That glorious time of year is once again upon us, the Sport of Kings has returned to the forefront, the first Saturday in May means the Run for the Roses and the beginning of the Triple Crown season. All the prep races are over and for many owners, trainers and horse racing enthusiasts this is the culmination of a journey that began three years ago. Some horses might not have raced as two years while others have been stamped for success since birth with incredible bloodlines that came with high price tags. The points have been earned, the entry fees are paid, the lights are shining on Churchill Downs and the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” are only a few days away. Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown fever are upon us.
Some of you might have the thoroughbreds you like, dislike and are on the fence about. Others might have been reading about feel good stories, incredible morning workouts, numbers that are too good to be true or even names that are just too cute to pass up. Are the speed figures confusing, are the dosage numbers overwhelming or is it the pedigree that is just too confusing?
Below is a simple breakdown of each horse that is slated to enter the starting gate this Saturday. What you will see is not a complete stat sheet for each horse since you can get that from Daily Racing Form or Equibase. Instead it is my evaluation summed up to help each of you make a decision when you walk to the window, the machine or click a mouse to make a wager on the 140th Kentucky Derby.
Note: Hoppertunity has been scratched from the 140th Kentucky Derby. Pablo Del Monte is now in the field. Adjustments have been made to the wagering strategies based on the resulting field changes
|1||30/1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||A small horse with heart, that is a given. He won the Louisiana Derby gate-to-wire. Slow final furlong and pedigree suggest he will have issues at 1 1/4. Will not be able to set the pace in Kentucky|
|2||50/1||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Joins Vinceremos at the back end of the Bluegrass by almost 30. Ran second against We Miss Artie in the Spiral but given the opinion on We Miss Artie then there is even less hope for Harry's Holiday. A dramatic step forward in the Derby along with the perfect trip are needed|
|3||30/1||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||It is just hard for me to give you anything good here other than he has been training well and will give it all. 0-3 against Saamrat as well as a poor break in the Wood. Female side of the pedigree shows endurance so you can hold onto that. Longshot|
|4||10/1||Danza||Joe Bravo||Shocker of the year winning the Arkansas Derby at 41/1. Lightly raced and shows distance on the female tail of the pedigree. Routed once and won by almost five turning in best performance of a horse not named CC. Peaking?|
|5||5/2||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||He will be the post time favorite. Winner of four straight but at least 5 1/4. For more you can read this|
|6||15/1||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Tasted first defeat in six starts at the Wood Memorial. 13 seconds to run the last 1/8 does not bode well for added Derby distance. He will give his all each time out|
|7||50/1||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Does not like the dirt losing FOY by 17. Everything about the pedigree spells turf. Only big races are on polytrack. Are you thinking Animal Kingdom? Stop now|
|8||15/1||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Never been worse than third finishing second at FOY and third at the Florida Derby. A solid horse but will need a perfect trip and big step forward to factor. Not impossible|
|9||30/1||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr||It would be an amazing feet for this horse to make an impact in the Derby. The reality is he is one of the slowest horses in the field finishing last by almost 30 at the Bluegrass. If you question the polytrack he was also beaten convincingly at the Tampa Bay Derby. I just can't find a way|
|10||15/1||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Great record (never worse than second) while racing at speed friendly Gulfstream. Lost a neck at the Florida Derby. Could not carry speed 1 1/8 so what does that say about the Derby? Speed will be compromised on Saturday, can he adjust?|
|12||20/1||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Bluegrass Stakes winner appears to be a synthetic specialist. Running style agrees with the Derby but uninspired dirt performances open up questions|
|13||20/1||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Three for four lifetime with only defeat to Candy Boy in the Bob Lewis. Came back to win the Sunland Derby (Remember Mine That Bird) posting impressive speed figure. Another speed horse but if you believe there will be a nice price|
|14||20/1||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Belongs on the turf, period. Lost by 10 in the FOY. Second in the Bluegrass but that is polytrack. Appears to be training well but would be a gift from the gods if he sniffs the podium but hey, he will be in the gate|
|15||15/1||Tapiture||Richardo Santana Jr||Hard to see it. Has drifted even in victories. Took dirt in the Arkansas Derby and did not like it. That will be amplified in the Derby. It is just not likely|
|16||12/1||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Lost Louisiana Derby as favorite. Has not finished outside the money in three year old campaign. Has faced a rough trip. Should like the distance. Throw out the LD and you might have a flyer here|
|17||50/1||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Beaten five lengths at the Arkansas Derby but Albarado claims he is improving. The pedigree to route is there sired by Master Command. Also third off a layoff. If looking for a home run bomb this might be the play|
|18||20/1||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||Crushed by CC in the Santa Anita Derby. Connections say he tactics are changing for the Derby and he is training well. If you can throw out the Derby and get a step forward from Bob Lewis performance there is reason to dream|
|19||15/1||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||Never won a stakes race. Unimpressive overall but second to Danza in the Arkansas Derby. Hope for a sloppy track as the pedigree says he likes it. Adding Borel is a plus but will drop the price you get drastically if you believe|
|20||8/1||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Sentimental horse who closed impressively to win the Wood by over 3 lengths going away. Pedigree says distance will not be an issue. Probably the second choice at post-time|
|21||50/1||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Also Eligible led the Bluegrass until gobbled up by Dance With Fate and Medal Count. Looked to really tire and that was at a 1 1/8 on polytrack. If there is a scratch and Pablo Del Monte gets into the field this is merely a pace victim|
If you are worried about 20 horses in a starting gate or the possibility that a stumble out of the gate can happen then you might find a way to back a horse other than California Chrome. The reality, he is the best horse in this field and will be the post time favorite for the 140th Run for the Roses. Can he be beaten in the Kentucky Derby? Of course, anything is possible when the chaos that is the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” unfolds. If you are a value better that does not want to chance the exotics then California Chrome is not for you. He will be a short price but backers of the colt should be happy it is the Derby otherwise he might be 1-5.