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Making The Cut

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 4/15/2013 7:07:42 PM

Kenny McPeek and Todd Pletcher both watched two of their students make the cut for the Kentucky Derby with huge performances in the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes.

Pletcher’s Overanalyze got off the therapist’s couch on Saturday at Oaklawn to win the Arkansas Derby going away by 4 and a quarter lengths when recording an 88 Beyer Speed Figure and online sports betting site players should be put on notice about this runner.

Almost overcoming a 4 wide trip, McPeek’s Frac Daddy completed the online betting exacta at Oaklawn at 23-1 punching his ticket to Churchill.

In the Blue Grass, the fates were reversed as McPeek’s charge Java’s War came from dead last to get up by a neck at 9-2 over Pletcher’s Palace Malice.

Despite a poor start and racing 7 wide, Java’s War was visually impressive posting an 89 Beyer but obviously with his long fused style, Java’s War can be his own worst enemy.

Troubled in his final start of 2012, Java’s War figures to get the right kind of pace in the Kentucky Derby.

Java’s War Tampa Bay Derby second was also validated when winner Verrazano came back to remain unbeaten taking the Wood Memorial.

If you toss Java’s War’s green debut and his trouble run in his final 2012 start, his form brightens.

Java’s War final time for the 9 furlongs in the Blue Grass was 1:50.27 while last year’s winner Dullahan was clocked in 1:47.94.

Overanalyze has now won 4 of his 7 starts.

The coming out party for Overanalyze came in his win in the Futurity last September and he built on it with a nose win in the Grade 2 Remsen last year. 
He could have just been short in the Grade 3 Gotham March 2. The other excuse would be that he was hung wide from the marooned slot in the Gotham.

One of the keys to Overanalyze’s form is the fact that the runner he beat in the Remsen, Normandy Invasion, returned to close stoutly when second beaten three quarters in the Wood Memorial.

Overanalyze is a son of Dixie Union that cost $300,000 and he has the blood to star as kin to Grade 1 horse betting winner and over $300K earner Meadow Breeze.

Overanalyze got the 9 furlongs in 1:51.94 on a fast track and that time may not stand the test of time. The final raw time was the slowest in the Arkansas Derby since Esops Foibles went in 1:52.20 in 1978.

Getting a nice journey in any race is a key to victory and Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard Overanalyze, was very happy with his travel arrangements on Saturday, Bejarano: “Beautiful trip. Once we got to the stretch, I felt like I had a lot of horse left and saved something for the next race.”

That kind of tactic is not usually used in a Grade 1 but we are talking about the big picture and the Run for the Roses.

McPeek has been around this game for a long time and one thing he knows is that you can’t just change a horse’s style because it just doesn’t work. Java’s War has no speed but it doesn’t worry his trainer.

McPeek: “I’m not concerned at all. He just doesn’t get away quick. That’s his style and to try to force him to do something else would only make it worse.”

Wisdom can play a big part in a trainer’s success and McPeek is showing it.

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