Derby Thoughts by Trackside Talk Mike (@TracksideTalk on Twitter)
Mendelssohn is my top choice & Noble Indy will be my “saver”
Every indication that this horse is a monster & a freak. Could he bounce? Sure, just as can some others in here, but we have to use what we have to work with. Has won on 3 different surfaces so CD shouldn’t be an issue as it may be with others. Also has proved shipping by winning BCJvTf at Del Mar. I expect he’ll run again with blinkers on & lasix as he did in BC race at Del Mar, it should correct his looking around especially with the infield crowd at CD. Sooner or later the Derby will be won by a foreign horse and he is the best to ever come over for the Derby. Trainer won’t come unless ready. He wasn’t challenged for the lead in his last race, but that could have been the track. He was given a timeform rating of 122 & beyer rating of 106.He is actually an unknown factor as he isn’t really comparable to all the US horses but definably proven better than most in here, very few can win multiple Gr 1’s. His gate-to-wire win is deceptive as he doesn’t have the speed to do it again against these. They need to keep him about 10 lengths back to be effective or he won’t run his 3rd fraction.
This horse shows tremendous ability while still racing green with gate issues. After being headed in stretch he proved to be a fighter to come back for the win against a closer. Added blinkers in last and had to chase a fast early pace to stay in touch. Not sure if his much faster pace was from the pace of race or the blinkers, however has rated before. Has a lot of upside while still learning but an unknown factor. Increased SR against a faster pace of race and at a longer distances. Like that as well, but I don’t like his -23 deceleration. These horses can change dramatically in just a week or so when the light goes off and they put it all together. Comes into it fresh off a 6-week layoff & I would bet that time was spent gate training, getting use to blinkers and controlling speed. Odds will be or should be huge on this one. A positive unknown factor.
These will be my “underneath” horses:
Comes into the race undefeated 4/4. Used L2 as I believe it’s more reflective of what he can do as he was not challenged in the Ark Derby and was allowed to set a slow pace. L2 is more reflective of the Derby pace. Has increasing SR while up in class and going longer. Never been really tested but will get tested today, true ability is really unknown at this point. Won over 3 different tracks and increasing distance. Rates and likes being near pace. What’s not to like about him? Well he’s been traveling the B circuit and beating up on weaker foes for one. There is much irrational enthusiasm due to being undefeated which does not justify his actual performance and especially odds as most likely will be one of the co-favorites. His actual ability has not been undisclosed so an unknown, however still a contender with upside but reward verses risk not there.
Has improved quite as a 3 yr. old. Ran a big race against Audible in last and may have needed that race. He did beat the rest of that field very easily. “For only 3 starts he takes dirt kickback well said trainer Bill Mott, it should serve him well in the Derby as he lacks great early speed.” Odds should be decent on him, however still has much to prove. Improving SR while up in class and increasing distances. Few can go from a straight MSW to run big in a G1. Deserves lots respect and could be anything.
Bolt D’ Oro:
Forced to change style in last to prevent winner from getting away and still ran his best race ever. There will be a more honest pace in the Derby which will better set up for his stalking style. Not fully cranked up for debut as a 3 yr. old and improved big in last and as a 3 yr. old. Probably not much upside left in him but he can save energy for the 1 ¼ distance. Increased SR’s against a faster pace of race and at a longer distance. He was my top choice for months & I do have futures on him so if he eats me not a total loss.
Has won 4 of 5 while going up in class, with increasing Speed Ratings and distance increases. Overcame a much faster pace in last with hardly any deceleration while easily beating the field. Only additional races will determine his bottom. Increased SR against a faster pace of race and at a longer distance.
I won’t use Justify on any of my tickets, but here are my thoughts on him
Undefeated as is Magnum Moon but at least one is sure to lose or both as there will be 19 losers in the Derby. There is always cheap speed in the Derby and more horses to keep him honest. So a different set up or match up, he has never raced out of Cali or other than SA. Must prove he can handle shipping, CD track and not bounce. He did drift out in his last race. Must have had problems as a 2 yr. old but Baffert would never admit this.If we knew the reason a better judgement could be made. He will be the favorite & many will find him hard to ignore but also would have to take a low price in a field like this says not worth the risk.