It was yet another wild and woolly weekend on the Derby Trail with massive longshots winning the two key preps, the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn (although there is NO WAY Archarcharch should have been 25-1 based on his previous races at Oaklawn). This has, of course, shaken up the Derby picture no end with less than three weeks to go to the big day. Here are this week's Super Six Derby Pix:
#1 Dialed In- Nick Zito continues to hold pocket aces with the Florida Derby champion. Of course, as any poker player will tell you, pocket aces get cracked all the time. It is clear, though, that Dialed In has been the most impressive of all the horses that will be going into the gate for the Derby on May 7 so far this year. His win in the Holy Bull raised eyebrows, he ran a decent second against older horses in the Florida Derby prep, and he won the Florida Derby while everything else collapsed around him.
#2 Toby's Corner- It has been a fast rise up the Pix for the Wood Memorial winner, but he did beat the assumed favorite since last November in Uncle Mo. He overcame quite a bit to get the job done at Aqueduct, showing that he can negotiate through traffic if necessary, which will be a very valuable skill at Churchill Downs. It could be an exciting stretch run in the Derby with this one and Dialed In both rallying from far back if there is any pace on at all.
#3 Archarcharch- The Arkansas Derby winner went off at a ridiculous price on Saturday and paid a handsome $52.40 to those that backed him at Oaklawn. Given his win in the Rebel and a not too back third in the Southwest, I just don't see how the bettors let him off at that price. Of course, if it happens again at Churchill Downs, I'll be ready with some win money on him at the inflated number.
#4 Mucho Macho Man- He tore a hoof in the Louisiana Derby and still ran a credible third behind Pants On Fire and Nehro that day. His win in the Risen Star gets discounted a little with Santiva's poor effort in the Blue Grass Stakes (although I might be inclined to give Santiva a second chance since that race was run over the polytrack). He posted a workout of seven furlongs in 1:23.66 on Sunday morning and if he is running that well come May 7, we will certainly know "Quien Es Mas Macho?", to quote SNL circa 1978.
#5 Uncle Mo- OK, if you believe Todd Pletcher, then his gastrointestinal problem was the cause of the letdown in the Wood Memorial. Not the fact that this was a short horse due to being babied up until that race. Honestly, it was likely the first time the horse ever was challenged to that extent and he just didn't have any kind of foundation to fall back on when he needed it. He is still the 2010 Champion Juvenile Colt, but that won't mean a hill of beans when the gates open at Churchill Downs.
#6 Soldat- Once the apple of my eye, his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, says that the horse is training well again after the disaster that was the fifth in the Florida Derby. He honestly showed no response in that race and The Factor actually ran a similar race this past weekend in the Arkansas Derby. He didn't get the lead, didn't respond when called on, and didn't do what was expected and necessary at this late stage of the game.
Tune in again this week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!