Derby Weekend Wrap-Up
Derby Contender Profiles
Thursday, April 20, 2017
by Andrew Rdesinski
Here at Danonymous Racing, we’re happy to introduce a new recurring column series: the Derby Weekend Wrap-Up, with our own Andrew Rdesinski!
You may know Andrew from his write-ups of the racing action at Santa Anita Park every Sunday. Now, he’ll give his opinions on each of the Kentucky Derby top twenty. This column features a rundown of the top ten horses in terms of Derby points; next week, you’ll find the next ten.
Give Andrew a follow on twitter at @phillyboy415!
10 Random Derby Contenders Week #1 Preview
Classic Empire – Pioneerof the Nile – Sambuca Classica by Cat Thief
Owner- John Oxley
Trainer- Mark Casse
Jockey- Julien Leparoux
The two-year-old champ only had two preps in his 3yo Campaign leading up to the Derby, and on top of that was a little bit stubborn when it came to the training. However, he won his last prep, the Arkansas Derby, which he needed in order to prove himself going into the Derby. I loved Classic Empire as a two-year-old and still love him now, but the love has decreased. However, I think he peaks in the Derby, and we should see his best effort.
Irap – Tiznow – Silken Cat by Storm Cat
Owner- Reddam Racing LLC
Trainer- Doug O’Neill
Jockey – TBD
Irap broke his maiden in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, where he put away a strong field on the wrong lead. If that doesn’t say he is a live horse come May 6th, then I don’t know what does. We do not know who will ride him in the Derby, but we know as of now he is running. I think he has a shot and is improving at a rapid rate, which means he is sitting on his best effort.
Thunder Snow – Helmet – Eastern Joy by Dubai Destination
Owner- Godolphin Racing LLC
Trainer- Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey- Christophe Soumillon
Thunder Snow is the overseas shipper this year. He won the UAE Derby, in which he beat Epicharis, one of my original top choices, in a dueling stretch run. Thunder Snow has the heart to win it, but overseas shippers don’t usually do too well. He is a toss for me, but won’t be surprised if he runs a big one.
Practical Joke – Into Mischief – Halo Humor by Distorted Humor
Owner- Klaravich Stables INC and Lawrence, William H.
Trainer- Chad Brown
Jockey- Joel Rosario
Practical Joke is a horse that runs his race every time. Back in the late summer of his two-year-old season, I thought he was going to be a 1 turn mile type of horse. However, he came back a better, more mature horse in 2017. He has been runner up in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes, losing to Irap and Gunnevera. Maybe he likes to hang and run 2nd more than he likes to win, or maybe the distance is just too much. All I know is he will be used in my exotic wagers.
State of Honor – To Honor and Serve – State Cup by Elusive Quality
Owner- Conrad Farms
Trainer- Mark Casse
State of Honor ran in the top 3 in the Sam F Davis Stakes, Tampa Bay Derby, and Florida Derby, but has not won since he broke his maiden back at Woodbine in October. I truly do not think he has what it takes to compete with this field, and for me is my first true toss of the 2017 Kentucky Derby field.
Tapwrit – Tapit – Appealing Zophie by Successful Appeal
Owner-Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LaPenta, Robert V.
Trainer- Todd Pletcher
Jockey- Jose Ortiz
Tapwrit had grown on me as a contender. Then he ran his last race, and made me think otherwise. He ran amazingly well in the Tampa Bay Derby, and then he ran 5th in the Blue Grass. In my opinion the Blue Grass was an easier field, which is why I think Tapwrit’s best days are behind him for now. Might use underneath depending on his works leading up to the Derby, but for now he is a toss.
Hence – Street Boss – Floating Island by A.P. Indy
Owner- Calument Farms
Trainer- Steve Asmussen
Jockey- Alfredo J. Juarez Jr.
Hence might be the best horse over 10/1 in the field, without a question. Hence is the Sunland Derby Winner, and surprisingly enough the Sunland Derby to me was the biggest race on the Derby Prep Circuit this year. The top 3 finishers are all solid horses, especially the top two which were Hence, and Conquest Mo Money, who almost beat Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby. Hence might just be the most mature horse of the group and the most underrated.
Fast and Accurate – Hansen – It’s Heidi’s Dance by Green Dancer
Owner- Kendall Hansen
Trainer- Mike Maker
Jockey- Tyler Gaffalione
Fast and Accurate is a Pennsylvania-bred, which is a beautiful thing to me, since I am Philadelphia Native. However this might be the worst horse of the bunch. He won the Spiral, which was a God-awful group, and was struggling in the stretch to do so.
Battalion Runner– Unbridled’s Song – Tamboz by Tapit
Owner- St. Elias Stable
Trainer- Todd Pletcher
Jockey- John Velazquez
Battalion Runner was never on my radar. People loved this horse before he even ran against graded stakes company. However, I knew he wouldn’t run as huge as experts predicted. Sure he ran 2nd in the Wood Memorial, and turned in a nice effort. But the New York races have yet to make an impact, and the only horse usable for me coming out of the New York prep circuit is Irish War Cry, not Battalion Runner
Battle of Midway – Smart Strike – Rigoletta by Concerto
Owner- Fox Hill Farms
Trainer- Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey- Corey Nakatani
Battle of Midway ran 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby, and 3rd in the San Vicente Stakes. He isn’t too classy compared to the field, yet he is from California and California horses historically stack up well against East Coast horses. Use him if you’d like, but I won’t be using.