Mucho Gusto and Joseph Talamo win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stake horse race Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)
Mucho Gusto and Joseph Talamo win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stake horse race Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)|Associated Press / Benoit Photo
Thoroughbreds

Horse Racing: McMudder’s Derby Thoughts and Prognostications

The Second HAGNoC (He Ain’t Got No Chance) List of 2019

Mick McMudder

Mick McMudder

Derby Fever seems to always start between the Breeder’s Cup and New Year’s Day. Not even the Pegasus and the Dubai World Cup take people away from dreaming about the first Saturday in May. To further feed the fever, Mick will be spending some time throwing out every horse that he thinks DOESN’T have a chance. Lots of people have top 10 lists and Derby Dozen lists. Mick is happy to introduce his HE AIN’T GOT NO CHANCE (HAGNoC) list….the list that will never feature the Baffert trainees before they even bother to start!

The previous list:

Game Winner (c, Candy Ride {Arg}—Indyan Giving, by A.P. Indy) Trainer: Bob Baffert.

Signalman (c, General Quarters–Trip South, by Trippi) Trainer: Kenneth G McPeek.

Improbable (c, City Zip—Rare Event, by A.P. Indy) Trainer: Bob Baffert

Code Of Honor (c, Noble Mission {GB}–Reunited, by Dixie Union) Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Coliseum (c, Tapit–Game Face, by Menifee) Trainer: Bob Baffert.

Instagrand (c, Into MischiefAssets of War, by Lawyer Ron) Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer.

Vekoma (c, Candy Ride {Arg}—Mona de Momma, by Speightstown) Trainer: George Weaver

Knicks Go (c, Paynter—Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker) Trainer: Ben Colebrook

Maximus Mischief (c, Into Mischief—Reina Maria, by Songandaprayer) Trainer: Robert E Reid, Jr.

The New Additions:

War of Will (c, War Front-Visions of Clarity (IRE), by Sadler’s Wells) Trainer: Mark Casse

So adding a last out prep race winner to the list? Absolutely. The Risen Star fell apart and he inherited the race. This one looks all the world like a turf miler when he moves and may become a great one. His current dirt form has been aided by the competition and with more opportunities for 3-year-olds to make coin on turf, look for a surface change in his future.

Win Win Win (c, Hat Trick (JPN)-Miss Smarty Pants, by Smarty Jones) Trainer: Mike Trombetta

Yes, he has a family full of classic winners (12 wins in first 5 generations) but he runs like a 7- to 8-furlong horse. Of course, he could find a different gear going two turns but he seems to benefit by making one sustained run rather than being more push button which is needed when 20 horses break together and most of them have positional issues. If there was a future book for the King’s Bishop (now the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes), this would be Mick’s horse.

Omaha Beach (c, War Front-Charming, by Seeking the Gold) Trainer: Richard Mandella

Another high quality ONE TURN horse. The dam is from a stellar family (Take Charge Lady and her descendants) but this one runs like he wants the lead and you better get out of his way. That puts him in a bad place when it comes to Churchill since overcoming barriers is usually more important than leading at the first turn. With all of that said, his one big chance would be to get a soft pace and take a field all the way. Unfortunately, there will be others with the same idea.

Super Steed (c, Super Saver-Totally Tucker, by Elusive Quality) Trainer: Larry Jones

Finally, a two turn horse but one that has shown he can win while going slow. Yes, his pa won the Derby but this guy was on fumes at 8 ½ furlongs in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. Understanding that it’s early, he looks like a really good one run type that will find success in the 8- to 9-furlong range but will get his name called in the classics without bringing home the hardware. This horse reminds Mick of Hard Spun, another Larry Jones trainee that was very game but struggled to see out two turn races at the highest level after leading at the mile. Of course, Hard Spun did just fine for himself.

Somelikeithotbrown (c, Big Brown-Marilyn Monroan, by Tapit) Trainer: Mike Maker

Turf . . . and really good on turf. The all-weather at Turfway Park might as well be turf based on the horses that take to the surface. Yes, he is a good looking, scopey sort that connections may want to try on Derby Day but the better fit may be the American Turf on the undercard and then follow it with the Turf Trinity in NY. With juvenile turf winner Line of Duty (IRE) slated to stay home for the year and contest the European classics, there will be lots of opportunities for Somelikeithotbrown (and Uncle Benny) on turf.

Alwaysmining (g, Stay Thirsty-What Will Be, by Anees) Trainer: Kelly Rubley

This one took a while to find his way and Mick hates that he is on the list since it means another Mid Atlantic horse is out of contention. Ultimately, he is a really good 7f horse and has neither the running style nor the scope to get the classic distances. Another great King’s Bishop horse although a trip to the Preakness would not be out of the question since he could use his agility to navigate the tighter turns at Pimlico and would certainly face a smaller field.

So who is still on Mick’s Future Pool chart?

Soldado, Global Campaign, Hidden Scroll, Dream Maker, Country House, Avie’s Flatter, Cairo Cat, Long Range Toddy, Long Range Toddy, Mucho Gusto, Nolo Contesto, Complexity, Gunmetal Gray, Network Effect, Plus Que Parfait and of course, the logical winner….some unstarted colt standing around Baffert’s barn at this very moment.

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