I Want Revenge scratched; Derby looks like 3-horse race


Maiden King conquers the Kentucky Derby

Maiden King conquers the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby, 1-1/4 miles, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                    Morning line

#1 West Side Bernie                        30/1
#4 Advice                                     30/1
#5 Hold Me Back                            15/1
#6 Friesan Fire                               5/1
#12 General Quarters                      20/1
#13 I Want Revenge                        SCR
#15 Dunkirk                                   4/1
#16 Pioneerof the Nile                    4/1

What this year’s Kentucky Derby is missing is a few speed balls that will gun out of the gate and ensure a hot pace. Many of the prep races this year were run on synthetic tracks where horses run slower early and fast late, so those type of horses got the earnings necessary to enter the Derby.

I Want Revenge would have been helped by a slow pace, but he was scratched this morning due to an ankle injury. Quality Road, who won’t run because of a quarter crack, would have been an easy selection in this race and I believe that he’ll either win the Preakness Stakes or the Belmont. Running second to Quality Road in the Florida Derby, #15 Dunkirk made an eye-popping surge on the turn reminiscent of Monarchos move in the 2001 Florida Derby.

In my computer pace numbers, Dunkirk’s Florida Derby looks a lot like the best prep race run by Real Quiet before that colt won the roses in 1997. Another who looks good in the pace ratings is #6 Friesan Fire based on the race he ran in the March 14 Louisiana Derby.

Bob Baffert, who won this race with Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem, sends out Pioneerof the Nile with jockey Garrett Gomez aboard. Pioneerof the Nile has won four straight graded stakes on the West Coast, but bettors knock him because he’s never run on dirt and never cracked a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.  But Santa Anita has an inner dirt training track and I’m sure Baffert knows that his colt will run well on dirt.

Pioneerof the Nile’s sire Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes and probably was best in the 2003 Derby, but got a very wide trip the year Funny Cide won. Pioneer’s dam, Star of Goshen, was trained by Mike Puype who said she was the best horse he ever had — even better than Old Trieste.

The previous three horses — Friesan Fire, Dunkirk and Pioneerof the Nile — all figure to be bet below 6/1, but the following four longshots have a chance with a few breaks — and they could be any price: #1 West Side Bernie, #4 Advice, #5 Hold Me Back and #12 General Quarters.

These longshots all seem to be getting better at the right time and any one of them could improve or just may take to the wet track, which will probably be packed down so it drains better. At an average price of 20-to-1, betting a small amount on all four of these horses is just like wagering on one 4-to-1 shot.

Betting this race, I will  put $250 on any of these horses at 4/1 or more #6 Friesan Fire, #15 Dunkirk and #16 Pioneerof the Nile. Also, at 20/1 or better I will put $40 on any of these #1 West Side Bernie, #4 Advice, #5 Hold Me Back and #12 General Quarters.

Injury knocks The Pamplemousse out of the Ky Derby

The Pamplemousse will not run in the Kentucky Derby on May 2 because of a tendon injury that was discovered on Saturday during a vet exam just hours before the Santa Anita Derby.

“He has a small lesion (on the tendon in his left front leg) and we’ll do the best thing by the horse,” part-owner Alex Solis II told Bloodhorse.com.

Solis II estimated that The Pamplemousse would be sidelined for more than six months and added that he is confident that the colt will race again.

The Pamplemousse won the San Rafael (gr. III) and Sham (gr. III) stakes this season at Santa Anita. He has won his last three starts while earning $209,280 in five starts. Trainer Julio Canani scratched him from the Santa Anita Derby after a pre-race veterinary exam found heat in his left front leg.

With Saturday’s scratch, betting was suspended on The Pamplemousse in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is a pari-mutuel bet through Churchill Downs. Pools closed on Sunday with horseplayers making I Want Revenge the 9/2 favorite. Quality Road was the second choice at 6/1, then Friesan Fire, 8/1; Pioneerof the Nile, 9/1; and Dunkirk, 11/1.

Injuries are an unfortunate part of future book wagers because bettors lose without their horse ever getting to the gate.

Three important Kentucky Derby preps were run Saturday and below are videos of the Santa Anita Derby, the Wood Memorial and the Illinois Derby.

I Want Revenge wins by 8-1/2 lengths at Aqueduct

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