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Monday, March 7, 2016

ZJ's Derby Dozen #6 (3/6)


We had some movement this week on the Derby Dozen as some horses moved up by default plus we debut a new shooter who I've thought highly of since last fall and he finally breaks the list.

The first change was my former #1 Conquest Big E who had slipped down to #8 is now off the list entirely. He has yet to produce a winning effort on a fast track and unless he blossoms like a Magnolia at Augusta National and wins a prep race in the final round, he'll be a fringe player until the Casse barn gets his talent to come out.

From the same race, The Gotham Stakes, a horse I had a lot of hope for, Shagaf,  indeed won the race over a biased and speed favoring strip. He was shuffled back midway down the backside as the leader took a breather letting the field catch up and Shagaf was caught in traffic. He swung out at the top of the lane and eventually wore down a maiden who lead almost every step of the way. Granted it was his first start around two turns and he won, but Ortiz Jr used every ounce of energy in his tank for victory. Its never a good sign for me when a horse gets 'gutted' winning a March prep. Yes he can still bounce in his next race and regroup moving forward in the Derby itself but I think he was exposed as a pretender rather than a contender when it comes to wearing the roses.

The new shooter is Matt King Coal from the Linda Rice barn. I was very impressed last fall as he flaunted his speed for victory over wet surface a la Conquest Big E so there was questions to be answered especially making a late spring 3 yr old debut. I knew he was a short horse in need of more fitness and experience so I took his return with a grain of salt, but he did not disappoint. His weapon is speed which he demonstrated again, this time on a fast and much more fair surface than the biased track The Gotham was run over 24 hours earlier. He should move forward big time in The Wood Memorial and head into the Derby a dangerous player.

There may be a whole new lineup next week as two of my top four horses will be in action in the San Felipe at Santa Anita Park and the Tampa Bay Derby from Tampa Bay Downs.

So here it is - ZJ's Derby Dozen #6

12. WHITMORE - gets Irad Ortiz for next, magical mystery tour expect
11. SHAGAF - still on the list, but is losing position fast
10. MO TOM - will know more soon, seems honest as they come.
9. MOR SPIRIT - may or may not run in the San Felipe
8. MATT KING COAL - (new) front running colt on way to Wood
7. GUN RUNNER - moves up a notch, simmers with potential
6. SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS - reminds me of Fusaichi Pegasus
5. CHERRY WINE - back on track after minor fever incident
4. NYQUIST - fast sucker but 10 furlongs a big question
3. BRODY'S CAUSE - makes season debut in Tampa Bay Derby
2. MOHAYMEN - unbeaten but still needs to find more
1. EXAGGERATOR - should move forward from San Vincente

There we go - one more week closer to the Derby.

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