NYRA Bets Presents Derby Countdown: Names, Hunches And Decision Time

In the Name of Derby
By Chelsea Hackbarth

This year’s Kentucky Derby contenders feature an intriguing mix of names stemming from a play on words, homage to a person or a location, and a unique sense of creativity.

Gunnevera, Girvin and McCraken are all names for small towns with special meaning to the owners. Gunnevera is a small town in Spain, part-owner Jaime Diaz Mengotti’s country of origin, though the other two owners are Venezuelan. Girvin, a small town in Texas, is the birthplace of owner Brad Grady. McCraken is named for a town in Kansas, although the town is spelled “McCracken”; according to the connections, the final “c” somehow got lost in transcription.

Two Derby hopefuls have military connections: the Battle of Midway was a U.S.-won decisive naval battle against Japan in WWII, and a Battalion Run(ner) is when an entire platoon is exercised in unison.

Three colts are named for people: J Boy(s Echo) is the nickname of Dennis Albaugh’s racing manager, Jason Loutsch, and the Echo comes from his dam’s name; Lookin at Lee is named for part-owner Lee Levinson and is a play on his sire’s name Lookin at Lucky; and Gormley is named for a British sculptor.

A total of seven Derby candidates have names that tie them to their heritage: Tapwrit, sired by Tapit; Patch, sired by Union Rags; Irish War Cry, who carries the Irish name on to a third homebred generation for Isabelle de Tomaso; Practical Joke is a play on the name of his sire, Into Mischief; Untrapped, sired by Trappe Shot; State of Honor, sired by To Honor and Serve; and Classic Empire, a combination of names from his dam Sambuca Classica and his paternal grandsire Empire Maker.

Some of the more unique names are Thunder Snow (a type of winter thunderstorm, named by owners in the desert of Dubai), Hence (named because he looked like a good horse, “hence” he should be), Fast and Accurate (hoping the colt would fulfill both adjectives), and Irap is named after a medical treatment (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein) that is used to treat osteoarthritis.

Finally, Always Dreaming was named by the wife of co-owner Brooklyn Boyz Stable’s Anthony Bonomo because in this industry, everyone is always dreaming of the next big one.

Handicapper’s Corner
By Scott Jagow

The Kentucky Derby’s supposed to be fun, right? In that spirit, here are 10 fun trifectas you might consider on Derby day (if you’re into “hunch plays.”)

The Todd Pletcher Exacts HIs Revenge On The Derby Trifecta
Always Dreaming

Their Names Don’t Sound Like Derby Winners Trifecta
Practical Joke
Fast and Accurate

Their Sire Probably Should’ve Won The Derby Trifecta
Always Dreaming (Bodemeister)
Lookin at Lee (Lookin at Lucky)
Patch (Union Rags)

Sounds Like A Cocktail Trifecta
I’d like a bottle of McCraken please. No wait, make that a double Irish War Cry (similar to an Irish Car Bomb). You know what, Girvin rhymes with bourbon. Let’s do one of those instead.

The War Zone Trifecta
Battle of Midway
Irish War Cry
Classic Empire

The MIddle Ages-Shakespearean Trifecta
Gunnevera (Sounds like Guinevere)
Sonneteer (Writer of Sonnets)

The Yo, What Up “G” Trifecta

The International Invasion Trifecta
Gunnevera (Venezuela)
Thunder Snow (Dubai)
State of Honor (Canada)

The Auction Bargain Trifecta
Gunnevera ($16,000, KEE Sept.)
Lookin at Lee ($70,000, KEE Sept.)
Fast and Accurate ($85,000 OBS Apr.)

The Curse of Apollo/Maiden Trifecta
Battle of Midway

While I think some of those could be fun, my actual betting for the Derby will focus on:

Irish War Cry as the most logical winner.
McCraken and Classic Empire as other top of ticket plays.
Gunnevera as an absolute must for the tri and super.
Other possibles to throw in underneath: Tapwrit, State of Honor, J Boys Echo, Practical Joke, Sonneteer and Lookin at Lee.


Pedigree Corner

By Ray Paulick

Having looked at the pedigrees of this year’s Kentucky Derby starters over the last five days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), it’s time to make a decision on which horse I think is best equipped to win at the American classic distance of a mile and a quarter on dirt.

Without further obfuscation, here are my selections. Other than their bloodlines, the only other factor that comes into play in the following selections is whether or not a horse had good form as a 2-year-old, something that historically has been an intrinsic part of a Kentucky Derby winner’s make-up.

  1. Gunnevera
  2. J Boys Echo
  3. State of Honor

Gunnevera brings stamina to the fore through both sides of his pedigree. He is by 2016’s leading freshman sire Dialed In (by the A.P. Indy stallion Mineshaft) and out of a mare by Unbridled. I like the added influence of Graustark as sire of Gunnevera’s second dam, Suite.

J Boys Echo is by the aforementioned Horse of the Year Mineshaft, who excelled at 1 1/4 miles. He is out of a broodmare by Storm Cat’s grandson Menifee, runner-up to Charismatic in the Derby and Preakness and a solid sire in the U.S. who was sold to stand in Korea, where he has been leading sire five consecutive years.

The selection of State of Honor in the top three by stamina pedigree may raise some eyebrows since young sire To Honor and Serve did not win beyond nine furlongs, but he is by A.P. Indy’s son Bernardini, winner of the Preakness, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Just as important, he is out of a mare by Elusive Quality, sire of a Kentucky Derby (Smarty Jones) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (Raven’s Pass winner). Elusive Quality is bred on the Mr. Prospector-Northern Dancer cross so popular in the latter part of the 20th century. (Elusive Quality is by Gone West (Mr. Prospector) out of Touch of Greatness, by the Northern Dancer sire Hero’s Honor.)

Box these three in the trifecta and watch the tote board go tilt!

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The post NYRA Bets Presents Derby Countdown: Names, Hunches And Decision Time appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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