JC / Railbird

Derby 8 – April 15

1. Colonel John: Moves to the top of the list after last weekend’s preps. Worked four furlongs in :47.40 over the Santa Anita main track on Monday. Trainer Eoin Harty plans to ship the colt to Churchill next week.
2. Big Brown: Still a little hung up on his feet and inexperience, but he does have speed.
3. Gayego: Ran the final eighth in :12.68 after chasing quick early fractions in the Arkansas Derby.
4. Z Fortune: Cycling back into form? Can’t say he’s not bred for the distance or lacks preparation.
5. Tale of Ekati: Wood winner looks better after the ugly Blue Grass knocks out Big Truck and Cool Coal Man.
6. Eight Belles: The Derby would be her first race against the boys, but the way the field is shaping up, that might not be a problem.
7. War Pass: Credit for how game he was in the Wood. Might not fold easily in the Derby.
8. Pyro: Can’t see him winning the Derby off the Blue Grass, not matter how he works, but can’t see leaving him out of exotics either.


Not that jockeys are the world’s best handicappers, but the fact that Prado had three possible mounts for the Derby (Adriano, Monba, and Tale of Ekati) and has narrowed his choice to Adriano and Monba (tossing Tale of Ekati) gives me cause for pause on Tagg’s piece.

Posted by EJXD2 on April 16, 2008 @ 7:20 am

I read that last night and had the same reaction. It also made me think I should pay some attention to how Adriano and Monba train over the next couple weeks …

Posted by Jessica on April 16, 2008 @ 8:32 am

Jess, one comment: go back and look at the fractional times of the past five or six Arkansas Derbys. I don’t know why (maybe the stretch is downhill), but the times for the final eighth of a mile at OP can be downright screwy: I remember one year a horse ran it in something like 11 3/5. Since unearthing that nugget, and seeing that the last-fraction times from OP don’t hold up in subsequent races (i.e. that running the final 1/8 in less than 13 seconds is not a positive indication of superior form), I’ve learned to take them with a grain of salt. Just a thought.

Posted by Chris Garrity on April 16, 2008 @ 8:39 am

You’ve learned to take the Arkansas Derby results with a grain of salt?
Way to throw out Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Lawyer Ron, and Curlin! Those horses were bums.

Posted by EJXD2 on April 16, 2008 @ 10:03 am

I didn’t “learn” to throw out the races. I learned, when handicapping the Derby, to be skeptical of the final fractional times at OP. They don’t match up with other racetracks.
And if memory serves, didn’t three of the four horses you mention LOSE in the Derby?

Posted by Chris Garrity on April 16, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

It’s a good reminder not to get wrapped up in one factor, which has been a problem for me in past Derbies. I often end up ascribing too much meaning to something ultimately irrelevant.

Posted by Jessica on April 16, 2008 @ 5:33 pm