turning for home, running down the leaders in the late stages. Tikhivin Flew drew the outside post and it could work to his advantage. In his last start which was only his 2nd career start he stepped up off his Maiden win into a stake and battled throughout in a good effort. In this spot he might be taken in hand early and draft in behind the leaders, conserving himself for the stretch run.

Nick’s Selections
1-Instagrand 3rd
2-Haikal  1st paid 10.80 / 4.90
3-Tikhivin Flew 6th
*I am boxing all 3 in an Exacta
TinMan Selections
1-Haikal 1st paid 10.80 / 4.90
2-Not that Brady
3-Mind Control 2nd paid 5.90
ScatCat Selection: Win/Place on Tikhvin Flew

Jeff Ruby Steaks Stakes- Turfway

ScatCat Selections
(WIN 3.30) is the one to beat. Mixing in with Skywire and Five Star General. Skywire is undefeated in his two starts and has won on Synthetic, as well.

Tampa Bay Derby – TB

A pretty deep field is on hand and I feel the top contenders are Admire, Dream Maker, Outshine, Win Win Win, & Tacitus. Admire drew the rail which doesn’t help his best running style which is to stalk and pounce in the stretch. Doing this from the rail might mean he will have to go around most of the field which is a tough task. Dream Maker encountered some poor racing luck in two of his three races last year and his trainer elected to get him back on track quickly this year by putting him in an optional claimer last time out in which he did what he was supposed to do, he won, easily. Today he steps into deeper waters and he should be ready to fire his best race. Stalking running style should keep him in a nice striking position throughout. Outshine also comes in off an optional claiming victory and should be ready to take a step forward. Win Win Win has won 3 out of 4 races and has a nice stalking style of running. His sprint interior splits seem stronger than most of today’s fields so I would think stretching to two turns today would still be within his range. Very good set of works headed into this race while nicely spaced races should have him ready to fire his best race once again. Note in his last start he got to the front at the stretch call under an interior fraction of 1:08 3/5ths off a :45 half mile which projects the 5/8ths call of time to be about :57 seconds. That means he went from the 5/8ths to the 6 furlong point of his race in :11 3/5ths seconds and finished out in :12 1/5th seconds. That’s motoring!

Tacitus comes in off his winter layoff and 2 career starts. In his first start he was too close to quick early splits and weakened late. He followed that race into his next with a nice move into the last turn to get the victory in a stretch battle. His personal interior factions of his first career start are :23 :45 4/5  1:10  1:42 1/5 which are faster than anyone’s in this entire field. Interesting that he followed that effort with a win over a wet, heavy surface where the time of the race  is hard to gauge. Has a string of smart works at Payson Park for Mott and figures to get a nice trip drafting in behind the early leaders.

Nick’s Selection
1-Tacitus WIN paid 19.80
2-Win Win Win
*I am going to play Tacitus to Win & Place. WIN paid 19.80 / Place paid $8.20
*I am also going to Box an Exacta using all 3 of my selections.

TinMan’s Selections
1-Well Defined
2-Dream Maker
3-Win Win Win

March 16

Rebel – Oaklawn Park

Divsion 1 (race 8)
In this edition of the Rebel the main early speed figures to be Classy John. He has sharp early speed, but his staying power is questionable. Galilean breaks from post 8 which shouldn’t be a problem although he has some early foot, he isn’t a “need the lead” type and can come with a strong run as evidenced from his last start. He hasn’t run a bad race in his 4 career starts and he seems to be ready for his best effort yet as he fired last time out coming off his brief winter break while working very well headed into this race. Improbable drew the outermost post and figures to break and draft in behind the early speed types, stalking the leaders early. He comes in off a string of excellent works and should fire a big effort in his return. Improbable seems to be cranked tight enough to make a big run in the stretch. Long Range Toddy (WON $18.80) is a strong finisher that had some traffic problems last time out. He should make a nice run from an inside stalking trip till the stretch where he figures to swing out and make his run. Extra Hope drew the rail and has some tractable early foot to stay close in the early stages. Not sure if he will have enough left in the tank to make a move to the top and hold the entire field safe.

1-Galilean 3rd
2-Improbable 2nd
3-Extra Hope 4th
The Play: I am going to Box all 3 of my selections in a Trifecta

TinMan’s Picks: 1-Improbable 2-Extra Hope 3-Easy Shot

Divsion 2: (race 10)
Much more early speed signed on in this division and that figures to make the early pace quick. Omaha Beach broke his Maiden last time out after 4 prior tries however those efforts were all solid efforts and he comes in here freshened while putting in a string of solid works signifying, he shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, while he was breaking his Maiden in his last start, later on that same card the Grade III Robert Lewis was run, and Omaha’s Maiden race earned higher ratings compared to the Robert Lewis! Our Braintrust comes in after having run 5 career starts and running well in each of them. However, it looks like he likes to settle for 2nd best as compared to winning so his trainer, Mark Casse has elected to add Blinkers to his equipment today which just might make enough difference in Braintrust’s performance to put him over the top. Certainly, he has enough talent to pull it off. Last time out at 1 1/8th miles, he came home in :12 4/5ths seconds which is quite good for a 3-year-old in February! Interesting that he gets his 4th new rider today? Game Winner is the BC Juvenile winner and makes his first start off his winter break in this spot. He is unbeaten in 4 starts and has tractable early speed allowing to be positioned where he likes in the early going. A strong string of works sys it’s his race to lose today and he figures to fire a huge effort from a stalking position. Gunmetal Grey comes here off that Robert Lewis effort however he encountered some traffic problems and didn’t get rolling till late. Talented and should be finishing strongly once again especially if the early pace is quick which is expected.

1-Omaha Beach WON $10.80
2-Our Braintrust
3-Game Winner 2nd 
The Play: I am going to Box all 3 selections in an Exacta paid $11.30

TInMan’s Picks:  1-Laughing Fox 2- Game Winner 3-Gun Metal Grey (3rd)

March 23

LA Derby LA – 1 1/8th

War of Will comes here off 3 consecutive wins and should be the post time favorite. He has a nice stalking/pressing running style and coming out of the starting gate he should establish an advantageous, forwardly placed, early running position as there isn’t much early speed to his inside. War comes in fresh as his races have been spaced strategically well and he figures to give another big effort as he stretches out to 1 1/8th miles for the first time. Limonite has a strong late kick, but I am not sure there will be enough early pace here to help his late run. Hog Creek Hustle also has a strong late kick and might also find the pace a little too soft to help him in the late stages while also drawing the widest post which won’t help his cause. Country House is an interesting horse here because he rallied into a soft pace last time out but couldn’t get to the leader in the late stages of the Grade II Risen Star. Today he gets a little more distance which should help his cause and he figures to step forward off his last effort. Working well for this race and well-bred for the distance! Mr. Money made a nice middle move last time out in the Grade II Risen Star before weakening in the late stages. That being his first effort off his winter break makes him eligible to improve off that effort and possibly turn in a huge race especially given his stalking running style.

Nick’s Selections
1-Country House (4th)
2-Mr. Money
3-War of Will (injured)
*I am going to play Country House to Win and also Box an Exacta using Country House, Mr. Money, & War of Will.

ScatCat Picks: Trifecta: War of Will over Country House, Spinoff (3rd), Lemniscate


March 24

Sunland Derby 1 1/8th

Mucho Gusto figures to be the post time favorite as he breaks from the rail in a field that has several early speed types so the early pace figures to be quick. Mucho has some quick early speed so he might get into the early mix getting to the lead or elect to sit just off the early going. He comes in off his victory in the Grade III RB Lewis and is going to have to step forward off that effort trying to get a longer 1 1/8th miles in this spot. Mucho has been working very well and figures to put up a fight. Anothertwistafate has won 3 in a row and comes in off a 1 1/8th miles victory where he came home in a very quick :12 seconds over a poly surface. The waters get much deeper in this spot so Twist will have to take another step forward which isn’t hard to conceive. Working well and figures to give another big effort. Wicked Indeed comes here off a fast finishing 2nd place where he just couldn’t get to the winner. Stretches to 1 1/8th miles today and will have a hot pace to stalk which should help his running style turning for home. Working well for this race and will need to step forward off his last to land top share among this group. If he does move forward off his last, I think he gets there in time! Walker Stalker has had only 3 career starts and is still trying to find his best running style. He figures to improve off his last effort and that could put him in the photo at the wire.

Nick’s Selections:
1-Wicked Indeed (4th)
2-Mucho Gusto (3rd)
3-Anothertwistafate (2nd)
*I am going to play Wicked Indeed to Win

Scatcat Picks: exacta box: Wicked Indeed and Mucho Gusto Trifecta box: Mucho Gusto, Wicked Indeed, Anothertwistafate, Hustleup

March 30
UAE – Meydan – 1 3/16ths

Tinman Picks:
Divine Image
Derma Louvre 4th
Box in an Exacta

Florida Derby – 1 1/8th

Nick’s Analysis/Selections: Hidden Scroll is a very talented and very fast horse. He has great early speed however in using that early speed it makes it very difficult to last trying to get the classic distances. With this in mind his trainer, Bill Mott has been working Scroll from off the pace. He has been working him with a horse positioned in front of him, so Scroll gets used to trying to catch horses from behind as opposed to being in front of them on the lead. You can check his last 2 works on XBTV.com if interested. The one bit of luck needed to help Scroll in today’s race has backfired. Hidden Scroll drew the rail post. It’s very hard to take back off the early pace from the rail position because the chances are great that you can get boxed in or would have to find a hole to get out to get around the lead horses at some point. Its possible Scroll can break and then take back to rate just off that early lead? There are a couple other early speeds to his outside that figure to want the early lead so if Scroll can break then relax early just off that early lead, he can be a big threat in the stretch to take down this race. He certainly has the ability. He needs to create a better trip and save some energy in the early going, not being on the engine from gate to wire. Harvey Wallbanger comes in off his Grade II Holy Bull victory at 30-1 and has trained well posting very quick work times. He has a nice late kick and figures to be sitting far back among this field, probable along the inside path. He hasn’t run a bad race yet, so he figures to step forward off this last big effort and come back with another which make him a top contender today. Bourbon War has run just 4 times and it seems he has improved in each start compared to his prior effort. Today he figures to sit a trip well back among this group and make his late run on the final turn for home. He also gets a little more distance which should be to his liking based on his breeding. Bourbon figures to be flying through the stretch once again and should be considered a top contender in this field. Code of Honor put things together and turned in a huge race last time out in the Grade II Fountain of youth. He has shown great improvement into his last start and if he steps forward off this last start, he will be very hard to beat. One factor that could make his race more difficult is his wide post position. Code breaks from Post 9 and the first turn comes up rather quickly so he can become stuck wide around that fist turn. His optimal trip would be to break well and then draft to the middle of the pack behind the early speeds to his left which is also very possible. Code has been training exceptionally well as his work on March 25th at Payson showed a horse that looked incredibly happy and then looked like he was breathing fire when asked to get serious. XBTV.com also has this workout.


1-Code of Honor  3rd
2-Hidden Scroll
3-Bourbon War
4-Harvey Wallbanger
*I am going to play Code of Honor to Win & also play a 4 horse Exacta Box as well as a 4 horse Trifecta Box.

4/6**Selections package  available for sale $15**

Wood Memorial

Blue Grass – Kee 1 1/8th

Santa Anita Derby – SA 1 1/8th

April 13

Lexington – Kee `1 1/8th

Several early speed figure to make the early pace hotly contested in which this should set this race up for a strong late finisher. Harvey Wallbanger is a strong finisher that comes in just two weeks off his last effort in trying to get enough points to land him in the starting gate in Kentucky. His trainer’s logic to having a legit shot in today’s race while wheeling him back in just 2 weeks is partly that he was fresh going into his last effort, having 58 days between starts, plus Harvey didn’t extend himself in his last start, seemingly encountering some trouble at the break. Therefore, Harvey is a good candidate while coming into today’s race on short rest and turning in a top effort. Sueno is a stalker that might have found himself too close to the early pace last time out and didn’t have enough energy for the finish. Today He just might get the perfect trip as he sits behind the early speeds but ahead of the late finishers. Knicks Go is in his 3rd start of his cycle and has shown sharp early speed against very deep fields in his last 2 starts. Today he just might sit a trip just off the early lead and find himself right there turning for home. If he runs his best race, he could be tough to pass late stretch. Anthertwistofate comes in off a battle in the Sunland Derby 3 weeks ago and figures to try and work out a trip from just off the hotly contested early lead. Worked well for this race and figures to be the deserving post time favorite.

Nick’s Selections

1-Knicks Go
3-Harvey Wallbanger

Nick’s Play: Box an Exacta using all 3 selections

ScatCat: Anothertwistafate, Zenden, Harvey Walbanger, Hawaiian Noises Box all 4 in an Exacta. Owendale is one to keep an eye on if the track is wet.

TinMan: Hawaiian Noises, Shang, Harvey Walbanger

Arkansas Derby – OP – 1 1/8th

I felt this race was a tricky read because there is a lot of early speed signed on for this one and this should set the race up for a horse from off the early pace, thinking the speeds will kill each other off, However the early speeds in this race still seem to be the better horses at today’s distance. Improbable drew the rail and has a nice stalking style however his trainer elected to add Blinkers for this race which should help him break well from the inside and establish a forwardly placed running style, being part of that heated early speed battle. Omaha Beach comes in off his big effort beating Game Winner in the Rebel. Took him 5 tries to break his Maiden but one can see that this horse has tons of heart and loves to battle! Omaha figures to be part of that early pace battle. Gray Attempt has talent but not sure he will be able to get today’s distance while battling early. One Flew South also has sharp early speed. I find it interesting that Galilean, who also has won races while on the early lead, had stalked the early pace last time out in the Rebel. Plus, today he gets his Blinkers removed which should help Galilean relax more in the early going, reserving more energy for his stretch run. Long Range Toddy might be the best finisher in the race. Drew the outside post and figures to be flying late. Just missed last time out in that Rebel and today gets more pace ahead of him and more distance to help his late rally.

Nick’s Selections
3-Long Range Toddy

Nick’s Play: Box an Exacta using all 3 selections

ScatCat: Improbable, Long Range Toddy, Omaha Beach, Galilean, Country House  Trifecta: Improbable, Long Range Toddy over  Improbable, Long Range Toddy, Omaha Beach, Galilean over  Long Range Toddy, Omaha Beach, Galilean, Country House

TinMan: Improbable, Laughing Fox, Long Range Toddy, Omaha Beach

TinMan Spot Play: Oaklawn Race 7: WIN and PLACE on Rocknroll Rocket EXACTA Key Rocknroll Rocket top and bottom over New Frontier, Breaking News