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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

Derby Countdown - Top Hotshots 2021

Now that we are a little under 2 months away from the 2021 Kentucky Derby, a few of the potential contenders are beginning to stand out within their designated categories. This past weekend revealed a major shift and pinpoints a complete standout for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

In all three Categories - Speed, Midrange and Stamina - a few potential monsters are displaying superior performances coupled with high-caliber 10f breeding. Last year at this time, it was Tiz the Law in the speed category, Maxfield in the Midrange category and Nadal in the Stamina Category. Unfortunately we did not have the pleasure of witnessing the damage that both Nadal and Maxfield would have displayed and hopefully, these new 2021 guys will remain happy and healthy with a nice shiny gate in the Derby.

Every year along the Derby Trail, the monsters will easily reveal themselves and the dosage configurations will point out exactly which ones will continue to overpower their foes at the 10f distance. To start March out with a bang on another Derby Future Pool Weekend, I would like to step out on that bandwagon and present my top picks for the superfecta this early and if they continue with good health on the trail, I highly doubt that any of these picks will change. They may be added to, but they will remain untouched.

Will and determination, impeccable and consistent performances, and the proper dosage configurations for the 10f Derby have always been my top handicapping tools but my heart sometimes takes over. This year, I am sticking with those tools and these six contenders have exactly everything necessary to be the outstanding top players within their respective categories.

The only thing that puts a damper on the ability to handicap the potential contenders with pure performances, statistics, breeding, and dosage numbers is Bob Baffert. Since his "speed" horses barely ever run to their breeding numbers, Life is Good will have to remain on the sidelines as the seventh horse. I won't waste any time on a proper analysis of that horse, but suffice it to say, that because of many factors, he must remain in name only on any top Derby lists for superfecta consideration. The unknown with speedy Baffert clones is unfortunately a small matter that we must contend with every year.

However, a different Baffert colt will remain in my top six as a legitimate contender based on his true breeding in conjunction with his performances to date. For this particular horse and taking all items into consideration, including his PURE inheritance along with the normal Baffert lead and stalking style, I feel that this guy could actually be running on his own merit, just like Nadal did last year. It would be silly not to consider a Baffert horse based on the past, so with that in mind, one does stand out in the midrange category.

As usual, this list can only be written with complete confidence for a clean fast track at Churchill come the first Saturday in May. Only two colts can also be considered at this time for a sloppy track, and as usual, those two horses will come from the speed category. After this past weekend, my top choice did a complete 180 and he skyrocketed to the top.

Based on their past performances to date, coupled with their inherited optimum distances through their combined chef and mare dosage configurations, here are my top 6 contenders for the 2021 Kentucky Derby - In Order:


1. ESSENTIAL QUALITY Tapit - Delightful Quality (Elusive Quality)

DP = 5-12-14-1-0 (32) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.66

Mare Profile = 12-3-2-2-12 Speed = 15 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.04 Triads = 17-7-16

With the commanding win on the sloppy surface in his last prep, he has shown that the Tapit Stamina with his 3.00 index is not compromising the necessary speed to compete in the Derby. This guy is primed for that race and he will be extremely hard to beat, rain or shine. Back before Derby Futures Pool One, I had noted to bet him then, yes, and later, no. His odds are no good for this pool now. Essential Quality is built for all three of the Triple Crown races, rain or shine - A TRUE RARITY.

2. CANDY MAN ROCKET Candy Ride - Kenny Lane (Forestry)

DP = 6-3-6-1-0 (16) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.88

Mare Profile = 5-3-5-4-11 Speed = 8 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.58 Triads = 13-12-20

His distance is unquestionable but he will need a clean fast track to compete on Derby Day.

3. MANDALOUN Into Mischief - Brooch (Empire Maker)

DP = 2-3-1-0-0 (6) DI = 11.00 CD = 1.17

Mare Profile = 2-9-6-10-2 Speed = 11 Stamina = 12 Index = 0.95 Triads = 17-25-18

He has board hit numbers and his mares (which will be dominant) balance directly in the Classic distance. He is opposite of Candy Man Rocket in this speed category. He will still be able to compete on a clean track, but he will gain extra endurance on a wet track. Therefore, he has the ability to steal some extra advantage on a wet surface.


4. MEDINA SPIRIT Protonico - Mongolian Changa (Brilliant Speed)

DP = 3-6-15-0-0 (24) DI = 2.20 CD = 0.50

Mare Profile = 6-5-4-8-7 Speed = 11 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.81 Triads = 15-17-19

Out of all of Baffert's clones, this guy has the best inheritance to make it on his own merit coming from this disadvantaged category. Do not waste a dollar on futures bets with Freedom Fighter. He is not built for 10f. If you want a Baffert guy, this is the one who has the 10f, but Baffert has to stop pushing these types to run on the lead. His numbers don't want him there and by the looks of his last in the Robert B. Lewis, he started to wind down towards the end - which says it all. This is contrary to his breeding which is par for the course with Baffert horses. Hopefully, he will leave this guy alone and do whatever he does behind closed doors with Freedom Fighter and Life is Good. If left to his own merits with the ability to run his race the way he was bred, this guy would be an ace on a clean Churchill Track.


5. ROMBAUER Twirling Candy - Cashmere (Cowboy Cal)

DP = 2-1-7-0-0 (10) DI = 1.86 CD = 0.50

Mare Profile = 4-3-6-8-8 Speed = 7 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.57 Triads = 13-17-22

He needs some of these Baffert clone speedsters to pick the pace up on the lead because this guy is coming with a vengeance towards that finish line. If Bafferts clan (Medina Spirit aside) isn't souped up on Jimson Weed, they wont get the distance and Rombauer will be right there to capitalize. I hope with everything in my being, that Baffert stops with his antics and leaves these horses alone so that we can handicap the race properly and without worry about Salon Pas Patches and Hay. Additionally, the fact that these guys will not be running on Lasix will give the stamina guys a bit of extra advantage this year. Rombauer is in a very good spot.

6. LEMON POP Lemon Drop Kid - Unreachable (Giants Causeway)

DP = 7-2-25-4-0 (38) DI = 1.30 CD = 0.32

Mare Profile = 6-8-3-9-7 Speed = 14 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.88 Triads = 17-20-19

Haven't seen or heard about this guy in a long time but still hold onto hope. He is stacked for the Derby and no lasix will be just perfect. Hopefully he sees the UAE Derby and its 100 points because it would be a shame not to give this guy his legitimate shot in this race.

Of course, just today, our friend Brian decided to send me the names of two potential superstars. He has a way of breaking my peace of mind and so begins the second guessing. He does it every year. Both of these "Brian New Shooters" have serious numbers and one of them is hard-core packed for the Belmont Stakes, although he does have a couple of Tapit Boys to contend with. These are the two guys that Brian emailed me today and I must say, both have some very very nice configurations. They are both sitting without points at the moment, however, both are headed to 100 point Prep races... so... there is always that.

ROCK YOUR WORLD Candy Ride - Charm the Maker (Empire Maker)

DP = 3-4-8-1-0 (16) DI = 2.20 CD = 0.56

Mare Profile = 2-3-4-7-8 Speed = 5 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.41 Triads = 9-14-19

The epitome of Belmont Stakes configurations. That mare profile underneath his 2.20 chef index is exquisite. The balance leaning to stamina in those mares is off the charts but what is even greater is the setup in that 5 digit Mare Profile: 2-3-4-7-8. The perfect progression of inheritance as he climbs past each distance category. Spectacular.

At the moment, this Candy Ride son is undefeated on turf. Stalking the lead at 6f in his maiden on the turf at Santa Anita, he demolished that crew before being ridden out. Next up, the Pasadena Stakes at the same track, traveling 8f was a walk in the park. With mare configurations like the type this guy is holding, even on turf, he is running against his numbers with his style. When this guy is let loose on dirt, he will either give in or he will explode. Based on horses like Gun Runner and Shared Belief (who I always thought would blow them all away on turf as well) it appears that he will be given the opportunity to show what he is made of. If he translates to dirt, his dosage configurations are top notch - 5 star - PERFECT. Especially for the Belmont Stakes.

COLLABORATE Into Mischief - Quiet Temper (Quiet American)

DP = 1-4-3-0-0 (8) DI = 4.33 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 7-7-7-7-4 Speed = 14 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.27 Triads = 21-21-18

This Into Mischief son has found his way onto the Derby Futures Pool after winning his maiden on his second try at Gulfstream Park at one mile. A few things with his two performances that stand out very much is that in this 1 mile maiden win, positioned up front, he led the charge and he actually poured it on late in the race, beating the field by 12 lengths. That is magnificent. In his first maiden attempt at 6f, he did not do well in placement (came in 5th), however, he did fumble the start, made up plenty of ground and ran out of track. It was also a sloppy track, which, making up ground from dead last is still commendable.

As with most Into Mischief sons, they tend to have a sparse amount of Chefs and gravitate to their mares. They usually always have a negative point spread between the mares balance and they are quite hit or miss in the Derby. What is truly standing out with this guys configurations is the 5 digit mare profile, 7-7-7-7-4. He is even straight across the board, from 4f all the way up to 15f. His inheritance does not dip down, it does not get watered down, it remains constant. That is spectacular for an Into Mischief son with loaded triads and a 4.33 index. On a sloppy surface, this guy would be an absolute must use. His set up is almost as good as Audible's. Major configurations for Derby Material - now he needs some points.

Good Luck if you are betting on the Futures Pool this weekend.


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