The Champ Returns in the Southwest + More Derby Insights - Super Screener
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The Champ Returns in the Southwest + More Derby Insights

Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Southwest (G3)

Essential Quality was making his return to the racing scene after being away for nearly 4 months following that impressive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Despite the long layoff, he picked up right where he left off, just crushing this field and doing it in hand!

This was one of the more impressive Derby prep efforts to date and it keeps him among the top 3 contenders heading into the penultimate preps. 

His running line coming out of this race was as follows:

First Call = 86;  2nd Call = 92; Late Pace = 101; Speed Rating = 98

He’ll move forward now off this effort and the Super Screener is projecting a Speed Rating figure of 103 coming up in his next prep.  

Jackie’s Warrior proved here that he is a one-turn horse. Other than the long layoff, he had no excuses as he carved out slow fractions and then was defeated by over 8 lengths.

Fountain of Youth (G2)

It sure didn’t look like Greatest Honour was going to win this race even as they were turning for home as he appeared to idle around the turn with a lot work left to do. However, his explosive turn of foot saved the day again as he rolled over this field in a blink of an eye. To make that kind of move on this dirt surface with the short stretch run made this performance even more impressive.

The winning running line for Greatest Honour’s effort here came back to look very similar to what Essential Quality laid out in the Southwest Stakes. 

First Call= 85;  Second Call= 86; Late Pace= 105; Speed Rating= 97

That was a monster burst of energy in the late stages and helped this colt overcome the sluggish pace. He gives every indication that he’ll be able to reserve and deploy that turn of foot even as the distances gets longer. He needs a test against a stronger field going 9 furlongs and he’ll get that opportunity as he heads to the G1 Florida Derby as his next and final Derby prep.

Fire At Will did not fire but who can blame connections for giving him a go on the dirt. It is back to the turf course for this promising colt.

Battaglia Memorial

This Kentucky Derby prep will have no impact on final Derby field that will assemble on the 1st Saturday in May. Hush of a Storm won his 3rd race in a row on this surface and at the same 8.5 furlongs distance. That winning running line came back as follows:

First Call = 90;  Second Call = 99; Late Pace = 80;  Speed Rating = 90

That’s a pretty anemic running line and doesn’t even come close to the type of performances top rated Derby contenders are knocking out. 

Gretzky the Great flopped as the favorite and will return to racing on the turf.

Top Value/Top Long Shot Picks Highlights

It was a very productive day for the Super Screener Top Value and Top Long Shot picks. Here are some of the highlights:

GP 11 – G3 Honey Fox

Top Value Pick – Feel Glorious – 3rd at 11-1

GP 12 – G2 Davona Dale 

Top Value Pick – Crazy Beautiful – 2nd at 9-1

Top Long Shot Pick – Wholebodemeister – 1st at 52-1

Top Long Shot Pick – Rens Street – 4th at 84-1

GP 14 – Grade 2 Fountain of Youth

Top Long Shot Pick – Papetu – 3rd at 18-1

Sam Houston 7th – Miss Bluebonnet Turf

Top Value Pick – Ima Discreet Lady – 1st at 7-2

Top Long Shot Pick – No Mas Tequila – 3rd at 14-1


It’s another huge weekend of Derby prep action as the penultimate preps begin with just 9 weeks remaining until the 1st Saturday in May.  At Aqueduct the G3 Gotham Stakes will be the feature while at Tampa Bay Downs we’ll be treated to the G2 Tampa Bay Derby.  Then at Santa Anita we’ll take in the G2 San Felipe Stakes. Each of these Kentucky Derby preps will be supported by a strong line up of other stakes action.  It promises to be an action-packed Saturday… don’t miss it!

Mike