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A New York State of Racing

New York’s 2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders V

Wicked Strong Wood Memorial 2 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski
The 2014 New York Derby Trail began on January 4th with the running of the Jerome (G2) and since then horses have fallen to the wayside, others made comebacks, several do not have enough Road to the Kentucky Derby points, a couple are going to try one more prep race, and some never made an appearance.
Currently seven of the New York contenders seem to be on their way to the starting gate on May 3rd. Wicked Strong has 102 points and is currently ranked third, Samraat (100, 4th), Constitution (100, 5th), Intense Holiday (93, 7th), and We Miss Artie (60, 9th).
I have included Cairo Prince (24, 17th) and Uncle Sigh (24, 18th) in that list of seven because I feel confident that they have enough points. Their ranking in 17th and 18th positions assumes that the top two finishers in the UAE Derby will not be making the trip to Louisville. There are always a few horses that drop out in the final month of training up to the Derby.
Strong Mandate (11, 27th) and Commissioner (10, 33rd) are ready to make one more attempt to qualify for the Derby by running in the Arkansas Derby. They need to finish in the top three at Oaklawn Park because 10 points from fourth place would still put them behind Cairo Prince and Uncle Sigh.
Wicked Strong’s victory in the Wood Memorial (G1) was an impressive comeback for a horse that had shown a lot of promise as a two year-old. He found the deeper Aqueduct surface far more conducive to his running style as a closer. His long steady drive down the stretch is the kind of move that has produced the most winners in the Run for the Roses.
With less than a month until the Derby, here are my top four New York Contenders, with an eye on who is likeliest to win the race.
1) Wicked Strong – He has the right running style for Derby success. His trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, will continue to train him using longer stamina building workouts.
2) Intense Holiday – This Todd Pletcher trainee also has that preferred come from behind running style for the Derby. His second place finish in the Louisiana Derby was, by no means, a negative performance.
3) Constitution – He is unbeaten in three career starts. His win in the Florida Derby, which has been one of the most meaningful prep races in recent years, was against a very strong field.
4) Samraat – In his loss to Wicked Strong in the Wood, Samraat continued to build on his racing resume. Remember in 2004, fellow New York-bred Funny Cide finished second and went on to win the Derby.
This list of New York contenders is in order based on the number of Road to the Kentucky Derby Points that have been earned by each horse.
Wicked Strong (Hard Spun)
6: 2-1-1 $704,610
Owner: Centennial Farms
Trainer: Jimmy Jerkens
Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
1st Wood Memorial (G1) – BSF 103
4th OC75/N1X Gulfstream – BSF 87
9th Holy Bull Stakes (G2) – BSF 67
3rd Remsen Stakes (G2) – BSF 87
1st MSW Belmont Park – BSF 81
102 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: Mutuel Field 3/2
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: Mutuel Field 3-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: Mutuel Field 5-1

Samraat (Noble Causeway)
6: 5-1-0 $773,200
Owner: My Meadowview Farm
Trainer: Rick Violette
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
2nd Wood Memorial (G1)
1st Gotham (G3) – BSF 96
1st Withers (G2) – BSF 94
1st Damon Runyan – BSF 95
100 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: 30-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: 30-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 17-1
Constiitution (Tapit)
3: 3-0-0 $649,350
Owner: WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano
1st Florida Derby (G1) – BSF 99
1st OC75/N1X Gulfstream – BSF 98
1st MSW Gulfstream – BSF 84
$400,000 Saratoga August 2012
100 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: Mutuel Field 3/2
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: 28-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 19-1
Intense Holiday (Harlan’s Holiday)
8: 2-1-1 $551,900
Owner: Starlight Racing
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Mike Smith
2nd Louisiana Derby (G2)
1st Risen Star (G2) – BSF 97
3rd Holy Bull Stakes (G2) – BSF 84
4th Remsen Stakes (G2) – BSF 84
4th Nashua Stakes (G2) – BSF 81
93 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: 69-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: 22-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 20-1
We Miss Artie (Artie Schiller)
8: 3-2-0 $609,000
Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
1st Spiral (G3) – BSF 85
8th Fountain of Youth (G2) – BSF 85
2nd Kitten’s Joy (turf) – Gulfstream – BSF 86
7th Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – BSF 81
1st Breeders’ Futurity (G1) Keeneland – BSF 70
60 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: Mutuel Field 3/2
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: Mutuel Field 3-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 36-1
Cairo Prince (Pioneerof the Nile)
5: 3-1-0 $562,000
Owner: Braverman, Namcook Stables, Clark
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Luis Saez
4th Florida Derby (G1)
1st Holy Bull Stakes (G2) – BSF 95
2nd Remsen Stakes (G2) – BSF 88
1st Nashua Stakes (G2) – BSF 90
24 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: 26-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: 13-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: 9-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 9-1
Uncle Sigh (Indian Charlie)
5: 1-3-0 $231,000
Owner: Wounded Warrior
Trainer: Gary Contessa
Jockey: Corey Nakatani
5th Wood Memorial (G1)
2nd Gotham (G3) – BSF 96
2nd Withers (G3) – BSF 92
1st MSW (NY-breds) Aqueduct – BSF 93
2rd MSW Aqueduct – BSF 95
24 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: 73-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: 42-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 47-1
Strong Mandate (Tiznow)
7: 2-1-1 $522,900
Owner: Baker, Mack
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Joel Rosario
4th Rebel Stakes (G2)
2nd Southwest Stakes (G3)
3rd Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) – BSF 85
1st Hopeful Stakes (G1) – BSF 85
11 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: 27-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: 17-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: 18-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: 32-1
Commissioner (AP Indy)
5: 2-1-1 $189,100
Owner: WinStar Farm
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
3rd Sunland Derby (G3)
6th Fountain of Youth (G2)
1st OC75/NW1 Gulfstream – BSF 91
1st MSW Saratoga – nine furlongs – BSF 78
10 Road to Kentucky Derby Points
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1: Mutuel Field 4/5
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2: 22-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3: Mutuel Field 3-1
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4: Mutuel Field 5-1 


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Older Comments about New York’s 2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders V...

I'm generally a very agreeable and placid guy, but I have to say... You're an idiot.
john.karczewski: Secretariat lost 4 races, including to Onion at equal weights and was absolutely destroyed by Prove Out by 5 1/2 lengths while carrying SEVEN POUNDS LESS WEIGHT! (Both trained by the great Allen Jerkens). Sec might have been the best ever for the the 5 week span of the Triple Crown, I agree with that, but was beatable at times other than that. I voted him an 8 and Man'O War a 10 because I believe their positions should be reversed, which the were. I believe that the best way to rate all the greats is to see how many other great horses they beat over their career while spotting weight. The level of the competition. If that is the criteria, then Kelso is the greatest ever for no other horse beat as many great/very good horses as the 5 time HOTY did while spotting gobs of weight and setting NINE track records including a World Record that still stands to this day. Check out: As far as rating Wicked Strong a "10", that was in the 3 yr old list, not best of all time. So that criticism is foolish. Look at some of the names in the best of all time and you have to chuckle. (Untapable (who) #35
I have a hard time taking anything Allen Joyner posts on this thread seriously. He rated Wicked Strong a 10 and Secretariat an 8. Nuff said, credibility blown
First of all Allen Joyner,only Amino has publishing rights to the term Left Coast. Be nice,no need calliong Chitu a loser. Mike ,the obvious reason that they do not stay home is 2 fold. #1 what is really home? Florida in the winter or elsewhere after that. Second and more important. It is so much easier to travel today than it was "X" years ago. You just nailed it with a major reason.Most trainers today are not horsemen,so many are influenced by sheets. I told everyone before. Roughly 90 % of the trainers out there are in one way motivated by sheets. They either read them themselves or have advisors that do. So many horses are claimed or purchased privately based on sheet numbers. Not saying it is right or wrong. But it is a very powerful tool. Many trainers have an in with the guys that produce the numbers,they are advised immediately what sort of number their horse ran. This way they train accordingly. I do consulting to many owners. I would never give out info without them. Let me give you an example. If you have a horse pointing to 3 races within say 4 days of each other. You look at the entries and gauge the field. Assuming every race is comparable in distance and surface,i sell it this way. I will tell them>>> if you go to race A -YOU WILL BE 5/2 ODDS IN A $300,000 race. If you go to raceB, you will be 10-1 for $750,000 and if you go to race C , you will be 5-1 running for $500,000. You only handicap the race for probabilities.
Chitu77: LOL Yeah, we all saw an example of your over rated California colts when Wicked Strong beat your highly regarded Kristo by 17 lengths Saturday. Go ahead loser, box all your Left Coast entries! LOL
Tmallios I agree that there are too many rich stakes races and all seem to be scheduled on the same weekend and this is probably why there are so many 5 horse fields and 4-5 favorites and why many horses don't ship away from home. But it doesn't explain why horses don't run more at their home tracks like they did in the past. If there are so many big purses and everyone is in it for the money why not run in more races and get more of that big money? I think the reason horses don't run as much today as in the past is either horses need more time to recover from Lasix and/or many trainers are influenced by the speed figure guys and the bounce theory. Whatever is causing it, it is terrible for the sport and is not so good for the horses either.
Maybe in Cali they were in some. But today it is nationwide. Travel is easier. Also in the 80's that was the beginning of the purse boom. The mentality was still to race,so they went for it. I have no idea.All i know is that today they are offering loads aof cash at various tracks. The competition is softer due to the duplication of purses. I believe last year ,either on the same weekend or within a week. You had 4 races at a Mile on the turf with high purses. One was at CD which Dan ran in.The other was in Cali and there were 2 others. Each field had something like 5 horses. Why would anyone in their right mind run against the bears ,when they are writting blank checks to go to their track
Cairo Prince beat Wicked Strong by 17 in Holy Bull. Runs 4th on SUPER FAST GP track beaten 4 little lengths in Fla Derby. My Deby horse all day at a HUGE price. Reminds me of Real Quiet in 98
If it is big purses that is the reason horses are running less, how do you explain California racing? In the 1980's and 1990's many of the purses were bigger than they are today in actual money and horses ran much more often. Today in California the purses are smaller and horses still run fewer times.
I know that my opinion in this is the minority mindset.You mentioned that horses are lightly trained and i assume you will say like others lightly run due to being fine boned or any other pedigree flaw. From the people i have spoken to in the game,and i mean top trainers and many owners. A major reason that horses today do not run as frequently as horses in the past,has to do with one word. MONEY. You see ,the tracks are in such competition for the beting dollar amonst themselves. They are giving away wads and wads of purse monies. With the Racinos,although they hate to admit it,many are making money they do not know how to spend. For this reason,they do not want to over race their horses. They will pick their spots and go for the easy money. In the past,they did not have the huge purse structure. For horses to of made money,they had to race many times. Do not believe the crap that they try to sell you about the money means nothing and it is all about the Gory. You see Coyne,in racing Glory translates into breeding agreements,breeding agreements are sealed with staggering buy ins. So it is about the money. Why not have a fresh horse run for the bucks,rather than a tired horse.
*without the training the lung...
I feel that these days, as lightly as these horses are trained (because they're so fine boned now), it's important now more than ever that they have the large heart gene. That gene is carried on the X-chromosome. Without the running the long capacity isn't fully developed, the mental determination isn't fully developed, and the Type II muscle fibers aren't fully developed. So for me then, the X-factor and mitochondrial DNA play a bigger part.
To be honest with you,i havent the slightest regarding the female side. Regardless if a horse has the pedigree or not,in my eyes they need something else. If they do not have the jets to travel and the talent to compete,i at least am not interested. This guy has the Jets.
Interesting. I'll keep him in mind. I'm always for "horses for courses". Is there much blacktype stamina on the bottom half? I glanced at the pedigree, wasn't what I usually like.
Coyne i was told a few months back that the Distance was not even an issue. Also we looked into buyin this guy,until we found out Tabor beat us to him. Go back if you can and look at his replays over the track. Powerful with grace,looked to of been struggling at the other tracks. Thinking and hoping i will get better than 6-1 on him. But 6-1 is a fair price for a horse i feel is the best,and not just taking a flyer on. Race is loaded with front end dynamos,i'm just hoping he is not to keyed up off the short freshening. If Victor can get him to settle into a tracking position. I just may beat the crowds and watch the race from the Cashiers window. I am that confident(at least before the race) Good luck with your gimmicks. ho else do you like for me to use with him. Ican't come up with solid alternatives. Just may use the deep closers and hope the race falls apart and they get up for a piece.
Tom, I honestly think I may not even play this race. If I do I will make some small exacta bets based on odds... I like the return to the surface, but I'm not so sure he can get 9F. I think he may drop to 6-1 anyway.
I thought Hoppertunity was overrated. Don't know how good that bunch he beat last out were, but he gained a lot of respect in my eyes. Coming from off the pace and galloping out magnificently, he is very good. Don't be so quick to throw out General A Rod and Wildcat Red, I hate Intense Holiday going 10f and Vicar's in trouble with all this other speed. commanding curve?
Chitu i so hope you are right with CC on top,i looked again and the only other Cali horse with a prayer might be Bayern. I have always liked Costitution. But the horse moving up very fast on my radar is Samraat. He could be the ace in the hOle. I think he will be dismissed at long odds come Derby Day. At first i liked M. Hawk,but the more i look at him,the less appealing he looks.Hoppertunity i think is very overated and if you consider Candy Boy a threat. He does not even rate. You'd better hope that Bayern is the goods this weekend,because if he forgets to show up and does not qualify. The SoCal flag will only have 1 serious contender. I won't even mention your namesake,he is classified with Candy Boy. Just does not do it for me.
tmallios, all you need to do is to boxed the All California horses in the derby and cha-ching....MONEY in the bank...
I am all ears guys.But Chitu on this one i am all for a California Dreaming Derby. If my boy California Chrome wins ,all i will be hearing on my futures play which includes nice exotics. Cha-ching,cha-ching. Although i live on the Right Coast,my motto is Lets go Westies. How are you Coyne? As exciting as it is for the upcoming Derby,i have my eyes on my boy Vyjack.Also this weekend ,i am looking forward to Pablo in the Bluegrass. So tell me Coyne. Is he a yea or a nay???

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

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• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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