2022 Kentucky Derby (Posts 1-5)

Posts 1-5 | Posts 6-10 | Posts 11-15 | Posts 16-22 | Quick Rank Chart | Energy Distribution Chart

#1 Mo Donegal 10/1

The immediate obstacle that jumps out is the ability to break through consecutive DTOPs. However, consider not only are lightly-raced runners more eligible to break through DTOPs than seasoned runners, but that regressive pattern also loses it's effect when the horse is allowed proper rest to recover from it. This one is stringing together consecutive races for the first time since December so could be considered fresh enough here not to be in a definite bounce spot. Also consider, this one could actually regress and STILL own a better Final Figure than the rest of the field. The Wood Memorial does not have a good record in recent years and even decades for producing Derby contenders, but I'll also say I don't remember the last time I see a New York prepper enter off an 80+ Final Figure either. They call it the dreaded "1 spot" but does it really affect this one? He was likely going to start slow and move to the inside anyways so he may actually be pre-set here for his likely tactics of hoping to find an opening late and making one big run down the stretch. If the opportunity for a closer presents itself in today's race flow, he'll offer better odds than the other obvious late runner, Zandon, and appears to be just as talented. The dynamics of dirt racing certainly make it tough on a runner like this, but he'll still rank as a "must include" for me.

#2 Happy Jack 30/1

Positive move to trigger a Reversal (REV) before a stretchout in distance but did so suddenly without much foundation to expect another dramatic improvement that is much needed today. Has yet to finish within double-digit lengths of the other Derby hopefuls he's faced so far.

#3 Epicenter 7/2

A photo finish separates him from being on a 5-win streak where he was forced into a pretty hot 4F Figure and got caught by a cued up runner from the back that day. Really nice energy distribution moves since that upset going +5 to -5 to -10 with last out's SOFT win indicating there was likely more in the tank available. A legitimate contender with a favorable run style coming in but worth note his talent has put him in positions in those 4 wins where he's got things wrapped up well before the wire. Doesn't look like a field that's going to let him assert without a hard fight throughout today and unsure if he can endure without much experience winning duels. Will be on some tickets but vulnerability may be higher than his price.

#4 Summer Is Tomorrow 30/1

Figures to want to muddle the pace here likely breaking alert toward the top from this post. Most of resume comes out of Meydan which is considered to be pretty generous to speed types and hasn't always translated well to American dirt tracks. He's been largely overlooked as over-achieving when 2nd in the UAE Derby in last and I expect his odds might end up over double this morning line. Unfortunatley, data isn't available to make Pace Figure comparisons on his likely efforts to be forwardly-placed against today's field. If the track is sloppy and slick, it's a situation that can often carry speed much further than usual so don't sleep on this one should that situation arise. More likely, however, sounds like we may see a track in the process of drying out that wouldn't be quite so kind to this one.

#5 Smile Happy 20/1

Has been really consistent since Day 1 as undefeated juvenile but failed to show the 3-year old uptick yet many expected. Tough to pull the trigger on a runner that was in a perfect spot to break out but now seems to be in stall mode. 2 months ago if offered this price, some people would have emptied their bank accounts as well as their buddy's. His consistency could get him a share of the exotics, but in my experience, runners with high expectations not met, don't often suddenly redeem themselves. He's out of the win spot for me.

Posts 1-5 | Posts 6-10 | Posts 11-15 | Posts 16-22 | Quick Rank Chart | Energy Distribution Chart


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