May 1, 2010

Mission Impazible No Longer for Todd?

As I slowly drifted into a Derby Eve slumber, one name kept rolling through my mind. Surprisingly it was not my top pick, Awesome Act. Nor was it the horse to beat, Lookin at Lucky, or the Girl Power entrant, Devil May Care. It wasn’t even Calvin Borel’s strong entry, Super Saver. Rather my brain was stuck on one name…Mission Impazible. Interesting. What does it all mean? As only a minor believer in the value of hunches or premonitions, I greet this bedtime revelation with skeptical optimism. The good news is that Mission Impazible was already one of my Fab Five, and even better he is clearly the longest shot of the bunch. I have him in several live tickets in Derby Future Exactas, and Oaks-Derby Doubles, so a Mission Impazible victory would be a nice collect. As you may have guessed, the other four members of my Fab Five are the same four mentioned at the beginning of this piece, and I believe the horse that becomes the 136th champion of the Kentucky Derby will be one the five.

With the expected fast pace materializing, I see this as a race that will be very hard for any speed horse to win. Benefiting from the tiring leaders should be the English invader Awesome Act. The son of Awesome Again is well suited to appreciate the grueling late stages of the Kentucky Derby, and his explosive turn of foot should give him every chance as the horse turn for home. Broodmare sire Mr. Prospector, also gives Awesome Act a great chance to thrive on an off track. I expect him to redeem himself for a poor Wood Memorial, where everything went wrong, and premonition or not, he is still my top pick. Lookin at Lucky is hard to ignore. He is bred for the trip, is the juvenile champion, and he is consistent as they come. If not for bad racing luck, Lucky could have an even better record than the excellent 8-6-1-1 that he has compiled. Drawing the 1 post did him no favors, and an off track could compromise his chances, but it should come as no surprise to anyone to see the Bob Baffert trained champion end up in the winner’s circle.  Mission Impazible is a bit of a wildcard, but one with much to like. The son of the mercurial sire Unbridled’s Song has a racing pattern that I like to see in the Derby. He displayed a ton of talent early in his juvenile season and then was put on the shelf with minor physical problems. In his three races this year, he has shown steady improvement culminating with a win in the Louisiana Derby. He is working well, and has solid wet track experience. All in all he is a very attractive longshot. Devil May Care is another who is a bit of unknown. You never know for sure if the filly will be good enough to handle the boys, but clearly recent history is in her corner. Like Mission Impazible, she should get a favorable position in the middle of the pack. She has displayed clear signs of being a good one with wins in the Frizette and Bonnie Miss, and possibly as much as anyone in the field, may have the ability to still improve a great deal. She won her last race nicely, despite running greenly, and Pletcher has always said that she will relish a distance. Rounding out my Fab Five is Super Saver. The only speed horse I have selected, Super Saver has the advantage of excellent experience over both a sloppy track and over the Churchill Downs strip. He has two solid preps under his belt and should be ready to fire his best shot. The pace scenario does worry me a little, but there is no one I would rather have in the irons on Derby Day than Calvin Borel. Super Saver looks the part and is bred to be a Derby winner. At this time it looks like he may be vying for favoritism, but he has too many positives to overlook even if he is a little overbet.

Happy Derby Day everyone. Win, lose, or draw, I hope you all enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports all day long.


malcer said...

Super Saver's name is also interesting, given that 'super saving' on the rail when the pacemakers drift out is the one way I can see him pose a threat. I didn't pick him as one of my two or three, but of the early speed he is the only one I can reasonably imagine to still be around at the 16th-pole, simply because he can also rate comfortably enough.

Mark Moran said...

Excellent analysis, Brian. Like you, I put MI in my top 5, and have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to wish I rated him much higher. The only name I think you're missing is American Lion, whose IL Derby win is better than it looks.

LDP said...

Solid Selection, very solid. I have a top four, but if i included a fifth and sixt horse I would probably put on Mission Impazible and Super Saver. My top four are LAL, DMC, Dublin, and AL. This Derby in particular is really well matched, there are just some many to chose from!