Friday, May 2, 2014

Derby Undercard Analysis

--Brian DiDonato

CD Race 3 - MSW, 6f - There are some very telling stats for trainer Ian Wilkes that make #10 Boss Gone (8-1) pretty much an automatic bet here. The gelding was sixth with a fairly rough trip on debut over the Keeneland Polytrack Apr. 12, and is likely to improve drastically under these conditions. For one, according to DRF Formulator, Wilkes is just 7% on synthetic tracks (5% at Keeneland) over the past five years; and only 2% with his first timers. Combining those two categories, he’s 0-for-29. Wilkes does much better second out, however—especially recently. He’s 7-for-30 (23%) with maiden second timers over the past 12 months with a very strong $3.70 ROI, and an even-better 6-for-22 (27%) with a $4.83 ROI when that stat is restricted to dirt starters. There’s plenty of speed signed on here, and Boss Gone actually fits pretty well on speed figures. Maybe that means the 8-1 morning line quote is unrealistic, but regardless, I’m expecting a much-improved performance from this Wilkes trainee and think anything around 9-2 or better is fair value.

CD Race 6 - GII Distaff Turf Mile - Centre Court is a very worthy favorite with a three-for-three record over the Churchill strip, but #6 I’m Already Sexy (10-1) has a chance to spring the upset. The Wayne Catalano pupil put together a pair of solid winning efforts over the Arlington turf course this summer, including a 3 3/4-length victory in the GIII Pucker Up S., but was up against it in her last two trips to the post as a sophomore. She failed to make the lead when drawn wide in a very quick-paced renewal of the GI QE II Challenge Cup, and had a similar problem in this venue’s GII Mrs. Revere S. over good ground. There isn’t really much speed signed on here, however, and if I’m Already Sexy is gunned to the lead, she could get brave over a one-mile distance that should be to her liking.

CD Race 8 - GII American Turf S. - I’ll spread pretty wide in here to kick off the pick four, but I’m most interested in #2 Chief Barker (5-1). I know, surprise, surprise, I’m picking the Euro. . . But he kicked off his career with three well-rated victories in Britain last Summer, including a score over the ill-fated Chriselliam. She annexed the G1 Fillies’ Mile and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in her next two outings. Chief Barker hasn’t been seen since finishing sixth in the G1 Racing Post Trophy for Richard Hannon, but it didn’t look like he loved the soft ground that day and he appears to be working very well for new conditioner Larry Rivelli. This is the type of horse that gets more lost on days when there’s more casual money in the pools.

CD Race 9 - GII Churchill Downs S. - This is another race with a number of possibilities and live prices, but I have to go back to #2 Clearly Now (9-2). I loved him in the Carter (analysis here), and obviously wasn’t alone as he went off the 5-2 favorite, but could only manage third. He got a really terrible ride in a race full of bad rides--I’ve never seen a Grade I sprint run like a 12-furlong turf race before, but that’s pretty much what happened. Anyway, Clearly Now should have been right up there pressing the pace instead of being strangled in and among horses--now he gets a rider change to Javier Castellano, who’s never afraid to put his horses into the mix early. The lay-off was the main concern for Clearly last time, as he always seems to fire best second off the bench, and he should be ready for a peak effort here.

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