GQ’s Derby Double Dozen and Derby Future Pool 2

March 10, 2011 | Gary Quill

On February 10th, the 4th Annual GQ’s Derby Double Dozen was published. It is a list of twenty-four colts, geldings and/or ridglings which, in my humble opinion had the best shot at making it into the starting gate at Churchill Downs for the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7th. 

 

Over the past 30 days, there have been eight (8) Derby Prep races and numerous other developments throughout the 3 year old thoroughbred community that could have caused a major shake-up in GQ’s Derby Double Dozen, but that is not the case this year.

 

Only a few have exited this Top 24 list, and of that group the highest rank was #11 (Tiz Blessed) who has been experiencing physical issues, took time of from training and is unlikely to make his 3 year old debut in time for a shot at running in the Derby.

 

There’s less than 2 months for the best 20 horses to surface, and each will have only 1 or 2 more races to prove they are worthy to walk into the starting gate on May 7th to run in the 137th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands. This weekend (Mar. 11-13) Churchill Downs offers the second of three Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pools. The third pool will take place April 1-3.

  

This is the 13th year for the KDFW. Betting for each pool opens at noon (ET) daily; the Derby pools will close at 6 pm. on the final day of each pool. The pool consists of 24 wagering interests – 23 individual horses and a mutuel field of all other 3 year olds as the 24th wagering option. Each bet is WIN only and is a $2 minimum. There are no refunds on the future wagers. In Pool 1, “All Other 3 Year Olds” closed at odds of 2-1 while backers of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and 2 year old champion Uncle Mo got a paltry 7-2 on him.

 

Pool 2 has 4 newcomers… Archarcharch, Elite Alex, Runflatout and Sway Away. The four who appeared on Pool 1 but removed in favor of the newcomers are Clubhouse Ride, Decisive Moment, Indian Winter and Tiz Blessed. Ironically, when Pool 1 opened, I blogged that Clubhouse Ride and Decisive Moment were “Throw-Outs” as far as who to eliminate from consideration when contemplating a wager on KFDW Pool 1, while Elite Alex and Sway Away held my #2 and #7 rankings, respectively. They were absent from Pool 1, only to be added to Pool 2.

 

    Program#

KDFW Pool 2 Wagering Interest

  M/L Odds

1

Anthony’s Cross

30-1

2

Archarcharch

50-1

3

Astrology

50-1

4

Brethren

15-1

5

Comma to the Top (g)

50-1

6

Dialed In

10-1

7

Elite Alex

50-1

8

Gourmet Dinner

30-1

9

J P’s Gusto (r)

50-1

10

Jaycito

20-1

11

Machen

50-1

12

Mucho Macho Man

20-1

13

Rogue Romance

30-1

14

Runflatout

50-1

15

Santiva

30-1

16

Silver Medallion

50-1

17

Soldat

8-1

18

Stay Thirsty

20-1

19

Sway Away

15-1

20

Sweet Ducky

50-1

21

The Factor

10-1

22

To Honor and Serve

15-1

23

Uncle Mo

7-2

24

Mutuel Field (All Other 3-Year-Olds)

3-1

 

           (g) – gelding      (r) – ridgllng         Morning Line (M/L) Odds by Mike Battaglia

     

After reviewing the 23 cast of characters in the 2011 Pool 2, I have determined which ones you can throw out.      

THROW-OUT from Pool 2: Comma To The Top, J P’s Gusto, Sweet Ducky and The Factor for the simple factor that their bloodlines will not allow them to excel when being asked to run 1¼ miles (the Derby distance).

 

Here’s how previous years GQ’s Derby Double Dozen lists have fared in picking the Kentucky Derby winner, 3 months prior to the race…

 

2008: Big Brown was ranked #2.

2009: Mine That Bird was not on the list (nor was on anyone’s list); Derby runner-up Pioneerof The Nile was ranked #1.

2010: Super Saver was ranked #10.

 

This year is the first time I am publishing an updated list. Below shows the updated ranking, (original rank), horse name, (trainer / current jockey) followed by facts and comments which include the Dosage Index (if you don’t know what this is, Google it).

 

#1 (1) – Santiva  (E. Kenneally/M. Smith)  KY-bred son of Giant’s Causeway won G2 KY Jockey Club (2-turns at CD) in late 2010. 3 y.o. debut was delayed until Feb. 19th (2nd in Risen Star going 1 1/16) as his connections wanted to give him a shot going further than 1 mile. They didn’t have him “cranked up” for that one; he gave them what they were looking for… a good effort. He should take a big step forward in his next start: Louisiana Derby @ FG (Mar. 26th). Dosage: 1.67

 

#2 (3) – Dialed In  (N. Zito/J. Leparoux) Broke maiden on Nov. 12 at CD after a terrible trip early, then just inhaled the field in a stunning stretch run. Won Holy Bull (G3) at a mile on Jan. 30th “coming from the clouds” w/o even being shown the whip. As a prep to the Florida Derby (Apr. 3), he ran 2nd by 1/2 length as 1-5 favorite in a 5 horse, paceless optional Claiming race going two turns. The race served him well. He’s a son of Mineshaft and the Dosage fits at 3.62. His dam is out of Storm Cat. He has the graded earnings to make the Derby. Final prep will be in the Florida Derby @ GP (Apr. 3rd).

 

#3 (7)  – Sway Away (J. Bonde/G. Gomez) Son of Afleet Alex has a bright future and an incredible closing kick; runner-up in Best Pal (G2) at age 2; passed Holy Bull (G3) on Jan. 30th to make 3 y.o. debut on Feb. 20th in 7 furlong San Vicente @ SA… closed like a freight train to be 2nd to front-running speedball The Factor  over a speed favoring dirt surface. Next start: San Felipe Stakes @ SA (Mar. 12th) Dosage: 2.50 

 

#4 (8)  – Soldat (K.McLaughlin/A. Garcia) 2nd in BC Juvenile Turf; made 3 y.o. debut @ GP Jan. 21 in NW1X Allowance going 1 1/8, won by 10+ lengths in solid fractions throughout, finishing in 12.57 (race time: 1.49.22 in slop) then came back to win Fountain Of Youth @ GP (Feb.26th) very impressively over highly-touted To Honor And Serve. He’s learning to “rate” which should make them just that much better in travelling the Derby distance. Scheduled to run in Florida Derby @ GP (Apr. 3rd) as final prep before the Derby. Dosage: 2.47 

 

#5 (5)  – Uncle Mo (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) Run away winner of BC Juvenile over CD dirt; right now he’s everyone’s Derby favorite, except for me. Bloodlines aren’t cut out for Classic distance (mare was a sprinter); last Champagne stakes winner to win Derby was Sea Hero (1993). He’ll finally make long awaited 3 yr old debut in the 1 mile, ungraded $75k Timely Writer @ GP (Mar. 12th). If all goes to plan, he’ll ship to NY to run in the Wood Memorial (Apr. 9th) then onto the Kentucky Derby (May 7th). Dosage: 2.20 

 

#6  (6) – Jaycito  (B. Baffert/M. Garcia) Disappointing 7th in BC Juvenile as he was wide throughout after swerving out badly on the first turn, after which was moved to Baffert’s barn. Has a nice late running style that plays into Baffert’s strength in preparing a 3 y.o. for the Derby. Got December off then started training again in CA for  3 year old debut in the San Felipe stakes @ SA (Mar. 12th). Dosage: 3.00

 

#7 (2)  – Elite Alex  (T. Ritchey/C. Borel) 3rd in Southwest (Feb. 21st) when 5-8 wide throughout, had no excuse in stretch (slow final fractions), just wasn’t good enough that day, but trainer likes future going longer than 1 mile. In his 2nd career race was beat a head in a 3-way finish in NW1X Allowance race at OP going 1 mile. He had a horrible start, dropping back to last, 10 lengths off the pace, and then making a big run just missed. He returned with a bruised hoof and lacerations, so this son of Afleet Alex could make it Deja vu’ in the OP 3 y.o. stakes series. Next test: Rebel @ OP (Mar. 19th) and then hopefully the Arkansas Derby (Apr. 9th). Dosage: 2.47

 

#(8) 12 – Stay Thirsty (T. Pletcher/J. Castellano) 5th in BC Juvenile in final 2 year old start. Tons of stamina in bloodlines (sired by Bernardini); owner (Michael Repole) has Uncle Mo as well. Made 3 year old debut a winning one with a 3 length score in the Gr. 3 Gotham Stakes @ Aqu (Mar. 5th). He appears to be maturing at the right time. Will avoid stablemate (Uncle Mo) in Wood Memorial by heading to GP for Florida Derby (Apr. 3rd) or OP for Arkansas Derby (Apr. 9th). Dosage: 2.25

 

#9 (13) – Brethren (T. Pletcher/R. Dominguez) Half-brother to 2010 KY Derby winner Super Saver is 3 for 3 after winning   Sam F. Davis (Feb. 12th @ Tam), first level Allowance and maiden at CD; The only knock on him is he hasn’t beat much in any of his races. He’s entered to run in the Tampa Bay Derby (Mar. 12th), then onto Louisville for the Kentucky Derby @ CD (May 7th). Dosage: 3.00

 

#10 (10) – Astrology (S. Asmussen/G. Gomez) Runner-up in KY Jockey Club last Fall; spending winter training in So. Cal (Santa Anita); son of Bernardini. Will need a Top 3 finish in his 3 year old debut (San Felipe on Mar. 12th @ SA) to be considered a “player” on the first Saturday in May. Might need to run in Arkansas Derby or Blue Grass @ Kee (Apr. 9th) to qualify for Derby. Dosage: 3.42

 

#11 (4) – Machen  (N. Howard/undecided) KY-bred son of Distorted Humor romped by 5+ lengths at FG (Jan. 2nd) in career debut after a slow start going 6f.; Won 1st-level allowance race @ FG in similar fashion against four (4) weak foes. Has Derby History working against him. Last Derby winner unraced as a 2 y.o. was Apollo in 1882. Ran a respectable 4th in Risen Star (Feb. 19th) on a huge step up in class. Next start: Louisiana Derby @ FG (Mar.26th). Dosage: 2.56

 

#12 (15) – Rogue Romance  (K. McPeek/J. Leparoux) Game 3rd in BC Juvenile last Fall after being successful on turf leading up to that race. Son of a Derby winner (Smarty Jones) was a fast closing 3rd in 3 y.o. debut (Risen Star @ FG (Feb. 19th)). A bruised heel discovered on Mar. 10th derailed his scheduled entry in the Louisiana Derby @ FG (Mar. 26th). The contingency plan is for a final Derby prep in the Arkansas Derby @ OP or Blue Grass Stakes @ Kee (both on Apr. 16th). Only needs to finish well to move onto the Derby. Dosage: 3.00

 

 

#13 (14) – Awesome Patriot (B. Baffert/R. Bejarano) Won allowance @ SA on Dec. 29th; has pedigree (by Awesome Again) to improve the further he runs. Though he has been winning on the front-end, Baffert may be training him to relax early and “take back” a bit to possess more of a stalking style like many of the Baffert Derby contender of the past (Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Lookin At Lucky, Point Given, etc.). Needs graded stakes earnings now! Will make 3 y.o. debut in the  San Felipe @ SA (Mar. 12th). Dosage: 2.50

 

#14 (17)– Gourmet Dinner (S. Strawbridge/ R. Dominguez) Won $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3 on Nov. 20th); nosed out for 4th in Cash Call Futurity (G1 @ Hollywood on Dec. 18th) and nipped for 2nd in Holy Bull (G3 @ GP on Jan. 30th) and runner-up to Soldat in Fountain Of Youth @ GP (Feb. 26th). Already has a ticket (graded stakes earnings) to Derby. Sire (Trippi) doesn’t cry out for Derby distance but Dosage (3.00) is acceptable. Next start: Santa Anita Derby @ SA (Apr. 9th).

 

#15 (16) – To Honor And Serve (W. Mott/J. Velazquez) Won G2 Remsen at Big A (Thunder Gulch was last Derby winner who won Remsen); great pedigree (son of Bernardini). Lost some luster has Mucho Macho Man, whom he beat twice, ran 4th in Holy Bull (@ GP Jan. 30th) as favorite, but regained it after the same came back to win Risen Star @ FG (Feb. 19th). In his 3 year old debut he weakened late versus Soldat in Fountain Of Youth @ GP (Feb. 26th). Still could improve off that effort in Florida Derby @ GP (Apr. 3rd). Dosage: 2.38 

 

#16 (21) – Mucho Macho Man (K. Ritvo/R. Maragh) Won Risen Star (Feb. 19th) as 7-2 3rd choice when Blinkers OFF after disappointing 4th as favorite in Holy Bull @ GP on Jan. 30th. As a 2 year old, he was 2nd in G2 Remsen; got a 99 Beyer. Next Start: Louisiana Derby @ FG (Mar. 26th).

 

#17 (NR) – Free Entry (C. Brown /A. Garcia) 2 for 2 since switching from Eddie Kenneally to Chad Brown’s barn. Has impressive stalking style that bodes well in the Derby. Scored very high Beyer figures in both victories. Gets his biggest assignment to date as he’ll go in the G2 $350,000 Tama Bay Derby on Mar. 12th. 

 

#18 (NR) – Silver Medallion (S. Asmussen/G. Gomez) Won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields (northern CA) over a synthetic track. Prior to that race did his best work on turf while worse race of his career came on natural dirt.

If he continues to get entered and run at venues having a synthetic surface, he cannot be taken seriously come the first Saturday in May.

 

#19 (20) – Alternation (D. Von Hemel /L. Quinonez) Spent 2 y.o. season racing at Remington Park but won 3 y.o. debut (@ OP Jan. 15th) in gutty effort over Elite Alex. Then he followed that up with an allowance race victory over older horses. He’ll undoubtedly knock heads again w/ Elite Alex in Rebel @ OP (Mar. 19th). Dosage: 2.20

 

#20 (NR) – Left (A. Stall, Jr./J. Campbell) Impressive late bloomer who is 2 for 2 at Fair Grounds after making career debut a winning one of the turf in January. He needs to get graded stakes earnings and quickly if he wants any shot at running in the Kentucky Derby. Like Machen, Derby History is working against him, as the last Derby winner who was unraced as a 2 y.o. was Apollo in 1882. Likely next start: Louisiana Derby @ FG (Mar. 26th). 

 

#21 (9) – Casper’s Touch (K. McPeek/J. Leparoux) Sent to England (Chesham) in order to run distant races early in 2010 after a 4th place finish going 4 1/2 f. @ Kee. In 1st start at Chesham he ran 3rd, beaten 3+ lengths going 7 f. Came back to states and broke maiden on Nov. 19 @ CD at 1 mile (1:37 1/5). Made 3 y.o. debut @ GP in 1 1/8 Alw. (Feb. 5th), was rank early then when entering stretch was severely impeded by rival, nearly run into rail, losing all momentum yet came again get up for 2nd. Then was rank and steadied on 1st turn in Fountain Of Youth, finishing a well-distanced 7th. If his connections didn’t get discouraged and get him to relax, he’ll go in the Florida Derby @ GP (Apr. 3rd). Dosage: 1.53

 

#22 (NR) – Positive Response (W. Morey/J. Couton) Northern CA gelding who exclusively runs on synthetic surfaces. Disappointed me in the El Camino Real Derby when 3rd, but bounced back when shipped to Turfway Park and won the $100k John Battaglia Stakes. That win didn’t provided any graded stakes earning, but maybe some confidence moving forward. He needs to be tested on natural dirt to be considered a serious threat in the Derby. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him show up at Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes (Apr.16th).    

 

#23 (NR) – Beamer (C. Nafzger/L. Goncalves) A tough little colt who appears to want 1 1/8 miles or more. Was only one making up ground late on Sam F. Davis winner (Brethren) even though he finished 4th, 5+ back. Next Start: Tampa Bay Derby @ Tam (Mar. 12th).

 

#24 (22) – Toby’s Corner (H.G. Motion/E. Castro) Won the Whirlaway Stakes @ Aqu (Feb.5th) in the slop after a couple dominate performances @ Lrl. Son of Bellamy Road has the pedigree to get Derby distance (Dosage: 1.86). Bounced in Gotham while finishing 3rd. Possible next start: Wood Memorial @ Aqu (Apr. 9th).

 

The Road To The Roses traditionally has been a bumpy one, with many unexpected turns and twists, but this year has been relatively smooth, with just a few surprises. One quick observation, the races at Gulfstream Park (GP) have been loaded with talent thanks to MDI’s Preakness $5.5 Million bonus, eligible to winners of 3 year old graded stakes races who can also win the 2011 Preakness Stakes. MDI owns Gulfstream Park (GP), Golden Gate Fields (GG) and Santa Anita Park (SA).

 

Buckle-up and enjoy the thrill of thoroughbred horse racing!

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