Past the Wire’s 2021 Kentucky Derby Radar

November 27, 2020

Edition 1, 11/27/2020

This is where you’ll find Jonathan Stettin’s #P6K’s Kentucky Derby Radar horses.

We’ll take you all the way to the first Saturday in May.

This is no Derby Dozen or voluminous list, that’s not our style. We’re professionals.Quality over quantity.

We’ll provide 5 or 6 horses each edition, continuously, right up to the Derby.

We’ll try and identify the contenders and pretenders and eventually the winner!

We may even offer some pretenders.

Let’s see how early the 2021 Kentucky Derby makes our Kentucky Derby Radar!

Enjoy our video introduction:

Well it looks like the 2021 Kentucky Derby will be back to the traditional first Saturday in May. Whether we have fans or not remains to be seen but we know we will have the horses and that is what counts.

The Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports for a reason. Many reasons actually, not the least of which is a whole lot of money is at stake and will change hands. You just have to be right.

We all know the Kentucky Derby is not always won by the best horse, just the best horse that day and who gets the trip and the breaks. They have to come ready and so do you if you want a chance at a score.

While I am not a fan of advance Kentucky Derby wagers, if you are so inclined perhaps these columns will assist you in spotting some contenders. I like to put horses on my radar that are under the radar for everyone else. That said we can’t overlook a likely winner or prime contender. We will have a nice mix of possibilities. As for futures I’d want 75 or 100-1 minimum on any horse at this point. Remember there is always, yes always value to be had come Derby Day when we know who is in the gate.

To the matters at hand. Let’s suit up, get our game faces on and see what we have at this very early juncture.

The fact of the matter is nobody is better than Bob Baffert getting a horse to the Kentucky Derby. Two Triple Crown winners, and horses that seem to just grab the attention and hype year after year. Last year he had Charlatan, Nadal, and Authentic all looking strong early on. Authentic won the war of attrition and ultimately the Run for the Roses. This year he unveiled a horse that looked as fast and as exciting as any in recent memory in the aptly named Life Is Good. Bob has a way not only with Derby runners but with sires. He turned City Zip into a sire who could produce mile and a quarter horses like Collected and Improbable and also got the already white hot but distance questioned Into Mischief his first Kentucky Derby winner. Life Is Good is another Into Mischief. He is out of the Distorted Humor mare Beach Walk. This colt broke running and running fast on debut. It looked like Mike Smith tried briefly and in vain to slow him down a tad on the backstretch but Life Is Good would have none of it so Mike let him roll. He smoked the field with ease going 22.4, 44.4, 1:09, and 1:15.2 for the six and a half furlongs. 9 plus lengths at the wire on cruise control. No surprises here this colt is deservedly on everyone’s Kentucky Derby radar. You can’t beat what you can’t catch.

Things get a little more interesting with the second horse on my Kentucky Derby radar. Funny to say that as he is Breeders’ Cup winner, but it was a turf race. Fire At Will is intriguing. I don’t know if he will point for the Derby or not as he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He’s by Declaration of War who I like a lot on any surface out of a Kitten’s Joy mare and we know Kitten’s Joys run on anything. He won the off the turf With Anticipation at Saratoga. He can show speed, sit, or even close and he likes to win. He has some nice and valuable two-year old bottom to him. I think he will improve with more distance and he is very high on my list.

Speaker’s Corner brought a lot of hype and morning buzz to his debut which he lost. I’m OK with that. It was at Saratoga and Bill Mott is patient. Mott can definitely have them ready but he won’t crank one up favoring letting them do it on their natural ability. It turned out to be a key race, and Speaker’s Corner was a winner next time out. He was put away for his three-year old season and will likely surface in Florida at the Gulfstream meet. He is a Godolphin homebred by Street Sense out of a Bernardini mare. I like everything about him especially how he finished and galloped out when he broke his maiden after a pretty wide trip.

Caddo River lost to Speaker’s Corner but exploded with a 9 plus length win over the Churchill Downs track right after it. It validated Speaker’s Corner to me and also announced this colt as an up and coming Hard Spun out of the Congrats mare Pangburn. Owned by John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable and John has been at this a long time going back to Loblolly Stable and all those runners like Temperence Hill. I think he has a nice one here and you can’t help but notice a 9 length score over the Derby track. Speed or stalk is his style at this point and that type tends to get good trips which we know is crucial on the first Saturday in May.

Could this be Godolphin’s Kentucky Derby year? Essential Quality is another homebred for them. I loved his debut and he made his way off that trip to TRACKING TRIPS our trip note service, your second set of trained eyes, and the best value in the game. This is what we had to say about his debut:

YOUR NOTES: 9/5/2020, Churchill Downs, Race 4- Broke a bit slow on debut, was forced to weave through traffic and dart inside and out and when clear had a strong burst past the field, acted like he was experienced and can definitely run. 10 FIG 5 +

He followed that up with a win in the Breeders’ Futurity and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He makes a lot of sense. A Tapit out of an Elusive Quality mare, he deserves to be on the radar screen.

Mandaloun was most impressive to me in his debut. He is probably not on a lot of people’s lists just yet but he is on my radar and also made the TRACKING TRIPS list off the debut. Here are my notes on his first race:

YOUR NOTES: 10/24/2020, Keeneland, Race 10- Impressive debut, ran like an experienced horse bulling way through, has some ability 10 FIG 4 +

He’s a Juddmonte homebred by Into Mischief out of an Empire Maker mare. I like the cross but more importantly I love how h was tough and bulled his way though the Keeneland debut. He took plenty of money that day so he is well regarded. I believe he’s a runner!

Honorable Mention:

The other Bob Baffert horse. I don’t know who it is, and you probably don’t either. With Bob you almost always know he has another one in the barn developing and flying under the radar for now. Will he need it? We’ll see but if he does my bet is he will come up with something. Nobody does it better.

My early “not so much” horses.

Jackie’s Warrior. I am not ready to give up on his being a very nice and very fast horse. I did not like how he handled two turns. A mile and a quarter at two turns he will have to prove it to me.

Highly Motivated is on a lot of lists. Not mine. I like him a lot, he’s fast and looks like quality speed. He looks like a one turn type to me at least early on.

Midnight Bourbon has to show me more, a lot more.

Red Flag was impressive but is another who looks like he wants shorter than the Derby distance.

Click Here to view the Kentucky Derby point leaders to date.

We’ll be back with updates.

Past the Wire has you all the way to the first Saturday in May!

Contributing Authors

Jon Stettin

Jonathan’s always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. Growing up around the game, he came about as close as anyone...

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