In the final weekend of ‘big’ Kentucky Derby prep races three horses have earned starting spots in the May 2 race. Dortmund, Carpe Diem and Frosted all won their respective races each earning 100 qualification points and giving them more than enough to guarantee entrance in the ‘Run for the Roses’.
The Bob Baffert trained Dortmund was the most impressive in winning the Santa Anita Derby. He was left a tall order from stablemate American Pharaoh who overcame a misplaced shoe and a bad start to win going away in the Rebel Stakes. Dortmund answered and then some as he dominated the field–ironically, after losing a shoe at the start. Actually, it might not be ‘irony’ as much as it is an issue with the farrier in the Baffert stables. His horses have had trouble keeping their shoes on of late. The good news is that’s really the only weakness that Baffert’s group is showing at the moment. Going in to the race with the likely #1 and #2 favorites is an enviable position. Dortmund might have more mainstream support right now but railbirds at Santa Anita are very impressed with American Pharaoh.
Back East, Carpe Diem followed up his Tampa Bay Derby victory with an easy win over a ho-hum field in the Blue Grass Stakes. The win earned Carpe Diem 100 qualification points and a guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby field but left plenty of questions. The negative view is that he should have won much more easily against an overmatched field and the 95 Beyer Figure doesn’t look very good against his three year old rivals. The positive view is that Carpe Diem ‘did what he had to do’ to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby field and didn’t fatigue himself much in the process. He looked to be strong and full of vigor at the finish which suggests that he’ll have something ‘in the tank’ on Derby Day.
Finally, Frosted bounced back from his poor showing in the Fountain of Youth to win the Wood Memorial. He’s got the points to race in the Derby but there’s still a lot of concern over the strange run in the Fountain of Youth where he looked to have things well in hand before ‘running out of gas’ near the top of the stretch.