- Street Sense continued his leisurely preparation for the Derby trail with a five furlong work in 1:03.40 on Monday morning at Palm Meadows (just barely quicker than Highland Cat's 1:03.86 at Belmont). The first of what will be just two preps including the Blue Grass has not yet been determined. The skeptics are lining up, but the Lexington Herald-Leader's Maryjean Wall points out that Nafzger has always had his own ideas of how to train horses, and that he's proud of the major races he won when all the armchair quarterbacks thought his methods bizarre.
The classic Nafzger moment was his preparation of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled for winning the 1990 Breeders' Cup Classic, then worth $3 million, run at 11/4 miles on dirt.Street Sense closed at 10-1 in the Derby futures pool, making him the second choice amongst individual entries; Nobiz Like Shobiz was 8-1. Hard Spun is a slightly higher 10-1, and he's followed by three Pletcher horses, Ravel (11-1), Circular Quay (12-1), and Any Given Saturday (14-1). As Walter said, don't even get me started on how ridiculous this stuff is.
Nafzger brought Unbridled to the race off a trio of unorthodox races: a sprint, followed by a race on turf, then back to the dirt for the Super Derby, which was an off-road event in those years.
Except regarding Circular Quay. As I surmised, he is much lower than Notional, who won the Risen Star and is listed at 27-1. Those odds on Notional are easily, in my opinion, the biggest relative overlay amongst horses that have run this year. Pletcher's colt got bet based on what bettors surmised as to what he might have done had he not been taken up at the top of the stretch. And they may be right. He saved significant ground compared to the winner, and one can certainly speculate that he would have been much closer at the end. However, given his dead closer style and the 20 horse field he would have to weave his way through, his fair value probably wouldn't be much less than 12-1 come Derby day even if he wins his next two preps (unless he proves himself to be far, far better than most of us thinks he is).