PODCAST - The Player's Edge with Carson Kressley

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, April 30, 2021
New York Times best selling author and fashion designer, Carson Kressley tells us about growing up near his grandparent's pony farm in eastern Pennsylvania. It's also Rich's teenage hometown area and the two talk about their days at the Lehigh Valley Mall and finding deals at Unclaimed Freight. 

Carson gives his firsthand view for the difference between the  Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup based on his experience as a part of the live TV coverage.

And of course, there are the picks:

Carson, Terry (Carson's favorite handicapper), Thomas, Shawn and Rich make their selections for the Kentucky Derby. Each picks the winner, a horse to fade and a long shot, along with their choices for:

Churchill Downs Race 10 – $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes – Grade I
Churchill Downs Race 11 – $1,000,000 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes – Grade I

You can follow Carson Kressley at:

Terry "Hollywood" Hay's Handicapping

Race 10

Race scenario:  #8 Get the Prize and Tap It to Win will go to the front. #2 Mind Control and #3 Basin will stay close to the pace and try to catch the leaders down the stretch. #9 Whitmore will be mid pack and will catch the leaders at the end.

#9 - Whitmore – Is a Grade 1 winning horse and runs like a 3-year-old not an 8-year-old. He had a bullet workout at 4f-48B best of 26.

#3 – Basin won his first race back after a six-month layoff. He loves the distance and has Ortiz in the irons.

#2 – Mind Control has the best Beyer number in the race and has finished 73% of the time in the money in his races.

#5 – Tap It To Win just keeps improving each race and still won his last race despite being bumped.

Race 11

Race scenario: #7 Smooth Like Straight will rush to the lead and try to go all the way. # 3 Colonel Liam will stay close to the pace and close at the end along with #5 Domestic Spending and # 6 Digital Age. # 3 Colonel Liam will outrun the closers and win the race.

#3 – Colonel Liam is going for his fourth win in a row and will be flying at the end. He is trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Ortiz.

#5 – Domestic Spending has won four out of five races in his career only losing one when he got a bad break at the start. He loves to come from deep and win by small margins.

#7 – Smooth Like Straight has plenty of speed and just missed winning a Grade1 last time out. He always seems to be in the mix.

#6 – Digital Age is 2 for 2 at Churchill but has been off since November when he ran a disappointing race after lunging at the start. He is trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Castellano and has been working well for his return.

Race 12

Race scenario:  #14 Essential Quality will either go to the front or stay close to the pace depending on what the leaders do and the kind of pace that is set. He will take the lead close to the finish. #15-Rock Your World will stay close to the leaders with Essential Quality and make a move right along with him. #10- Midnight Bourbon will try to lead all the way but will be pressured by #5 - Sainthood and #8 Medina Spirt. #9-Hot Rod Charlie will close from far back to try and win.

#14 - Essential Quality – What can I say he has won all five of his races and accumulated $2,265,144.00. He seems to be a horse who never, ever gets tired. Had a couple of tune-up works for KD.

#15 – Rock Your World won the Grade1 Santa Anita Derby. He is perfect in his career so far.

#10 – Midnight Bourbon has finished 100% of the rime in the money and gets a jockey change to Mike Smith.

#9 – Hot Rod Charlie can either run on top or close from behind. He won the LA Derby despite being bumped at the start.

Winning Horse: Essential Quality

Pick to Fade: Soup and Sandwich

Longshot: Midnight Bourbon

Play: Pick 4-Cost: $108.00

Race 9:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 13, 14

Race 10: 3, 9

Race 11: 3, 5, 6, 7

Race 12: 10, 14, 15

Shawn's Selections


Race Summary: I see a couple longshots here going to the lead #8 Get the Prize, #10 Bango, and #12 Endorsed. Some logical contenders in here will stalk these three horses. #2 Mind Control, #3 Basin, and #4 Flagstaff.  All this will set the race up for Whitmore to go by and win this race.

#9 Whitmore- He will show up Saturday look around and see that CZ Rocket is not in this race.  His last 2 efforts where he lost to CZ Rocket will be good enough here. His main contender ML favorite # Flagstaff is a horse Whitmore has finished ahead of multiple times before.

#3 Basin – Will get a nice trip behind the speed. He has been in the exacta in 4 of 5 fast dirt starts. Is 2 for 2 at the distance of 7 furlongs. Has done really well when Jose Ortiz has been aboard winning 2 of 3 and second in the other one. 2nd start after a 7 month layoff he came back from the layoff and won the last race.

#4 Flagstaff – If he doesn't win this race, he will definitely be in the exotics. He's been in the tri 15 of 17 races on a fast dirt track. He should be stalking the leaders and get a nice trip. He hasn't fared well against Whitmore.

$20 win #9
$1 Exbox 3,4,9


Race Summary: I don't see many horses in here you want the lead. There are a lot of closers.  I thought pace set up really well for the #7 Smooth Like Strait who should get the early lead with maybe the #1 Masteroffoxhounds and #8 Cross Border stalking. The #4 Ivar has also been close to the pace before as well. The rest will be closing.  I think the #7 steals it from the beginning holding off a closing #3 Colonel Liam.

#7 Smooth Like Strait- Pace favors this horse as I think he gets the lead easily and will keep going from there. This horse has won half of his turf starts 6 of 12 finishing 2nd in another 3 of those races. He is a head and a neck from winning 4 races in a row.

#3 Colonel Liam – Will be going for his 4th straight win. He has won 4 of his 5 career turf starts. Hasn't lost with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard winning all 4 times. If it wasn't for the pace advantage for the #7 I would definitely be playing this horse on top.

#5 Domestic Spending- Has won 4 of his 5 career starts which all have been on the turf. He gets a new rider today as Irad stays on the #3 over this horse. Flavian Prat is an exceptional turf rider. I don't think he gets enough pace to run at to win but definitely use in all exotics.


$20 win #7

$2 EX 3,7/3,5,7


Race Summary: I think this is going to be a quicker pace then what is being projected. I think you got 3 horses that are definitely trying to go to the front. #8 Medina Spirit #10 Midnight Bourbon, 15 Rock Your World, and #19 Soup and Sandwich. Then I think you have the next line #7 Mandaloun, #9 Hot Rod Charlie, #14 Essential Quality, and #17 Highly Motivated.

Pick to win #17 Highly Motivated – He was the pick I gave out in November on the podcast for the future pool. I said he just keeps getting better and nothing has changed my mind especially after almost upsetting #14 Essential Quality last race. I think he will sit just off the pace with that 2nd group and should get a nice trip from the #17 post.

Longshot #6 O BESOS – I was impressed with replays how he was closing ground in the last 2 races when no one else was.  First 3 starts were off slow every time. Last two closing ground but going way wide. If he can work out a trip, then I feel like he is very live here.

#14 Essential Quality – 5 for 5 and the deserving favorite.  Just beat Highly Motivated in a great battle so if I like one got to like the other. Highly Motivated is just better value and the better play to me.

Pick to Fade – #15 Rock your World- Seems to be the popular choice from the public and the hot horse. Anytime the public goes one way you should go the other.  I also don't think he's going to get the pace to his advantage as many people think. He could be a better turf horse as well as his only dirt start was his last. I would also say his jockey Umberto Rispoli is better on the turf then dirt.


$ 16 win #17

$1 exbox 6,14,17

$1tri box 1,6,14,17

22 to 1 Thomas' Tips

Race 10 – Churchill Downs Stakes

3 – Basin – He's 2 for 2 at the distance. He has raced at Churchill (a maiden race and lost by a neck to a future stakes winner). Basin won last time out at 7 furlongs. He's tried longer races without success with top company. The move to Pletcher in August of 2020 and then he finished 2nd in the muddy at Saratoga. Last race was coming a layoff and he won. Is Basin really a miler or shorter distance horse? I think so.

10 – Bango – ran at Keeneland last out and did ok 4th. I think he needed a race. His record at Churchill is 6 starts 4 wins 1 place 1 show so I must put him in the money.

13 – Lexitonian – showed speed in last then dropped back and finished 4th in his last race. This was his first start after layoff, he should improve with a race in hand.

Race 11 – Turf Classic

7 – Smooth Like Strait – with a record of 12 turf starts with 6 wins 3 places 1 show, he hasn't finished worse than 4th in all his races. Favorite in his last race and looked sharp but was beaten by a neck. He's run this distance before. If he can get to the lead about halfway in the race, he will finish fast and strong.

9 – Ride a Comet – has run this distance once and won. He will be coming from the back to finish strong.

3 – Colonel Liam – will be the favorite in the race and should be. He's lost once on the turf but has looked great in all his winning efforts. Coming late and fast.

Race 12 – Kentucky Derby

Race Analysis: Let's start by looking at the breeding of some of the horses to see who should be able to handle the classic distance of 1 mile and a quarter. Know Agenda and King Fury are by Curlin and his runners have done well overall. Curlin's runners have placed first or second in all the classic races including: Palace Malice (Belmont winner), Exaggerator (Preakness winner) and second place finisher Good Magic who lost to Justify (Triple Crown winner) in the Kentucky Derby.

Essential Quality is by Tapit and he's offspring like the classic distances but have only the Belmont Stakes doing this 3 times.

The only sire has produced a Kentucky Derby winner, Into Mischief with last year's winner Authentic.

Based on the rankings of Sire/Dam, the top five are: Known Agenda, King Fury, Essential Quality, Dynamic One and Midnight Bourbon.

There are 7 sires represented in the race with only 2 or 3 crops of racehorses. Maybe the winner will come from one of these sires?

Now let's look at post positions based on the running of the Kentucky Derby run on a fast track over the past 10 years. The current weather forecast on Saturday is clear skies and 70's. Fast track and firm turf course.

2020 – winning Post #15

2016 – winning Post #13

2015 – winning Post #15

2014 – winning Post #5

2012 – winning Post #19

So, should you have a focus to outside horses? You decide.

In the running of the race, with 20 horses going a distance now have travelled before, it's always an interesting beginning. Hot Rod Charlie, Helium, Highly Motivated and Soup and Sandwich will be gunning for the lead. Hot Rod Charlie should be able to get the lead as they approach the first turn. As they head for the first turn, Known Agenda and Like the King will try to establish themselves from inside posts while Sainthood, Mandaloun, Medina Spirit will look to get cover. The outside horse caught wide will be Dynamic One, Hidden Stash, Essential Quality, Rock Your World and King Fury but that's ok. The rest of the field will get their share of bumping and being check heading to the first turn.

The on the backside, the leaders will be pressing each other, with some a little wide and Sainthood, Mandaloun, Essential Quality, Like the King and Hidden Stash will be moving up for better position heading to the turn. The others will be shuffled back.

Turning for home, the front runners will be backing up with only Highly Motivated still in the fight. Coming on quickly will be Known Agenda, Essential Quality, Sainthood, Rock Your World, Mandaloun and O Besos.

Who do I pick?

7 – Mandaloun after a career best race in the Risen Star, he runs a clunker in the Louisiana Derby. He was wide throughout the race and was never in it. I tossed the last race out. Why did I do this? Because of his works since last race. One maintenance work on 4/3 then a bullet work over the Churchill track on 4/10 going 5 furlongs at :58.4 breezing. His next work was 6 furlongs in 1:11.2 breezing on 4/17 at Churchill and his last workout of 1:00 breezing on 4/24 also at Churchill. This is indicating to me he is ready to put in a good performance. Mandaloun has won over the Churchill track and Florent Geroux has ridden this horse in all his races. His breeding is by Into Mischief and the dam is a stakes winner at grade 2 level and her sire is Empire Maker (Belmont stakes winner).

5 – Sainthood – with Life is Good on the mend, this is the second stringer for China Horse & Winstar. With only 3 races, he raced greenly in his first race then ran a front running win in his maiden, which he drifted out (still learning). His last race was in the Turfway Park was the grade 3 JR Steaks and he finished second. He started to move on the turn and was blocked and between horses at the top of the straight. This Todd Pletcher trained son of Mshawish looks like a bargain at $62k and Pletcher has a in the money percentage of 60% with horses moving from the all-weather surface to dirt. Using a local jockey in Corey Lanerie make sense when running an inexperienced horse at Churchill in the big race.

6 – O Besos is a dead closer and will be flying at the end. Up for place or show.

1 – Known Agenda – the starting gate position #1 is a killer for me and the last horse to win from the post one was in 1986. The Florida Derby winners have won 24 times in the Kentucky Derby. I like him but that starting post!

15 – Rock Your World – the move from turf to paid off in the Santa Anita Derby. Now can he win the Derby? Distance isn't an issue, and the outside post may help. With a good trip, you never know what may happen. Favorable post position.

Winner – Mandaloun

Fader – Hot Rod Charlie

Longshot – Sainthood

Future $5,000 claimer – Hidden Stash (most likely to win the race now)

Rich's Rankings

Race 10

#4 – Flagstaff 3-1

#2 – Mind Control 6-1

#9 – Whitmore 7/2

#1 – Phat Man 12-1

Race 11

#7 – Smooth Like Strait 4-1

#3 – Colonel Liam 3-1

#5 – Domestic Spending 9/2

#6 – Digital Age 8-1

Kentucky Derby

Winner: Rock Your World

Fade: Hot Rod Charlie

Longshot: Soup and Sandwich

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