Race of the Week 2017

A Deserving Derby Favorite

Once again, the Kentucky Derby has changed drastically from what we all thought it would be at this point in the season. Horses like To Honor and Serve failed to progress from their juvenile form to three year olds. Promising looking two year olds like Brethren proved to be only be hype. Dialed In showed promise early this year, but after a loss to allowance horses and a lackluster win in the Florida Derby, one cannot help but have doubts. Uncle Mo, the most impressive juvenile champion in years, fell in the Wood Memorial and then so too did The Factor in the Arkansas Derby. After so many unforeseeable upsets one has to wonder now, who should be the Kentucky Derby favorite?

Dialed In, the Florida Derby winner will most likely take favoritism, but how deserving is this son of Mineshaft? His one loss was going nine furlongs to a group of allowance horses. Yes, they were older, but none of them were even near the class of Dialed In. In the Florida Derby he did manage to scrap out a nose victory after making a huge middle move, but he came home in a snail-like 13.5 seconds. People, even dear old Moses could have gotten to the line faster.

So, if not Dialed In, who should enter the Derby as the favorite? Uncle Mo could still be a threat. He had a GI Infection during the running of the Wood and still lost by only 1 ¼ lengths, coming home in 12 4/5 seconds. The question remains, will he be ready for the Derby? His work today indicated that he seems to be just fine. His final three eighths were run in around 36 flat, after an opening quarter of 25.41. Over the sloppy Churchill Downs main track, that is not a half bad work.

Nobody seems to want to acknowledge just how consistent Archarcharch has been this year. He is one of the most prepared horses this year, coming into the Kentucky Derby with plenty of bottom and experience. He disappointed in the Smarty Jones, his 2011 debut, but came back with a strong win in the Southwest. He was then barely nicked for third by Caleb’s Posse when being beaten by The Factor, but turned the tables on those to when winning the Arkansas Derby. Once could argue he has probably run against the toughest fields assembled in Derby preps this year.

My personal order would give favoritism to Uncle Mo, second would come Archarcharch, with Dialed In possibly third. Dialed In just seems more like dynamite closing miler, just watch his Holy Bull. Uncle Mo, when at his best is much quicker with just as dynamic of a kick. Running straight 11’s in his maiden, coming home a final quarter in 24 flat in the Champagne, a final 1/16 in 6 1/5 seconds in the Juvenile, and closing his final quarter in 22 4/5 in the Timely Writer are proof of that.


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Older Comments about A Deserving Derby Favorite...

Bells, I am not sure what to expect of Nehro. At this point he reminds me of Ice Box but with more negatives. Ice Box came into the Derby off of only one big effort in 6 weeks, while Nehro has 3 in the same amount of time. For a horse just starting to roll, I think a bounce could easily happen. If not, then you have to consider the pace. Last year's Derby had a blazing pace set by 2 huge speed balls in Conveyance and SC. There is no horse with that kind of speed this year and most will probably try to throttle down and bunch up the back a bit. Without a pace to stretch out the field and possibly cause a pace collapse, look for him to get caught very wide and have trouble making up ground on stalkers or even pacemakers who are not burnt out by a rapid pace.
AAA I am liking a lot.He has been very consistant all year..Nehro is on my list as well..how can he be left off?I am not convinced that DI will get the distance.
Hey Dani. Welcome aboard! Enjoyed this post, as I think we've all struggled with this question over the course of the past month. Who deserves to be favored, and who, ultimately, WILL be favored? I agree with you on one of your theses, and disagree on the other. I cannot, personally, shake the brilliance of Mo's 4 other races (including the Timely Writer) to write him off completely. Maybe he'll be exposed as a miler, but nobody else in this crop has even come close to any of Mo's races other than the Wood, IMO. On Archx3, though, I guess I'm just being stubborn. I thought a closers bias helped him a little in the Ark. Derby. And I didn't think he beat much in the Southwest. It's a cool story, so I'm not rooting against. But I just don't see it. Cool start. Looking forward to more good stuff from you!
Nice to see you on HRN Dani! I like Archarcharch a little more each time I take the time to really study his PP's. I still think Dialed In is better than his Florida Derby looked, he closed from far back on a seriously speed favoring track, slow time or not he looked good and will have received a good amount of bottom/stamina from that hard fought effort. With all the "chaos" going on in the Derby picture this year I'm sticking with Uncle Mo as my choice for now. I hate giving up on a colt I like so much and he really did have a good excuse for the Wood. I liked his work at Churchill too, he looked much more like his old self! Great work Dani, looking forward to seeing more of your work.
  • DeadHeat · I'm happy to be part of the team Brian :) On DI i'm not conviced on the track theory. He handled that track with ease in the Holly Bull getting the same setup and with even less of a meltdown and he still kicked their butts. He made the same middle move, but IMO the shorter distance is why he looked so dominant. It would not surprise me to see him be a very good miler since it was just last year that another Mineshaft colt, Discreetly Mine, turned out to be a very dominant sprinter. · 2401 days ago
It is tough to say who deserves it, though, as you can tell I think some deserve it more than others. Mo does have questions, yes, however his ifs are nowhere near what others present IMO.
Great first post Dani (Laura), glad to have you aboard! ... This might be the year where no one deserves to be favored, but I guess someone has to be ;-)
The only thing with Nehro is that he could very well bounce off of those two efforts. Also, Arch3 was coasting those final yards. It's all about the move you make and when and wher you make it in the Derby. Arch3 will be able to stay closer and move at a better time. Dialed In is dynamite at a mile, but going longer he seems mediocre.
The big omission from this piece is Nehro. He was going to pass Archarcharch in the stretch in the Arkansas Derby, and he will get the added distance in the Derby. He has to be a top 3
A fair and balanced piece. I would agree that Uncle Mo should be given a mulligan for the Wood, and, actually considering the illness, that was a gutsy effort in the Wood. In a weak crop of 3 year olds, Dial In should be considered the best of the worst. Zito using the allowance race was a public workout, and he won the Florida Derby, as slow as the times were, fair and square.

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