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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Kentucky Derby 2013: Florida Filly's Top 5

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
With the post position draw in the books, preparations for Kentucky Derby 139 are pretty much complete. Unless there is a last minute defection or a race day scratch, the field is set in stone and fans and horsemen alike can put the finishing touches on their handicapping. As for me, the draw did not change my top 5 picks, and it should be no surprise that my selections run the gamut from the morning line favorite to a 50-1 longshot. Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Derby picks.
1. Orb—Joel Rosario, Shug McGaughey, PP 16 (7-2)
Undefeated in three starts this year, it is hard to find anything to dislike about the son of Malibu Moon. His two Derby prep wins at Gulfstream Park were nothing short of spectacular. In the Fountain of Youth, he took advantage of the suicidal fractions set by Majestic Hussar and closed from well off the pace to prevail over a very game Violence. Jockey John Velazquez gave Orb a more tactical ride in the Florida Derby, keeping his mount closer to what ended up being a very reasonable pace. Orb then ran right past Itsmyluckyday to win going away. Velazquez, who rode both Orb and Verrazano to major Kentucky Derby prep wins, ultimately chose Verrazano, so trainer Shug McGaughey decided to reunite his charge with Joel Rosario. Rosario, who has been hotter than a two dollar pistol lately, rode Orb during his first five career starts. Orb has heavy stamina influences on the top and bottom of his pedigree, a red hot jockey, and the ability to sit closer to or further off the pace, depending on the pace. All this puts him at the top of my list.
2. Normandy Invasion—Javier Castellano, Chad Brown, PP 5 (12-1)
This patriotically named son of Tapit put in two strong second place performances in a pair of Derby prep races at Aqueduct, missing the win by a nose to Overanalyze in the Remsen and finishing less than a length behind Verrazano in the Wood. In both 9 furlong affairs, he closed into a moderately slow pace, though he was closer to the pace in the Wood than is generally his wont. Tapit progeny have tended to be best up to 9 furlongs, but Oilisblackgold is graded stakes placed at 12 furlongs, Careless Jewel is a Grade 1 winner at 10 furlongs, and Rattlesnake Bridge is Grade 1 placed at 10 furlongs. A lively early pace coupled with Normandy Invasion’s strong closing style could spell victory for the Chad Brown trainee.
3. Black Onyx—Joe Bravo, Kelly Breen, PP 1 (50-1)
As a son of Rock Hard Ten, Black Onyx has the breeding to get the Derby distance. He is a stalker, a style of running that should theoretically keep him near the front of the pack and out of major traffic trouble. The downside for Black Onyx is that he lost by a country mile in his only start on a fast track. However, if the weather does not hold (the forecast calls for a 40% chance of rain), then Black Onyx rockets to the top of the list. Rock Hard Ten progeny like the mud, and Black Onyx already has a win and a second place finish over a sloppy track. He looked really good while winning the Spiral, and I expect him to keep his good form going forward. The rail post is far from ideal, but jockey Joe Bravo has racing in his DNA and will do everything in his power to get Black Onyx to where he needs to be.
4. Java’s War—Julien Leparoux, Kenny McPeek, PP 19 (15-1)
The bay son of War Pass has a tendency to break slowly. He is a deep closer, and the combination of breaking and racing style means that his far outside post is a moot point. He came from out of the clouds to finish a clear second behind Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby. He improved upon that race, which was his 2013 debut, and got up just in time to steal the Blue Grass away from Palace Malice. While the front runners are getting leg weary in the final furlong, Java’s War will be roaring up the track, ready to make his presence felt. After racing quite wide in the Blue Grass, the extra furlong should not bother him.
5. Verrazano—John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher, PP 14 (4-1)
After much consideration, I decided that I needed a colt with more of a front-running style, and I landed on Verrazano as the front-runner most likely to win. It’s no secret that I was not impressed with his Wood Memorial win, but the fact of the matter is that he has done nothing wrong. He enters the Kentucky Derby undefeated, and if it weren’t for that pesky Apollo Curse lingering over his head, it would be very hard to argue against him on paper. Will he be the colt that finally breaks the Apollo Curse? Only time will tell. 


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Older Comments about Kentucky Derby 2013: Florida Filly's Top 5...

I had the winner Orb, hooked with every logical horse some way. I just didn't bet him flat, it happens. lol
Didn't hit any exotics, but I sure got the win. Congrats to everyone that picked Orb for the win!
Does Verrazano's lack of strength in the long distance bother anyone? And Is anyone looking at Overanalyze to win?
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • icyhotboo · What lack of strength? He got beat? By who? Overanalyze to win? yes I'm seriously looking at him. Toss the time of that last race which he could have easily improved and he's a contender. He moved position wise as he pleased. He didn't set the pace thus he doesn't control the final time except to stop the clock. Same for Verrazano. Get a picture of Verrazano and look at it, lack of strength, he's massive. · 1626 days ago
  • icyhotboo · sorry about the double · 1626 days ago
EdF, after reviewing the charts, checking the weather reports, and re-watching the races themselves, it does appear that Black Onyx's debut race was indeed over a fast track. However, in his maiden breaking race, the track appears to be wet fast. Both races were supposed to be run on the turf, but both were taken off the turf and ran over the main track instead. I do stand by my opinion that Black Onyx will fare better on a wet/muddy track.
Brisnet has them too. You have to be a member, but membership is free.
equibase has free Derby PPs, too. I'm way behind on this.
equibase has free Derby PPs, too. I'm way behind on this.
Free Kentucky Derby PPs: Bloodhorse's That Handicapping Show, or http://365horses.com/free_past_performances.html
Where can I GET THE FREE pp'S FOR K.DERBY????
Giant Finish is 50-1, and he has alot of color in his 5 starts, 2 wins, 1 place and 1 third. Sounds to me like alot of improvement can make a victory for in the money.
If it is wet bet a bundle on Black Onyx! Like his Daddy, he loves a wet footing duel ...
Florida Filly--You need to look again at Black Onyx's PPs. He's raced on fast tracks in all of his dirt races.
Orb is definitely becoming a very healthy choice. Black Onyx from the one hole has his hands full but as we all know.........you never know
Verrazano: it is one thing to mount a late move after travresing about 62% of the race in close to 1;14 and VERY much different to overcome a 1:12 and change which has been the average pace of race the past several runnings.....We will see how the pace of race profile projects as, as usual, there are going to be some prompters who are going to PUSH it faster, with little or not hope of being around late...IT is how this one handles the real pacers that will count.
tothmr, I have been on the fence about Verrazano for a few months. Before his TB Derby win, I felt that he was all hype and hadn't really proved anything, and his Wood win didn't impress me as much as it did for most. It came down to him and Revolutionary for the 5th spot, and I ultimately opted for Verrazano because of his running style and because he really hasn't done anything wrong.
I gotta say ... Black Onyx would surprise me.
  • tothmr · me too, not fast enough IMO · 1629 days ago
  • tothmr · He would have to be another Animal Kingdom to win this and i just dont see that happening, · 1629 days ago
Florida Filly, you sure dont seem convinced Verrazano should be in your top five, would you share with us who u you were thinking about for your 5th selection before u settled on V ?
I'm for Revolutionary. He is being overlooked and you can't pass up 10-1.
  • tothmr · no way he is 10-1 post time, the Bo-rail faithfull will bet him down somewhere around 6-1 maybe even lower if it rains, his last 2 KD wins were in the slop and all the once a year bettors will have memories of those races and bet accordingly, · 1629 days ago
Black Onyx might do ok from the pp1, his size may help him there.. perhaps not get so knocked around like Lucky did. I'm considering doing that TVG double your odds bet on him, $10-20. Concerned the pace might hurt GC this time, though he is a sentimental fav of mine. I don't care for Verrazano and Mylute's high head action, may lead to 'hanging. IMLD def can step up, and looks great. Overanalyze I can see anywhere in the super(Oaklawn was said to be a deeper track this year. Vyjack..it takes at least 56 days for horses to get their blood count up back up after abs. Orb..hope they xray before. Waiting to see Lines of Battle on the track, but w/out time to acclimate I dunno even know why I brought him up lol
Here are 10 runners that I tossed out and have no chance in my opinion to win the Kentucky Derby-Black Onyx,Giant Finish,Falling Sky,Frac Daddy,Golden Soul,Charming Kitten,Oxbow,Will Take Charge,Overanalyze,and Goldencents.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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