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Kentucky Derby Breakdown

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The preps have been run, the works are done and now it's time to get it on.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the field for the 139th Kentucky Derby!
2013 Breakdown
PP - Horse ML Odds Jockey (Derby Record) Owner (Derby Record)
1 - Black Onyx 50/1 Joe Bravo (0-2) Kelly Breen (0-3)
Notes: The Derby version of the “Jersey Boys,” Breen and Bravo send out a colt who’s just 1 for 3 on dirt and who’s done his best running on turf and synthetics as evident by his last two wins, including the G3 Spiral at Turfway over their Polytrack last out. Hasn’t run in six weeks, has breezed just twice and drew the dreaded rail. Not for me
2 - Oxbow 30/1 Gary Stevens (3-18) D. Wayne Lukas (4-45)
Notes: Ok, who broke out Doc Brown’s time travelling DeLorean and took us back to 1988? That was the year Stevens and Lukas teamed up for the first of two Derby wins together with the fantastic filly, Winning Colors. The problem is its 2013, this horse couldn’t warm Winning Colors up and they caught a bad draw. His best moment came in the G3 LeComte this past winter at the Fair Grounds. This is a much different story. Plus, Stevens gave him a curious ride in the G1 Arkansas Derby last out. Figures to take a few sentimental dollars but none of them will be mine.
3 - Revolutionary 10/1 Calvin Borel (3-10) Todd Pletcher (1-31)
Notes: The first of five from the Pletcher barn, many feel no horse has trained better than he has since arriving in Louisville. It took him a while to get going but once he started winning three starts back he never stopped. While slow, his G3 Withers win came against little and was on the slow side while a fast early pace obviously was a big plus in the G2 Louisiana Derby last out. I used to fall for these deep closers all the time, but not anymore. I know a lot of people love that Borel, who piloted Pletcher’s lone Derby winner Super Saver to victory back in 2010, is aboard but keep in mind he’s riding because one of Pletcher’s go-to-guys, Javier Castellano, opted off. He’ll take plenty of money for several reasons but I’m not sold on him being nothing more than a plodder. A toss for me.
4 - Golden Soul 50/1 Robby Albarado (0-12) Dallas Stewart (0-2)
Notes: He’s won just one of his five starts, couldn’t get within shouting distance of Oxbow in the LeComte where he finished second and didn’t really do much in either the Risen Star of Louisiana Derby, yet his trainer thinks he belongs and was more than happy to get a spot in the gate when they started dropping like flies earlier in the week. Not much to like.
5 - Normandy Invasion 12/1 Javier Castellano (0-6) Chad Brown (Debut)
Notes: I was stunned when I saw the morning line price on this horse because I thought there was a good chance he’d be the favorite when you take into account Castellano staying here over Revolutionary and the way he closed in the G1 Wood Memorial when he was second to Verrazano. He has all the makings of the “wiseguy” horse and is another who has reportedly been training up a storm since he arrived at Churchill but did hit a bump in the road on Thursday when he ran off and basically quasi-breezed three furlongs. There is a reason, however, that this horse is still eligible for an entry level allowance contest. I don’t know if it’s his deep closer running style, the fact that he appears to have a bit of “hang” in him or a combination of both. If you’re a fan, and you get anywhere near that morning line price and he wins, consider it an extremely early Christmas present but I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you. He won’t be that price and he won’t win.
6 - Mylute 15/1 Rosie Napravnik (0-1) Tom Amoss (0-2)
Notes: Another in here getting some attention, in some cases for reasons other than HIS ability that I just don’t get. Arguably ran the best race of his nine race career last out, his first without blinkers, but honestly had no excuse other than the fact that he’s just not as good, or as game, as Revolutionary. While they did beat the field by three lengths, third place finisher Departing didn’t sit the best trip and in all likelihood would have been right there. Napravnik was featured on “60 Minutes” this week and is looking to become the first female to win the Derby, something that will not be overlooked by the betting public. There may not be many of them but I’m confident there are better options than this guy in here.
7 - Giant Finish 50/1 Jose Espinoza (Debut) Anthony Dutrow (Debut)
Notes: Dr. Abramovici or Dr. Asadourian, please report to stall 7 in the Churchill Downs paddock because this guys’ owners have a SERIOUS case of Derby Fever. Third in the Spiral last out, his only two wins have come against N.Y. bred competition and easily has done better work on synthetics than conventional dirt. It’s rumored that Dutrow isn’t even going to Kentucky to saddle him. See ya!!
8 - Goldencents 5/1 Kevin Krigger (Debut) Doug O’Neill (1-3)
Notes: Krigger’s trying to become the first black jockey to win the Derby in over 100 years, O’Neill is looking to go back-to-back, having grabbed the brass ring last year with I’ll Have Another and this colt is California’s lone representative in the Derby this time around. He does his best running on or close to the lead, and despite what you might hear in the next 36 hours, he’s the speed of the speed. Got cooked when facing a bit tougher than he was used to in the G2 San Felipe two back before rebounding nicely in the G1 Santa Anita Derby last out. I’m not too sure he’s going to handle the added distance and he is an obvious bounce candidate. I’m taking a pass.
9 - Overanalyze 15/1 Rafael Bejarano (0-8) Todd Pletcher (1-31)
Notes: If his form pattern holds true, he won’t be close on Saturday as he has a serious “In/Out” pattern working and this figures to be an “out” kind of day. He’s capable of getting the job done on his better days, like when he gutted out a nose Remsen win over Normandy Invasion and last out when he stormed home in the Arkansas Derby, but then he runs clunkers, like his first start of the year in the G3 Gotham and you’re let scratching your head. Hasn’t done much since his last start, but it was just three weeks ago. Still, you’d like to have a little more consistency going into the Derby and the only constant with him is that he’s inconsistent. Not for me.
10 - Palace Malice 20/1 Mike Smith (1-19) Todd Pletcher (1-31)
Notes: Another eligible for an entry level allowance contest, this will be his third start in 35 days as he was chasing those elusive Derby points just so he could get here for his egotistical owner. So he’s here now, has a Hall of Fame rider who has a Derby win under his belt, has drawn well and should sit a pretty good trip. My biggest problem with him is that his best race was at Keeneland where he was second in the Blue Grass last out over the Polytrack and the fact that he tripped out but still couldn’t get the job done. Plus, he’s adding blinkers. The Derby is hardly the place to be experimenting with equipment changes. I think this may be too much for him in a fairly short amount of time.
11 - Lines of Battle 30/1 Ryan Moore (Debut) Aidan O’Brien (0-4)
Notes: Most years, for me anyway, the Euro import is an automatic toss but I have to admit, this guy intrigues me. He’s won half of his six starts and is two for two over synthetic surfaces. Last out in the G2 U.A.E. Derby he basically toyed with them, going 1 3/16 miles. His pedigree suggests he’ll love conventional dirt and he has enough tactical speed to get in the game early. There are plenty of knocks…Euros haven’t done anything in years, he will have trained just once or twice over the course but this isn’t a stellar bunch in my opinion. I’ll be using him in the bottom half of my gimmicks, especially if he’s anywhere near that price.
12 - Itsmyluckyday 15/1 Elvis Trujillo (Debut) Eddie Plesa, Jr. (Debut)
Notes: The most seasoned Derby starter with ten races under his belt, he really turned the corner this year in his races at Gulfstream. He won the G.P. Derby and G3 Holly Bull before finishing second in the G1 Florida Derby off of a two month layoff last out. He offered little resistance when Orb came calling but I guess he had every right to get a bit leg weary off the bench. Still, four of his five wins have come in South Florida, where he is stabled most of the year and his speed figures at Gulfstream are 15-20 points higher than anywhere else he’s run. Figures to be one of many trying to work out a mid-pack trip. Connections not used to this kind of pressure. Someone had to be second last time and there was nothing behind him. I’m tossing him out.
13 - Falling Sky 50/1 Luis Saez (Debut) John Terranova III (Debut)
Notes: Went gate to wire in the G3 Sam F Davis at Tampa to start the season but has gradually tailed off since. On or close to the lead type figures to be an early pace factor and nothing more. 2-2 to Falling Sky….he gawn!!
14 - Verrazano 4/1 John Velazquez (1-14) Todd Pletcher (1-31)
Notes: The only undefeated runner in this Derby, 23 horses have come into the Derby with a perfect record over the past 100 years and seven of them left with it intact. In a four race career that’s spanned just four months, this colt has done nothing wrong. He’s won on the lead and from just off the pace and has yet to get hit with the whip, an impressive point when you consider he won the Wood Memorial last out by less than a length. I know he didn’t race as a juvenile but he broke his maiden on New Years’ Day and hasn’t stopped since, an interesting move for Pletcher who usually preps a horse twice, maybe three times, before the Derby. He should sit a great trip in behind the speed and he’s drawn brilliantly. I can honestly say, with the utmost confidence, that this is his Derby to lose.
15 - Charming Kitten 20/1 Edgar Prado (1-10) Todd Pletcher (1-31)
Notes: Like stablemate Palace Malice, this colt earned his way here in the Blue Grass coming from way back on the far turn to finish third by just ½ length and he has an egotistical owner as well. The Derby will be his first start on conventional dirt and this guy has done his best running on turf. His pedigree suggests he’ll get the distance, but on the lawn. If he’s in the money, I’ll be tearing my tickets up.
16 - Orb 7-2 Joel Rosario (0-3) Shug McGaughey (0-6)
Notes: You knew immediately after he hit the wire when third in his debut that he’d be one to be reckoned with. Horses don’t break as poorly as he did at Saratoga and come flying like he did. They just don’t. It took him some time to get it together but he’s hitting on all cylinders now, seeking his fifth consecutive victory. The stretch out to two turns, addition of Lasix and scene in south Florida did him wonders this winter. He made up ground at Gulfstream three different times in races that had totally different dynamics. He has been known to act up in the gate and can be a head case, two things you don’t need when you’re racing in a 20 horse field that takes time to load in front of over 150,000 people. His talent alone makes him a very dangerous hombre and it seems as if anyone you ask that doesn’t have a dog in the fight is rooting for Shug, one of the nicest guys in the game. His rider is in the stratosphere right now and everything points to this guy running a big one.
17 - Will Take Charge 20/1 Jon Court (0-2) D. Wayne Lukas (4-45)
Notes: Lukas has used some unconventional methods in the past but this has to rank high on the list as he’ll try to get this horse home off of a seven week layoff, and this coming from a guy that usually treats Thoroughbreds like harness horses. Won both the Smarty Jones and G2 Rebel at Oaklawn this season but was awful in the G2 KJC over this course last season. Has worked a mile on two separate occasions in preparation for this but working them isn’t like racing them. Certainly has the pedigree to handle the added distance and who knows, maybe this tactic can work. I don’t think he can win but I’ll use him on the bottom of my exotic tickets.
18 - Frac Daddy 50/1 Victor Lebron (Debut) Ken McPeek (0-4)
Notes: Perhaps when the Derby is over we can have an entry level allowance race for Derby also rans. There certainly seem to be enough of them in here. I will say this: at least his Churchill form is good as he broke his maiden and finished second in the KJC here in a three week span last November. Has always been highly regarded and finally showed some of that promise when second in the Ark. Derby last out after a pair of Gulfstream clunkers. Didn’t get the best of the draw and appears way over his head against these.
19 - Java’s War 15/1 Julien Leparoux (0-6) Ken McPeek (0-4)
Notes: Finally, a price horse that we can somewhat sink or teeth into! The Blue Grass winner got off to a terrible start and trailed for most of the way before storming home to in by a neck under Leparoux for the first time, the first real rider this guys had. I’m more impressed with his two dirt races, however. He finished a tough trip sixth in the KJC last year when he broke poorly from the rail and raced wide then had to take on Verrazano when finishing second in the T.B. Derby to start his three-year-old season. Now, he’s drawn outside and out of trouble, will be one of the last to load and will be a healthy 20-1 or better. Plus, his pedigree and running style suggest he’ll love added distance. Using him in all of my gimmicks.
20 - Vyjack 15/1 Garrett Gomez (0-9) Rudy Rodriguez (Debut)
Notes: A month ago, this gelding was undefeated and being associated with fellow “Killer V” Verrazano in the weeks leading up to their showdown in the Wood Memorial. He took his shot at Verrazano on the far turn but was held in abeyance and things haven’t gone well since. He got sick, his trainer came under fire in Kentucky and now he’s drawn post 20. Funny thing is Rudy’s mentor Rick Dutrow, Jr. won this in 2008 from post 20 with Big Brown. I doubt things will go as smoothly for him. He’s not for me.

  
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