Welcome back! Let's rate this weekend's featured Derby preps.
In the Fountain of Youth, To Honor and Serve sets out to prove his eye-popping 2 year-old season was no fluke. We know Soldat can run on the turf and on the off going, but we’ll finally get the opportunity to see how he manages a lightening fast dirt surface. His weakest effort to date came on a “Good” track at Saratoga. One thing is clear, these two are your pace setters in the race and if their pilots don’t panic, they’ll be able to slow the early pace down to a crawl and take the field wire-to-wire throughout.
Now for something completely different, flip to Hutcheson Stakes and hold onto your hat! The pace projects to be wickedly fast creating the ultimate challenge for formidable 6 furlong speedsters like Travelin Man, Royal Currier and Madman Diaries. The extra furlong today heightens the drama of this great betting race.
Let’s break down each of the races and rate the quality of these Derby preps:
Gulfstream Park – G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes 1 1/8 dirt
Field Size = 8
Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 3
Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 3
BRIS Pace Par: First Call = 94; Second Call = 104
Projected Pace: First Call = 87; Second Call = 98
Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Dominated by off-the-pace and closer types
Morning Line Favorite: To Honor and Serve (CURRENT HRN RANKING: #2)
Shutty’s Top Three Picks: Gourmet Dinner, To Honor and Serve, Soldat
Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick: Bowman’s Causeway
HRN SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING = B+
Notes: Could turn into a “paceless” affair as the “real” racing doesn’t get started until the final three furlongs. Connections going slow with To Honor and Serve and don’t require a win here.
Gulfstream Park – G2 Hutcheson Stakes 7 furlongs dirt
Field Size = 10
Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 1
Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 1
BRIS Pace Par: First Call = 98; Second Call = 108
Projected Pace: First Call = 99; Second Call = 109
Energy Distribution Proflle of Field: Early Speed Dominant (only one closer)
Morning Line Favorite: Travelin Man
Shutty’s Top Three Picks: Black N Beauty, Manicero, Travelin Man
Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick: Leave of Absence
HRN SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING = C+
Notes: Field is loaded with early speed. Four are stretching out to 7 furlongs. With 18 races run at the 7 furlong distance at GP this meet, only 4 have been won by those coming from off the pace.
Come back to this blog Tuesday and we’ll take a look at these two preps to see if trips, biases and pace/speed rating outcomes will alter our HRN SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING.
Go now to HRN's 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders Power Rankings to see how the fans are rating contenders and cast your own votes! Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders