Tag Archives: Churchill Downs

Four Year Trends Under The Kentucky Derby Points System

Mario Gutierrez rode Nyquist to the victory in the 142nd Kentucky Derby (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Four Year Trends Under The Kentucky Derby Points System

The dust has hardly settled on Nyquist’s win in the 142nd Kentucky Derby, but that does not stop us from looking back on his race as well several other Kentucky Derbies. 2016 marked the fourth year of the Kentucky Derby Points System that helps determine the entrants into the race. Below we will take a look at the last four years (2013 through 2016) under the Points System as well as the four years prior to the Points System (2009 through 2012).

Some trends have become apparent in the last few years, but keep in mind that 4 years of data is hardly enough to start planning a strategy around betting the 2017 Kentucky Derby. And anyone who has followed horse racing knows this sport can turn in a hurry. Let’s look at the first trend of the winners in the last eight years.

Favorites Dominate Kentucky Derby Under Points System

The favorites have won each of the first four runnings of the Kentucky Derby under the points system. In the four years prior to the Points System, the favorite never won and only one to hit the board was Bodemeister in 2012 with his wonderful front running effort. The tables below show each of the last 8 years.

4 Years Since Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner $2 Win $2 Exacta Field Size Favorite Finish
2016 Nyquist $6.60 (Fav) $30.60 20 Winner
2015 American Pharoah $7.80 (Fav) $72.60 18 Winner
2014 California Chrome $7.00 (Fav) $340.00 19 Winner
2013 Orb $12.80 (Fav) $981.60 19 Winner

 

4 Years Prior to Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner $2 Win $2 Exacta Field Size Favorite Finish
2012 I’ll Have Another $30.60 $306.60 20 2nd
2011 Animal Kingdom $43.80 $329.80 19 8th
2010 Super Saver $18.00 $152.40 20 6th
2009 Mine That Bird $103.20 $2,074.80 19 18th

One thing to keep is mind is that the favorites are so for a reason: they are considered to be one of the best going into the race. This is quite true for each of the last four horses. Nyquist was considered the best three year old, though there were concerns whether he could handle a mile and a quarter. American Pharoah and California Chrome were considered stand outs against their peers while Orb was a tepid favorite, but still highly regarded to get the distance and had a beloved trainer in his corner.

Even the exactas have gotten chalkier since the start of the Points System. Orb’s exacta paid just short of a grand, but is has been shorter since then including a paltry $30.60 with Nyquist and Exaggerator going 1-2 this year. It is hard to see the payout getting much smaller than that unless there are two towering choices in 2017.

California Based Horses Rise To The Top Under Points System

California horse racing is known for its speed. The horses are bred to go as fast as possible as soon as possible. That does not exactly seem like a recipe for getting a mile and a quarter, but we have seen a shift of 3 year old dominance to the West Coast.

Consider this: 4 of the last 5 horses to win the Kentucky Derby have spent significant time based in California during their two and/or three year old season.

Nyquist (2016): Ran five of his eight races in California. His three races outside of the state have been in Kentucky (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and now Derby) and Florida (Florida Derby), which happens to be the site of his three biggest career wins.

American Pharoah (2015): Ran all three of his two year old races in California before being shipped between California and Arkansas for his Derby Preps. It worked well as he went on to become the first Triple Crown Winner since Affirmed in 1978.

California Chrome (2014): He ran 10 races in California prior to the Kentucky Derby.

Orb (2013): He wintered in Florida where he won three races before winning the Kentucky Derby.

I’ll Have Another (2012): He raced twice in California as a two year old before a poor race at Saratoga to end his season. At three, he stayed in California before heading to the Kentucky Derby.

Animal Kingdom (2011) and Super Saver (2010) were nomadic in their careers prior to the Derby. Mine That Bird (2009) did have a race in California as a two year old, but it was a stopover in the Breeders’ Cup after his career started in Canada. He eventually landed at Sunland Park before his unlikely Derby win.

For whatever reasons, California has churned out the Kentucky Derby prospects and they are not just winning. They are also doing well enough to hit the board the last two years. Nyquist and Exaggerator went 1-2 this year while American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund went 1-2-3 in 2015. Again, two years of data in dominating the exacta is far from a serious trend, but is still worth noting.

Position of Winners Under Points System

Another trend that has begun to emerge from the last four years is not just favorites or Californian horses winning the Kentucky Derby. It is also how they are winning the race. Each of the last three years the winning horses have been very close to the lead with none of the them being worse than third during their race. The tables below provide some insight as to where the winners were during their race.

4 Years Since Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner 1/4 Split 1/2 Split 3/4 Split 1 Mile Split Final Time Field Size Track Condition Winning Style
2016 Nyquist 22.58 45.72 1:10.40 1:35.61 2:01.31 20 Fast Near Front / Presser
2015 American Pharoah 23.24 47.34 1:11.29 1:36.45 2:03.02 18 Fast Near Front / Presser
2014 California Chrome 23.04 47.37 1:11.80 1:37.45 2:03.66 19 Fast Near Front / Presser
2013 Orb 22.57 45.33 1:09.80 1:36.16 2:02.89 19 Sloppy (Sealed) Deep Closer

 

4 Years Prior to Start of Kentucky Derby Points System
Year Winner 1/4 Split 1/2 Split 3/4 Split 1 Mile Split Final Time Field Size Track Condition Winning Style
2012 I’ll Have Another 22.32 45.39 1:09.80 1:35.19 2:01.83 20 Fast Off Leaders / Stalking
2011 Animal Kingdom 23.24 48.63 1:13.40 1:37.49 2:02.04 19 Fast Mid Pack / Closer
2010 Super Saver 22.63 46.16 1:10.58 1:37.65 2:04.45 20 Sloppy (Sealed) Off Leaders / Stalking
2009 Mine That Bird 22.98 47.23 1:12.09 1:37.49 2:02.66 19 Sloppy (Sealed) Deep Closer

In the five previous Kentucky Derbies (2009-2013), runners close to the pace were usually nowhere to be found. As previously mentioned, Bodemeister set the pace in the 2012 Kentucky Derby won by I’ll Have Another and finished second. Shackleford tried to wire the field in 2011, but finished fourth by 3 3/4 lengths. Super Saver was close to the lead in terms of position, but was more than 5 lengths off the pace until the mile marker. Pioneerof the Nile (Sire of American Pharoah) was close throughout his Kentucky Derby run (never more than 3 lengths off the lead) while finishing second to Mine That Bird.

One of the hardest conclusions to draw is from race position. Each Kentucky Derby is completely different in how it is run. How many horses were setting the pace? Was there any pressure on the leader(s)? How was the track condition? How did the track condition affect the shape of the race? Did one of the speed horses not break well? Those are just a few of the many questions that can have different answers each year in how the race was run.

Nevertheless, the trend is there that horses near the front are doing well. However, keep in mind that the last three years, the top 3 year old entering the Derby was considered above the rest of the crop. Perhaps this is nothing more than the best horse in the race having a similar style and just being better than their peers.

Speed Under the Kentucky Derby Points System

Last year I postulated that the Kentucky Derby was slowing down in terms of time. After three years of data it appeared to be correct, but then 2016 happened. This year the Kentucky Derby went in 22.58 for the quarter and 45.72 for the opening half-mile. 2015 saw the same fractions go in 23.24 and 47.34, respectively. As stated two paragraphs above, the shape of the race is contingent on many different factors. The draw, the track condition, if a bias is present on the track, the break at the start of the race, etc. all can completely change how a race is run and won, especially in a race with as many as 20 horses.

Conclusion

What you have read above was worth pointing out, but by no means should sculpt one’s handicapping for the 2017 Kentucky Derby. The favorites have dominated the last four years and the winner has run the same race in the last three years. Does that mean it will continue? Not at all, but the trend can also still continue in 2017.

What makes the Derby so different (and difficult) is there is no race to compare it. There are no other races for 3 year olds that are run at a mile and a quarter AND allow 20 horses. The uniqueness of it allows it to be one of, if not the, most popular races each year. That uniqueness also makes it hard to find parallels as noted above.

Horse racing is a fickle sport. The highest highs can be followed by the lowest lows. The trends laid out above could easily be blown apart when a horse completely changes tactics (see Palace Malice in the 2013 Kentucky Derby). A real, concrete pattern may not emerge for another decade or more (four years is hardly a great basis for drawing a solid conclusion). A lot of things can change in the next decade which may show this four year trend as an anomaly. 

One trend that will not probably change is my picking of the Kentucky Derby Toss. I had #9 Destin this year and he finished 6th. In addition, there will probably be an article like this one looking back at five year trends instead of four year trends. Enjoy the Triple Crown!

2016 Kentucky Derby Field Set

Nyquist FL Derby

Nyquist Won the Florida Derby and is a perfect seven for seven in his career (Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald/Adam Coglianese)

2016 Kentucky Derby Field Set

The 142nd Kentucky Derby field is now set with 20 three year olds ready to face off to wear the garland of roses. There were 22 horses entered, but the #21 and #22 are also-eligibles and will only race if there are scratches prior to Friday.

The favorite is Nyquist, the undefeated horse who has won in California, Kentucky, and Florida. Nyquist is listed at 3-1 and is breaking from post 13, the same post he had when he won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

The 2016 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 and has a post time of 6:34 PM Eastern Time. It is carded as the 12th race at Churchill Downs and the field will be going 1 1/4 miles on the main track.

The full field is in the chart below with the program number, horse, jockey, trainer, and morning line provided.

Program Number Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Trojan Nation Aaron Gryder Patrick Gallagher 50-1
2 Suddenbreakingnews Luis Quinonez Donnie Von Hemel 20-1
3 Creator Ricardo Santana Jr Steve Asmussen 10-1
4 Mo Tom Corey Lanerie Tom Amoss 20-1
5 Gun Runner Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen 10-1
6 My Man Sam Irad Ortiz Jr Chad Brown 20-1
7 Oscar Nominated Julien Leparoux Mike Maker 50-1
8 Lani Yutaka Take Mikio Matsunaga 30-1
9 Destin Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher 15-1
10 Whitmore Victor Espinoza Ron Moquett 20-1
11 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 8-1
12 Tom’s Ready Brian Hernandez Jr Dallas Stewart 30-1
13 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 3-1
14 Mohaymen Junior Alvarado Kiaran McLaughlin 10-1
15 Outwork John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 15-1
16 Shagaf Joel Rosario Chad Brown 20-1
17 Mor Spirit Gary Stevens Bob Baffert 12-1
18 Majesto Emisael Jaramillo Gustavo Delgado 30-1
19 Brody’s Cause Luis Saez Dale Romans 12-1
20 Danzing Candy Mike Smith Clifford Sise Jr 15-1
21 (AE) Laoban Cornelio Velazquez Eric Guillot 50-1
22 (AE) Cherry Wine Robby Albarado Dale Romans 30-1

The Kentucky Derby card looks fantastic with a plenty of full fields and a total of 14 races to be run on the day. First post on Saturday is at 10:30 AM Eastern Time. The overnight for the card can be found here.

The Kentucky Oaks will be run about 24 hours earlier and the entries for that race can be found here.

2016 Kentucky Oaks Field Drawn

Rachel's Valentina is the morning line favorite for the 2016 Kentucky Oaks (Photo courtesy of NYRA/Susie Rasher)

Rachel’s Valentina is the morning line favorite for the 2016 Kentucky Oaks (Photo courtesy of NYRA/Susie Rasher)

2016 Kentucky Oaks Field Drawn

A full field of fourteen fillies, along with an also-eligible, has been drawn for the 2016 Kentucky Oaks. Rachel’s Valentina is the morning line favorite at 7-2, but there are several other fillies that are contenders.

The Kentucky Oaks will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main dirt track at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 6. Post time is scheduled for 5:49 PM Eastern Time and the purse is worth $1,000,000. The also-eligible horse, Dothraki Queen, would need one of the fourteen horses currently in the race to defect in order to have a chance at running in the Oaks.

The full field is in the chart below with the program number, horse, jockey, trainer, and morning line provided.

Program Number Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Terra Promessa Ricardo Santana, Jr Steve Asmussen 10-1
2 Weep No More Corey Lanerie George Arnold II 9-2
3 Lewis Bay Irad Ortiz, Jr Chad Brown 8-1
4 Go Maggie Go Luis Saez Dale Romans 12-1
5 Dream Dance Brian Hernandez Jr Neil Howard 30-1
6 Mokat Flavien Prat Richard Baltas 20-1
7 Mo d’Amour Joel Rosario Todd Pletcher 30-1
8 Royal Obsession Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen 20-1
9 Paola Queen Emisael Jaramillo Gustavo Delgado 30-1
10 Venus Valentine Shaun Bridgmohan Tom Amoss 30-1
11 Rachel’s Valentina John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 7-2
12 Cathryn Sophia Javier Castellano John Servis 9-2
13 Land Over Sea Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 5-1
14 Taxable Mike Smith Steve Asmussen 20-1
15 (AE) Dothraki Queen Gary Stevens Ken McPeek 30-1

The Kentucky Oaks is the 11th race on Friday’s card at Churchill Downs. There are many excellent fields on tap for Oaks Day with 13 races in total. The overnight for the entire day can be found here with a first post of 10:30 AM Eastern Time.

The draw for the Kentucky Derby can be found here.

Cocked And Loaded Wins Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes

Cocked And Loaded Wins Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes

Cocked and Loaded sat off the dueling leaders and made his move on the turn while having enough in the stretch to win the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Iroquois Stakes is the first race on the Road to the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

The pair of Condominium and Expected Ruler went off to the lead right away with Missle Bomb and Cocked and Loaded behind by 5 1/2 lengths. Unbridled Outlaw was sixth, Rated R Superstar was seventh, Star Hill was eighth, and Baychimo was ninth. Conquest Windycity was settled in tenth early on while Meeteetse Fly was biding his time in 11th, about 18 lengths off the lead.

The duo of Condominium and Expected Ruler sped out to an opening quarter in 22.69 and a half mile in 46.29 by themselves. As the two leaders began to tire, Cocked and Loaded took over with Rated R Superstar making a big move from seventh to move up to second. Conquest Windycity also made a big move going from tenth to third on the far turn while wide.

The rest of the field was not a threat expect for one glaring horse. That was Unbridled Outlaw who was completely stopped on the far turn due to a tiring Expected Ruler. He took up sharply, but was able to re-rally to finish third in an impressive race. Conquest Windycity could not sustain his bid and finished fourth.

The remaining order of finish was Baychimo in fifth, Star Hill sixth, Meeteetse Fly seventh, Twirling Cinnamon eighth, Missle Bomb ninth, Condominium tenth, and Expected Ruler last of 11. Dothat Dance was scratched early in the morning and did not run. The full chart can be found here courtesy of Equibase.

Cocked and Loaded is out of Colonel John by the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon. He paid $21.00 to win, $10.00 to place, and $6.00 to show. He was ridden by Emmanuel Esquivel and trained by Larry Rivelli.

The top four from this race will also occupy the top four spots of the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Cocked and Loaded received 10 points, Rated R Superstar received 4 points, Unbridled Outlaw received 2 points, and Conquest Windycity received 1 point.

The Iroquois Stakes is also a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in October.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby will make its next stop at Santa Anita in two weeks with the Grade 1 Front Runner on September 26.

2015 Pocahontas Stakes Preview

2015 Pocahontas Stakes Preview

The Road to the 2016 Kentucky Oaks will commence on Saturday, September 12 at the same venue it will end: Churchill Downs. The Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes will be the first race with the winner receiving 10 points, the runner up receiving 4 points, third place receiving 2 points, and the fourth place finisher receiving 1 point.

The Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. A field of 8 was entered for a purse of $200,000. Post time for the Pocahontas is scheduled for 4:18 PM Eastern Time and is carded as race eight on an eleven race program.

The Pocahontas Stakes is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series. The winner will be guaranteed a spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland in October.

Free past performances for the Pocahontas can be found here under Saturday, September 12 and race 8 at Churchill Downs. You can also check out the Iroquois Stakes preview here. Entries are listed in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Decked OutColby HernandezKeith Desormeaux6-1
2Bold QualityPaco LopezKelly Breen8-1
3Dream DanceBrian Hernandez Jr.Neil Howard8-1
4Princess KennedyGallyn MitchellGary Hartlage12-1
5Dothraki QueenCorey LanerieKenneth McPeek9-2
6Vivid StormCalvin BorelWilliam Bradley15-1
7Just WickedJose OrtizSteve Asmussen1-1
8Put Da Blame On MeAlbin JimenezDale Romans10-1

1. Decked Out – She has started four races thus far with he first race being at Santa Anita in May. She won that race by coming off the pace after a slow start and then shipped east to Belmont where she was second in the Astoria. Her last two races were at Saratoga in graded stakes competition in the Grade 3 Schuylerville (finished 3rd) and the Grade 2 Adirondack (finished 4th). This will be her first attempt beyond 6.5 furlongs and she will need to step up to compete in this race.

2. Bold Quality – She has ran once in her career with a smashing maiden victory at Parx by 4 1/2 lengths. She broke on the rail, but ended up with a perfect trip behind a quartet of horses and pulled away in the stretch. She ran a bit greenly in the last furlong, but she has two solid works since that race. She is an interesting horse in this spot.

3. Dream Dance – She started her career at Churchill Downs in June with a fifth place finish after a slow start. She rallied well in that race, but was no match to the top four. She broke better in her second race and was incredibly unlucky to win, losing by a nose. She got the job done in her third start with a stalking trip and three wide move in the stretch to win by a length and a half. This will be her first test around two turns, but she is bred for it by Afleet Alex out of a Vindication mare. She rates a solid look in this group.

4. Princess Kennedy – This filly has made four starts with all four coming in the Pacific Northwest at Emerald Downs. She was wide throughout in her debut finishing fourth in a field of 8 with a mild rally. Her second race saw her battle off two horses in her maiden breaking score by 2 1 /2 lengths. She stepped up into stakes company her next two starts. In the Angie C, she broke awkwardly, then steadied on the turn, and finished with a nice rally, but missed by a nose. She crushed in her latest race by 8 3/4 lengths with a nice trip behind the speed at 6.5 furlongs. This race will be at 8.5 furlongs, but her pedigree and running style suggest she will relish two turns. She is worth a long look as a price in here.

5. Dothraki Queen – She is the only filly to have raced around two turns, but she did it on the grass. He lone start was in July at Ellis Park going a mile on the good turf course. She broke slow and started her move on the far turn before engulfing the leaders in the stretch on her way to a 7 length victory. She does have some dirt influences in her pedigree and a better break will make her a dangerous foe in this race.

6. Vivid Storm – She began her career at 5.5 furlongs at Churchill Downs in the slop. She made a wide bid on the turn and in the stretch, but was no match for the top two finishing third by 8 3/4 lengths. She came back in her second start with a nice rally to win by a length at Ellis Park. She stepped up into an allowance race in her last start, but was unable to do better than third by 6 1/4 lengths with a good trip off the speed. She has the pedigree to relish the longer distance, but she will need to do better to have a legitimate chance to win this race.

7. Just Wicked – She ran 5 furlongs on turf in her debut, but missed by half a length after striking the front in the stretch. She moved to dirt in her second start at Saratoga where she broke on top and then found herself with a good trip behind the leaders. She won up the rail by 1 3/4 lengths while moving on to the Grade 2 Adirondack. She had another good trip off the pace set by Tonasah, but she had to battle down to the wire to finish her off. She won by 1 1/4 lengths and the Pocahontas will be her first start around two turns. She is bred to go long being out of Tapit and a Harlan’s Holiday mare. Just Wicked has faced the stiffest competition and she is a deserving favorite here.

8. Put Da Blame On Me – She began her career at Ellis Park in the same race that Vivid Storm broke her maiden. Put Da Blame On Me prompted the pace, but weakened in the stretch to finish fourth by 5 3/4 lengths. She was sent to Indiana Grand for her second race where she prompted the pace once again, but this time was able to keep going to the wire. She won by 4 3/4 lengths and will now have her first start around two turns. She is out of Blame and a Roman Ruler mare, which means she should like the added ground. However, She will have to step up in here to have a chance to win.

Selections

This race is chock full of fillies who are trying something new for the first time. Only #5 Dothraki Queen has been around two turns, but she is also the only filly who has not raced on dirt yet. Some are trying winners for the first time after breaking their maiden as well. #7 Just Wicked is tough to beat, but it is worth a shot with #4 Princess Kennedy and #5 Dothraki Queen.

Top selection – #4 Princess Kennedy

2nd selection – #5 Dothraki Queen

3rd selection – #7 Just Wicked

4th selection – #3 Dream Dance

Check back on Saturday for a recap of the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes.

2015 Iroquois Stakes Preview

2015 Iroquois Stakes Preview

The Road the 2016 Kentucky Derby gets underway with the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes from Churchill Downs. The Iroquois Stakes is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Challenge Series. The winner will be guaranteed a spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in October.

The Iroquois Stakes will award 10 points to the winner, 4 points to second, 2 points to third, and one point to the fourth place finisher. The race will be run at 1 1/16 miles over Churchill’s main track with a purse of $150,000.

Post time is scheduled for 4:49 PM Eastern with the race carded as the ninth of 11 races and is right after the Pocahontas Stakes. Free past performances can be found here under Saturday, September 12 and race number 9.  Entries are listed below in the table.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1Conquest WindycityShaun BridgmohanMark Casse7-2
2Meeteetse FlyJoe JohnsonKenneth McPeek15-1
3Expected RulerWilmer GarciaLiam Benson5-1
4CondominiumJon CourtD. Wayne Lukas8-1
5Unbridled OutlawCorey LanerieDale Romans4-1
6Cocked and LoadedEmmanuel EsquivelLarry Rivelli6-1
7Star HillJose OrtizGeorge Arnold10-1
8Dothat DanceMarcelino PedrozaJimmy Corrigan20-1
9Missle BombVictor LebronDarrin Miller15-1
10Rated R SuperstarCalvin BorelKenneth McPeek8-1
11Twirling CinnamonBrian Hernandez Jr.Brad Cox12-1
12BaychimoPaco LopezKelly Breen30-1

1. Conquest Windycity – He has only one start and it was a good one. He went 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga over the turf from the rail. He had a good trip midpack for most of the race and ran on in the stretch to get second only 1 1/4 lengths off the winner. He is bred to love the turf out of Tiznow and an A.P. Indy mare. He is the tepid favorite here and has a good chance like many others in this race.

2. Meeteetse Fly – Like the horse to his inside, he too has only one start and that came on the turf course over at Ellis Park. He went one mile that day and was stuck in the outside post from the nine hole. He settled at the back of the field before moving up on the backstretch, he went 5 five entering the stretch, and then started to pull away in the final sixteenth of a mile. There is dirt influence in the pedigree, but the question is can he up his game against better horses in this spot? The feeling here is probably not.

3. Expected Ruler – He is yet another that made his debut on turf, but he did so going only 5 furlongs and also in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth. He sat in the middle of the field off a fast pace of 21 2/5 and 44 4/5 while finding his way through on the rail. He blew up the tote board at a massive 47-1 and his price will not be anywhere close to that today. He seems more suited towards the turf with his pedigree, but the distance should not be an issue. Interesting horse, but also has some question marks.

4. Condominium – We arrive at our first horse in the field to have made a start on dirt. His debut was a poor one up at Saratoga going 5.5 furlongs. He pressed the pace and then faded badly to finish 8th by 16 lengths. His second race was far better as he broke from the rail and tried to wire the field. He had a clear lead, but could not hold off his foe in the final furlong finishing second by 2 1/2 lengths. He was nearly 7 lengths clear of third as well. His pedigree says there will be no issues with the distance. We know he will be going straight to the front, but can he hold them off for 8.5 furlongs?

5. Unbridled Outlaw – His debut was here at Churchill Downs going 6 furlongs in late June. He broke well in that debut, but was soon near the back of the field and had to rally in the stretch. He made a solid rally in the stretch to finish 3rd by 3 1/4 lengths. He was then sent to Ellis Park next out where he got the job done. He had an odd start where he broke from the rail and ended up hitting the rail, but he was able to sit off the pace and rally to win by half a length. Once again, he is another that is bred to go long and has a solid chance in this race.

6. Cocked and Loaded – He made a very early start in his career with an April debut at Keeneland. He had a poor start to that race when he broke outward, but was able to rally on the turn and in the stretch to win by a length. He made his second start at Belmont in the Tremont where he broke on top of the field, but ended up sitting behind the leaders and rallying to win by a half-length. Up next was the Grade 3 Sanford where sat midpack, but had nothing in the lane while finishing 6th beaten 3 1/2 lengths. His latest start was at Arlington in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. There, he had another good trip off the speed, but offered little in the lane finishing fifth by 7 1/2 lengths. He is bred to go long, which may do the trick for him, but he has also been trending the wrong way on numbers and form.

7. Star Hill – He has a lone maiden race at Saratoga to his credit. He settled midpack, but was more than five or six lengths off the lead until the turn when he made his move. He moved up in the stretch, switched out, and just missed second while finishing 3rd by 2 1/4 lengths. He is bred to go long, but may find the turf more suitable for his breeding. However, he is an interesting long shot and cannot be discounted underneath in the exotics.

8. Dothat Dance – His career started here at Churchill Downs going five furlongs. he was off slow and made a mild rally in the stretch to finish 5th in a field of 6 by 7 1/4 lengths. The connections decided to enter him in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in his next race where he broke slow and had another mild finish in the stretch. He managed to finish fourth, but was beaten 11 lengths. His most recent start came late in August at Indiana Grand where he was entered on turf going 7.5 furlongs in a maiden race. He broke awkwardly and slow again in this race before finishing fourth by 5 1/2 lengths. He will need to break better and have a much better rally to even contend here.

9. Missle Bomb – His only two races came at Arlington Park. In his debut, he broke from the rial and managed to rally for second in the shadow of the wire, but was no match for the winner losing by 7 3/4 lengths. His next start was against stakes company in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity and he sat off the pace, but once again was no match for the winner. He finished third by 5 lengths that day and will now make is first start around two turns. His last workout was excellent going four furlongs in 47 4/5, but he is also facing some good competition. Tough call to make on him…

10. Rated R Superstar – His debut came in the same race as Unbridled Outlaw’s maiden breaking score. He pressed the pace throughout, but could not fend off the eventual winner losing by only a half-length. He came back last out to press the pace again, but this time he drew off to win by 5 lengths again at Ellis Park. He will be sent to the front in this spot and will have some company in the form of Condominium. Can he put him away as well as the others from out here?

11. Twirling Cinnamon – He made his debut here at Churchill in mid-June. He broke well, sat off the pace behind the dueling leaders, encountered some slight traffic issues, and came on late to grab the win by a nose. He was then sent to Saratoga for the Grade 3 Sanford, but he was unable to make an impact while racing wide most of the way. He finished 8th of 10 that day by 6 3/4 lengths. He will need to work out a good trip from this post.

12. Baychim0 – He made his only two appearances at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. He was outrun early in his debut, but made a decent rally in the stretch. He was no match for the top two as he finished third by 8 1/4 lengths, but he was 5 3/4 lengths clear of the fourth place finisher. In his second start, he was off the pace early on, but made a nice sweeping four wide move on the turn and into the stretch to give him a lead he was able to hold on to. He won by 3/4 of a length in the end. He has the pedigree to run long, but the far outside post does not help his chances.

Selections

This is a tough race to decipher due to many variables. Some horses are making their dirt debut while others have not been longer than six furlongs. It is hard to take a favorite here, but there are not as many worries regarding #1 Conquest Windycity from the rail. We will not want too short of a price, but given the field, this is not too much of a worry. For second we will look to #9 Missle Bomb. He ran evenly in his two races, but the extra distance should help him and he will be a solid price. #5 Unbridled Outlaw should be able to work out a good trip in here and has the credentials to win this race. #7 Star Hill ran a sneaky good race in his debut and despite finishing third, has a chance to make noise on the stretch out. #4 Condominium will certainly take them as far as he can, which makes him a must include on the tickets if he can get a clear lead again.

Top selection – #1 Conquest Windycity

2nd selection – #9 Missle Bomb

3rd selection – #5 Unbridled Outlaw

4th selection – #7 Star Hill

Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes.

2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 Announced

2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 Announced

Churchill Downs has announced the individual horses for the fourth pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. The pool will open at 12 PM Eastern Time on Friday, March 27 and close on Sunday, March 29 at 6 PM Eastern Time.

Trainer Bob Baffert has the top two morning line choices in American Pharoah at 9-2 and Dortmund at 5-1. Carpe Diem is the third choice at 6-1 and “all others” is the fourth choice at 8-1.

Below is a list of each horse in alphabetical order with their morning line odds in parentheses.

1. American Pharoah (9-2)

2. Ami’s Flatter (50-1)  (New entrant in Pool 4)

3. Bold Conquest (50-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

4. Bolo (20-1)

5. Carpe Diem (6-1)

6. Daredevil (30-1)

7. Dortmund (5-1)

8. Dubai Sky (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

9. El Kabeir (20-1)

10. Far From Over (15-1)

11. Far Right (30-1)

12. Firing Line (12-1)

13. Frosted (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

14. International Star (20-1)

15. Itsaknockout (30-1)

16. Keen Ice (50-1)

17. Madefromlucky (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

18. Materiality (20-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

19. Mr. Z (50-1)

20. Mubtaahij (30-1) (New entrant in Pool 4)

21. Prospect Park (15-1)

22. Upstart (15-1)

23. War Story (50-1)

24. All other 3 year olds (8-1)

The seven horses that were part of pool 3, but not in pool 4 are Danzig Moon, Khozan, Lord Nelson, Ocean Knight, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Texas Red, and The Great War.

All other 3 year olds closed as the favorite in pool 1 at odds of 3/5 that ran from November 28 through November 30, 2014. All others again closed as the favorite in pool 2 at odds of 5/2 that ran from February 6 through February 8. The third pool also had all other as the 4-1 favorite with American Pharoah at 8-1 and Dortmund at 9-1.

Bettors can also bet the an exacta with any combination of the 24 entries listed above. Live odds can be seen at KentuckyDerby.com or by clicking here between Friday, March 27 and Sunday, March 29.

There are three Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend. They are all on Saturday, March 28 with the Group 2 UAE Derby, the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. All three races award points to the top four finishers in the amount of 100, 40, 20, and 10 to the first, second, third, and fourth place finishers respectively. The points go towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard and help secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby.