Kentucky Derby recap & Peter Pan preview

by TCI 5 years ago

Jon & Joel do some brief house cleaning on the Derby before turning the page and taking a first look at next Saturday’s Preakness. They also preview this weekend’s Peter Pan Stakes in New York, and tell you which up-and-coming 3-year-olds you need to pay attention to as potential Belmont Stakes contenders next month. Watch it. Comment.


  • Joe Polander

    Hi Joel – Preakness getting closer now. I read where Chad Brown won’t run Normandy Invasion in the Preakness unless he feels like he has a big chance to win the race, hitting the board is not good enough for him, he is afraid that this could ruin N. Invasion’s chances in the Travers if he runs in the Preakness. I had him on my top 5 list, but just crossed him off, doesn’t sound like he will running to me. Here’s my top 4 for the Preakness: 1. Orb – looking good, feeling good, with Goldencents and Titletown Five duking it out on the front end, this should ensure an honest pace, and the best horse should be flying in the stretch. 2 Departing – I think he is the only horse who could upset Orb, but not likely happen. He has a big shot at 2nd. 3. Will Take Charge – this Lukas colt is intriguing, and adding Mike Smith should enhance his chances to hit the board, however a win in the Preakness for WTC seems like a longshot to me, Orb is running for the Triple Crown. Gary Stevens said that Orb will be tough to beat, he noticed that Orb was bucking and was full of energy after the 1 1/4 Derby. Stevens said that if the same Orb shows up, which is quite likely, then every contender will be up against it. #4 Mylute – This colt keeps improving, and if the Derby didn’t take too much out of him, then he could be running late to fill out the exotics.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! I get the impression that Chad Brown is not crazy about running, but perhaps owner Rick Porter has the desire to run. Brown comes from the Bobby Frankel, old-school way of training, and this is a colt that is not very big and can lose weight after tough races – and the Derby was definitely a tough race for him as far as how hard he ran…so there’s no doubt in my mind that Brown’s typical training style goes against a 2-wk turn-around having to ship and run another big race at 1 3/16 miles. And since the colt is only a maiden winner to date, perhaps the Preakness isn’t their best option if they want to Win.

  • JR

    Hi Joel,

    I don’t recall in the past as many derby horses pointing to the Preaknes, am I mistaken. Did you see the article with Gary Stevens on Bloodhorse, he really likes Oxbow, can’t blame him so do I. How do you think things are shaping up.

    Kind Regards,


    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JR, sorry I was out of pocket Mother’s Day weekend. Well, we now know Normandy Invasion is out which I suspected would be the case. He ran hard in the Derby and you could tell Brown didn’t want to run him back that quick, as I’m sure he must have looked a bit “light” coming out of that race much like he did when he came out of the Wood Memorial the immediate 10 days following that race.

      Perhaps I’ll eventually fall on my sword with Oxbow, but I still like the colt’s tools to be a top-end performer. I didn’t think his Derby performance was good considering the noticeable inside bias, but I didn’t think it was bad either. To me, he’s a very efficient mover and such a natural high-energy type that is made perfectly for the Triple Crown grind. I cannot say the same for many of these 3yos this year – like Revolutionary, Normandy Invasion, etc. – who give off the impression that they’re set up to run well once but unlikely to successfully handle the grind of so many tough races at different distances and locations within a 5-week window. While Oxbow may not be the best of his class, I do believe he’s dangerous because of his unique ability to maintain his weight and energy level – in turn allowing him to run closer to his best race each time – than much of his competition. So I am definitely factoring Oxbow into this Preakness.

      Looks like about 10 now to me, with about 6 back from the Derby. I am guessing Vyjack skips just like Normandy Invasion. Wouldn’t be shocked to see some late interest which could add a longshot or two to the field.

  • joe polander

    Hi Joel – Vyjack defected, now field for Preakness down to 9. After reading Orb’s excellent work today at Belmont in preparation for the Preakness, I am convinced that no one in the Preakness field will beat him. I will be trying to hit the Exacta, Tri, and SF with Orb on top. Here’s my top 5 1. Orb 2. Gov. Charlie 3. Departing 4. Mylute 5. Will Take Charge. Baffert said Gov. Charlie worked very, very good today in his breeze. That’s good enough for me to believe that he could be running for 2nd. I also like Oxbow Joel, but can’t put him in my top 5. If he can keep his energy level up, he is built like a tank, he could be a real player in the Belmont because of his pedigree. I think in the Belmont, he will stay close to the leader, and not fade away like most would at 1 1/2. I prefer horses in the Preakness that will come off the pace set by Titletown Five a Goldencents. I can’t see Oxbow beating Departing, or turning the tables on Mylute. I do believe in the end they will all get a good view of Orb.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! Yes, the Vyjack defection was expected. Looks like 9-10 now, and you’re right about Orb and his workout. Just solidifies his position.

      My concern with Govenor Charlie was that Baffert wasn’t in town for the work, and word is that Fed Biz – who I think is a nice 4-year-old but nothing special – clearly outworked GC, and I’m not sure Jim Barnes – Baffert’s assistant that was there for the breeze – was all that encouraged. To me, it may not have been as good of a work as the time leads you to believe (I didn’t see it so I cannot say for certain). Baffert has long worked his horses fast, that’s just his style. I believe GC is behind the proverbial eight ball a bit. Just my opinion on his situation.

      I have a good feeling about Oxbow, and it’s just a gut feeling about the horse’s style and the type of horse he is. I think he’ll stalk Goldencents and can get first run if the draw is kind to him. This is just my opinion, but I have always believed he was a better horse than Departing, who I know is much improved through racing experience and adding Lasix. But Departing certainly hasn’t been tested for class like Oxbow has, and I really think Lukas’s colts are going to be the overlooked horses in the Preakness, with Oxbow being the main danger. We’ll see. Figuring out the puzzle is what makes this fun 🙂

  • Nick

    Hi Joel, Will Take Charge was making a wide move on the far turn alongside the eventual Derby winner, but was stopped cold when Verrazano backed up into him. WTC regropued and came running at the end before checking in eighth. That was his first race in 7 weeks following his win in the Rebel. He should give a better account of himself here if his Preakness trip is trouble free. Just not sure if it will be good enough.

    • Joel Cunningham

      I couldnt have said it better, Nick. I completely agree, and Jon & I took time to illustrate that very incident with WTC running up on the heels of Verrazano in the show above.

      He does figure to be fresh enough to fire a big one right back in the Preakness. But regardless of trouble trip, the bottom line remains whether or not he’s good enough to run with Orb in the stretch…we know he was matching strides will Orb on the turn to the quarter pole, but Orb was clearly moving well better than the rest of the field from the quarter pole to the 1/8th pole, which is where I believe he proved best in the race. You could make the argument that Orb may have even coasted in from there once making the lead and drifting out some to the roar of the crowd…Shug has said he loses focus and pulls himself up a bit when he makes the lead and I believe you can see that in some of his races.

      So the final verdict for me is that Orb was much the best, and Will Take Charge wasn’t going to be any better than second that day based on what we know of WTC in the past. Obviously horses do improve greatly this time of year, and if he’s greatly improved he’ll have his chance to show it this Saturday when it’s likely that in a field of 9 he’ll be able to navigate a much cleaner trip. But they all have to make up lengths on the Derby winner IMO.

  • joe polander

    Hi Joel – PP draw is now in. I agree with you and I am dropping Gov. Charlie from my picks, too many red flags for him. I also am on board with you and will add Oxbow to my Exotics, I liked him in the Derby, no reason to abandon him now. Can’t wait for your Preakness show with analysis of PP draw and your picks. Orb drawing the #1 may not be so bad for him because Goldencents drew #2 and Titletown Five Drew #3, surely both of these will be sent to the front, several lengths ahead of Orb after the first 1/4. this should let Orb move closer to the center of the track, occupying Titletown Fives spot, so that Orb does not get trapped on the rail and behind several horses. Departing is a closer, as well as Mylute and Will Take Charge. I’m glad that Gov. Charlie and itsmyLuckyDay drew outside #8 and #9, they are far enough away from Orb that they shouldn’t be able to trap him on the rail, because both of those colts have early speed. I have faith in Joel Rosario that he will negotiate a good trip from the #1 post, because if Orb gets a clean opening at the top of the stretch, he should be able to strut his stuff and blow by any one of the other 8 horses. Oxbow drew well at #6, but I don’t believe that he is good enough to beat Orb, but has a big chance to hit the board and fill out the exotics. I will be using Orb on top of all of my wagers, hoping he gets at least a decent trip, his talent will do the rest, he does have a great jockey thats for sure. The horses I will use beneath Orb are: Departing, Mylute, WTC, and Oxbow. Orb will be saving ground off of the rail, maybe this post will be a blessing in disguise.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Good post, Joe. I agree with most everything you say here. One hole is always a concern because you obviously can’t go left lol…but Joel is riding with unbelievable confidence and instincts right now, and with only 9 horses in the field and a lot of speed signed on, Orb has enough tactical ability for Joel to push the button at times in the first mile to get his colt into position for clear run IMO. I think he’ll make some of those decisions early too if the right opportunities present themselves.

      I do have a good feeling about Oxbow. I think it was clear in the Derby after the suicidal opening half mile that it wasn’t going to be the kind of race that could provide success to colts like Goldencents, Oxbow and Itsmyluckyday due to style. Oxbow still ran much better than the other two, and looks good physically coming out of the Derby. This race Saturday will be like any regularly-run race IMO, with an honest pace and less loss of ground and natural traffic trouble that the Derby always has… So I think Stevens collects Oxbow in a stalking position, and I think he’ll be the speed of the race that sticks around in the stretch, perhaps even proving to be the colt that Orb must reel in. Just my feeling on it.

  • joe polander

    Hi Joel – I just watched a video replay of Orb that has just totally put my mind to ease about the Preakness. Orb was PP #1 in the Fountain of Youth. That is the race where he made that huge middle move to tackle Violence in the stretch. The fractions were quick that day, 23 for 1/4 and 45 for 1/2, probably quick fractions again in Preakness as you know TT5 will be sent as will Goldencents. Maybe the #1 post will push Orb to 2-1, this will be great because I think he is much the best.

    • Joel Cunningham

      I agree Joe. This horse has had incredible adaptability qualities, which he displayed at Gulfstream and really made me love his set of tools as a Derby contender. The scary part is Shug – a conservative guy – thinks he might improve Saturday despite the fact that Shug probably hasn’t run a horse back on 2 weeks rest in years… watch out..

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