Latest Kentucky Derby Preps Impact Future Pool 4

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Ted Black

March 31st, 2015

A glimpse at the final odds for the Kentucky Derby Future Pool 4 reveals how much the latest round of prep races had on the wagering public and perhaps gave some indication about what horse players can expect in regards to odds on the first Saturday in May.
mubtaderbIn the first Derby prep of the weekend, Mubtaahij delivered a powerful performance while capturing the Grade II, $2 million UAE Derby at Meydan Race Course in Dubai by eight lengths in 1:58.35 for the Preakness Stakes distance of one-mile and three-sixteenths without benefit of any run-up to the beam. When the dust settled after the lucrative Dubai World Cup card ended with Prince Bishop's 17-1 upset in the $10 million World Cup (as predicted here!), Mubtaahij may have delivered the most memorable performance on the program.

In fact, Mubtaahij, which means cheery or elated in Arabic, won with such authority that his morning line price of 30-1 was sliced virtually by 75 percent down to 8-1 when the wagering for Pool 4 closed on Sunday evening and among the 23 singles and the bulky 'field' runners, he is actually the solid third choice in the group. Trainer Mike de Kock did not hesitate when letting onlookers know that Mubtaahij is heading to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and the Dubawi colt has already won two stakes on dirt at the Preakness distance - longer than any American runner has traveled - and he is not racing on Lasix.
Los Alamitos Futurity Stakes Two Bob Baffert trainees, American Pharoah and Dortmund, whose final Derby preps are still pending, closed at 5-1 and 6-1, respectively. American Pharoah will run next in the April 11 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park while Dortmund, who is undefeated in five career outings, will compete this weekend in the Santa Anita Derby. Both seem destined for the Derby regardless of their finishes this weekend, although American Pharoah has already missed several major stakes and valuable training to minor injuries.

Last Saturday International Star completed a sweep of the Fair Grounds three preps for the Derby when he overhauled Stanford in the lane to capture the Grade II, $750,000 Louisiana Derby by a neck in 1:50.67 for the one-mile and one-eighth. International Star has won all three of his starts this year and five of nine lifetime and became a millionaire with his latest score, but his victory hardly impressed future pool players. He closed at 17-1, seventh among the singles and eighth including the field horses.
MaterialityFlorida Derby winner Materiality closed at 12-1, but while the Todd Pletcher trainee is 3-for-3 in his young career he will be seeking to buck history on the first Saturday in May. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without making at least one start at age two and Materiality was unraced as a juvenile. His sire, Afleet Alex, won the Preakness and Belmont so Materiality is bred to be a Triple Crown contender. But keep in mind Curlin was unable to end the Apollo drought and he would eventually win the Preakness, the Breeders Cup Classic and be named horse of the year.

Perhaps the true value play among the Derby pool runners is Upstart, who finished second as the favorite to Materiality in the Florida Derby and closed at the generous price of 18-1. Upstart was also placed second in the Fountain Of Youth as the favorite behind another Pletcher trainee and will head into the Derby with three very good efforts under his belt this season while officially winning just one of them. As reflected in the final future pools, Upstart will likely get overlooked on the first Saturday in May, but he looms as a serious contender to capture the run for the roses at a very generous price.