2017 Triple Crown Horse Racing Tips
2017 Triple Crown Contenders
With the final rounds of prep races in the books, the handicapping banter has officially started to take a more serious tone. Here are top five point earners heading into the Run for the Roses:
- 1. Girvin (won Louisiana Derby in last start)
- 2. Classic Empire (won Arkansas Derby in last start)
- 3. Gormley (won Santa Anita Derby in last start)
- 4. Irap (won Bluegrass Stakes in last start)
- 5. Irish War Cry (won Wood Memorial in last start)
While it’s nice to know who has garnered the most accolades, here are a few vital pieces of additional information for casual fans. Girvin, while the leading accumulator of points, has yet to run very fast with Beyer Speed Figures hovering in the low to mid 90’s. It’s also worth noting that no winner of the Louisiana Derby has ever gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.
While the Santa Anita Derby launched I’ll Have Another (2012) and California Chrome (2014) to Derby successes, this year’s was a week renewal as Gormley appears to have a case of the slows similar to that of Girvin. Yes, this appears to be a weaker-than-usual Kentucky Derby field, but those attaching too much significance to the first and third point earners might be heading down the wrong path.
|2017 Kentucky Derby Long Shots|
Then there’s Irap who won the Bluegrass stakes in a total shocker over the well-regarded trio of McCracken, Tapwrit and J Boy’s Echo. Problem is Irap was winless in 6 career starts before the Bluegrass and does not have an affinity for the winner’s circle according to his own trainer’s admissions. Classic Empire and Irish War Cry are legitimate contenders, but each has had his own issues on the Triple Crown trail with the former suffering from a foot abscess, back soreness and aborted training sessions and the latter throwing in a clunker race in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
To say the least, this crop of three year-olds has been a bit of an enigma, but that only adds to the appeal and allure of betting into larger pools and having the chance to capitalize on a huge payday. Among the other Kentucky Derby/Triple Crown hopefuls, here are three more names to remember:
- 1. McCracken (third in Bluegrass Stakes)
- 2. Gunnevera (third in Florida Derby)
- 3. Always Dreaming (first in Florida Derby)
The winner of the Kentucky Derby could very well come from this group of runners. In short, the previously unbeaten McCracken gets a Mulligan for his Bluegrass effort after missing some training time due to a minor ankle injury. He ran like a tired horse and may have simply needed some additional stamina. McCracken is also 2 for 2 at Churchill Downs and has been stabled at the host track for most of his career.
Critics have been unduly harsh of Gunnevera’s non-threatening third in the Florida Derby, perhaps foolishly dismissing the reality that it’s extremely difficult to close ground at Gulfstream and equally difficult to win a 1 1/8-mile race there from a wide draw.
The fact that Gunnevera, a natural closer, has run well while performing against the speed bias at Gulfstream Park in all three starts this year bodes well for this gritty colt.
Always Dreaming was very impressive while tracking the pace and powering away to win the Florida Derby. He figures to be one of the top three betting choices on the first Saturday in May, but trainer Todd Pletcher has been notoriously futile in the Kentucky Derby over the years. There’s also the fact that Always Dreaming took a huge step forward in the Florida Derby after posting unimpressive speed figures in each of his previous starts.
Bettors will have to determine whether this guy is simply getting good at the right time or whether he’s set up for regression. Either way, they will have to take a short price to find out.
Looking Ahead To Preakness and Belmont
The Triple Crown trail always comes with attrition and changes. This year has been no different. California hopeful Reach the World was being pointed towards the Belmont Stakes before his tragic life-ending injury April 22 during a training accident.
Cloud Computing and Conquest Mo Money each earned enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, but the connections of both instead opted for the Preakness Stakes.
The lack of viable stars in this year’s field seem to suggest that this is the kind of year where a different horse wins each leg of the Triple Crown for the second consecutive year.
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