Pool 4 comes in the middle of arguably sports’ busiest week…the NCAA championship, the first week of MLB, and The Masters. It will also be a Super Saturday, as this week and next will finally determine the point totals for the actual Derby and Oaks Trails, not to mention solidify my own version of the Trails.
I used the usual variables. Here are the benchmarks that were set by the top 7 in each variable:
Combined AWD: 14.5
CD pace: 85
Best class win: Grade 1
Binomial pace: 587 (translates to about 97 Brisnet)
Distance: 8.5 furlongs
Positive pace progress achieved by 9 of the 23 horses.
Top 10 countdown:
10: MY BOY JACK Since the last pool, he matched his small new top of 98 in the Southwest with a 99 in the LA Derby, good for show, 3/24. He does have consistent numbers and just qualifies for overall pace. Has the requisite 8.5 furlong win from the Southwest Stakes. Pace progress at 2 upon a 2nd place finish in the Del Mar Juvenile Trial. I do like him as a potential longshot, and if I can’t use the others ranked ahead. Next race: Arkansas Derby on 3/14
9 BRAVAZO: 40-1 for me in Pool 3. Locked in for the Derby, his next start. Last start was a bounce from peak of 98 to low of 76, first try at 9 furlongs. Best of 2 CD races was 85. Won the Risen Star at 8.5 furlongs. Pace progress at 2 successful in his 2nd start, breaking maiden in his route debut, scoring an 81.
Could be worth a double dip if worse than 45-1.
8 AUDIBLE scored big last out with his Florida Derby win, 9 furlongs, 107 Brisnet. Fastest of the 23 in this field. 6-1 ML suggests he’ll take more $, and I’m not very likely to pick him as it is. Runs next in the Derby.
7 MENDELSSOHN joins the fray, having won the 1-3/16 UAE Derby by 18 lengths. It is dthe longest distance won by any in this field. Appears to have scored better in speed figures at age 2. 10-1 is interesting…he might have some backers and it’s possible I might choose him. Next race is the Derby.
6 TITLE READY finds his way on the list after matching small new top of 94, running 4th in the Grade 2 Rebel. His lone CD race earned him an 85. Before the Rebel, he won a 76k allowance race, first try at 8.5 furlongs. Steady improvement during his 2YO campaign. 50-1 looks very good here, and he could be picked up .
Next 3 were top 7 in 4 of 6 variables:
5 SOLOMINI was 2nd in the Rebel. 1st or 2nd in all 5 lifetime races, and first off layoff at that. One of the better pedigrees (Curlin/Surf Song, out of Storm Cat). Won the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity at 8.5 furlongs. Lifetime Brisnet numbers run from 94 to 101. I have him at 20-1 already, so he’d have to be worse than 25-1 for me to wager on him. I’d have to hold my breath for a bit, as his next race is the Arkansas Derby, 4/14.
4 ENTICED I latched onto when he was 29-1 in Pool 1. On 3/10 he won the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, cutting back to a mile, blazed with a 104. Very likely not to wager again on him. Pedigree is rather competitive (Medaglia d’Oro/It’s Tricky, out of Mineshaft). Ran a 93 in his lone CD race, winning the 8.5 furlong Kentucky Jockey Club. He races on Saturday in the Wood Memorial.
3 FREE DROP BILLY is part of several exactas. I wagered on him at 33-1 and 44-1. He’s on the doorstep of getting into the Derby, so he might need a top 2 finish in Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes. He ran 3rd in the Gotham with a 96, nearly matching his 99 in the Holy Bull. Won the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity at 8.5 furlongs. His 98 in the Hopeful proved he was ready for bigger and better things.
These 2 were top 7 in 5:
2 BOLT d’ORO: Unless he has a somewhat bad showing in the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, he won’t be a double digit pick for me. Still, he’s an outstanding call. I have him at 8-1 from Pool 2. Best pedigree here: Medaglia d’Oro/Globe Trot, out of AP Indy. After a 4 month layoff, he finished 2nd in the San Felipe, 98 Brisnet. 5-4-0-1 lifetime, with speed figures from 91 to 105.
1 GOOD MAGIC I have a few exactas with, and a win bet of 11-1 from Pool 1. I rank him slightly faster in pace than Bolt. 3rd in the Fountain of Youth on 3/3. Good breeding here: Curlin/Glinda The Good out of Hard Spun. Lifetime speed figures are 92 to 105. He’s in the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday. Not sure if he’s attractive at 8-1. But if he loses, then there is some possibility.