Winless Kentucky Derby Dream Bets Turning Into Nightmare for DeRosa

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Ed DeRosa

March 12th, 2016

As exciting as two Kentucky Derby Championship Series races on the same day are, I’m even more excited about two opportunities to qualify for the Kentucky Derby Dream Bet since I’ve yet to pick a winner (Bistraya in the Risen Star, Zulu in the Fountain of Youth, and Sunny Ridge in the Gotham all losers).

These are good races, too. The Tampa Bay Derby has a better chance of producing a price, but I see the San Felipe Stakes as more likely to produce a Kentucky Derby contender (click race name for FREE Ultimate Past Performances).

So it’s a price we’ll go for in the former race and take recent maiden winner Star Hill whose last I think can get the better of these at a nice price. Always dodgy taking a maiden winner to repeat against stakes horses, but the $20+ range  compensates, and there are some other intangibles I like:

1.       Trainer Arnold put this guy in a graded stakes in his second career start off a third-place finish at 12.30-to-1, and he was only 6.10-to-1 in that stakes try;

2.       He’s well drawn here. His last three starts he was 7 wide, 3 wide, and 4 wide. Kinda understandable for a closer in big fields (11, 11, and 9, respectively), but there is a lot of speed in here. He can save more ground than favored Brody’s Cause and mow them all down;

3.       Julien Leparoux takes the mount. Now granted, he’s here for champion Breeders’ Mile winner Tepin in the Hillsborough and not Star Hill, but still, it’s a vote of confidence; and

4.       He’s going in my stable mail to make sure I don’t miss when he goes for a long sprint on the turf in New York.

The San Felipe I will bank on being more formful from a class perspective and take Exaggerator on the strength of having finished behind undefeated champion Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner (and my number-one Derby horse right now) Nyquist.

I like that he’s won gate to wire and from off the pace. I like that he’s the only horse with two triple digit Speed Ratings. I like that he has a win at the distance (albeit in the slop in November at Delta).

In a year where James Scully and I have been waiting for the big fig horse, I like Exaggerator’s chances of being that horse. His upside is the most exciting of this group because any improvement of consecutive triple digit ratings potentially makes him the fastest of the three-year-olds to date, and the breeding of Curlin on top and Vindication on bottom portends good things for that to continue.