The BEL Derby Invitational – Grade I (P7)
BEL Race #6 1 1/4m InTurf Graded Stake
Purse $1,200.000 For Three Year Olds.
1 Punching Bag, trained by Mb Stables
Lightly raced this son of Son Of laggy won his maiden nicely before being beaten at Allowance level 5 weeks later. On that form it would be a struggle to make a case for him but his last start when just getting up to win the Snow Chief Stakes in a fast time suggests there is some latent ability. His work times are right up there and the way this game works sometimes he could be the obvious choice.
2 Decibel, trained by Threshold
Another that won his maiden and then got beat in an Allowance, he came back in his last start to grab a narrow victory at that same level but is untested against this caliber. He has one of the fastest mile works in the field and much the same applies to him as Punching Bag.
3 Ye Charley, trained by Smokey Stover
Bought for $1,000.000 after winning the Shakertown he then just scraped home in an ungraded race before running on for a good third in the PEN Mile. That last start suggested this trip may be right up his alley and he is working well enough to get right in the finish. The reigning BC Juvenile turf champ, the trainer will be hoping for some pay back for their investment from this son of Charley Farley.
4 Pain, trained by John Henry
Inches behind Ye Charley in the PEN Mile when fourth he has been gradually improving since being beaten by four lengths in the BC Juvenile turf. Another that has some purchase price to pay back he too has been working strongly and will be amongst the top fancies.
5 Solow, trained by Blushing Meadows
It was a bit of a surprise when this one took the American Turf but he proved that was no flash in the pan when running a huge race from on the speed in the Shoemaker Mile last time out. Another who is working well enough to win he is trained by one of the most astute trainers in the game and will be ready to run a big race.
6 Serious Cobra, trained by Aer Stables
Well beaten by Solow in the American Turf he then ran a cracker in the PEN Mile to be second. Drawn wide he got the wide gate speed push so it was no surprise to see him weakening at the end but he kept on well enough to hold off the other challengers and i liked that effort. Again his works are strong enough and a better draw today may see him turn the tables on some of his rivals.
7 Summertime Blues, trained by TwinTowersRacing
In a stellar field it is hard to rule anyone out but this nice sort looks like he may need more time to catch up the likes of these. He ran pretty well to be third in the AP Classic after winning his maiden but he was beaten a fair way and it looks safe to put a line through his name.
8 Check Matie, trained by Chili King Stables
Another who meets a field that will be too good he won nicely last time out at claiming level but that shouldnt be good enough to beat most of these.
9 Taniwha, trained by Yahudi Stables
Highly touted after an easy maiden win last time he has been working like a champ but has yet to really prove that on the racecourse. He joins a couple on the question mark list as his work times are as good as the best of these but we just dont know whether he has the hidden class gene required to run at this level.
10 Darth Andedudu, trained by Diablo Diablo
He is much better than his form suggests having mixed turf and dirt racing with some success. A good winner at ungraded level last time he had previously run well in the SA Derby when sixth. His work times suggest turf isnt a problem to him and he will love this trip so he may turn out to be a surprise package.
11 Sinister Sunset, trained by Canadian Racing
Took his maiden by no less than nine lengths before being nutted by Punching Bag in the Snow Chief but still has only 4 starts to his name so is mostly an unknown quantity. Again his work times suggest he is up to this as long as he has the class gene and he has to go firmly on the question mark list.
12 Clockwork Chai, trained by Mb Stables
Undoubtedly the best turf miler in the game at the moment he has won his last five in a row finishing with a very easy win in the PEN Mile last time out. From work times to form this one should win but this is a big field and of course HRP, so a win is by no means certain.
13 Hrudley, trained by Axeman
Ran very well when fourth in the San Francisco Mile but may find this top field too hot for him today. An honest type with good work times he is no forlorn hope but it would be a surprise to see him winning.
14 Atletico, trained by Our Athletes
Looked set for a good charge at the TC after winning the LA Derby but was then dealt a double blow in both the KYD and the BEL by being given very tough wide draws. He gets the car park for the third time in a row here and his trainer must be asking what this horse has done to deserve such treatment. He has ability and his turf work suggested he can act on this surface so its not beyond the realms of possibility that he will have a chance.
With pretty much all the horses running within a second of each other on the one mile work track this wont be down to the fastest worker but rather how the track is playing and who gets a decent trip. Normally i would be writing off the wide draws but this track has been favouring the wide centre track and there has been a definite shift towards closers recently so it may not be the death trap it was.
Taking all that into account there are two ways to look at this race. The ones that havent proven themselves but have the work times and those that have the proven class and form. In the first category we have the likes of Sinister Sunset, Taniwha, Decibel and Punching Bag. In the second category we have Ye Charley, Serious Cobra and Clockwork Chai. Of course there is a third catagorey and that is everything else who rate no more than a length behind those runners on work times and form so all in all we have a super race but one that it is very hard to find a winner in.
Good luck to all in what is a serious race and great curtain raiser for the run up to the BC Turf Mile.