• Kentucky Derby Futures

    POSTED Jan 12, 2013
    I have a standard response to anybody that asks me who I like for the 2013 Kentucky Derby. In a whiny voice I screech, “Derby? Don’t talk about … Derby? You kidding me? Derby? I just hope I can win a race!”

    OK, OK, maybe I don’t go all Jim Mora on folks, but the question does surprise me in some ways — I mean, the Kentucky Derby is over 16 weeks away, for heaven’ sake.

    Still, I realize that a lot of folks start their Derby lists as early as I hang my Christmas lights, so I thought: Why be so whiny? Give the people what they want.

    Hence, without even a grimace on my face, I present some horses to watch this spring, along with my opinion as to whether or not they are "futures-worthy:"

    TOP 2013 KENTUCKY DERBY CONTENDERS

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Shanghai Bobby (18-1)
    His effort in the BC Juvenile was less than inspiring, although he did record a ridiculously fast -17 early speed ration (ESR) in that race. Prior to that, the son of Harlan’s Holiday earned an excellent -2 late speed ration (LSR) in the Champagne Stakes. Mixed signals.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Goldencents (25-1)
    Breeding is about as suspect as the Lakers’ defense this year, but I like the fact that the Doug O’Neil trainee was able to rate effectively in the Grade III Sham.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Uncaptured (14-1)
    After tasting defeat for the first time in the Grade III Grey Stakes at Woodbine, the son of Lion Heart rebounded with a very impressive performance in the Grade III Iroquois at Churchill Downs, his first start on conventional dirt. Better still, his pace figures in that event were very strong: a -10 ESR and -5 LSR.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Bern Identity (60-1)
    This guy will need to show that he’s a better router than he is a sprinter, but he’s certainly got talent.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Up With the Birds (125-1)
    If there’s justice in the world, a horse with such an awful name won’t win the Kentucky Derby. However, this Canadian-bred son of Stormy Atlantic has recorded some ridiculously good LSRs over Woodbine’s  Polytrack surface and might be even better on dirt.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Vyjack (75-1)
    Love his talent… don’t love his breeding for 1 ¼ miles.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Nobe Tune (45-1)
    Although he’s only raced on the lawn (he was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf), I really like Noble Tune’s ability to gain ground on the turn.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Speak Logistics (125-1)
    I’m throwing out the BC Juvenile due to the hot pace; however, this dude will need to learn how to rate to stand any shot on the first Saturday in May.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Get Happy Mister (125-1)
    To the best of my knowledge, Colorado-breds like Get Happy Mister are undefeated in the Kentucky Derby… I’ll leave it to readers to figure out why.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Avie’s Quality (125-1)
    Another Woodbine-based runner with solid pace figures.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Bradester (100-1)
    Improving sort who has yet to be tested for class.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Balance the Books (75-1)
    He’s only raced over the weeds and, in fact, was a fast-closing third despite traffic trouble in last year’s BC Juvenile Turf, but I can’t wait to see this guy try the dirt — or at the very least synthetics. His turn times make me think he could be the next Animal Kingdom.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Normandy Invasion (25-1)
    Like this fast-improving son of Tapit a lot — but not at 25-1 in January.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Carried Interest (150-1)
    He’s out of a sprint sire and seems unlikely to get the 10 furlongs of the Derby.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Mylute (100-1)
    Son of two-time BC Sprint champ Midnight Lute has been competitive in some lower-level stakes events and seemed to step up to the next level with resounding 10 ¾-length win against lesser at the Fair Grounds on Dec. 6.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Delhomme (100-1)
    Winstar Farm protégé has good early and late pace figures and could be a contender if he learns how to rate.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Archwarrior (35-1)
    Made his debut this summer at Saratoga with a reputation bigger than the grandstand and he didn’t disappoint, winning by 3 ¼ lengths at 1-5. The son of Arch was next seen in the Champagne, but looked like he was carrying the grandstand that day, finishing a dull fourth. Right now, his future odds don’t match his present ability.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Crop Report (85-1)
    I suspect the field of maidens he beat at Newmarket wasn’t the strongest in the world, but anytime a horse can win by daylight on the green, I give it a second look. That said, 85-1 is way too low on a horse that may not even make the trip to Kentucky.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Frac Daddy (22-1)
    His maiden win was spectacular and he followed that up with a game second in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

    Yea or Nay: Nay.
    Amerigo Vespucci (225-1)
    In what’s becoming a theme, this son of Henrythenavigator will have to prove that he can outrun his sprint-oriented pedigree. His effort in the Jerome was encouraging.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    War Academy (40-1)
    Solid -4 LSR in his debut, a 6 ½-furlong maiden affair at Hollywood Park.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Power Broker (35-1)
    Seems sure to be pointed toward the Derby, which is hurdle #1. I also like his ability to be in the mix early. The price is a little on the low side, but it’s in the ballpark for a colt that figures to dance the dances.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Ali's Birthday (250-1)
    Very good debut (93 Brisnet speed figure, -4 ESR, -4 LSR) against lesser at Ellis Park going 5 ½ panels.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Little Distorted (45-1)
    First race was great; second race, not so much.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Golden Soul (225-1)
    He looks a little slow at the moment, but his pace figures stamp him as one to keep an eye on.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Belvin (85-1)
    Well-bred son of Empire Maker is in great hands and showed a fair amount of ability in his first two starts.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Mountain Eagle (125-1)
    Whitney Stables, Birdstone, Nick Zito… all familiar names, all associated with this colt. If he doesn’t make the Derby, maybe he can make the Test of Champions.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Revolutionary (45-1)
    Love his last race (103 BSF, -3 LSR) and the connections are solid (Winstar Farm owns, Todd Pletcher trains).
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Uptown Boy (500-1)
    This guy looks more like a mid-level sprint champion than a Kentucky Derby champ, but stranger things have happened, I guess.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Appealing Tale (150-1)
    Went ridiculously fast early (-17 ESR) in his maiden-breaker on Dec. 29, yet still drew away to an impressive score that day. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
    Yea or Nay: Yea.

    Rienzi (275-1)
    His race at Parx on Nov. 2 was OK, but it wasn’t near good enough for Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May… unless he’s running on the undercard.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    Track Rocker (200-1)
    Needs to prove he’s got the class to compete at a higher level; however, his maiden race at Delaware Park was excellent.
    Yea or Nay: Nay.

    (Click on image to enlarge)
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