Dortmund, Race Day, Shotgun Kowboy, and Mr. Z all like to race on or near the lead. The pace should be contested which doesn't bode well for any in that group. At the same time it depends on whether CD is playing fair or favoring speed like on Stephen Foster Day. Assuming the track is fair, the handful of off the pace runners like Effinex, Keen Ice, Hop, and possibly even Frivolous have the best shot at winning. I wonder if Mike Smith travels to CD to ride Effinex and who Castellano chooses to ride. They are probably the 2 best jockeys in America right now.
This filly might be the most talented of the 2 year olds. She still was a little green in the stretch of her last race but with only 2 starts that could be expected. This horse also has a pedigree perfectly suited to 9 - 10 furlongs. I can't wait to see how she develops.
Not good? Tonalist has won more races on dirt since the Belmont than California Chrome has. It wasn't "fortune". The race was too far for Chrome. Neither are bad. Finishing in the money as much as Tonalist has this year is not slouchy. What horses other than A.P. has had a better season in routes?
It depends on what you mean by "aren't heard from come Derby time". Just last year Ocho Ocho Ocho and Mr. Z ran in this race and were Derby starters. Itsmyluckyday and Goldencets also ran in this race and eventually the Derby. Over the last several years I think this race has produced at least 1 Derby starter. If you mean the winner of this race rarely wins the Derby, that's a lot harder standard to apply but that would also apply to the BC Juvenile, Remsen, Cash Call Futurity, and most 2 year old prep races. It's kinda random and really about who's still healthy in May.
I hope so. He seems to have some talent but I'd hate to see him go the way of Texas Red & I've Struck a nerve.
This seems odd to me. I don't know why you run in the jackpot 3 weeks after
running in the BC juvenile if you think you have a Derby horse. I would think the objective was to peak in the juvenile and rest up for next year not use the juvenile as a prep for the jackpot.Plus the 6 furlong oval at DD is weird and not all
horses like it. On paper he has the class edge but he's lost his
last 2 races. Who knows..
I’d say gun runner at 40-1 is the only play. He broke his maiden at first asking at a mile, which is usually an indication that 10 furlongs could be in range, and that happened to be at Churchill Downs. He followed that up with another 8.5 win at KEE and is probably pointing to the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs at the end of the month. Steve A. has been on the Derby trail many times and knows how to get horses to peak at the right time. The other trainers I have less faith in, especially at 20-1 or so. If Gun Runner wins the KJC he’ll probably vie for favoritism in all of these early Derby pools.
"Weak crop" sometimes means "I tried to beat them but was unsuccessful", especially when no facts are offered to substantiate the claim. At the same time, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and in the long run that might be true. it's just too early to say right now, IMO.
Whatever you think about California Chrome is largely due to what he did prior to the 2014 Derby, against horses that you haven't heard from since, except maybe Hoppertunity. That is how most horses from the triple crown trail get overrated. The real test comes after the Belmont, when horses are then placed in more realistic spots based on their ability. So, when you get to races like the Jim Dandy, Haskell, Travers, Penn Derby, Pacific Classic, BC Classic, etc., you get the best 3 year olds and older horses still in training and California Chrome hasn't been a winner against those types. It's not how far back he finished in the races but that he never looked liked the winner in any of them. He's a very good horse but he's not what the triple crown hype suggested. Finally, all of your examples using final times are deceptive at best because the final time of a race is a product of the pace scenario & track condition not necessarily the ability of the horses. That's why the track record holder at most race tracks at most distances are horses you've never heard of. In the case of Island Towne, no he wouldn't have beaten Private Zone because if Private Zone was as loose on the lead as Lewy's Vaporizer he would have won driving and probably been eased up a bit in the stretch, possibly yielding a slower time. A similar dynamic was true in the Belmont and BC Classic: a loose horse on the pace is hard to run down (Embellish The Lace in this year's Alabama, for example) and such a race can yield a "fast time" but with pressure on the pace (the Travers) you get a different result. If a horse is loose on the lead the horse can relax and save energy for the final stages of the race and run faster then. As the saying goes, pace makes race. The Brooklyn on the Belmont undercard is a great example of how most 12 furlongs races go. You never get loose on the lead like A.P. did; there's usually a middle move by some horse but that was a gift to A.P. from the racing gods.
Then how did Competitive Edge do what he did that day? In his race they ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.12 and a mile in 1:34.18. May you'll play the "the track slowed down" card but some said the same about California Chrome the year before and he hasn't won at 10 furlongs since. Chrome is not really a 10 furlong horse and neither are Firing Line or Dortmund but the slow pace helped them hang around. That's fine because there are few 10 furlong races and a bunch between 9-10 for them to try to win if they stay healthy.
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