Though the best three-year olds in California are all going to be passing on the first Derby prep race of the year, there are still several who are beginning their quest to break into the field at the Kentucky Derby. There aren't many Derby points up for the taking at the Sham Stakes, but the winner is sure to head to the San Felipe Stakes in February where the real fun begins on the road to the Triple Crown.
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1: Rare Candy
2: Dressed in Hermes
3: Let's Meet in Rio
4: Found Money
5: Semper Fortis
Found Money and Dressed in Hermes are the two top colts in this field per Prime Power, and they're likely to be the favorites when the morning line odds finally come out for the Sham Stakes. However, it's tough to envision much of anything in terms of an overwhelming favorite even though this is a relatively short field of just nine contenders.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
The fact that I'malreadythere hit the board at the Los Alamitos Futurity, a race which was won by one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby right now, Mor Spirit, is encouraging. Sure, that 87 Beyer Speed Rating wasn't all that great, and the field only had eight horses in it, but the Los Alamitos is a big time Grade 1 race. This is a big step in the opposite direction from that, but the field is certainly beatable.
The price on I'malreadythere is going to be good at probably around 4 to 1 or so, and though he won't be the favorite, he'll certainly be amongst the top three contenders and will be a threat with Rafael Bejarano onboard.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
Bob Baffert has a ton of California colts he's training this year who could be in the Derby, and the fact that he's bringing Collected here to the Sham Stakes tells us he thinks he has another lightning bolt set to come in from the outside.
Collected has never run on the dirt in his life, but he has two really good starts on grass. He's a frontrunner by nature, and that could play right into the hands of jockey Martin Garcia who prefers keeping his ponies at the front of the field anyway by nature.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
It's tough to take a horse from the grass to the dirt at such a young age and have him be competitive, but Baffert knows what he's doing, and he wouldn't have taken Collected off the grass if he didn't think he could qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
This field isn't nearly as strong as some of the others we're going to see at Santa Anita as the months wear on this year, and it's going to be there for the taking for all involved.
We've got our eye on the maiden Laoban as well at what will surely be a 30 to 1 or higher price tag, but we'll saddle our bets to Collected and trust that Baffert has himself yet another potential three-year old gem.
Play Collected to win the Sham Stakes
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