Yes, it is early to start thinking about Kentucky Derby future bets, but this is the time of year when you can find the megabombs if you’re willing to put your money on a wing and a prayer.
Most people are not going to get rich playing Midshipman and Vineyard Haven, and if you’re going to ignore the big names in the division this is the year to do so, with the two star juveniles both heading to Dubai. So you already have a big advantage, with both horses trying to pioneer unchartered territory.
With that said, before this weekend’s action, in which a number of horses will be taking big steps forward and backward, here are several to watch, in no particular order, many of whom are 100-1 or higher at the Wynn Sports Book. But other live horses at lower prices also will be mentioned.
What is most exciting about this year’s 2-year-old crop is the abundance of top-quality stamina-oriented horses.
Terrain – Of those between the 50-1 and 100-1 range, this colt looks like a good deal at 50-1, considering he closes consistently in top-class company, was beaten only 2 1/4 lengths when fourth in the BC Juvenile (gr. I), and has a strong pedigree top and bottom. Maternal granddam is a half-sister to Unbridled. He’s in good hands at Fair Grounds with Al Stall.
Break Water Edison – This horse looks a bit high at 60-1. He has all the pedigree you’d want and won the Nashua Stakes over Hello Broadway, who I would consider one of the top two or three
Pioneerof the Nile – Former trainer Bill Mott was high on this son of Empire Maker , who will only get better next year. He finished a respectable fifth in the BC Juvenile, beaten only 2 3/4 lengths, and just has to prove himself on dirt. At 75-1, it could be worth the gamble. Garrett Gomez chose to ride him over the Real Quiet winner Chocolate Candy in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I).
Believe in Hope – The son of Thunder Gulch was forced to miss the BC Juvenile and hasn’t worked since. He showed enough of a closing punch in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) to suggest better things to come, and if gets back in training in a relatively short period of time, 60-1 could be a decent price.
Chocolate Candy – Although he lost Gomez, this is still a horse to be reckoned with. The son of Candy Ride has won his last two for Jerry Hollendorfer and should only improve. If you like the Rasmussen Factor (inbred to top-class mares), he is inbred to Alanesian through Boldnesian and Herbalesian, the dam of Candy Ride’s sire Ride the Rails. Alanesian also is the dam of Princessnesian, who beat the boys in the Hollywood Gold Cup. He looks pretty attractive at 100-1.
Friesan Fire – This son of A.P. Indy was tabbed as something special by Larry Jones after he broke his maiden at
Giant Oak – Forget this horse’s last start in the Bourbon on turf. He was trapped down on the rail the entire stretch run. In his career debut at
Imperial Council – I’m starting off with him even though he is a ridiculously low 35-1. The son of Empire Maker has classic horse written all over him, and he’s shown a good deal of professionalism for a young, inexperienced colt, except for trying to kick down the wall of his saddling stall before his career debut. You had to love the way he drew off in his maiden victory while under wraps. Shug McGaughey backed off on him after that race and sent him right down to
Indygo Mountain – Have no idea what you can get him at, as he wasn’t listed last week, but his one-mile maiden score at Churchill Downs was as good as it gets, and he’ll surely open at a low price. Bret Calhoun has him down at Fair Grounds and you can expect fireworks from this son of A.P. Indy. His female family is awesome, as his dam traces to Ribot twice through the legendary stallion’s two most potent sons, full brothers Graustark and His Majesty. He looks to have it all.
Well Positioned – Forget any kind of price on this son of Awesome Again , but mentioning him anyway after his spectacular 14 1/4-length romp going a mile at Aqueduct. His time was 1:38 3/5, and in the following race, the Discovery Handicap (gr. III), they went the mile in 1:40 en route to a final time for nine furlongs in 1:53 1/5. Dam is by Holy Bull and maternal great grandsire, Hail the Pirates, was a Darby Dan horse who won numerous stakes in the
Professor Z – I sure wouldn’t mind having a piece of this horse at 200-1. I was extremely impressed with this colt’s second start, in which he jumped in the air at the start, dropping well behind the field, and then made a powerful early move to reach contention before settling for third behind Imperial Council. In his next start at seven furlongs at Aqueduct, he broke well and tracked a sharp opening quarter before taking over and drawing off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. He’s still green and obviously hates the whip, as indicated by the way he threw his tail straight up in his last two races when hit left-handed. By Grand Slam, out of a Saint Ballado mare, his maternal great-grandsire is the His Majesty stallion Country Pine. Trained by Steve Asmussen, keep an eye on this one at a monster price.
Sunday Blitz – He was beaten a nose by Old Fashioned at
Jazzandthemagician – Son of Birdstone , out of a
Brother Keith – Bobby Frankel-trained colt by Johar is available at 150-1, despite impressive maiden victory at Churchill Downs in his career debut. Speaking of the Rasmussen Factor (RF), he is inbred to Tamerett through her son Known Fact and daughter Secrettame, dam of Johar’s sire Gone West. Tamerett also is the dam of the top-class dirt and turf horse Tentam, who won the Met Mile and pushed Secretariat to a new course record in the Man o’War Stakes.
Danger to Society – Kenny McPeek has a potential runner in this son of Harlan's
Dubinsky – Well-bred son of Toccet, whose maternal great grandsires are rivals Alysheba and Forty Niner, he was a fast-closing second in his debut at Aqueduct going six furlongs in the slop, and is due to show up again this Saturday. Stablemate of the aforementioned Well Positioned, and the two horses took turns beating each other in works. This is another Pat Reynolds – Paul Pompa colt who has a bright future. You can get him at any price. That might not be the case after Saturday.
Tippity Tap – You had to love his career debut at Aqueduct, in which he broke slowly going six furlongs and then came charging up the rail to finish third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, right behind Dubinsky. He’s another who is available at any price. The Dogwood Stable colt, trained by Frank Alexander, is by the hot young sire Tapit . His broodmare sire is Hatchet Man and his dam’s broodmare sire is Stage Door Johnny. Both are phenomenal stamina influences from classy Greentree families, and they are the broodmare sires of Nick Zito’s two Kentucky Derby winners Strike the Gold and Go For Gin, respectively. This is as amazing a classic female family as you want to see, and he’s worth a shot just off that.
Just a note, Dogwood also has the well-bred Coal Baron going in the Kentucky Jockey Club following his 3 1/4-length maiden victory at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill, and this son of Mineshaft , out of a Grindstone mare is listed at 200-1. He is inbred 3x4 top and bottom to Seattle Slew through A.P. Indy and Seattle Song.
As for another maiden winner of interest, also keep an eye on Kopitar, who defeated
If you're willing to throw out his poor performance in the Nashua, Prince Charming is kind of interesting at 225-1 in that he runs in Saturday's seven-furlong Exceller Stakes, and he did look good breaking his maiden in his previous start in the slop. By Vindication, out of a Star de Naskra mare, he's inbred to Round Table.
Bill Mott-trained Hold Me Back is two-for-two, both races at two turns on Polytrack, and could have a say about Saturday's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes if he handles the dirt. He's by Giant's Causeway, out of an Unbridled's Song mare.