Kentucky Derby

2016 Kentucky Derby Preview: Nyquist tries to Remain Perfect

Nyquist wins the Florida Derby - Photo Credit: Coglianese Photos/Gulfstream Park
Coglianese Photos/Gulfstream Park

Likely Winners

#13 Nyquist – After trying to beat this horse for months in this race here I am making him my top selection.  This reminds me of the year I finally picked California Chrome to win after doubting him for most of the months leading up to the race.  The bottom line with Nyquist is he’s just better than the rest of these horses in the race at the moment.  He may not excel at a mile and one quarter, but as long as he’s at least adequate at the distance I believe his class will carry him the rest of the way.  Another big factor pointing towards him winning is the fact he got a perfect post, while some of his main challengers have drawn posts that aren’t ideal.  All the signs are pointing to another favorite winning the Kentucky Derby.

#3 Creator – If there is going to be an upset of Nyquist this is the horse that’s going to do it.  We’ve touted this horse ever since his impressive maiden win at Oaklawn Park, and he backed us up with a solid performance in the Rebel Stakes to finish third before winning the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.  The thing I love about him is his willingness to split horses when making his late move.  He doesn’t necessarily need a wide trip at the top of the stretch to get the job done, and he has also shown the ability to make his move on the turn, and then have the stamina to continue his run down the lane.   With his inside post position it is important that he can weave through traffic so it’s nice that he has shown he can do that.  Almost put him on top, but just couldn’t get past Nyquist.

Exotic Plays

#20 Danzing Candy – Maybe I’m way off base, but I love the 20 hole for this horse.  He’s drawn outside all the speed, and he can dictate thing on his terms.  Last time out was not the norm for him as the sloppy track caused him some problems, but it should be dry on Saturday in Louisville.  If Mike Smith can get him to relax like he has in the past this horse could have the ability to get out by himself and take this field a long way.  Hoping he clears and gets brave on the lead.

#2 Suddenbreakingnews – This is our favorite horse in the race so we were disappointed with his draw.  Being a one run closer it won’t matter too much, but horses tend to get beat up quite a bit from those inside posts.  I felt like his big chance was to draw outside and get some position, but now he’s forced to fall back and make one big run.  I’m afraid that potential lost position will cost him.  Look for him to be running at the end, but may be too late.

#19 Brody’s Cause – Really like this horse a lot and was ready to pick him as my third choice in the race until he drew this post.  It’s not a complete deal breaker for him, but it’s also not a post that is going to do him many favors.  If he wants to sit closer than the bottom group of horses he could get hung wide, and I don’t think his turn of foot is explosive enough if he comes from way behind.  Tough draw, but I do believe he’ll come with a run at the end.

#17 Mor Spirit – Its gotten to where you just shake your head and move on each time he races.  It seems he kind of runs the same boring grind it out style which is always good enough to get up for a piece of things.  Looks to just not be fast enough to win the whole thing, but can hit the board without a doubt because he’ll keep running when others start to stop.

#5 Gun Runner – Have never been too high on him, but the way he’s working out and progressing makes me mildly interested in this guy all of the sudden.  I can’t go too crazy and pick him on top, but he’s shown enough to warrant some attention underneath.  The biggest obstacle he may have to overcome is the fact that the Louisiana Derby has struggled to produce a legit Kentucky Derby horse in quite some time.

#11 Exaggerator – Perfect draw for him, and if he can show up with the exact same effort he had last time in the Santa Anita Derby everyone else is running for second.  The problem is you can’t have much confidence that he is going to do that based on his long term resume.  If it happens to rain he’s the obvious pick, but if it’s dry I prefer others on top.  His two turn races on a dry track have been very average.

Party Crashers

#15 Outwork – Lets be real…the Grade 1 Wood Memorial was a very slow race.  Outwork did show a lot of guts by setting a pretty fast pace and still holding on under less than ideal conditions as the track was a sloppy mess.  However, he almost lost to a maiden who had never finished better than third, and he crawled home which really gives you bad vibes about him go longer.  I am holding out hope that the sloppy track slowed him down, and he’ll be better on a fast track.  He’s got a tactical advantage that could help and if for some reason Danzing Candy doesn’t run well he could be loose on the lead.  There are enough decent scenario’s that could work in his favor.

#9 Destin – No clue what to expect out of this one…he’s the true wildcard of this Kentucky Derby.  His Tampa Bay Derby win was fast, and two horses he beat in that race came back to win Grade 1 preps in Outwork and Brody’s Cause.  The big problem though: We haven’t seen him since that Tampa Bay Derby win.  That’s a tremendous amount of time off heading into this race, and lets face it the Tampa Bay Derby can sometimes produce some strange results.  Very tough to get any kind of read on what might happen here.

#10 Whitemore – Basically with him I couldn’t quite get myself to call him a “throw out” but I’m also not confident enough to label him a “likely winner” or “exotic play.”  He ended up drawing a perfect post, and perhaps maybe now he’ll get the kind of trip his connections have been hoping for after a few questionable ones as of late.  He seems to be more talented than Moquett’s runner in this race last year, and I can see him hanging around at the end.  Worth a small shot at the price you are going to get on him.

Throw Outs

#4 Mo Tom – Look for the troubled trips to continue as he’s drawn inside which isn’t good.  Surely jockey Corey Lanerie won’t try to take him inside once again down the stretch which could mean he’ll have to swing out very ride down the lane.  Not sure he’s fast enough regardless of the trip.

#6 My Man Sam – Very solid post position draw gives me hope he could outrun my expectations for him in this spot.  His style of running is not one I particularly like in the Kentucky Derby, but it’s not out of the question he could hit the board.  My main problem is I prefer other closers over him.

#8 Lani – Who the hell knows with this guy…needless to say he’s been acting pretty crazy in the mornings.  From the workout that he decided to quit on to him being “studish” every morning the signs are strange.  Would really surprise me if he runs well.

#14 Mohaymen – A small part of me believes he can rebound off of his poor Florida Derby effort this weekend.  However, a bigger part of me feels that he might have been a little overhyped and hasn’t progressed all that much as a three year old.  The biggest problem is his resume and the lack of success horses have had that he has beaten.

#7 Oscar Nominated – Nope…never in a million years can I get behind this one.  He got in by winning on a synthetic surface, and even his numbers in that race were slow.  If he beats me then so be it.

#18 Majesto – Almost placed this horse in the “exotic play” category until he drew the 18 post which I think was a make or break moment for him.  His two turn races are very impressive, but this far outside draw might dampen his chances.

#16 Shagaf – Never liked him from the very beginning, and won’t start here in this tough spot.  The draw was not all that great for him either as I don’t think he can afford to have a wide trip.

#12 Tom’s Ready – I know Dallas Stewart has pulled off some crazy second place efforts out in the past, but I just can’t see it this year.  However, I have probably said that each and every time he’s done it so we’ll see if he can prove me wrong once again.

#1 Trojan Nation – Call it karma…the maiden draws the rail!  No shot at all to begin with before the draw, and now he REALLY has no shot.


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