Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2

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D.S. Williamson

February 16th, 2016

The field closed as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2 at 5/2. Horsplayers bet over $72,000 on the field in Pool 2. A close second choice is the Kiaran McLaughlin trained Mohaymen. If the pool hadn't closed until after the San Vicente this past Monday, Nyquist, last year's Breeders Cup Juvenile winner, might have fought Mohaymen for favoritism. Nyquist ended up at 7/1 and a solid third choice in the Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2.

Even with the point system, contenders are still running in races that don't offer any points at all. Destin easily won the Sam F. Davis Stakes over Pool 2 participant Gettysburg. Since he's trained by Todd Pletcher and sired by Giant's Causeway, Destin has every right to become a solid Derby contender. According to the Tampa Bay TimesDestin's next race could be the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 12. No doubt it was Destin and Frank Conversation, the Doug O'Neil trained winner of the El Camino Real Derby over the weekend that led to the field being the favorite in Kentucky Derby Pool 2.

Below are some thoughts on some of the other horses from Pool 2.

Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2

The Faves
Mohaymen, 4/1 - Close to $50,000 was bet on Mohaymen in Pool 2 to win the 2016 Kentucky Derby. His win in the Holy Bull Stakes on January 30 was impressive enough to make him a solid second choice after the field. By solid, I mean that even American Pharoah went off at 5 to 1 in the 2015 Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 3. Mohaymen is at 4/1 in Pool 2. Although Tapit is the world's leading sire, he has never produced a Derby winner. Not only that, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has never won the Derby, either. Is Mohaymen that good?  Maybe. The odds are awfully short to find out this early in the game.
Nyquist, 7/1 - The Doug O'Neil trainee garnered over $29,500 in Pool 2 to win on the First Saturday in May. He would have garnered more money if Pool 2 had been left open through Monday. The BC Juvenile winner looked good when winning the San Vicente stakes over fellow Pool 2 participant Exaggerator. He looked good. He didn't look great. There's something iffy about his action that I didn't really notice before. I'm curious to see how far his gigantic heart will take him because I'm not so sure about his ability to even get to 1 1/8 miles, much less 1 1/4 miles.

The Movers
Mor Spirit, 12/1 - It's hard to say anything bad about Mor Spirit's Robert B. Lewis win. He did exactly what a horse is supposed to do, stay behind the speed and then run past it when his jockey gives him the cue. The upside on More Spirit appears to be tremendous. He doesn't seem to change leads as smoothly as he could. He also runs incredibly relaxed. Bob Baffert has another top contender for the Run for the Roses. Over $19,000 was bet on Mor Spirit in Pool 2 to win the Derby.
Brody's Cause, 15/1 - He hasn't run since finishing third to Nyquist and Swipe in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. He still got a ton of play in the Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2. Bettors laid down close to $16,200 onto the Dale Roman's charge to win the Derby. Romans might be playing with fire. Brody's Cause is scheduled to run in one prep, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.  15/1 are low odds on a horse that has to put up or shut up in his very first race in 2016.
Airoforce, 16/1 - The Mark Casse trainee opened Pool 2 at 20 to 1. He dropped to 16 to 1 by the time that the pool had closed. His win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes was impressive. But, what was more impressive was his second place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. Airoforce runs in this weekend's Risen Star Stakes where he'll face Mo Tom and Gun Runner, 2 of his foes from his Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes win. Horseplayers bet close to $15,000 on Airoforce in Pool 2

The Longshot
Awesome Banner, 53/1 - It's hard to believe that less than $5,000 was bet on the Hutcheson winner in Pool 2 to win on the First Saturday in May. The way that he won the Hutcheson implies that he could be a freak. Will he get the distance?  Who knows? Trainer Stanley Gold and owners Jacks or Better Farm Inc. have no fear. Awesome Banner's first race around 2 turns is likely to be the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 27 where he'll face Mohaymen.

The final 2 weeks in February should be telling. This weekend is the Risen Star Stakes where Airoforce will try to move up the Derby rankings. The final weekend of February should showcase Mohaymen once again. Is Awesome Banner good enough to hand the solid Kentucky Derby favorite his first loss? The Road to the Kentucky Derby has already been hot. It's getting hotter.

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