Who’s The Boss?


The running joke on Twitter following Danza’s longshot victory at 41-1 odds in the Arkansas Derby was to ask “Who’s the Boss?”, a reference to the 1980’s sit com starring Tony Danza for whom the son of Street Boss was probably named.  But it was no joke if you decided to apply the “In Pletcher We Trust” rule of handicapping and take a stab at Danza, because the 15-1 Morning Line outsider returned a double-point bonanza of 1,988 points.

You know that if a Todd Pletcher-trained horse is 40-1 on the board, he doesn’t have much to offer in the way of past performances.  Danza was making the second start of his three-year old season and was exiting a distant third place finish at Gulfstream Park in an optional claiming event at 7 furlongs.  He raced twice at age two, earning a maiden win at Belmont Park and finishing third in a Grade 2 sprint at Saratoga.   He was trying two turns for the first time in his career and was relatively unproven at this level of competition.  His speed figures were also low in comparison to the runners he faced on Saturday.  And yet he drew off with authority to win by over 4 lengths!  My selection of Ride on Curlin and his 220 contest points for finishing second turned out to be an anti-climactic afterthought.

The other bonus race of the day was the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.  The winner was California invader Dance With Fate, who prevailed at 6-1 and generated 548 contest points for his victory.  I was torn in this race as I originally was going to select Harry’s Holiday, but switched at the last second to Vinceramos (In Pletcher We Trust).  The fact that they finished 13th and 14th in the race underscores why I have a “Quiet: Genius at Work” sign on my desk while making selections.  Aside from my struggles, it was also a rough day for Derby hopefuls Bobby’s Kitten, Bayern, Tapiture and Strong Mandate.

The maximum contest points available this week was 4,710.  Having Danza will be a “must” for a top three finish as I expect the high score to approach 3,000 points.  I’m guessing around ten people will have selected Danza?  We should be able to tell by the scores.  Next week the contest track is Keeneland and the bonus race is the Lexington Stakes.  Hope to see you here!

The Oracle


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