DMR Derby Has Small But Sneaky Strong Field

DMR Derby (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
DMR- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
September 3, 2017

The field is small for this years running of the DMR Derby, a Grade 2 event on the grass that runs for the 15th time. It’s never really been a race that has drawn big fields here, however, and there have been a couple times where the race has gone with only three runners. One of them was in the very first race, way back in 2003, and the horse that finished second that day was still a very young Alpha Ultimo. As for those who won the race, the list of past winners has some very good names on it, but none of them are a true stand out. This field of five follows along that theme, as none of them can be called stand outs yet. What it is, is a pretty good looking race between up and coming horses.  I think this is going to be an exciting race. Let’s meet the field!

#1- Klink (Langley Farms, ridden by L M Ocasio)- On the rail, Klink comes into this race off of a huge six length win. However, it was a free race and a $30 claimer, so we’ll have to temper our excitement of that win. He also only carried 114 pounds in that race, which was his turf debut. Prior to that, his last run at a pay track came at FL, in a MSW, and he ran seventh on the main track, losing by eight lengths. He’s not as bad that suggests, but not as good as his free track win suggests either. Let’s see where in the middle he ends up.

#2- Hrudey (Axeman, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- Hrudey looks like he may be able to be the King of the race based on the form he carries into it. His $159.410 in career earnings is more then double what the second highest earner has accumulated. He does have an ungraded stake win to his credit, taking the $100.000 Sophomore turf at TAM, but he has not been able to pick up his game at the graded level. Most recently, he attempted the Grade 1 BEL Derby, which does say a lot. He finished in the middle of the field there, however, and never posed a threat to the top horses in the division. The competition is no where near that good here, but it’s not the minor leagues, either.

#3- Striped Maple (Mb Stables, ridden by A A Gallardo)- The Cthulu gelding has won just one of eleven career starts, coming modestly at SAC in CA-bred maiden early in his career. He’s had some good runs here and there, and was once the subject of a huge private sales transaction as Mb Stables acquired him from Eastern Equine for $450.000 this January. So far, the trainer has not gotten much of a return on his investment, but that may change here. Striped Maple will make his turf debut in this race, and his works on the grass coming into this race are eye opening. If he backs up those works in the race, then he gets the job done in the DMR Derby. However, great works are nothing new to him. It’s time to show up on race day if he wants to score on Hrudey!

#4- Todays Story (Mb Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- The second Mb Stables entry has won just once in nine career starts, but that is just a small part of the story for this one. Todays Story has been one of seconditis, with five consecutive runner up finishes, and two of them were in Grade 3’s. In June, he played second fiddle in $100.000 Aristides BC, then a month later in the $125.000 Vigil Stakes, it was more of the same. Both of those results saw him lose by less then a length, so we could be talking about a two-time graded winner here with a little more luck. After a disappointing race, he heads to the grass where he has only been once previously. I see another second place in his future. Not a big problem of course, as Alpha Ultimo was once second in this too.

#5- Rookaholic (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by R Bejarano)- We round out this field with an experienced runner on the grass in Rookaholic, and he has been on great form lately. Following an allowance in March, it seemed like Rookaholic finally figured out how this racing thing works, and turned in an much improved performance en route to winning a LAD allowance. From there, the trainer stepped him up in class, and he has responded well thus far, just missing in a WO optional claimer, and then running second in the Grade 2 MTH Stakes, earning a 101 SRF, which is the highest number recorded by anyone in this field. He’ll run well here, and is my pick to win.

Prediction: 5-4-3-2

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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