This Friday at Prairie Meadows is the 23rd running of the $250K Iowa Derby. It's a one mile and one-sixteenth event on dirt, for three-year-olds only. Nine three-year-olds are set to compete and boy do they look evenly matched. The longest shot is 15-1, the shortest is just 7-2.
Here's the full field:
SUPER STOCK (7-2)
BOURBON THUNDER (15-1)
FLASH OF MISCHIEF (8-1)
STILLETO BOY (12-1)
SNOW HOUSE (8-1)
NOVA RAGS (5-1)
Post Time is 8:12 PM CT.
Trainer Brad Cox is seeking his second Iowa Derby victory. He won it in 2018 with HIGH NORTH and jockey Florent Geroux. This year he saddles GAGETOWN and SNOW HOUSE. Both carry relatively high morning-line odds.
Is this an opportunity to cash in, or a warning sign to avoid like the plague? That's the topic of our discussion!
In the first place, GAGETOWN attracted Florent Geroux to the saddle over SNOW HOUSE, who he probably would have ridden if he wanted to. That alone says a lot (if that's the case), considering Geroux had already won aboard SNOW HOUSE two races back.
But assessing GAGETOWN by merit, we see that he impressively converted on an important prep race last time out. It was a stakes race at Prairie Meadows and he achieved his highest Late Speed figure to date. He beat the $3.20-to-win favorite that day, FLASH OF MISCHIEF, who was coming in undefeated in three starts. GAGETOWN has his mind on running.
Cox's other horse, SNOW HOUSE, is every bit interesting at 8-1. He's got Joel Rosario on board, who fits perfectly for his front-running style. The son of TWIRLING CANDY is lightly raced and stepping up in class. He's put together two consecutive wins, despite having to gut it out both times. He figures to be up and on the pace with STILLETO BOY.
A Brad Cox horse with Florent Geroux or Joel Rosario is usually a recipe for success. We shall have to see how the odds hold up by post-time. Cox converts with Rosario at a higher rate than with Geroux, based on the past 60 days.
Looking for a horse who is likely to run his heart out, at a generous price to shoe? Why not look at NOVA RAGS for trainer Bill Mott. He's a hard-knocking horse who has been running so well these past four races to not have a graded stakes win to his name.
He ran into two monsters last time out—JACKIE'S WARRIOR and DRAIN THE CLOCK—racing on their terms (one-turn), at the Grade 1 level, yet finishing a respectable third. Now he drops in class and stretches back out to two turns, which his pedigree says he should enjoy.
The UNION RAGS colt races with Lasix for only the second-time in his career. He won during his first time using it. Trainer Bill Mott wins with "second-time Lasix" horses at a considerably high rate; above 30%.
Did you know Mott won this race last year with ACRE? It's true and he's got the wherewithal to do it again. At odds of 5-1, the gutsy NOVA RAGS is unignorable.