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2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Samraat

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A winner of five races in six starts, New York bred Samraat carries the hopes of the Empire State into the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Al Bello

Samraat

Samraat_medium

Trainer: Rick Violette, Jr.
Owner: My Meadowview Farm
Jockey: Irad Ortiz
Sire: Noble Causeway
Dam: Little Indian Girl (Indian Charlie)
Lifetime Record: 6-5-1-0
Lifetime Earnings: $774,200

Future Wager Odds: Pool 1 - 4/5 (Field); Pool 2 - 30/1; Pool 3 - 30/1; Pool 4 - 17/1

Notable Races: G1-Wood Memorial (2nd); G3-Gotham (1st); G3-Withers (1st); Damon Runyon Stakes (1st)

The Good

Whether racing on the lead, pressing the lead, or a length or two off the pace, Samraat continues to churn out quality start after quality start. Reading through the past performances for this year's (or any year's) Kentucky Derby and you'll typically find a lot of colts that struggle to maintain consistent efforts or results; we'll see one or two good performances and then a dud or simply an off day. We all know how inconsistent many horses can be on a race by race basis, and still-developing three-year-old colts are certainly no exception. Then we come to a horse like Samraat that while not perfect in record, is one of the most consistently strong runners in this year's crop.

Oh, and here's some other "good" news: check out those future book odds on Samraat... well, except for Pool 1. 30/1. 30/1. 17/1. Not bad at all. I'm guessing Samraat will be in the 12/1 to 15/1 range on Derby day*, or at least that's where I'd like to see his minimum odds in order to be enticed into taking a nibble on him in the win pool, which leaves his future odds as some nice value.

*Of course, who knows what will really happen until the masses start throwing their money at the windows.

The (maybe) Bad

How far does this colt want to go while still running at his best? If he's able to run another eighth of a mile and duplicate his last four performances, then he should be right in the mix at the top of the lane. But if he gets a bit close to the pace and has to expend energy in the manner he did in the Wood, will he have the late kick required to hold off the late runners during that last quarter mile at Churchill? For me, that's the big question for this colt

Final Thoughts

Similar to my thoughts on Wicked Strong, the more I looked at Samraat's performance in the Wood, the more I like what I saw - sits close to a strong pace and finishes up strong in the lane to grab second. I am, however, concerned that Samraat might be compromised if he lies to close to the front for the first half mile if things get hot on the front end.

Additionally, I think Samraat is one of the colts in the field that really needs to avoid drawing inside of the other speed horses; if he can start somewhere between post 12 to 16, he'd be in the perfect gate to pick out a tailor made stalking trip. If he's down on the inside, I feel like the options are much more limited and the situation will probably require Irad Ortiz to hit the gas early in order to avoid getting stuck down inside. I think that would be a difficult recipe for success going a mile and a quarter.