This Saturday sees the running of the premier race of the Indiana Grand race schedule, with the running if the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.
Breeders' Cup: Untapable Looks Beatable Despite Cotillion Win
Its hard to be overly critical of Untapables September 20 win in the $1 million Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx, but with the Breeders’ Cup Distaff just around the corner, the forward-thinking handicapper must now consider whether Untapable is the super horse she was thought to be earlier in the racing season, or merely a vulnerable short-priced favorite on Breeders’ Cup Friday. Of course, the truth could also lie somewhere in between those extremes.
When Untapable’s connections decided to run her against the boys in the Grade 1 Haskell, it was a logical move. The filly had reeled off four consecutive graded stakes victories against the three year-old filly division and looked like the next Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta – a horse unlikely to be tested by her own gender. In those four races no filly came closer than four and a half lengths to Untapable – and that was in the Kentucky Oaks where she earned a 107 Beyer figure sparking debate that she would have given California Chrome all he wanted the next day in the Kentucky Derby.
Declining speed figures may tell the story
Untapable returned June 28 to win the Grade 1 Mother Goose by nine and a quarter lengths despite earning a Beyer figure of 96 against four overmatched foes. Untapable then came back in the Haskell to run fifth (95 Beyer) behind Bayern who won the Pennsylvania Derby September 20 at Parx in impressive fashion. For many, this was the end of the Rachel Alexandra/Zenyatta comparisons as the chinks in Untapable’s armor had been exposed.
Let the debate begin
The Cotillion victory was a step in the right direction for Untapable, but she certainly did not look as dominant as she had against the three year-old filly division, beating Sweet Reason by just a length after drifting wide around the final turn to earn a 94 Beyer. Handicappers now have a little over a month to debate why Untapable has earned three consecutive sub-100 Beyer speed figures after posting triple digit numbers in each of her previous three races. If Untapable is, in fact, a step slower, she could represent a key “bet against” horse in the Distaff next month as she faces Close Hatches and other talented runners.
Players looking to create betting value in the 2016 Preakness May 21 at Pimlico face a familiar dilemma in horse racing: create value underneath the heavy favorite or decide whether the heavy favorite is beatable for the top spot.
On Thursday at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby week festivities will begin with the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes. The five-furlong contest has drawn a field of nine two-year-olds.
Likely a top three betting choice in the Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator is a bit of a puzzling case as handicappers begin the process of sorting out contenders in the weeks leading up to the big race.