The goal of the Derby Dollars Contest, sponsored by Stats Race Lens, 123bet.com and the Paulick Report, is to score points as if we were wagering to win, place and show. There are 11 races left in the contest, plus the Kentucky Derby.
This week's race is the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. This is the last race in the contest in which scoring is based on mythical $2 win, place and show payoffs. Starting next week, scores will be based on $4 win, place and show payoffs.
Based on a contested early pace scenario in which need-the-lead type Uncontested will be challenged by Royal Mo (whose hand will be forced by his outside post), Malagacy may be in a perfect spot early to take advantage of the situation as the early leaders get tired. Malagacy has only run twice in his career to date but in both efforts he exuded quality, winning his January debut by 15 lengths before a seven length win in his only other race, earning a 111 Equibase Figure.
To put that into perspective, American Anthem earned a 115 figure when inches shy of victory in the Sham Stakes in the second start of his career. Todd Pletcher has proven capable of spotting when his 3-year-olds are ready for this level, most recently when One Liner shipped in to take the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park last month. Although Malagacy has never run in a route, the key is using the Individual Research component of Stats Race Lens to determine Pletcher's acumen with stretching horses out to a route for the first time in a graded stakes over the last five years. He has a strong record of 14 for 54 with a $3.02 return for every $2 bet to win in this situation.
Petrov stalked the pacesetter in the Southwest, moved nicely to lead with an eighth of a mile to go, then settled for second as One Liner drew off late. Having improved his Equibase figure in every race since his debut, to a career best 111 in the Southwest, it is not hard to imagine Petrov moving past the tiring pacesetters on the turn and battling down to the wire in the Rebel. Petrov is bred to improve as the distances increase so with a decent showing here and in the longer Arkansas Derby next month, he could be one to reckon with on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. An interesting trainer statistic from Stats Race Lens is trainer Ron Moquett has used jockey Jose Ortiz just 13 times since the start of the year at Oaklawn Park, winning with four different horses.
American Anthem, like Malagacy, has only run twice, and both were “A” efforts. He won his debut gamely by making up 3 1/2 lengths in the final eighth, then when sent two turns for the first time in the Sham, American Anthem set or battled on a fast early pace and drew off with Gormley, eventually losing by a head. The 115 figure earned in the Sham is the best figure earned by any entrant in the Rebel. American Anthem doesn't need the early lead so it is likely jockey Mike Smith will take him to near the rail and let the pacesetters do their thing before he asks the colt for his best. It must be noted, however, that Sham winner Gormley disappointed badly off that effort when fourth in the San Felipe Stakes last weekend. On the other hand, considering trainer Bob Baffert has won six of the last seven editions of the Rebel, you can pretty much be assured American Anthem will not suffer a similar fate.
My Derby Dollars contest play in the San Felipe Stakes will be Malagacy
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