Mucho Macho Man and Astrology - Derby pretenders

March 25, 2011 04:52pm

There is plenty of Kentucky Derby prep action this weekend with the G2 Louisiana Derby and G3 Spiral Stakes on tap for Saturday and the G3 Sunland Derby going on Sunday.  All three are terrific betting races even if the quality of each remains suspect.  For the first time this year, each of the preps will be contested at the all-important 1 1/8 distance.  It’s get it done or get out of the way time!


Kelly Breen must be grinning ear to ear as his speed/stalker coupling loom large in determining the outcome of the Louisiana Derby.  Pants on Fire will be sent and Mucho Macho Man will sit just off that one but will have to work hard early and long to stay in contention to the stretch.  It is at that moment Mucho Macho Man will show us what of mucho macho man he really is…Derby contender or just another pretender?  He looks more like the latter to me.  Nice 3 year-old that will be competitive at the middle distances but not a genuine Derby win contender.  His last two races are mediocre at best from a pace and final speed perspective.


While the Spiral Stakes lacks star power, it is the most evenly matched and deepest field of the three mediocre preps going this weekend.  Terrific betting race in that chaos is likely to ensue as dirt and synthetic types come together to do battle.  I don’t see Derby implications here but it will be a great race to watch.


On Sunday, the race that Mine that Bird made famous, the Sunland Derby, will feature the 2011 debut of Astrology.  He hasn’t run since November, is completely suspect with too much to do too late and will be over bet here. So, value is created elsewhere in this race that is missing a pace.   Trainer Bob Baffert makes routinely successful assaults on this track and his weapon of choice this year is the lone-speed candidate, Sinai.  That speed will be enhanced as blinkers go back on.  Question is distance.


Will Mucho Macho Man and Astrology disappoint as predicted?  Will an upstart Derby contender move to the forefront?  Stay tuned racing fans as the exciting details unfold this weekend.


Let’s breakdown all three preps for this weekend and assign our exclusive HRN Super Screener Quality Rating:


Fair Grounds – G2 Louisiana Derby 1 1/8 miles dirt

Field Size = 13

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 2

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 3

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 94; Second Call = 104

Projected Pace:  First Call = 95; Second Call = 101

Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Stacked with off-the-pace and closer types

Morning Line Favorite:  Mucho Macho Man (CURRENT HRN RANKING: #5)

Shutty’s Top Three Picks: Nacho Business, Mucho Macho Man, Pants On Fire,

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick:  Populist Politics


Notes: Mucho Macho Man and Pants On Fire comprise the only speed.  Pants on Fire will set the pace and make Mucho Macho Man work hard early. Stablemate Nacho Business will stalk that pair and leverage the 1 1/8 distance for a late pounce for the win.


Turfway Park – G3 Spiral Stakes 1 1/8 miles Polytrack

Field Size = 12

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 0

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 2

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 92; Second Call = 100

Projected Pace:  First Call = 91; Second Call = 99

Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Balanced

Morning Line Favorite:  Positive Response (CURRENT HRN RANKING: #30)

Shutty’s Top Three Picks: Preachintothedevil, Positive Response, Rescind the Trade

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick:  Taptowne


Notes: Great betting race in that chaos seems likely.  Evenly matched field though subpar and I don’t see any of these advancing to the Kentucky Derby field.


Sunland Park– G3 Sunland Derby 1 1/8 miles dirt

Field Size = 11

Number of Graded Stakes Winners: 0

Number of Graded Stakes Placed: 2

BRIS Pace Par:  First Call = 92; Second Call = 100

Projected Pace:  First Call = 81; Second Call = 89

Energy Distribution Profile of Field: Dominated by Off-the-Pace and Closers

Morning Line Favorite:  Astrology (CURRENT HRN RANKING: #39)

Shutty’s Top Three Picks: Sinai, Supreme Ruler, R Skydiver

Hit-the-Board Bomber Pick:  Beer Miester


Notes: Complete lack of speed in this one favors Sinai and that one will be extra sharp early with blinkers back on.  Distance remains a question.  Astrology looks the type to disappoint here at low odds.  Making his first start of the year and it’s almost April.  Doesn’t have the look of one ready to do battle in the Kentucky Derby.


Come back to this blog Tuesday and we’ll take a look at these preps to see if trips, biases and pace/speed rating outcomes will alter our HRN SUPER SCREENER QUALITY RATING.


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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.







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About Me

Mike has been a passionate horseracing fan for over 30 years. He received his “handicapping education” through countless hours of deciphering the mystery that is embedded in every race. It was the tough beats at the window, however, that propelled him to never make the same mistake twice (well, maybe three times).

As Managing Partner of Horse Racing Nation, Mike serves as investor, business advisor, staff handicapper and developer of handicapping content.

Handicapping the Derby has always been one of Mike's favorite endeavors.  He spends weeks compiling notes, speed figures and analysis in preparation for the big race.  In 2010, his HRN pals pushed him into packaging his time-tested methods into what became the 2010 Kentucky Derby Super Screener, an e-book that became extremely popular with HRN readers and was downloaded over 3,000 times.   

In preparation for the 2011 Derby, Mike will be "Rating the Preps" each weekend on the Derby trail.  The goal will be to build a good picture for which prep races are most likely to produce the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner.   

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