The Jockey’s Edge Kentucky Derby Picks
142nd running, May 7, 2016
As promised here are my 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby free picks for the race tomorrow, this Saturday, May 7, 2016.
The Jockey’s Edge Free Picks A full field of 20 goes to the post, with 2 Also Eligibles set in the wings ready to fulfill their destiny in case of any late scratches by Friday morning. It is an interesting field, to be sure, with plenty of deep closers, with plenty of speed and tactical speed horses to set the race up nicely for them. With every running of the race comes more traffic than the Belt Parkway on Long Island the day of the Belmont Stakes! That being said, several horses have drawn prime spots, while others could’ve certainly fared better with a closer to the rail or farther out position. Let’s take a look at the race and see how The Jockey’s Edge portends the future!
The Jockey’s Edge is infinitely grateful to Brisnet.com for generously supplying us with a copy of the past performance of all racers a day after the draw!
Place: Brody’s Cause
Show: My Man Sam
Alternates: Whitmore, Trojan Nation
Analysis, see below
Kentucky Derby Draw and Morning Line
1. Trojan Nation, Trainer P. Gallagher, Jockey Aaron Gryder, 50-1
Let’s not forget Giacomo in the 2005 Derby. This horse is a serious, deep closer and has just enough experience to be on the upswing, while not being abused with racing too often. His post will help him settle early and be able to pass tiring horses any time he chooses. The trainer/jockey combo is irrelevant. We have all seen obscure trainers (and jockeys) jump up to win this race, think Tim Ice, John Servis. People who have been training long enough know what to do, and having a decent horse does nothing but lift them up. Aaron Gryder has won the Dubai World Cup, so he is just as capable to win this race any day of the week.
2. Suddenbreakingnews, Trainer D. Von Hemel, Jockey Luis Quinonez, 20-1
This horse to me simply says he is not good enough to win this race, although finishing 2nd in the Arkansas Derby is nothing to sneeze at. He did put together his best Beyer number in that race as well. He’s one that could also be on the upswing, although there are plenty of other horses with better numbers. Being a deep closer also helps him, in case of too much early traffic, as is the case in the Derby, especially with riders who are not used to dealing with 19 other horses in the race with them. This horse can also use himself at will, so may be able to get himself out of a jam if needed anywhere along the backside. He may be a tired horse, though, not having had much of a break since his first race back in August of 2015. The only clunker he threw in was on account of being checked/steadied at the 5/16ths, a crucial point of revving the engines in a race.
3. Creator, Trainer S. Asmussen, Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., 10-1
Another deep closer, this time with impeccable connections. Then again, plenty of impeccable connections have lost the race many times over. Think Native Dancer in 1953. Yet another deep closer breaking from the inside. A perfect scenario to sit back and watch the race develop before you. This is where jockeyship comes in with clocking how much horse one has and how much the others have and when to pour on the gas. A break in January seems to have set him up nicely to be at a peak this weekend. Definitely a fit horse.
4. Mo Tom Trainer T. Amoss, Jockey Corey Lanarie, 20-1
Corey Lanarie, like Calvin Borel, knows Churchill Downs like nobody else, a huge advantage here. This horse can close and can also sit closer, perfectly balanced to strike when needed. With 3 closers to the inside, there may be traffic start to build up around them and one may get squeezed back, although this horse also has a little speed to use in order to get out of a jam. With Beyers in the 90s, Mo Tom may be a contender if the others fold or give up in the stretch. Getting beat by 1 1/4 lengths by Gunruuner is no shame there. Traffic in the LA Derby most likely caused him a better position. Definitely one to watch.
5. Gun Runner Trainer S. Asmussen Jockey Florent Gerous, 10-1
A lightly raced, very talented youngster with his races chosen very well. Appears to need not be challenged in the stretch. When eyeballed in the Kentucky JC, he folded even though he had the lead early on. Has never been tested among Grade I company. Looks to be on the upswing in his conditioning. Worked an easy tuner upper :50 at Churchill on Monday. Having the 5 Post, he will have to use himself get out of the gate and get a position early. Beat Tom’s Ready and Mo Tom already this year. Will have to step up his competitive spirit to run with the shorter-priced horses in this race.
6. My Man Sam Trainer C. Brown, Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., 20-1
A lightly raced closer with the proven ability and pedigree to come running at the end. Has shown the ability to rate showing an impressive kick. Great connections only help his cause. A wide effort in the Blue Grass certainly cost him a better position, if not the race.
7. Oscar Nominated Trainer M. Maker Jockey Julien Leparoux, 50-1
Even with a brilliant jockey like Leparoux aboard, this horse is clearly out of his league running with these fellows. Supplemented to this race for $200,000. A very nice, useful horse, but simply not at this level. Wanting to be in the Owner’s Box on Derby Day can be a temptation to great to ignore. Pass. Not to mention, he’s only run on the turf and poly. Wait’ll he gets hit with all the dirt coming his way from the 7 hole.
8. Lani Trainer M. Matsunaga Jcokey Yutaka Take, 30-1
I find this horse impossible to handicap. Apparently his owners/trainer thought he is good enough to run in here. He has one of the leading jockeys from Japan riding, so the horse has that going for him. Who knows what sort of competition he’s been running against, or how the races unfolded. You may want to use this horse with a wheel or two, but he’s just too mysterious for me to know anything about.
9. Destin Trainer T. Pletcher Jockey Javier Castellano, 15-1
Won the Tampa Bay Derby March 12th. Tampa has a sand-based track and is usually very heavy. It appears Outwork does not like a heavy track, having been beaten by Destin in that race. The track will definitely not be soft and heavy at Churchill Downs on Saturday. People like to see fast times and the track superintendent does not disappoint during The Big Show. Lightly raced, professional and has lovely tactical speed. Will have to use himself early to get position. How experienced is he? Not very and has not faced major competition yet. Will have to step up his game to compete here.
10. Whitmore Trainer R. Moquett Jockey Victor Espinoza, 20-1
Takes this horse time to get his feet under him. Looks to be on the improve and has faced decent competition already. Can close and also has tactical speed. Versatile. Seems to have issues coming out of the gate, which shouldn’t hurt him too much here, as there’s plenty of track to get warmed up before the real running starts. Has the jockey of the moment, Espinoza. Would not use this horse.
11. Exaggerator Trainer Keith Desormeaux Jockey Kent Desormeaux, 8-1
To me, this looks like the winner all over. The jockey is obviously experienced in riding this track and winning this race. He can win on the front end and come from behind. The horse is versatile in his running style and has had a couple of nice breaks in between races to freshen up and tune up. His numbers are the best of any horse in the race. He is experienced, and can rate and come running with a huge kick at the end. Seems to get over well both a hard track or a deeper one, as at Saratoga. The Kentucky Derby could be either on Saturday. If it rains, even better, he has won twice in the mud. Definitely use this horse is all kinds of exotics.
12. Tom’s Ready Trainer D. Stewart Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., 30-1
This horse may be fit, but he may also be tired. He’s been running hard his whole career. Trained by a Lukas Acolyte, the horse will be ready on the first Saturday in May. Is experienced, talented and well-cared for. Has run against several horses in this race already and shown a good effort in the Louisiana Derby, being beaten by Gun Runner. A nice 5f move on April 29 at Churchill. Would use farther down, not necessarily Win, Place.
13. Nyquist Trainer D. O’Neill Jockey Mario Gutierrez, 3-1
Clearly the horse to beat in this race. Undefeated. Class both top and bottom, a 400K purchase. Untested racing among company, so will have to get out of the gate and clear the field to get a good position. Has beaten several in here already, and most by proxy. I saw a video of him jogging at Churchill and he had a decidedly uneven stride. Not sure if he will run, or how well. The good horses run through their ailments and he appears to be one of those. Would use on some tickets and not others. He may not show up, then again, he might. Welcome to horse racing!
14. Mohaymen Trainer K. McLaughlin Jockey Junior Alvarado, 10-1
A speed horse, must be up front and in the clear. When eyeballed in his last race, the Florida Derby, he folded like a cheap suit. May have gained experience from that effort but may also be indicative of his heart, or lack thereof. He may also have bled, and if that problem is addressed and fixed, he will run to his usual effort. Would use cautiosly.
15. Outwork Trainer T. Pletcher Jockey John Velazquez 15-1
Lightly raced, brilliant connections. May not like a deep track, or being eyeballed in the stretch. He will be tested on Saturday, to be sure. A bad post coming out of 15 for a horse who needs to be on the engine. Will have to be used to get a position and clear the field early. Just barely held on to beat Trojan Nation in the Wood Memorial. “He didn’t beat nobody,” springs to mind. Could have gotten beat in Tampa due to not being fit enough for the 1 1/16th coming off the 6 f race and Tampa being an extra heavy track, no matter what. Fared better in his next race. Could be set up for a big effort.
16. Shagaf Trainer C. Brown Jockey Joel Rosario, 20-1
Beat Laoban in the Gotham and got beaten by Trojan Nation in the Wood Memorial as the favorite. Lightly raced. Needs to be closer to the pace. Beyer numbers fit with many in here, but not the best. Has been working 4f consistently except for one 5f bullet workout. Considering post position, would pass on this horse. Too much to do.
17. Mor Spirit Trainer B. Baffert Jockey Gary Stevens, 12-1
A contended here. Has been running on California hard tracks. Had a nice training break around the Christmas holidays, then came back a winner. Has faced tough company and made it through the fire. Would use in top three choices.
18. Majesto Trainer G. Delgado Jockey Emisael Jaramillo, 30-1
Simply does not have the numbers to compete in here, although that never stopped horses from winning the Derby before. Still a nice horse and well-bred. Having finished 2nd in the Florida Derby has given the connections hope that the Derby may be in sight, and it just may be. Would use this horse in soem tickets but not all and more as a Place/Show holder. Needs to be near the lead. This may be problematic with this post position.
19. Brody’s Cause Tainer D. Romans Jockey Luis Saez, 12-1
A deep closer who may benefit from this outside post. Winning the Blue Grass is impressive and the way he did it was with style and panache! Had a nice rest between October and March to grow and mature. Could have needed more experience in the Tampa Bay Derby. Fabulous breeding. Not to be ignored.
20. Danzig Candy Trainer C. Sise Jockey Mike Smith, 15-1
A speed horse coming out of post number 20. That’s a tall order. Mike Smith seems better at riding route horses than speed demons. Only raced in California where the track surfaces are very different than in the Midwest. May not like to be headed, so getting to the front early and staying there may be imperative for this horse. Proceed with caution!
21. Laoban Trainer E. Guillot Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, 50-1
This horse must have the lead, or he folds. Say he gets in, there’s not much chance of him getting the lead from post 20. Pass on him.
22. Cherry Wine Trainer D. Romans Jockey Robby Alvarado, 30-1
This is an extremely capable horse but appears to on the tired side at this point, having raced and raced in his young life. It also appears he does not like to be looked in the eye in the stretch. If he gets in, I would not use him at all because his numbers are also not good enough for this company at this point in his career.