2 Kentucky Derby contenders  active and running this afternoon:
ROCK HARDER is one of 12 in a $50k OC race at Fair Grounds.  This colt of Rock Hard Ten comes in with 4 lifetime starts; his last race was a win at Fair Grounds at the same distance. That race saw him go wide in the turns and drew away in the stretch, winning by 7. Switches to Robby Albarado, who rode this horse well in the stretch 2 races back, finishing 3rd. Lukewarm ML fave at 9-2. I suspect there will be some value betting going on!   He threatens to bounce down from a matched lifetime Equibase number of 89. I often take the risk that such a horse will improve.  No real negative bias to find in him. Rock Harder is one of 5 horses I like for both win and exacta pending how the odds shake out.  
The other horses I’m considering for win/exacta are: 
*Gowhereyougaze could bounce down after winning by 8 lengths in a 6f race last out, earning best speed figure of these at FG.. First route race. 
*Adena’s Chance has raced a ton in 2011, coming out of a mild effort in the Sugar Bowl Stakes. In the top 4 of each of last 4 races.  switching from 6f to the route race and coming out of the stakes category I believe will be of some help to his chances. No workouts since last race (Sugar Bowl) on 12/17
*Tiz Moe’s last race was the Delta Downs Jackpot (Grade 3)…never was a factor there, but should improve from that race here. 4 strong FG workouts since that race.
*Fine comes out of a Grade 2 race at Churchill (and prior to that, the Grade 3 Iroquois)  I like the drop in class here. 
*Also Stormy I’d throw into the mix on the back half of an exacta, to use behind the above horses or a favorite. 4 maiden races, broke through with win last time out and forged a new career best. That race also gives him the best speed figure for the distance of this field.
If there is just one favorite in the field (one horse better than 4-1 near post time) or all my picks are worse than 4-1, I might try a show bet with the mid-pace horse Capetown Devil.  2-for-2 lifetime, won a 40k allowance race, has the best current pace toward his speed type of the others in the field. Off a 7 week layoff but has a super workout tab running at FG. 
Great betting race with lots to choose from.
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In a MSW at Gulfstream, 12 horses do battle, including one of my contenders, SUNS OUT GUNS OUT.  I dare say he’s a bit outclassed in this field.  Nothing really outstanding on any variable.  Ran 4-wide in two lifetime starts, never in the money, never a threat.  I had judged this horse to be a contender strictly on his breeding. Sire is Empire Maker (Unbridled), dam is Angel Arch (Smart Strike).   

In fact, I can only really point to one horse with any certainty to contend: A Single Man, who improved strongly in pace going from a sprint to a route race. This race was won by one of my other contenders SPEIGHTSCITY.  4 months later, and some great works, this is the one horse I can feel safe wagering on. 
The others I have precious little to go on, tho if there happens to be good value in the win position, 2 horses look like they may be good to bet for show: Soul of Borrego (good works), and Big Screen (best speed figures at Gulfstream and comes off a sharp 92 rating in last race).   I’d likely put Suns Out Guns Out in for show here as well….
 

Kentucky Derby 2012 contender update:

I’m down now to 37 contenders for the KY Derby. Once the early nominations for the big race are in, I’ll change this list to fit all those nominations.
No one new to add since the last update. Here is the current list.
BIG BLUE NATION    2-1-0-1 60k (R.Dominquez-Pletcher)
BLACK RHINO   4-1-1-1  63k   (J.Sanchez-Ward)  
CANIGOTOO     5-2-1-0 43k  (MC Berry-Calhoun)
CURRENCY SWAP   2-2-0-0  180k  (Maragh-Pompay)
MR. STYLE   2-0-2-0  20k  (JR Velazquez-Pletcher)
PAPA SID   2-1-0-1   22k   (Riggs-Hubley)
POWER WORLD   5-1-2-0  93k (Prado-Howard)
RAINBOW’S BEST     3-1-0-0  38k (Campbell-Armada)
RESTITUTION    2-0-0-0  3k (Dominguez-Pletcher)
RIGHTFULLY SO  1-0-0-0 1k (C. Velasquez-Jerkens)
SARATOGA SNACKS   2-1-1-0  32k  (R.Dominguez-Sciacca)
SPEIGHTSCITY     5-2-0-0  65k (Cohen-Contessa)
SPRING TO THE SKY  2-1-0-0  32k (Castellano-Brown)
SUNS OUT GUNS OUT    2-0-0-0  1k  (Lanerie-Romans)
VEXOR  6-2-1-0  135k    (Castellano-Kimmel)
WHERE’S JOHNSON   4-1-2-0  99k  (Clark-Biamonte)
ZOW   3-2-0-0  81k (Trujillo-Pletcher)
YON   2-1-1-0  37k  (Spieth-Helmbrecht)
AFFORD:   3-1-0-2  28k  (Albarado/Geier) 
AFRICANIST    4-1-1-1  44k  (Lanerie/Kenneally)
APPLAUDING   2-2-0-0  49k  (Sellers/Stall)
BRIDGEBURNER   5-2-1-0   81k
CONGENIAL   3-0-0-3   13k  (Albarado/Stall)
CONSORTIUM     2-1-1-0  39k  (JR Velazquez/McLaughlin)
DA VINCI   2-1-0-0   19k  (Saez/Pletcher)
DONE TALKING     5-2-0-2  80k  (Garcia/Smith)
EVER SO LUCKY    2-1-1-0  61k  (Leparoux/Sheppard)
FESTIVE SPIRIT   3-1-0-1 38k  (C.Velazquez/Pletcher)
HOLDIN BULLETS    2-1-0-1  80k
MASTER CIP   
NILE RUNNER    2-1-0-0 30k (Carmouche/Zito)
RAVELO’S BOY   10-2-0-2  52k (Sanchez/Azpurua) 
REVERON   4-2-1-1  44k   (Jara/Bezara)
ROCK HARDER     4-1-0-1  30k  (Mena/Howard)
ROUSING SERMON    6-2-2-2  274k (Talamo/Hollendorfer)
SILVER MENACE  2-2-0-0  33k  (Sanchez/Divito) 
ENTRIES:
SUNS OUT GUNS OUT runs a MSW at Gulfstream 12/31
ROCK HARDER runs an allowance op claim at Fair Grounds 12/31
On Saturday morning I’ll have a look at those races and post thoughts on whom might contend in those.

WAGER UPDATE
Currently planning to wagering full cards once a weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun), only stopping for a week or 2 once I have 2 consecutive losing weekends. I will certainly bet full cards with major stakes races included in them. I’ll begin this excursion starting the weekend of 1/7, most likely Santa Anita on that very day.

I’m likely to do some audio updates summarizing these blog posts.

Kentucky Derby 2012 contender update:

Returning to the KY Derby 2012 blog series here with an updated list of my contenders. If you’re new to this, I regularly examine the Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook to see the odds on next year’s runners and who are officially up for betting.  Not that I will bet this early, mind you.  You’ll recall my last minute $2 win bet on Animal Kingdom in Pool 3 in early April! In 2012, I just might bet the first 2 pools to see how I do.
Meanwhile….the lists below indicated the contenders I originally picked along with new contenders to the sportsbook, with current Vegas odds, starts  plus W-P-S results and $ earned, then jockey/trainer combo. These are entered in alpha order.  I chose these contenders based on comparative chef-de-race numbers that best fit
winners at Churchill Downs: www.chef-de-race.com  and www.pedigreequery.com are my sources.
BIG BLUE NATION  75-1   2-0-1-1 60k (R.Dominquez-Pletcher)
BLACK RHINO 250-1    4-1-1-1  63k   (J.Sanchez-Ward)
BORN TO SEA: 200-1   2-1-1-0  26k
CANIGOTOO 500-1    5-2-1-0 43k  (MC Berry-Calhoun)
CURRENCY SWAP   2-2-0-0  180k  (Maragh-Pompay) 
MR. STYLE 175-1  2-0-2-0  20k  (JR Velazquez-Pletcher)
PAPA SID 500-1   2-1-0-1   22k   (Riggs-Hubley)
POWER WORLD 250-1  5-1-2-0  93k (Prado-Howard)
RAINBOW’S BEST  325-1   3-1-0-0  38k (Campbell-Armada)
RESTITUTION 325-1   2-0-0-0  3k (Domingue-Pletcher)
RIGHTFULLY SO 275-1 1-0-0-0 1k (C. Velasquez-Jerkens)
SARATOGA SNACKS 200-1  2-1-1-0  32k  (R.Dominguez-Sciacca)
SPEIGHTSCITY 250-1    5-2-0-0  65k (Cohen-Contessa)
SPRING TO THE SKY 350-1 2-1-0-0  32k (Castellano-Brown)  
SUNS 250-1   2-0-0-0  1k  (Lanerie-Romans)
VEXOR 500-1 6-2-1-0  135k    (Castellano-Kimmel)
WHERE’S JOHNSON 500-1  4-1-2-0  99k  (Clark-Biamonte)
ZOW 300-1  3-2-0-0  81k (Trujillo-Pletcher)  
YON  275-1  2-1-1-0  37k  (Spieth-Helmbrecht)
 
VEXOR had won the Grade 2 Nashua
CURRENCY SWAP won the Grade 1 Hopeful.
 
NEW CONTENDERS (12/21) since the last update:

AFFORD:225-1    3-1-0-2  28k  (Albarado/Geier)  3rd in the Sugar Bowl Stakes (Fair Grounds) 12/17 
AFRICANIST  200-1  4-1-1-1  44k  (Lanerie/Kenneally) 6th in G2 KY Jockey Club Stakes at CD 11/26 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G49Qb3NnYgY

APPLAUDING150-1   2-2-0-0  54k  (Sellers/Stall) FL bred. (MSW and allowance op claim wins at FG and Keeneland) Watch his dazzling effort at Keeneland as he breaks a track record: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLV4RHwfA9Y
BRIDGEBURNER 300-1  5-2-1-0   81k (Stein/Howard) FL bred. 8th in Display Stakes 11/27 at Woodbine
CONGENIAL 250-1  3-0-0-3   13k  (Albarado/Stall) 2 3rd place finishes in MSWs (FG, CD)
CONSORTIUM   35-1  2-1-1-0  39k  (JR Velazquez/McLaughlin) (won MSW, 2nd in allowance)
DA VINCI  100-1 2-1-0-0   19k  (Saez/Pletcher) won MSW at Calder 11/26
DONE TALKING  200-1   5-2-0-2  80k  (Garcia/Smith) (4th in G2 Remsen) Watch the Remsen here which has an exciting stretch run:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbaCJHaYFGE
EVER SO LUCKY 24-1   2-1-1-0  61k  (Leparoux/Sheppard) 2nd in G2 KY Jockey Club Stakes, also winner in MSW
FESTIVE SPIRIT 250-1  3-1-0-1 38k  (C.Velazquez/Pletcher) 3rd last out in allowance at Aqueduct, 12/15
HOLDIN BULLETS   225-1  2-1-0-1  80k (Sanchez/Ward) 3rd in BC Juvenile Sprint http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hIZOLnotE4
MASTER CIP  100-1 
MY MISS AURELIA  100-1  4-4-0-0  1380k (Nakatani/Asmussen) (see below)
NILE RUNNER  225-1  2-1-0-0 30k (Carmouche/Zito) won MSW race 10/30 at Parx
RAVELO’S BOY 300-1  10-2-0-2  52k (Sanchez/Azpurua)  2 allowance races, 1 win last out at Gulfstream, 12/3
REVERON 250-1  4-2-1-1  27k   (Jara/Bezara) Both wins at Calder, last an allowance race 11/26. 
ROCK HARDER  125-1   4-1-0-1  30k  (Mena/Howard) MSW win at FG 11/27
ROUSING SERMON  20-1  6-2-2-2  274k (Talamo/Hollendorfer) CA bred. 2nd in CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. 12/17  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CUUHpXdamI
SILVER MENACE  250-1 2-2-0-0  33k  (Sanchez/Divito)  Maiden Claiming and allowance op claim wins at Arlington Park and Hawthorne.  
 
Terribly excited here about My Miss Aurelia who is the one horse on either list to win multiple graded stakes races.  Winner of a MSW race at Saratoga, then the Adirondack Stakes there, then the Frizette at Belmont, then the BC Juvenile Fillies at CD. 
Maiden race : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdU8SiCo_bM
ENTRIES
Da Vinci runs an allowance race at Gulfstream 12/26
 
WAGER UPDATE
Newer system is holding out OK. Made out like a bandit in this year’s Breeders Cup if you followed the picks. I am currently keeping focus on win and exacta bets, plus occasional show bets) 
Plan for now is to wager almost weekly, limiting loss per card to $50, and $100 per month.  I’m also getting more integral about keeping profits firmly in check, banking every $50 in the black.
Next full card I wager will be first weekend of 2012.

I intend to keep the focus on the KY Derby hopefuls  until the early nominations, in which time I will only consider those nominated.  Then the real fun begins as I compare those horses to the ones I have selected above.
I will next post upon the next sportsbook update which is roughly every 5 to 7 days.