Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
2012 Kentucky Derby-G1
Selections are listed in order of preference
The Prof's personal odds-line follows each runner
15-Gemologist 5-1 - – Improving son of Tiznow is undefeated in 5 career starts. Loves the Churchill Downs surface having won both starts here. Javier Castellano opts to ride over others. Slight edge in well-matched field.
16-El Padrino 8-1 - Ran a competitive sheet fig despite finishing 4th in Florida Derby-G2 last time out. Should enjoy a nice stalking trip behind a possible fast early pace. Loses rider Castellano to top choice but gains able replacement in Rafael Bejarano. May be a strong late factor at long odds.
4-Union Rags 10-1 - Michael Matz trained stretch-runner should get a fast early pace to set up his strong late charge. Suffered a troubled trip in his last race. Strong contender for top honors with a clean trip from rider Julien Leparoux.
6-Bodemeister 10-1 - Baffert son of Empire Maker ran lights-out in last race, winning by more than 9 lengths. Earned an eye-popping sheet fig in that effort. Lightly raced type may lack the foundation to repeat his last race in this crowded field on relatively short rest. Am willing to bet against considering his short odds.
3-Take Charge Indy 12-1 - Winner of Florida Derby-G1 draws inside with rail-hugging Calvin Borel in the irons. A ground saving trip makes him dangerous but that is a big IF in this crowded field.
5-Dullahan 25-1 - Half-brother to Ky Derby longshot winner, Mine That Bird rallied strongly to win the Bluegrass Stakes-G1 last time out. His ability on a dirt surface is suspect but may hit the board at a decent price if he handles it. Kent Desormeaux rides.
8-Creative Cause 25-1 - Rallied to finish 3rd in BC-Juvenile-G1 on this track last fall. Mid-pack stalker should get the fast early pace he needs to set up his late charge. Capable of winning with improvement but prefer to play him on the bottom of the gimmicks.
14-Hansen 25-1 - Pretty white colt finished no worse than 2nd in all 6 career starts. Won the BC-Juvenile-G1 in his only start at Churchill Downs. Draws decent outside post but must be careful to avoid being caught up in a possible suicidal pace set by rabbit, Trinniberg.
The Professor's Comments
The sprinter Trinniberg will ensure a torrid early pace. The frontrunners and stalkers must be careful not to get involved or they will be toast. Wouldn't be surprised to see a cavalry charge in the stretch. Good Luck as we'll need it!
$1 Exacta wheel: 4-15-16 with 3-4-5-8-15-16 = $15
$1 Trifecta wheel: 15-16 with 3-4-8-15-16 with 3-4-5-8-15-16 = $32
$1 Superfecta wheel: 15 with 4-16 with 3-4-8-16 with 3-4-5-8-16 = $18
Re: Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
Here is my “affordable” betting approach for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
We put a lot of time and effort into this search for the winner. We’ll apply the theory of betting a little in quest of making a lot.
Here’s our best calculated betting approach. We’re taking a stand against the probable “luke warm” post time favorite Bodemeister.
Union Rags wound up as my top rated three-year-old Derby colt but the “value” is Dullahan(7) who was opened at odds of 8-1. We suggest a $5 win play on Dullahan(5) and keying him in $1 exacta boxes with 4-Union Rags, 7-Rousing Sermon, 8- Creative Cause, 13-Went The Day Well, 14-Hansen and 15-Gemologist. 5 with 4-7-8-13-14-15. Total cost of both bets: $18.
We suggest keying two colts in the 10-cent superfecta–Dullahan(5) and Union Rags(4) on top and using a 50-1 bomb named Rousing Sermon(7) in positions two three and four. If any one of my suggested superfecta tickets below connect we’re talking about a significant payoff. One final wager will be a $2 across the board play on Rousing Sermon(7). Total cost $6.
•First 10 cent super ticket: Key Dullahan(5) on top with Rousing Sermon(7) second, 4-8-13-14-15 in 3rd, and 4-8-13-14-15 in fourth. Cost $8.
•Second 10 cent super ticket: Key Dullahan(5) on top, with 4-8-13-14-15 second, with Rousing Sermon(7) in 3rd, and 4-8-13-14-15 in fourth. Cost $8.
•Third 10 cent super ticket: Key Dullahan(5) on top, with 4-8-13-14-15 second, with 4-8-13-14-15 in 3rd and Rousing Sermon(7) in fourth. Cost $8.
•Fourth 10 cent super ticket: Key Union Rags(4) on top, with Rousing Sermon(7) second, with 5-8-13-14-15 in 3rd, and 5-8-13-14-15 in fourth. Cost $8.
•Fifth 10 cent super ticket: Key Union Rags(4) on top with 5-8-13-14-15 second, with Rousing Sermon(7) in 3rd, and 5-8-13-14-15 in fourth. Cost $8.
•Sixth 10 cent super ticket: Key Union Rages(4) on top with 5-8-13-14-15 in second and 5-8-13-14-15 in 3rd, and Rousing Sermon(7) in fourth. Cost $8.
•Total cost of all above bets $62.
1-Union Rags(*)–Not wild about the post position draw due to the poor production of the inside four positions in the past 30 years. For that reason we are suggested the value in this year’s Derby is with second rated Dullahan. It’s not to say this classy guy cannot win, it’s just that his post 4 is going to make it more difficult. What we can tell you is his Florida Derby did not hurt him and he’s got one of the hottest riders in the business in Julien Leparoux. Moved up to top spot when Hansen set pace and tired late for second in Blue Grass. Got bottled up and never had a real chance while third in “slow paced” Florida Derby. Even though he failed at odds on it was not a race they had to have. The colt needed the activity in order to be at his best for the big dance. Looked like a man among boys in the paddock and on the track before a Fountain of Youth romp with new rider Julien Leparoux. When Javier Castellano opted to ride Algorithms Leparoux was deputized. Sitting fourth early on and in the clear he made a sweeping three-wide move to the top. After reeling in pacemaker Discreet Dancer he responded to Leparoux’s reign shaking and drew out. He was being eased up at the wire and still covered the final fraction in 6.40-and he won by four. It was the colt’s first start as a three-year-old and avenged his second place finish in the BC Juvenile to Hansen. The Dixie Union colt earned respect in this corner off his big Champagne win despite a rough trip. He was then beaten in the Breeders Cup Juvenile by Hansen at Churchill Downs. In the Champagne this leggy colt went in behind horses after he came out of the gate. He got jostled from the left while 7th and was fifth back roughly 5 lengths midway on the turn. Waiting for running room to the top before finding a seam to win drawing out October 8. He won his debut on July 12 at Delaware Park with a five-furlong clocking of 58.25. They brought him back on August 15 and he took the Grade 2 Saratoga Special beating Stat and Indian Blessing in Saratoga Special. His third trip to the post was at Belmont in the Champagne.
2-Dullahan–Believe this colt offers the best value in the run for the roses and he’s the colt I will be keying on despite his final second position ranking. His trainer is becoming one of the very best in the land and when he leads them over in big races the results are usually positive. Awesome run from well back to win the Blue Grass was not a surprise to this corner. Got away cleanly and was 11th off the first turn. He was 10th on the rail and waiting on the far turn. Making a run from the inside into the lane Kent Desormeaux moved him out a few lanes. He urged him left-handed and then right-handed. His surge through the stretch to the wire was breath taking. Everyone was wondering why Desormeaux pulled him up so quickly. The question most handicappers will be posing is whether this colt to race over a synthetic surface. His three starts at Churchill Downs were not very good. He made a solid first start as a sophomore in 1-1/8th mile Palm Beach on the lawn when rallying to finish 3/4 back of odds-on choice Howe Great. Trakus reported this colt traveled 44 feet more than the winner Howe Great. That’s roughly five lengths. The final fraction was 11.75. That’s what made this colt’s comeback race more impressive. We had him rated above the colt that beat him(Howe Great) because his running style may be better suited for the classic confrontation. Desormeaux allowed him to settle in fifth early and he appeared relaxed. He began his bid midway on the second turn to be at least four-wide to the top and slingshot into second. It was a solid effort from off the bench for the colt who had not been seen since November 5th at Churchill Downs. Trainer Dale Romans has mapped out plans for Donegal Racing’s Even The Score colt, who ran fourth in the Breeders Cup. He’s taking a path similar to the one he used with Paddy O’Prado. Romans’ plan was to start this colt twice before the Kentucky Derby. He ran third the first time he faced the starter at Churchill Downs to the Ex Factor. He returned to finish fifth to Big Blue Nation at six furlongs on July 3. Kent Desormeaux rode him to a second at Saratoga when trying a route of ground for the first time on August 13. After a third in the With Anticipation at Saratoga he won for the first time in Breeders’ Futurity over the tricky poly surface at Keeneland. He beat Majestic City and Optimizer that day so the question is this. Is he a synthetic track colt only?
3-Rousing Sermon–Nobody that I saw even mentions this colt who is definitely going to like the classic distance. For once Jerry Hollandorfer is not under the spotlight. Maybe that is a good thing. Hollandorfer has experienced some terrible luck in the past when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. I like the rider Hollandorfer goes to in Jose Lezcano. If this colt, who figures to be all of his opening morning line hits the board, I will make money. This Lucky Pulpit colt left huge impression with a better than looked third place surge in the Louisiana Derby. In the day and age where breeders concentrate of speed not stamina–few colts really want to run the mile and a quarter distance of the Kentucky Derby. This colt is crying for more ground. He earned $100,000 and was laying claim to a starting slot in the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Maybe lady luck is in Hall Of Fame trainer Jerry Hollandorfer’s corner this time around. He took Joe Talamo off and went with veteran Mike Smith. Smith gave the colt the kind of trip that left trip that suggests this colt can and will run all day long. He had three foes beat early in the Louisiana Derby. Smith had him inching closer while always well away from the rail moving down the backstretch. Moving far wide to the top he kept grinding and was beaten only 2 lengths. Hollandorfer says the farther the better for this colt. Trailed early and wound up splitting field while never in the fight in March 10-San Felipe. Broke in from post six to bump Sky Kingdom and was jostled early when fourth in February 4 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Due to the disqualification of Groovin’ Solo he picked up third money. Colt is among the most active of his class. The Louisiana Derby was his ninth career start. He’s Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams. He was hung wide and just missed in the Cash Call Futurity December 17 at Hollywood Park. He won his debut at Hollywood Park on June 5. After finishing third in the Graduation Stakes to Ruler of Dubai he came back and was also third in the I’m Smokin to the same colt. Rafael Bejarano rode him to win stretching out to 1-1/16 miles in the California Cup. He was second to Liaison in the Real Quiet and the rich Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood. Then came his eventful trip in the Robert B. Lewis.
4-Hansen–Got the best of the post position draw so now we’ll see if he bounces back to the lofty ranking we had him at early on. Set all the pace and was clear by two lengths midway through the lane but was no match for Dullahan as the favorite in the Blue Grass. Ramon Dominguez got him away cleanly and he led while in hand entering turn one. He led by a length and a tail to the far turn. Holding a clear lead of two lengths midway through the stretch he was urged left-handed then right-handed but was no match for Dullahan who cruised on by. Tapit colt silenced doubters when dominating a not so stellar field in the March 3 Gotham. Dominguez went for it early from a horrible post 12. At least three-wide down the backstraight he put away the leader and won clear with several taps of the crop. He was moving from 17th on our list all the way up to the top with the effort over a track left dull. Going into the Gotham he already had earned a spot in gate for the May 5 Kentucky Derby as far as graded earnings. In the Gotham, despite the strength of the race, it looked like a man among boys. Michael Maker’s colt ran second January 29 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, a one-turn mile won by Algorithms. ”He has a lot of speed and might have been a little fresh today is why we went a little faster than we were looking for,” said jockey Dominguez. ”I’m not happy he did not win but I’m not totally disappointed. When he got passed he really dug in and he galloped out really well.” The Tapit colt is owned by Sky Chai Stable(Kendall Hansen). He won his first ever race at Turfway Park at 5-1/2 furlongs. They brought him back September 24 in Kentucky Cup Juvenile. He won again stretching out to a a mile and a sixteenth. That’s when they hired Dominguez and he won Breeders Cup Juvenile. He beat Union Rags and Creative Cause that day in 1:44.44.
5-Went The Day Well–Opened at 20-1 when the morning line was released after the draw for the post positions for the Kentucky Derby. Interestingly trainer Graham Motion fits the colt with blinkers for the first time. We suggested using this colt underneath in our superfecta tickets. Proud Citizen colt jumped right into the mix with a bang when kicking in and winning the Spiral with a strong showing under John Velasquez. He went in the Spiral not by design but do to the fact they needed graded money. Motion felt it was a race they would win and that’s what the colt did. He’s only been to the post five times so it’s possible even his connections don’t really know how good he might become. Since Louisiana Derby winner Hero Of Order will not be allowed to supplement it found this colt at 19. He was seventh between horses off the first turn and third between foes to the top, When asked for run he kicked in to left-hand urging to draw out late and win by 3-1/2. Proud Citizen colt graduated MSW ranks nicely March 3 when given an educational journey by Jamie Castellano on March 3. The Team Valor colt was making his second U.S. start for Graham Motion and fourth overall. Away well from post one he was well positioned early on and allowed to settle out fourth. Waiting midway on the second turn he was angled outside into the lane and then ran down Tiz Yankee was was second over. The colt posted a final fraction of 12.39 as he got a mile and a sixteenth clocking of 1:44.78. Colt was second twice in Great Brittain for trainer Ed McMahon.
6-Gemologist–His rider Jamie Castellano winds up here after a whirlwind of a year finding him jumping from one live colt to another. We wound up using this colt underneath in our superfecta for the Kentucky Derby. Made significant jump up(from 13th) our list with his gritty better-than-looked win in the Wood Memorial. Javier Castellano had to check him while four-wide entering the first turn when Cornelio Velasquez crossed over too sharply with The Lumber Guy. He was kept well away from the rail losing ground down the backstraight and made his run three-wide entering the stretch to gain the lead. Castellano urged him right handed, then left and he was game. He posted a final fraction of 23.22. Alpha made a gallant rally through the stretch but fell a neck short. It was noted after the wire Alpha never got past this colt. Tiznow colt remained undefeated when making his sophomore debut with a wire-to-wire allowance win at at Gulfstream Park on March 16. He led by a length into the turn and by 2 early in the stretch and was drawing out to win by 7 lengths. With Javier Castellano up he covered the final fraction in 12.58 and the rider never cocked his stick. We liked the gallop out after the wire. Winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs on November 26 beating Ever So Lucky and Timely Tally in 1:44.46. One thing is for certain he’s got an affinity for the Churchill Downs surface. Win Star Farm’s Tiznow colt was three for three as a juvenile. He debuted in a maiden special weight sprint and won at Turfway Park on September 24. Making his second start at Churchill Downs he won a mile at a mile and a 1/16th beating Timely Tally and Space Race on October 30th.
7-Creative Cause–There is no doubt in our mind his trainer and his rider have been teaching this colt to relax a bit more from off the pace. That is what we concluded after his Santa Anita Derby second place finish when the blinkers were removed. This might be the best colt Mike Harrington may have developed. The only thing that clouds his ability is the Santa Anita racing strip that was impossible to read on most days. If this colt takes to Churchill Downs, and he was third to Hansen in the Juvenile, then who knows how good he could be on Derby day? Two factors prompted me to move this colt ahead of the colt who beat him in the Santa Anita Derby. We cannot ignore his strong gallop out after winning the San Felipe. We believe there was a game plan going into the Santa Anita Derby when this colt raced without blinkers. We believe trainer Mike Harrington and jockey Joel Rosario purposely took this colt well off the pace in a Santa Anita Derby they did not have to win. Rosario said after the race he felt he would have won if he’d been outside instead of between horses in the drive to the wire. Harrington will not put the blinkers back on for the Kentucky Derby. He may not win the roses but with Rosario aboard he may be coming on late. He’s a must use in your exotics. Loved the way he finished up and took note of the strong gallop out after the wire in winning the $300,000 San Felipe with Joel Rosario. He was making amends for his third as the odds-on choice in the San Vicente which was an obvious tune-up. He was fifth early on before making a sweping move wide on the second turn. Rallying far wide into the lane he overtook Bodemeister in the final 60 yards and was drawing out to win by 3/4. He could not have galloped out any stronger. Harris, who clocks for Winners’ Card in Southern California, tweeted on February 28th from Hollywood Park. This colt was “fastest in the middle stages” while working in 1:11.80 in a “fitness based drill” which he termed as “productive.” Harris also liked what he saw in this colt on March 6th. Clocker Harris is worth paying attention to. Colt already had enough graded money to be in the gate May 5 in the Derby with $506.000 as of February 22. Finished third in San Felipe February 19 in an obvious prep for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Even though he was not asked for much run the final 1/8th he did gallop out ahead of Drill who wants no part of two-turns. The four-horse 2012 renewal of the San Felipe was not worthy of any graded status! Graded numbers, as they are currently being handed out, have become something you can ignore while handicapping and evaluating. Trainer Mike Harrington had been drilling his colt for endurance prior to his sophomore debut in the San Felipe. It was a prep, nothing more for this colt. Liked the way he raced relaxed and won the Norfolk Stakes. Loved the way he cruised to the lead on the turn and came home with notable FF(6.27). He won his first two starts including the Best Pal at Del Mar. Giant’s Causeway colt was beaten for the first time in the Del Mar Futurity. He was awarded second money via a disqualification.
8-Bodemeister--Made huge jump up to from 16th up after his scintilating wire to wire win in the Arkansas Derby. He’s a candidate to bounce and we decided to take a stand against him in a year when the sophomore class is one of the most competitive in many years. Mike Smith is going to have two colts with speed leave the gate from his right and that will be something he will have to deal with. If he rates it will be to his advantage. He was awarded a revised and lofty 108 Beyer for the visually impressive effort and he’s sure to impact the outcome of the Kentucky Derby in one way or the other. With Mike Smith aboard the colt sped from post 11 to get the lead into turn one. He set all the pace before blowing the field away with an 11.97 final eighth mile clocking. Bob Baffert’s colt was in a “must win” situation and certainly delivered. Empire Maker colt will attempt to become the first colt to win the Derby without having run at age two since 1982. He set the pace in lane three down the backstretch. Clear by 2 to the far turn, jockey Snith flicked his stick at him at well spaced intervals four times in the run to the wire. It was an awesome performance and he’s certain to be a luke-warm morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Was second over, gained the lead and then was no match for Creative Cause in the March 10 San Felipe. He washed out in the parade to the post and balked at loading. What we did not like about the race was he was drifting out under Rafael Bejarno’s brisk handling in the late going. We questioned whether he wants to go further prior to the Arkansas Derby. Baffert says distance is not an issue. Empire Maker colt won off impressively over a ridiculously glib surface at Santa Anita February 11 to win a MSW race for fun. Away alertly from the outside he was wide the opening 60 yards to lead. He was taken hold of after 23.09 opening fraction but still led going handily past the half mile marker in 46.95. Clear on the turn for home in 1:10.72 he skirted home in an absolute romp. He galloped out nicely after stopping the clock in 1:34.45. The colt is owned by Ahmed Zayat an Egyptian born entrepreneur. Colt ran second making his debut at six panels. On April 25 Zayat announced he had sold 40% of this colt.
9-I’ll Have Another–Proved his win in the Robert B. Lewis was not a fluke at 43-to-1 by staging a game rally for a photo finish win in the Santa Anita Derby. Jockey Mario Gutierrez gave colt another perfect trip. We said before the Santa Anita Derby there were many who might be making a mistake by not giving this colt the respect he deserved. I was left questioning whether any of the top three finishers in the Santa Anita Derby want to go further. There was also the thought process that maybe the Creative Cause factions did not put any emphasis on winning when taking their colt further off the pace sans the blinkers. Paynter, an impressive sprint winner, finished a non threatening fourth in the Santa Anita Derby. It was noted after the wire that he galloped out alongside this colt. Are we reading too much into that? Flower Alley colt scored a shocking($88.60) upset in the Robert P. Lewis Stakes. He was trying two turns for first time after a sixth in the slop in Hopeful at Saratoga. Mario Gutierrez was scoring his richest win ever for trainer Doug O’Neill and Reddam Racing. The owner told the trainer to use the Hastings jockey if he ever got in a bind. He did and Gutierrez rode him perfectly. Colt was timed in 1:40 4/5 and it should be noted he posted a final fraction of 6 1/5. The colt’s only other win came when breaking his maiden at 5-1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 3. Flower Alley stands at Three Chimneys and was a winner of $2,533,910. They say he’s the best son at stud of Distorted Humor and has sired 79 stakes winners.
10–Daddy Long Legs–If this colt were to run large in the Kentucky Derby I don’t think we should be shocked. It’s just that they picked a year when there are so many talented sophomores. That’s why he barely made my final top 10 list. Trainer Aidan O’Brien says we should not be overly critical of this colt’s poor run in the Breeders Cup. He blames it on a bad start. It became official on Sunday, April 15, this colt will be flown to Kentucky to run in the Kentucky Derby, Scat Daddy colt got the monkey off O’Brien’s back with a smart win in the rich U.A. E. Derby at Meydan on March 31. And nobody saw it coming, especially after they watched this colt break out badly in the saddling enclosure. This colt finished 12th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Jockey Colm O’Donoghue was aboard in Dubai. In the U.A. E. Derby he tracked the pacemaker and when push came to shove he had the grit. The winning margin was 1-1/4. O’Brien will not be in Louisville to saddle this colt because he’s running Camelot in the 2,000 Guineas on Derby Day. Colt goes into the Kentucky Derby having won three of five lifetime starts.
11-Daddy Knows Best–Switch from six straight turf races to Golden Gate’s tapeta resulted in an all-out nose win in the El Camino Real Derby. Julien Leparoux was the difference. He had this colt in the slot and full of run around the far turn. When he finally found a seam there was a furious battle to the finish. Lucky Chappy came in and they bumped and at the wire it took a photo to separate them. Was never in it when fifth as the favorite in the Eddie Logan at Santa Anita Park on Dec., 31. Between horses to the far turn he lugged out some to the top and was soundly beaten fifth. In his previous start he won an allowance at Chuchill Downs for his second win. Most likely Leparoux will be elsewhere if he makes the gate May 5 so Steve Asmussen will have to seek another rider.
12-Alpha–We might not be giving this colt enough respect. He was awarded a 100 Bris speed number for his mile and a sixteenth Withers win February 4. He’s not rated higher because we think it was a weak renewal of that well known stakes. Ramon Dominguez was aboard for the win. He had not beaten much through his Withers start. The $120,000 first place money allows trainer Kiaran McGlothin to take his time. He started all over with this colt after he acted up in the gate and wound up beating only one in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Adding lasix and switching riders to Dominguez brought about a change in tactics. The Bernardino colt sat third, stayed three-wide on the second turn, and gutted it out late to win the one-mile and 70-yard Count Fleet at Aqueduct January 7. Off the way this colt rated, and due to his grinding running style, he was in the early on Derby discussions. Broke his maiden by 6 at Saratoga and finished second in the Champagne at Belmont. They have spent a lot of time standing this colt in the gate since the Juvenile.
Done Talking(P)–Leggy Broken Vow colt came on strongly to take the Illinois Derby and grab a starting slot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby. It’s not an oversight. I simply do not believe this colt is good enough to be a factor in this year’s Kentucky Derby. He was not quick early and rallied between horses in the late stages to overtake Rosie Napravnik aboard Morgan’s Guerrilla in the final stages. He ran fourth in Remsen. He’s won three of seven starts but if he were to hit the board it would be a huge surprise.
El Padrino–Was on the bubble as of April 16 as far as graded money. With the announcement Wrote was not coming and the “iffy” status of Trinniberg he should make the gate. And should Bob Baffert do the right thing his Drill should not be thrown to the wolves in Louisivlle because he can’t get classic distance. Here we go again with another Todd Pletcher three-year-old failing to move forward. Sixth rated going into the March 31 Florida Derby he never was a serious factor while fifth. He did not move forward and if his connections are realistic they will not take up a spot in the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Got major graded money score he needed in an all-out quick renewal of the Risen Star February 25 at the Faigrounds. In the Risen Star he moved up from his 17th ranked position. Colt banked $180,000 after a foul claim by Rosie Napravnik aboard Mark Valeski was not allowed. He was in great tactical position every step of the way. Castellano had him racing out from the rail down backstraight. Advancing wide off the top he engaged Mark Valeski from outside early in the lane. Just why Castellano stuck to right-handed urging we don’t know but he had to post a fast final fraction of 6.08 to get the win under overcast skies. He was also answering the question of whether his previous races had been enhanced by his off-track prowess. If the track comes up wet on May 5 in Louisville the chances of this colt would be enhanced. Missed January 21 LeComte when cording up after a work. On January 29 he ran down Take Charge Indy over a track called “good” track. Javier Castellano got the call in that Gulfstream Park race as Velasquez for some reason opted to ride Casual Trick. Castellano placed this colt fourth early on. He made his run off the turn for home. Despite the wet going he posted a final fraction of 6.40. Keep in mind the track came up wet when a rainstorm hit the area and some of the colts may not have liked the sealed surface. Let’s Go Stables’ colt finished third in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on November 26. Colt broke maiden by nearly 13 in the Belmont slop October 29. He’s yet another colt in Pletcher’s barn and one has to wonder how he can possibly do justice to so many live sophomores? We have to wonder if there was a reason why John Velasquez stuck with Casual Trick instead of this colt? His sixth and final start as a two-year-old found him finishing fourth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile to Hansen.
Liason(P)–This is one time Bob Baffert is reaching. He’s fitting this colt with blinkers and I think he’s got no chance. Wound up fourth in the San Felipe on March 10 but does not appear to be Derby material. He’s in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby but we do not have him ranked anywhere! If this expensive $290,000 purchase didn’t get cut up in the Robert B. Lewis on February 4 we’ll be surprised. First off this colt was pushed out and jostled in the opening eighth of a mile. Once into the stretch he clipped heels and lost jockey Rafael Bejarano. If I were trainer Bob Baffert I’d be upset with the way Corey Nakatani rode Isn’t He Clever away from the gate the opening eighth. The stewards disqualified Groovin Solo from third and placed him seventh but they did not dq Isn’t He Clever from a fifth place check. Ya gotta love this long fused colt on appearance. Won the Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec., 17 in game fashion for Bob Baffert can take his sweet time with him. With Rafael Bejarno up he was away in a wide path from post nine. Indian Charlie colt had good early interest and was able to drop in on the rail in neat fashion before the 1st left. Full of run in fourth to begin the run down the backstretch they waited to ease outside into the lane. Once in the lead he was ridden hard to hold off Rousing Sermon.
My Adonis(P)–On the also eligible list for the Kentucky Derby. Colt really is not that good. We were correct when we called this It’s No Joke colt a pretender in the weak renewal of the Gotham. Was given every chance with a great inside trip and had to settle for a non-threatening second in the March 3 Gotham. Hansen was the winner by three. Was a well beaten third in the Holy Bull on January 29. He did break in and bump Consortium but fell well out of it early in the one-turn mile over a track called “sealed good.” George Hall’s Pleasantly Perfect colt finished a disappointing ninth in the rich Delta Down Jackpot on November 19. Colt won Jean Laffitt at a mile at Delta Downs to earn most of his bankroll. He made his racing debut running second in a sprint at Hoosier. He returned in less than a month to tally a maiden win at the same 5-1/2 furlong distance.
Optimizer–Failed to move forward in the Arkansas Derby when finishing ninth. In all fairness the track was kinder to front speed that day so maybe one should not be overly critical. The facts are he’s only got a maiden win so it not one of D. Wayne Lukas’ better shots–and he’s had many of them at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Early in the race he came in bumping Isn’t He Clever hard twice. Seventh out from the rail down the backstraight he failed to put in a run. English Channel colt rallied from eighth to finish fastest inside the flank of Rebel winner Secret Circle. A lot is going to be made out of the effort but we concluded it was a weak renewal of the mile and a sixteenth fixture. D. Wayne Lukas, craving for more camera exposure, is surely to take this one to Churchill even though we doubt he belongs. But that’s the way this Derby lures the big names.
Prospective–Finished sixth in the Blue Grass there are owners hoping the dull showing will find them not going in the Kentucky Derby. He steadied back a bit between horses to begin the run down the backstretch. Set down midway on the far turn he had no finish. Won the Tampa Bay Derby when fitted with blinkers for the first time. Ridden by Luis Contreras he was sixth early. He made an early run to get the lead on the far turn and went gamely to the wire to get a clocking of 1:43.11. That clocking marked the second fastest renewal of the Tampa Bay Derby. The blinker change was made because he ran with his head docked going down the backstretch in the February 4th S F. Davis. Malibu Moon colt rallied from 8th in a field of 11 to finish second in the Davis behind Battle Hardened. Bounced back to win the seven furlong Pasco on January 14 after having finished last in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Mark Casse trains the colt who had won three of six prior to the Tampa Bay Derby. trained the Malibu Moon colt who broke his maiden in his second career start at Woodbine at seven panels. He returned to win the 1-1-1/16 mile Grey Stakes at Woodbine which prompted owner John Oxley to try him in the BC Juvenile. He’s the first foal of Spirited Away who won half her eight starts including the Truly Bound over a sloppy track. Casse says the colt thrives on racing so they definitely plan on running him again before the Derby. He’s already earned enough graded money.
Sabercat–Tenth to the half this colt made a good run off the top but was only able to best Cozzetti for a non threatening third in the Arkansas Derby. Corey Nakatani wasted his time flying across country to ride this colt who ran eighth in the March 17 Rebel. He was a non factor and can’t be considered among aspiring Derby colts. Among the more active members of this year’s 2012 sophomore class Steve Asmussen can take his time with this colt. His graded money as of February 7 was a hefty $600,000. Bluegrass Cat colt won rich $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot to give Larry Melancon his richest riding win ever. Bumped hard at the start of the 1-mile and a sixteenth race he made his winning move on the far turn and won by four. “His last three races have been a move forward,” said Asmussen. Ron Winchell is the co-owner with his mother Joan. Winchell’s dad was in the horse for 50 years until his death in 2002. His business was donuts. This colt had only a third in his first three starts. On September 5 he won a MSW race at a mile with Channing Hill at Monmouth Park. He beat My Adonis that day. They brought him back on October 2nd and he won the 1-70-yard Garden State at Monmouth Park beating Angel’s Tune. Then came his rich score at Delta.
Take Charge Indy(P)–We called him a pretender prior to scratching out of the Tampa Bay Derby on March 10. He went wire to wire in a “slow tempo” Florida Derby when Union Rags was bottled up and did not get clear sailing until too late. Colt was prominent early and gained the lead but could not hold El Padrino at 1-16th at Churchill Downs January 29 over a sealed track called “good”. Trainer Pat Byrne did not want to cut back to the one mile distance of the Holy Bull and that’s why he opted for the optional claimer. Byrne had to like the second place effort of this A.P. Indy colt in the Arlington Washington Futurity on September 29. Bumped after the break he was ninth early on and three-wide. He began his run three-wide between foes on the turn and made a nice run wide to the top. Once in the lead he drifted in badly to the fence but he kept trying and reaching while clearly second best. After the Arlington-Washington Futurity he was fourth to Dullahan and Majestic City in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on October 8. He finished out the 2011 campaign when fifth to Hansen, Union Rags and Creative Cause.
Trinniberg–Teuflesberg colt has never raced as farther than seven furlongs but figures to have an impact early on in the Kentucky Derby. We’re among those who don’t give this colt a chance in the Kentucky Derby but he’ll be in the gate and figures to be out winging early on. He’s owned by 47-year-old Shivananda Parbhoo and trained by his 72-year-old father Bisnath Parboo. The owner grew up in Trinidad. He got into the sport of horse racing because his father worked for another trainer when he was young. When the family moved to Florida in 2010 Bisnath began winning races. They went to the Ocala yearling sales and Parbhoo went there as nothing more than a spectator. He didn’t even have a sales catalog. This colt caught his eye. ”I started bidding on him and got him for $21,000,” says Parbhoo. Colt won at first asking on July 8 a five furlong race at Calder. They brought him back in the Saratoga Special and he ran fifth to Union Rags. He followed that up with a second in the Hoipeful to Currency Swap. His fourth career start was a second in the Nashua. He then finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Spring. Colt is a perfect two for two as a three-year-old as he took a field of eight wire to wire in the seven furlong Bay Shore. In case you wondering, we did not spell the trainer’s name wrong. Immigration screwed that up and the official Kentucky Derby program will have his name spelled Parboo.
Re: Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
Kentucky Derby Day!!!
Race 1 – Atigun (2) takes a drop in class after trying the Derby trail and has shown he likes the Churchill Downs surface. Afford (3) another dropping out of Derby prep ranks and should be closing late down the lane. Politicallycorrect (5) was impressive in his win at Gulfstream and Ward has been hot of late.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 2-3-5
Race 2 – Hamiltonian (6) shows a consistent and strong work pattern and looks ready for his debut. Vasten (10) seemed to like the shorter distance last out and shows a bullet local work. Master Cip (2) makes his debut today and shows a solid seven furlong work.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 6-10-2
Race 3 – Golden Ticket (5) drops in class after trying graded stakes company and adds Julien Leparoux today. Windsurfer (10) ran a solid race in the Louisiana Derby and runs for top connections. Z Dager (7) was forced very wide last time out and has worked well locally.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 5-10-7
Race 4 – Silver Rock (4) returns from a layoff and has trained forwardly for today. He has the back class to be effective and gets some pace to track. Souper Spectacular (8) is another returning from an extended break for good connections and has the back form to be a factor here. Derby Kitten (9) has been a bit off form but on his best is competitive with this group.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 4-8-9
Race 5 – Macho Macho (10) has run consistently well against tough competition and will like the extra furlong today. Mile High Magic (3) was dominant in his maiden score at Santa Anita and could be tough to catch today. Big Blue Nation (5) should enjoy the switch back to Churchill where he made his only career win.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 10-3-5
Race 6 – Bridgetown (4) returns to the races from a long break and has the back class and runs well fresh for team Pletcher. Great Mills (10) comes off a sharp effort last out and will be part of this hot pace. Chamberlain Bridge (11) may have lost just a step of late but he does do his best running at Churchill and will be stalking from the outside.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 4-10-11
Race 7 – Amazombie (6) won the Breeders Cup Sprint here and exits a big win last out to give Mike Smith his 5000 career win. Shackleford (4) exits a tough race behind the best sprinters on the east coast and is proven over this surface. The seven furlong distance seems a perfect fit for him. Alma D’Oro (2) drops to a one turn sprint for the first time and will be rolling late when some of the sprint specialists may be tiring.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 6-4-2
Race 8 – Marketing Mix (3) was a sharp winner off the layoff and has a fantastic record against quality competition. Aruna (7) should get a more favorable pace scenario today and has the back class to be a factor here. Tapitsfly (4) is a bit inconsistent but on her best efforts can be as good as any.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 3-7-4
Race 9 – Musical Romance (8) won the BC Filly and Mare sprint here and may be rounding back to that form. She seems to run better from the outside post where she is today. Sassy Image (3) is a local track specialist and runs well off the layoff. She has trained well for this. Switch (7) tends to settle for a minor award and has to be included in the exotics.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 8-3-7
Race 10 – Turallure (2) just missed in the BC Turf Mile and came back off the layoff with a sharp effort last out. He should get good speed for today. Doubles Partner (6) is another with a good local record and makes his third start off a layoff. Get Stormy (4) won this race last year and is dangerous on the lead.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 2-6-4
Race 11 – Union Rags (4) may have benefited the most from a trip in the Florida Derby that did not set up well for him, He still finished well against slow fractions and has looked and trained brilliantly since arriving at Churchill. Gemologist (15) is undefeated beneath the twin spires, has the pedigree for the distance and has the perfect running style for the way this race will set up. Take Charge Indy (3) beat the top pick, ran deceptively well here in the key BC juvenile, has an exceptional pedigree and gets 3 time Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel. Bodemeister (6) has the best numbers and has proven he can relax on or near the lead which should give him the perfect trip. Daddy Nose Best (10) is consistent, has looked and trained as well as any horse at Churchill and has been battle tested.
JILL'S SELECTIONS – 4-15-3-6-10
Race 12 – Mann (4) has been facing very stiff company and can get the job done here on the class drop. Shrill (3) is better suited to the main track and should get a perfect trip today. Goodtimehadbyall (10) has a good local record and can land a share of this.
JILL'S SELECTIONS – 4-3-10
Race 13 – Parabellum (4) looks best here off his two prior races. Flapsup (8) didn’t care for the Polytrack and can make amends back on dirt. Dynamical (1) has been consistent and is tough to go against here.
JILL’S SELECTIONS – 4-8-1
Re: Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
KENTUCKY DERBY 1-BODEMEISTER 2-DULLAHAN 3-UNION RAGS 4-TAKE CHARGE INDY
It's going to take talent and luck to prevail in this year's Kentucky Derby. The gigantic field is loaded with speed, which means the best horse may not win. We believe the best horse is BODEMEISTER, so we'll take our chances. Baffert, who knows a thing or two about winning the Derby, sent out Bodemeister for an eye-catching victory over Breeders' Cup winner and stablemate Secret Circle in the Arkansas Derby. The Empire Maker colt can also get down in the trenches and fight it out, as evidenced by a sharp second to CREATIVE CAUSE in the San Felipe Stakes in only his first start after breaking his maiden. Detractors say that with only 4 starts, BODEMEISTER isn't battle tested enough to win this race. That may be a valid point, however BODEMEISTER reminds us a bit of front-running War Emblem, who won the Derby 10 years ago. War Emblem was transferred to Baffert just before the Derby and, like BODEMEISTER, was coming off an easy victory. 'Emblem had only two more starts than BODIEMEISTER going into the race. If BODEMEISTER gets sucked into an impossible pace situation, it will play right into the hands of DULLAHAN. The Even the Score colt dawdled early as usual in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland before unleashing a furious rally to defeat Hansen going away. Of course a deep closer always has to find a way to thread his way through a 20 horse field. UNION RAGS is no doubt talented, but we're skeptical of a Dixie Union offspring successfully negotiating 1 1-4 miles. He'll get a great trip, but we'll see what happens in the long stretch run home. TAKE CHARGE INDY set tepid fractions in winning the Florida Derby, but he doesn't need the lead to be effective and he has Derby specialist Calvin Borel calling the shots. LONGSHOT: Creative Cause
Re: Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
#15 Gemologist, # 4 Union Rags, 6 Bodemeister, #10 Daddy Nose Best and #8 Creative Cause
#15 Gemologist-Is a perfect 5 for 5 including 2 big wins over this track. He is improving with every start and although he only won the Wood by a neck he was just playing with the second place finisher Alpha. He was a late bloomer and has not faced some of the stiffer competition that some of his rivals have but is loaded with talent. He has looked as good if not better than most of the other contenders during training this week. The #15 post should not hurt him as there is plenty of early speed to his inside. He should be sitting 5th or 6th by the time they get to the first turn and he should be able to save some ground. He will be in the perfect spot to get first run on the tiring leaders turning for home and if he puts it all together, like I think he can, he will prove very tough to run down. #4 Union Rags-I flipped flopped my top two picks maybe 10 times during the week. Union Rags is only a length and a half away from being unbeaten in his own right and has legitimate excuses for both of his losses.
#14 Hansen with #15 Gemologist, #4 Union Rags, #5 Dullahan, #8 Creative Cause, #13 Went the Day Well
#14 Hansen-is my best bet of the day. He has more natural ability than the others and the Post position he drew really helps his chances. I must take this opportunity to inform our follows that to me the Beyer Speed figures that everybody talks about, make money for only one person-Andy Beyer. If it was as easy as taking the horse with the best speed figures we would all be rich. Hansen will use his post to stalk the early leaders and will be in perfect position to pounce on them in the stretch.
Re: Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
R11 - G1 Kentucky Derby
#1 Daddy Long Legs (30-1) - Two trips across the pond produce a wide draw in the BC Juvy and now the dreaded inside post.
#2 Optimizer (50-1) - Came down to earth in Arkansas Derby and should not make much of an impact here.
#3 Take Charge Indy (15-1) - Took advantage in the Florida Derby as El Padrino and Union Rags were playing a cat and mouse game . Things are different here. Odds will decrease because of the Borel factor.
#4 Union Rags (9-2) - Had a troubled trip in aforementioned Florida Derby and still managed to run well late when clear. Obvious top contender.
#5 Dullahan (8-1) - Proved Keeneland is his favorite surface, now must prove it on the dirt. Using cautiously underneath.
#6 Bodemeister (4-1) - Must rate after drawing inside of the other speed and must deal with some serious stalker/closers late. Most talented runner is probably the most likely of the bunch to end the Triple Crown drought.
#7 Rousing Sermon (50-1) - Has regressed from his 2yr old form and should only be considered for a minor piece in deep exotic tickets.
#8 Creative Cause (12-1) - Questions about his fitness a bit of a concern, but his record speaks for itself. Always brings it.
#9 Trinniberg (50-1) - No secret what the game plan will be, send and pray he holds on. Seems like the anchor will come out as they turn for home.
#10 Daddy Nose Best (15-1) - Wise guy horse has improved, but his local start was dreadful.
#11 Alpha (15-1) - His nerves will be tested as he is the 1st to load along with #1 Daddy Long Legs. Tricky read as he should relish the extra real estate.
#12 Propective (30-1) - Folded up the tent early when facing this company in BC Juvy. Tough assignment to turn the tables.
#13 Went the Day Well (20-1) - Same connections as last year's winner is about the only thing he has in common with Animal Kingdom.
#14 Hansen (10-1) - Draws perfectly from advantageous post, but must still answer if he can get the last furlong. Ramon helps the cause.
#15 Gemologist (6-1) - Reports are he looks great and brings unblemished record for top connections. Faces much better competition here.
#16 El Padrino (20-1) - Kind of like the forgotten horse especially after his slow work leading up to this event. He's regally bred for the distance and he's been in a dog fight before. Expecting a rebound effort and he would not mind a little moisture on the track.
#17 Done Talking (50-1) - The time to have him was in the Illinois Derby. Would have to improve tremendously to make any impact in the run for the roses.
#18 Sabercat (30-1) - Has been well beaten in his two 2012 starts after securing a spot in the starting gate in his Delta Jackpot victory.
#19 I'll Have Another (12-1) - Not an ideal draw, but does have the luxury of having nothing but closer around him. Believe he can get in good position in the first turn and I know he has the guts down the lane. Major player.
#20 Liasion (50-1) - Looks like he peaked as a 2yo old and now has been passed by. The draw does not help his chances.
#16 El Padrino
#19 I'll Have Another
#4 Union Rags
#10 Daddy Nose Best
Re: Kentucky Derby Service Plays & Picks
11th: 138th Kentucky Derby (G1), 3yo, 10f (P3, DD, Super, Super Hi-5)
Can't predict status of surface by post time, but have discussed most scenarios about this storied feature and will continue to presume a hot pace leads to a meltdown. Overnight odds below make Union Rags clear favorite at 5-1 with Take Charge Indy, Dullahan, Bodemeister, Hansen and Gemologist all hovering between 8-1 and 9-1.
1 Daddy Long Legs Aidan O'Brien Colm O'Donoghue 26
2 Optimizer D. Lukas Jon Court 31
3 Take Charge Indy Patrick Byrne Calvin Borel 8
4 Union Rags Michael Matz Julien Leparoux 5
5 Dullahan Dale Romans Kent Desormeaux 9
6 Bodemeister Bob Baffert Mike Smith 8
7 Rousing Sermon Jerry Hollendorfer Jose Lezcano 31
8 Creative Cause Mike Harrington Joel Rosario 12
9 Trinniberg Bisnath Parboo Willie Martinez 40
10 Daddy Nose Best Steven Asmussen Garrett Gomez 13
11 Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin Rajiv Maragh 21
12 Prospective Mark Casse Luis Contreras 60
13 Went the Day Well H. Motion John Velazquez 27
14 Hansen Michael Maker Ramon Dominguez 9
15 Gemologist Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 8
16 El Padrino Todd Pletcher Rafael Bejarano 30
17 Done Talking Hamilton Smith Sheldon Russell 32
18 Sabercat Steven Asmussen Corey Nakatani 36
19 I'll Have Another Doug O'Neill Mario Gutierrez 15
20 Liaison Bob Baffert Martin Garcia 58
The most glaring overlay on the win tote is Prospective as bizarrely, the longest shot on the board at 60-1. He has trained very well into the race and would particularly love it wet. El Padrino at 30-1 gains added interest with the off track potential. I will work around my original concept in the XpressBet Derby Wagering Guide tabbing of Dullahan, El Padrino, Sabercat and Done Talking and while utilizing a few other hard-to-avoid types (Take Charge Indy, Union Rags, Gemologist -- and now Prospective) in the gimmicks. Don't be shy about going with what you like in this race. It was a particularly tough edition of the race going in and is now thrown into a bigger quandary by surface questions. Enjoy Derby 2012!
Most Likely: #5 Dullahan (8-1 ML/9-1 Current)
Best Value: #12 Prospective (30-1 ML/60-1 Current)
Next Best: #16 El Padrino (20-1 ML/30-1 Current)
Exotics Use: #18 Sabercat (30-1 ML/36-1 Current)
Super Add: #17 Done Talking (50-1 ML/32-1 Current)
<$30 .50 TRI: Key 5 with 3-4-12-15-16-17-18-20 with 3-4-12-15-16-17-18-20 (1x8x7 = 56 x .50 = $28)