Archives for April 5, 2018

Kentucky Derby Media Poll – April 5, 2018

“And while there are still questions to be asked, this week he deserves to shoot straight to the top.”

Press release

While Bolt d’Oro remained a clear choice Monday atop a new 2018 Kentucky Derby Media Poll assembled by, that’s not what a national panel of voters wished to discuss this week.

UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn settled at No. 3, just behind Florida Derby winner Audible, as it “looks like the Euros are finally live for the first Saturday in May,” said Mike Hartnett, weekend news anchor for Louisville’s NBC affiliate, WAVE3. “Mendelssohn’s UAE Derby was a jaw-dropper.”

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner proved he can run on dirt, too, in surging to an 18 1/2-length victory on the Dubai World Cup undercard. The performance secured the $3 million purchase, who’s trained by Aidan O’Brien, his trip to Churchill Downs.

2013 KY Derby contender VerrazanoBolt d’Oro captured 14 first-place votes from representatives of the Daily Racing Form, BloodHorse, NBC and other leading racing outlets. Mendelssohn received the next-highest total, five, including one from Paulick Report Editor-in-Chief Scott Jagow.

“Despite the historical irrelevance of the UAE Derby on the Kentucky Derby, it is impossible to shade Mendelssohn’s rousing performance Saturday,” Jagow said. “He’s already won on three continents and three different surfaces, with his drilling of the competition in Dubai coming over dirt. A half-brother to Beholder, one of the great champions of recent memory, the sky appears to be the limit for the son of Scat Daddy.

“And while there are still questions to be asked, this week he deserves to shoot straight to the top.”

Bolt d’Oro is set for his final prep in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby, one of three points-paying races that will run within minutes of one another coast to coast. Keeneland also hosts the Blue Grass Stakes and Aqueduct its Wood Memorial.

Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon is fourth in this week’s rankings with Justify — a budding star from the Bob Baffert barn also going in the Santa Anita Derby — fifth.

A major shift occurred in the wake of news regarding another Baffert trainee, McKinzie, who will miss the Santa Anita Derby due to injury. With the Grade 1 winner’s status unknown moving forward, the Street Sense colt dropped to No. 10, but not completely out of the poll, as his 40 qualifying points earned are enough should McKinzie be healthy by May 5.

Good Magic, Solomini, Noble Indy and Enticed also appeared in the Top 10 this week. Florida Derby runner-up Hofburg (13th) and European Derby trail winner Gronkowski (19th) entered the rankings for the first time.

“Audible and Mendelssohn will, undoubtedly, move up the tote board after Saturday’s performances, but I am still a believer in that history does matter,” said Gene McLean, author of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society’s Pressbox. “If you believe in the ‘Curse of Apollo,’ then you have to have reservations that a New York-bred and a horse coming from Dubai have similar history issues against them. As such, Bolt d’Oro becomes ‘the’ horse to beat, if he was not already.”

But the Thoroughbred Daily News’ Bill Finley summed up the thoughts of most voters this week by saying, simply: “Mendelssohn. Wow!”

Kentucky Derby Media Poll (Week 6)
 Horse (1st-place votes)  Points Previous 
 1. Bolt d’Oro (14)  500 1
 2. Audible (3)  463 6
 3. Mendelssohn (5)  436 15
 4. Magnum Moon  423 4
 5. Justify (2)  400 3
 6. Good Magic  389  5
 7. Solomini (1)  348 7
 8. Noble Indy  314 9
 9. Enticed  307 10
 10. McKinzie (1)  270 2
 11. Quip  216 12
 12. My Boy Jack  208 13
 13. Hofburg  196  N/R
 14. Flameaway  161  14
 15. Lone Sailor  116  17
 16. Instilled Regard  112 16
 17. Runaway Ghost  109 19
 18. Promises Fulfilled  91 11
 19. Gronkowski  64 N/R
 20. Free Drop Billy  52  N/R
Next 10 receiving votes (with points): Bravazo (49), Combatant (44), Mississippi (44), Vino Rosso (30), Catholic Boy (29), Blended Citizen (25), All Out Blitz (18), Kanthaka (13), Greyvitos (10), Firenze Fire (8).

This was last week’s poll:

Kentucky Derby Media Poll (Week 5)
Horse (1st-place votes) Points Previous
1. Bolt d’Oro (11) 405 1
2. McKinzie (5) 393 2
3. Justify (2) 343 6
4. Magnum Moon (1) 342 3
5. Good Magic 322 4
6. Audible 305 5
7. Solomini (1) 280 7
8. Catholic Boy (1) 252 10
9. Noble Indy 231 N/R
10. Enticed 229 8
11. Promises Fulfilled 219 9
12. Quip 163 12
13. My Boy Jack 158 14
14. Flameaway 145 11
15. Mendelssohn 107 15
16. Instilled Regard 95 16
17. Lone Sailor 80 N/R
18. Strike Power 69 17
19. Runaway Ghost 67 N/R
20. Combatant 39 18

Next 10 receiving votes on 3/28 (with points): Free Drop Billy (35), Gold Town (28), Bravazo (28), Kanthaka (15), Reride (12), Blended Citizen (12), Vino Rosso (8), Snapper Sinclair (7), Ax Man (4), Mississippi (4).

Princeton’s Bradley Snider uses math skills to win $246K playing poker

Ivy League’s Bradley Snider uses math skills to win $246K playing poker.

After winning nearly a quarter of a million dollars at poker, Princeton senior Bradley Snider has his eyes on another prize. It was Bradley Snider’s final day at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in South Florida.

Source: Princeton’s Bradley Snider uses math skills to win $246K playing poker

The Case for Good Magic According to Dew

by Justin Dew

Trying to apply the Transitive Property of Equality (or Inequality) to horse racing is amateurish, simple-minded, and a recipe for a lot of losing tickets. That said, I am going to use such methods now as a partial basis for my argument that Good Magic is the best horse in this crop of Derby contenders.

First, let’s forget about his win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Forget all the speed figures. Go back and watch his runner-up effort in the Champagne Stakes in his second career start (#6, yellow silks). Good Magic sat close to a pretty quick pace, experienced some minor traffic trouble, swung wide, took the lead, and drew off from everyone except for the winner, Firenze Fire, who would bounce back from his poor Breeders’ Cup showing to win the Jerome and run 2nd in the Withers. In my opinion, Good Magic’s Champagne was every bit as impressive as his subsequent win in the Breeders’ Cup. To do it in his second career start was quite a feat.

In the Breeders’ Cup, Good Magic soundly defeated Solomini on the level. If you want to argue that Bolt d’Oro had a tough trip, fine. But I’d in turn argue that Bolt d’Oro was on the best part of the racetrack and wasn’t going to get to Good Magic that day. And even if Bolt d’Oro HAD caught and beaten Good Magic in what was Good Magic’s third career start and first around two turns, I would STILL prefer Good Magic moving forward off what would have been back-to-back impressive losing efforts, including (what would have been) a losing effort to the more-seasoned Bolt d’Oro on that one’s home track after shipping from the East Coast.

Triple Crown trophy

Will someone win the Triple Crown this year?

Now for the Horsey Algebra. Coming out of the Breeders’ Cup, I don’t see how anyone can argue that Good Magic IS NOT better than Solomini. Good Magic blew Solomini’s doors off at Del Mar on the level. From there, Solomini crossed the wire first at Los Al, beating McKinzie and Instilled Regard before being disqualified. And then in his 2018 debut, he had a bit of trouble before running 2nd to Magnum Moon in a very honest effort.

Yes, McKinzie was giving experience to Solomini at Los Al. And yes, Magnum Moon was also lightly raced at Oaklawn. I’ll concede both points. But Instilled Regard came back to win at Fair Grounds. And McKinzie came back to win the Sham and out-gamed Bolt d’Oro in the San Felipe. So my long-winded, somewhat-amateurish point is this: There is ample evidence to support the argument that Solomini is, depending on the day, on the same level as McKinzie, Instilled Regard, and Magnum Moon if we give Solomini some extra credit for needing the race and running into traffic. And since Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie were nearly inseparable in the San Felipe, it’s not totally absurd to put Solomini and Bolt d’Oro in the same sentence. Solomini beat him in the Breeders’ Cup, right? So, if Solomini arguably, and on the right day, equals (or almost equals) McKinzie, Bolt d’Oro, and Magnum Moon, and if Good Magic is better than Solomini, then you can logically make the case that Good Magic has demonstrated on the racetrack that he is, to this point, the leader of the pack.

Look, I get it. I’ve been following this sport for a long time. I understand that I am grossly over-simplifying the comparison of performances and talent and I’m not considering several other widely-accepted handicapping factors. But my argument is not totally baseless in an annoying college-Philosophy-professor sort of way.

Now for Good Magic’s 2018 debut. It was not anywhere near as poor as many observers said it was. Forget the alleged missed workouts due to the foot issue. He was wide all the way around, he tried to close into a slowish pace, made a move, and flattened out. But he didn’t stop. Word is by some speed figure measures, he ran better than the winner. So it did not darken his Kentucky Derby chances at all in my opinion. That said, he needs to show forward progress on Saturday in the Blue Grass against a tough bunch. I am not concerned about the Florida Derby efforts of the two horses who beat Good Magic in the Fountain of Youth. That pace was blazing and they had to finish at the back.

The horses that Good Magic beat in the Breeders’ Cup have since come back to do impressive things. Even Givemeaminit, a horse that Good Magic defeated by nearly 14 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup, came back to run within nine lengths of Derby contenders Noble Indy, Lone Sailor, and My Boy Jack in the Louisiana Derby. So I am choosing to look at Good Magic’s Fountain of Youth as exactly what is was: a prep for bigger things. And if I am right, we may just be looking at a defending champion who is primed for a big Spring. And depending on how things go on Saturday, he may be a big price in Louisville.

handicappers Dew Justin Rich Nilsen


— Editor’s Note: I got to know Justin Dew (left) when he was the official blogger for the very official Kentucky Derby website.  He’s an amazing father and fantastic gambler.  Just ask him.  He’ll tell you.  Welcome aboard, Justin!