A field of 12 is entered for the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday. The race is run on the dirt at the distance of 1 1/8 miles. Desert Dynamo is the morning line favorite at 5-2 despite never having won above the entry level allowance level. He does enter the race with the fastest last-race TimeformUS Speed Figure, a 114, when running a close third behind the talented Gimme Da Lute in the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar. Not only is the 114 the fastest last-race speed figure, it is the fastest any horse in the field has ever earned.
While that appears to make Desert Dynamo a worthy favorite, there are concerns, primarily the pace of the race. The TimeformUS Pace Projector predicts a fast pace and shows Desert Dynamo sitting second after the first half-mile.
In a race where late speed could be key, it is notable that this colt has never passed another horse in the last furlong in seven career starts. For that reason, it is best to look at others for betting purposes. Here is the field:
1-Poseidon’s Way: Career-best 105 off short layoff in last start; runs best when up close in routes and will need to be used early from inside post.
2-Lucky Player: Lifetime best 97 last time when 3rd, needs big jump to contend.
3-Witt Six: Ships in from Northlands Park like 2013 winner Broadway Empire; has never hit the 100 mark in 18 career starts, least likely winner in the field.
4-Mobile Bay: Won G2 Super Derby in last start and is listed as 7-2 second choice on the morning line. That was a very weak G2, however, earning only a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure and this one will be overbet.
5-Desert Dynamo: Obvious contender, but probable odds along with pace and distance concerns temper enthusiasm.
6-Souper Colossal: Steady stream of 100+ Speed Figures; was on the lead in last race on speed-biased track but has run well from a tracking position in the recent past. Finished second in last four starts including losses at 2-5 and 3-2 odds.
7-Shotgun Kowboy: Oklahoma-bred returned from a long layoff to destroy a statebred allowance field with a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure; ran tough-luck second in local Springboard Mile to close out 2yo campaign.
8-Bold Conquest: Tough to judge current form. Last out was on a sloppy track; two prior on speed-biased tracks (see red/pink shaded TimeformUS Race Ratings box), and two tries against American Pharoah before that. He has the right running style for this race, but has managed only a maiden win thus far.
9-Classy Class: Had run in the 101-108 figure range before tough trip last out in G1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga. Three career wins are all around one turn and figures to be part of the pace in this one. Must be respected regardless due to his trainer…Kiaran McLaughlin.
10-The Truth Or Else: Also has not won around two turns, both wins coming at spacious Belmont Park. Career best 106 in allowance win means he still has some work to do to contend here.
11-Tale of Verve: Shocked many with runner-up finish in G1 Preakness in May but has disappointed in last three, finishing in rear half of the field while never contending. If able to find Preakness form (112 TimeformUS Speed Figure), he could be there late, but that is unlikely given current form.
12-Hillbilly Royalty: Locally bred and owned by Dream Walkin Farms (Oklahoma native and country music star Toby Keith); outside post should guarantee this horse is sent hard to try to make the lead before the first turn. Has lost last two at short prices despite clear early leads.
Desert Dynamo has the fastest last race but the likely fast pace and added distance do not appear to favor him in this match up. Shotgun Kowboy has been pointed to this race, is training very well, has a nice finishing kick and enough early speed to be in striking range turning into the stretch. He is worth a win bet and small exacta key box with Poseidon’s Way, Desert Dynamo, Bold Conquest, and Classy Class.
7 to win
Exacta Key Box 7 with 1, 5, 8, 9