Two More Kentucky Derby Contenders Emerge – Results Inside! – Super Screener
Super Screener

Two More Kentucky Derby Contenders Emerge – Results Inside!

Photo by Carson Dennis/Eclipse Sportswire

G3 Sam F. Davis

If you listened to anyone else who was handicapping this race, they were tossing Flameaway off the board because of concerns regarding ability on a fast track.  They used the poor outcome in the G3 Iroquois run on a fast track as the rationale but the Super Screener evaluated that race as merely another stepping stone in a series of progressively better races. In addition, no other horse was fitter coming into this while the other contenders were coming back after layoffs.


This is what else the Super Screener had to say about Flameaway before the race:


“Connections of #2 Flameaway are confident that this one will handle the dirt and certainly he did so on sloppy surfaces as is often the case with turf runners.  Of the top contenders, he has the advantage of recency and that last race was even better than it looked.  It is important to know that it is super difficult to go wire-to-wire in those 7.5F GP turf affairs but that is what this colt did while cutting fast fractions. If he can make the transition to a fast track, then he’s going to be a tough one to put away late in the stretch.  This is probably as far as he wants to go but unlike others with Derby aspirations, this one is in it to win now.


Screener is not as concerned about the move to dirt.  He has progressed in every one of his 6 races post his debut regardless of surface type and that last work was particularly strong. He may end up being the pace leader here or the first presser but either way he’ll enjoy a perfect trip.”


Super Screener assessment of this race as a Kentucky Prep is as follows:

Race Flow: Moderate/Fast

Track Bias: None

Troubled Trips: Vino Rosso changed leads late

Impressive Performance: Vino Rosso

Super Screener ECR (Early Contender Rating): Flameaway 89; Catholic Boy 78; Vino Rosso 78

Super Screener EPR (Early Prep Rating) Score = B

Comments: This was a pretty solid prep and it was used by connections of Catholic Boy and Vino Rosso to begin their 2018 campaigns.  Each of those horses will move forward off their respective efforts here.  Vino Rosso was particularly impressive as he shuffled back a bit but then came on late and once he finally changed leads he was much the best past the wire.  Definitely one to follow coming out of this group.  Flameaway deserves to continue on the Derby trail but connections were in this race to win now.  Distance limitations will be a concern as they stretch out and as the early pace set ups become more challenging.  This one is a fighter, however, and never underestimate “heart” when it comes to thoroughbreds.


G2 San Vicente

The Super Screener Top Long Shot pick, Kanthaka, took advantage of the torrid and pressured pace and capitalized on the perfect trip to score as the 2nd longest shot on the board at odds of 11-1.  

“#5 Kanthaka out of the Jerry Hollendorfer barn is the Super Screener Top Long Shot pick though not sure what kind of price we can get in this short field. Was much better than his last as he was forced to steady hard on the back stretch losing at least 3 lengths in the process but he impressively gathered himself back up and then came on late showing a lot of grit into and through the wire.  He is a sprinter through and through and this is his ideal distance.  Gets the needed pace pressure for his mid to late energy distribution profile.  Strong series of works post the layoff.  He projects to move forward off that last effort and the risk/reward value proposition is quite favorable.”


Baffert’s “other” horse, Nero, bumped up for 2nd but was never a threat to the winner though he distanced himself from the rest of the field and considering he was part of the early fire, this was a solid effort for the quirky colt that has to be handled with kid gloves throughout the race…not exactly Derby material.  


Really discount Kris’ Rocket Kat’s performance here.  This closer had every chance given the pace set up but didn’t run a lick.


Super Screener assessment of this race as a Kentucky Prep is as follows:


Race Flow: Very Fast/Moderate

Track Bias: None

Troubled Trips: None

Impressive Performance: Nero

Super Screener ECR (Early Contender Rating): Kanthaka 67

Super Screener EPR (Early Prep Rating) Score = C

Comments: Super Screener is not seeing a top Derby contender coming out of this prep as most of these are confirmed sprinters.  Kanthaka will try two turns in his next start but could be a play against as sprinting will be his game.  Nero is interesting coming out of this but will need to mature and find some toughness to have any shot to compete with the top rated Derby contenders.


G3 Tampa Bay Stakes

While the late run by Forge made it interesting, World Approval, the odds-on favorite did what he was supposed to do using this race as a prep for his next start in Dubai.  Our Top Long Shot pick, Doctor Mounty, was making a nice move on the outside but clipped heals with Forge when that one moved to the outside and fell which forced our other Top Long Shot pick, Tasit, to take up to avoid the fallen runners.  Move that horse up in his next start.


G1 Gulfstream Park Turf

The Super Screener’s Top Value pick, Kurilov tried valiantly to close the door on Heart to Heart who set walking fractions but he came up a neck short and Heart to Heart prevailed for the win.   Note that all closers finished in the back half of the field.  The horses that ran the best races here were Kurilov, Channel Maker and Revved Up.  Discount the efforts of Heart to Heart, Hi Happy and One Go All Go as they had everything their own way.  The suggested $2 Trifecta hit for about $200.


Huge President’s Day weekend ahead with 3 Kentucky Derby preps on tap (4 if you include the Hyacinth in Tokyo) including our first “50 points to the winner” prep, the G2 Risen Star, which is shaping up to be a really good one. Not to be out done, Oaklawn Park features the Southwest Stakes on President’s day so lots to look forward to and a ton of other stakes action all weekend long…don’t miss it.


Until then, Go Fast and Win!