Kentucky Derby 140 Contenders, Borderline Horses & Throwouts – Part I

There’s only 10 days to go until the first Saturday in May, the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2014.  A Game of Skill is going to take a close look at the probable KY Derby starters as we approach racing’s most important horse race.  Today we start with Grade 1 winner and longshot Dance With Fate, as well as the Todd Pletcher trained We Miss Artie.

Dance with Fate
copyright 2014 and Equibase

DANCE WITH FATE (Closer, 50/1)

The Peter Eurton trained runner has certainly outrun his pedigree.  There is little to speak of under the first dam (mother), and sire Two Step Salsa is not a stallion one would expect to see a classic runner hail from.  This colt looked great winning the G1 Blue Grass Stakes over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface, but that race does not translate to the Kentucky Derby which is run over a traditional dirt surface. This colt is still a maiden (non-winner) over that type of surface, and needless to say, that is a big negative.  He did run a good 2nd to Bond Holder in the G1 Front Runner at Santa Anita last year but then followed that up with a very poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup over the same dirt surface.  He simply looks better over turf or synthetic, neither of which helps him much on the first Saturday in May.

Form: Sharp

Status: Throwout

Value line: 50/1

KYD We Miss Artie

WE MISS ARTIE (Closer, 75/1)

This is another very talented synthetic runner.  The son of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Shiller benefited from a hot pace and got up by a nose to score in the G3 Spiral Stakes, a race that is a shell of itself despite Animal Kingdom winning a few years ago.  In three starts over the dirt, this colt has shown little to no talent over that surface. This sophomore runner has the ability and traits to be one of the better turf horses in the country this year, so this handicapper would like to see the connections go that route instead.  Pass on Derby Day.

Form: Questionable (off since March 22)

Status: Throwout

Value line: 75/1

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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 and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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