Tencendur rates upset chance in Ohio Derby
The Triple Crown is over but a number of familiar faces will resurface in Saturday’s Ohio Derby, with six of the nine runners competing in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. And that doesn’t include the 3-1 morning line favorite, Whiskey Ticket, who invades with a two-for-two record for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
The decision to increase this year’s purse to $500,000 appears to by paying off nicely for Thistledown.
The Cleveland-area track has featured a number of distinguished past winners, including Grade 1 victors Skip Away, Milwaukee Brew, Brass Hat, Lost Code and Broad Brush in the last 30 years, but many of those renditions were lopsided affairs lacking depth.
Saturday’s race came up extremely competitive.
I’m going to take a swing at value with Tencendur, who is listed at 8-1 on the morning line and could be overlooked following his 17th in the Kentucky Derby.
A solid pace appears likely. Illinois Derby (G3) winner Whiskey Ticket, who races on or close to the lead, figures to be sent from his innermost post. Mr. Z will show speed with new rider Joe Bravo and longshot Thirtysilverpieces is eligible to mix it up on the front end before retreating.
Other contenders include:
Lexington (G3) winner and Preakness third-placer Divining Rod is worthy of serious consideration given his surging form and the likelihood of a favorable right stalking trip beneath Julien Leparoux, just behind the early leaders waiting to pounce.
Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Far Right can’t be dismissed with his dedicated closing style – he’ll look to duplicate his late-running theatrics from victories in the Southwest (G3) and Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park earlier this season.
War Story, who placed in the Louisiana Derby (G2), Risen Star (G2) and Lecomte (G3) before a 16th in the Kentucky Derby, also has some quality and with the addition of blinkers, he won’t be too far back during the early stages.
But I keep coming back to Tencendur, who I was willing to give an exotics chance if he drew an outside post in the Kentucky Derby. The New York-bred colt showed in the TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial that he likes to race outside of horses, registering a field-best 105 BRIS Speed rating for his outstanding runner-up finish to Frosted, but any hope for a decent performance at Churchill Downs was lost when Tencendur received post 4 in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The bay son of Warrior’s Reward drew well in the Ohio Derby (post 6) and shows a five-furlong bullet work at Belmont Park in preparation. George Weaver removes blinkers, a 26% winning move for the conditioner, and Manny Franco will be back aboard.
Tencendur’s Wood performance is good enough to win Saturday and he should get the right set-up for his rally.
Divining Rod is my second choice and I’ll also use Far Right in my bets.
Exacta boxes: 2-6 and 4-6
The Ohio Derby shapes up to be an exciting race and good luck to all who play.