2013 American Derby Preview

A full version of this portion of the piece is available at Thorofan's "Handicapper's Corner".

(Update, Thursday July 11: When reading the Thorofan piece, disregard the text about the "longshot to watch".  Trainer W. Catalano has scratched him, as per M. Hersh of the Daily Racing Form)

The American Derby serves as the middle leg of the Mid-America Triple, an all grass series for three-year-olds at Arlington Park.  The Triple starts with the Memorial Day weekend running of the G3 Arlington Classic and ends on Arlington Million Day with the G1 Secretariat Stakes.  Sophomores will see the starter here for a purse of $200,000 and travel a mile and three-sixteenths.

Rich in history, the American Derby is the oldest stakes race on the Arlington Park calendar. Its first winner was a filly named Modesty (the namesake of another G3 on the card that is a steppingstone to the G1 Beverly D.).  Past pre-turf winners included Round Table and Buckpasser.  Switched to grass later and set in 1992 at today's 1 3/16 mile turf distance, recent grass winners include Mid America Triple winner Honor Glide. Two recent winners of the race, Workin For Hops and Willcox Inn, also had won the Arlington Classic.

 The rail is to slated for Lane 5 at publish time.

Arlington Park -- G3 American Derby -- 1 3/16 miles on turf -- post time 4:55 pm CT

 Two back in the American Derby, DORSETT was third across the line, then disqualified to fourth for interference following a trainer objection, rider objection, and inquiry.  Trainer M. Stidham blew a gasket (who could blame him?) post race, but he regrouped and he won a N1X last time against elders.  He made a rider switch from Graham to Baird last time, and Baird gets the return assignment.  I was high on this runner before the Arlington Classic off his winter/spring Fair Grounds turf form, and that allowance win last time was at nine furlongs.  Stidham is having a good meet (by his standards), clicking along at 28% wins, better than the usual 17-22%. And in the past two weeks, the team has two wins and a place in four starts.  This is the same Stidham that sent out Workin For Hops and Willcox Inn to wins in this race, and that experience is another plus for the win pick.

Trainer M. Maker has two in this field, and this on paper ADMIRAL KITTEN is the stronger of the two. Second in the G3 Arlington Classic at 19-10 odds last time, he was another of the closing charge.  Two back he was second to Noble Tune in a G2 on Derby Day.  Another pair of turf starts show another pair of two top finishes.  The rider switch from M. Smith to Leparoux helps out this closer, and that’s a plus on top of a good resume.  I’m not giving him plus points for being in the same zip code as Noble Tune two back (who went splat in the rich $500K Penn Mile) but I am giving him plus points for the second here against most of these rivals.  And plus points also for working, with respect to the clock, quite quick in June.  Think he’s a player in here.

STORMY LEN was a winner last time of an allowance optional claimer while not for sale going ten furlongs, he got a solid stalk-and-pounce trip to clear the condition and do it in a snappy time.  His form has perked up since going to grass: four starts, the win last time, never out of the superfecta.  He’s done his best running near the pace, and there won’t likely be a lot of runners wanting near the action.  He’ll have to answer the shipping question (leaving New York) and the class question (going from N1X to G3).  But that distance win could tip his hand and signal he’s ready to answer those questions.

Selections:

 #7 DORSETT (8/1)

#3 ADMIRAL KITTEN (3/1)

#9 STORMY LEN (12/1)

Longshot: If you read over at Thorofan, you saw a pitch for COASTAL BREEZE at 15/1 morning line.   However, trainer Wayne Catalano will scratch him from this race.  That puts us on the "other" maker, #10 MORO TAP (10/1).  Third over at Indiana Downs last time in the Centaur, and has the Napravnik/Maker time that is hitting at a flammable rate.  Like DORSETT, he cleared the first-level allowance condition at nine furlongs; his win was two back at Churchill.

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