Posted: 3/31/2012 10:38:57 AM
I don’t know why this race has come out a bit flat for me after having such high expectations for it, but maybe it’s because, after analyzing the contestants, it comes down to a one-horse race. There are other talents in the field aside from 6-5 ML fave Union Rags and the second choice at 2-1, El Padrino, but so many of these are ho-hum.
#6 Union Rags…..In several Derby trails in recent years, we’ve seen the “Flavor of the month” horse (Pyro, No Biz Like Shobiz and Bellamy Road come to mind), but Union Rags doesn’t fit that profile. This is a real horse and a real contender and I, for one, relish the thought of seeing his rematch with Hansen the first Saturday in May. In Union Rags’ three-year old debut in the Fountain of Youth, he seemingly toyed with the field in stalking fashion before coming three-wide to win by four lengths over News Pending in a time of 142.68. I think the stretch to 1-1/8 miles will do him good in this race and will serve as his table setter for the Kentucky Derby.
#8 El Padrino……I have a bit of a problem with horses who win Derby preps at Fairgrounds as the New Orleans track seems to have a speed bias that often doesn’t translate to other dirt tracks. Could it might be the case here with El Padrino? That said, he did win at Gulfstream on Jan. 29 on a sealed surface rated as good recording his best speed figure (100), so what do I know? This is one of Pletcher’s best, so you know he’ll be ready. Based on his Risen Star finish and his lone race at 1-1/8 miles, can he beat Union Rags at this distance?
#3 Take Charge Indy…..He seems to be headed for the “classic underachiever” category based on his form in recent races. Check the track notes for the evidence. If he is going to be part of the field for the 2012 Kentucky Derby, then today is the day he will need to show up in a big way.
#2 News Pending….A lot of potential here and I think with some racing luck, he can handle this field. His two races on turf at this distance show that he can handle the footage, but can he best Union Rags, which he couldn’t do in the Fountain of Youth?
#9 Reveron….I like the switch to Elvis and I think his early speed will help him to get out of the gate and tuck inside. I don’t see him stealing this race on the front end, but he is 6/3-1 2 lifetime, including a win at this track, so a decent piece isn’t out of the question. Note his Sam F. Davis effort where he finished third just 1-1/4 back.
#4 Neck N’ Neck….He is a very decent horse who can take a share and should be considered in the mix.
#6 Union Rags to win
$15 ex straight: 6-2
$10 ex straight: 6-8
$5 ex key: 6/3,9
$4 tri wheel: 6/2,3,8,9/2,3,4,8,9