Salvatore's Kentucky Derby trilogy, Part 3
Doug Salvatore concludes his Kentucky Derby profiles looking at each perspective starter along with their recent form through the eyes of Brisnet.com and other performance figures.
BRIS (92, 94, 90) TimeformUS (102, 106, 96) Beyer (87, 87, 78) Thoro-Graph (5.5, 4, 5.25)
This lightly raced horse comes off a discouraging performance in the Wood Memorial when bet to 9/5 favoritism last time out. He was rated back off of the pace early and was positioned second to last at the opening call, trailing only the 81/1 longshot maiden Trojan Nation, who clearly finished much better than Shagaf through the stretch run. Chad Brown is a great young trainer and this horse always seems to attract some money. Perhaps the Muddy track was a viable excuse last time out, but there's nothing I've seen from this horse that makes him even a marginal contender in here.
BRIS (97, 97, 91) TimeformUS (108, 107, 102) Beyer (92, 92, 89) Thoro-Graph (2.5, 2.5, 4.5)
This horse is getting better and he certainly has more tactical speed than he showed last time out in the Arkansas Derby, where being squeezed and stumbling at the start cost him some position. Whitmore is a son of the very late-maturing Pleasantly Perfect, a horse who did not even break his maiden until February of his 4-year-old season, but gradually progressed into the Breeders' Cup Classic winner at age 5. In fact, the notorious Rapid Redux was a son of Pleasantly Perfect. That was the horse who competed for a $4,000 claiming tag, but certainly turned the corner enroute to winning a record 21 consecutive races. Indeed, Rapid Redux was 18-for-18 during his 5-year-old season.
Whitmore has a bit of a look in the Derby, but he will certainly need to continue with his progression, and deliver a career best type of performance in order to get a piece.
BRIS (95, 81, 91) TimeformUS (106, 92, 98) Beyer (85, 69, 84) Thoro-Graph (5.5, 10, 5.5)
Here we go again. A Dallas Stewart trained longshot who still has his entry-level allowance condition coming into the Kentucky Derby. The same was true about Golden Soul who finished 2nd at 34/1 odds in the 2013 Derby. The same was true about Commanding Curve who was 2nd at 37/1 odds in the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart has also made his magic happen in the 2006 Kentucky Oaks when Lemons Forever scored a shocking victory at 47/1 odds as the longest shot on the board in a fourteen horse field. Tom's Ready actually has an eerily similar running style.
Clearly, Dallas Stewart has a trainer profile to suggest that he's ultra dangerous with this type of horse, in this type of race. However, I'm simply not sold on Tom's Ready. He's run in six stakes races over the course of his career, I've watched them all, and I don't believe he ran the best race in any of them. On nuts and bolts handicapping, I can't make a case for Tom's Ready being even a marginal contender. However, I would've said the same exact thing about Golden Soul and Commanding Curve. Fool me once, fool me twice, and I'm still stubborn enough to let Dallas Stewart try to fool me a third time.
My Man Sam
BRIS (92, 100, 97) TimeformUS (110, 105, 110) Beyer (88, 95, 91) Thoro-Graph (3.5, 4, 6)
Another horse who still has his entry-level allowance condition, My Man Sam is a lightly raced closer with an interesting look. This Chad Brown trainee was aided by a supersonic early pace when he rallied from last to finish second in the Blue Grass Stakes last time out. He also demonstrated a strong closing kick two starts back, when finishing a fast-closing 2nd to Matt King Coal, who flopped over a Muddy track at 5/2 odds in the Wood Memorial next time out. There's always a lot of room for upside when you're dealing with any horse who has made only four career starts, but that relative inexperience isn't a plus when your talking about a unique race like the Kentucky Derby.
BRIS (93, 97, 81) TimeformUS (110, 97, 94) Beyer (89, 88, 73) Thoro-Graph (5.75, 7.5, 9)
This horse has the most fascinating pedigree of any runner in this field. Majesto is a son of the great Tiznow -- a horse who didn't break his maiden until his third career start on May 31st of his 3-year-old season. Tiznow dramatically developed into a 2-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner. Majesto's Dam is a daughter of Unaccounted For. For those who don't remember Unaccounted For, he didn't break his maiden until May 5th of his 3-year-old season, and he also developed sharply, winning the Grade 1 Whitney and chasing Cigar home in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic at age 4. What's more, Majesto's Dam produced 2013 Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze.
Majesto is an April 28th foal with a pedigree that suggests late-maturity, stamina, and class. With little fanfare, he ran a nice second to Nyquist in the Florida Derby last time out. This horse has a tremendous amount of foundation under him, as he's already competed in five different two-turn route races. The jockey switch from Javier Castellano to Emisael Jaramillo is probably going to ensure that Majesto gets overlooked in the betting. This isn't the craziest longshot in the world...and if he's able to take another step forward in the Derby, I'll have interest in this guy for a race like the Belmont Stakes.
BRIS (96, 87, 87) TimeformUS (105, 96, 87) Beyer (93, 74, 73) Thoro-Graph (4.5, 9.25, 12.5)
We have a maiden in the Kentucky Derby. The most appealing thing about Trojan Nation is his pedigree. He's a son of Street Cry and he's out of a Summer Squall mare. This is a hardcore stamina pedigree on top and bottom. Street Cry sired Zenyatta. Summer Squall sired Charismatic. What's more, Summer Squall was produced from the same Dam that produced the great Belmont Stakes winner A. P. Indy.
In the Wood Memorial, Trojan Nation dropped back to a long-way last early on and benefited from a hot and contested early pace up front. He has a very minimal amount of natural talent that I can see, but his stamina allowed him to keep slogging through the Muddy track and finish in a photo with the far more talented Outwork. Unfortunately for Trojan Nation's chances, there's several other horses in this race with similar styles and profiles to his, and those other horses have all shown more talent than he has in the past. Trojan Nation isn't going to finish dead last in this race because of his stamina and steadiness, but he's a complete toss-out.
BRIS (93, 95, 94) TimeformUS (104, 105, 103) Beyer (82, 87, 88) Thoro-Graph (6.75, 5.75, 5.5)
This son of Juvenile champion Uncle Mo had an absolute trip from hell in the Louisiana Derby last time out. In fact, two starts back, he would've definitely won the Risen Star Stakes had he not run into similar trouble at around the 3/16ths pole. This is a very interesting horse who retains the services of Corey Lanerie, the same guy who couldn't steer him out of trouble in those last two starts. It's hard to trust any horse and rider combination in a 20-horse field, when they couldn't get out of each others way in fields half that size the last two times. I was hoping this horse might get excluded on points, so I could take a shot with him in the Preakness. He's a contender in the Derby if he's able to work out a perfect trip while maneuvering his way through traffic.