Monday, April 18, 2016
Shall we add Creator to the Derby mix?
(Notes from a dog-eared, scribbled-on Daliy Racing Form)
Well, race-track aficionados...we might need to add another horse to Paulie's Derby Horses to Watch list.
I present to you Creator.
No, I've not enlisted The Almighty in my handicapping routine (although there are times I've needed a divine miracle to get one of my selections to the toteboard). This is a hard-running grey three-year old that swooped by them all in the stretch at the Arkansas Derby Saturday...disposing of odds-on favorite CUPID in the process to win.
The Steve Asmussen trained, Ricardo Santana ridden thoroughbred blew the break and was dead last when the front-runners hit the half-mile mark. No worries. Santana started a prolonged drive that started along the rail, swung to the outside on the homestretch turn and had the late runner passing the tiring front-runners and holding off late running contenders Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore by two lengths.
For Paulie, it was a late revelation. I'd been told about the horse earlier in the day from a handicapper who I respect greatly. I went back and did the research and decided to add him to my Pk 3, exacta and trifecta plays for Oaklawn.
And it paid off, especially since Cupid faded to 10th and Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore...two horses I already had in my exotics...filled out the top three.
Do I think Creator can make a move like that in the Derby? Yes, especially if he doesn't miss the start like he did at Oaklawn.
Does it change my top three? Not yet. I will list him in fourth though...behind EXAGGERATOR, NYQUIST and BRODY'S CAUSE.
The burning question here is whether Nyquist will contest the early pace and simply be too hard to catch as they head down that long Churchill Downs stretch? His Florida Derby win was impressive and he was first or second the entire trip before hitting the afterburners and leaving Mohaymen in his wake.
I've been burned before by horses leading at the top of the Churchill stretch and getting gobbled up by late runners. None of these are a California Chrome or American Pharoah...believe me.
I do expect the Derby to be won by a late runner, though...and Exaggerator still looks like the most likely guy to do it. I'll equate it to college women's hoops. Syracuse came on strong after being roughed up by a few teams early in the season. Exaggerator took some lumps also but gained from those and is growing into his body now. I still like him. and...there's no UConn in his way.
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3) Brody's Cause