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


PPs of Illinois Derby winner Done Talking

2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

DONE TALKING (30/1, # 18 on the Money List)

The  Illinois Derby (G3), always the feature race of the year at Hawthorne Racecourse, had a full field of 14 aspiring Derby contenders go to the post.  There was a ton of early speed in this race with no less than 12 of the 14 runners identified as early types or early/pressers. It’s not often you see a 9 furlong race with that many horses wanting to attend the early pace, so it came as no surprise that the eventually winner stormed from well off the pace to score the upset. That horse was Done Talking.

With a field of runners closely matched in ability and a ton of runners with similar run styles, this race screamed “longshot winner.” Done Talking from the stable of the very good horseman Hamilton Smith heard the call. He saved ground under a brilliant ride by Sheldon Russell, catching the leader in mid stretch and drawing off to a 3/4-length victory.

Morgan’s Guerilla, who was the third choice in the wagering and trained by Mike Maker, looked like a winner down the lane but gave way to Done Talking in the final 1/16th of a mile. That rival returned to run a disappointing race in this past Saturday’s Lexington Stakes (G3).

Done Talking was a close fourth in last year’s Remsen (G2), only a head behind El Padrino. His first start of the year was a “no show” effort in the Gotham Stakes (G3), beaten nearly 21 lengths by top horse Hansen. Given that was the only bad performance of his career, we can cautiously excuse that race.

I do think that Done Talking is a horse that loves a route of ground and has the right style to “clunk up” for a minor share on the first Saturday in May, especially given the expected hot pace he will see again. I don’t think getting in the money is very likely, but if it happens, he will be a huge price in the exotics.

Status: Non-contender for the Win. Borderline horse for the bottom (third, fourth) of the exotic wagers.


PPs for KY Derby contender Dullahan

2012 copyright Brisnet.com and Equibase

DULLAHAN (9/1, # 4 on the Money List)

This half brother to Kentucky Derby bomber Mine That Bird is a strong closer, but he is only proven on turf and synthetic. He has raced three times on the dirt and was well beaten (while picking up a minor check) in each attempt. He did run a decent fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), making up a lot of ground late over tiring horses, but it is hard to get excited about a horse that is 3-0-0-1 on conventional dirt surfaces, beaten nearly 22 lengths in those three attempts. Dullahan has also only won two races lifetime and both came at Keeneland over the synthetic surface.

Just two years ago in the Run for the Roses, trainer Dale Romans, one of the most dangerous trainers in the country and one of this writer’s favorites, finished a strong third with a similar type of runner, Paddy O’Prado. I would like this colt’s chances a lot better if the track came up wet, as it did for Paddy in 2010. I believe Dullahan would move “way up” on an off track.

Otherwise, in a year where there are so many good horses vying for the title and all of them are proven on traditional dirt surfaces, I’ll have to let him beat me at expected underlay odds.

Status: Throwout for the Win  [Non-contender for the win unless the track is wet].  Borderline horse for the bottom (third, fourth) of the exotic wagers.

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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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