Photo: Hodges Photography
HOW HE GOT HERE
The route Mandaloun took to Kentucky has been Louisiana based. Brad Cox has his derby horse this year and he had to win the Risen Star in order to get enough points to get into the starting gate today. Brad Cox then tried him in the Louisiana Derby but that didn’t work out.
Mandaloun debuted at Keenland a week before halloween last year and it was a winning debut. He then won his next start at 7F and improved his beyer and this win made him 2 for 2 as a 2yo. Brad Cox has had a solid past 2-3 years so he knows when he has a good horse in his barn. This led to Brad Cox sending Mandaloun south to Louisiana for the rest of the winter and his first start was in the Lecomte. This was his first start as a 3yo, and against stakes caliber horses. I think the Lecomte is a very huge race when it comes to key races for the Derby. Midnight Bourbon won that race and is also in the Derby this year and seems to be one of the better in the bunch. But back to Mandaloun, Mandaloun didn’t show much stamina in the Lecomte which made the public worried about his ability to run distance races. That all changed in the Risen Star.
Brad Cox had faith in this 3yo still and with that faith in the horse, he pointed him to the Risen Star. Mandaloun proved his ability and proved the doubters wrong by winning the Risen Star and beat Midnight Bourbon, Proxy, and O Besos all which are derby entrants or on the bubble. It was by far his career best race until that point, and it looked that he was going to keep getting better with time. However, he ran in the Louisiana Derby and finished a distant 6th and never got going in my opinion. I don’t know if he just didn’t feel 100% that race but coming into the Derby it doesn’t look promising. I still think he has potential to bounce back like he has before.
HOW HE FITS HERE
Mandaloun is a presser and should be coming off the pace and the pace seems to be hot this year. I believe Florent Geroux is riding him in the Derby which would be ideal, as he knows how to rate this horse and maintain his stamina.
Based on class, Mandaloun also fits here with the win in the Risen Star and also beating multiple horses in the field already. If he can duplicate the Risen Star performance he can finish in the top 5 here. I think he will be sneaky enough to win here as well because he has won one of the big prep races.
HOW IT FIGURES TO GO HERE
I think Mandaloun will finish in the top 10 but has potential to finish in the superfecta. I think Geroux will have him in the right position pressing the leaders. If he gets the trip, he will be tough in this spot. I think his odds overseas are above 25/1 currently and I think if he is anywhere near that he has shot to blow up the tote board.
From a wagering perspective, I would tell people he is a live longshot. Do I think he will win, probably not. However, I can see in ways which he can win just as much as I can see him not winning. I think he also could get lost in the mix based on his ability to flatten out if he doesn’t get his way.
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