Three Derbies Made for Intriguing Weekend
HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA., March 30, 2015—Unlike California’s Chrome’s owners who decided to ship the 2014 Horse of the Year to England instead of home to California before conferring with trainer Art Sherman, the owners of undefeated Florida Derby winner Materiality said they won’t go to the Kentucky Derby for their ego, only if they’re live.
Whether Materiality is live will depend on what trainer Todd Pletcher observes and recommends following Materiality’s final breeze at Churchill Downs the weekend before American racing’s biggest dance.
In any event, Materiality certainly shook up HRI’s Kentucky Derby Power 10, cracking into the elite in his first try at #4, knocking Itsaknockout out of that spot because he beat a proven stakes winner that never fails to fire.
Upstart is his name, and he also dropped a few notches this week. Finally, in at #10 from 7,700 miles to the east of Louisville comes Mubtaahij, trained by Down Under legend Mike de Kock.
Because he has not run in America this year, he was ineligible to be ranked in the NTRA Top 10 Poll of three year olds out later today, but we have no restrictions here at HRI.
His presence is just what a 20-horse Kentucky Derby field needs; some foreign intrigue.
In a perfect world, and as a reminder, the Power 10 at once is meant to be a measured blend of accomplishment and potential. Plenty of time remains for the X’s and O’s of actual handicapping.
Besides, in the next two weeks, the scores really will begin to change and then let the handicapping begin.
Until then, HRI’s Kentucky Derby Power 10, Week 4:
1. American Pharoah (33) worked five-eighths of a mile in 58 3/5 Sunday morning, his first timed workout since the Rebel Stakes which he won impressively and with something in reserve over a sloppy Oaklawn Park surface a fortnight ago. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:10 2/5. One more strong breeze is scheduled prior to his return in the Arkansas Derby a week from Saturday.
2. Dortmund (30) will have a stablemate in the starting gate for this Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby--One Lucky Dane, an impressive optional/allowances winner by nearly 10 lengths earlier this month. The undefeated Dortmund is reported to be training right on schedule for the race that produced last year’s Derby winner.
3. Carpe Diem (22) has been pointed toward the Blue Grass for some time and is expected to keep that appointment on Saturday on the Keeneland dirt surface. Aside from Fountain of Youth third Frammento, have no idea as of now what the competition will be like in Lexington. It will be his second a final prep and, if he’s willing, a strong effort here will be important four weeks later.
4. Materiality (18) will be making his fourth lifetime start in the Derby should he enter the Louisville starting gate. It didn’t stop the brilliant tender-foot Big Brown in 2008 but the Curse of Apollo has stopped every Derby contender since 1882 that failed to have a race as a two year old.
5. International Star (17) it takes a good horse to sweep any Kentucky Derby prep series at a major venue and that’s just what the Lecomte, Risen Star and Louisiana Derby winner did on Saturday. He owns multiple moves, is as game as they make’m and he can beat you from anywhere on the racetrack. The Ramseys reportedly are sticking with Miguel Mena; good for them—and good for International Star.
6. Upstart (16) is the horse that never fails to fire and believe that trainer Rick Violette made a valid point when he said that if Materiality was on his hip instead of the other way around, the Florida Derby result might have been different. Yes, the inside was the deadest part of a very dull strip but Sr. Quisqueyano, on the fence, gave Commissioner all he wanted in the Skip Away.
7. Firing Line (11) we know, we know, beat up on soft competition on a minor circuit in New Mexico but still have to love the way he did it beneath second-time Gary Stevens-- and he was extremely competitive vs. Dortmund, twice. There’s no arguing he is a legitimate talent.
8. El Kabeir-tie (9) proved his worth and true ability with a dominant two-move performance winning the Gotham. Of course, that was 1-1/16 miles on the winter track and Saturday it will be the Aqueduct main track at nine furlongs and tougher competition. It will be interesting to see where he fits with a different cast of characters. Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.12 Monday morning, fastest of 27, galloping out three-quarters in 1:13 3/5.
8. Prospect Park-tie (9) made that strong late run for place behind Dortmund, altering his course through the stretch following a ground-losing trip. Has worked well since the San Felipe but the Santa Anita Derby will show if he’s made more development and added maturity. He needs to make a strong showing on Saturday to prove he belongs with the elite.
10. Mubtaahij (6) like the idea that legendary Down Under horseman Mike de Kock seemed legitimately excited to run in America’s Race, calling it a dream. So a trip to America following his very impressive UAE Derby score is no afterthought. Taking 8-1 in the final Kentucky Derby Futures, however, is a considerable underlay, even if he becomes the first Dubai-to-Derby winner.
ALSO ELIGIBLES: The talented Bolo continues to train well after his eye-opening dirt debut in the San Felipe; Mike Smith lands here… Ocho Ocho Ocho needs to improve big time to catch up with his peers… Itsaknockout had it tough in the Florida Derby but did not finish “first” in his two most recent starts…Frosted could re-join the elite with a strong Wood performance this weekend, as could Swale runnerup Daredevil.
*Far From Over was reported to have sustained a fracture and is off the Derby trail as of 03312015.
Written by John Pricci - Comments (10)