Saturday, July 17, 2010

Va. Derby prediction: A parade to follow Paddy

I'm planning on being at Colonial Downs in under 11 hours, so I'd better make this quick. But, much as I (correctly) posted on my Facebook page prior to the Colonial Turf Cup, I think Paddy O'Prado is the horse to beat today in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby.

Yeah, I'm a freakin' genius. The horse is 7/5 on the morning line and the pre-race favorite. But I do believe he's the most talented horse in this field, perhaps by far.

Paddy surged to win the Turf Cup going away even though Two Notch Road (who would finish third) was uncontested on the lead. I didn't bet Paddy on that day (not liking the price) but had wagered across the board on Two Notch Road at nearly 27/1, figuring he'd get the early advantage without much pressure. Sure wish he'd at least hung on for second over Workin for Hops, though I still scratched out a little profit.

Let's start by drawing lines through the 4 and the 5 in the eight-horse field, Majestictroubadour and Awesome Dream, who have two wins in seven starts, a whopping $25,000 or so in combined earnings, and no Beyer higher than 79 between them.

Today, I don't at all like Two Notch Road; not at 8/1 on the morning line, at least. Not sure I'd bet him even if he drifted up to where he was on Turf Cup day. I don't think the son of Partner's Hero out of a Capote mare -- who was fading at the finish going 9 furlongs -- will get the 10 furlongs today well enough to figure.

Stately Victor, also 8/1 on the morning line under Ramon Dominguez, has beaten Paddy O'Prado in the Blue Grass S.-G1. But that was on synthetic, and while sometimes horses can cross over successfully from fake dirt to the turf, and while Stately Victor did break maiden on grass at Saratoga, he was only eighth and fifth in his last two tries on turf (both Gulfstream allowances early this year) and I think the best he can do on this day is hope for second.

Interactif (3/1) and Krypton (7/2), starting in the third and second gates, to me are by far the most likely to challenge Paddy O'Prado for supremacy today. Both are G3 turf winners who should be able to get the distance, particularly Krypton, who is by Rock Hard Ten out of an Unbridled's Song mare. Krypton, with a 95 Beyer in winning the Hill Prince S.-G3 at Belmont on June 4, is by that measure the second-fastest horse in this race, and I think he'll prove it today under Rajiv Maragh -- but probably not get to Paddy, whose Beyer for the Turf Cup was 99 and he seemed to only be getting stronger.

A potentially live long shot for exotic wagers is the 6, Formulaforsuccess, who will be ridden by Victor Lebron for lesser-known trainer John Pucek (4-for-39 total this season from all starters). By Broken Vow (as is Interactif) out of a Nashwan mare, he has the pedigree to get the distance. He "gamely" wired a Churchill allowance field at 9 furlongs on grass his last out for a Beyer of 84, but will need to not get too tangled up with Two Notch Road on the front end if he hopes to last the 10 furlongs today.

The race is set to go off at 6 p.m., the last of an all-stakes Pick 5 at Colonial that includes the Chenery and Tippett stakes at 5.5 furlongs for 2-year-old colts and fillies, the Kitten's Joy at a mile and a sixteenth for older horses, and the Virginia Oaks-G3 at 9 furlongs.

Free past-performances and other products for the Virginia Derby are available at Equibase, which is featuring the event as its race of the week.

1 comment:

  1. In complete agreement about Paddy O'Prado, he is the class of this field. It seems like the vast majority of the racing community thinks so right now.


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