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2010 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Super Saver

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27:  Kentucky Derby entrant Super Saver, trained by Todd Pletcher, during morning exercise at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27: Kentucky Derby entrant Super Saver, trained by Todd Pletcher, during morning exercise at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Super Saver

Super Saver

Sire: Maria's Mon
Dam: Supercharger (A.P. Indy)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Calvin Borel

Career Record: 6-2-2-1
Graded Earnings: $363,832 (#14)

Running style: Speed / Press

While Super Savers two career victories came while leading the field from gate to wire, he's run credibly while attempting to sit just off the leaders early on.  He's certainly got a bunch of early speed, but I wouldn't call him a "need to lead" horse since he's never spit the bit after chasing the front runners.

How he got to the Derby: Super Saver started down the Derby path following his seven length maiden breaking victory in the slop at Belmont last September (remember that race if Derby day gets rainy).  He ran in the Grade 1 Champagne in early October and finished fourth behind Homeboykris and Discreetly Mine.  He was asked to go two turns in the final start of his juvenile campaign and did so in style, winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club by five lengths at Churchill Downs.

Super Saver kicked off his three year old season in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, where he was involved in a three way rush to the wire between Odysseus and Schoolyard Dreams.  He ended up third, beaten by half a length.  He turned in his final prep in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby where he chased Line of David all the way around the track but couldn't get up to take the top prize at the wire.

What has to happen for him to win: From a purely pedigree perspective, Super Saver should have no problems getting a mile and a quarter at Churchill Downs, but he'll have to relax on the front end to get it done. 

Something that I love seeing in this colt's past performances was a previous race over this same Churchill surface where he performed very, very well.  Throw in jockey Calvin Borel....well, that could be a dangerous mix: a horse that loves Churchill with a rider that has been dominating the track the last few years.  You know the locals will be on board.

If he can rate like he did in Arkansas, and not get too caught up in the early action, Super Saver could have a big shot in this race.  The defection of Eskendereya only helps matters.

Odds:  25/1

There's a discrepancy between the odds I posted earlier for Super Saver and the 25/1 I posted above due to me re-assessing this horse's chances in the Derby.  I originally had him at 50/1, and I think that's clearly too high.  I decided to cut those in half down to 25/1, and I may even revised those down a little further as I really like this colt's possibilities.  I'll still have him in long shot range, however, due to the fact that he could be compromised on the front end in terms of pace.

Key race: Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club (1st)

Very few horses enter the Kentucky Derby with a previous race over the Churchill Downs surface.  Super Saver not only has a race over the surface, but he's got a win against graded stakes company.  And while it was a juvenile race and probably doesn't tell us much in terms of class, I think it does indicate that this horse should love a return to the track. 

Check out the fractions for this front running trip: 46.73 for the half, 1:11.43 for six, and 1:36.41 for the mile.  Not bad at all.  It's not like Super Saver was out just loafing along on the lead.  He had a clear lead and was able to relax, but he clicked off some nice numbers and had a lot left in the tank.  In the Arkansas Derby (according to the Formulator chart) he went 46.86, 1:11.26, and 1:36.56, almost the same fractions as at Churchill. 

This colt appears to be very consistent in the races he runs.