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The Rating Game

Posted by on 3/19/2014 9:21:00 PM

When online sports betting site players try to evaluate the runners aiming for the Kentucky Derby, it’s important to keep an open mind and not get too high on any particular runner.

One of my favorite quotes of all time came Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham when he said, “horses are like strawberries, they spoil overnight.”

How right he was.

We have already lost several promising youngsters off the Triple Crown Trail so far and they won’t be the last.

Top Billing, Shared Belief, Havana and Indianapolis have already dropped out and several others have had setbacks.

With that said here are some of the key runners to watch leading up to the next important preps. The Santa Anita Derby could be a showdown between Robert B. Lewis winner Candy Boy and San Felipe hero California Chrome.

Of that pair, Chrome can make his own luck on or near the lead while Candy Boy will need plenty of help up front to get it done.

Candy Boy has proven he can put together a sustained run when he went from 10th to first in two calls in the CashCall Futurity and he won in a professional manner in the Lewis.

California Chrome has natural speed but he is not speed crazy. He rated in third in his first route and then just toyed with his foes last time when on the lead the entire race before drawing off to win by over 7 lengths with a 107 Beyer Speed Figure.

And he won the Felipe geared down.

Allowing that he passes the test in the Santa Anita Derby, can he get the mile and quarter in the Kentucky Derby?

The feeling is he can. If you go deep in California Chrome’s pedigree names like Cozzene, Prince Blessed, and John Henry can be seen and all of those influences indicate plenty of stamina.

Another runner that should be watched is Tamarando. He has the ability to pass horses and that will be needed in the Triple Crown.

He was precocious enough to win a Grade 1 last year. He was beaten by only a length and a quarter by Candy Boy and finished late to run second to California Chrome in his 2014 opener.

This son of Bertrando has been consistent and as we learned in last year’s Kentucky Derby, the pace can be ridiculous in that fixture. The thing he will have to do is prove his ability on dirt.

Intense Holiday is another that has a super turn of late foot. He was inching toward Cairo Prince in last year’s Nashua, closed ground next out when Honor Code won the Remsen and the marooned slot when third in his 2014 opener in the Holy Bull compromised him.

His gameness was on hand for all to see in the Risen Star when he was last early but got up by a nose when the place horse was clear by daylight.

One of the best things he has going for him is that it appears the bottom has not been close to being found just yet. He’s improved in all of his starts, and you want a horse in May that is set for a peak performance.

Stay tuned.

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