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Apr 27, 2007

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            Well we are almost there, less than one week away to the Kentucky Derby and then we will see who will win the run for the roses. As always American Turf Monthly will have their selections for the Kentucky Derby on May 4th, the day before the race between 5 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. eastern. The selections are available over the phone, via fax or by email. They can also be purchased right over the internet at www.americanturf.com. Here are our top five for the Derby — with over one week to go, these selections may change based on weather, post position draw and who is actually in the race.

  1. HARD SPUN- Even though this horse has five wins from six career starts he is not as high on many other lists however, this horse is special. His wins were dominating, his only defeat came with a wide trip over an Oaklawn track that he couldn’t handle. His tactical speed will really come in handy and the fact that there doesn’t look like there will be much speed may put this horse in the driver’s seat. He has won at 1 and 1/8th at Turfway Park over their Polytrack and is getting in some long works at Keeneland preparing for the race. He will have six weeks off leading into the race and many will see that as a negative but we see that as a positive because he has six races and plenty of bottom under him. If he can draw a good post he is going to have a big shot at a price.
  2. NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ- Here is another three year old with a ton of talent and he also has six career starts with four wins, a second and a third and is coming off a win in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. That was his first start with blinkers on, helping him to focus more on his races as he still is very green. He showed much improved speed that day with the blinkers and is a very handy horse in terms of where you want to place him, he can stay close if needed but if the pace is fast he can also come from off that pace.
  3. GREAT HUNTER- This is another horse that is probably not so high on many of the experts list but he does have ability. He was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind STREET SENSE and then returned this year on March 3rd with a big win in the Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. He didn’t get the best of trips in the Blue Grass which was an oddly run race based on the fact that the pace was so slow. He ran into traffic trouble in the lane which may have cost him a better placing but he did manage fifth and was beaten less than two lengths. He should have gotten a lot out of that race as it was only his second of the year and if he can bounce back he may have a shot on Derby Day.
  4. STREET SENSE- The big winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Colts race over the Churchill Downs course will try and break the Juvenile jinx. No horse that has won the Juvenile has won the Derby but there are only 22 years to look at and horses mature a lot from year two to year three and if he is good enough he will win the race but with only two starts under his belt and both races seemed a bit tough he may not be at his peak on Derby Day. The fact that he handles the track is a big plus and his style of running from middle of the pack is also a plus.
  5. CURLIN- Hard not to put a horse that is three for three on your list of top 5 horses especially considering he won all three races by a combined 31 and ¼ lengths. His win in the Rebel was impressive considering he had only one start prior to that race but his win in the Arkansas Derby that saw him score by 11 lengths was even more visually impressive. However, with only three races on his resume, the fact that he has to stretchout to a 1 and 1/4 , a full field of 20 horses and will actually have to face some stiffer competition makes him a tough favorite to take. He was beating up on some bad horses in the Arkansas Derby and he may be vulnerable in the Derby. Good Luck and look forward to your call for your Derby winners!



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