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Undefeated Algorithms Now a Hot Kentucky Derby Contender


The race for the 2012 Kentucky Derby got a lot more interesting on Sunday when much-vaunted Derby favourite Hansen was well-beaten by an electric performance from the undefeated Algorithms at Gulfstream Park in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. A key contest for those looking to start their Derby campaigns early, the Holy Bull is one of the highest purse contests for three-year-olds in the build-up to the run for the roses.


Both contenders were unbeaten coming into the race and Hansen, as expected, made all at the start despite stumbling out of the gate.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner was bet down to a slim 4/5 against a field of five contenders but was unable to match Algorithms distinctive late kick once they drew even at the quarter pole. Trained by top American conditioner Todd Pletcher, Algorithms has now firmly ensconced himself into the picture for this widely-anticipated contest.

A son of Bernardini, his previous score had been an allowance contest at Gulfstream earlier in the month that was successfully used as a springboard for this contest. Sent off at 5/2 and the only genuine contender to Hansen in the field, according to the betting public, connections are expecting him to stretch out in distance successfully as they venture forward to the Kentucky Derby.

The Holy Bull Stakes is run at just a mile (8f) while the Kentucky Derby runs at a mile and a quarter (1m2f). Runners by Bernardini typically excel at the classic distance and beyond so a Triple Crown campaign is likely in the cards with a win in the 1m4f Belmont Stakes looking more plausible than with other recent contenders like Uncle Mo, who was by Indian Charlie, a horse typically known for producing milers.

The loss by Hansen has thrown the ante post for the Kentucky Derby into a bit of a tizzy with Union Rags now the firm favourite at a 10/1 listing. Hansen has been pushed down to 20/1, which is not surprising considering that he is a relatively one-dimensional speed horse. Algorithms is now the firm second favourite with a 12/1 listing.

Interested parties should keep their eyes on highly-rated Dullahan as he ventures forward into his three-year-old career.  

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