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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage


During the years when you finally understand what the sport of Horse Racing can do for your soul, you look back at the time before it and wonder what the hell were you doing back then! There is nothing in the sporting world that comes close to watching an animal running at 35 to 40 mph down a stretch with a thin small man holding on by his arches. There is nothing that compares to holding that perfect ticket with those 4 colts flying down that stretch ahead of the pack. What a sport!

On Saturday, we will be witness to the 147th running of this glorious race. It's good to be alive, I'll tell you that! Can't you just hear those gates opening with the call "And they're off... in the Kentucky Derby!" I'll tell you one thing, all I want to hear after those first words is, "and Rock Your World got a BE-AU-TI-FUL break!"

Rock Your World. Son of Candy Ride out of the Empire Maker mare Charm the Maker. Who could have foreseen a 6f turf maiden winner as the potential Derby superstar that he has become. His maiden race was spectacular. First time out, on the turf no less. There are only 3 others on that field who compare with him as far as their first feel of the track in their maidens;

Rock Your World - 6f on turf - 95 98/ 90

Medina Spirit - 5.5f on dirt - 93 99 / 90

Sainthood - 6f on dirt - 87 93/ 93

Soup and Sandwich - 6.5f on dirt - 94 96/ 98

You may be thinking what does a maiden race have to do with the Kentucky Derby. That first race speaks volumes about the potential of the horse and what type of runner he can turn out to be. These 4 guys, first time starters, displaying high-end caliber speed. The numbers that Rock Your World posted on turf are the most impressive. The speed that RYW, Medina and Sainthood displayed first time out bypasses their breeding strongly, while Soup and Sandwich, still impressive, but holds that strong speed in his breeding. Rock and Sainthood found that killer speed that seems to come from nowhere. That is a strong sign going forward and foretells what type of potential a colt truly has under his belt. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

Rock Your World walks into this race on Saturday with better numbers than any prior in the mid-range category that we have seen over the last 2 decades. This includes those who actually won this race from that category. That does not mean I am saying that he is in the same league as Barbaro or Big Brown, but I'm not saying that he isn't either. He has the breeding to be in the same league. He has the will and determination to be in the same league. We have only been witness to his athleticism three times since he graced the stage back in January, but all three times he blew them away. Turf and Dirt. Way below his optimum. Who could possibly doubt that this horse wouldn't progress a great deal in his fourth performance, given what he has displayed so far? The only thing that could possibly stand in his way is that very first step out of that gate. If this guys breaks easily, it's all over.

Another tell-tale sign of the absolute power and control of this horse comes from the actions of Bob Baffert. Bob's playbook was completely disrupted after Rock Your World demolished his over-hyped entry on his own turf. All it took was for Bob to see Rock's gallop out after beating that field merciless on his home turf. No lead runner of Baffert's 2021 crew could ever take on a horse of this caliber and stature. If he thinks Medina has a shot at Rock going even longer, he is delusional. So, he knows he is entering Medina for a board hit and a shot at $600,000 or 300,000 or $150,000. He knows he has no shot at that 1.8 million.

This is why Baffert made it a point to praise Rock Your World. He knows he has no shot at that win.

Baffert will have Medina in peak condition for this race going for that 600,000. Never underestimate a Baffert horse. No matter what, this trainer will do everything in his power to get those accolades. He wants the breeding fees as high they can go. That is always the end game. Don't think for one minute that the Kentucky Derby is only about Beyer figures and Wins and Losses. There is alot going on behind the scenes and it all revolves around money and breeding fees. Money in the millions of dollars. You can not leave Medina Spirit off your tickets even though there are a few others that outwardly present themselves much better.

There is a story that I remember from my Grandfather many years ago. Gotta be several decades ago at least. (My Grandfather was the greatest handicapper and Craps Player ever!) There was a horse who I cannot, for the life of me, remember his name, so let's just call him Max. Max ran at Garden State Park, back at a time when they would run them weekly. Anyway, Max was a very talented young horse and he posted several wins in a row. He was making a real name for himself at the time at Garden State. He was jet black with a small bolt of white on his forehead and a single white foot. The next race he was entered in saw his odds at even money and he smoked that race, beating them by at least 8 lengths. A week or so goes by and Max was put on a truck and taken away from Garden State. They outwardly and excitedly entered Max into a Graded Stakes race up in New York. He was installed as the favorite and in a few days time, he would make his debut into the bigger leagues with a bigger purse and a bit of fanfare for the connections. They showered their excitement all around the barn in the days leading up to Max's big New York debut.

In the meantime, the connections go back to Garden State and register one of their other colts (let's call him Sparky) to run on the same exact day. Apparently, he was one of their lesser known, unraced horses who was way over his head with the type of race they entered him in. He was very similar to Max, only he was completely jet black, not a spot of white on him. As far as talent went though, they couldn't be any more different.

The day of both races finally comes and "unfortunately" the big guy, Max, had to be scratched out of the New York race for reasons my Grandfather couldn't remember or just didn't say. The connections were outwardly broken-hearted at losing the chance to race this guy in New York and they vanned away back to Garden State looking as sad as ever at the loss of the big opportunity.

The other colt, Sparky, was installed at very high odds against this field back at Garden State. Everybody knew this colt had no chance of success in this race. They loaded the gates and Sparky took off and he demolished the field at something like 90 to 1. The connections were then the talk of all the track and heralded as very talented trainers with two great colts.

There were only a few (and one was my Grandfather) who knew to bet everything they had on Sparky to win that day and they really cashed a bundle. It was one of my Grandfather's biggest hits of his career. He was one of a very small group of intimate friends of the trainer who knew exactly what was going to transpire that day on that oval at Garden State. They dressed in their finest and placed their bets with all the confidence in the world in that horse.

Turns out, on the van ride back to Garden State from New York, the "fellas" took a can of black spray paint and painted Max's white spot on his forehead and his one white foot. They switched the horses behind the barn and vanned Sparky away to a farm outside of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It was Max who entered that gate at 99-1 against a bunch of lower-end allowance horses and the wise-guys had a party for a week after. That is a true story.

Never under-estimate what anyone will do to see their horse make them money. On this Derby weekend, Medina Spirit must grace your tickets but do not rely on him in any one spot. You must pay the Baffert compensation and use him in the 2,3 and 4 spot just in case. Baffert has a way of getting his guys that extra endurance and it should be no different now. At the very least, Medina does have some good qualities in his back pocket and the distance is actually there with this particular Baffert entry. If he falters, at least you had the skin in the game to back yourself just in case.

Over the next couple of days, each colt on the analysis will get a small update with consideration to the posts and how those posts not only affect them, but affect the others near them both in the stalls and within their breeding categories. This race on Saturday is immense and with it carries one of the best and talented groups assembled in quite a long time. This is not an easy puzzle this year, and all but one slot, that top slot, seems open to quite a few 10f runners.

No matter who you end up using this year to fill up your tickets, you should feel confident that, at the very least, your guys all have the breeding to get that distance, which is all one could really hope to have when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.


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