Algorithms, who handily defeated champion 2-year-old Hansen while making his Stakes debut in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, has moved to the head of the class of 2012 Kentucky Derby contenders, according to the latest future odds provided by Wynn Las Vegas.
Algorithms easily swept past Hansen in deep stretch to win the Holy Bull and remain undefeated in three career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of red-hot sire Bernardini had the looks of a serious of Kentucky Derby contender with the win and bettors reacted in kind. Algorithms was knocked down to 8-to-1 favoritism for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
Pletcher has not decided on a next start for Algorithms, but the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 26 would be the logical next step.
For Hansen, he overcame a stumble at the break to get his preferred position on the lead in the Holy Bull, but was no match for Algorithms late in the race. Wynn Las Vegas now pegs Hansen’s Kentucky Derby chances at 15-to-1.
It is often the case these days that the previous year’s champion 2-year-old does not make much of an impact in the Kentucky Derby. It can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Often, top-class 2-year-olds are simply ahead of their peers in terms of physical and mental maturity early in their careers, but are unable to hold that advantage into the spring of their 3-year-old seasons. Since the first Breeders’ Cup was run in 1984, only Street Sense managed to earn champion 2-year-old honors and go on to win the next year’s Kentucky Derby.
Union Rags, who was second to Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is the second-choice in the Kentucky Derby Future Odds at 10-to-1. The son of Dixie Union hasn’t run since the Juvenile, but trainer Michael Matz said the Fountain of Youth will mark Union Rags’ 3-year-old unveiling.
Other contenders getting attention from future book bettors are Dullahan (15-to-1) and Discreet Dancer (18-to-1). Dullahan won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in October, but could only manage fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Trainer Dale Romans said Dullahan will make two starts prior to the Kentucky Derby—the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes on the turf on March 11 and the Bluegrass Stakes on Keeneland’s synthetic main track on April 14. Odds of 15-to-1 seems awfully short for a horse that will go into the Kentucky Derby unproven on conventional dirt.
Discreet Dancer is another of Pletcher’s Kentucky Derby contenders. The son of Discreet Cat has made just two starts, but his emphatic Allowance win at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 7 put Discreet Dancer squarely in the Kentucky Derby picture.