- Some of the horses I like the least in the Derby have some of the best pedigrees to get the mile and a quarter distance. So I'm wondering if any of them are worth a second look.
Cool Coal Man is by the second year sire Mineshaft (AP Indy). As we've discussed before, that stallion did not race at two, and won his first stakes, including the Suburban and Jockey Club Gold Cup at a mile and a quarter, at four; so we expected that Mineshaft could get off to a slow start at stud, which he has. But we can also expect to see horses like Cool Coal Man improve as time goes one.
He's out of a mare by Rubiano, who was known more as a sprinter, for which he won an Eclipse. But Cool Coal Man descends from a classy female family; his third dam is South Ocean, the dam of the champions Northenette and Storm Bird, the latter an influential stallion.
However, Cool Coal Man, despite getting most favorable post draws (and acknowledging his Fountain of Youth win), has not come home in a manner which suggests he'll finish strongly at any distance really, no less a mile and a quarter. He ran the last eighth in 13 4/5 in the FOY, which took the glitter off the 98 Beyer he earned in that race, and 14 1/5 in the allowance win that preceded it. Zito's colt actually came home faster in the Blue Grass, in which he lost ground late and finished a distant 9th. We can throw that race out on the Polytrack theory, but I can't imagine he'll get his own way on Saturday as he did in his two wins. So he's still out.
I wrote about Tale of Ekati's pedigree here, prior to his first start last July.
He's by the excellent first-out sire Tale of the Cat, out of a Sunday Silence half-sister to the champion Sky Beauty. That one's dam, the champion sprinter Gold Beauty, is the third dam of Tale of Ekati, so this is the talented family of Dayjur, Pleasant Home, and Pine Island.An interesting combination of speed and stamina there. The Storm Cat line has not been successful in the Derby, but you gotta like the presence of Sunday Silence, and the Phipps influence too.
However, as little as I thought of Tale of Ekati's win in the Wood, the news that War Pass suffered his injury 20 yards before the wire makes me like it even less. So not only did he struggle to get past War Pass in a very slowly run stretch drive, his closing surge came as the juvenile champ broke a bone in an ankle. As Patrick wrote in his Top Ten Throwouts on The Rail, he has not shown much improvement this year, and that may be kind if you, like me, are skeptical that a stakes caliber horse could earn a 93 Beyer for running nine furlongs in 1:52 1/5. Even with that number, he's one of the slowest horses in the race.
Anak Nakal gets the honor as the slowest horse in the field; his highest Beyer is 87. There oughta be a law. Not sure about his pedigree either, but it's at least interesting to mention that he's inbred 3x3 to Fappiano, who is both his great grandfather and great grandmother. I'm a bit pissed at Zito about this horse running here, as well as for the whole thing about War Pass. Right after the Wood, I wrote right here that there was no way in the world this horse was going to go to the Derby, and I was just flabbergasted, no matter what the owner said, that his trainer would even have been contemplating such a thing.
I wrote about Adriano's fine pedigree here. I've gone back and forth on this horse, and I've seen signs that he could be a bit of a wise guy horse. But the bottom line is that he's run on dirt once, and finished 9th by 17 lengths. No matter what transpired in the paddock prior to the race, I'm not going to bet him purely on speculation, especially since it looks like he's going to get some attention on the tote. So, no go on him either; this exercise has been a complete wash!
On the other hand, some of the horses that I like have pedigrees that are either questionable, like Visionaire, or difficult for me to draw any conclusions from, such as Z Fortune. I'll get into that more as the weeks goes on.