Harry's Holiday Odds to Win the 2014 Kentucky Derby with Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 4/23/2014
When the prep races were over, Harry's Holiday was well outside of the Top 20 in points and didn't have a spot in the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby. The defections and injuries have been coming in bulk, unfortunately, and now he is ready to go.
This horse is proof that you don't have to have had a dominant spring to earn the points to make this race. In fact, this horse is proof that you can be pretty underwhelming and still make the field. You can already tell I'm not his biggest fan. However, can Harry's Holiday win the Kentucky Derby? The oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag certainly aren't any more convinced than I am. Harry's Holiday's odds to win the Kentucky Derby sit at +7500, which falls behind only Vinceremos at +9000 among potential Derby starters.
When trying to determine whether this horse offers any value at all at this fat price, here are five factors to consider:
The Blue Grass Stakes: If you believe in judging a horse by his last race then you are really not going to be a fan of this guy. His outing in the Blue Grass Stakes was almost impossibly bad. He broke well and was in the mix for about six furlongs, sitting just off a pace that was solid but not blazing. After that point, though, he hit a wall - hard - and faded to second last. It was a horrible, horrible outing.
You can discount it somewhat because the race was on a synthetic surface, and form in that race just doesn't translate to the Derby at all. That's not enough to make this horse even remotely attractive in my eyes, though.
Prior experience: It was a second in the Spiral Stakes last time out that got this horse into the Derby field. He was just a nose behind We Miss Artie, who he will face again in the Derby. Each of his last four starts have been on a synthetic surface.
When a horse starts on dirt and then shifts to the fake stuff after several starts then the trainer usually has a good reason for it - mostly that he doesn't like the horse on dirt. That's a real concern here, though his first two starts were on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
He won his debut, which was oddly in a claiming race - he was claimed for $30,000. He was second next time out.
Ownership: Dr. Harvey Diamond is a member of the partnership that owns this horse. He is a doctor in Louisville, and he is looking to become the first Louisville resident since 1906 to win the biggest event in that great city.
Trainer: Mike Maker learned his game from the best. He was a long-time assistant for D. Wayne Lukas and was heavily involved in working with Charismatic during his near-miss of the Triple Crown. He has been on his own for the last decade. Over that time he has had a handful of Derby horses, but he has not come close to the success of his mentor yet.
He is on track to have three attempts this year, though. Besides this horse, Maker also trains Vicar's In Trouble and General a Rod.
Breeding: Harry's Holiday is a son of Harlan's Holiday, a disappointing seventh in the 2002 Derby. I'd love to get the money I bet on him back. His son, Denis of Cork, finished third in the Derby in 2008, but for the most part the success of his progeny has come at shorter distances.
He's not a disaster from a stamina perspective, but he could be better. This isn't the only test for Harlan's Holiday in this race - Intense Holiday is a son as well. Harry's Holiday's damsire is Orientate - a very good horse, but one who won the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2002 and has passed along some stamina limitations. The best sign of hope for this horse is that he is a three-quarter brother to sire Into Mischief. He had Goldencents and Vyjack in the Derby last year out of his first crop, though both disappointed. This year Vicar's In Trouble is a son of Into Mischief.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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