Small field of 6 for Hutcheson, Sheppard not confident with Ever So Lucky// Castellano’s choices// Casse hopeful// 'All Others' favored in KDFW #1

Six were drawn for Saturday’s 7-furlong Hutcheson S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, with Ever So Lucky the main attraction. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard was not happy with his slow workout Monday, however is unlikely to scratch the colt from the race.   The trainer indicated that if that were to happen, Ever So Lucky will wait a month for the Swale (G2).  Other entries for the Hutcheson include graded stakes-placed Tarpy’s Goal; stakes placed Florida shipper Wildcat Creek; impressive maiden winner and Todd Pletcher-trained Thunder Moccasin; maiden winner Quick Wit; and Il Villano, 3rd last time out in the Count Fleet Stakes, which was won by Alpha// There are several non-stakes races at Gulfstream Saturday that could get more Derby attention than the Hutcheson when it’s all said and done.  Todd Pletcher and other top trainers have entered promising sophomores in race 3, a competitive optional claimer that includes Big Blue Nation, Spring Hill Farm, and Unbridled Minister// 

Aqueduct has a minor stakes race Saturday on the inner track.  The Sweet Envoy Stakes features Swag Daddy, a multiple stakes winner// Prospective, a tough 2nd in last Saturday’s Sam F. Davis (G3), is likely to try blinkers in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) seeing as Mark Casse thinks the colt may not be giving 100% in races. Casse also has more under-the-radar hopefuls in Stealcase, pointed to the Fountain of Youth (G2); Dynamical, a maiden that will be shipped to Turfway for the John Battaglia Stakes; and Bluedacious, third in the Grey Stakes (G3) whose next race remains undetermined// 

A very intriguing scenario is developing with Javier Castellano and his Derby contender mounts.  The jockey has the fortune of being the main pilot for Union Rags, Algorithms, Discreet Dancer, Gemologist, and El Padrino- arguably the five top Derby prospects at this time.  The first three could all face each other in the Fountain of Youth (G2), which leaves Castellano with a gut-wrenching choice.  The decision comes down to Union Rags or Algorithms, with Discreet Dancer most likely going to John Velazquez- an early announcement that surprises me given Velazquez would probably prefer Algorithms if Castellano decides to go on Union Rags// 

Plans were confirmed for some top contenders- Gemologist will indeed ship to Arkansas for the Rebel (G2) March 17th and Alpha will skip the Gotham (G3) and head straight to the Wood Memorial (G1) in April// Two nice articles below on I’ll Have Another, the surprise winner of Saturday’s Robert Lewis (G2)// The filly On Fire Baby is questionable for the Southwest.  Last time out she finished third in the Smarty Jones Stakes, her first try against boys.  She has apparently been training very well, and it seems her connections are keen on keeping her on the Derby Trail// The “Official” Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool opens Friday and odds are set.  “All others” are the favorite followed by Algorithms at 8-1.  You can actually get 10-1 on Algorithms through Wynn Las Vegas, an example of how in most cases the Vegas sports books offer better future odds…

Hutcheson S. (G2)- Gulfstream Park- entries here
Sweet Envoy S.- Aqueduct- entries here

Hutcheson Preview articles: Bloodhorse / Brisnet / Miami Herald
3-year-olds to watch 2/8 (In The Money Blog)

DRF Top 20 (DRF)

Optimizer- OP- 5F- 1.00:40- B- 1/15
Ancient Rome- PMM- 4FF- 48:55- B- 2/11
Longview Drive- SA- 5F- 1.00:00 H- 4/17
Canigotoo- EVT- 4F- 50:00- B- 6/38
Russian Greek- GG- 6F- 1.16:60- H- 1/3