ADVERTISEMENT

Homeracing

Epsom Derby: Sir Dragonet to arise; Bangkok the better price

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 31st, 2019

If racing were purely a game of chance, Coolmore's prolific trainer Aidan O'Brien would have a roughly 54 percent chance of winning Saturday's Epsom Derby (G1) as he saddles seven of the 13 entrants. Being a sport of skill and talent, however, some of those seven have stronger chances than others. FREE Brisnet Past Performances for Epsom are available here O'Brien has won with favorites and longshots in this progenitor of all the great three-year-old races in the world. He might even take it this year with a horse who until five weeks ago had never run in a race. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which until Justify last year had placed a premium on some semblance of juvenile form, the Epsom Derby has occasionally yielded a winner without a two-year-old foundation. It's been rare, to be sure, but there's never been an unofficial "rule" against it as it was for more than a century in Kentucky. #11 SIR DRAGONET (5-2), described as a somewhat lackadaisical morning horse, has surprised connections thus far with a 14-1 upset of his Tipperary debut on April 25, followed by an eight-length tour de force in the Chester Vase (G3) 13 days later over the approximate Derby distance. He's now the most fancied of the Coolmore contenders. By near Triple Crown-winning sire Camelot, Sir Dragonet is from the family of the legendary Arc (G1)-winning broodmare Urban Sea (dam of Sea the Stars and Galileo). You can't get more royal than that. I get that Sir Dragonet perhaps isn't the best bet in this year's Derby. Both of his runs have come on soft ground--Chester was especially boggy--and good-to-firm conditions will exist at Epsom Saturday. That relative lack of experience and foundation also comes into play, which makes his current odds rather unattractive. However, he's one of the few in the field that has passed the eye test of a potential Derby winner, arguably an above-average one. #2 Bangkok (8-1), after a so-so two-year-old campaign, has stepped up to win a Doncaster maiden over #13 Telecaster (9-2), who subsequently impressed in the Dante (G2), and then smoothly take the Classic Trial (G3) at Sandown. Of the two Bangkok will be a better price. #1 Anthony Van Dyck (6-1), another from the Coolmore juggernaut, found nice ones like Quorto and Too Darn Hot a bit much last season, and he didn't have a great trip when drawn poorly in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs. However, his victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial was a solid piece of work and he shouldn't be overlooked for a piece. #9 Madhmoon (10-1) is an interesting longshot though not certain to get the distance. He defeated #3 Broome (4-1) over a mile at Leopardstown last September, was second in the 2000 Guineas Trial over the same course when stepping down in trip in early April, and last time was a coming-on fourth in the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket when unfavorably traveling down the middle of the course. It would be a great story if octogenarian Kevin Prendergast could get a Derby prize that has eluded both him and his legendary late father. Here's how I'll play the Derby: Sir Dragonet (#11) to WIN EXACTA: 2,11 with 1,2,9,11 Post time for the Derby is 11:30 a.m. (EDT) Saturday morning. Watch and wager at Twinspires.com. Sir Dragonet wins the Chester Vase (c) Dan Abraham/Focusonracing.com

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Loading...