2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders, Borderline Horses, and Throwouts – Part IX


2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

DADDY NOSE BET ( 20/1, #13 on Money List)

This runner from the Steve Asmussen barn has become the “hype” horse over the past 7-10 days. He has been working well over the Churchill Downs surface and drawn rave reviews from some of the experts.  Yada, yada, yada.

The son of Scat Daddy owns a win in the G3 Sunland Park Derby, which I will concede has been a positive race in the Triple Crown and other higher profile events over the past three years. However, Daddy Nose Bet has only faced top competition once in his career and that resulted in a fair sixth place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He has never faced Grade One quality on the dirt.

I bet him when he won the G3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate earlier in the year, and one of the main reasons I liked him was because I thought he could transfer his turf form to the synthetic Tapeta surface. He scored by a “nose” that day under Julien Leparoux at very generous odds of 4.10-1.

Daddy’s main track dirt record is 3-1-1-0, with two of those starts coming in maiden races last year. I am not sure he is at his best over a traditional dirt surface, and that is certainly not a question mark you want to have going into the Derby. More importantly, I don’t think this colt is good enough to compete against the top runners in this field. This is one of the strongest Kentucky Derbies in recent memory, and Daddy Nose Bet has done nothing to indicate in his past performances that he can upset the apple cart.

Status: Borderline Horse for the Exotics


2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

LIAISON (35/1, # 14 on Money List)

As a two year old the Bob Baffert trainee won three races in a row, culminating with a win in the G1 Cash Call Futurity in December. His three year old season has been a stark contrast, and there is nothing to indicate a turnaround is in the works. Baffert has stated that Liaison did not like the track at Santa Anita, but considering he broke his maiden there impressively in October, that excuse is hard to buy.

As a son of Indian Charlie, he doesn’t figure to move forward with added distance. His workout the other day at Churchill Downs also left a lot to be desired. Jockey Rafael Bejarano is bailing on the horse. We’ll pass on this longshot.

Status: Throwout


PPs of FL Derby winner Take Charge Indy

2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

TAKE CHARGE INDY (18/1, # 9 on Money List)

Calvin Borel’s mount in the Kentucky Derby does not seem to be getting a lot of attention. This is probably because the colt has only had one race since January, and his two year old races were a notch below the nation’s best. However, he has the markings of a horse that has improved dramatically from age two to three.

For starters, pedigrees don’t get any better. He is a son of world class sire A.P. Indy and out of the multiple Grade 1 winning mare Take Charge Lady. He is bred to get better with age and distance, and that is exactly what this sophomore colt has done. His two races this year were outstanding. First, he ran 2nd to El Padrino in an allowance race, but he earned a monster 109 BRIS Speed Rating in the process. He proved that was no fluke when Borel put him on the lead, for good, in the G1 Florida Derby. All the talk after the race was the “questionable” ride by Leparoux on heavy favorite Union Rags, but there wasn’t much discussion about the impressive win by this colt. Sure, he had things his own way on the lead, but he was challenged by not one, but two horses on the far turn, easily disposed of those two rivals and maintained  command in the stretch.

In addition, by being down at Palm Meadows training center, he has been training out of the public eye by trainer Pat Byrne. Here were Byrne’s post-work comments the colt’s last serious drill on April 26th:

“To sum it up in a word — magnificent,” Byrne said. “The track here is in great shape. It was a super work. He couldn’t be doing any better. He’s ready to go. He was just stretching his legs this morning. I’m delighted…he has never been better. He worked absolutely fantastic. It was visually impressive and he outworked his company.”

Although Take Charge Indy won the Florida Derby on the front end, he does not need the lead to win. Of course, in this year’s Kentucky Derby, that is an important trait to have for a colt that does possess a lot of early speed.

Status: Contender

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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