top of page

Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

March 2022 - Derby Top Eight



For March, I am dropping down to Top Eight as opposed to Top Ten. Come April, I hope to have it dropped again to Top Five or Six. I do have a coupled entry for #7, but they are not the Classic Empire Boys. The two colts are basically even with each other as far as balance and style but we need time to see which outshines the other through the month of March. It may turn out that both continue on as players, or it may turn out that neither of them make it to the Top Five/Six list on April 1st.


Several have been switched around and as we get closer and closer to the big day, hopefully everything will eventually take shape as it should. I have also added an "Honorable Mention" at the end because I would be remiss if I didn't. The uncertainty of the Baffert Saga leaves much in the air at this point and regardless of anything else, a player is still a player.


This list and the order in which these colts appear are not taken lightly. After working the entire month of February studying everything surrounding these guys and based on where they are at this specific point in time, the order as presented is justified in my mind. I do believe, however, that the advantages do not represent the proper order yet. I can only go by where they are positioned on the Derby Road at the present time.


Noticeably missing are the Classic Empire Boys, Jack Christopher and Smile Happy, but that does not mean they couldn't return towards the end of the month. It just means they are not top 8 material at this point in time.


8. VARATTI

Into Mischief - Artemis (Empire Maker)

Trained by Todd Pletcher

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

Mare Profile = 5-8-5-9-5 Speed = 13 Stamina = 14

Index = 0.96 Triads = 18-22-19

You may be questioning why I am still holding onto this guy. After all, he has only raced one time so far in his entire career. This was back on September 30th of 2021 at Belmont. Five months ago. It was a short and nondescript win in his 6.5f maiden. He has posted only 4 workouts since then and none were over 4f. Pletcher appears to have him locked away at Delray Beach but time is ticking. Perhaps the trainer is more interested in developing Mo Donegal and Emmanuel going forward but Varatti has quite an inheritance to back him for the Kentucky Derby should he choose to run to it. As stated previous times, Into Mischief sons rarely have a great deal of chef input which is depicted in their chef profiles. They usually always have high indexes and their mares are packed to the brim. This guy is arranged exactly like his half brother Mandaloun and with the extra speed bias that is usually found at Churchill for the Derby, coupled with the probability of rain every year, this guy's chart stands in full view of the finish line with the best of them. However, he must perform for us in order to see if he is even accepting that advantageous chart. Initially, I had a mind to toss him from any consideration at this point but with the absence of a few from last month, it is hard to toss these speed configurations that work so well in the Derby. He probably won't make a gate at this point but Pletcher has a way of doing things that may surprise us in the end. No harm keeping these numbers up for now.



7. RATTLE N ROLL

Connect - Jazz Tune (Johannesburg)

Trained by Kenny McPeek

DP = 2-4-4-0-0 (10) DI = 4.00 CD = 0.80

Mare Profile = 7-2-2-10-8 Speed = 9 Stamina = 18

Index = 0.64 Triads = 11-14-20

And

MO DONEGAL

Uncle Mo - Callingmissbrown (Pulpit)

Trained by Todd Pletcher

DP = 2-6-8-0-0 (16) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.63

Mare Profile = 9-0-6-8-6 Speed = 9 Stamina = 14

Index = 0.92 Triads = 15-14-20

Both of these guys have major similarities. Both with inbred chef speed dominance and both with preference of a rear running style. Rattle N Roll has 10.75f inbred potential distance capability while Mo Donegal only has 10.1f potential. Both have triads that actually lack somewhat for the Derby and both may have trouble on an adverse track based on the balance of the mares coupled with their styles. As of late, front tier pack on the Churchill bias has been the advantaged spot, however, consideration must be taken into account of the high amount of talented colts who want (and need) that lead. Even though the mares triads are not 100% up to par, the direction of the pace may offer them assistance that cannot be ignored. These two, if they both secure a gate, will need to be pitted together and studied with a fine tooth comb as it relates to the projected pace. Rattle N Roll outshines Mo Donegal in those configurations substantially, however, since it is only March 1st and we know how chaotic the trail sometimes gets, there is no harm in keeping the two paired at the present time.


6. IN DUE TIME

Not This Time - Sweet Sweet Annie (Curlin)

Trained by Kelly Breen

DP = 1-2-11-0-0 (14) DI = 1.55 CD = 0.29

Mare Profile = 3-7-3-11-3 Speed = 10 Stamina = 14

Index = 0.80 Triads = 13-21-17

Not every son of Not This Time is going to run like a champion in each performance. Both half-brothers Howling Time and Chasing Time did not show the same power in their last performances as their half-brothers Simplification and Epicenter. Howling Time is not really configured as well as the others, however Chasing Time is and that Rebel performance was very disheartening. We still have In Due Time who is configured very similarly to Simplification, but he is packing a bit more endurance which coincides with winning stamina configurations. His last race, an allowance at Gulfstream travelling 8f was spectacular. He began the race running in 7th position and by the time he reached the 1/2 pole he was already up to 3rd, eventually demolishing the field by almost 6 lengths. A fantastic performance with configurations like these. Reminds me so much of Code of Honor. He is also down at Palm Meadows Training Center, hanging with Varatti, however this guy is posting bullet workouts. Hopefully he shows off his excellent inheritance in the Fountain of Youth this upcoming weekend although wishing his half-brother Simplification was not in competition with him at this time. Both sets of his numbers are truly configured fantastically well, and his mare's set-up is actually a bit better than Simplifications (for the Derby.) Now we'll see how he reacts to Graded winners in just 5 days.


5. CLASSIC CAUSEWAY

Giants Causeway - Private World (Thunder Gulch)

Trained by Brian Lynch

DP = 3-2-23-0-0 (28) DI = 1.43 CD = 0.29

Mare Profile = 4-6-5-10-5 Speed = 10 Stamina = 15

Index = 0.76 Triads = 15-21-20

Here is another stamina colt running on the lead with spectacular configurations. With a combined CD of negative 0.06 (-.06) his potential distance capability is 11.25f. He was 1.05 seconds from Stanford's track record for the race where he controlled the pace. The group of his competition in that race was not the most stellar of runners but he took the lead and basically disregarded them altogether. He needs a big race though with a more seasoned group to fully gauge where he stands. Regardless, everything he is holding is a recipe for great success at Churchill - when a horse displays his speed out front and has the backing of major endurance to continue on. His combinations in the stamina category coincide with two others who prefer the lead as well - Simplification and Epicenter. All three have the backing of the proper qualities that excel at Churchill (Displayed speed plus wicked endurance) but all three cannot take the lead and all three cannot win. Everything with this guy (and the two others in this category) will depend a great deal on three things; post position, a good trip and the weather. On the side, there is a 4th major caveat, Messier.



4. EMMANUEL

More Than Ready - Hard Cloth (Hard Spun)

Trained by Todd Pletcher

DP = 5-3-14-0-0 (22) DI = 2.14 CD = 0.59

Mare Profile = 7-5-5-10-6 Speed = 12 Stamina = 16

Index = 0.89 Triads = 17-20-21

As with every year, there is usually one colt in the average 2.00 to 2.90 range that stands out and so far, it is falling on the saddle of a horse who has only won his maiden and his allowance race. Extremely impressive undefeated wins so far but has yet to step foot in a prep race against major performers. Presumably entered into the Fountain of Youth on March 5th, this More than Ready boy should be more than ready to step up and take on the big boys. His configurations, style of running, final times and determination are pure stand-out qualities for this type of breeding. He is the perfect specimen for respect in the average category. Let's just hope he lives up to his breeding and his past performances over the coming weekend. He will have his hands full against his stable mate, Charge It, who is also in Pletcher's barn. Let the points fall as they may.


3. SIMPLIFICATION

Not This Time - Simply Confection (Candy Ride)

Trained by Antonio Sano

DP = 1-0-9-0-0 (10) DI = 1.22 CD = 0.20

Mare Profile = 2-11-4-11-3 Speed = 13 Stamina = 14

Index = 0.90 Triads = 17-26-18

Simplification drops from last month, going from #1 to #3. This drop is not due to Simplification's second place in the Holy Bull. If anything, his performance in that race solidified his exceptionalism and talent. It was a true display of determination and will in his ability to recover and forget that he prefers the lead within a split second notice. Spotting the field several lengths at the start and running 4 and 5 wide for most of the entire race proves that this guy's breeding and ability is top notch. There are 2 reasons why he goes from #1 to #3 on this new list. The performance of Epicenter in the Risen Star was perfection. The horse never skips a beat. He could have kept going way passed that wire and probably broken the track record had he not been geared down. His breeding is so good it brings tears to my eyes and the way he moves is marvelous. With his glorified stamina, almost breaking track records is pure brilliance. The other reason for the downgrade here is because 9 times out of ten, a speed driven horse will win the Derby. Messier aside, the best bred and best performances from a speed-driven colt has come from White Abarrio so far. His advantage outweighs Simplification based on the idea that Epicenter is simply way too good on that lead. We should expect a stamina horse to be in that 4 way mix at the wire, we could only hope and dream for two. With the addition of Classic Causeway to the list, the preferences are leaning all to stamina which is not in line with history. I cannot allow my heart to speak and must try to keep everything aligned with reality. I do hope, however, that Simplification rips that track up in the Fountain of Youth (with a clean break) and then we shall go from there.


2. WHITE ABARRIO

Race Day – White Diamonds (Into Mischief)

Second Generation Tapit over Second Generation Into Mischief

Trained by Joseph Saffie Jr.

DP = 2-5-5-0-0 (12) DI = 3.80 CD = 0.75

Mare Profile = 9-5-2-7-8 Speed = 14 Stamina = 15

Index = 1.00 Triads = 16-14-17

Second Generation Tapit colt with a chef index over 3.00 who wins his races with stalking speed is one of the easiest plays for the Kentucky Derby. Throw in Second Generation Into Mischief and you are left with Major speed over major stamina. Rain or shine, he has everything he needs to make his name known in that Derby Superfecta. His performances to date are very impressive and he actually beat some real talent in his last. There really isn't much more that needs to be said here. This is a very important horse.


1. EPICENTER

Not This Time - Silent Candy (Candy Ride)

Trained by Steve Asmussen

DP = 0-0-9-1-2 (12) DI = 0.60 CD = -0.42

Mare Profile = 1-10-5-8-5 Speed = 11 Stamina = 13

Index = 0.74 Triads = 16-23-18

Epicenter goes from #2 last month to #1 this month. His speed ability vs his inbred stamina is so freaking good and so far this horse can do no wrong. Every performance since his maiden win has shown off his professionalism, his class and his talent and we are still nowhere near his distance preference. His configurations are second to none on the Derby Trail and that running style of his, out on the lead with his quickness out of the gate every single time is magic. This is one hell of a horse. The type that used to grace our tracks decades ago. Filled to the brim with stamina with the ability to run like lightening and with class top to bottom pouring out of him when he steps foot on any track. With a quick break in the Derby, he will continue all the way around just as he has been doing up to this point. Hopefully, Mr. Honorable Mention below shows up in a completely different Triple Crown race.


 

HONORABLE MENTION:

MESSIER

DP = 12-12-14-0-2 (40) DI = 3.44 CD = 0.80

Mare Profile = 7-4-1-8-8 Speed = 11 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.76 Triads = 12-13-17

Empire Maker - Checkered Past (Smart Strike)

Trained by anyone but Baffert

As much as this hurts, it cannot be ignored. Based on recent history (and beyond):

The probability of a speed-driven colt winning the Derby is 84%.

The probability of an index over 3.00 winning the Derby is 78%.

The probability of a colt with a loaded 40 point profile (when one is entered) winning the Derby is 95%.

The probability of a colt holding a loaded profile (when one is entered) winning on a sloppy track is 99%.

Messier has it covered from top to bottom. That's all I can bear to say.


This week coming up, March 2nd thru March 5th, there will be 6 Derby prep races hosted both here and abroad. Condition Stakes, Patton Stakes, Fountain of Youth, John Battaglia, Gotham, and San Felipe. If anything comes out of any one of those races as it pertains to possible players for the Derby and that deserve to be on this list, I will update if necessary.


There is one who came out of one of the Preps this past weekend who deserves to be on this list. I would stick him at #4 and move the rest of the guys up one...


#4 Morello

Classic Empire - Stop the Wedding (Congrats)

DP = 4-3-5-0-0 (12) DI = 3.80 CD = 0.92

Mare Profile = 6-5-6-9-7 Speed = 11 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.79 Triads = 17-20-22

Its only March 9th so Im adding him. I cant wait til April! Fantastic configurations and built like a brickhouse for the Kentucky Derby. What is even better is that these numbers are perfect rain or shine, unlike the other stamina guys who are bit iffy in that situation. Classic Empire has been responsible for quite a few very well aligned and perfectly configured young boys so far and finally one of them has captured a prep race. We needed a speed guy with just the right amount of stamina and he fits the bill. The fact that these configurations tackled that Aqueduct track is showing a great reliance on his mares stamina and that right there is exactly what we would want. His next prep at 9f, he needs a duplication of those pace figures and then we are set to go. At the moment, we now have 2 speed, 2 stamina and 1 average as the Top 5 which is getting a bit more aligned with history on a clear track. The only good thing we know is that the 2 speed guys will be fine if it rains and at least we know that sire Not This Time was a monster on a sloppy track. Hopefully his sons follow suit.




Comentários


bottom of page