Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - That Derby Futures bet on Uncle Mo doesn't look so great after the Wood Memorial shocker.
Uncle Mo ran like your Uncle Fred in combat boots. It was so bad; they're doing blood work to see if something was wrong with the horse. And with the once prohibitive Derby favorite now covered in question marks, most writers are saying "no clear favorite for the Derby."
Did they miss the Florida Derby? I'm guessing Dialed In is now at the top of everybody's list pending the outcome of the Arkansas Derby which might produce a potential monster if The Factor can run a mile and an eighth.
Dialed In gets the nod because he took no shortcuts. He took on the best field of 3-year-olds in the Florida Derby and showed the guts and turn of foot to pass them all in the stretch.
I was at Churchill Downs the day he did the same thing while breaking his maiden in November. He may not win the Derby because of traffic trouble or whatever happens on May 7 but he has a big shot.
Meanwhile, the Santa Anita Derby produced another upset and a brand new contender with a well known trainer. Midnight Interlude came sweeping by Comma to the Top to win the million dollar stakes.
That means Bob Baffert could have three starters in Derby 137 with Jaycito shipping to Kentucky next week to run in the Lexington. Baffert's third potential starter, The Factor, takes on 12 others in the Arkansas Derby.
There is still a lot of money to be won this week in Arkansas and at the Bluegrass Stakes. So this week, I'm going to do something a little different.
Instead of rating the horses, I'm going to list them by graded earnings and then comment on their Derby chances.
Here we go.
1. Uncle Mo
Third place in the Wood raises Mo to $1,360,000. He'll ship to Churchill for two works before the Derby. But with the Indian Charlie pedigree, would they be better to cash checks all summer with races at about a mile? He's already a champion at two and the Derby is a tough, dangerous race.
2. Dialed In
The Florida Derby bumped him up to $840,000 and Nick Zito seems to have a very emotional attachment to this horse. He may also believe that he has his third Derby winner. There may be something about that maiden breaker in November that was a precursor to greatness.
3. Comma to the Top
Second place in the Santa Anita Derby has this gelding up to $670,000 and his connections thinking Derby again after his great run in the Santa Anita. Trainer Peter Miller had sworn off thoughts about roses, but then Uncle Mo looked vulnerable and Comma almost stole a Grade One.
4. Toby's Corner
The winner of the Wood Memorial is up to $625,000 and a spot in the starting gate. A week ago, he was just a New York wannabe, but now he's the guy who split horses and ran by Uncle Mo with one of the fastest closing furlongs of the spring. Toby's Corner posted a 94 Beyer Speed figure, and Graham Motion thinks this is a horse who could win on Derby Day.
5. Pants on Fire
Has $623,000 in stakes money and almost all of that was because he won Louisiana Derby. In retrospect, that was not a strong field for a million dollar race. And is the winner of the Louisiana Derby winner better than the third or fourth place finisher at Santa Anita or Gulfstream?
6. Midnight Interlude
In one race, he wins $600,000. That's it. He's in. Owner Arnold Zetcher turns to Baffert and says "Are we really going to the Derby." The answer is, "Yes." The horse didn't run until January 29 and a horse that has not started as a two year old has not won the Derby since 1882. The Beyer number was 95.
7. J P's Gusto
Has a bankroll of $541,500 and easily makes the field, but his 7th place finish in the Rebel Stakes makes you wonder if it's worth the trouble. He gets another chance in the Arkansas Derby and if he's respectable, then he's probably on the van to Louisville.
He was the early star in Florida with $540,000 in earnings and then came the Florida Derby and an ill-fated rail trip to no-where. He failed to fire in the stretch and trudged home 5th. But he's won on dirt, grass and in the slop. If it rains at Churchill this year, Soldat could be your mudder.
9 Master of Hounds
He has $441,884 thanks to his second place finish in the UAE Derby in Dubai. After the race Aiden O'Brien said the Kentucky Derby is one possibility for his horse, but the European Classics are also on the table. Horses that ship in from Europe or the Middle East have a lot to overcome.
10. Twice the Appeal
Another one hit wonder with $400,000 from his win in the Sunland Park Derby.
He broke his maiden in a claiming race at Santa Anita and some former claimers have won the Derby, Charismatic for one. But, you wonder where he would have finished in the Florida Derby?
11. Mucho Macho Man
He has $370,000 after his last race that was a third place finish in the Louisiana Derby. The Macho Man lost a shoe coming out of the gate at the Fairgrounds and trainer Kathy Ritvo thinks that was the difference in the stretch run. Now, they're just waiting for May 7.
12. Decisive Moment
With $301,000, he was the first horse to arrive at Churchill this spring and start working for the Derby. He's a very experienced horse, who won in Florida and Louisiana before a second place in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway. Very consistent horse that could figure in the exotics.
13. Animal Kingdom
The win at the Spiral Stakes and $285,000 in graded stakes money could put him in the Derby. But Team Valor wants to see how he trains on the dirt at Churchill. HIs big win was on the Polytrack and his pedigree is grass, top and bottom. He might open a spot for someone else if he stays on the grass.
Only one race this year and that was a respectable second at Sunland Park. But his nice two year old season, including a stakes win at Churchill, gives him $285,000. He'll probably qualify but does he have enough training and racing to get ready for the Derby?
15. The Factor
Jumped into the Derby picture when he won the Rebel Stakes and compiled earnings of $270,000. If he's just as good in the Arkansas Derby, he might be one of the favorites on Derby day. At first everybody thought he was a sprinter, because he was just "crazy fast." Then Bob Baffert gave him a chance to run longer and so far, we've seen no limits
16. Stay Thirsty
The Gotham winner has $260,000 but his 7th place finish in the Florida Derby was comparable to Uncle Mo's clunker in New York. Todd Pletcher will have to decide if Stay Thirsty can compete, or if he's more of a Derby Trial horse.
He has $260,000 after missing the Santa Anita Derby and now is looking at the Lexington Stakes just two weeks before the Derby. The Lexington has always been the last call for graded stakes money, but Jaycito probably needs the race more than the money. He also needs to prove that his sore hoof has mended.
With $250,000 in graded stakes money, Santiva is the likely favorite for the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland. He was second in the Risen Star stakes and then Eddie Kenneally decided to skip the Louisiana Derby and go to Polytrack.
How will that set Santiva up for the Derby or will he even like the surface?
It will be a big Saturday for this contender.
19. Watch Me Go
With $235,000 dollars in earnings, Watch Me Go might be on the bubble.
He was 6th in the Illinois Derby and trainer Kathleen O'Connell said he hated the track. If he makes the field, this will be the definition of a long shot.
He almost stole the Florida Derby on the front end and picked up $212,000 dollars in graded money. But that puts him firmly on the bubble and there are horses running this weekend, who could pass him with a good effort. Might be the best horse not to make the race.
21. Arthur's Tale
Second place in the Wood, so he has $200,000 and the reputation of being better than Uncle Mo. If they don't get in the Derby, they'll stay in New York and be a fresh shooter for the Belmont.
Another late bloomer with the $200,000 he won at the Louisiana Derby. If he hits the board at the Arkansas Derby, he's in the mix as a long shot on Derby day.
23. Silver Medallion
Fourth in the Santa Anita Derby means $184,334 in graded money and no chance to earn more before Derby Day. On the outside looking in, unless there are major defections.
24. Anthony's Cross
Fifth in the Santa Anita Derby with $182,000 and the same problem as Silver Medallion.
$180,000 in earnings and he has a chance because he runs in the Arkansas Derby this weekend. He won't be one of the favorites but his third place in the Rebel means he has a chance.
And finally, the half brother to Derby winner Super Saver, who was last seen running third at the Tampa Bay Derby. He needs to hit the board to make the Derby field. This son of Distorted Humor might have a real chance if he stages a comeback.
Others running this weekend with a chance to make some money and make the Derby.
and Wilcox Inn
So, just scroll up the page and somewhere above, you'll see the winner of Derby 137. It's your job to find the horse that will wear the roses.
Thanks for reading.