March 23, 2019

Optix Eyes Noble Indy as Who To Bet in the Louisiana Derby

by JOHN DOYLE

The race goes through #2 NOBLE INDY (7/2 – KEY). I expected him on the lead last time, and believe Racing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez made a rare tactical error when letting #1 BRAVAZO and #7 SNAPPER SINCLAIR dictate the pace in front of him. He did gain experience taking dirt for the first time, and he galloped out well. With the introduction of new players we probably will see a different pace scenario. #2 NOBLE INDY gets blinkers today so he should either be in the front or stalking a faster pace from the rail if the #3 MARMELLO and/or #5 RETIREMENT FUND commit to the lead.  He has a nice improving OptixFIG pattern and looks like he will handle the added distance.

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#1 BRAVAZO (7/2- NO_VALUE) has been a new animal at the age of three. He is probably not fast enough to make the front from the rail especially if #2 NOBLE INDY and others are more committed to the front. It will be interesting to see what Stevens does today. He is capable of running and winning from off the pace. He is a contender, however he has just run his two fastest OptixFIGs compared to any of his previous efforts, so I’m concerned there will be regression today. Also, his price will be much lower today. If he gets ignored at the windows and floats above 5/1 don’t go to sleep on him.

#3 MARMELLO (50/1-TOSS) is still a maiden who has no shot, but he could effect the pace if he is sent hard and opens up a big lead early and stretches the field.

#4 GIVEMEAMINIT (20/1-EX) is fast enough on OptixFIGs to compete, but he strikes OptixNOTES as a ONE_TURN closing type. The 9F seems a bit beyond his scope. An underneath finish seems like the best outcome.

#5 RETIREMENT FUND (12/1-BELOW)  ran two solid efforts over today’s track before a poor effort in the mud at Oaklawn. He can improve off the OP effort with fast ground, but in his two previous FG races he controlled the front end on slow paces. He gets a different pace dynamic today.

#6 HYNDFORD (8/1- ABOVE) is a lightly raced improving horse . He showed GRIT in his recent TAMPA BAY effort; a race won by the recent G2 Rebel winner MAGNUM MOON. Our concern is he is facing a faster pace (Quadrant 3) scenario than he ever has in the past.  Can he close from farther back? or Does he try to keep up and does it cost him late?

#7 SNAPPER SINCLAIR (9/2- NO_VALUE) ran a career OptixFIG last time. It was a 12 point improvement over his previous race and high. It looks like he will be dealing with a more crowded front end today. There are a lot more horses with similar run style to him than in the Risen Star. His only wins have come sprinting on the turf. OptixEQ is projecting a REGRESS? today.

#8 LONE SAILOR (20/1-EX)  plots as a deep Q4 closer pace, but his run style is more of a mid-pack runner. He ran decently X_FLOW in his last race, but he is light on OptixFIGs, below today’s OFR.  NOTES thinks this colt could move up on TURF? He can be an exotics player today, but NOTES is against him on the win-end.

#9 MY BOY JACK (5/2 – SOFT) last race was by far his best OptixFIG (95), however is he getting better or did he benefit from a track BIAS and a race shape FLOW favoring his closing run style. If you think it was the track last time, you can be looking at a potential underlay. However if you believe he’s coming into his own, then have at it. Today’s pace scenario could work in his favor if #2 NOBEL INDY and #1 BRAVAZO soften each other up.

#10 DARK TEMPLAR (12/1 – BELOW) is improving, but he gets a much different pace dynamic pace?? scenario. He doesn’t plot well. NOTES projected SHORTER? for him two back, so the the stretch out to 9F versus this competition seems like a negative.