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Throw Out Race? I’m Not Completely Soldat

Soldat wins 2011 Fountain of Youth.
Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 7

I have heard a lot of theories on why race favorite Soldat, ran so poorly in the Florida Derby, but no matter how good the excuse, he will need an unprecedented turnaround to be victorious in the Kentucky Derby. No horse in my lifetime has proved best on the first Saturday in May coming into the race as badly beaten as he was in their last start.

Going into the Florida Derby, The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee had been nothing if not consistent. Never worse than 2nd in his first seven starts, Soldat was skyrocketing up everyone’s Derby lists through three terrific performances in succession. He closed out 2010 with his best performance at two when he finished a game second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Wasting no time in 2011, Soldat rolled in a damp, January allowance race at Gulfstream Park by more than ten lengths. The Beyer number boys put their stamp of approval on the performance with an impressive 103 figure. From there he proved that he could get it done on a fast dirt track with a facile two length score in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. His consistency going in, made the Florida Derby all the more of a head scratcher.

It was in the Florida Derby that Soldat ran the first poor race of his career. Considering it came in his last race before the Kentucky Derby, he arrived today in Louisville as a major question mark. Ridden by his normal pilot, Alan Garcia, Soldat was stuck down on the inside, and farther off the pace than he normally is (he had wired both of his previous 2011 wins,) and ran a seemingly uninterested race. Only getting farther from the leaders in the late stages, he finished 5th, beaten 10 ¼ lengths by Dialed In as the 3-2 favorite. Normally such a performance would make the horse an automatic toss in the Derby, but the race was so uncharacteristic for Soldat, that I can’t help but to wonder if I should draw a line through it.



Can he turn it around, and get back to his winning ways in America’s grandest of races? History is not on his side, but on the other hand, most of the competition he will face in Louisville has also proved to be far from infallible. As far as bettors are concerned, there is good news in that if you still have faith in the son of War Front, you will be handsomely rewarded if he can win the big one.

Will I bet him to buck history and rebound from his dismal performance last time? While I think he represents one of the more dangerous horses in the field, I would have to say no. As much I admire horses who can handle any surface like Soldat, and believe that he will prove to be a very classy runner, I am not buying that he can so radically turn around his last effort as to be draped in roses one week.



 

 

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Older Comments about Throw Out Race? I’m Not Completely Soldat...

There are 9 E or EP types in here who need to be on the lead or within 2 lengths of the leader at the 2 call to win. A lot of them had opportunities in lesser races to press and win and could not. Shackleford is the speed of the speed. Expect Shackleford to do to Soldat what he did in F dby. Can't expect these to rate in Derby when they havn't been able to rate yet. Soldat need to lead and run slow early to run fast late. He won't get that chance saturday.
I was at the rail for his FOY win. Impressive guy, and if noone else goes suicidal he'll be athletic enough to make the closers beat him, and Danzing ped. will help with distance and track conditions.....my most reluctant toss ( as of Tuesday)!
I can't toss him...especially with the track looking like it's going to be wet if not sloppy. The bad part is, there are about 8 others I can't toss. hard hard Derby to figure this year for sure.
fractions should be slow no matter the post draws as Shackleford is the lone speed he just can't go that far.This race is perfect for a closer who will be closer to the pace
If the race is muddy I think we will see him in the top five, considering he is one of the few to have proven to like the slop
First time he didn't get the easy lead, he quit running. Don't see him improving in a 20 horse field when he could not rate against seven foes.
all in on soldat if its sloppy other wise i would need 20-1 to consider
The unexpected seems to be the rule in this year's running of the KD, I'm still high on Soldat despite the debacle in the Fla Derby. He has been ultraconsistent and I'm willing to draw a line on that race as I did with Thunder Gulch who having won the Fla Derby finished a disappointing 4th in the Blue Grass beaten by almost 5 lengths. He was overlooked at 25-1 in the Derby and won going away. I hope many of the so-called experts dump him and jump on the Nehro and Dialed In bandwagons. My futures on him and ArchArchArch are looking mighty attractive!
Compelling points, El Kabong ... Lord knows I do not want to be known as the recycle king ;-)
Post will be important, as is for all, but if he gets a good post, Garcia will have orders to stay off the lead in 3 of 4 to not catch any early fractions that may be too hot, 22+ and 45+ possible with this group and that will kill anyone too close. Churchill surface is far different from GP. Throw back will not be heavy as it was in Florida, and track will not be as dry and deep. He will enjoy the firm clay base of Churchill that much I can say for sure.
In some years it would set me back on a horse to see such an effort but not this one. Based off of this years lack of a dominant horse and more so based off his last two works, class, experience, foundation I think it is easy to see this horse putting in a winning run. His style is perfect. Of all the horses who will be stalking the pace I like him best. Natural speed from the sire and classic form from the mare make this guy a complete threat. Easy to draw a line through one race in his otherwise stellar performances. Toss him and I think you will known as the recycle king with all of your useless paper tickets.
if Shackleford draws way out he may inherit the lead.CTTT IS THE ONLY OTHER EARLY SPEED AND HE CAN ONLY GET 1 1/8
Like Soldat's trio of 9f preps this year. He owns the two best 3yo BRIS numbers (108, 104) prior to his Florida Derby flop so if he runs to his ability he can rebound at nice odds. Like his early-pressing versatility which should help avoid traffic in a 20-horse field and he seems to be training well.
Early pick? Really? Do tell... why?
In any other year I would probably toss Soldat but anything goes in this crazy Derby prep season. He is actually my early pick to win the race.

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