DERBY TOP QUALIFIERS... PROS AND CONS
With over 2 weeks until the 2016 Kentucky Derby let's look at the PROS and CONS segment for each of the current TOP 10 OF THE TOP 20 POINTS QUALIFIERS in order of amassed points.
PROS - Knows how to win with 4 victories from 5 career starts. More than well-bred for the distance as a son of Candy Ride (tactical distance speed) out of a Giant's Causeway mare (foundation and classic distance. Has been working well at CD since early April. Has improved his speed number in very race for trainer Steve Asmussen.
CONS - Tactical speed horses exiting the Fair Grounds prep cycle have been a liability in recent years and the colt will have a 6 week break between the Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby.
PROS - Has not had a hiccup yet in his undefeated career. Hails from the I'll Have Another (2012 Derby Winner) connections (trainer Doug O'Neill/jockey Mario Gutierrez.) Running style indicates he should continue his speed a distance of ground and has shown he can come off the pace if necessary. One of the contingency of Southern California based 3-year olds that have been dominant in recent years.
CONS - Despite the success as a young sire there are still questions as to Uncle Mo's ability to get a classic distance progeny. The Grand sire and Dam Sire are both mile speed runners. Of late (although it may be by design) his works have been much slower over the CD surface than they were at SA.
PROS - His Santa Anita sweep-to-victory win the Derby was eye catching. He is coming to hand at the right time for trainer/jockey combo Keith & Kent Desormeaux. A son of Curlin, like many of that sire's progeny, he has gotten better with racing. No contender in the projected field has come close to duplicating his 4 straight triple digit BRIS Speed Numbers and he has shown an ability to stalk the paced or rally from well off it.
CONS - Has to show that the success he has had on an off race track (3-2-1-0) can be repeated on a fast dirt track (6-2-1-1.)
PROS - Another of the sons of rapidly impressing young sire Uncle Mo. He has come to hand quickly for trainer Todd Pletcher and has shown resilient tactical speed, especially when he dug in the win the Wood Memorial in his final prep. Dam sire Empire Maker provides plenty of foundation and distance blood.
CONS - Is lightly raced, with only 4 career starts and will have plenty of speed competition early in the Derby. Had an easy lead vs Destin in the Tampa bay derby and could not hold that one at bay and in the Wood...which has not produced much in recent Derbies...was all out to beat the maiden Southern California shipper Trojan Nation. Still has much to prover.
PROS - Has won over the surface as a juvenile and put it all together in winning the Blue Grass with a well-timed rally to draw clear. Was a sharp closing third behind Nyquist in the BC Juvenile in his 2-year old finale and the Blue Grass dismissed his poor Tampa bay performance.
CONS - His overall speed figures don't come close to meeting the best in here (he has never reached triple digits) and his style of running from well off the pace has never wavered, which means he'll need the perfect trip...something that few closers get in the Derby.
PROS - Through his hat in the ring big time by upsetting the field in the Arkansas Derby with a determined stretch long drive. The son of leading sire Tapit not only gets that one's distance excellence but the dam Privately Held won at an average distance in her career of 8 ½ furlongs which means classic distance is strong on both sides. Trainer Steve Asmussen looks for a repeat of Curlin's late development to win the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
CONS - The colt needed 6 tries to break his maiden and though he has won 2 of his last 3 they have all been at Oaklawn. In addition, it has been speed runners and stalkers such as Danza, Bodemeister and Super Saver who gone on from the Arkansas Derby to perform well in Louisville while closer such as Overanalyze and Archarcharch have not fared well the first Saturday in May.
PROS - Was on the wise guy list even before his convincing UAW Derby win. His breeding is of course Kentucky Derby-centric, being a sun of Tapit out of a winning Sunday Silence mare. The female line has been the bellwether of recent Derby success, not just winners but those who place and this colt has a dam line that averaged a n 8 ½ furlong average winning distance.
CONS - There have not been many, but the significantly successful Desert winners that have tried the Derby, most recently the well-enough-regarded Mubtaahij (8th last year) have not fared well.
PROS - The ultra-consistent colt has never been worse than second in his 7 race career with 3 wins and 4 placings. The Bob Baffert trained son of Eskendereya has the kind of tactical speed and stretch staying power that has served him well in his last 5 races...all Graded Stakes. He beat Exaggerator in the San Felipe and was second to that one in the Santa Anita derby so measures well in the Southern California hierarchy.
CONS - His female line is a bit short on stamina and in both the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby he ran on but made up no ground or gave ground through the lane so 10 furlongs is a meaningful question mark.
PROS - Was almost invincible as he began his career with 5 straight victories, including dominant wins in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct to conclude his juvenile campaign and in the Grade 2 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth at Gulfstream to begin his 3-year old campaign. Another son of the brilliant sire Tapit he has a stalking style that serves well in the Kentucky Derby and his sharp works since failing in the Florida derby indicate he is on his toes.
CONS - Like Mor Spirit, his female line is short on distance and stamina (out of the Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie...average win distance less than 7 furlongs) his late fade at 9 furlongs in the Florida Derby might indicated difficulty getting 10 panels.
PROS - He has displayed brilliant speed in winning three straight, including a 7 furlong MSW triumph, one mile allowance win and a wire-to-wire dominance in the mile and a sixteenth Grade 2 San Felipe, indicating that he would stretch out that speed. He showed that good speed again in the Santa Anita Derby in his final prep but weakened late and backed up in the lane...although it was his first off-track try.
CONS - While his Southern California roots might be a positive it is worth considering that his failure in the Santa Anita Derby was not just due to the slop but a product of speed breeding that has both his sire Twirling candy and dam sire Songandaprayer having average winning distances of well less than 7 furlongs. No duel breeding lines of less than 7 furlongs have come close in the Derby in recent history.
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