RECAP: Three Derby Preps + FLA Oaks SCORE – Super Screener
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RECAP: Three Derby Preps + FLA Oaks SCORE

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The Derby Preps

We got to witness three Kentucky Derby prep races Saturday, with each race worth 50 points to the winner and an assured spot in the gate on the first Saturday in May. We are in the midst of the key penultimate preps with the final round of preps commencing on Saturday, March 28th.

Gotham Stakes (G3)

Mischevious Alex was an obvious choice as a Super Screener “A” horse and the Top Board Hitter pick given his two prior blow-away wins going one turn. He pressed a moderate pace via a perfect trip and drew away willing for the win as the odds-on favorite. The Super Screener Top Win pick, Attachment Rate had to work from the back of the field, but came on with sustained energy late to narrowly miss 2nd place. The Super Screener Top Value play, Montauk Traffic, had to come from even further back and was disadvantaged by the moderate pace, but got up for 4th over Necker Island. The top 3 finishers were clearly the best. 

Mischevious Alex earned the following BRIS Pace and Speed Rating running line coming out of the Gotham Stakes:

1st Call = 93; 2nd Call = 101; Late Pace = 90; Speed Rating = 96

That is a solid, balanced running line, but considering this was earned in a one-turn mile race, I would have liked to have seen a Late Pace figure that exceeded 100 to get more excited about this outcome. Regardless, he earned the right to take a shot at a 1 1/8 mile prep race.

Tampa Bay Derby (G2)

All hail to the King! What went wrong here that allowed King Guillermo to not only win but crush this field at odds of nearly 50-1? This race was projected to feature a hot and pressured pace… but those with all that speed were held in reserve by their pilots, leaving the pace duties up to the slower Relentless Dancer. That allowed King Guillermo to track the below-par pace, reserving plenty of energy for that stretch run. Sole Volante was just too far back into that slow pace which compromised his ability to gain on the winner. He’ll actually get better as the distances get longer. Patrick Biancone is training this one to do his best running late. 

Obviously, the BRIS Pace/Speed Rating numbers for both Spa City and Unrighteous when they ran against each other last out were overstated, as that pair dead heated for 7th place. 

Here’s the running line that came back for King Guillermo:

1st Call = 86; 2nd Call = 92; Late Pace = 107; Speed Rating = 102

In these 1 1/16 distance penultimate prep races, a serious Kentucky Derby contender will post a BRIS 2nd Call figure of 95+ and a Late Pace number that is at least 106 so this colt comes close. Connections indicate that they will continue on to the Kentucky Derby and why not?

San Felipe (G2)

Pretty much as expected…the two Super Screener “A” horses finished 1-2 and the two “B” horses completed the Superfecta. Authentic was in complete control and while it wasn’t a dazzler it was a very useful prep. Hopefully, he’ll get more of a test in his final prep.

Honor A.P. ran a good one off the long layoff. No question he’ll improve next out in the Santa Anita Derby but he is definitely playing catch up.

Authentic’s BRIS Pace/Speed Rating running line out of this race came up as follows:

1st Call = 95; 2nd Call = 99; Late Pace = 92; Speed Rating = 97

Look how steady he laid out his energy… 92+ across the board. Very Super Saver-like. Authentic is begging for more ground and will continue to move forward.

Florida Oaks (G3)

The Super Screener called the cold “Outburst over Walk in Marrekesh” Exacta as Outburst did all the dirty work up front and gamely held off the resilient 2nd place finisher to win by a head.

For a full field like this one, the pace pressure projects to be quite minimal and therefore the three fillies that will be forwardly placed in this race are highly advantaged. Of that trio, #8 Outburst is the Super Screener Top Win and Top Value pick. This shipper from France tracked a very swift pace last out and outlasted the rest of the field for the win. This was a strong effort considering it was her US debut and she had been away from racing for 4 months. Will sit an ideal trip in the clear stalking #2 New York Groove and #6 Walk in Marrakesh throughout reserving energy that she will unleash in that final critical furlong. Offers terrific value. #6 Walk in Marrakesh owns the top credentials in this race and is very much advantaged by the pace set up here. She will need to contend with #2 New York Groove in the early going as that rival will be challenged for the lead and secure it forcing #6 Walk in Marrakesh to revert to pressing which is not the way she likes to travel. Does get first Lasix and has been working well for her first start since September.  Really though to take at a low price but have to include in your Exotic wagers.

Super Screener suggested wagers cashed for over $500.

Hillsborough (G2)

Starship Jubilee winning again didn’t help the prices in this race. However, the Super Screener Top Long Shot pick, Kelsey’s Cross was taken back by Florent Geroux as we anticipated (though not sure why she was taken all the way back to last place!) and then came on with a rush to nab 3rd place at bountiful odds of nearly 21-1. 

Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about the Top Shot pick:

Watch out for #5 Kelsey’s Cross out of the Patrick Biancone barn. Makes her 3rd start off the layoff and projects to move forward again on her way to a new lifetime top for this lightly raced 4 yr-old filly with just 9 career starts. Not sure why, but she was taken out of her natural off-the-pace Energy Distribution Profile to cut brutally fast fractions (track variant adjusted) as the pace leader last out and, understandably, had nothing left for the final stages of the race. Jockey change to Florent Geroux is a positive move and he’ll take her off the pace here but will remain in touch reserving valuable energy for that final, critical furlong in which he will deploy her strong turn of foot to hit the board at a gargantuan price.

The preps just keep on coming! All eyes turn to Arkansas this Saturday for Oaklawn’s penultimate prep, the Rebel Stakees (G2) and for the older fillies, the Azeri Stakes (G2). Santa Anita will also feature the Beholder Mile G1. And, one of the favorite Super Screener race tracks, Turfway Park, has a bit of a Derby prep in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) with a very strong supporting cast of other stakes races. Another super weekend of racing coming up… don’t miss it!

Until this coming weekend, Go Fast and Win!
Mike