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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Derby Trial - Kentucky Derby Double? Maybe

Pleasant Prince before the Blue Grass
Could Pleasant Prince pull the first Derby Trial - Kentucky Derby Double since Tim Tam in 1958?  He just might...

This year's Derby Trial has a whole new look.  Doubling the purse to $200,000 has brought a higher quality field and a competitive race.  And this year's Kentucky Derby Graded Stakes Earnings competition has brought two horses - Eightyfiveinafifty and Pleasant Prince - with Derby aspirations.  But a Kentucky Derby winner?  

So, there's a lot of talk about the added significance of the 2010 Derby trial.  It could produce a Derby runner.  That Derby runner could knock out another horse from the Derby.  It could launch the headstrong Eightyfiveinafifty into a Derby field with already loaded more pace than any in recent years.  But that's where the Derby talk ends.  Except here. 

Pleasant Prince could win the Kentucky Derby.  

In a Derby field filled with speed, there are very few proven two-turn closers over the dirt surface.  That list includes Lookin at Lucky, Ice Box, Awesome Act and Dublin.  That's it.  And Dublin has really yet to prove he can win at two turns.  So, if the pace in the Derby gets hot, maybe really hot, these four will be storming home from behind.  And, as we know in the Derby, traffic and luck play a big part.  So maybe a couple of these closers encounter traffic problems.  The other two then get a big, big shot to hit the board.  

What about Eskendereya you say?  Well, it's the Derby and anything can happen.  Maybe Eskendereya wins and maybe he doesn't, but even if you really love Eskendereya, I think it's an even surer bet that these closers play a big part in rounding out the top spots.  That's because as they say, "Pace makes the race".  

So how would Pleasant Prince stack up against this group of closers?  Just fine.  Let's just say that none of those other four has run a bigger Beyer speed figure than Pleasant Prince.  When Ice Box beat him by a nose in the Florida Derby, they both got a 99.  Lookin at Lucky and Awesome Act own one 98, and Dublin has one 97.  From a stamina standpoint, you could also add that Pleasant Prince has more distance pedigree than any horse in the Derby field.  He's a grandson of A.P. Indy out of a Pleasant Tap mare.  And he didn't win sprinting in starts at Saratoga and Keeneland, but earned his first victory when stretched out to one mile at Churchill in November.  The distance of today's Derby Trial. 

So, can Pleasant Prince get through the Derby trial field first? 

Yes, he can. 

Fortunately for Pleasant Prince, trainer Mike Maker and owner Ken Ramsey, the Derby trial is also loaded with speed.  The pace will be made by Eightyfiveinafifty, a speedy little sucker who is attempting to stretch out to a mile.  He might do it.  But with his headstrong racing, bolting in the Whirlaway and drifting out in the stretch last time - he's not a good bet.  And not only will he be chased by nearly half the field - front runners Miner's Reserve, Wow Wow Wow, Hear Ye Hear Ye and Privilaged figure to pick up the pace, but there's a good chance that they all will be struggling in the stretch.  That sets it up for Pleasant Prince, as well as Game on Dude, Soaring Empire, Hurricane Ike and Aikenite.  But Pleasant Prince is by far the most accomplished of that group, plus he owns a victory over this same track and distance.  

If I was betting the Derby Trial, I would key Pleasant Prince on the top of Trifectas over these other four closers, and then maybe add in Privilaged, Hear Ye Hear Ye and Eightfiveinafifty in third, just in case. 

And if you do like Pleasant Prince in the Kentucky Derby, as do I, then you have a decision to make.  Because if he storms home in the stretch in the Derby trial seen by everyone, his Derby odds will be more than cut in half from the 40-1 he would be today.  So unless you have him in the Derby future wager, I would suggest at Derby Trial - Kentucky Derby parlay.  Figuring 4-1 morning line odds today and maybe 20-1 in the Derby, a $10 parlay should get you a cool grand.  


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