Castellano off early Derby favorite, gives gift to Leparoux// Creative Cause works ahead of San Vicente// Record-breaking KDFW

By far the most interesting Kentucky Derby related news for Sunday was the decision by Javier Castellano to ride Algorithms instead of Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth (G2) February 26th.  Not much explanation was given so of course the debate begins.  Was the decision based on which horse he felt has a better shot in the Kentucky Derby or did it come down to loyalty to Todd Pletcher?  We’ll have the answer soon as to whether it was the right decision, but you have to feel both envy and empathy for the choice he had to make.  Algorithms and Union Rags have both shown raw talent, ratability, and poise and many feel they are the two best current prospects- a belief somewhat confirmed in the Future Wager pool that just ended.  Julien Leaparoux had the good fortune of being trainer Michael Matz’s first replacement choice to ride Union Rags.  Known to be a top jockey and calm rider, Leparoux in the irons should not deter any backers of Union Rags// Creative Cause fired a bullet 4-furlong move at Santa Anita, his final serious move before Saturday’s one-turn San Vicente (G2).  He’ll likely only face 4 other rivals, including Secret Circle (who is also still listed as a probably for the Southwest at Oaklawn), Smoking G, American Act, and Captain Obvious// The potential field for the Risen Star (G2) at the Fairgrounds became a little more clear.  El Padrino, Z Dager, Mr. Bowling, Shared Property, Mark Valeski, and Optimizer are all scheduled for the February 25th showdown// Longview Drive will ship to Oaklawn for the Southwest// Pool #1 for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool closed at 6pm EST today.  Wagering set a record with $631,304 in bets, up 6.6% from last year.  With Union Rags and the field getting bet down to 7-1 and 3-2 respectively, there were some nice odds to be had on other serious contenders for the Kentucky Derby.  Midnight Transfer 67-1, Take Charge Indy 42-1, I’ll Have Another 29-1, Discreet Dancer 30-1, and even Fed Biz at 21-1 could be much lower on Derby day with a win or two on the trail//

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1

Risen Star field taking shape (The Downey Profile)
12 horses to get excited about (Lexington Herald Leader)
The next dozen contenders (Lexington Herald Leader)

Hogy- HAW- 3F- 39:00- B- 4/6
Smoking G- SA- 5F- 59:20- H- 1/30
Drill- SA- 5F- 1.02:00- H- 45/76
Midnight Transfer- SA- 5F- 59:40- H- 5/76
Creative Cause- HOL- 6F- 1.11:40- H- 1/17
Sir Bond- FG- 4F- 51:60- B- 31/47
Sabercat- SA- 4F- 50:60- H- 12/16
Hansen- GP- 5F- 1.02:00- B- 6/37
Currency Swap- GP- 4F- 50:80- B- 43/54
Motor City- PMM- 5F- 1.02:42- B-11/21
Thursby- PMM- 5F- 1.02:72 B-17/21