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HRN Original Blog:
Handicapper's Corner

Kentucky Derby Full Card Analysis

Orb FoY 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire

Race 1-$62,500 O/C, 7 furlongs, F & M 3 & up

 

With rain in the forecast, #1 Apropos goes for the hat trick while owning the field highest off track BRIS rating (110). Both her victories have come off a layoff, an angle that she’s utilizing today, for trainer Al Stall who is batting 27% with layoff runners. #3 Glamour Puss starts for the red hot combo of Ward/Rosario and should get a good trip right off the flank of main speed #2 Five Star Momma. Glamour Puss ran 2nd in her only start on a wet track, so that should not be a concern. Five Star Momma cuts back ½  furlong and should be the pace of the race. She’s stakes placed over the surface and never off the board at this distance, so include in all exotics.

 

Race 2-$75,000 O/C, 7 furlongs, 3 year olds

 

#8 Slan Abhaile is drawn perfectly outside, should be able to sit just off the speed provided by River Rocks and Kenny’s Lake, and kick away from the rest of the field for the victory. The 3-year-old son of Hard Spun has worked great for this spot and is well bred to handle a wet track. #1 River Rocks cuts back from route racing and is undefeated at the distance. He is an obvious contender from the Catalano barn. The only downfall if he gets stuck on a sloppy, dead rail in a speed dual. #5 Finn’s Quest is regally bred for a wet surface and can pick up the pieces late at a price.

 

Race 3-$80,000 O/C, 1 1/16 miles turf, 3 & up

 

#1 Old Time Hockey runs consistently faster than his competitors, has a favorable rail post, and should sit a garden trip right behind the speed. Last time the 4-year-old son of Smarty Jones ran 2nd off the layoff he won the 2012 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar. #4 Under Control is returning from a 6-week vacation for Derby-winning trainer, Graham Motion. He’s been working well over at Keeneland for today’s effort, and retains the services of top jockey Javier Castellano. #2 Prime Cut’s best career effort was in his only turf start. He owns the best late pace figures in the field and needs to be included in all exotics at a big price.

 

Race 4-$50,000 Md Sp Wt, 7 furlongs, 3 year olds

 

#5 Bama Bound was a respectable 7th when he drew the rail in his debut at Keeneland on 4/7 at the tricky 7 furlong distance. 2 evenly spread workouts over the CD strip should help him improve for a trainer (Margolis) who is 26% with 2nd time starters. #12 Troubadour Tango makes his 2nd start off a 7 month layoff, so expected an improved effort off his last. He owns the 2 highest BRIS figures in the field making him an obvious contender. #6 Esplendido was also stuck on the rail in his debut t Keeneland last out, retains jockey Jimmy Graham and an obvious contender to fill out exotics at a price.

 

Race 5-$75,000 O/C, 1 1/16 miles, 3 year olds

 

In a race with quite a bit of early speed, #3 Perfect Title is a big closer with a bigger chance at a square price. He was very wide last time out and with a cleaner trip can land in the winner’s circle. #8 Code West owns the fastest figures in the field, but tends to hang a bit in the stretch and normally falls just short. At low odds, it’s worth the shot to try and beat him, though a victory would not surprise. #12 Hard Aces defeated Perfect Title by a neck last out when in post 4. Though Hard Aces needs to be included in exotics, look for Perfect Title to turn the tables with a clean trip and Hard Aces’ outside post.

 

Race 6-$125,000 Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes, 5 furlongs, 4 & up

 

This is a very contentious race, but not a lot of early speed on paper. Therefore, I’ll look for #3 Regally Ready to move to 4-for-4 over the CD turf. The 2011 BC Sprint winner should be forewardly placed and looks to take them wire to wire. #8 Icon Ike is a very consistent turf sprinter who always brings his “A” game and should again as evidenced by his 35 3/5 work over the CD turf course on 4/30. Since trainer Mike Maker claimed #4 Ghost Is Clear he won on the grass, was entered in 3 more turf sprints, but all were washed off the grass. Look for him to rally from midpack to get a minor award.

 

Race 7-$300,000 Grade 1 Humana Distaff Stakes, 7 furlongs, F & M 4 & up

 

#1 Jamaican Smoke should get a clear early lead against these and take this group wire to wire. She is undefeated over the course breaking her maiden here at today’s distance. #6 Aubby K is an obviously contender after a smashing victory in Gulfstream Park’s Inside Information Stakes at this distance last month. In that race, she sat just off the pace, took over on the final turn and kicked clear in the stretch. A similar trip should unfold for her today. #3 Same Cross is reunited with Rosie Napravnik, who’s been aboard for all 3 career victories. 3 works each spaced 7 days apart hints a peak performance is on the horizon.

 

Race 8-$250,000 Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes, 1 mile turf, F & M 4 & up

 

This race is loaded with speed with the presence of Daisy Devine, Frontside and Stopshoppingmaria. #5 Hungry Island won this race last year, should be the beneficiary of the quick early pace and loves soft turf. Her victory in a Keeneland allowance last out is a perfect prep for this spot. #6 Stephanie’s Kitten returns off a 7-month layoff for Wayne Catalano, who is 16% off the layoff. She’s undefeated over the course and never off the board at today’s distance. She too will be closing late into the hot early pace when cutting back from 9 furlongs. #8 Marketing Mix was off the board 1 time last year, in this race over “good” going. She’s ultra consistent, should get first jump on the deep closers and would not be a surprise to end up in the winner’s circle.

 

Race 9-$400,000 Grade II Churchill Downs Stakes, 7 furlongs, 4 & up

 

#7 Politicallycorrect won a 7 furlong stake on the BC undercard when a hot early pace developed, front runners backed up late and he picked up the pieces late. A similar scenario could materialize with Trinninberg and Delaunay entered. Both #2 Hierro and #5 Unbridled’s Note have wet track wins, are undefeated at CD and have won at 7 furlongs. This is a very contentious race, so going deep in multirace exotics is a must.

 

Race 10-$500,000 Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes, 1 1/8 miles turf, 4 & up

 

Sorry Kentucky Derby, but in my opinion, this is the most entertaining race on the card. Not too much money to be made on this one, so grab a mint julep, sit back and watch the 2 best horses in the country, #8 Wise Dan & #9 Point of Entry, settle the debate on the track.

 

 

 

 

 

Race 11-$2,000,000 Grade I Kentucky Derby, 1 1/8 miles, 3 year old fillies

 

Only 3 horses this spring have definitely improved on dirt as race distances have increased: Orb, Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion. #16 Orb is undefeated in route races and has been working great this week at CD. Though his speed figures aren’t superior to his foes, expect another jump forward with the extra furlong he’ll get from his Florida Derby score. #5 Normandy Invasion closed furiously into a slow pace last out in the Wood Memorial. He too will appreciate the added distance, and the quicker pace provided by Oxbow, Goldencents and Falling Sky. #10 Palace Malice encountered enough trouble to prevent him from winning the Louisiana Derby two back. Therefore, he had to run in the Blue Grass to get enough points to get in the Derby field. He ran a brave race when 2nd to Polytrack specialist, Java’s War. He’s been working steadily all week for the Derby & should being laying in the 2nd flight down the backstretch getting first run on the deep closers.

 

 

 

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I'm with you, Jasen. Let's hit the Pick 4 today.

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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, NE.  From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10.  Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for handicapping the races has risen to a new level.  Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

 

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch.   My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping pick-4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

 

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do.  From week to week, I’ll explain angles I think are important to locate winners.  I encourage others to post picks they like too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions.  That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal.-Best of luck, Jasen Mangrum