Keep the Peace

Mar 11, 2003 5:52 AM

Peace Rules attracted little attention in the first Kentucky Derby Future Wagering Pool (KDFW), in which he was mostly ignored by bettors at 30-1 morning line odds to finish at 66-1.

Don’t expect to see those kind of odds again!

The second of three KDFW pools will be held at Churchill Downs this weekend, and you can bet the ranch his odds will be a fraction of the levels reached in February.

Peace Rules’ smashing win in Sunday’s Louisiana Derby stamps the Bobby Frankel 3-year-old as one of the top Triple Crown contenders in the nation.

A few weeks ago, GamingToday released Peace Rules as its No. 1 contender to win the Kentucky Derby. At the time, his future books odds were 125-1 after opening at 250-1 (at Bally’s/Paris race and sports book).

On Monday, Peace Rules’ future book odds had plummeted to 25-1 at Bally’s and 15-1 at The Palms.

What was so impressive about Peace Rules victory was that he bested two of the top contending 3-year-olds in Kafwain and Badge of Silver.

As the race unfolded, I thought Badge would be a lot closer to the pace along with Kafwain. But Badge — breaking from the 10 post — was taken wide and the jockey took him back from the hot pace set by a colt named Funny Cide.

Funny Cide was 15-1 in the morning line and was bet down to 6-1, so I knew this colt was going to show up, and he did.

From the start, Peace Rules was close to the pace, following Funny Cide all the way to the stretch. It was there that Peace Rules made his move for the lead with The Badge moving well on the outside.

Peace overtook the early pacesetter with Badge of Silver making his fun in the stretch. That’s when Peace Rules "eyeballed" him, put his stride into another gear and drew away to win easily.

Badge Of Silver faded, the speedy Funny Cide kept to his task to get third in a very nice effort, and Kafwain ran a solid second in his normal good effort.

Coming into this race it looked like Baffert held all the aces, but the landscape has changed and Frankel appears to have a few high cards of his own. Especially, if Empire Maker runs a big race in this Saturdays Florida Derby, which I expect him to do.

In other action leading up to the spring classics, the El Camino Real Derby was run at Golden Gate Fields in northern California.

This race matched the well-hyped Ministers Wild Cat with other highly touted colts, Ten Most Wanted and Ocean Terrace.

Wild Cat came out of the 10 post and had a wide trip, while Ocean Terrace had a perfect trip and took them all the way in a very exciting finish with these three hitting the board.

Ocean Terrace took the winner’s trophy in a very nice effort with Ministers Wild Cat a short head in front of Ten Most Wanted. D.Wayne Lucas’s Ozzie Cat was a distant also ran. I think you can safely dismiss these from your list of serious Kentucky Derby contenders and move on.

Not to ignore the distaff side, the Santa Anita Oaks brought out some of the nation’s best 3-year-old fillies. This was another great match-up between speedster Elloluv and Bob Baffert’s top girl, Composure.

Composure got the best of Elloluv to go up 2-1 in their short rivalry. Composure still has an outside shot at the Kentucky Derby, depending on how Mr. B’s top colts fare. If she doesn’t enter the Derby, she will definitely be in the post parade for the Kentucky Oaks on the Friday before Derby Day.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien has said that he has not ruled out Hold That Tiger, third in the Breeders Cup, for a spot in the Derby. If you happen to see any for this trainer’s horses shipped in for a prep, seriously consider their chances.

His other top colts are: Van Nistelrooy ($6.5 million dollar yearling purchase) and fifth in the Breeders Cup, Tomahawk, eighth in the Breeders Cup and a colt named Delacroix who is a full brother to KD winner Thunder Gulch. More next week.