Friday 5: Hidden Scroll spotted well on Kentucky Derby 2019 undercard

May 03, 2019 03:10pm
Friday 5: Hidden Scroll spotted well on Kentucky Derby 2019 undercard
Photo: Adam Mooshian/Gulfstream Park
After a hyped favorite loses, sometimes it creates a reverse bandwagon effect. Handicappers become too eager to beat him again because everyone else comes off him, and they lose sight of the new race situation.

On Saturday's Kentucky Derby 2019 undercard at Churchill Downs, this scenario looks like it played out with Hidden Scroll, who finished a disappointing sixth in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park. 

Now, he is back in action and spotted well in a race that will give him some confidence back.

Hidden Scroll is the headline pick here followed by thoughts on the Humana Distaff (G1) and races from Oaklawn, Santa Anita and Gulfstream.

Churchill Downs
Race 4 – Hidden Scroll (9-5)


Despite his flop last time, Hidden Scroll holds a bright future and can get back on track. The connections only need to forget rating tactics.

Remember, this son of Hard Spun broke his maiden by 14 lengths on slop at Gulfstream in a one-turn mile and earned a 119 on the TimeformUS speed figure scale. He competes in a seven-furlong sprint in this spot, and the track may turn wet again.

TimeformUS Pace Projector does not predict a slow pace, but Hidden Scroll is alone on the graphic indicating an uncontested lead. Considering the debacle rating tactics caused before, expect Jose Ortiz to let him loose. 

The morning line says 9-5, and fair odds on Hidden Scroll are even money or higher. If he falls below that, then pass.

Churchill Downs
Race 6 (Humana Distaff) – Talk Veuve to Me (4-1)


Talk Veuve to Me earned a low 109 TimeformUS Speed Figure in her return win at Keeneland, but trainer Rodolphe Brisset probably did not crank her. Given the pace was slow, it likely depressed the speed figure too.

Looking back on her 2018 form, her normal TimeformUS figure was around 117 to 120. She also shows solid runner-up finishes to Mia Mischief in the Eight Belles Stakes (G2) and Monomoy Girl in the Acorn Stakes (G1). 

Mia Mischief is entered in this race, too. She looks a touch off form.

Pacesetter Amy’s Challenge is an unknown on a wet track, and seven furlongs is extending her limits. Spiced Perfection at 9/2 beat Amy’s Challenge at seven furlongs in the Madison Stakes (G1), but last time felt like the time to bet her. The value is not likely to get better.

In contrast, this distance is within Talk Veuve to Me’s reach. and she is likely to stay third choice or higher. Talk Veuve to Me is a good value in this race. 

Santa Anita
Race 8 - Flagstaff (5-2)


The lightly-raced 5-year-old gelding trained by John Sadler sports two notable owners in Lane’s End Racing and Hronis Racing. Flagstaff also cost a hefty $475,000 back in 2015, meaning he had some standout qualities.

Some physical problems likely arose and caused Flagstaff to only debut last May. He ran well, finishing second at Santa Anita, before breaking his maiden on the same racetrack with a 110 on TimeformUS. Then, he moved over to Del Mar and finished a close third in an optional claimer with a 111.

He flopped in a route afterwards, but that is fine given he cuts back to a sprint in this spot. In addition, Pace Projector believes Flagstaff will set an uncontested pace through soft fractions. This is a great situation for him. 

If he breaks sharply, expect a gate to wire victory.

Oaklawn Park
Race 11 (Oaklawn Invitational) – Math Wizard (4-1)


Even though the Pace Projector calls for a soft pace, the horse predicted to lead is Hidden Ruler, and he does not appear trustworthy at nine furlongs. Next is Comedian, but he lacks the right class against this tough field. Shang’s class looks suspect as well after he disappointed in the Lexington Stakes (G3). 

The right choice is Math Wizard, who comes off a surprising fourth-place finish in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) behind Tacitus, Tax and Haikal.

In fact, ever since running a distant third to Maximum Security in a maiden claimer back in December, Math Wizard has turned in solid race after solid race. Besides the great effort in the Wood Memorial, he has won twice.

He got a nice setup in the Wood Memorial, but there is ample evidence in Math Wizard’s pedigree that he is a true nine-furlong horse. For instance, the dam Minister’s Baby started 29 times, and 24 of those starts came in routes.

In a soft-paced race with a suspect leader who is questionable at the distance, this is the right choice given the lack of speed options. 

Gulfstream Park
Race 4 – Areyoutalkingtome (4-1)

On Derby afternoon, it is unlikely too many eyes will fall on this low-level turf claiming race at Gulfstream. But it looks like a good betting event.

Areyoutalkingtome gets this spot on the list because he is projected to secure an uncontested lead through a slow pace.

While he is not a win machine with only two lifetime victories, he keeps running decent races. For example, he only lost by a little over two lengths last time, even though he was sixth. The worst running line came four starts ago, when he lost by 10 ¼ lengths. But that race came over a muddy track.

If he can secure the lead in this turf race, perhaps by default, it may wake up the winning spirit in him. He is also taking a class drop from claiming $20,000 to 12,000. 

 

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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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