My first impression when looking at the entires was that Instilled Regard towered over the field. But, on closer look, I found a contender that I like. I’ll talk about Instilled Regard and then visit some contenders who could knock him off if he has an off day.
The case was Instilled Regard is strong. He’s been the fastest horse in the field. He is a G3 winner — in the Lecomte, over this track. He should like the extra distance and was bought as a 2YO for over a million dollars. He seems to be realizing that potential on the track. Barring injury, he’s the only horse in the field that I can say I’m confident he will be in the Kentucky Derby. Perhaps Bravazo — my under-the-radar contender in this race — will find his way there, too.
With that said, let’s look at look at some other contenders. Noble Indy is a WinStar and Repole. Don’t know if I’ve seen that partnership before. He’d really need to improve — not out of the question for a 3YO. Physical and mental growth can happen quickly in horses. Snapper Sinclair maybe gets the lead and holds on the whole way. The same thing could be said for Noble Indy.
Bravazo is a D.Wayne Lucas horse — he runs his 2YO into shape and into class placement. He ran 2nd in a G1. He ran some competitive high-class races as a 2YO and debuted this year blistering fast in comparison. This is a Calumet Farm homebred. I think he’s probably the biggest competitor to Instilled Regard.
Principe Guilherme was the favorite in the LeComte but was soundly beaten by Instilled Regard. He’ll need to recapture that allowance form — he won by 11 lengths in a 1st level allowance in December.
Analysis: I expect Instilled Regard to win, but Bravazo is a strong challenger. With a morning line of 8-1, there’s potential for payoffs in the win pool and exotics — both vertical and horizontal — and a portion of your budget should go in that direction. But, Instilled Regard would likely have to regress, which can happen.