Inside the Kentucky Derby, America's greatest racing party

Kentucky Confidential

The Smart Money

Derby Day: Scheinman vs. Andrews

Grade 1 $300,000 Humana Distaff (Race 9, 3:49 PM ET)

John Scheinman “Action” Andy Andrews

Twice Switch has raced on this track, at this distance, in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and twice she has come in second. Ambitious spot for a comeback after six months away, but she has fired fresh in the past. Working like a precision instrument, and this is her favorite distance. The 30-1 line placed on Magical Feeling for this race is ridiculous — and immensely playable if it holds up. This is the best horse owner-breeder Peter Blum has ever had, and that includes Devil His Due. Won fat purse going two turns at Charles Town last out and won at the distance two back at 27-1 in fine Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie effort. Rail is the only concern as I think she prefers the outside. Extremely dangerous. Groupie Doll has had a wonderful 2012 campaign so far, but lone win in four starts came in most recent over the Keeneland Polytrack in the Grade 1 Madison. Her class is unmistakable and she should be flying on the turn.

1. Switch
2. Magical Feeling
3. Groupie Doll

Magical Feeling showed her quality in Grade 2 score at Laurel Park, and she encountered trouble two back at Gulfstream Park. She was much the best at Charles Town. Well-traveled filly will give you a run for your money. Groupie Doll is coming off a Grade 1 win at Keeneland. This horse is in very good form. She was also in the race at Gulfstream (the Grade 2 Inside Information) with my top pick. The connections thought enough of her to start her year against the boys, and she ran second. Sassy’s Image won this race last year. She must have gotten hurt in her last start at Saratoga, but she does love this track.

1. Magical Feeling
2. Groupie Doll
3. Sassy’s Image

Grade 1 $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Race 10, 4:44 PM ET)

John Scheinman “Action” Andy Andrews

Expecting an equine world war on the front end in this terrific renewal of the Turf Classic. Little Mike, Get Stormy and Turbo Compressor are all headstrong warriors, and there will be a demanding pace to run at for those in tow. Doubles Partner has been nibbling at the edges of a Grade 1 victory and the 5-year-old just might get it done here under Castellano. Likes the course and the trip. Turallure has only been out of the exacta one time since Oaks Day last year. Formidable closer is all class and gets the set-up. Boxeur des Rues scratched out of a dirt race Friday to run here and has been training superbly for O’Neill. Lightly raced long-shot play adds blinkers and appears to be developing. May crash the ticket, although this spot is extremely ambitious. Demand every bit of 30-1.

1. Doubles Partner
2. Turallure
3. Boxeur des Rues

Data Link is improving and has won half of his starts. This year, his Beyer Speed Figures have gone up in both starts, and now he gets added ground and plenty of pace to run at. Turallure just missed to my top selection in his last race, which was clearly a prep for this race. Double’s Partner is my third pick. My top three are the top three finishers in the Maker’s Mark. I expect this race to fall apart for the closers.

1. Data Link
2. Turallure
3. Double’s Partner

Grade 1 $2 million Kentucky Derby (Race 11, 6:24 PM ET)

John Scheinman “Action” Andy Andrews

To make a pick and stick with it in the Kentucky Derby requires more than intestinal fortitude. An underground fortress with a week’s worth of food in it might be the best way to avoid the whispers, lures and snares that come at you from every direction. I remain strong, for a change, this year, and unless he looks like Francis the Talking Mule in the post parade, I am standing firm with Bodemeister to win the 138th Kentucky Derby. Only Apollo has won the Derby without racing as a 2-year-old, and that was in 1882, but Bodemeister had a good foundation of workouts underneath him before debuting in January at Santa Anita. His three subsequent races, each at a longer distance, have produced Beyer Speed Figures that are on par with or above the best in this field. His Arkansas Derby victory by 9 1/2 lengths was the singular prep race of the season. Top connections, championship breeding, speed and stamina to burn. All systems go. A darling of the cognoscenti this past winter, El Padrino simply fell off the radar with his dull, four-wide fourth in the Florida Derby. Looked like he was grinding, rather than sailing, through the lane in winning the Grade 2 Risen Star in his prior race, but his speed figures cannot be discounted. Attracts a fine West Coast jockey for this journey and should set among the third flight and attempt to power past the stalkers heading into the turn. Nothing has been inspiring, but the 20-1 odds are juicy on a horse who proved so talented earlier in the year. Time to atone for Pletcher? Daddy Nose Best has done absolutely nothing wrong since his sensational score in the Sunland Derby, a return to dirt racing after seven events on turf or artificial surface. Much support from knowledgeable folks here, but his class remains in question. Expert hands, both trainer and rider, and can sit in a pack and get comfortable and still power by. Threat to take it all.

1. Bodemeister
2. El Padrino
3. Daddy Nose Best

Daddy Nose Best. His speed figures have risen this year; he’s grown up. He ran mid-70s Beyers his whole 2-year-old career. Now he has put together mid-90s run and 100 and he’s trained well ever since he’s been at Churchill Down. I think he wins for fun. Bodemeister is the most talented horse in the field, but I think the pace will be his undoing. I think it will be a little too quick for him to hold off Daddy Nose Best. Prospective is training well. I liked his game effort in the Tampa Bay race. I’m throwing out his Polytrack effort. He’s training well in the morning, and I’m trying to blow it up.

1. Daddy Nose Best
2. Bodemeister
3. Prospective

More: , ,