Late-blooming Standard Deviation the smart wager in Hollywood Derby

The Grade I, $1 million Hollywood Derby brings some of the best three-year-old turf runners to Del Mar this Saturday. The 1 1/8-mile classic attracted 13 runners from all over the country. Post time for the Hollywood Derby, Race 8 of a scheduled 10, is approximately 7:30 p.m. ET.

#9 STANDARD DEVIATION (6-1) was last seen running second to NEPTUNE’S STORM in last month’s Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont. He’s made four career starts on the lawn and won two of them, both ungraded stakes at Monmouth. STANDARD DEVIATION’s other graded try came in the Belmont Derby, where he was a distant seventh. On the surface, it appears that this Chad Brown trainee is outclassed in the Hollywood Derby, but bettors toss him at their own peril. STANDARD DEVIATION has improved gradually with every start at may take to the Del Mar turf course. John Velazquez sees fit to ship in and ride this son of Curlin.

#5 NEPTUNE’S STORM (9-2, morning-line favorite) has hit the board in nine of 10 lifetime tries on the lawn, which includes his third-place effort in last month’s Twilight Derby at Santa Anita. He’s also 4-2-0-2 at the Hollywood Derby distance, so he’s very difficult to dismiss. However, NEPTUNE’S STORM has lost to MO FORZA, NOLDE and KINGLY in three of his last four races, so he’s not the greatest proposition in the field as the race favorite. Abel Cedillo, riding a hot hand at Del Mar, takes over in the irons.

#1 MO FORZA (5-1) handled the jump up in class in the Twilight Derby with aplomb under Joel Rosario. If he replicates that speed figure under Paco Lopez, he’ll be a handful in the lane.

#11 MR DUMAS (30-1) was a solid winner in Churchill’s Commonwealth Turf earlier in November. That ran his career record on the grass to 3-2-0-1. He’s highly-versatile and is just a bit behind in the speed figure department; nothing that can’t be made up between starts. MR DUMAS and Joe Rocco Jr. should add value to the exotics.

#13 SUCCEEDANDSURPASS (12-1) was dealt a difficult post, but if he can run back to runner-up effort in the Twilight Derby, he could hit the ticket in the Hollywood Derby. Rafael Bejarano will be aboard.

The play: $2 exacta 9/1,5,11,13, $1 exacta key box 9/1,5,11,13 ($16)

Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking

Related posts