2013 KY Derby Preps

Preps, Performances and Real Contenders

Scatcat will be posting some thoughts, selections, and comments on the 3-year-old preps as they ready for Kentucky. So, bookmark this page and check back often.

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April 13, 2013 Blue Grass Grade I 1 1/8 M Keeneland

Java’s War
Palice Malice
Charming Kitten

Times in 5ths: :234 :48  1:123 1:371 1:501

Times in 100ths: :23.81  :48.04  1:12.76  1:37.29    1:50.27

Post-Race Thoughts:

Nick called this race in his selections and buyers profited if they played his picks for the win, exacta, and trifecta. He’s rounding into form and hitting his stride just at the right time! Was happy to see Palace Malice get a good trip, but I am concerned about his Derby chances given his running 3 races in five weeks. Java’s War looked good catching Palace though it’s always hard to translate a synthetic performance to dirt.

Preliminary Thoughts:

I loved Palace Malice in the Spiral Stakes but he got stuck and bumped on the rail in the stretch and lost all shot. I don’t see how he will do that well running back in 2 weeks, but maybe he can do it. I’m going with Uncaptured who likes the Synthetic and finished a close second last time out, his first start of the year. Balance the Books gets a jockey change for the better I think to Castellano. Leparoux takes the mount on Java’s War.

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April 13, 2013 Arkansas Derby Grade I 1 1/8 M Oaklawn

Overanalyze
Frac Daddy
Carve

Times in 5ths: :231 :473 1:122 1:391 1:514

Times in 100ths: :23.32  :47.64  1:12.57  1:39.22    1:51.94

Post-Race Thoughts:

Not thinking too much of this race. Hard to Believe Frac Daddy finally showed up.

Preliminary Thoughts:

For many this is their final attempt to make it into the Derby starting gate. There are some in here that I’ve liked in the past but having seen too many sub par performances I am giving up on. I had liked Frac Daddy but it seems he just hasn’t come back well from his various ailments. I don’t like that he’s coming back off of two weeks rest. I’ll be looking toward the more obvious choices of Overanalyze, Oxbow, and hope that Falling Sky can hold it together to cross the finish line in the top 2. Many like War Chant but he seems just a notch below these others.

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April 6, 2013 Santa Anita Derby Grade I 1 1/8 M Santa Anita Park

Goldencents
Flashback
Super Ninety Nine

Times in 5ths: :223 :462 1:102 1:353 1:483

Times in 100ths: :22.72  :46.48  1:10.47  1:35.72    1:48.76

Post-race Thoughts:

Not that impressed with this race overall. Goldencents got out front and was allowed to have an easy go of it. We now know Flashback got hurt and Super Ninety Nine to just enough to pick up the pieces.

Preliminary Thoughts:

Flashback looks to redeem himself after getting caught in the San Felipe. Garret Gomez gets the mount. Super Ninety Nine may appreciate the return to Santa Anita. Power Broker gets his first start of the year.

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April 6, 2013 Wood Memorial Grade I 1 1/8 M Aqueduct

Verrazano
Normandy Invasion
Vyjack

Times in 5ths: :244 :493 1:133 1:373 1:501

Times in 100ths: :24.89  :49.62  1:13.74  1:37.72    1:50.27

Post-race Thoughts:

Normandy Invasion left it a little too late and just missed catching Verrazano. Though Normandy Passed Vyjack easily, Vyjack was still gaining on Verrazano going to the wire. So from this I think Vyjack and Normandy both look better than the winner. That said, Verrazano did what he needed to do and held on wihout too much urging from Velazquez.

Preliminary Thoughts:

This looks like a showdown between Vyjack and Verrazano though neither horse needs this race to make the Derby. There are several others who could step up and figure in the exacta or trifecta. Elnaawi ran into some trouble in the Gotham but was closing well. If he gets a clean trip he could get up at the finish.  Power Broker is worth a look. Also of interest are Freedom Child getting lasix for the first time and Go Get the Basil. I will be playing a Super and hoping to catch a price or two.

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March 30, 2013 Louisiana Derby II Grade 1 1/8 M Fair Grounds

Revolutionary
Mylute

Departing

Times in 5ths: :224 :461 1:114 1:373 1:501

Times in 100ths: :22.84 :46.34 1:11.84 1:37.76 1:50.28

Post-race Thoughts:

Revolutionary came through with a nice performance that put him toward the top of the contenders list. Mylute took a huge step forward. Removing the blinkers seems to have help Mylute settle and conserve his energy for the stretch run. The one concern with this race is the bunch of horses at the rail that got shuffled back in the stretch run (i.e., Palice Malice). The finish might have been much different if one of the horses could have shot through on the inside. The pace was fast early but then slowed at the end.

Preliminary Thoughts:
This race is really a wide open race with many horses with the potential to step up and grab the needed share of the Derby points. Chances are this could be a good betting race with a number of longshot possibilities. Code West and Revolutionary are obvious possibilities, but others to look toward include Palace Malice, Ground Transport, Departing, and Mylute.

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March 30, 2013 Florida Derby I 1 1/8 M Gulfstream Park

Orb
It’s My Lucky Day
Merit Man

Times in 5ths: :243 :482 1:124 1:373 1:504

Times in 100ths: :24.74  :48.56  1:12.89  1:37.79    1:50.87

Post-race Thoughts:

Orb proved that his last race was not a fluke with a really fast pace to run into last time and a much slow first half this time.   Shanghai Bobby didn’t bother to show up. It’s My Lucky Day also ran well and continues to be a strong derby winner contender.

Preliminary Thoughts:

Shanghai Bobby needs to run big to get into the Derby. He really didn’t run badly last time out, he just ran into It’s My lucky Day running the race of his life.  It’s My lucky Day may run away with this race too but I am going to take a stand against. Last time he took 2 months off he didn’t come back with a great effort. If that happens again, there are other likely winners in here, Shanghai, Orb, and Frac Daddy who has had a few health issues that he seems to be over.


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March 24, 2013 Sunland Derby Grade III 1 1/8 M Sunland Park

Governor Charlie
Show Some Magic
Abraham

Times in 5ths: :223 :461 1:094 1:344 1:472

Times in 100ths: :22.74  :46.22  1:09.96  1:34.96    1:47.54

Post-race Thoughts:

Governor Charlie had no problem putting away this field in a pretty impressive time on a very fast track. I think this puts Governor Charlie very near the top of the list of potential Derby  winners.

 

Preliminary Thoughts:

Baffert’s Shakin’ It Up is the 5/2 M/L favorite. But, the Baffert horse I am more interested in is Governor Charlie. In his second start he seemed to figure some things out and maybe ready to take on a more talented field. Both horse’s are by Midnight Lute and definitely have the speed but may have distance limitations. Dry Summer has two wins over this track. Abraham has already won at this distance but will have to pick up the pace here. Just Win Baby seems like a wild card in here. He won last out at 1-1/16 and has an interesting work tab of two 7F works. He could have the right running style to sit off the leaders and pull away as they tire in the stretch.

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March 23, 2013 Spiral Grade III 1 1/8 M Turfway Park

Black Onyx
Uncaptured
Giant Finish

Times in 5ths: :233 :481 1:13  1:381 1:514

Times in 100ths: :23.74  :48.30  1:13.00  1:38.36    1:51.98

Post-race Thoughts:

Black Onyx ran well to capture his first stakes race. Uncaptured looked like he might be able to overtake him but just did not have enough left in the tank. This was Uncaptured’s first start of 2013 and it looked like he just needed a bit more conditioning. Black Onyx looked good winning but I don’t think the Churchill dirt will be his preferred surface come Derby time.

 

Preliminary Thoughts:

This year’s Spiral is sponsored by Horseshoe Casino which seems fitting since this race is looking like a crap shoot. This is the first of this year’s preps at a 1-1/8th and it boasts a 12 horse field.  For many this will be their first synthetic surface start. The favorite is Mark Casse’s Uncaptured for his first start of the season. Casse has been pretty high on this horse and his record of 6 wins in 7 starts as a 2 year old shows why. I’m not that impressed with others in this race so I think he’s a reasonable favorite. However, it’s always hard to know how he’ll do first off the long layoff. I’ll use him but I’ll stay away from Capo Bastone and My Name is Michael and look toward Black Onyx who won impressively last out in his first start on Turf. For Greater Glory who encountered trouble in the Battaglia Stakes but was finishing well and Balance the Books also making his first start of the year.

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March 16, 2013 Rebel Grade II 1 1/16 M Oaklawn Park

Will Take Charge
Oxbow
Den’s Legacy

Times in 5ths: :231 :47  1:121 1:382 1:45

Times in 100ths: :23.36  :47.19  1:12.39  1:38.44    1:45.18

Post-race Thoughts:

This was not a very impressive race overall. Super Ninety Nine looked like a different horse from his previous start. Either he bounced off his last effort or he loved the sloppy track in the Southwest. Will Take Charge was definitely much happier with the dry track and improved greatly off his Southwest start. I was not high on Oxbow because I thought he had distance limitations. I don’t think this race has done anything to make me change my mind. Though the finish was tight, he did not have anything left for the final surge to the wire while Will Take Charge was full of steam. That said the race was slow overall and probably won’t be a key derby prep. Den’s Legacy put in a late run  with Oxley but could not sustain it fading to third.

Preliminary Thoughts:

This race looks to be Super Ninety-Nine’s race to win. He won impressively last out in the Southwest at this same track against some of these same runners. The track was sloppy for the Southwest which I believe impacted several on these horse’s chances last out. Look for some to rebound on a dry fast track for the Rebel. I still think Super Ninety-Nine will win, but I’ll be looking for these to round out the exotic plays. Will Take Charge, Delhomme and Den’s Legacy.

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March 9, 2013 San Felipe Grade II 1 1/16 M Santa Anita Park

Hear the Ghost
Flashback
Tiz a Minister

Times in 5ths: :224 :454 1:094 1:353 1:421

Times in 100ths: :22.97  :45.95  1:09.94  1:35.70    1:42.34

Race set up perfectly for Hear the Ghost in a similar way that the Fountain of Youth set up perfectly for Orb. But, nonetheless, Hear the Ghost got it done. Looked impressive catching what was assumed to be a sure winner.

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March 9, 2013 Tampa Bay Derby Grade II 1 1/16 M Tampa Bay

Verrazano
Java’s War
Falling Sky
Dynamic Sky

Times in 5ths: :232 :473 1:121 1:372 1:434

Times in 100ths: :23.50  :47.69  1:12.36  1:37.56    1:43.96

Post-race Thoughts:
Verrazano proved he is the real deal, winning with ease. Java’s Warrior did make a big run from the back of the pack to come up for second. Falling Sky once again tired and Dynamic Sky was running evenly at the finish. Looks like Verrazano vaults to the top of the list with this win.

Preliminary Thoughts:
Verrazano is without a doubt the horse to beat with his impressive win by 16 lengths in his last race. However ,that last race was only a 5 horse field and the going gets much deeper in here. There are several horses looking to step up. Dynamic Sky looked impressive last out almost catching Falling Sky in the Sam F. Davis. He clearly loves this track. Falling Sky looked to be tiring last out but it was his first back from a 2 month layoff so he may be tightened up for this one. The horse that intrigues me in here is Purple Egg. Jane Cibelli hasn’t sent many horses to the big races and clearly she is taking a shot here. It’s a big jump up from 6F to 1-1/16, but he’s been working well and has the Lion Heart pedigree for the stretch out. Let’s see what he can do.

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March 2, 2013 Gotham Grade III 1 1/16 M Aqueduct

Vyjack
Westhills Giant
Elnaawi

Times in 5ths: :24  :483 1:123 1:373 1:44

Times in 100ths: :24.16  :48.68  1:12.72  1:37.74    1:44.09

 

Post-race Thoughts:
Vyjack made a incredible run in the stretch to win going away. His closing times were very impressive and just the kind of move a Derby horse needs to make. However, it seems that most of the other horses just didn’t fire so it’s possible this race looked more impressive than it was. Still, he’s one of the top Derby contenders at this point. Elnaawi looked to have somewhat troubled trip and looked good closing for 3rd. he’s one to keep an eye on.

Preliminary Thoughts:

Very competitive full field for this year’s Gotham. Obvious standouts are Overanalyze and Vyjak. But there are other contenders who have the opportunity to step up big in this spot. Escapefromreality and Amerigo Vespucci are two. Siete De Oros always shows up but seems to come up short everytime. My play will be a tri and exacta with  Esscapefromreality, Vyjak, over  Esscapefromreality, Vyjak, Amerigo Vespucci, and Overanalyze plus a Place bet on Amerigo Vespucci.  –scatcat

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February 23, 2013 Fountain of Youth Grade II  1 1/16 M Gulfstream Park

Orb
Violence
Speak Logistics

Orb made a bold move that looked like he would blow by Violence. Violence, when passed, dug in and fought back. Violence injured in race and taken off the derby trail. Speak Logistics was still running at the end.

9 horse field.

Times in 5ths: :23  :452 1:084 1:351 1:421

Times in 100ths: :23.11  :45.45  1:08.85  1:35.37    1:42.24

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February 23, 2013 Risen Star Grade II  1 1/16 M Fair Grounds

Ive Struck A Nerve
Code West
Palace Malice

12 horse field.  Track labeled good.

Normandy Invasion Chart says: “finished 5th, broke slow then bobbled, angled in at the rear, lugged out while rank into the first turn, drifted five wide came seven wide into the stretch, gained grounded on the outside and finished well but too late.” Ive Struck A Nerve was a $272 winner. Was this a fluke? Trainer Desormeaux said they tried a new tactic to have him drop back and then make one move. Shades of  Mine that Bird in the Derby. Can it work again?

Times in 5ths: :234 :481 1:123 1:38    1:442

Times in 100ths: :23.92  :48.34  1:12.74  1:38.00    1:44.52

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February 18, 2013 Southwest III 1 1/16 M Oaklawn Park

Super Ninety Nine
Fear The Kitten
rallied from off the pace but still finished far back.
Heaven’s Runway

9 horse field. Sloppy track. Super Ninety Nine was by far the best. Hard to tell impact of track conditions on other contenders versus being beaten by a better horse.

Times in 5ths: :231 :472 1:121 1:374 1:444

Times in 100ths: :23.33  :47.49  1:12.29  1:37.96    1:44.84

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February 16, 2013 El Camino Real Derby III 1 1/8 M Golden Gate

Dice Flavor Much the best. Finished very strongly. Has only raced on Turf or synthetic to date. Not nominated.
Nina’s Dragon
Counting Days Jostled in the stretch but kept running.

Times in 5ths: :23  :471 1:113 1:382 1:512

Times in 100ths: :23.10  :47.34  1:11.67  1:38.43    1:51.45

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February 2, 2013 Sam F. Davis III1 1/16 M Tampa Bay

Falling Sky
Dynamic Sky
Running well at the end almost caught the leader. Green in stretch.
My Name is Michael

8 horse field. Dynamic Sky was running very well at the wire. He should appreciate the added distance next out.

Times in 5ths: :232 :473 1:123 1:38    1:443

Times in 100ths: :23.49  :47.68  1:12.61  1:38.03    1:44.79

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February 2, 2013 Withers Grade III 1 1/16 M Aqueduct

Revolutionary broke slowly, strong move to overtake the leader
Escapefromreality
went to the lead, dropped back, made a strong move to the wire
Siete De Oros
tiring
Amerigo Vespucci was running well to the finish.

6 horse field.

Times in 5ths: :241 :48  1:122 1:38    1:441

Times in 100ths: :24.22  :48.18  1:12.48  1:38.01    1:44.32

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February 2, 2013 Robert B. Lewis Grade II 1 1/16 M Santa Anita Park

Flashback
Den’s Legacy
He’s Had Enough

4 horse field. Flashback was an easy winner. Not much competition to judge this against.

Times in 5ths: :24  :483 1:12  1:362 1:424
Times in 100ths:
:24.17  :48.69  1:12.17  1:36.53    1:42.95

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January 26, 2013 Holy Bull Grade III 1 1/16 M Gulfstream Park

Itsmyluckyday
Shanghai Bobby
Clearly Now

10 horse field. Came down to Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby. Can probably toss out all the other entries in the field as contenders. Itsmyluckyday set track record in winning. Shanghai Bobby was a respectable second place runner.

Times in 5ths: :231 :463 1:103 1:35    1:414

Times in 100ths: :23.34  :46.68  1:10.69  1:35.11    1:41.81

April 13, 2013Blue GrassI1 1/8 MKeeneland