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Kentucky Derby 2017

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    Running ReinRunning Rein
    • Total Posts 186

    For the first time in about 10 years I have actually followed the Kentucky Derby trials since the turn of the year and I have to say that since the advent of streaming and the posting of races and some analysis on Youtube this is pretty easy to follow and enjoyable.
    The last set of trials Wood Memorial, Florida Derby, Blue Grass, Louisiana Derby & Arkansas Derby were illuminating and a clearer picture has emerged, albeit none of the colts has ran over 10 furlongs yet.
    After it all settled down Breeders Cup juvenile winner Classic Empire has emerged as a narrow favourite from Todd Pletcher’s Always Dreaming.
    Irish War Cry is next in the betting with a Lazarus like return in the Wood followed by Girvin, McCracken, Gunnevera, Practical Joke and Gormley.

    Not a US Racing expert at all (apologies to those that are) and the following is fan’s view rather than any hugely experienced expertise. Below is quick word on some of the leading hopes in alphabetical order, post position in brackets

    Always Dreaming (5) is a late developer with no 2yo form to speak of, he went into the Florida Derby having won only a maiden in a slow time (Beyer figure) but won very well in a fast time. He is a stalker (sits 3rd or 4th) and makes his move about 2 out. AD is trained by Todd Pletcher and though he has won the Derby he is regarded as an underachiever in the Run for the Roses, since he has had many short priced horses placed or well beaten without winning. Always Dreaming is currently 6/1 generally with the British fixed odds bookies and I imagine he will start around 7/2 or 4/1 in Kentucky. Apparently he has been very free in his work at Churchill and not pleasing the ‘clock watchers’…who are famously pernickety about gallops on the track.

    Classic Empire (14) won the Arkansas Derby arriving late but a little cleverly, he had run poorly earlier in the trials season in the Holy Bull and this performance say him narrowly claim favouritism. He was the two year old Champion, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and seems to be routinely described as the most talented colt in the race. That might be right I didn’t follow his 2yo season at all but he was also described as having a terrible trip in the Arkansas Derby and I just can’t see that based on my viewing of the race. Will probably go off about 3/1 favourite on the Tote but can be backed at 11/2 at the moment in the UK.

    Girvin (7) is one of those horses who just does enough and many think he will be found out when up in grade. However he could be a Hardy Eustace type who just keeps winning unimpressively. His win in the Louisiana Derby was fair but unspectacular. He will need to up his game but could do. Mike Smith has committed to him I believe and that will be seen as a real positive on the tote board. Could be overbet in my view. Currently about 12/1.

    Gormley (18) has two things to overcome, firstly whilst he hails from the recently very strong Californian training centre, the West Coasters are pretty much derided this year and the chances of emulating California Chrome and American Pharaoh are seen as slim as he is regarded as the best of a bad bunch. His win in the normally influential Santa Anita Derby highlight a 10101 profile where he has been either winning or blowing out. He is due a duck egg on the sequence and the form is questionable anyway. About 14/1.

    Gunnevera (10) is a deep closer and is a bit of a marmite animal. He is beautifully bred for the job but is seen as a less classy contender and has Venezuelan connections. He is a deep closer who got way behind Always Dreaming at Gulfstream (Florida Derby) and had no chance off the fractions set. However, he only managed to get 3rd and was described as ‘light’ by paddock judges. Basically if you like this chap you are hoping for a pace collapse which he can close into and that the Florida Derby run was a proper prep for Kentucky his wily trainer after he had an extensive 2yo career and a heavy start to 2017, 4 runs.

    Hence (8) comes from the unfashionable but not impossible South-West Sunland Derby route. Another closer, he won that in style and the form could hardly have worked out better. Irap was placed as was Go Conquer Mo (doubtful) for Churchill but ran Classic Empire to a neck in Arkansas. Hence is getting more attention this week and working well I believe, still about 16/1.

    Irap (9) is a Californian trained, see above, but went south to run in the Sunland Derby and came East for the Blue Grass which he won at 31/1 against a host of fancied Derby horses such as McCracken, Practical Joke, Tapwrit and others. He knuckled down in the straight and might just be underrated. Good news also for his fans is his price is still around 20/1.

    Irish War Cry (17) has an in and out profile (mostly in), he was dynamite in the Holy Bull, horrible in the Fountain of Youth and sublime in the Wood Memorial. He is trained by Graham Motion, who I know is admired by some in this group. Universally described as ‘classy’ Irish War Cry is regarded as a contender whose proponents see winning stylishly and his critics suspect is a bit soft. Working well.

    J Boys Echo (13) was also a contender albeit one about whom serious stamina concerns were expressed. His run in his trial was just plain discouraging though.

    McCracken (15) was the ante post favourite after Mastery (early Fav) was pulled out through injury. He was unbeaten until the Blue Grass stakes when he was a disappointing 3rd behind Irap. Some judges have seen echoes of other Kentucky Derby winners who lost at Keenland (the track is regarded as a bit strange and not all colts take to it) before triumphing at Churchill. He is around 10 or 12/1 in UK and will start much shorter than that probably about 6/1 or 8/1. He has been working beautifully by all accounts. Is 3 for 3 at Churchill Downs.

    Sonneteer (12) is a maiden after 12 starts but likeable.

    State of Honour (6) has danced a lot of the big dances and keeps getting bigged up as an outsider to follow, he is a great work horse apparently which might explain his popularity.

    Tapwrit (16) was a serious contender till he blew out in the Blue Grass, a fair bit to prove now.

    Thunder Snow (2) is the overseas attempt this year and in fairness seems to have better credentials than many foreign challengers. Impressive winning the UAE Derby at Meydan (win and you’re in) he is being aimed at this by Godolphin. Has some decent trends behind him but didn’t look a world beater on turf in Europe last backend. Being below the top level on grass is probably a positive if he is going to be a top dirt horse. 20/1 and looks ok in training.

    Patch (20), Looking at Lee (1) and Battle of Midway (11) have all been placed in a number of the trials without looking good enough. Not keen on Fast And Furious (3)

    I have already backed three ante post as the difference between UK ante post prices and Tote dividends of confirmed runners with the heavy take out can be huge… to date I have backed…
    Always Dreaming at 15/2
    Gunnevera at 20/1
    McCracken at 12/1

    I will be including these 3 in some small stakes exotics along with
    Irap, Sonneteer & Hence

    good luck

    • Total Posts 3673

    Nice write up there Running Rein.

    I must admit i don’t take much interest in the US racing unless there is some sort of European involvement. I love the Breeders Cup meeting which for me is a bit like the Ryder Cup in Golf and a great sporting event i’d love to attend some day.

    I was really impressed with Classic Empire in the BC Juvenile last year and was going to back him a couple of months ago when he was 20/1 over here. Looking on the internet it sounded like he was very doubtful to get into the race after having an injury and needing to finish in the top 4 at Arkansas to get an automatic entry.

    I watched the race the next morning, and i dont think he had a bad trip in that race myself either.

    I did back him after that at 9/1 for the race. I can’t add any more on the other horses but good luck with your bets.

    Hopefully i can stay up late enough to watch it live. :unsure:

    Running ReinRunning Rein
    • Total Posts 186

    Classic Empire is probably the most interesting horse in the race botchy and has the most ‘personality’.
    He has had training issues with injury and temperament and whilst not ‘the full Labaik’ he has refused to train in the mornings and unseated his rider after leaving the stalls at Saratoga.
    He went on a sort of equine retreat to a ranch away from the track for 6 weeks and that seems to have done the trick as there was no sign of any issues in Arkansas at the Derby. Looks a reformed character now.

    • Total Posts 327

    THUNDER SNOW @ 16/1 (20-1 U.S Tote) to win 143rd Kentucky Derby
    – he is 2 for 2 on dirt
    – won at the longest distance (UAE Derby 1 3/16) – no other contender raced so far yet
    – won on off-track condition – track will be sloppy/muddy Saturday
    – C. Soumillon know how to win race with big fields, horse is 3 for 3 with this rider
    – no other horse carried more than 124 pounds, except Thunder Snow who won with 131 pounds
    – has the lowest dosage number in the field (0.89) – the lowest, the better
    – only concern – pp 2, but C. Soumillon will figure this out.
    Conclusion: don’t hesitate to bet TS to win KD
    Good luck,
    Krist :rose:

    • Total Posts 2050

    I’m impressed by the write up – lots of info I didn’t know to digest so thanks RR.

    Fortunately, pretty much all of the trials are on YouTube and I managed to suffer the US commentary to get a rough grip on the form of the race.

    Personally, I haven’t been very impressed with Classic Empire so far this year whereas Always Dreaming was outstanding in slamming State of Honour in the Florida Derby. The form lines through the runner-up give Always Dreaming’s form a good boost and at 5/1 I think is a worthy bet to reproduce a similar effort. Irish War Cry probably didn’t beat much in the Wood Memorial and surely has a big task ahead of him from stall 17.

    I’m not going to be boring and just say I fancy the favourite, because I don’t. Two at big prices I’m going to bet are Hence (20/1) and Battle Of Midway (33/1). The Kentucky Derby often turns into a war of attrition and Hence came out on top impressively in a real slug fest when grinding down Conquest Mo Money in the Sunland Derby. That form is strong, he’s well drawn in stall 8 and I will forgive his poor run back in February. Battle Of Midway isn’t the most experienced and has been plying his trade out in California. This one however, was only run down late on by Gormley in the Santa Anita Derby after setting a blistering pace throughout having been hassled all the way and responded very well to pressure. He’s a big price and looks capable of handling the blistering stamina sapping war in the Kentucky Derby if ridden with a bit more restraint.

    • Total Posts 8279

    I don’t follow the US racing, other than looking for Wesley Ward speedballs for Ascot.

    This year’s 2yo Souped Up Steroid Monster is Fairyland, who I backed for the Queen Mary at 8/1. She now sits at 4/1.

    Getting to the Kentucky Derby I felt the play was Thunder Snow as a place lay at 4/1.

    He has dirt form and Godolphin describe him as their best ever chance but I feel he will flounder like so many before him. He came home on fumes last time, when I had backed him, and the Kentucky Derby is a brutal race. My instinct is that Thunder Snow will be like a fish out of water.

    Maybe if Lancaster Bomber wins the 2000 Guineas, confidence will grow in Thunder Snow but I am not sure how good that UAE Derby was and the gut (quite an impressive size I may say) tells me it will be another year where Godolphin are disappointed, despite fielding a decent looking candidate.

    Thanks for the good crack. Time for me to move on. Be lucky.

    • Total Posts 2050

    It is worth noting that there has been an almighty continued deluge of rain at Churchill Downs and the dirt track is in pretty bad nick.

    This would increase my agreement with Steve that Thunder Snow is surely going to find this incredibly hard going.

    • Total Posts 4525

    That doesn’t seem a bad write-up for a non-expert.

    I don’t profess to know much myself but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a pretty average renewal. On that basis I am going with Sonneteer for the big shock. It would be a big help if they get the pace as badly wrong as they did in last night’s Oaks.

    • Total Posts 338

    Going with 4 in this one.

    Irish War Cry @9
    Thunder Snow EW @13
    Hence EW @15
    Practical Joke EW @21

    Don’t fancy a favourite this year, so both Always Dreaming and Classic Empire would be out of the equation.

    Running ReinRunning Rein
    • Total Posts 186

    Delighted with that result.
    Always Dreaming a well named winner for all horse players.

    • Total Posts 338

    Won very easily.
    Hope Thunder Snow recovers from whatever happened at the start.

    Very dissapointing Irish War Cry.

    • Total Posts 2050

    Chuffed with that, had the winner and the 3rd each-way at 33/1.

    Should have been shorter in the market but for some reason people didn’t want to take his demolition job in the Florida Derby at face value.

    • Total Posts 2676

    Just seen the thread

    Didn’t have a bet myself. Just seen the race.

    Going by the description of Charles Olneys post about always dreamings recent win, he’d have probably been my pick as I’d have watched that race back.

    Sad to see what happened with thunder snow. Didn’t look good.

    • Total Posts 2676

    Just seen the thread

    Didn’t have a bet myself. Just seen the race.

    Going by the description of Charles Olneys post about always dreamings recent win, he’d have probably been my pick as I’d have watched that race back.

    Sad to see what happened with thunder snow. Didn’t look good.

    Incredibly, no injury at all for Thunder Snow. He was just bucking uncontrollably.

    Good news. He galloped back to the paddock apparently. Probably laughing to himself about his all expenses free trip to see the states :good:

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