Then, of course, there is the betting angle, which is to throw out all dirt form and try to land one of those Polytrack/grass longshots, such as
The real intriguing horse in here is
His stablemate Monba ran a good fourth in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) on Cushion Track, so he could bounce back with a good effort, but he’s been inactive since his Fountain of Youth (gr. II) fiasco. This could be trainer Todd Pletcher’s last shot of getting in the
Medjool, like most of the
The other longshot who could surprise a lot of people at a monster price (if he handles the Polytrack) is Cool Coal Man’s stablemate Stevil, who may be a lot better than his record indicates. When he was second to Visionaire in an allowance race back in January, he was forced to go some seven wide turning for home, while Visionaire had a ground-saving trip and rallied through a big opening along the rail. He didn’t have the smoothest of trips in his next start against Face the Cat, finishing third, and missed a couple of works following that race. He resurfaced in the Louisiana Derby at odds of 95-1 and again had a bad trip. He made a good run behind horses and then had to alter course in the upper stretch, looking for room, while getting sawed off by two horses in front of him. Despite that, he finished a respectable fifth, beaten only 5 1/2 lengths by Pyro, and 2 1/2 lengths for the place spot. How he’ll take to Polytrack no one knows, but at the price he’s going to be, it could be worth the gamble that he’ll like it, even as part of the exotics. If he does, everyone knows that Polytrack brings the better-quality horses and the lesser-quality horses (at least on form) closer together. And he does have a sharp :59 2/5 breeze at Churchill Downs on April 6 and has the second-time-blinkers-on angle.
If Stevil should happen to hit the board on Saturday, he could do a lot of damage on Derby Day, especially with his pedigree. When last seen, he was 200-1 at the Wynn future book. It’s just a question whether Polytrack can propel him to the big one on May 3.
Miner’s Claim ran a big race in the Rushaway Stakes in his first start of the year, and could be another Dominican type, but that was not a strong field and he will have to step up here. Watch for him down the road, however. He looks like a good one.
Now, of course, if form should happen to hold up, which often is not the case, then Pyro, Cool Coal Man, Visionaire, and Big Truck are going to be hard to crack. Pyro drew well in post 7, but Visionaire is parked on the far outside. His best style of running is to make one big run from far back, so if he can take back and drop in before the clubhouse turn he should be OK. Cool Coal Man, who needs only to run a solid, competitive race to prepare him for a big effort in the