Untrapped had to wait to get his spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. In fact, as I write this he isn't technically even in, but two horses above him are poised to scratch and he needs only one to make way for him. While he will take the spot if it is offered, and you can't blame any owner or trainer who gives the race a shot, this is one of those horses who seems like he would be more appropriately aimed for a different spot than this one. Every horse needs to have a very good day to win the Derby, but a horse like this needs to have the race of his life, and he needs a lot of other horses to struggle. I don't want to spoil this preview before it even starts, but I won't be betting on this runner.
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Last race: A lot of these horses in the Derby this year have a dud race or two in their past performances. For Untrapped, the last outing certainly goes in that category. It was just awful. In the Arkansas Derby he was off the pace in the first turn like he usually is. He went four wide entering the stretch and looked like he was starting to make a move, but he had nothing to give, and after getting up into fourth he faded to sixth at the line. There's just nothing positive to say about the race - it was a poor performance without a major excuse.
Prior experience: Luckily the rest of the horse's career was a lot more impressive than the Arkansas Derby - not that that's hard. He started his career in October at Keeneland and then broke his maiden a month later at Churchill Downs. It's a real positive that he likes the track. From there he waited until the New Year and headed south to make his stakes debut. He was a solid second at Fair Grounds in both the LeComte and the Risen Star, finishing behind Derby rival Girvin in the latter. Next he headed to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel. He finished third but was fighting for the lead in the stretch, so the fade at the end was a concern. And then came that Arkansas Derby stinker. He has not looked comfortable late in his last two, so there are distance concerns. Major concerns. And while he has been competitive in three of his four stakes races he has yet to be good enough, and now he's taking another step forward. It's tough to get too excited.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen knows a thing or two about winning - no active trainer has more career wins, and only one guy has ever won more races. Asmussen is just about 1,800 races behind Dale Baird, and he's only 51, so it feels like a lock that he will be the all-time best before he's done. Asmussen has not won a Kentucky Derby yet, but he won the Preakness with Curlin and Rachel Alexandra and the Belmont last year with Creator, so he is certainly capable of winning these races. He could have as many as three horses in the race this year - Hence is in for sure, and this colt and Lookin at Lee are trying to sneak in.
Jockey: There hasn't been a jockey named yet as I write this, but we know it won't be one of his last two writers. Mike Smith rode him last time out but jumped to Girvin for the Derby, and Jose Ortiz, who was aboard for the Rebel, opted for Tapwrit - another colt coming off a lousy Derby prep performance. Ricardo Santana Jr. rode the colt for the first four outings, and Asmussen could go back to him, but I suspect he'll look for a more experienced jockey first.
Breeding: Untrapped is a son of Trappe Shot, who finished second in the Haskell Invitational in 2010, but had his best performances - such as they were - at a mile. He is a son of Tapit, and though he's a young sire this is already his second Derby starter - My Man Sam was an also-ran last year. He's a nice horse with strong breeding, but I question the stamina influence he passes on. Tapit has sired two Belmont winners, though, so maybe all is not lost. His damsire is Giant's Causeway. He has been North America's leading sire three times, but most of his success has come at eight and nine furlongs, so distance concerns come from both sides of the pedigree. Combine those concerns with what we have seen late in the races and you can't help but wonder if he'll have anything left for the final furlong in Louisville.
Odds: BetOnline is not any more optimistic about this horse than I am. At +5500 to win the race he is at longer odds than every runner besides the hopeless Fast and Accurate. In the final Kentucky Derby future wager, which was held before the Arkansas Derby by Churchill Downs, he went off at the massive price of 72/1. If for some reason you like this horse then you will be happy with the price on Derby day.
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