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2011 Kentucky Derby Odds and Power Rankings


This is one of the most exciting times of the year for American racing fans as the road to the 2011 Kentucky Derby is officially off and running. In the next four months, we'll see a number of well-fancied contenders stake their claims for US racing's biggest honour, while unknowns emerge at the last minute and market favourites drop out. 

The potential for a Triple Crown winner to capture America's heart lurks in the minds of racing fans eager for a return to the halcyon days of the Sport of Kings. Could a single colt defy the odds and spark a thoroughbred rennaissance? 

There are several high-profile stakes winners that we have left off the list as we aren't interested in who's doing well now- it's all about who has the ability to push it all the way in May. While the futures markets aren't out yet in America, a number of popular European bookmakers have listed antepost odds for the 2011 Kentucky Derby and we'll be counting down the eleven most interesting bets for Derby immortality.

# 11 Sweet Ducky (Pulpit)

Well-bred for a classic distance, this Kelly Breen-trained colt boasts a pair of ungraded stakes victories at Monmouth and a 3/5 lifetime record. The first push towards two turns only resulted in a fourth place finish in the Delta Downs Jackpot, but this talented son of Pulpit should be able to learn from the experience. His four length score in the Seton Hall was a glimpse of what he can do when things go his way, and it's important to remember that he's very similar to 2010 Derby runner-up Ice Box. The Pulpit/Storm Cat cross is rated an A++ variant and includes the likes of Mi Sueno, Ice Box and Sky Mesa. The only real thing working against him is that his relatives tend to hit better around 7f to 1m. He's on the bubble right now, but could be able to amass enough graded earnings if he acquits himself well in his next race. 

#10 Curlinello (Smart Strike)

This Pletcher-trained contender gets the edge on Sweet Ducky in our power rankings, despite finishing second to him twice. This classy colt deserves plenty of respect even though his name can be a bit confusing. He is more closely-related to Pleasant Strike than Curlin or Lookin At Lucky. His pedigree boasts a major mud reference and that's been a make or break factor in the past few Derbies - something many folks will be taking into equation for their forecasting. There is nothing in his pedigree that indicates he won't have the stamina for two turns. The Smart Strike/His Majesty cross still has not produced a Grade 1 stakes winner but he could be set to turn that all around. He seems the type who would sneak in late by winning something like the Blue Grass Stakes and then scoring over a sealed track at 25/1 on May 7. Curlinello is currently trading as high as 40/1 in the UK antepost markets. 

#9 Manicero (Mass Media)

He's taken three on the bounce since the maiden score at Calder and a pair of ungraded stakes at 6f and 7f gives plenty of confidence to Manicero's supporters. He's another extremely well-bred colt and will likely get some betting support in the Holy Bull. A score there would put him on the radar screen but his connections might be satisfied if he hits the board and then pops up again in the Fountain of Youth. The Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay would be another logical destination but he has consistently shown the ability to find the wire first. He's from an understated pedigree cross that oozes potential. 

#8 Premier Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus)

The classy son of living legend Fusaichi Pegasus has already got points on the board with a score in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes at Hollywood Park. That 7f victory came on the heels of a 6f win in the ungraded Jack Goodman Stakes. The pedigree screams turf, but there's still plenty of reason for connection to send him out for a few spins on the dirt. His daddy certainly knew a thing or two about dirt scores and you simply can't argue with the Mr. Prospector/Storm Cat cross. He'll likely be heading for the San Vincente Stakes and he's been rested up since November- a clue that connections have their eye on Churchill Downs. Owned and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, he will likely gain plenty of confidence with a positive outing in his next race. 

#7 Smash (Smart Strike)

This is easily one of the riskier inclusions in here as he only has a single race under his belt- an attention-grabbing 2.5 length maiden score for Bob Baffert. The Smart Strike/Dixieland Band cross meant big bucks when this colt sold for $400,000 as a Keeneland yearling. The race is on for connections to stretch him out to two turns and his two year-old campaign was derailed by a small injury. He's back in training now and is scheduled for multiple breezes in January. The Sham Stakes is a definite possibility if he shows promise early while the Robert Lewis could be a more reasonable time-frame. He has a lot more than 5f in him and, with another intelligent Baffert-led campaign, he could be a genuine contender on Derby day. Smash is on the radar screen in the UK antepost market with a 50/1 price tag. 

#6 Gourmet Dinner (Trippi)

There are no questions about this colt's ability to handle two turns after he conquered the Delta Downs Jackpot back in late November. A ship to Hollywood for a fourth place finish in the Cashcall Futurity was possibly an overly aggressive move from connections but it definitely showed that they have Derby aspirations for this son of Trippi. He first rose to prominence with three scores in a row at his homebase of Calder. He is a near certainty for the Holy Bull and will likely be a strong betting favourite on the day. If he stays healthy and continues to develop, there's no reason why he won't be lining up. 

#5 J P's Gusto (Successful Appeal) 

An out-and-out left-coast two-turn specialist, J P's Gusto has been on the scene for quite a while, after a cracking victory in the Willard Proctor Memorial back at Hollywood Park in May of 2010. He went on to sequentially grab Grade 3, 2 and 1 victories before just losing out to Jaycito in the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes. He ran a disappointing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but Uncle Mo's performance on the day was simply too much for anybody to handle. This will be a fascinating horse to keep your eye on as a recent switch back to Joe Talamo nearly paid off with a win in the Cashcall Futurity. A spot in the Santa Anita Derby is a serious likelihood while a stop off in the Robert B Lewis Stakes could indicate that connections think he's good to go. Caution is advised as heavily-campaigned colts have a habit of sustaining injuries on the derby trail. You'll find J P's Gusto priced as high as 66/1 in the UK antepost markets. 

#4 Boys at Tosconova (Officer)

Many racing pundits have this son of Officer ranked as second or third favourite for Derby honors and, while he certainly ticks plenty of boxes, we think there might be a few better contenders developing a bit later. Boys definitely has a blue collar appeal that tends to attract lots of betting action, while his on-track record is nothing to sneeze at. He's already shown acumen by finishing best of the rest in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to Uncle Mo, who took the field to the wood pile on that day. He looks like he'll be able to handle the classic distance with relative ease and if connections can refine his tactical speed a bit then he'll be a more serious contender. Expect a Holy Bull appearance with an eye on the Florida Derby as he looks to book his ticket. Boys At Tosconova is a clear second favourite with a price between 16/1 and 20/1. 

#3 Comma To The Top (Bwana Charlie)

An emphatic victory in the Cashcall Futurity against the left coast's best two year-olds gave Comma To The Top all the credibility he needed to stake his claim as a serious Kentucky contender. He had to drop to claiming level to grab his first score, a 5.5f dash at Del Mar before finishing a disappointing sixth in the Del Mar Futurity. A shift back to Hollywood Park began to pay dividends as Comma and Corey Nakatani have forged a first-rate partnership that has taken three stakes contests in a row. A win at 8.5f in the Cashcall demonstrates his two-turn potential and the stalking trip he deployed that day showed just how well Nakatani has the measure of him. If he stays healthy, he should accumulate enough winnings to secure himself a stall. The gelding trades as high as 25/1 in the antepost market. 

#2 To Honor And Serve (Bernardini)

Bill Mott's got a live one on his hands as To Honor And Serve laid down his credentials with a pair of Grade 2 scores in the Remsen and Nashua at Aqueduct in November. He'll be campaigned in Florida this winter and connections likely have their eyes on the 9f Fountain of Youth on March 3. A switch back to New York for the Wood Memorial or the Withers Stakes could be in the cards. The manner of his victories at Aqueduct showed that he has really special quality and the fact that he is still lightly-raced for a contender with this much credibility indicates a very well thought out campaign. The Bernardini/Northern Dancer cross has an absolutely incredible lineup of quality stakes winners in its first generation and To Honor and Serve could be the real deal. Do not underestimate his light campaign as it could be what gives him the longevity to last through a Derby campaign. A solitary win at Grade 1 level would likely be enough. You'll find To Honor and Serve trading anywhere from 16/1 all the way up to 40/1. His price will drop like a stone with another victory. 

#1 Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie)

Undefeated Uncle Mo is the star in Todd Pletcher's line-up of Derby contenders and his three race career has been the absolute picture of accomplishment. So many times in the past the early favourite drops out due to injury (see: The Pamplemousse, Eskendereya) but neither of them had produced what Uncle Mo has shown at this point in their very respectable careers. He's already got the all-important Churchill Downs reference with a Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory over a wet surface that could very well be a carbon copy of what we see on Derby Day. Of course he already has many folks whispering Triple Crown and, while it's important to not get ahead of ourselves, all three of his victories have shown genuinely special talent. His entire bubble could be burst by a crappy performance in his next race, but there is every reason to be confident in his ability to pull off at least a Derby score if he continues to develop. The Indian Charlie line is coming into prominence at the moment while Uncle Mo boasts stupendous quality on the dam's side as well with Arch being his grandfather. Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve get our nod as the top two contenders based on their selective campaigns and the fact that it's clear we haven't seen the bottom of either of them yet. Uncle Mo could be undone by so many different things, but when you watch him flash his quality in the Juvenile you can't help but get that feeling like he's the real deal. He's priced as low as 4/1 in the antepost market but can still be had as high as 10/1.  Uncle Mo as a Triple Crown winner? It's a sport built on dreams isn't it?


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