John Battaglia


A 10 point triple crown prep at Turfway on the synthetic surface is more or less irrelevant come Derby Day but I've promised to blog about every Derby prep and will continue to do so.  There is a legitimate amount of early speed so I expect a fair pace and a fair outcome.

1. Gretzky the Great - Gets all "1"s in RANK column which is best you can do & is K+ selection in race.  Horse likely gets bet down but with a full field you could get 2-1 or better.  Won a G1 race as 2yo before fading in the BC Juvenile Turf first time without LASIX.  Class of the field but off 3 month layoff & first time synthetic there is some risk.  Work-outs weaker than at end of 2yo campaign.  Good draw.

2. The Predicament - Took 7 starts to break maiden.  Not eligible to improve and probably prefers sprinting.  Easy toss.

3. Twirling Mamba - Has 2 wins in 3 starts where he kept his rider.  Won first start on synthetic and eligible to improve in 2nd start of 3yo career.  Stretches out today.  Very profitable connections make this a viable long-shot.

4. Like the King - Early speed will be battling with 3,10,12 early.  Won both starts that were not on the turf including nice mile win on this track.  Logical contender.

5. Kinetic Sky - Won 2 races (DQ'd once).  Last win was short field "off the turf" with LASIX on.  Great connections with Cox/Parker ensure this one will be underlaid.  Slow on ENERGY.  Pass.

6. Pico D'Oro - $255K Curlin colt not nominated to Triple Crown.  Heavily raced as 2yo.  Mostly dirt horse but does own 6F sprint win on synthetic with good ENERGY.  Horse is strong finisher but didn't appear to like the stretch-out at age 2.  Mixed feelings but very usable underneath.

7. Hard Rye Guy - Got beat by Hush of a Storm in last with no excuses.  Does have a good running style to close into the exotics.  Likes the track and Landeros/Wilkes are good together.

8. Hush of a Storm - 2 for 2 over this track and distance.  Now taking the step up in class.  Very usable underneath.

9. Fort Moultrie - Broke maiden at this track/surface at 31-1 odds in second lifetime star.  Time was fast.  Taking huge step up in class but could improve again.  Jockey jumps off to ride #11.

10. Notable Exception - Regally bred Calumet horse has been a huge disappointment.  Should flash speed and tire again.

11. Catman - Bad draw but this horse has been running in tough listed stakes on the turf which is why he is second on sheet.  Picks up Esquivel.  Been getting beat handily, ENERGY is not quick and tries synthetic for first time.  As a 15-1 longshot you are getting great VALUE for Maker trained colt.  Ramsey's sold this Kitten's Joy colt for only $85K so there must be some issues.  Definitely a long-shot but if you could get 20-1, that might be worth a shot.

12. Warrior in Chief - Another speed horse with bad outside draw tries synthetic for first time.  Best early speed in race if translates to synthetic.  Eligible to improve in first start as 3yo.  Albarado/McPeek good together but surprised they aren't trying conventional dirt prep.

13. Bakwena - AE maiden that has lost to a couple horses in here.  No thanks.

Bottom Line - #1 Gretzky the Great is a K+ horse and class of field with superb draw.  Normally this is great at 2-1 or better but there are some warning signs to take at a short price.  If he doesn't win, race is very wide open so demand a price.  Pace should set it up for a closer so toss speed horses 4,10,12.  #3 should sit close to speed and is a viable long-shot.  #11 has both issues and positives.  Clearly a value bet with the right running style.  #8 is the best local horse.  #6,7 useable underneath.  Play against the #5.