The First of the Final Derby Preps

By J. Keeler Johnson

We’re almost there, folks. The first of the final Kentucky Derby prep races are being held this weekend, namely the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park and the $800,000 Sunland Derby (gr. III) at Sunland Park. These races are going to be particularly important since the winners are unlikely to run again before the Kentucky Derby, and determining the strength of their performances will be a crucial component of handicapping the Derby itself. But I suppose I’m getting too far ahead of myself—for the moment, let’s take a look at the two races and see if we can’t unlock a couple of winners!

Spiral Stakes (gr. III)

This race has drawn an interesting blend of dirt, turf, and synthetic specialists, all vying for the 50 Kentucky Derby qualification points offered to the winner. Of the eleven horses in the race, ten look fairly evenly matched on paper, with one—Tamarando—seeming to stand above all.

With the Spiral being run over Turfway’s Polytrack racing surface, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Tamarando has compiled a record of four wins, a second, and a third from seven starts on synthetic tracks, including a victory in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) last year. Furthermore, Tamarando enters the Spiral off of an impressive win in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. IIII) on the Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields, in which he ran down the good colt Dance With Fate to win by a half-length. In my opinion, these performances—coupled with his strong speed figures—make him a standout.

The other colt I really like is We Miss Artie, who made a strong middle move in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) last time out before retreating to finish eighth. As a juvenile, We Miss Artie won the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) on the Keeneland Polytrack by 2 ¾ lengths, and a return to synthetic could be just what he needs to take another step forward. I think he’s the most likely to pull an upset in the event that Tamarando fails to fire.

Selection: Tamarando

Sunland Derby (gr. III)

Since this race became a grade III Kentucky Derby prep in 2010, it has been generally dominated by shippers such as Govenor Charlie, Daddy Nose Best, and Endorsement. But it’s not as if the locals get thrashed every year, as they often give the shippers quite a scare at attractive odds. Remember Show Some Magic, runner-up in the Sunland Derby last year at odds of 26-1? Or Isn’t He Clever, who nearly beat Daddy Nose Best in the 2012 edition of the race?

If you want to support the shippers, there are plenty to choose from, including two apiece from the barns of Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher. The horse I’m most intrigued by is Chitu, runner-up in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) last time out. In that race, the Baffert-trainee tracked strong fractions while making his first start beyond six furlongs, held the lead passing the eighth pole, and only gave way late to lose by a half-length to Candy Boy. It was a very impressive effort from a colt making his first start around two turns, and his strong tactical speed should prove an asset at Sunland Park, which tends to play kindly toward front-runners.

Midnight Hawk, Chitu’s stablemate, was a bit of a surprise entry, having run second just two weeks ago in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita. Like Chitu, Midnight Hawk possesses a great deal of early speed, but since both colts are trained by Baffert, a speed duel between the two seems unlikely. There are a few reasons why I give the edge to Chitu over Midnight Hawk, one of them being that Chitu beat his stablemate fairly and squarely in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, despite having less experience. Also, the fact that Midnight Hawk has already run in three major Derby preps this year makes me wonder if Chitu will simply be a fresher horse this Sunday.

The top local contender appears to be Rebranded, winner of the Riley Allison Futurity and runner-up in the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park. Although he lost the latter race by two lengths to Proceed, Rebranded was in turn 12 ¾ lengths clear of the rest of the field. Granted, this race is a pretty big rise in class for Rebranded, but the recent record of the locals suggests that having a prep at Sunland is a major advantage in the Sunland Derby, so I give him an excellent shot at cracking the trifecta at a solid price.

Selection: Chitu

Who do you like this weekend?


Leave a Comment:


Your selections are rather chalky, but I have to agree.  "But you never know.  Even when you think you never know."  Remember that scene from Let It Ride?

20 Mar 2014 5:09 PM

midnight hawk should not have the speed he has with his 0-1-3-2-0 profile. his center of distribution is an insane -.17 which screams distance. if he can rate better off the speed this time he could win. also I"ll be surprised if we miss artie doesn't win the spiral with tamarando running a decent second.

20 Mar 2014 5:10 PM

I think Tamarando and Commissioner will BOTH hit the board and I would prefer 1st or 2nd for C and 1st 2nd or 3rd for Tam.

20 Mar 2014 7:00 PM

On past performances Tamarando and We Miss Artie are the leading lights in the Spiral but I think that Almost Famous has the talent and this being his third run off the layoff is quite capable of topping this group.

In the Sunland Derby I expect Chitu to dictate the fractions hang tough in the stretch for the win over Comissioner.

20 Mar 2014 7:08 PM
Mike Relva

Interesting find by PETA regarding "asswipe" and his stooge. Always knew the two are low life SOB's.

20 Mar 2014 11:17 PM
Mike Relva

Interesting find by PETA regarding "asswipe" and his stooge. Always knew the two are low life SOB's.

20 Mar 2014 11:19 PM

I love Global View in the Sunland and Tamarando and Smart Cover as a longshot in the Spiral.

21 Mar 2014 12:11 AM

I love Global View in the Sunland and Tamarando and Smart Cover as a longshot in the Spiral.

21 Mar 2014 12:13 AM

With the Spiral, I'm going to have to stay with Tamarando. While he has some good races on dirt, I think Synthetic is his preferred surface. In the Sunland Derby, I personally really like Rebranded to pull an upset. His AM Activity has been sparkling, and I don't think he'll have a problem with the distance.

21 Mar 2014 8:05 AM
Pedigree Ann

PETA tells lies, slants the discussion to support its extremist agenda, and is wholly untrustworthy as an uncritical source of information. Their goal is to 'free' even domesticated animals from association with humans, glossing over the fact that such animals would then have to be destroyed in huge numbers when they cease to be pets or working animals or a food source. I do not trust PETA to produce an unbiased account of a no-kill animal shelter, much less one of the backside.

21 Mar 2014 9:10 AM
Pedigree Ann

"midnight hawk should not have the speed he has with his 0-1-3-2-0 profile." - Iceman92

And Kona Gold's was 8-2-14-5-1, DI=1.31. Didn't stop him from being a sprinter supreme. Just goes to show you how far Roman Dosage has veered from usefulness. Anyway, the sprinting influence in KG came from his damline, which just goes to show that looking ONLY at the males in the pedigree can be very misleading.

21 Mar 2014 9:21 AM

Mr Relva,

Innocent until proven guilty!

Let he who has no sin cast the first stone.

Let us wait till all the facts are out before we make judgment. Do you think anyone in their right mind working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, responsible for many workers would jeopardize their livelihood , their families and the livelihood of all their worker's families?

21 Mar 2014 10:21 AM
Mike Relva


So the video didn't make an impression? What about the horse with the screwed up legs? Regarding casting the first stone,at least I have a respect for animals. Wonder if they feel so clever now? lmao Just an example of why some just never be allowed to train. Perhaps you should look at the video again.

21 Mar 2014 11:09 AM
Rusty Weisner



"Do you think anyone in their right mind working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, responsible for many workers would jeopardize their livelihood , their families and the livelihood of all their worker's families?"

Uh, yes?  This is the way of the world and of mankind's drive to make a buck.

I know nothing of the merits of the case and have no rooting interest in it, but I could let this comment go by.  Not even Asmussen's lawyer would try such a maudlin defense.

Just ribbing you.  Please don't take any offense.  And I preemptively apologize to everyone else for even coming near a subject of any political content; put down a strike against me.

Back to racing!

(Not betting the Spiral or Sunland Derby; they will never produce a horse that even hits the board in the Kentucky Derby -- well, maybe one hits the board; anything can happen in the Derby.  If you mention Animal Kingdom or Mine that Bird I'm just going to stop up my ears and say I Can't Hear You.)

21 Mar 2014 11:39 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm confused what you mean by "First of the Final Derby Preps."  These are the last (in every sense of the word) of the 50-point Derby preps.

21 Mar 2014 11:45 AM

Forget this weekend, looking forward to Florida Derby. General A Rod, Wildcat Red, Cairo Prince, Constitution, and maybe Social Inclusion.  That would be a great betting race.  

21 Mar 2014 12:08 PM
Rusty Weisner


For me a "great betting race" is one that's easy to figure out.  This one just sounds like a great race.

21 Mar 2014 12:26 PM

Rusty, you are right.  I think I have it figured out.  I love Constitution and in that field I'll get 5-1.  

21 Mar 2014 1:42 PM

pedigree ann- your right about the dosage system but it's a fun tool to use sometimes and it did work quite well for a period of years. also the female line is very important when selecting the derby winner. in past 30+ years derby winner came from a winning dam almost every time. maybe steve can compile a list of confirmed derby horses sometime in april that come from a winning dam. very useful stat!

21 Mar 2014 2:07 PM
Rusty Weisner


Glad to help.  Not better than 5-1?  Won't he be the fifth betting choice?

21 Mar 2014 2:17 PM

Rusty, agreed, he would be the 5th betting choice of the horses I listed.  Not sure what else will be in the field. That top 5 may scare away everyone else.  Would go "all in" at higher than 5-1.  

21 Mar 2014 6:20 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mr. Relva -

Spot on.

I was the recipient of an e-mail 'blast' highlighting some dubious behavior over a surprisingly wide spectrum

Dreadful, if even partially true.

21 Mar 2014 8:36 PM

Sorry I'm late joining the conversation! It's been a busy day!

Rusty Weisner, you've got a point about the Spiral and the Sunland Derby actually being more like the "Last of the Second-Tier Preps," at least in regard to the point system. I was looking at it from the perspective that the winners of these two prep races are unlikely to run again before the Derby -- making these "final preps" in that sense -- whereas the winners of all the previous prep races are expected to run again prior to the Derby.

21 Mar 2014 9:57 PM
Mike Relva


I appreciate your comment. Spoke with someone this morning that's in the know and individul indicates this is very serious. I'm not for a minute suggesting PETA is anywhere near perfect,but the fact remains the video is compelling. can't be ignored or excuses.These two knuckleheads badly needs a one way bus ticket somewhere other than involved in any form of racing.

21 Mar 2014 10:50 PM
Mike Relva


I appreciate your comment. Spoke with someone this morning that's in the know and individul indicates this is very serious. I'm not for a minute suggesting PETA is anywhere near perfect,but the fact remains the video is compelling. can't be ignored or excuses.These two knuckleheads badly needs a one way bus ticket somewhere other than involved in any form of racing.

21 Mar 2014 10:51 PM

Rusty Weisner,

Who is Went The Day Well?

21 Mar 2014 11:58 PM

I think the Spiral field is best assembled for a Derby prep so far. The field for the Holy Bull included only one graded stakes winner and that was eventual winner Cairo Prince.  The Spiral field contains four grades stakes winners i.e., Poker Player, We Miss Artie, Tamarando and Solitary Ranger. Five other entrants have been on the board in graded stakes i.e., Arctic Slope, Almost Famous, Smart Cover, Coastline and Big Bazinga. Of the three remaining entrants, only Harry’s Holiday appears to be out of place.

I like a number of horses i.e., Arctic Slope, Poker Player, Tamarando, All Tie Up, Big Bazinga and Coastline. I will be boxing them in Exactas and Tries.  At a ML of 30-1 Arctic Slope could illuminate the tote board and he will carry some of my cash to the gates.  

Arctic Slope finished 2nd by 1/2L to Bashart on debut over 1 1/16m on turf at Saratoga. Bashart subsequently won the G2 With Anticipation, finished 2nd in the G3 Bourbon and finished a respectable 6th in the Breeder Cup Juvenile Turf.  After breaking in the air and relegated to last in the G1 Breeders' Futurity, he closed resolutely to finished 3rd to We Miss Artie.

The son of the $6.2M Van Nistelrooy was a big leggy colt as a 2YO. He must be bigger and stronger now and his final work for the Spiral of 59 4/5 suggests he is ready to give a competitive effort.

22 Mar 2014 1:11 AM
Mary Zinke

I like the other Pletcher, All Tied Up. Of course, Tamarando, too.  We Miss Artie had the pretty good turf 8.5 that I like for the switch to the cinder sweepings, but not much late pace, but then he should run better than most in here. May give Coastline one more chance. The 10 could annoy Solitary Ranger enough to not allow a wire job, and set it up for the three "closers" I mentioned first.

22 Mar 2014 4:19 AM
El Kabong


You almost had it. We Miss Artie will get these guys and here's why. The Spiral is a tough race to win. The Turfway stretch is short and that makes this a Jockey's race. You have to make your move in the far turn and be in contention at the top of the lane. Horses do not come from off the pace here. I look for a horse with tactical speed, a strong middle move, and the best Jock. Score Artie the best in all three categories. He wins. Channing Hill has a to have learned from his last attempt that he cannot be that far back. He cost Poker Player the race last outing. He should improve. I look for Big Bazinga and Asserting Bear to have a good showing, not a win but helping that tri or super register big. I think Tamarando will be overplayed here. I'll use him under, 3rd and 4th, same with Solitary Ranger. No Smart Cover! He is being pointed to the Bluegrass. I doubt he is ready for a big performance here with only one recorded work since the Palm. 3rd or 4th at best here, but he has class. I just can't see this track set up, or his training up to this race pointing towards anything stunning. (not that I wouldn't love to see it)

Rusty, coldfacts mentioned Animal Kingdom, but I will tell you that this race has produce another who very well could have won the Derby in 2012. Went The Day Well, who won the Spiral, had the trip from hell in the 2012 Derby. His effort in the stretch was spectacular and if you watch the run out he was full of gas. Just a shame about his racing luck, not to take anything away from the Winner, but watch the finish of then 2012 Derby again. The Spiral Winner of 2012 looked awesome in his 4th place finish. The good horses can come from any venue. We Miss Artie and Smart Cover could make waves in the Derby if they continue to improve as I suspect they will.

22 Mar 2014 9:50 AM
Proud Acres

Pedigree Ann, I always enjoy your insight.  Thanks for comments.

I am thinking Tamarando may do this one, regarding the other?  I'm in a haze.  We may see a new one grab the ring this time.  Exciting time of year!

22 Mar 2014 10:20 AM
El Kabong


My apologies, you mentioned Went The Day Well, and most correctly. Sorry for the error.

22 Mar 2014 10:44 AM

Pedigree Ann,

“which just goes to show that looking ONLY at the males in the pedigree can be very misleading”

Do you seriously think those evaluating pedigrees focus only on males? Irrespective of a horses pedigree, there are certain characteristics it will display on the track that will give an indication of the distance best suited amongst the best of its peers.

22 Mar 2014 10:47 AM


Almost Famous was a $500K purchase that was produced from a G1 wining millionaire. Those high price yearling and 2YOs produced from those high profile mares are never exceptional. This colt has proven his is best against weaker. His 3 losses have been by an average of 13.7L  I do not like him the Spiral.

We Miss Artie disappointed badly in the FOY Derby. He was beaten by 17L after making a big mid race move. He did not reproduce is BCJ effort and I think he is unreliable. He won his sole effort on synthetic but that was a track win a lot of water in it. I think 9F is just out of his range.

Tamarando has more foundation than the New WT Building and has won from 5 1/2F to 9F. He is undoubtedly the class of the field. This obviously will be his last start before he Derby. It is rare for a horse to enter the Derby with consecutive victories over 9F. In light of this I think he will be beaten today.

I like a colt whose sire cost $6.4M and bred 36 mares in 2010 and whose first two dams were unraced. The colt is also a homebred. These unknown quantities are ideal to exotic wagers. His last work was a sharp 59 4/5. If he hits the board all exotics will be huge. Its Spring and the Arctic Slope could prove slippery.

In the Sunland Derby I will be a little Burbonized. He disappointed in the Southwest but I think he was compromised by his wide post. I think he is much better than his form indicated.

22 Mar 2014 11:20 AM
El Kabong

Rusty, I would also be remiss to not mention one of my all time favorites, Hard Spun, who won the Spiral in 2007. It's about the horse.

22 Mar 2014 11:45 AM

El Kabong,

“Horses do not come from off the pace here”

While it might be a rarity, if the pace is honest closers do win at TWP. Animal kingdom closed from last to win the 2011 Spiral. The 2012 & 2013 winners Went The Day Well and Black Onyx were never worse than 6th.  I do agree that the ideal position to be is mid pack

Tamarando, Poker Player Big Bazinga, All Tied Up and Smart Cover are expected to be the closers. They are very good horses and good horses find ways to win just as Animal Kingdom did.

Solitary Ranger and Almost Famous should set the pace. If Arctic Slop gets a good break do not be surprised if he leads. He finished 3rd by 4 3/4L to the We Miss Artie in the Futurity after breaking in the air and closing from last.

22 Mar 2014 11:46 AM

Along with the Spiral Stakes, I'm also really looking forward to the Pasadena Stakes this afternoon at Santa Anita. The one-mile turf race for three-year-olds has drawn an exceptional field of nine, including Enterprising, Diamond Bachelor, Home Run Kitten, Craftsman, Royal Banker, and Puppy Manners. It wouldn't surprise me if a Blue Grass Stakes contender or two emerges from this race.

22 Mar 2014 12:18 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Turfway Late Pick 4 Book-end Singles:

8)  3 Sassy Kitten - upgraded win

11) 8 Solitary Ranger - upgraded 'vs zip win'

22 Mar 2014 12:51 PM
El Kabong


If you take one line out of context you misrepresent the thought. What I really said was:

'The Turfway stretch is short and that makes this a Jockey's race. You have to make your move in the far turn and be in contention at the top of the lane. Horses do not come from off the pace here. I look for a horse with tactical speed, a strong middle move, and the best Jock.

So let me clarify for you and anyone else who didn't get it. When I say they don't win from "off the pace" I mean a stretch runner does not win this race, but to characterize Animal Kingdom's victory as a win from off the pace is not accurate in my opinion. Although he initially trailed, he moved up to a stalking 4th by the far turn, made his move in the far turn from 4th place behind 3 runners who were bunched a nose apart and was on the lead at the top of the lane. As I also stated, you must make your move in the far turn as Animal Kingdom did from a stalking position of 4th, and you must be in contention at the top of the lane, where you will find he was leading having made his move in the turn. That is a stalking win, not a closing win from off the pace that occurs, in my opinion, down the stretch. Went The Day Well also won with the same move from a stalking position of 4th in the far turn after having moved up from 8th on the back. He too had the lead by the top of the lane. Black Onyx, also used this same tactic. 4th in the far turn, a move on the turn, the lead at the top of the lane. You must be near the lead in the far turn, thus tactical speed is key. Closers who wait to make their run in the lane are toast. And it makes sense, the stretch is short as I mentioned.

22 Mar 2014 1:51 PM
Pedigree Ann

"Do you seriously think those evaluating pedigrees focus only on males?"

Well, you, Mr. Coldfacts, seem to be male-obsessed, with your sireline and damsire maleline analyses. Then there are the Nicking people, several companies make a good living supplying "grades" to crosses based only on the sireline and damsire maleline.

Even Steve Haskin has on occasion spoken well of a Derby candidate's probability of stretching out, mentioning only sire, damsire and sires along the damline as what influenced his opinion.

One might be living in the 19th Century, when mares were considered so unimportant that they might not have their own names, only be referred as, for instance, "a Newminster mare," as though any Newminster daughter was equivalent to another.

22 Mar 2014 2:17 PM
Pedigree Ann

El Kabong - I was about to gainsay you, as I have often seen horses who have been last(or nearly so) early come on to win at TP, but then you went on to explain what you considered coming from behind. It's not my definition, but that's nearly here or there.

I do have to say that horses who look home and hosed at the 8th pole can be caught late at TP - have seen it many a time (on TV that is. Florence Y'All is too far for me to drive to for racing).

22 Mar 2014 2:36 PM
Plod Boy Phil

El Kabong -

Well done with WMA.

22 Mar 2014 8:19 PM

Coldfacts: We must always take Todd Pletcher's charges very seriously in these Derby preps ...he truly is king of these races, following up on Vinceremos and Intense Holiday with We Miss Artie in the Spiral. Lookig ahead, Comissioner must be the one to beat at Sunland Park (although I've already piked Chitu) and Constitution is going to be very dangerous in the Florida Derby (although at the moment I favour Wildcat Red).

Almost Famous chucked the gallop like a lame or short horse (I believe that he is way better than he showed).

22 Mar 2014 9:13 PM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Had realized that about Hard Spun, and that it was the syntethic track then already.

What a great analysis of the race and the track you offered.  Coldfacts sure was right about who the "closers" would be...and you were right about the winner.  I'll be tempted to bet it next time.

23 Mar 2014 10:10 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I was being a little tongue-in check, but there's no way I'm considering We Miss Artie as the Derby winner.  I have no reason to believe dirt, even CD dirt -- speedy or slow, fast or sloppy -- is his surface.  Just like Dullahan or Went the Day Well.  Hard Spun was completely different:  he had established his dominance on dirt at various tracks already.  His win (looking at the chart) was also the type that attracted me about Palice Malice's Bluegrass last year -- a dirt-proficient horse up on the pace on a surface supposedly not kind to frontrunners.

23 Mar 2014 10:21 AM
El Kabong

Rusty, Plod Boy Phil,

Thanks, that  was closer then it should have been. Artie was in the catbird seat in 4th on the far turn but he didn't build up his drive throughout the turn. Consequently he was third at the top of the lane and left himself too much to do in the stretch. That's a mistake at Turfway, you really need to sustain that drive in the turn and slingshot to the lead at the top of the lane. You can almost take the finish photo at the head of stretch because it doesn't change and hasn't for the past 4 or 5 years that I have  followed this race. It has to be the most unforgiving stretch to closers, more so than GP-you can't catch me-

As far as the Derby goes, Artie is not my pick to win, but I don't think you can say he won't hit the board. I like his breeding for the distance and I think he will take to the CD surface but only time and a workout there will tell. Love the workout reports that Steve gives us and much will depend on those eyeballs to see if he takes to the surface.  Looking forward to Smart Cover in the BG. We should see a much more challenging  workout schedule if he is too improve. I think yesterdays effort was merely to see how he handled the surface and the kickback of synthetic. He's a wait and see for sure.

23 Mar 2014 12:16 PM
El Kabong

Sunland Derby

Keelerman, I'm going with Global Strike, but I like your mention of Rebranded. I'm going to play him under, a Sunland local seems to do well here and he's the guy if he can handle all the class that's here today. I put the baffert duo and Pletcher's other with Rebranded under Global Strike and hope for the best. Good luck today.

23 Mar 2014 1:41 PM

Just heard that Honor Code is off the Derby trail with a suspensory unfortunate. :(

This changes the Kentucky Derby picture a great deal.

23 Mar 2014 3:24 PM
23 Mar 2014 3:31 PM
Carlos in Cali

Honor Code was my Derby pick since the Champagne... that sucks!!!

Sunland Derby: Commissioner gets 1st-time blinkers in here.There should be plenty of speed backing-up down the lane,so he's my pick to grind-out the victory.AP Indy's last shot...

23 Mar 2014 4:23 PM

El Kabong;

Allow me to join in on the congratulations! That was excellent job of handicapping the Spiral Stakes. Good luck in the Sunland Derby with Global Strike!

23 Mar 2014 4:45 PM


Something to think about. Pletcher is 0 for double digits when adding blinkers in a stakes race. Is today the day he breaks that streak? Just sayin...

23 Mar 2014 4:55 PM
Rusty Weisner

No one's really surprised that Honor Code won't be in the Derby, are they?

24 Mar 2014 11:13 AM

El Kabong,

That was not a fair assessment of my response. I cited that in rare cases horses have won from behind as in the case of Animal Kingdom.

I agreed with your assessment that being mid pack is best place in races at TWP.

24 Mar 2014 11:20 AM


I have seen the combination of sire and dam sire being Belmont winners and the resulting offspring being void of the speed necessary to win the Derby. This purely related to the Derby and should be viewed outside this context.

Historically horses whose sires and dam sires were winners of TC races rarely feature in the Derby. The talented Summer Bird was a product of a Belmont winning sire and a Preakness winning dam sire and he finished 6th in the Derby but returned to win the Belmont. His example is a rarity.

I was of the opinion that Friends Lake would have been a serious Derby horse being by A P Indy out of a Spend A Buck mare. Spend A Buck was one of the few Derby winners that completed the distance in 2:00 and a bit. A P Indy’s time of 2:26.13 ranks him either in the top three or top five. Friends Lake won the FL Derby but that was it.

Commissioner might turn out to be the exception and win the Derby like Giacomo the king of the grinders. However, a pace meltdown is not guaranteed in the 2014 Derby.

With the above stated he is a physically imposing colt and was the only horse that closed from last to hit the board at Sunland Park on Sunday.

24 Mar 2014 11:30 AM

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