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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, Kentucky Derby EveA profile of the entire Derby field follows, with program number and early line odds:

1— HIT SHOW  30: I don’t know why some have denigrated his narrow defeat in the Wood in which he finished well too late between horses after breaking from the extreme outside with a short run into the first Big A turn. Prior was big-figure Withers score going a flat [one turn] mile. Rail draw provides built-in excuse; up against it.

2—VERIFYING  15: Draw didn’t help him either which likely takes away the outside stalking trip his connections were hoping to employ. Tyler has little choice but to send away from there and try to move over a lane or two, avoiding an inevitable speed jam into the lower turn. He could come out of this smelling like a rose; he would have to.

3—TWO PHIL’S  12: There are no apparent holes in his game. He handles any kind of surface, any type of going and won the Street Sense here by open lengths at 2. His money finishes in the Lecomte and Risen Star, and a fast, blowout score in the G2 Ruby Stakes speaks tohis class. Note that trainer Rivelli is profitable 32% going AW to dirt. Very live price shot.

4—CONFIDENCE GAME  20: To his credit, trainer Desormeaux dances to his own turn. At first, we looked askance at the big layoff but have been converted. His mile work here APR 14 is reminiscent of the great Charlie Whittingham and his five-eighths last weekend was awesome. Also a CD winner, he raised his game winning a rapidly run Rebel. Moves up on wet.

5—TAPIT TRICE  5: If this were a beauty contest, all would be running for place. Gray powerhouse would not be denied in the Tampa Derby and Blue Grass despite impossible trips. Is his style compromising? Well, all runners must adapt to the dynamics of this unique American speed and stamina test. This colt has the requisite gears, stoutness, heart and class.

6—KINGSBARNS  6: So his G2 Louisiana Derby score was less than because he “walked the dog” the first half mile of the 1-3/16th miles test? How fast would run going into a headwind that some guesstimated at 20-25 mph? He delivered the fastest winning Late Pace figure in this lineup. With no backward steps taken, there’s plenty of room for development.

7—REINCARNATE  50: He peaked when he won the G3 Sham at one mile but was one-paced going farther in both G2 Rebel and G1 Arkansas Derby. Both his two turn scores came setting or racing on top of the early pace. Has speed to his inside and his outside; one-dimensional won’t get it done here, even with Johnny at the controls.

8—MAGE 15: There’s Kingsbarns’ type of lightly raced and Mage’s kind of inexperience. He is a handy type that has made mid-race move in his races and while he raced commendably, he didn’t show enough to suggest that a similar trip vs. 19 rivals would be to his benefit—not with these colts, anyway.

9—SKINNER 20: was scratched Friday am by trainer John Shirreffs with an elevated temperature.

10—PRACTICAL MOVE was scratched by trainer Tim Takteen with to an elevated temperature.

11—DISARM 30:  Another late launcher did just enough, barely enough, to make the cut with his third place G3 Lexington finish. Previously he was second to Kingsbarns in the Louisiana Derby but his profile is that of a potential money finisher, albeit against lesser stock than he will face Saturday. Barring late changes, benefits from switch to Rosario.

12—JACE’S ROAD 15: Chased Kingsbarns all the way around in the Louisiana Derby, finishing a one-paced third. In his defense, it was his first start since JAN 28 and has returned to work crisply and purposefully for his return. ‘Flo’ has been riding him regularly but lone two-turn win came frontrunning. Doesn’t appear fast enough or stout enough to get the trip.

13—SUN THUNDER 50: Disrespected by the linemaker here, his best and fastest race was a runnerup finish in the G2 Risen Star then was compromised by a moderate pace in his next two runs, something all big late kickers must overcome. McPeek traditionally does well in the bluegrass come spring and reunites with stable rider Brian Hernandez.

14—ANGEL OF EMPIRE 8: A dual winner at nine furlongs, taking the Risen Star and Arkansas Derby, announcing his presence in Hot Springs, drawing off strongly in deep stretch with a gallop-out to match. He impressed new rider Flavien Prat who prefers him to Kingsbarns. Wide draw suits this late runner and he handles any footing. Major contender.

15—FORTE 3: Has detractors who doubt whether he owns a true 10-furlong pedigree and question the quality of his Florida rivals. But there is no questioning his credentials as the two-year-old champion, a three-time Grade 1 winner with the ability to overcome adversity. He was a picture of controlled energy paddock-schooling Thursday. Deserving favorite.

16—RAISE CAIN 50: After finishing a distant second in his 3YO debut, he tried synth to no avail before taking the sloppy-track one-turn-mile Withers by storm. He followed that up with a better-than-looked fifth in Tapit Trice’s Blue Grass. Javier Castellano replaces Rosario who traded places, and goes for Kentucky’s Ben Colebrook, having a career year.

17—DERMA SOTOGAKE 10: Without question, his UAE Derby tour de force was dominant. Two issues: He defeated predominantly European turf or synthetic runners taking advantage of a slow pace. Gifted the lead, he made all on a speed-friendly strip. No doubt he is a good horse. But while Japanese horses have been dominating internationally, the Derby is a different animal, and a very big ask.

18—ROCKET CAN 30: Won the G3 Holy Bull, was second to Forte, then was a one-paced fourth in the G1 Arkansas Derby. Bill Mott thought Rocket Can had more to give, refusing to pass horses late, which Mott hopes to correct with the addition of blinkers. Stoutly bred, he worked very well with his new gear and appears primed for an improved effort.

19—LORD MILES 30 was ordered scratched by the Kentucky Board of Stewards

20—CONTINUAR 50: scratched by his early Friday am.

21–CYCLONE MISCHIEF 30: Sharp winning Florida debut, he raced dully in the Holy Bull but was an improved-speed third in the Fountain of Youth, then returned to show another dimension when third a second time to Forte. Has trained very well since returning to his Louisville base. His wide far outside draw and best running style work against him.

22-MANDARIN HERO 20: Has four wins and two narrowly defeats in six-race career including a strong-finish, just-missed placing in the Santa Anita Derby after making a long sustained run on the fence following a troubled start behind a dawdling pace, earning a competitive performance figure. Will get sufficient pace, should be running late again, but this is a far taller order.

23-KID RUSSELL 50: Virtually has come out of nowhere for productive local trainer Ben Colebrook. After breaking maiden in his fifth start, Lasix was removed for the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and finished an excellent second in Angel of Empire’s 4-1/2 length tour de force, easily outrunning his 54-1 chances. Clearly improving but it’s impossible to project how he will make up that margin on ‘Angel’, much less the other major contenders of Derby 149.



WIN-VALUE PLAY: Tapit Trice at 9-2 or better and/or Two Phil’s at 9-1 or more

EXOTICA: Exacta Boxes: 2-3-5 / 3-5-6 / 3-5-14 / 3-5-15. Trifecta Wheel: 5 // // 1-2-3-6-14.15.18. Superfecta Wheel: 5 // 3 // // 5 // // 3 //


MOST PROBABLE WINNER: 9-General Jim (4-1)

WIN-VALUE PLAY: 10-Curly Jack (12-1) to win at 8-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 1-9-10 [1-Kanagaroo Court (8-1). Exacta Box: 3-9-10 [ 3-Lugan Knight (20-1)]. Exacta Box: 6-9-10 [6-Frosted Departure (20-1)]. Exacta Box: 9-10-14 [14-Freezing Paint (50-1)]. Trifecta Wheel: 9-10 // //


MOST PROBABLE WINNER: 4-Talk of a Nation (10-1)

WIN-VALUE PLAY: Talk of a Nation to win at 6-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Key-Box: 4 // 1-3-5-11 [1-Major Dude (5-1), 3-Mendelssons March (12-1), 5-Johannes (15-1), 11-Carl Speckler (3-1)]. Trifecta Key-Box: 4 //


MOST PROBABLE WINNER: 7-Cody’s Wish (4-1)

WIN-VALUE PLAY: 10-Endorsed (5-1) to win at 3-1 or greater and/or 4-Hoist the Gold (30-1)

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 4-7-10. Trifecta Wheel: 4.7.10 // // [3-Hear Mi Song (30-1), 5-Get Her Number (12-1), 6-Tejano Twist (6-1), 8-Fortin Hill (20-1).


MOST PROBABLE WINNER: 7-Hong Kong Henry (7-2)

WIN-VALUE PLAY: 8-Santin (9-2) to win at 4-1 or greater.

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 5-7-8-9 [ 5-Up to the Mark (4-1), 9-Spooky Channel (5-1). Exacta Wheel: 3 // [3-Wolfie’s Dynaghost (10-1) ]

Trifecta Wheel: // //

Suggested exotics are at minimums available; straight wagers in $2 units

this is a live column, selections, betting grids, and value plays for the first four legs of the Pick 5 to come

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6 Responses

  1. May 6, 2023
    The Kentucky Derby
    Race 12-Angel of Empire(8-1)
    Two Phils(12-1)
    Tapit Trice(5-1)
    Good luck to all and as always, let’s go get the bad guys, Vin

  2. Vin, interesting that Tapit Trice was a shorter price than Angel of Empire in Advance Wagering but now, following the scratch of Forte, that money went to ‘Angel’ early today. Or maybe the crowd thinks that you will complete the rare Oaks-Derby double. Nice pick yesterday! A safe and speedy journey to ‘Angel’ and all Derby runners.

    1. My first reaction was Tapit Trice was going to be over bet. If he had one more two turn race at 2. Today, boxing gets the money. Hard to key any of these 4 horses.

      1. I went on record early that this Derby is wide open–you know–six or eight horses could win. Nothing changed-except one will be on the sidelines., a shame. The Repole interview was special, sad but special. Find it somewhere…

    1. The last I heard, Angel was 9-2 fave. I think there’s a chance TT will go favorite at the end, 4-1 for low…

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