3 More Derby Horses Step Up in Sam F. Davis, Withers, San Vicente! – Super Screener
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3 More Derby Horses Step Up in Sam F. Davis, Withers, San Vicente!

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Sam F. Davis

The projected strong hand Mott had coming into this race was confirmed as his starters completed the Exacta with Candy Man Rocket getting the win over stablemate Nova Rags while trying a route for the first time.

As far as Derby preps go, this one ended up being pretty weak. The entire field was staggering home in the last half of this race as evidenced by that anemic BRIS Late Pace figure of 76 earned by Candy Man Rocket. Stablemate Nova Rags couldn’t get past the winner but was continuing on with interest to the wire. 

The real disappointment in this race was Todd Pletcher’s Known Agenda who finished out of the Superfecta despite benefiting from an advantaged pace set up. Going to have to really build off that one next out with a big move forward to continue on the trail.

Withers

This ended up being a better prep than the Sam F. Davis but it wasn’t stellar. Chad Brown’s Risk Taking sat 4 lengths off the moderate pace and came with a strong run late to crush this modest field and gave every indication that the further they go, the better for this colt.

Form cycle analysis indicates that you can expect another nice move forward for Risk Taking in his next start. To become a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender, he is going to have to show more elevated energy distribution in the middle part of his next race coupled with that strong finish.

San Vicente

As it turns out, it was the 7-furlong San Vicente that was the top prep this weekend, signaling that California-based horses will certainly be prominent as we get to the first Saturday in May. It was a compact field of 5 and it was Baffert’s pair that ruled the day completing the Exacta. In the end, the race went to heavily favored Concert Tour but the aptly named stablemate, Freedom Fighter, made him work and that colt was tenacious in defeat. That was a really sharp effort for not having run since August 1st…something to build on.

Baffert wanted to get one more sprint in for Concert Tour before stretching him out to a route of ground.  Note the 96+ BRIS Pace/Speed Rating figures he posted over the second half of the race. This pattern of energy distribution certainly signals that he is ready to advance to the bigger stage with this foundation now. Being out of Street Sense, there is no concern regarding his ultimate ability to get the classic distance.  

While much of the nation is caught in the deep freeze, the Kentucky Derby prep action will continue to heat up this weekend headlined by the always interesting G3 Risen Star. That important prep will be supported by three other Graded Stakes races on the Fair Grounds card. In addition, we’ll be treated to some holiday prep action on Monday as the G3 Southwest goes at Oaklawn Park. Finally, while it may not be a true Derby prep race, the El Camino Real Derby can often be a great wagering opportunity.  A lot of great racing action coming up! 

Until this coming weekend…Go Fast and Win! 

Mike