To begin with, here are my picks from each pool of the Derby Future Wager:
Pool 1 is where I chose 5 but ultimately didn’t feel confident enough to make the $2 win bets on:
Texas Red (14-1), Mr.Z (47-1), Imperia (27-1), Lucky Player (99), Ocho Ocho Ocho (29)
Pool 2 where I placed $2 win tickets on:
Texas Red (9) El Kabeir (39), Imperia (24), Mr. Z (44), Dortmund (10)
Pool 3 I have win tickets of 3 horses, along with exactas to each other and the field (4):
Lord Nelson (39), Texas Red (14), International Star (22). I had ranked Dortmund (9) and Upstart (15) below these.
Texas Red has since bowed out of the Derby Trail so that’s some $ burned right there. There are still 6 horses I directly have interest in, 4 of which are available in Pool 4 directly The trick here is to buy with lower odds, enough to allow the reality principle to be in play (does the horse have enough points or earning on the real trail to get in the show?). Using the same mix of variables as with the prior pools, I’ll give you my top 8, in reverse order. A range of horses scored very closely. I had to use several different head-to-head matchups to rank them all in such a way that made sense.
Ranked 8th: Materiality, who scored with great pedigree and AWD numbers (Afleet Alex sired), a combo no other horse here has. Winner at 9 furlongs (Islamorada Handicap at Gulfstream). 2 for 2 lifetime. Next race for him will be the Florida Derby on Saturday.
Ranked 7th: Firing Line, who averages a 102 Brisnet if measured strictly by his running style. Winner at 9 furlongs, a 14 length victory and new track record in the Sunland Derby. Pace progressed from maiden debut of 92 to 101. Next: Unsure.
Ranked 6th: Bold Conquest. Sired by Curlin. 2nd in the Iriquois at Churchill with an 89 Brisnet. The 89 score represents good pace progression through his 2YO season. Next:
I will consider my top 3 of 5 for any wagers, tho I will ignore a horse if he’s already been wagered on and I cannot get a better deal than previous pools. In those cases I’ll use the 4th or 5th pick. The field is always in play.
5th: UPSTART again is on the outside looking in. Grade 2 victories in the Fountain of Youth and the Holy Bull, plus the ungraded Funny Cide. Top pace numbers currently using his run style (2nd call numbers are around 103). Has one of the better dosage profiles. Sire is Flatter, out of AP Indy. Next race: 3/28, Florida Derby.
4th: MR Z again factors here. Another good dosage profile (AP Indy and Storm Cat his grandsires). In the mix thanks to a run over CD, a slow 81 in his maiden debut. 2nd best pace progress at 2YO of the field, peaking at 100. Next race: 3/28 LA Derby
3rd: DORTMUND graduates to favored status. Arguably the top undefeated horse on the continent. Winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity, the Robert B Lewis and the San Felipe. Best Brisnet at Churchill, a 98 in an optional claimer worth 75k. Very good pace form, as he’s made 2 triple-digit small tops at age 3. Next race: Santa Anita Derby, 4/4.
2nd: DAREDEVIL also shines here, with alternate good and decent efforts pace-wise. Winner of the Champagne Stakes. 2nd call numbers average a 102 score. Great dosage numbers (More Than Ready sire out of Southern Halo). A 106 Brisnet to begin his 3YO campaign is a small new top, and it’s a good time to have one. Next: Wood Memorial on 4/4
1st: INTERNATIONAL STAR. Grade 2 winner of the Risen Star. Raced just about everywhere plus Canada. Brisnet of 89 at Churchill’s KY Jockey Club Gold Cup.Good 2YO progression leading up to that race. Small tops up to 97 make him rather attractive. Next race: LA Derby, 3/28.
Here’s how I have to look at this: Should International Star threaten to be worse than, say, 27-1, I’ll place more bets his way. Ditto with Dortmund at 15-1. If I do have to slip down to 4th to get Mr. Z, I have to see him worse than 49-1, which is certainly possible. If not, then I must use Upstart.
Here’s the accompanying spreadsheet
I won’t be around to monitor the action live except for Saturday evening and all of Sunday. Updates will come at @idealisticstats
Due to the weekend schedule being so soon, I’m posting my picks for 6 races overnight, 4 at Gulfstream, 2 at Fair Grounds.