Kentucky Derby 140 preview

by TCI 4 years ago

The big one is here. Jon and Joel give an account of the physical looks and training of all the top contenders in this year’s Kentucky Derby, and they work through the pretenders and how the race is setting up to identify the most likely 3-year-olds that will fire the biggest under the Twin Spires. Who is primed for a shot to wear the roses?

Watch it. Comment.

TCI Top 10

Rank Name Bris Comments
1 California Chrome 106 Has looked to be on top of his game since arriving in Louisville and will be hard to keep off the board.
2 Danza 104 No horse has consistently looked and trained better, and he carries himself like a colt with real star potential.
3 Dance With Fate 99 Dirt remains the question but he enters as a G1 colt in top form; Probably the best turn of foot among the closers.
4 Medal Count 97 Like Danza, it’s hard seeing him run a bad race with how well he’s looked and trained, but is he good enough to win?
5 Samraat 99 His record is rock solid, and he’s trained solidly at CD; But he’ll need to be more than solid to win here.
6 Wicked Strong 103 Looks the part and is coming in the right way; Distance is ideal, but losing ground from a wide post is a concern.
7 Intense Holiday 99 Has become the buzz horse and gets over the Churchill surface as well as any; Quality and stamina are multiple concerns.
8 Candy Boy 97 Has the look of a colt that will benefit from getting away from the faster California tracks; Gets over CD beautifully.
9 Tapiture 99 Horse for course was too keen in Ark Derby and set for a bounce-back effort, but will he handle 1 ¼ miles?
10 We Miss Artie 94 His final breeze was a debacle from the start, so there are major questions surrounding his ability on dirt.

OFF: Social Inclusion, Hoppertunity
through 5/1/2014


  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – Derby day is here! Weather should be great! Hoping like you said that California Chrome runs a strong race and is in the mix. Heres my final Top 6 Joel. #1 California Chrome. #2 Danza. #3 Wicked Strong. #4 General A Rod. #5 Dance With Fate. #6 Saamrat. enjoy the derby Joel!

  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – Glad California Chrome brought home the roses! He seems to have a big shot at the Triple Crown. I was fortunate to have him on my radar after his January Cal Cup victory. I didn’t like Commanding Curve, however betting California Chrome at 30-1 in KDFW pool 2 was a nice payday for me fo the exacta because Commanding Curve was a field horse. Pool 2 gave me 13 field horses for pool 2, so I felt good on derby day as long as Cal Chrome ran a big race, and he sure delivered that. I had multiple exacta tickets from pool 2, so this was my best derby day ever.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Congrats Joe! Awesome job! I think you were the first person I’m aware of that was on this colt. A well-deserved congrats, he validated himself yesterday.

  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – One more final thought on the Derby. California Chromes final quarter was a slow 26. He could be vulnerable in the Belmont. He may not want 1 1/2. The Preakness is usually speed favoring, and the distance is less than the derby, Chrome will be hard to beat in the Preakness IMO.

    • Joel Cunningham

      It was a slow time, however I have not yet formed an opinion because it’s hard to know how the track was by the end of the day. The Derby is unique because there is sooo much time in between races that by the time they run the Turf Classic and then run the Derby, horses haven’t run over the dirt track in over 2 hours. So it’s hard to compare the rest of the dirt races earlier on the card to the Derby, I think you have to try and compare the track to the 2 dirt races after the Derby to see if you can pull any signs of how the surface was.

      Pace makes the race, and it was a very manageable pace that played into the hands of CC in my opinion. After Danza got roughed up and had a bad trip, there were really no other contenders to run with CC. I would have loved to see Danza get a smooth trip to see how the final 1/8th of a mile would have been contested, however we all know the luck of the Derby is something you have to live with. CC had more tactical speed than Danza to get into the proper spot early on to avoid trouble, and then when the pace turned up moderate to CC’s advantage, the race was over. No excuses, CC deserved to win. But I do believe that Danza validated himself with what he had to overcome just to be on the board. To me, those two colts are heads and shoulders above the rest right now.

      However, due to the rough trip and 2nd race in 3 weeks, I do not believe they will run Danza back in the Preakness. It would be his 3rd race in a 5 week span and Aron Wellman will likely back off, knowing this horse has a bright future ahead. I suspect Johnny V will be back aboard this colt going forward, and they’ll shoot for the Haskell at Monmouth where I believe he’ll be the horse to beat.

      With Social Inclusion having a foot bruise and Untapable likely to skip the Preakness, I do think that will make CC a big favorite and hard to beat right back in 2 weeks in Baltimore. But like you said, the Belmont is the race that ends more Triple Crown dreams, and if you asked me right now I would have to say that I don’t like CC’s chances of holding up at 1 1/2 miles in 5 weeks. But that’s a long way away right now, let’s see how things go at Pimlico first!

  • JR

    Hi Joel,
    What a day with CC, Once again, Stewart, with Commanding Curve, threw a curve ball in my exacta and trifecta. After last year when Stewart did the same thing with my bets, I did have a saver in place and show. You would think by now I would have learned, next year if he is there I won’t make that mistake again.

    CC’s story is probably one of the best stories I have every read. I read all the articles on the Harris Website. Interesting that Perry Martin is an engineer at McCellan air force base, and interested in pedigree’s. One thing I did notice in Lucky Pupit’s dam side, Princequillo appears twice on the dam’s side, If one believes in the x factor large heart gene, and given Big Red’s history through Something Royal with Princequillo as her sire and the fact that CC seems to get better with each race one can say hummmmm!!!

    I had read where Miss Penny had stated that right after the Belmont it appeared that Big Red’s coat had changed to a deeper red in color. We know now that he did have a much larger heart in weight than what is normal. Maybe we are looking at another “tremendous machine”

    Poor Danza, he had a rough trip, surprised he did so well after that. Gary Stevens was not a happy chappy after the race and was very vocal about it.

    Look forward to hearing what you have to say about the race.

    Take Care my friend
    Kind Regards,

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JR!

      The most talked about thing if CC can hold serve in the Preakness is if he can successfully handle 1 1/2 miles in NY 3 weeks later. Your pedigree influences will have to be what he leans on to get him there, as I believe the Belmont is a race won by pedigree and not so much class/quality of the horse. You have to be able to go a marathon distance that most of these horses aren’t bred to handle and will never likely run at again in their lives. Dosage/Tomlinson/depth of pedigree especially in the female family are critical. We have seen it time and time again. Initially, I have to admit that I have my doubts about CC at 1 1/2 miles. However, we have 5 weeks and a major race to come first before we have to address that in full 🙂

      Danza did get the short end of the stick, but that’s the Derby. The Gods need to be shining down on you on this day, as luck plays a big part of it. Credit CC for having the tactical speed and the confident and experienced rider to use it at the right times in this race to allow CC to carve out a wonderful trip. It takes both the horse and rider to do it, and that’s part of being successful in racing. It was the difference between winning and losing on Saturday.

      I saw Stevens was not happy, and I do believe Candy Boy was set up to turn in a big performance. Not sure he could have won, but he never got that opportunity either. Again, good fortune must accompany talent and experience in this race.

      As for Medal Count, he had less excuses. He was cut off in the stretch, but he wasn’t going to threaten CC behind that pace even if he had a clean trip. In hindsight, he was probably not as live of a contender as I thought. But once the pace came up lite it all but took away any of these closers chances of running down CC.

  • JR

    Joel, forgot to tell you Lucky Pulpit’s stud fee has now gone private.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Ha! Love it. Quote of the Day from JR!

  • JR

    Joel, sorry for all the after thoughts, did you happen to see CC after the race and did he appear that he had exerted himself, if not, maybe the triple is within reach.

    • Joel Cunningham

      I honestly felt he ran to the wire for the first time in a while, and my feeling was that he won as the best horse with the right pace set-up, however he was not nearly as brilliant as he had been in California at shorter trips.

      Now, with the slight turn-back to 1 3/16 and a more speed-favoring surface, I do think he’s tailor-made for the Preakness, especially with as dominant as he’s proven to be over many of these 3yos that are still in training and uninjured. I do think it was an earnest effort slightly outside of his comfort zone in terms of distance…so he will feel the after effects of having run a race if you ask me.

      Question is: Who is left to give him a fight in Baltimore to perhaps see how low his tank is in 2 weeks?

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