All that handicapping on a Sunday evening and I wake up to the news that Algorithms is out of today's Fountain of Youth after popping a splint. I have no idea how serious popping a split is; if you read through Twitter this morning you'll come across a lot of discussion of the injury. Regardless of the long term Derby implications, Algorithms' defection from today's race takes a lot of the luster off the Fountain of Youth as most were salivating the match-up between the what many believe are the top two Kentucky Derby contenders in the country.
With Algorithms out, Union Rags will likely be the heavy, heavy favorite when the field goes to post at 5:13 Eastern (assuming Gulfstream isn't running about 10 minutes late, like they were yesterday). However, the colt that may benefit from the scratch the most of any is Discreet Dancer, the expected pacesetter that is likely to find himself on a comfortable lead in the early stages of the race. Unfortunately, his odds won't be near as generous if Algorithms was still in the race.
I like Casual Trick as a bit of a price play in the FOY; I completely tossed that last race after he got off to such a poor start. If he runs back to his form from New Year's Day he's probably not good enough to win but he'd be in the mix. An improvement off of that race, with Union Rags and Discreet Dancer a little off their game, and he could spring an upset.
Some quick thoughts on other races at Gulfstream today:
- I love to handicap long races on the turf but found myself lacking of any solid ideas about today's Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park. I might take a flyer on 5-Simmard (5/1) but there is really not a horse that I love in this race.
- [Well, the whole paragraph below was a waste. Ready Signal scratched. Ugh. Have I mentioned how much I hate scratches?]
It's not a stakes race, but I'm looking forward to the fifth at Gulfstream this afternoon. There are only two races at Gulfstream on Sunday that will have the temporary rail out at 108 feet - race 5 and 9. In the fifth race, 6-Ready Signal (10/1) has a shot to be a clear, easy leader. She failed as the clear leader at Gulfstream in her last two race, but the rail was set at 48 and 36 feet, respectively. Today's 108 foot setting is much, much kinder on speed; anything above 70 feet at Gulfstream seems to help the speed, but when it's all the way out to today's setting it can be very biased if (and it's a big 'if') the leader is allowed to run free. At 10/1 on the morning line, I'm loving a chance to take a shot with Ready Signal.
- In the 9th race, 4-Slow Pace (3/1), a first time shipper from France, could be pretty tough to beat if he displays his European form in this race. Slow Pace is owned by Wertheimer & Frere, the same owners of Goldikova (IRE). He was second to Galikova in a Group 2 race at Deauville last August.