Instead of rolling out a traditional Top 10 list, we’ve decided to give it a little twist this year. Eric DeCoster and Eric Solomon are going to have a friendly competition, choosing a fantasy stable of ten prospects for the Kentucky Derby. The Derby Points will determine the scoring, so if a winning horse in a player’s stable wins a 50 point race, the player gets 50 points. Any horse not selected into a stable will be available to pick up “on waivers” after each week, leading up to the Derby. The scoring for the Kentucky Derby will be 200 points to the winning horse, 80 points to the second place finisher, 40 points for third, and 20 points for 4th. Each week, we’ll post some thoughts and rationale for managing our stable.
|Eric D’s Stable||Eric S’s Stable|
|Mo Donegal||Smile Happy|
|Barese||In Due Time|
|Rattle N Roll||Forbidden Kingdom|
|God of Love||Barber Road|
|Early Voting||Slow Down Andy|
|Total Points:||Total Points:|
Eric Solomon’s Stable:
My strategy for picking my ten horses was to try to cover as many of the major circuits as possible. I believe that as of today, the most likely winner of the Kentucky Derby is Smile Happy, so I was definitely pleased to be able to have him in my stable. Obviously things can change, but his effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club was tremendous, and the form from that race continues to hold up. He goes this weekend in the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds, so there’s instant action for me there. Zandon and Slow Down Andy are also in that race and both horses that I think are interesting runners that have the ability to get into the Derby. Zandon makes his first start since a narrow loss in the Remsen to Mo Donegal. While they had the same Beyer speed figure for their effort, Zandon had the better Thoro-graph number, in part because he covered a lot more ground in that nine furlong contest. Chad Brown opted for this spot to make his return in part because of the more Derby points that are available and in part because of the configuration of this track compared to Gulfstream and their 1 Mile and 1/16 races. Slow Down Andy beat Messier on the square in the Los Alamitos Futurity in December. Messier came back to run one of the stronger races we’ve seen from a three year old thus far. Doug O’Neill had success bringing Hot Rod Charlie to Louisiana last year and he’s hoping for the same here. For the terms of this contest, I like having three from the same race, especially since none of the three runners I have are based at the Fair Grounds. My guess is that not all three will run back in the Louisiana Derby, hopefully spreading out my chances for points later on.
I was also looking for some untested horses that flashed some significant ability to add to my stable. In Due Time, Chasing Time, and Charge It all appear to be stakes bound after running big races with allowance or maiden types. Forbidden Kingdom and Morello are also horses that are a little riskier, but the thought process here was that both were going to be live runners in their next races, the San Felipe and the Gotham. Barber Road keeps running solid races despite less than ideal trips in Arkansas, so with a clean trip, he might be able to win one of these preps. White Abarrio ran huge in the Holy Bull and he loves the Gulfstream oval. He’s planning on sitting out the Fountain of Youth at the moment, in favor of the Florida Derby.
Eric DeCoster’s Stable:
When going through this draft, my goal was to pick “sure things” early on and once I felt confident in my first four or five horses, take some shots with horses I’ve liked for a while but admittedly need to keep improving. I picked Mo Donegal first overall as I’ve been stating for a while he’s the horse I have the most confidence in making and potentially winning the Kentucky Derby. I followed that up with two consistent types who will likely pick up a lot of points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in Classic Causeway and Simplification, as well as Epicenter two rounds later. The four horses I considered to be “high risk, high reward” types were Emmanuel, Barese, Shipsational, and God of Love. While some of these have stakes experience now, they still need to do more to be true Derby horses, but my hope is that projecting towards late March/early April these four will take big steps forward and be major players in some of the final Derby preps. The final two left in my stable are Rattle N Roll and Early Voting, both of which I was a little surprised fell to me, especially Early Voting in the final round. In full transparency, I’m not really in love with either of these two, but given they were still on the board and have decent graded stakes wins going for them, I felt like I had to take them on the chance they improve off of those efforts into their next one or two starts.