Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kentucky Derby Top 10

Derby Top 10 - April 22nd

1. Colonel John (1)
2. Big Brown (2)
3. Smooth Air (3)
4. Eight Belles (4)
5. Z Fortune (5)
6. Court Vision (7)
7. Pyro (9)
8. Monba (10)
9. Cowboy Cal (new)
10. Bob Black Jack (new)

This will be my final Derby Top 10 for this year and what a year it's been. There has been uncertainty for much of the spring and that won't be cleared up until the horses cross the line in the Derby. It might be as simple as Big Brown being better than everyone else. His trainer certainly thinks he is and now with War Pass and Massive Drama out of the race the pace edge may fall to him. Or perhaps it is as simple as rooting for the most well rounded Derby contender, which is certainly Colonel John. He has the look of a Derby winner, physically, mentally and his running style. It's too bad the surface question is still looming. I think the surface is also to blame for his low speed figures. Outside the top two I think it is anyone's race. I can certainly envision a scenario where both Colonel John and Big Brown are defeated although I believe that at least one of them if not both will be in the frame. Smooth Air is the first on the list of logical alternatives. He is not a brilliant horse but I adore the way he is training. Forget what breeding he may or may not have. He is virtually the only horse in the race who is having significant stamina built into him. Some horses will rely on their pedigree to get the extra ground. Smooth Air will be relying on the fitness he's recieved from his workouts. Eight Belles is a bit of a mystery horse but I have to rank her this high because of what she may be capable of. If the form she has showed against fillies translates in the Derby she will be a very tough horse to beat and might even be key to defeating Big Brown. The longer he stays on the lead the more courageous he'll get. Eight Belles has the speed to attack him earlier than most. Z Fortune is a horse I thought the world of early in the year but cooled on after he flopped in the Rebel. His Arkansas Derby won me back to his side though and I expect a huge run from him. I think he's a horse I'll use all over my tickets. Court Vision may be a slow plodder who even failed to make up significant ground on the Wood horses who were crawling home but he does have a touch of class about him and I fear any horse who really wakes up in their works, especially after arriving at Churchill. He's better as a play underneath but he does have a great chance of at least hitting the superfecta. Pyro is a total question mark. I won't use him on top and I may not use him at all but you have to respect what he was able to do on the dirt. I don't like the fact that he didn't get much from his last prep but I do think that a return to his best beats at least half this field. Monba is another horse I'd use underneath if the price was right. I suspect he prefers Polytrack despite a prior win over the surface. Cowboy Cal has been added to the Derby Top 10 after spending the year on the radar list. I'm not convinced he's a dirt horse but I do fear the "other Pletcher" angle with him. In fact if Big Brown is to win the Derby I suspect Cowboy Cal will be in the frame. Big Brown has his best chance of winning if the pace is moderate and Cowboy Cal is the kind of horse who would just love to clip off a steady pace. He'll keep trying all the way to the line. While I think he isn't quite good enough to win he is a real exacta threat if things go his way. Bob Black Jack is the final horse in my top 10. There are few things to dislike about him, most notably the fact that in both of his route races he got passed in the lane. I'm also not hyped over the fact that his best lifetime performance to date came in a 6f race. But you have to acknowledge that Californians have been doing exceptionally well when travelling out of state. I like that he rated well in his last race and was able to finish rather quickly. He doesn't need to love the distance to hit the frame and I think he is the kind of horse who will either run way above expectations or run near last. I prefer him to Gayego among the Californians. I think Gayego has run his best race. If you'd like to read the entire Top 10 from this year you can do that by clicking here.

Dropped: Atoned (6), Tomcito (8)


Anonymous said...

you think gayego has run his best race. i think you utilize 1% of your brain.

peeptoad said...

1. Colonel John
2. Big Brown
3. Smooth Air
4. Gayego
5. Monba
6. Z Fortune
7. Pyro
8. Visionaire
9. Court Vision
10. Eight Belles

Bob Black Jack- has been gamely outrunning his pedigree, should make it into the field.
Adriano- dirt still a question mark

I did a bit of re-shuffling, mainly because Eight Belles will not run here unless she draws a good post (or her Oaks post is bad). I wanted to keep her on the list, but dropped her down because she may not even run. Col. John is the top contedner, followed by Big Brown. They've been 1-2 for a couple of weeks now. Smooth Air inherits the 3rd spot due to the move of the filly, and I really like him to finish underneath at best, but he could pull off a shocker. I like a horse who has more 2-turn experience than he's got though. Gayego ran a very good race at OP, andd still needs to improve a bit, but is another who has looked capable speed-wise. I elevated Monba a bit because he did win his last prep and, even though he's had some trouble this spring his pedigree is really suited to the Derby. He, along with John and maybe Court Vision have what I would consider to be the best pedigrees for the distance. Z Fortune is next with an improved race at OP, he'd have to run the race of his life to win, but nothing is outside the realm of reason this year. As already stated Court Vision has the pedigree, but needs to run faster. He does have a win over the CD strip though, so that's in his favor. Visionaire should improve back on dirt, but I don't really like his pedigree for the 10F. I still have a radar, for a couple of others who have run nice races leading up to the big one.

Finally, things could change a bit depending on workouts, possible defections, etc...but this is basically the way I'm going into the Derby.

Anonymous said...

I am reconsidering Gayego, but I doubt very seriously that I would make him my top pick. From my experience, Z Fortune has a better chance of finishing ahead of Gayego than the other way around.

Even if Gayego were to duplicate his last out, say like Charismatic did, I don't think it would be enough to win the Kentucky Derby. I don't see Gayego improving enough to win at 1 1/4 miles.

That's why they call it racing, I guess.

Good luck to you and Peeptoad. I assume you will have a few more posts about the Derby, before May 3rd.


chicago gerry

P.S. Too bad you have to put up with some comments. I wonder why someone like that even bothers.