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Church Downs for Saturday 7 May 2016 Kentucky Derby Day

Just like the last two years I sure appreciate the good weather forecast for Saturday at Churchill Downs. It is quite rare not to have at least some rain or plenty of rain in the forecast for the first Saturday in May in Louisville. We are much more likely to get a fair racing surface. That makes my job as a handicapper easier to say the least. With that said my streak of good to stellar Ky Derby Days might be on the line with many difficult and large fields all day long. But I studied my you know what off........just ask my wife as I have been incognito in my cave all week-long.

Best of luck as always!


race 1    average clarity

6  Face of Winner  best work showing (and at CD) of anyone in this group by far.........nicely improved at GP........and he was very impressive in the spring of 2015

3  Rocket Time    consistent and versatile and proven at Churchill Downs.....hard not to like

4  Ulanbator   last might have been nothing more than a tune-up.....if so he is dangerous

5  Geothermal


race 2    average clarity

1  Street Gray (1A is an OK toss in but put him 4th if the 1 doesn't go)   on the improve and he really worked impressively in his 1st ever on the CD trainer and hot rider and especially so as a team

8  Unexplained   (2 1 1 0) at CD and ships in off of two sharp races at OP......would have been top selection if it wasn't for his tendency to flatten out a little at 1 1/16th

3  Divine Interventio   winning MSW debut (never easy-going a route) was aided by a stout pace being set at about a dozen lengths in front of her......but she sure looked good visually running past the wire......dangerous

4  Pinson


race 3    average clarity

7  Jazzy Time   Baffert obviously means business here with this 1st time starter who he ships all the way from SA for his MSW debut.........and his work regiment can be summed up in one word.....brilliant

1  Seeking The Soul   nice MSW debut at the FG's from off of the pace and now his trainer Dallas Steward adds blinkers to get him into the mix a little earlier.....dangerous

10  Jimbo Fallon   nothing special about his MSW debut 13 months ago but he sure appears to be returning a vastly improved colt and like our top choice Baffert sees fit to ship a long way for today's race

11  Grand Candy


race 4    below average clarity

6  Res Ipsa   on the improve and catches the eye of Leparoux and his agent and Julian seems to get on all the right horses when competing in the Midwest.......and he sure rides impressively and confidently on the dirt or the turf at CD

3  Wolf Gourmet   not much speed in here and Romans has a couple that have some in this filly and our next choice.....doubt they duel......trainer/rider are 3 for 4 over the last couple of months.......1st on the lawn is a ? mark

10  Tizthesound    wants the front end as she appears to be a need to lead type.......has the speed to clear so the post doesn't bother me to much......but if the 3 is "live" he might not be

1  Havana Dreams

7  No Interest


race 5    below average clarity

5  Flatlined   good history when Johnny V rides and he is up today....race sure has a distinct lack of speed and I believe Velazquez will recognize that and hustle this gelding early and get one of the top 4 slots by the half.....runs his best by far off of short rest.......22 days qualifies for that

2  Bold Conquest   consistent sort on fast rated conventional dirt (12 2 3 5)........and another who appears like he can sit in the 1st 1/3rd of the field early.......very dangerous if he does

10  Freestyler   seems like an overdue drop for this fellow who has been facing tougher since claimed for $62,500 6 races back.....up for that today.......trainer is sharp with shippers (pun intended)

3  Allied Air Raid

12  Gotham News


race 6    above average clarity

4  Isabella Sings   this fillies early speed keeps getting better and Velasquez could have won for fun if he hadn't let this filly runoff and hide with 20 length lead.....doubt he lets that occur again today.....same horse....better rating.....and...... I obviously believe the "champ" won't catch her

1  Tepin   by my book this gal is the best middle distance turf female grass runner in the nation......and better than most of the males to machine mode these days with 8 wins and 2 2nds in her last 10........and all with today's jock Leparoux aboard.....and she likes to sit close and should be able to stalk our top pick

9  Rainha Da Bateria   blinkers on.....1st time Chad Brown with a grass runner.....that adds up to an awakening this afternoon for this filly.....though her only route to the winners circle will be if the top two selection end up dueling....and dueling in a very fast pace

2  Josdesanimaux


race 7    average clarity

3  Calculator   strong run at today's somewhat 7F specialty sprint distance at Aqu on the mud in latest......race two back also at 7F was on a fast track at SA and was exceptional.......breaking poorly from a tough post and then running wide........earned a powerful adjusted fro trouble Santucci Fig....should get a cozy mid pack trip

5  Limousine Liberal  two lifetime races fit well here.....his latest and his only race at 7F which was run last summer in a Grade 1 at Sar where he ran 2nd in a large 11 horse field.....and 1 for 1 at CD.....that all makes for a major player

1  Kobe's Back   always breaks bad to some degree so catching the 1 post had to be disappointing to her connections.....but on the other hand she is leaving the metal monster better since adding blinkers.......if she only loses two lengths or less at the start lookout

6  Speightster

9  Catalina Red


race 8    average clarity

10  Wavell Avenue   appreciates 3 to 5 weeks between starts and gets 4 weeks here......comes from out of it but this race seems to set up for that........and she has a very good history when Rosario is on her back

2  Stonetastic   check for fronts on as this mare sure has a good history with them on for Kelly Breen.....3 wins and 2 2nd's in 5 starts......jock knows her well as he always rides her........might be speed of the speed but at what cost......we shall see

8  Taris   very consistent sort and at any distance only missing the board once in a dozen lifetime starts.......likely to get a decent mid pack postion.....seems like a major factor in this prestigious Grade 1 affair

4  Spelling Again


race 9    average clarity

4  Beach Patrol   classic improving running lines and seemingly has only one other competitor with his kind of early speed....2 for 2 since top grass conditioner D'Amato took over......likely to sit 1st or 2nd with a reasonable pace.......seems formidable with the cut back in distance if he holds form

1  Airoforce   only missed by a neck in the juv turf or would be 3 for 3 on the sod.......soild bullet work in preparation for today......seems likely to get a nice ground saving mid pack position at least thru turn 1.....and that is 1/2 the battle

8  Shakhimat   here's the only other runner who shows stout speed....... and it appears as if he needs the lead to continue his my guess is he leads and our top choice sits closely behind.........3 for 3 when loose......shot to make it 4 for 4

11  Dressed In Hermes

3  Converge   


race 10   average clarity

6  Sharp Azteca   high % trainer in Jorge Navarro and he is no different with shippers.......and this shipper from GP is coming in off of back to back wide margin one turn mile turn at a mile today......blistering 58:3 B work......should be in the hunt from the opening bell as usual

11  American Freedom   very impressive MSW debut for this Baffert invader ......that effort is par like for today's Grade 3 level......would have been considered for the top spot if it wasn't run on an off track.......but then again he just worked a bullet 5/8ths drill 5 days ago on the CD track which was rated fast

2  Ralis   won the prestigious Grade 1 Hopeful at Sar last summer which is run at seven a one turn mile at three should be right up his alley

5  Imperial Hint

9  Fellowship


race 11    below average clarity

7  Midnight Storm   owns a record on firm rated turf routes that is impressive (5 4 1 0)........ and three of those races are Grade 1 or Grade 2 affairs.......sunny skies and high temps....firm turf......owns some early speed in a race lacking it.....good grass tariner....plenty to like

2  Chocolate Ride   very dangerous on a loose lead and that looks like it can occur here.....and with one of the nation's top turf jocks up in Castellano

11  World Appeal   does his best turf running by far at today's 1 1/18th distance......very sharp recent works.......barn is firing on all cylinders to start the meet and a lot of that success is with today's rider up

10  Tourist

12  Big Blue Kitten


race 12    average clarity

17  Mor Spirit   3 wins and a 2nd in  4 route races on fast tracks......and not too shabby in his other three races running 2nd....Stevens should be able to get on over and save some ground and sit somewhere between 4th and 6th with many deep closers in this Ky Derby .........more than I can ever remember......ironically this Baffert three-year old has never faced Nyquist.....he does today and it might be a battle come late stretch

13  Nyquist    obviously has done nothing wrong going 7 for 7........but twice last year at 1 1/16th he was flattening some late.....and then in winning the FlaDerby he was drifting badly late......might be......I say might be......vulnerable at 1 1/4

20  Danzing Candy   owns the best early speed in the field by far so the post doesn't bother me much.....and I doubt the connections for Nyquist want to press the issue too early or they too will come up empty late......and loose on the lead (if reasonable) with Mike Smith up is a dangerous proposition

14  Mohaymen   might not have cared for the off track (I did pick Nyquist to win the FlaDerby) and was caught wide anyway giving him little chance to strut his stuff.....way overbet in last......likely an overlay today

3  Creator   believe the best of the 12 or 13 in here that like to come from far out of it.........mostly because by my book he has the best pedigree to get the 10 furlongs of anyone in the field

11  Exaggerator   won the SA Derby for fun but it was on a rare off track at SA......and his other two races on off surfaces are good as well.......has something to prove on a fast track......not out of the picture but definite my 6th selection


race 13    average clarity

6  Smart Moon   lifetime best was in his 2nd lifetime start and the race was his only effort to date at CD....and it was also a solid fig for a 2-year-old in out following the layoff sure appears to be a good thing for his 2nd lifetime start at the historic track

7  Uncle Walter   back to a nw alw race following three efforts in Graded races.......also back to a one turn race which he has shown a preference for........and one of Mike Maker's better stats is route to sprint

4  Mkubwa   solid MSW debut winning a fast heat at OP........won the race gate to wire........last might fit and if he moves forward off of that race he might be rated too low

2  Stranglehold

9  Harlan Punch


race 14    average clarity

4  Conquest War    you don't get to support too many maiden's cutting back a furlong in distance to 9 furlongs....that is the case here....and he just popped the best work of his life a sizzling 46:1 B best of 84 bullet......should be in the hunt from the get go

7  Virtual Machine   on the improve with every start with his last race a 2nd place finish in a $100K Stakes at TP.......should be a major player here

5  Rolling Tizway   big awakening in last with little chance at doing better than a 3 1/2L beaten 5th as he broke slowly and was rank......4th new rider in 4 lifetime starts in Corey jock will try to settle down this youngster.......not impossible in this spot if he does

3  Race Me Home

12  Goats Town

Posted on May 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm by richs · Permalink
In: Free Information, Selections