When handicapping this race, you must figure out what to do with the horses exiting the Risen Star. It was an oddly run race from a visual standpoint. No horses made up any significant ground in the stretch. (1) Bravazo and (7) Snapper Sinclair were one-two all the way around the track. Typically, when there is a merry-go-round race I will toss those horses next out. This race however, I am not so sure. Outside of the Risen Star horses, there aren’t a ton of interesting horses or ones with an overabundance of quality. I am not sure if I can take a short price on any of these horses as there are so many question marks with each of them.
(1) Bravazo will be my tepid top pick. He has run very well in all lifetime starts except for the Jockey Club at Churchill. That start was followed by a bit of a layoff. This start marks his third off the bench and there is no reason why he cannot improve even more off his last effort. He did draw the rail so Gary Stevens’ hand is probably forced to be forwardly place. He has good tactical speed which should serve him well in a race where there a lot of horses who like to be on the engine early.
(8) Lone Sailor is my longshot play in here. As mentioned, there is a lot of speed horses signed on here. If the pace collapses, this one should be there to pick up the pieces. I am not quite sure if he is good enough to ultimately win. However, I feel he is a must use underneath, at what should be, a pretty good price. He is 20-1 on the morning and I think will go off around 15-1 or so.
(2) Noble Indy probably has the most upside of all the horses in here. He has come in with a good amount of hype and he is trained by Todd Pletcher. Last out in the Risen Star, he had a good stalking trip and just raced evenly down the lane. He was losing a bit of ground late on the leaders which isn’t a great sign. Todd puts the blinkers on for the first time. That move, in a graded stake, has not been a successful one for him. Last 12 times first time blinkers in a graded stake, there have been 0 wins 1 place and 2 shows. Most recently, Todd tried this with Vino Rosso in the Tampa Bay Derby. He flamed out at 2-1 in that start. He might be talented enough to still run well but enough question marks to pass on him at a short number.
(5) Retirement Fund is an interesting horse to me. It was clear from the start he just did not appreciate the sloppy going last out. If you draw a line through that race, his running line looks very solid. He led at every call in his first two starts. Bridgmohan should get aggressive with this horse and see how long his speed will carry him. I don’t think he is good enough to win but a horse who will be a bigger price and might stick around for a piece. His form is muddied up, no pun intended, from his last start which should help his price possibly drift up off that 12-1 Morning Line.
(9) My Boy Jack is the Morning Line Favorite. He is an absolute toss for me. If he runs well I lose. He got the absolute dream trip of dream trips last out. The red sea parted for him last up the rail and he took advantage. Anyone who was playing Oaklawn that day knows there was a severe rail bias. The track was also muddy which moved him forward as well. He won’t get either of those things Saturday and I will gladly toss him from my tickets.
(6) Hyndford ran second last out to Magnum Moon. Now, many people will see him only beaten 2 lengths and think he is a major player in here. If you watch the replay of that race, Magnum Moon is never asked to run a step and they used it to just stick him in behind horses to give him experience. He absolutely toyed with Hyndford and it wasn’t nearly as close as the final margin indicated. He is also a toss for me as he is very likely to be over bet due to his running line company.
Good Luck to all playing on Louisiana Derby Day at Fair Grounds!
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