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Kentucky Derby

Posted by By Brian Mulligan on 4/30/2015 9:01:07 PM

About the Race and Track

The hype is over. The preps are finished. The last oats have been distributed at the barn and 20 runners are poised to take a step toward history in the Kentucky Derby. In most years, I reserve comments about how good a sophomore crop is until the fall when these sophomores take on their elders but this looks like a sensational group of runners. There is plenty of speed in the race and the track should be fast weather permitting.

A Longshot With Some Value: Frosted

The throat procedure that Frosted went through has been a major success in my recollection over the decades. I can think of several runners in California that had similar operations and then ran through the roof. This might again be the case with Frosted.

The Pick: American Pharoah (Win)

Favored every time, Carpe Diem brings versatility to the party. He can give you a sub :45 half but has shown repeatedly he can rate kindly. Considering the layoff, the Tampa Bay Derby was a nice return and the show horse that day returned to take the Lexington with a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. This runner has fired every time and can’t fault those that figure he has not reached his peak level yet. In the Keeneland work recently he galloped out strong and was a bear to pull up. He has had a history of getting keyed up and that has to be controlled and addressed in this huge field.

Materiality proved he could handle the off going in the first start of his career this year, was impressive stretching out and then proved it was no fluke with the tour de force in the Florida Derby. The place horse in the second start returned and gave International Star all he could handle in the Louisiana Derby in a tough neck defeat. He may have to prove that he can win from off the pace and he has the juvenile thing working against him, as Apollo in 1882 is the only runner in history that didn’t race at 2 and still won the Derby.

Dortmund is classy son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown and he has brilliant speed but doesn’t need the lead to win. Note the place horse in the Robert Lewis win was over 21 lengths clear of the show horse and then came back and destroyed the Sunland Derby field. He has a right to get this trip as if you go deep in this pedigree and you’ll find Lakeville Miss, who was a champion and she won the CCA Oaks at a mile and a half. This runner will be trying to be the 8th racer to exit the Derby undefeated.

Mubtaahij is seasoned and talented. Trained by world-class conditioner, Michael de Kock who won with the first horse he took to the statesChestnut Horse in the 2000 Broward ‘Cap, this runner raced in a mile and three-sixteenth $250K affair at Meydan, tracked the leaders with a good trip and prevailed. The horse that ran second in that race was a perfect 10 for 10 going into the event and winning at a mile and three-sixteenths on the taxing a deep Meydan track will give him as good a foundation of any. The blood is there as his half sister Lilly of the Valley took a Group 1 going a mile and a quarter on grass. He rates a legit upset look.

Once sent long, the light went on for Frosted. He was inching toward the winner in the Remsen, was bumped in the 2015 opener, and he could not hold off the Fountain of Youth foes. After that poor race, trainer McLaughlin switched things up. He adjusted the blinkers, and the runner had a throat procedure to improve his breathing. This is the surprise package.

After a press and fade wide debut, American Pharoah has been perfect. He proved in the Rebel Stakes that he can handle any kind of going and he showed he could sit off the pace last time and still succeed. He won geared down last time, similar to the way Sunny’s Halo won the Arkansas Derby in 1983 before his Kentucky Derby victory. He has trained sensationally for this and for those that have seen him prepare in person, the reviews have been stellar.



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