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HRN Original Blog:
Handicapper's Corner

Top 10 Kentucky Derby Bubble Contenders

 
After spending the last week in Las Vegas watching enough basketball to last a lifetime for most, I saw bubbles get burst, Cindarellas dance and teams fall short of expectations (sorry Missouri, not really). With the Kentucky Derby just a mere 6 weeks away, there are many horses people view as contenders, but are on proverbial bubble as they are not in the top 20 of graded stakes earnings. Here’s a look at my top 10 bubble horses that could make a splash on the first Saturday in May. 
 
1.Take Charge Indy (#33 $98,400) was impressive when 2nd to El Padrino in a January allowance race at Gulfstream Park, but then bypassed the Tampa Bay Derby when drawing an outside post. His chance of making the derby field depends solely on how he performs in the ultra-competitive Florida Derby (3/31/12) when taking on Union Rags and the aforementioned El Padrino.
 
2.Bodemeister (#50 $60,000) is the namesake of trainer Bob Baffert’s son and would be higher on the list if it were not for a narrow defeat to Creative Cause in the San Felipe Stakes. Though he will be a tough customer wherever he runs, Bodemeister is targeted to make his next start in either the Arkansas (4/14) or Santa Anita Derby (4/7).
 
3.Mark Valeski (#50 $60,000) pressed El Padrino the length of the Fair Grounds stretch when running 2nd in the Risen Star Stakes on 2/25. He is slated to run next in the Louisiana Derby on 4/1, which may come up a little light with the game of musical chairs some of the top derby contenders have been playing the last 10 days.
 
4.Gemologist (#30 $103,855) made a triumphant return to the races when cruising to a 7 length allowance win in his 3 year old debut. Trainer Todd Pletcher has targeted Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial on 4/7 as the next race for the undefeated son of Tiznow.
 
5.My Adonis (#22 $130,000) has already proven himself worthy of competing at the highest level when running second in Aqueduct’s Gotham Stakes and third in Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull Stakes.  Like Gemologist, My Adonis has the Wood Memorial Stakes circled on his calendar as the stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby.
 
6.News Pending (#41 $80,000) was a respectable 2nd to Union Rags is Gulfstream Park's Fountain of Youth Stakes, when racing closer to pace then ever before. Trainer Dale Romans will be looking to turn the tables on Union Rags when they meet again in the Florida Derby.
 
7.Lucky Chappy (#28 $115,000) was a unlucky runner-up in Golden Gate’s El Camino Real Derby last out. Though the Irish-bred son of High Chapparal has never raced on dirt, Lucky Chappy hails from the same owner/trainer combination who won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom when making his first start on dirt. You will have to wake up early if you want to watch Lucky Chappy’s next race, as he is scheduled to compete in UAE Derby at Dubai’s Meydan Race Course on the morning of 3/31.
 
8.Empire Way (#40 $85,000) is a full brother to 3-year-old filly champion Royal Delta, has not filled his big sister’s shoes, but ran credibly when 2nd to I’ll Have Another in Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes on 2/4. In his last start, Empire Way was a very disappointing 9th in the San Felipe Stakes. Though not confirmed, Empire Way will most likely run next in the Santa Anita Derby. Empire Way has the look of an one-paced plodder, but it was this style that helped Giacomo capture the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
 
9.Midnight Transfer (#59 $36,000) made his 2-turn debut with a 3rd place finish in the San Felipe Stakes on 3/10. The Carla Gaines son of Hard Spun is scheduled to run next in the Santa Anita Derby.
 
10.Scatman (#32 $100,000) is a speedy son of Scat Daddy who managed a 2nd in Oaklawn’s Southwest Stakes and a 3rd in the Rebel Stakes when being defeated by Secret Circle both times. Though stretching his speed a mile & a quarter may be in question, Scatman will try to punch his ticket to Louisville on 4/14 in the Arkansas Derby.  
 
 
Please be sure to follow me on Twitter-@Cappercorner and/or friend me on facebook.com to continue the horse racing conversation!  

 

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Older Comments about Top 10 Kentucky Derby Bubble Contenders...

Glad to see my two (Empire Way and Ever So Lucky) are still getting some love, though Empire Way needs to figure himself out in a hurry if he wants an invitation to the Big Dance.
  • irishbrave · Empire Way had a minor medical issue that spoiled his San Felipe. Taken care of now, back to business shortly. · 973 days ago
  • scottbenson · Santa Anita: Empire Way taken off Kentucky Derby trail · 968 days ago
@yukichan, I believe UAE Derby is a G2. Desert Party and Regal Ransom made to the Derby
It was calcualted in an article a few years ago, that Maktoum has spent around 300 million to try to wint the Derby....SO FAR
Lucky Chappy --does the Derby trail run through Dubai?
Clearly the Mizzou get no love on this blog ... What a strong group of horses currently on the outside looking in. My favorite of the bunch is Bodemeister, who I think will be very tough to beat in the Arkansas Derby.
As a guy who has spent too much time "on the bubble" I appreciate your article. Time is starting to slip away for those horses.

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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