Brian Nadeau is back this year to offer insight and analysis on this year’s road to the Kentucky Derby. A handicapper at Horseplayer Now and Capital OTB, he’ll analyze every official Derby points race and the three Triple Crown races, back at Brooklyn Backstretch for the sixth year.
Aqueduct: The $300,000 GIII Gotham at 1 1/16 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 50-20-10-5)
#1 J Boys Echo (8-1): Tricky read was an OK third to today’s heavy favorite El Areeb in the local GIII Withers, which somewhat alleviated the pain of the dud in the GIII Delta Jackpot two-back, though he’s still looking up and then some at the big horse. Son of Mineshaft drew perfectly and you get the impression Romans has some confidence in him, and if anyone saw the Keeneland MSW win, you know there’s a ton of talent here–it’s just a matter if he’s good enough; logical exotics candidate.
#2 Gaetano (50-1): Ginormous longshot was all-out to win a starter-allowance at Parx and steps way up today, in what is his first graded stakes start. If you’re looking for positives, it’s that Preciado is sharp and dad Giacomo was a late-developer, too, but that’s a reach and then some; legitimately triple digits.
#3 Miggsy (15-1): Game MSW winner steps up after desperately holding on in his two-turn debut over the track and distance and seems like he’s in deep water against these. Tactical son of Hard Spun should trip out nicely on or just off of what looks like a soft pace, and Rodriguez has been having a good meet, but this just looks like too much, too soon; midpack finish seems likely. UPDATE: David Grening reported on Twitter that Miggsy will scratch.
#4 El Areeb (6-5): Aforementioned deserving heavy favorite has been nothing short of stunning winning the local GIII Jerome and Withers in name-your-score-like fashion and clearly is way better than the group he’s already decimated with ease, so it’s just the scant few new shooters he has to worry about. Son of Exchange Rate hasn’t missed any dances for Lynch, which could catch up to him at some point, but up to this point he just keeps rolling along, and with a tactical style that should have him just off the early lead, it’s tough to think the streak ends today; the train keeps rolling.
#5 Glenrichment (30-1): Zayat homebred is improving with each start and was just a game second over the course and distance, though it was in an MSW, which makes him a rank outsider here. It’s not like Rudy to run them where they can’t win, and he was only a nose behind Miggsy last time, but if that guy is 20-1 or so in here, what does that make this dude; can’t see it. UPDATE: David Grening reported on Twitter that Miggsy will scratch.
#6 True Timber (6-1): Well-bred son of Mineshaft has tested the favorite twice of late and been dismissed easily both times, though he did set the pace and held well to be second last time in the Withers. McLaughlin charge has gotten better with each start and if he gets left alone early, then just maybe he can get brave, but it didn’t work last time, and you can’t think he can go any slower early today; underneath exotics threat.
#7 Apartfromthecrowd (12-1): The first of two from Brown was a distant fifth in the Withers and will need a big move forward to make waves here. If you’re giving him a chance, then you can say it was his first start against winners and that local track and distance MSW win two back was big, and obviously this barn is as good as they come, but as a son of turf stud Gio Ponti, you have to think the grass is where he’ll make his hay; playing against.
#8 So Conflated (8-1): Intriguing California invader has proven plenty versatile in three starts for O’Neill, as he won sprinting (via DQ) on the dirt at Santa Anita two back and then took to the Tapeta and won the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Eskendereya colt now ships across the country in the hopes of getting some Derby points and is hardly outgunned, though this is a big ask, from a wide draw too; tricky read.
#9 Cloud Computing (5-1): The most dangerous of the new shooters looks like a real comer for Brown, as he was bet like a good thing in his local sprint debut and didn’t disappoint when be settled early and rolled home late. Of course, the waters get a lot deeper today and, as a son of Maclean’s Music, he’s not exactly bred to relish two turns, but if nothing else there’s a lot of talent here, and being a fresh new face in a race like this isn’t a bad thing; completes a chalky exacta.
#10 Action Everyday (10-1): Pletcher newcomer has taken the road less traveled, as he enters off a pair of Tampa wins and certainly gets the acid test today, as well as adding blinkers to what is an already speedy package. And the lead is there for the taking too, so if he guns early and clears on the lead, then just maybe he can get brave over a track that has been known to carry his type a long way; intriguing.
#4 El Areeb
#9 Cloud Computing
#1 J Boys Echo
#10 Action Everyday