Line of David
Unbridled's Song Lion Heart
La Paz (Hold Your Peace) Emma's Dilema (Capote)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Career Record: 6-3-0-1
Graded Earnings (rank): $600,000 (T-5th)
Running Style: Speed
This colt hadn't done much of note in his career until trainer John Sadler threw on the blinkers in his fourth lifetime start in a mile turf race at Santa Anita. Since that time (three races) this colt hasn't trailed at any point of any race; it seems that the blinkers worked out pretty well.
Line of David is pure speed at this point, and I don't see him running any differently at Churchill Downs.
How he got to the Derby: Line of David had nothing but a maiden and an N1X win to his name when he stepped into the gate for the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. A little less than two minutes later he had run his eight other competitors into the ground and punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby.
John Sadler's colt ran a couple of times as a juvenile with no success going six furlongs and a mile on the Hollywood and Santa Anita main tracks. His three year old debut saw him finish seventh in a 1 1/16 mile Maiden Special Weight at Santa Anita, after which Sadler made the change to blinkers. Back-to-back wins over the Santa Anita turf course at a mile preceded his win at Oaklawn Park.
What has to happen for him to win: Run them off their feet.
It's clear that the addition of blinkers woke this horse up and gave him the interest early on to become a dominant speed horse. I think it's also pretty clear that his prior races indicate that this horse isn't going to win without the lead as he's another one of those "never passed another horse" types. It's doubtful that he'll change his stripes in a week and a half.
Line of David set some very fast fractions at Oaklawn (22.65, 46.26, and 1:10.75), so he's at least shown he can hold on after a hot pace. At the same time, I've got a question mark as to whether this horse wants a mile and a quarter. He barely got the mile and an eighth at Oaklawn after receiving little to no pressure up front and I'm not sure he gets another eighth of a mile under what should be a more contentious pace.
If I've got Sidney's Candy at 15/1 to win (which I do), I think this colt makes sense at double those odds...seems about right. 15/1 represents about a 3% chance to win, while 30/1 is approximately 6%. Perhaps he should be a little longer on the board but I'm willing to give him some credit for the performance in Arkansas.
Key Race: Grade 1 Arkansas Derby (1st)
A lot of this "key race" analysis is pretty easy when the horse in question made the Derby by running alone on the lead.
Line of David breaks well from his wide post position, is hustled quickly to the lead, settles into a strong gallop a couple lengths clear of the next closest horse, and then hangs on gamely in deep stretch when it looked like Super Saver and Dublin were going to blow right by.
Credit must be given to this colt for holding on for the win, but for the life of me I can't understand how both Dublin and Super Saver couldn't get by a pacesetter that went six furlongs in 1:10 in a race going 1 1/8 miles. Those two horses should have blown by Line of David, in my opinion, and they didn't.