Derby Lists 2017

blamethewinner
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Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:07 pm

Why would anyone want to bet McCraken?

You're going to take an underlaid price on a horse everyone is betting because they're assuming he needed his last race and that Ian Wilkes has a plan in mind. Don't kid yourself for a second, his Blue Grass was not a good performance. His jockey was race ridden and he lost a bit of position before making a big move and hanging badly. He has the look of a horse with real distance limitations and will now be a fraction of his fair odds.

I'd bet either of the 1-2 finishers in the BG over McCraken, and they'll both be better prices.
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Big Ten
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Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:48 pm

Somnambulist wrote:If McCracken has GZ's kick its only because it's the watered down one.
He doesn't need to have same late kick as his sire against these slugs.

I like Blamethewinner's mentality. I also liked McCraken losing his last prep. Raise doubts to raise the price. Unbridled and Thunder Gulch lost in the Blue Grass. Blame didn't even run a lick in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. How did things turn out in their next race?

Jared is right. They all have flaws. What matters is what flaws you can live with. I don't need any of this stats mumbo jumbo. I like McCraken and willing to cross out his last race. I want to see a GZ colt win with a Hernandez name in a Derby trophy (and no I'm not Latino). Too bad for another Hernandez in a jail cell.

3 for 3 in Churchill. Blame loved CD, so why not go for a horse with experience there? Irish War Cry and Classic Empire don't impress me one bit. IWC is a poor man's Dortmund with a 13+ closing quarter. Classic Empire might be in my Top 3 but I wouldn't trust him either.

Placing $100 on McCraken. $80 to win. $20 to place. I hope to turn that $100 capital into $700+ of he goes off at 8-1. Pay off my Google Pixel entirely. No exotics for me this year. Just keep it simple. DoorDash money is easy money for me all day. If I lose, oh well. Move on into betting the NBA Playoffs.
Rock Hard Ten. Free House. Soul Of The Matter. Lit de Justice. Zenyatta. Justify. Cigar. Ghostzapper. Lava Man. Silver Charm.
MySaladDays
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Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:11 pm

Somnambulist wrote:If McCracken has GZ's kick its only because it's the watered down one.
I think there have only been 2 Derby winners in last 10 or 15 years with his kind of numbers in the stretch call at 1-1/8. I'll Have Another and I think Orb. So it does happen. But even going back to Lil E tee and Sea Hero, you just don't see stretch call numbers above 3 in most derby winners at 1-1/8

But poster may be right, perhaps McCraken will do better at CD track than at KEEN or TAM. I know the dirt at KEEN isnt' the dirt at CD....but watching him unable to make up ground on a maiden who wasn't even running on the correct lead had me a bit concerned.

For McCraken lovers, this makes your odds go up so that is good for you.

Nafzger says he's like a lap puppy like Unbridled was. :D Seems like a really sweet friendly horse.
peeptoad
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:37 am

blamethewinner wrote:Why would anyone want to bet McCraken?

...

I'd bet either of the 1-2 finishers in the BG over McCraken, and they'll both be better prices.
Agree on Practical Joke )the only horse to close ground on the winner), but not Irap. I'll let that one beat me. He set a snail-like pace that no one was reasonably able to close into (save PJ).
Admin
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:27 am

Who is going to be the favorite? Seems no one is even sure of that. Most seem to think Always Dreaming will be favored, but I don't know why. IWC is best by the numbers so you'd think that'd make him the fav, but he's just not getting the love. Classic Empire has the reputation going for him, but people are still cold on him.
"This is how we roll in the Shire." -- Leonard
Somnambulist
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:30 am

Admin wrote:Who is going to be the favorite? Seems no one is even sure of that. Most seem to think Always Dreaming will be favored, but I don't know why. IWC is best by the numbers so you'd think that'd make him the fav, but he's just not getting the love. Classic Empire has the reputation going for him, but people are still cold on him.
CE has to go off favored.

I personally think this is going to be a great betting race.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
peeptoad
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:16 am

Somnambulist wrote:
CE has to go off favored.
I would think so...
If I had to wager a guess the top 4 would be:
CE
McCraken
Irish War Cry
Always Dreaming

IWC and AD may be reversed?
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Premier Pegasus
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:30 am

Preliminary plans until the post positions are final.

Top Keys: Thunder Snow, Classic Empire

Secondary Keys (if the top keys scratch, main bottom of exotics)
: Irish War Cry, Always Dreaming

Underneath (Exactas, Trifectas, Supers): McCraken [local 3-for-3], Lookin At Lee, Sonneteer, Practical Joke, State Of Honor

Bombs (a Win bet flyer): Lookin At Lee, Sonneteer
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Big Ten
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:24 pm

McCraken
Classic Empire
Irish War Cry

Always Dreaming (another Pletcher fool's gold)
Gunnevera

I actually do think the Florida Derby was the best prep but I will continue to bet against Pletcher until his trainees start winning the Derby more.

Classic Empire and Irish War Cry have the best Derby names for a winner. IWC and Gunnevera are two handsome horses. Consensus Top 4 is CE, IWC, AD, and McCraken.

I don't usually agree with Kennedy's top pick. I wasn't around when Orb won it. I haven't agreed with his top pick since 2005 with High Fly. Never cared for Hoppertunity although he turned out to be useful for Baffert. I usually agree with Matt and TCW's lists but theirs is usually chalky. I look for value like Kennedy. Battle of getting it right or higher ROI? I used to hit 5x races with quarter horses in LosAl and barely made profit. So where Ken I agree on alot is finding the right price.

McCraken was the favorite in the first futures pool. I like that Blamethewinner is trashing the pick. Higher odds for me. None of our strong arm opinions matters once the gates open. I like that McCraken lost the Blue Grass like Unbridled and Street Sense did. Higher odds for me. Better off to keep things quiet and let people run to the windows banking on another Pletcher standout, a 2yo champ, and a handsome New Joyzee-bred. I like Ernie McCracken in Kingpin and I like McCraken here.

I want Ghostzapper to be bred to Zenyatta so we can have our Ghost In The Machine already! Curlin already shined with Exaggerator last year.

Win - $80 x 8 = $640
Place - $20 x 4 = $80

"Hi, Ernie McCracken. They call me Big Ern!"

"Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, Mr. McCraken is already there."
Rock Hard Ten. Free House. Soul Of The Matter. Lit de Justice. Zenyatta. Justify. Cigar. Ghostzapper. Lava Man. Silver Charm.
Tessablue
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:51 pm

After finally looking at PPs, I'm cooling on McCracken considerably (and I was already pretty ambivalent towards him). I don't trust the Sam Davis at all, and if you're critical of that race he ends up fitting the profile of a nice 2yo who never moved forward at 3 (as an aside, Practical Joke looks like a classic stuck-in-neutral 3yo, in the same vein as Mohaymen and Nobiz). While I worry that he's going to sneak up underneath and ruin everything, he isn't brilliant and I'd rather take a shot with a closer who has more potential upside at much better odds (Hence and Patch).

Always Dreaming is favored offshores right now, but Pletcher horses tend to project at low odds until they show up at Churchill and look terrible during their works. If AD instead impresses, he may well stay around 5-1 or 6-1. Classic Empire does appear to be the likely favorite right now and may be bet down more than expected, given the public's apparent love for 2yo champions. Irish War Cry will likely be the third choice unless Always Dreaming drifts up a lot, with McCracken fourth.

Here's is the resource I use to check international odds- https://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racin ... rby/winner. In my experience, it is not good at predicting race-day win odds. However, Derby win odds are often bizarre and difficult to project, and these odds are good for estimating value in the exotic and multirace pools. Notably, Hence hasn't moved at all despite all the buzz after the AK Derby.

Question for those who like Irish War Cry- any concern that he will have only one work prior to the Derby, and that it won't be at Churchill? Animal Kingdom was a very different horse, but I do recall that his brilliant CD work put him on a lot of radars prior to the Derby.
Somnambulist
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:59 pm

Concern, yes. Maybe he's just real fit right now.

Perhaps my faith in Motion is over rated.
"Life's no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe's my own to fool with."
peeptoad
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:21 pm

Tessablue wrote:

Question for those who like Irish War Cry- any concern that he will have only one work prior to the Derby, and that it won't be at Churchill? Animal Kingdom was a very different horse, but I do recall that his brilliant CD work put him on a lot of radars prior to the Derby.
I wouldn't say that I "like" IWC any more than other candidate really, but the reports from all sources I can find post-Wood were that the AQ strip was very slow and tiring that day. I think it might be one reason why the closing pace was slow and why, possibly, he might only have one real workout, but I'm just hazarding a guess.
MySaladDays
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:31 pm

Tessablue wrote: Question for those who like Irish War Cry- any concern that he will have only one work prior to the Derby, and that it won't be at Churchill?
Ever look at the stats on this?

I have.

Horses that don't work at CD either win the KY Derby, or quite often, they don't hit the board.

chrome and a number of others only had one work and not at CD when they won

Some with only 1 work at CD win, like Orb, Animal Kingdom, Fusaichi Pegasus, Smarty Jones, Big Brown, Mine that Bird, American Pharoah, tc. seems to be the sweet spot!

Interestingly, and separate from that, workers at CD comprise the superfecta about 25% of the time.

This is a pretty potent angle, actually. Hope it helps somebody.


Speaking of works, I am busy moving, and don't have TV or internet for at least 3/4 of the week now, can somebody tell me who is ON THE GROUNDS and working at CD yet? Thanks!
Kennedy
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:08 pm

I can take a crack (is that a pun?) at the defense or explanation of McCraken's Derby prospects. I don't mind sharing what I see in him.

Two year old form only has a mild impact on my ultimate Derby selection but it generally has a major impact on my Derby lists especially in the early part. I watch races and just try to evaluate horses based on things I like. McCraken certainly caught the eye in his rise to prominence as a 2yo. Not only was he winning but he was able to do it from off the pace and he was really driving past horses and doing it with a sense of ease and professionalism you don't see in many horses. I think most people recognized that and he was understandably one of the few really well thought of 2yo's from a Derby perspective.

His 3yo campaign is maybe a little harder to read but I thought the Sam Davis was one of the best preps overall. The speed figures were solid by every measure. His closing fractions were great, the projected times were excellent and the form held up completely through the next round of preps. He showed nice improvement of his 2yo form by achieving his best lifetime BSF, BRISspeed, and LP figure. So in my mind the trajectory of improvement was set and the talent level as a 2yo confirmed.

Then the wheels came off a bit and he had the physical setback. Almost no one has a setback in the spring and comes back solid enough for the Derby so the hopes of catching up enough to win the Bluegrass seemed remote to me. Then the way the Bluegrass unfolded made the race basically a throwout for me. He didn't run with his usual off the pace style and I think he was put into the race far too early and never allowed to properly settle and make one run. The pace was also slow so that tactic likely wouldn't have worked anyway.

So now you have to either take his BlueGrass as a true reflection or as a throwout. I think the pattern of prepping, the history of the Bluegrass and the way the race unfolded are all strong arguments for a toss. We all know it but Nafzger/Wilkes horses often run below their best in their final race. Street Sense, Unbridled, Unshaded and Fort Larned all won the major races they targeted whether it be the Derby, Classic or Travers and all of them ran poorly in their final prep with many of them being many lengths adrift of the winner offering little. Even Banshee Breeze from the same system ran a dull third while well backed in the Ashland only to miss winning the Oaks by a neck. There is a live pattern going here.

It's not only the trainer pattern. The Bluegrass itself has a history littered with well backed horses running poorly or losing and running well in the Derby while the winners failed badly in the Derby. Bluegrass Cat, Closing Argument and Invisible Ink are perhaps foremost among that group because of how bad they were in the Bluegrass and how remarkably they turned it around at CD.

McCraken wasn't even that bad. The average last BSF among the probable Derby starters was 89, he got an 88. The average Derby wining prep BSF for this field is 94, his top winning fig this year is 95. I use a calculation to evaluate a runners last 2 races ((avg prep winning fig x 2) - avg improvement of Derby winner from their last prep) and McCrakens last 2 race combine to be right in line with the field expectation. Horses like Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, Gormley, Hence and Practical Joke are his inferior by the same measure.

Someone mentioned that they would throw out the Sam Davis and I think if you choose to do that he definitely loses some appeal. However I would say that very few horses in this Derby look very good if you toss their best race. Also if I were choosing one race to toss in his career it would not be the one where he took yet another step of logically expected improvement over a field that confirmed his form next time out. I'd prefer to toss the race where he was coming off an injury facing a slow pace in a race that has traditionally yielded odd results.

I have every reason to think that he will return to top form over a surface he certainly handled in the past and show the improvement that is normal for a good horse at this stage in his career. That puts him in the 101 BSF range if you want to express it by speed figures and I think that will be enough to win this race amongst an inconsistent group with a lot of speed that should play into the hands of the closers.

I have no idea if any of my above assumptions will prove to be true but for now they are what guide my opinion.
MySaladDays
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:22 pm

Kennedy wrote:Then the wheels came off a bit and he had the physical setback.
ANY interruption in a horse's training, for something like the KY Derby, is concerning to most people. I think that is pretty normal. It is concerning to the trainers, too, I'm sure.

OTOH, Big Brown was running on a hoof that was practically not there, held together with wires and plastics, etc.

The question will always be "is the horse a good enough CHAMPION to overcome just about anything?" Some get a tummy ache and can't compete. Others are like my labrador retriever, the "hardest" dog I've ever owned, you couldn't make him wince if you tried (not that I would try). He is just hard as nails.....he split his leg open from ankle to groin on a barbed wire fence, 200 staples in surgery, and acted like nothing was wrong the whole time. My other one was a wimp....you could barely cut his toenails, the least bit of anything he would practically melt down :lol: ).

And everyone will have differing opinions about that.
Kennedy
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:35 pm

MySaladDays wrote:
Kennedy wrote:Then the wheels came off a bit and he had the physical setback.
ANY interruption in a horse's training, for something like the KY Derby, is concerning to most people. I think that is pretty normal. It is concerning to the trainers, too, I'm sure.

OTOH, Big Brown was running on a hoof that was practically not there, held together with wires and plastics, etc.

The question will always be "is the horse a good enough CHAMPION to overcome just about anything?" Some get a tummy ache and can't compete. Others are like my labrador retriever, the "hardest" dog I've ever owned, you couldn't make him wince if you tried (not that I would try). He is just hard as nails.....he split his leg open from ankle to groin on a barbed wire fence, 200 staples in surgery, and acted like nothing was wrong the whole time. My other one was a wimp....you could barely cut his toenails, the least bit of anything he would practically melt down :lol: ).

And everyone will have differing opinions about that.
But the question from a Derby perspective is not "are they a champion" but rather "how good are they going to be TODAY?"

"Today" is all that matters in the Derby and plenty of non-champs win the race. We don't really need to figure out who might get the hall of fame nomination. Animal Kingdom was as much a winner as American Pharoah.
Kennedy
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Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:55 pm

Big Ten wrote: I don't usually agree with Kennedy's top pick. I wasn't around when Orb won it. I haven't agreed with his top pick since 2005 with High Fly.
This is generally a wise stance with few exceptions. Most of my best work came before I became so "smart"

Single selections in the Kentucky Derby
1997 - Captain Bodgit (2nd)
1998 - Victory Gallop (2nd)
1999 - Charismatic (1st)
2000 - Fusaichi Pegasus (1st)
2001 - Monarchos (1st)
2002 - Private Emblem (14th)
2003 - Empire Maker (2nd)
2004 - The Cliffs Edge (5th)
2005 - High Fly - (10th)
2006 - Brother Derek (4th)
2007 - Dominican (11th)
2008 - Colonel John (6th)
2009 - Papa Clem (4th)
2010 - Conveyance (15th)
2011 - Soldat (11th)
2012 - Creative Cause (5th)
2013 - Orb (1st)
2014 - Dance With Fate (6th)
2015 - Upstart (18th)
2016 - Creator (13th)

I've basically been hopeless for 15 years. Amazingly I still show a flat bet profit among the 20 renewals where I've chosen a single horse but it has been a barren run. I think i tend to outsmart myself with all the facts and figures. This years promises the same allure because while I like McCraken with my senses the more I dig into the numbers the more I would find myself going for a horse like Gunnevera or perhaps Girvin. They likely better fit the profile that often attracts me however a cursory glance at the results shows that I have pretty terrible time figuring out the profile that leads to winning :)
MySaladDays
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Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:24 am

Kennedy wrote:But the question from a Derby perspective is not "are they a champion" but rather "how good are they going to be TODAY?"
I should have defined terms when I said "champion". To me, any horse who gets out on the track and gives their ALL, courageously and 100%, and takes on obstacles and setbacks, is such a one.

As far as "today", what are they going to do, that's every race. :lol:
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Ballerina
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Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:14 am

$1 super box Classic Empire, Irish War Cry, Gunnavera, and McCrakin. Won't pay much, but it'll pay something.
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