By Gene Kershner
Last weekend’s Derby prep races didn’t disappoint with Mucho Macho Man ($9.20) winning the Grade 2 Risen Star and The Factor ($3.80), the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes, both in impressive fashion.
If you boxed Post Time’s Risen Star Pick in any of the exotics of Macho, Santiva, Rogue Romance and Machen, you would have been doing the YMCA dance in hitting the $1 exacta ($35.90), $1 trifecta ($126.00) and $1 superfecta ($349.70). After the scratches of the Geier entry in the second leg, we made a substitution in Demarcation (who won), but fell a nose short in the Post Time Pick 4 play when 32-1 Expansion nipped Sleepless Knight in a photo finish.
Mucho Macho Man was much the best at the Fair Grounds when he outkicked his rivals in the stretch. The winner most likely solidified a spot in the gate at Churchill Downs for the Derby, adding $180,000 to his graded earnings bringing his total to $270,000. Post Time Derby Dozen No. 9 horse Santiva finished second, with the added distance could also be one to watch come Derby day.
The victory flatters top ranked Post Time Derby Dozen horse, To Honor and Serve, who he finished second to twice last fall at Aqueduct in Grade 2 races. The Macho Uno colt has a solid wet pedigree, so if it comes up muddy at the Derby, don’t discount the Macho Man. In the Kentucky Derby Future Pool 1, Mucho Macho Man closed at odds of 30-1.
On the left coast, The Factor (Post Time Derby Dozen No. 4) won the 7-furlong affair at Santa Anita Park showing blazing speed through the first six furlongs going 1:07.31. He had enough left in the tank to hold off the late closing Sway Away, who is one to keep an eye on. After watching the race, The Factor seems to be more suited to be a sprinter or miler than being able to handle the 1 1/4 mile Run for the Roses. The Factor closed at odds of 25-1 in Futures Pool 1.
Uncle Mo, currently the prohibitive favorite, closed Futures Pool 1 at 7/2 and the “all others” mutuel field closed as the favorite at 2-1. The win pool finished with over $480,000 wagered, combined with the exacta pool was the second highest Kentucky Derby Futures Pool ever.
Post Time made two Futures wagers, going with 35-1 Santiva after the second place Risen Star showing and 10-1 To Honor and Serve. Both horses figure to have enough graded earnings to be in the starting gate on May 7, barring injury.
President’s Day provides us with yet another Derby prep to be held at Oaklawn Park, the one mile Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. We’re going to try and take a stand against 9-5 morning line favorite JP’s Gusto, who will be running on dirt for only the second time. Although he has Eclipse winning jock Ramon Dominguez shipping in for the ride, his only effort on the dirt was a dismal effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November.
Calvin Borel rides Elite Alex (4-1 ML) for the second time for trainer Tim Ritchey. He lost his second race by a head after breaking badly causing him to go five wide. The Afleet Alex colt looks to be fit based on his work tab and he’ll be our Post Time selection for win honors.
Caleb’s Posse (9-2 ML) won the one mile $100,000 Smarty Jones over the Arkansas track and should be in the mix coming off the red-hot rail that is winning at a 21% clip. We’ll tab him to complete the exacta with Elite Alex.
Horses to complete the trifecta include Yankee Passion, trained by Larry Jones and Michael Maker’s Ghost to Clear. Yankee Passion tries a route distance for the first time, had a bullet workout last week and comes in second off the layoff where trainer Jones has a 25% win rate. Ghost to Clear ships in from the Fair Grounds where he won a sharp 6-furlong effort last month. The Ghostzapper colt has the pedigree to get the mile and the lightly raced colt should improve in his second route race for Maker.
Good luck and let’s go cash some tickets!