Season 33 The Secretariat

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Purse 178000 Starting Purse 25000, 3yo Colts Wt 120lbs, entry fee 15000. 25000 bonus paid to winner

A full field of 12 colts and geldings pack the gates tonight for the Secretariat Derby offering trainers added purse money of 25Kc with a 25Kc bonus to the winner. The quirky 8F distance of tonight’s contest can humble the greatest of horses, most recently Season 32 HOY STRATSTER who was denied a perfect 3 YO season whenTARYNSWINSG’SRACES held safe in the final strides.

If your horse has visions of AMERICAN PHAROAH or Digital Downs HOF race mareSHEZA TROLL, DD has 200Kc and a Triple Crown trophy to send your way. With this race preview this space attempts to sort out another salty Triple Crown field. Let’s meet the field.


This Orb Farm trainee looks to get back on the beam since being shutout for the month of February. While he was held off result charts for top honors last month, he did finish a close second in 2 of those 3 starts. His late one-run style fits this distance like a glove offering this writer confidence is his brilliant resume at 8 panels. The quirky distance hasn’t been a problem for this colt, who owns a perfect 3 for 3 record and a triumph in the G1 Digital Downs Daily on opening weekend. The bronze medalist in the Juvenile Classic Champ final last season will likely need to race a bit more forwardly tonight, as this full field surprisingly is void of early speed. Despite the lack of forward types signed on, this colt rates a big chance for top honors.


Well traveled TNT homebred is looking for that elusive 2nd win this season after dropping his last several decisions against softer. Pulling out all the stops for this race his trainer TNT recently gelded the 200Kc winning veteran. Unfortunately we didn’t catch this runner on the worktab since the “ultimate equipment change” so we’ll have to watch tonight to see how focused he is in the stretch. He may be part of the early pace tonight, but is difficult to recommend off his recent form.


Improving stable Castek sends out this son of VARYS BID who started to make a name for himself last season off the strength of two stylish open length victories at the much further 12F distance. He’ll get a sharp cut back in distance tonight, and a stiff class test for his stakes debut. He’s been freshen up off his lackluster 7th in a 9F Champ Route Qualifier a few weeks ago. The inside post, albeit the troublesome 3 gate should help him tonight as he seems to run a bit better near the rail. The shorter distance and lack of runners that want to go forward may be too much to overcome on the class hike.


Handicapping prize for his aussie connections has traveled further than just changing barns this season. At 2 he enjoyed vast success sprinting, reeling off 4 straight to begin his career, then this season at 3 he’s been campaigned as more of a classic distance type horse. I like his last two efforts, including his race two-back against fellow entrant SHAIRESAYSWATCHOUT who was able to hold this one at bay off an easy lead and a short field that race. While he did win a 7F Champ Classic Qualifier this season, he’s yet to score past 7 panels so he’ll need to reserve a bit more in the lane to get the win. While he has enough speed to get the lead, he’s been far more effective with a target to catch. Should be dangerous tonight with the right trip.


Been on quite a tear of late ripping off 4 solid wins in a row sprinting. He’s averaged a 98 speed rating in 8 starts this season and has already collected 5 wins for his connections. He’ll be traveling a bit further for the first time in his career, but he did score impressively at 7F last season in 121.07. This 9 time winner looks nearly unbeatable on the turf, but on the dirt and the longer 8F distance may bring him back to earth a bit. Strong contender despite the unknowns.


Well bred colt has been fairly productive this season winning twice and banking just short of 72Kc this season. He’s been bumping heads with Classic and Route Qualifier foes much of this season and picked up a sharp 10F win in 2:02.93 in early February. He seems to be a bit better going further than 8F as evidenced by undefeated record at 10 panels and his other route races. He’s as game as they come and has a bit of tactical speed if he decides to use it. Not my first choice at this distance, but wouldn’t surprise me if he gets on the podium tonight.


Likely the speediest of the TNT quintet in here, his 5 race win streak was just snapped last out in a Champ Sprint Qualifier so he’s razor sharp right now. While he did rack up the wins leading up to this race, they were sprinting and were mostly aided with the rail draw in short fields. I do think he might have enough speed to make the front tonight, and if he get’s brave on the lead he could be a part of the gimmicks.


Just glancing over his resume and his preferred running style you might think he’s a one-run closer, especially his last score over the turf 4 back in a Champ Route Qualifier. That was an extremely impressive performance and came back with a fast time. He’s a very handy horse and seems comfortable whether on the lead, stalking, or making one run from the back. He’s extremely talented, and his versatility looms large in this race. Strong player for top honors.


The Juvenile Classic Champion is back looking for Triple Crown glory. While his form has gone south this past month, his back class and professionalism alone rates him a contender in here. He’s shown a big closing kick when drawn in a similar post. I fully expect him to be moving late once again, and if runs anything close to his Juvenile triumph he’ll figure again.


Since the “ultimate equipment change” the now more focused gelding won his last 6 decisions and more importantly 5 of those races were at tonight’s mile distance. All but one of those victories were by open lengths, including an eye-catching 1:34.63 3 length drubbing in his last. I like the fact he’s been active on the work tab this month preparing for this race. His 6F move in 108.79 opened a few eyes on the backside last month. I’m not crazy about the post, but he’s going to be very tough if he works out any kind of trip tonight.


Veteran colt has won 1/3 of his starts this season, including a couple sharp wins in the Champ Classic Qualifiers. He may be sent early from the outside as he’s had trouble from this wide in the past. I actually don’t think it would be a bad thing to be forwardly placed, but he’ll need to save something tonight as this quirky 8F distance seems to “zap” the stamina from most who make the lead. Had this race come up over the grass I’d give him a look underneath in the exotics with the poor post.


Last seen in the Half Mile Dash series finishing a well beaten 5th, that race may have been a bridge too “short” for this colt. The stretch out to a mile should improve his chances against this level. While the 12 post assignment seems like a mountain too tall, let’s not forget this runner almost broke the 7F Belmont track record last season winning the G1 Chat Room Legends in 1:20.90! He’ll need a few things to go his way drawn this wide, but his race 2 back recording a 99 speed figure over the turf, a course he was shut out in 7 starts is an encouraging sign.

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