Form, Pedigree, Speed, & Red Flag Analysis of Derby Contenders; Part 2 of 3

While we wait for more two-year-old racing to start, Brisnet.com pedigree handicapper and blogger Doug Salvatore will profile each of the expected Kentucky Derby starters in terms of classic breeding and current form/speed.

The second installment looks at the top contenders ranked eighth through 14th by points on the TwinSpires.com Kentucky Derby Championship Series. For FREE Ultimate Past Performances with comments of probable Derby entrants ranked by points, CLICK HERE. For the same type of file for Kentucky Oaks fillies, CLICK HERE. For the first installment of Doug’s profiles (horses ranked 1-7), CLICK HERE.

8. Intense Holiday:

Form: Intense Holiday is the only horse you'll find among this year’s Derby prospects who has made six or more starts in Graded Stakes route races. He's a throwback in that regard, and he's certainly provided handicappers with plenty of route form to asses him with.

In his most recent start, Intense Holiday was a soundly beaten second in the Louisiana Derby as the 9/5 favorite. The BRIS pace figures suggest that he may have been taken out of his game on that day.

As you can see by the Early Pace ratings, Intense Holiday was positioned much closer than usual, to an early pace rated much faster than he had seen in his previous starts. Indeed, Intense Holiday was always close to the pace and made an eye catching turn move to confront pacesetter Vicar's In Trouble. However, as he entered the stretch, Intense Holiday was out of gas and ducked in to the rail. Even stern left-handed whipping by Mike Smith didn't help much, as you can see on this time-specific clip (YouTube link).

In order for Intense Holiday to be a factor in the Kentucky Derby, he needs to be taken back early and make one clean run. He tried to run a very enterprising race in the Louisiana Derby, and he still was good enough to finish second despite diving in to the rail in the stretch and finishing like a drunken sailor.

Pedigree: A son of Harlan's Holiday out of a well bred mare who never hit the board in five career starts. Intense Holiday brought $380,000 as a yearling, and was the most expensive of 70 Harlan's Holiday yearlings offered at public auction in 2012. That fact is a great compliment to his looks and conformation. Intense Holiday has had only one sibling to race, and she is a Forestry filly who sold for just $18,000 as a yearling and is winless in seven career starts, failing for $7,500 maiden claiming tags at Turfway Park and Presque Isle Downs.

Speed: Despite his stretch antics, Intense Holiday ran a career best Brisnet.com Speed Rating of 100 in the Louisiana Derby. He also ran a 99 while winning the Risen Star by closing wide into a slow pace.

Red Flags: I don't mind that he finished punch drunk in the Louisiana Derby and came home empty in the stretch. I've seen many horses with a similar running style, and even less ability come into the Kentucky Derby off of a similar looking final prep, and run extremely well. The biggest concern I have is that he's never run a speed figure faster than 100 and trainer Todd Pletcher is 1-for-56 lifetime in all races at Churchill Downs at distances of ten furlongs or further.

9. Wildcat Red:

Form: In his most recent start, Wildcat Red finished second beaten a neck to Constitution in the Florida Derby. Had he won, he'd have pulled off a sweep of the Hutcheson, Fountain of Youth, and Florida Derby. Something that hasn't been done since two-year-old champion Fly So Free last did it in 1991.

Pedigree: This is quite an interesting pedigree. His sire D' Wildcat was a brilliant sprinter who failed in all four career route attempts. However, his dam Racene was a stoutly bred deep closer who once won at ten furlongs. Indeed, Racene is sired by Miner's Mark, a horse who outdueled Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair to capture the Jockey Club Gold Cup at a mile and a quarter. Wildcat Red's pedigree is slanted to extreme speed on top and extreme stamina on bottom.

Speed: Wildcat Red owns a career best Brisnet.com Speed Rating of 100. That came in his Fountain of Youth victory.

Red Flags: Tactical versatility. He's been on the pace in all of his route attempts. There are several other expected pace rivals in the Derby, and Wildcat Red has never run a speed figure faster than 100 in spots where his good early speed is far more advantageous than it will be in this spot.

10. We Miss Artie:

Form: This synthetic track specialist captured the Spiral by a nose with a last gasp lunge in the final stride. He wasn't exactly flattered when the second, third, and fourth place finishers of the Spiral stakes came back to finish 13th, 10th, and 8th in the Blue Grass Stakes. All of them were defeated at least 12 lengths by the mighty Dance With Fate. To the credit of We Miss Artie, he is a Grade 1 winner, but that win came over Keeneland's Polytrack. His dirt form is quite mediocre. Indeed, he was beaten 17 lengths in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in his most recent dirt start.

Pedigree: Sired by grass specialist Artie Schiller, and out of the grass specialist mare Athena's Gift. We Miss Artie is bred for turf on top and bottom. Indeed, even his second dam Russian Bride moved up a lot on grass. She captured her first grass try at 27/1 odds and never missed the board in four career turf starts.

Speed: We Miss Artie has never run a Brisnet.com Speed Rating better than a 94, and his best Speed Rating on dirt is just an 88.

Red Flags: They're countless. Unless Polytrack is installed at Churchill Downs in the next two weeks, or the Derby is moved to the grass course, I can't imagine We Miss Artie being any kind of factor at all. There are a few people on Twitter who portend that he is an Animal Kingdom or Dullahan type horse. Perhaps the result of last Saturday's Blue Grass did enough to dispel such a notion.

11. Ride On Curlin:

Form: Winless in six career stakes attempts, five of which at the Graded Stakes level, Ride On Curlin has at least been a dependable piece getter. In his four most recent graded stakes tries, he's been second or third each time at odds of 7-, 11-, 8-, and 17-to-1 starting with the most recent Arkansas Derby.

In that Arkansas Derby, Ride On Curlin was a “one-paced” second behind startling winner Danza. Perhaps the most exciting thing about Ride On Curlin is that he’s reuniting with Racing Hall of Fame and three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, though his presence attracts unsophisticated money bet in the straight (win, place, and show) pools.

Pedigree: By Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin, the bottom of Ride On Curlin's pedigree is very speed and precocity oriented. His dam Magical Ride was such a dazzling debut winner going five furlongs at Belmont, that she was bet to 4/5 favoritism in a Grade 2 at Saratoga in only her second career start. She faded to third that day, and was still bet to 6/5 favoritism in the Grade 1 Matron in career start number three. Magical Ride again let down her backers and finished a dull fifth in the Matron, only beating one horse. Ride On Curlin’s second dam is the very talented Test winner Victory Ride. She was a tremendously exciting Rusty Arnold sprinter who slayed the mighty Xtra Heat at seven furlongs. However, she wasn't nearly as successful routing and all of her best performances came in the first four starts of her career.

Speed: Ride On Curlin's career best Brisnet.com Speed Rating is a 102 and it came in a 5 ½-furlong maiden race at Ellis Park. He ran a 99 in the Arkansas Derby last time out for the second-best number of his career and tops as a three-year-old.

Red Flags: The fact that he’s winless in six career stakes tries and has never run a triple digit Brisnet.com Speed Rating beyond 5 ½ furlongs. This horse does at least have some underneath appeal in exotic wagers, and especially if the track is wet. His sire Curlin loved the slop. He's bred well for the slop on the bottom, and no one rides a sloppy Churchill Downs track better than Borel.

12. Chitu:

Form: As a two-year-old, this exciting Baffert colt posted the outright fastest quarter mile at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March two-year-olds in training sale. Ocala's most outstanding two-year-old sale, OBS March. Here's a video clip of a young Chitu drilling a quarter mile in 20.60 seconds.

This promising colt is three-for-four lifetime, his only defeat was a hard-fought second to Candy Boy in the Grade 2 Bob Lewis while making his first route attempt. Most recently, Chitu captured the Sunland Derby drawing away, over stablemate Midnight Hawk and the once highly regarded Commissioner.

Pedigree: Much like with Wildcat Red, this pedigree is extremely speed-oriented on top and very stamina laden on the bottom. Chitu's sire Henny Hughes was a precocious sprinter/miler. Henny Hughes mostly sires precocious sprinter/miler types, though his best daughter Beholder has certainly proven worthy beyond a mile. Still, it is the bottom of Chitu's pedigree that is most interesting. His dam Sea Gift is a daughter of the great dirt stamina influence A. P. Indy. She was owned by Godolphin and only raced one time, winning her career debut in Great Britain at the distance of ten furlongs.  Chitu's second dam Ocean Queen was undefeated in her four career route attempts, all of which on grass. She even captured a Graded 3 stakes over males at nine furlongs.

Speed: Chitu ran a career Brisnet.com Speed Rating of 103 in his Sunland Derby victory.

Red Flags: Tactical versatility. Chitu has never demonstrated the ability to come from off the pace. His razor sharp speed is much more of an asset in his prior races than it will be in a speed laden race like the Kentucky Derby. There are a lot of other quick horses in this race, and anytime you have a 20 horse field, some riders are going to be forced to use their horses early in order to gain a suitable position.

13. Tapiture:

Form: An impressive winner of the Southwest, Tapiture was also a good second in the Rebel. In his most recent start, he was taken back further than ever before in the Arkansas Derby, and almost instantly got very rank and seemed to hate taking the dirt in his face. Joel Rosario immediately hit the panic button and steered Tapiture out as wide as possible through the first turn. Rosario was able to get him out in the clear, but Taptiure had to endure a very wide trip on both turns after getting very rank through the early stages. That proved way too much adversity in what was a swiftly run Arkansas Derby from a final time standpoint.

Pedigree: Tapiture is sired by Tapit, and is out of an Olympio mare who was a deep closing sprinter. The second dam of Tapiture was also a deep closing sprinter type. Taptiure's full siblings Retap and Remit were both minor stakes winning miler types. 

Speed: Tapiture has twice run a 99 Brisnet.com Speed Rating but has yet to eclipse the triple-digit mark.

Red Flags: His professionalism. They experimented with his running style and tried to take him back in the Arkansas Derby. As soon as he started taking kickback he got very rank and was fighting the stout restraint jockey Joel Rosario put him under. Even on his best day, when he had a perfect up-close trip and romped to victory in the Southwest Stakes, Tapiture was drifting and running erratically. This is a good horse, and I believe he ran sneaky well in his Arkansas Derby prep. I just don't trust him in a race like the Derby.

14. Midnight Hawk:

Form: Soundly beaten in his last three races, Midnight Hawk is scheduled to run in Saturday's Illinois Derby. This colt is 0-for-2 lifetime against his stablemate Chitu and he was absolutely torched by California Chrome in the San Felipe. He will most likely need to win in emphatic fashion on Saturday in order to tempt Baffert to try a two-week turnaround and compete in the Kentucky Derby.

Pedigree: Midnight Hawk owns a sprinter pedigree on top and bottom. His sire Midnight Lute was an absolutely awesome stretch running sprinter. His dam Miss Wineshine was a very speedy Multiple Graded stakes placed sprinter who Baffert trained in the late 1990's. This is not exactly an ideal classic distance pedigree.

Speed: Midnight Hawk ran a career-best 100 Brisnet.com Speed Rating in the Sunland Derby last time, albeit in a race where Chitu looked him in the eye and pulled away from him in the stretch.

Red flags: He's been soundly beaten in top preps at Santa Anita and Sunland and his pedigree is sprint oriented on both top and bottom. He's a very nice horse, who always looks absolutely loaded on the far turn and comes up relatively empty in the stretch. His best performances will probably come when he's cutback to seven furlongs.

16 Comments

Leave a Comment:

TnT

Really starting to like Chitu, will be at the expense of Samratt and Wild Cat Red, if I play him. My first impression was he looked really tired at the finish of the Sunland.

17 Apr 2014 6:41 PM
jockey2be

Yay!I love Wildcat Red!

17 Apr 2014 7:55 PM
Monarchos Matt

Ride on Curlin sure doesn't seem like he wants to win, but now he gets Borel on board at Churchill? Hard to take him on top but wouldn't be the most surprising thing ever if he took a step forward and won this race. I'm thinking a show bet on him might be the best value wager on the entire board, it's a virtual guarantee. He doesn't win but he's always in the mix, and DRF has him at 30-1 right now...leave him off your trifecta ticket at your peril.

18 Apr 2014 10:12 AM
It aint easy being good!

Monarchos Matt I 100% agree with you its seems like a virtual lock that ROC will hit the board. Borail wont be fanning him 7 wide on the turn. 30-1 would be nice but remember anything Calvin is on gets pounded down to nothing. Wasnt revolutionary the favorite last year??

18 Apr 2014 11:30 AM
Monarchos Matt

It Ain't Easy,

Oh for sure. 30-1 on Ride on Curlin is laughable, especially with Borel on board. He'll probably be about half that, but that's still pretty good value for a show bet and to spice up exotics.

Orb went off as the narrow favorite last year (5.40), but you are correct that Revolutionary was bet down to 6.40, which was good for the second choice, and I think that he was the favorite for most of the day but a ton of late money came in on Orb. Still, you have to wonder, with every year that passes and Borel not winning, how much this angle will begin to fade away.

For now, I think I'll trade the fact that his odds may be a bit lower than they should be for the fact that he gets Borel.

18 Apr 2014 11:46 AM
El Kabong

Doug,

Intense Holiday is a horse that I am really expecting to show up May 3. I have reviewed the LD and what I found was most detrimental to his run was a steady in the far turn just as Mike was getting him going. It cost him dearly. Watch the race again, he is close to pace, in the picture, then Mike has to steady him because Louie's Flower veers out actually bumps him according to the DRF, but worst of all, stalls his run. Instantly IH is out of the picture and has to re-rally. But as Mike made reference in his comments about  Rosie's brilliant ride, the race turned into a 2F finish instead of the 3F finish Mike wanted because of this incident. It was very important because nobody who was not on the lead or within a length of the leader at the top of the lane at FG that day won. The nations longest stretch and no one is closing? Call it what you want, I know what I call it, but it played a hand in the race and so did Louie's Flower. I know that's racing and it will be tougher in the Derby. Racing luck plays a part but I'm not tossing this guy out of my exotics, no way no how. He has a great foundation and I'm going to be watching for his works and Steve's comments on this guy in Louisville. I think he is one who stays in contention when they go 10F's and not many do. Look at Derby charts and notice how many end up 10 lengths or more behind the winner. It's astounding. The burn of 10Fs and racing incidents results in most horses being left up the track. Great material so far, and a good column. Looking forward to the next.

18 Apr 2014 12:45 PM
-Keelerman

Breaking news! It was announced this morning that Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate, who had been considered unlikely for the Kentucky Derby, will start in the Derby after all.

18 Apr 2014 1:04 PM
horseontherun

Wildcard Red is an extremely courageous horse, but he needs to break on top and not get shuffled back. Unfortunately the choice of jockey is not good here, Bejarano managed to break bad and get shuffled back with Game On Dude no less, in a race that did not have much early pace in it. He rarely wins on the east coast, and I am sure the guy suffers from A.D.D. because he has been left flat on his rear breaking out of the gate. That works on short fields in California when he is on the best horse by many lengths, but in the Derby he is a detriment. I love Henny Hughes as a sire, so sorry to se him in Japan. We just never knew how to breed to him in this country, till he was gone, stallions and breeders need at least 10 years to get a "nick" going, and I am sure he will sire a classic winner under the red sun. Chitu might prove a serious threat in the Derby however we shall see as Bafert did not give him enough time to mature nor to develop, this is a horse that needs to run his way to the classical and not have it shoved down his throat, which lately has been Baffert's style, and his horses don't last because of that, Baert is doing his best to meet deadlines but he is being considerate to the animal only to his patrons wishes which is a requirement, and owners sometimes get carried away.

18 Apr 2014 7:50 PM
Cosmo

This is a below average Derby field...either Chrome wins for fun or a 20-1 bomb explodes in the stretch and blows up the tote!

If Chrome gets cooked by the pace and what little form there is does fall apart, the trifecta could easily consist of three 20-1 shots!

19 Apr 2014 10:07 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I like Intense Holiday, too, and I've shown some predictive abilities with this bunch at Fair Grounds this year.  I liked VIT in the Lecomte, IH in the Risen Star, VIT again in the La Derby.  I felt like IH was due to plateau in that race and VIT was a good bet off a bad trip.  IH has been like clockwork in his progression and I think is due to move forward enough to hit the board.

20 Apr 2014 8:46 AM
Little Bill

I've read about several So Cal horses on 2 or 3 flights but no mention of Chitu. Hoppertunity to arrive tomorrow.

20 Apr 2014 10:57 PM
Little Bill

My bad, Chitu is already on the grounds.

21 Apr 2014 12:19 AM
GiddyUpBoyWhoa

When is part 3 coming out?

22 Apr 2014 4:40 AM
Cassandra.Says

Game on Dude has been tossing in occasional bad breaks all his life.

22 Apr 2014 10:37 PM
Fernando Rodriguez Larrain de Lavalle

Doug : hello . are you going to publish part 3 of your article Form, Pedigree, Speed, & Red Flag Analysis of Derby Contenders?

27 Apr 2014 6:20 AM
Lise from Maine

Hi!

I am still thinking on who I will bet on but Chitu looks great.

Thank you!

Lise from Maine

29 Apr 2014 12:16 PM

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