#1 Mr. Bowling (KY) and #1A Mark Valeski (KY) – To me there is no reason to stress over this race. The field has drawn 14 horses, but if Mark Valeski runs back to his last race none of them should be able to beat him. He went toe to toe with El Padrino in the Risen Star losing by a nose, and there doesn’t look to be a threat like him in this field. You also get Mr. Bowling, who will serve as a decent back up plan if Mark Valeski doesn’t run well. Mr. Bowling won the LeComte Stakes, but bounced badly finishing last in the Risen Star. He’s not as bad as that last race so look for him to come back with a better effort.
#4 Finnegans Wake (KY) – His last race in the Gotham wasn’t too bad, although he was never a threat to the leaders in that one. With a field that has a lot of question marks he’s a logical top 3 contender, but I don’t see him being a threat on the winning side of things.
#7 Shared Property (KY) – I’ve been high on him this season, but time is running out. His race in the Risen Star was pretty flat, so there is a lot of improvement needed out of him. I like his post position, and this field is manageable. Maybe with the right trip he can get a piece of it.
#10 Z Dager (KY) – Out of the four exotic plays I have listed, I believe Z Dager has the best shot at upsetting Mark Valeski. I like his two consistent efforts at Fair Grounds this year, and the longer distance should be to his liking. The outside post has me a little worried, and there are question marks as to how talented this horse really is. Still, after Mark Valeski I believe this horse is as good as anyone else in the field.
#11 Rousing Sermon (CA) – The shipper from California will get some class relief in this race, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to get him in the winners circle. This horse lacking a little bit in the talent department, but you know he’s going to give you an honest effort every race. Look for him to be in the mix late in the race, but 2nd or 3rd is probably his maximum ability.
#3 Windsurfer (KY) – I put him in this category simply because his trainer is Todd Pletcher. His credentials aren’t much, but it’s hard to throw out a Pletcher trained horse in a Kentucky Derby prep.
#6 Cigar Street (KY) – The ultimate wild card in this race. Cigar Street is coming into this race off a 13 length maiden victory on March 10th. Now twenty-one days later he’s going to try to win a million dollar race. If he can repeat that maiden performance he’ll be in mix, but is this too much too soon? I don’t blame the connections for taking a shot. He’s talented, and they’ve found the right field to try it against. Bet him at your own risk, but also leave him out at your own risk. Hard to be sure…
#2 Fire Alarm (KY) – Coming off a decent allowance win at Fair Grounds, but doesn’t look to be up to this caliber.
#5 Flashy Sunrise (KY) – He’s still a maiden and was beaten by Cigar Street by 13 lengths last time out.
#8 Arm Force (KY) – Out of all the throw outs he’s the one that could jump up and exceed my expectations. He’s only has one win, but in his maiden win at Gulfstream he did beat some pretty nice horses. Still looks out-classed against these.
#9 Comisky’s Humor (KY) – He’s won two of three races but this is a HUGE jump for him today. Looks out-classed.
#12 Hero of Order (KY) – Hard to imagine a 1 for 13 lifetime horse taking down a million dollar race. Maybe an outside chance at the superfecta.
#13 Afford (KY) – I’m running out of ways to say out-classed…