Dam: Collect the Cash (Dynaformer)
Trainer: Michael Maker
Jockey: Alan Garcia
Career Record: 8-2-1-0
Graded Earnings (rank): $451,112 (#9)
Running style: Closer
It's pretty easy to define the running style of a horse like Stately Victor. You look at his running lines and you see lots of big numbers. Big numbers early mean closer. Even in this colt's debut race at seven furlongs he was coming from six or seven lengths back of the leaders. He has absolutely no intention of doing any running early in a race. He may be a little bit closer in the Derby than he was in the Blue Grass due to the race being on dirt (he displayed a bit of interest in his two dirt efforts), but I'm not sure that would be to his benefit.
How he got to the Derby: He won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and....well, that's pretty much it. Prior to that, Stately Victor was struggling to win N1X turf races at Gulfstream. He tried the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October and finished well back of winner Noble's Promise.
What has to happen for him to win: Well...where to begin? I think more than anything this colt needs to take to the Churchill Downs surface, which is anything but a given. If he's able to do that (and that's a big "if" at this point), I think his best chance at victory is to sit back and hope the race falls apart and he's able to pick up the pieces. If he tries to stalk or run in the mid-pack, I think his race is over as he's shown no ability to run with horses early on and sustain a bid in the stretch.
I have Stately Victor as one of the lowest rated contenders on my odds line for a number of reasons. First, his two tries over dirt were atrocious, especially his one attempt to run at Churchill Downs. So there are surface questions. That dirt try at Gulfstream was a pretty stacked field (Drosselmeyer, Prince Will I Am, Best Actor), but he was never a threat to win. Second, while I love his pedigree from a speed/stamina mixture (sired by Ghostzapper out of a Dynaformer mare), this colt screams "turf horse" to me. The Derby's on dirt, so that's a negative. Third, since Keeneland made the switch to Polytrack, winning the Blue Grass has been a poor predictor of success in the Kentucky Derby (Dominican, Momba, General Quarters). Fourth, he's got some serious class issues.
If you're looking for a positive from this horse it would be his running style, which would seem to fit in well with this field. However, the only time we've seen this colt actually close hard to win a race was the Blue Grass and I'm not sure that in and of itself is enough.
Key race: Grade 1 Blue Grass (1st)
I'm not going to offer much commentary on this video because I don't think I can stand to once again watch Kent Desormeaux start working Paddy O'Prado just as they enter the far turn when he's in a perfect stalking position and isn't feeling any heat from the back. Yes, I'm still bitter about this ride. I'm a horse player, I can remain bitter about a race for years and years and years...