thirteen days we will arrive at the 2014 Kentucky Derby. The road you have to take to
get there is long, grueling, plagued with detours and injuries, but for some it is also
littered with unexpected surprises and honest victories. Although the gate will
be full it doesn’t always mean that any contender can win. This year, it is unlikely that half the field is even ready to go 10 furlongs.
the show must go on. The final qualification race has been completed so we turn
our attention once again to the talking points of the derby and the things that
are trending vs. descending.
Coolmore Lexington Stakes is the only Wild Card race in the Kentucky Derby
Points Qualification Series this year. Although the idea of a last ditch effort
to qualify sounds attractive, this year had no impact on the Kentucky Derby field
or the top 20 standings.
in, there was only one horse that had scored qualifying points, Ami’s Holiday,
winner of the G3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine last October. In order to put pressure
on Vinceremos, the horse holding the final spot with 20 points, Ami’s Holiday
would have to win. If that were to happen the son of Harlan’s Holiday would own
the tie breaker with about a $50k more in non-restricted graded stakes
Watching Vinceremos drop from number 20 to 21 would have been interesting but it didn’t happen. Ami’s Holiday finished 4th. In all likelihood owner Ivan Dalos and trainer Josie Carroll would have passed on the Kentucky Derby anyway. So, the Wild Card series faces an unfortunate reality. No starter in last year’s Derby Trial or the 2013–14 Coolmore Lexington Stakes made it to the Kentucky Derby. Therefore, the Wild Card race is descending.
was an interesting decision by Bob Baffert and the owning partners of Midnight Hawk. A win in the G3 Sham, 3rd in the G2 Robert B. Lewis followed
by runner-up finishes in the G2 San Felipe and G3 Sunland Derby sounds pretty
good. If you look at the horses that beat him, Candy Boy, Chitu and California
Chrome, and how many points he scored, 52, he would seem like a legitimate Kentucky
they needed to see more before they made the call. Credit to team Midnight Hawk. After he lost a comfortable lead to Dynamic Impact in the final furlong of the G3 Illinois Derby it’s pretty clear that he is not ready for 1 ¼ miles. Nothing is official but it’s unlikely that we will see Midnight Hawk in the Kentucky
Derby. Even if he did get the nod his status on the subject would be the same;
for his chances in the Preakness Stakes, I’d say it’s too early to tell, and he might still be a contender.
Midnight Hawk opts out of the Derby, the 20 point club will add another member to the field. Because I think this is all but guaranteed, you can go
ahead and pencil Harry’s Holiday in as the next horse in.
only is Harry’s Holiday trending, but so is his trainer Mike Maker. If this son
of Harlan’s Holiday gets the green light by his connections he will join
General A Rod and Vicar’s in Trouble to complete the trio of Maker starters.
Harry’s Holiday is currently at Churchill Downs where he breezed 5F in 1:01.60
on April 5. If I had to guess, I’d say Harry’s Holiday will be racing on May 3rd.
If not, Commanding Curve, trained by Dallas Stewart, will be given the
opportunity to fill the number 20 spot.
this time every year, there’s this awkward thing we all hate; no more
qualification races and two weeks before we reach Derby day. Therefore, what
will be trending until the post position draw and morning line odds are the two
T’s, traveling and training.
LA 4/19 4F 47.80
BEL 4/17 4F 49.62
BEL 4/18 4F 49.12
SA 4/18 5F 1:00.20
SA 4/19 5F 59.80
CD 4/17 5F 1:00.40
CD 4/17 5F 59.80
Boy and Hoppertunity are all set and ready to ship out of California on Monday.
On Tuesday Intense Holiday, We Miss Artie and Wildcat Red will head north from
Chrome and Dance with Fate will stick around out west for an additional week
before heading to Churchill Downs on Monday, April, 28. That same day the New
Yorkers, Samraat, Uncle Sigh and Wicked Strong, are also expected to arrive in
the Derby Trail
was reported and confirmed on Saturday morning that Cairo Prince has now joined
Constitution as having to miss the Kentucky Derby due to injury. Both injuries
appear to be minor so we wish them and their connections a speedy recovery as we hope to see them return to racing later this year.
With the defection of Cairo Prince jockey Luiz Saez will ride Wildcat Red in the Kentucky Derby. That now leaves Rafael Bejarano without a mount. Because Bejarano had never been in the irons it doesn't compare to the rider change with Ride on Curlin. Calvin was up first and more often but Jon Court rode him last. No matter, the three time Kentucky Derby champ gets the nod.
Due to the injury of Constitution Todd Pletcher is an unexpected bind with his top 2 jockeys, John Velazquez and Javier Castellano. After Constitution's win in the Florida Derby with Javier up Johnny V moved from We Miss Artie to Intense Holiday. Now, all that's left for Castellano is a mount on We Miss Artie.
Finally, Corey Nakatani has committed to the Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance with Fate thus moving Irad Ortiz into the saddle with Uncle Sigh. His brother, Jose, is expected to remain aboard Samraat.