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Justifying the Top Ten | Superfectablog v3.0

Racehorses in History

June: Fairy Chant
b. 1937
Why: A champion at 3 and 4, Fairy Chant won the Beldame twice. She was in the money for 26 of her 42 races.

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Justifying the Top Ten

As we wait out the final pre-Derby weekend, I decided it was high time to explain just what I like – and dislike – about my top ten Derby picks.

I Want Revenge

Pros: His thoroughly impressive Wood Memorial victory alone would put him at the top of the list, but add in some interesting Argentine breeding on his dam’s side and you have a very compelling mix of speed and endurance. He’s getting great service from young Joe Talamo and one imagines Animal Planet would love to see a win here.

Cons: In a word: people. Jeff Mullins and IEAH joining forces do not a positive storyline make (depending on the context for ‘positive’ of course). Still, it’s hardly the horse’s fault and one hopes they are sensible enough to stay in the background this time – let Talamo take any human accolades.

Friesan Fire
Pros: Another interesting pedigree – A.P. Indy matched with Aussie speed, and a sympathetic industry (and news media) that would like to see Larry Jones retire on a win – it would be a great boost for jockey Gabriel Saez as well.

Cons: While I don’t love the ‘training up to the Derby’ path, I’m presuming Jones knows the horse (pictured) a lot better than I do. It doesn’t hurt come Belmont time to have a reasonably fresh runner.

Chocolate Candy
Pros: Love that he’s by Candy Ride and he looks like the sort of horse who will appreciate being able to close on the Derby free-for-all – he’s fast when it counts.

Cons: The Derby will be his first start outside California; so far he seems to like the Churchill Downs surface, but it’s still an unknown factor on race day.

General Quarters
Pros: The feel-good story of the year so far; has a great jockey in Julien Leparoux. Tends to be flying at the end.

Cons: Distance could be a factor; ditto the step up in class.

Papa Clem
Pros: He’s been my dark horse for a while – has been steadily improving and is proven on real dirt. It seems a son (or daughter) of Smart Strike will win the Derby at some point – perhaps this year. And hey, he’s beaten I Want Revenge.

Cons: Weather could be a factor – he obviously didn’t love the slop in the Louisiana Derby.

Quality Road
Pros: Very impressive Florida Derby win, never out of the money and another one with some Antipodean breeding on his dam’s side.

Cons: Yes, the quarter crack seems to be less of a factor – but would it hold up through June?

Pioneerof the Nile
Pros: Great California record (although I believe had he been healthy, The Pamplemousse would have beaten him) and keeps Garrett Gomez, who is hungry for a Derby win.

Cons: The huge surface question mark – word is he’s enjoying it so far (to say the least), so we’ll see; lowish Beyers are also a worry (and I still loathe the way his name is spelled).

Regal Ransom
Pros: Looked considerably more impressive than stablemate Desert Party in the UAE Derby and should go off at a price.

Cons: Longshot status is probably deserved; the ‘train in Dubai’ tactic hasn’t worked so far for the Derby.

Musket Man
Pros: Steady progress this season in races that seemed better in retrospect than on the day.

Cons: Can he get a mile and a quarter?

Hold Me Back
Pros: Very fast closer – if the race falls apart, look for him to pull a Giacomo.

Cons: Big step up in class could be too much to overcome.

Finally, here’s a question – why is there no Derby DataTrack this year? I’ll be spending even more time with Railbird’s data as a result…

4 comments to Justifying the Top Ten

  • Anonymous

    No Dunkirk? I haven’t loved the horse at all and didn’t want him in with such a light career, but he has to be considered a Top 10 horse on pedigree alone.

    Also, the Courier-Journal Tweeted me and said they just decided the cost (in time and dollars) was too much to keep up the Data Tracker this year. I think it’s because they whiffed big time on Big Brown last year. lol

  • Heather

    Chocolate Candy… I think he will catch I Want Revenge in a shake up of the CashCall Futurity finish. Candy is smooth and can work traffic like an NYC cab driver. If he can pair that with saving some ground at the turn, he will be up there… waving as he saunters past a tiring Pioneer… Go Cali! Still, I am a sucker for the heart shown by I Want Revenge… decisions, decisions…

  • Vincetastic

    This is a really great top ten list. I agree that Chocolate Candy will surprise everyone, I don’t think there is any reason he can’t perform outside of California. You can post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and then link back to your site. We are looking for top ten lists and our users can track back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  • Bob

    Time to put on that broken record again and let it skip over the same story this year as last about CA. runners “liking and taking to the CD surface”. Colonial John l-o-v-e-d the dirt in training at Churchhill last year and ended up 6th in the Derby and Bob Black Jack was way, way, way back. I’ll give Colonial John a pass though, once he spent more time on dirt and got to Saratoga.

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