The 2018 Kentucky Derby Preview

2018-kentucky-derby-logo

May 1st 2018

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby. The race will be aired live on NBC this coming Saturday around 5:45 PM CST.

As I have said in previous blogs, I think this is going to be one of the most exciting Derby’s we have seen in a long while.

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2018 Kentucky Derby Starting Field

1) Firenze Fire (50/1) – The Jerome Stakes winner (shown below). His  career best Beyer Speed Figure of 90 was accomplished as a 2-year-old in the Champagne Stakes. He will be one of the longershots in the field but has a very underrated jockey in Paco Lopez.

Career: 9 Starts 4-1-0-3   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>4th->4th
Sire: Poseiden’s Warrior
Trainer: Jason Servis (2004 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.59 (estimated) – 2018 Wood Memorial
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – 2017 Champagne Stakes

2) Free Drop Billy (30/1) – The Dale Romans-trained Breeders’s Futurity winner. He had a disappointing 9th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race. He has been consistent but unspectacular since. Not a huge threat to win in this field.

Career: 8 Starts 2-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>3rd–>3rd
Sire: Union Rags (Finished 7th in the 2012 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.70 (estimated) – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – 2018 Holy Bull Stakes

3) Promises Fulfilled (30/1) – The Fountain of Youth Stakes winner led 6 furlongs in the Florida Derby but faded down the stretch with a 9th place finish. Not a good sign when you are jumping up from 9 furlongs to 10.

Career: 5 Starts 3-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>9th
Sire:  Shackleford (Finished 4th in the 2011 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Corie Lanerie
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:55.12 (estimated) – 2018 Florida Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96 – 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes

4) Flameaway (30/1) – The Sam F. Davis winner at Tampa Bay Downs. He finished 2nd in the Blue Grass Stakes (shown below).

Career: 9 Starts 5-2-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd—>2nd
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Jose Lezcano
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.42 (estimated) – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes

5) Audible (8/1) Last year, the Florida Derby winner who was trained by Todd Pletcher–Always Dreaming–went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Can lightning strike twice? Apparently last year’s Always Dreaming rider doesn’t think so as John Velazquez has chosen to ride Vino Rosso on Derby Day.

Career: 5 Starts 4-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st->1st–>1st
Sire: Into Mischief
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.48 – 2018 Florida Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 99 – 2018 Florida Derby

6) Good Magic (12/1) – The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and the Eclipse 2-year-old Male Champion. He had a somewhat disappointing 3rd place finish in the 2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes but bounced back to win the Blue Grass Stakes.

Career: 5 Starts 2-2-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts:  1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz 
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.18 – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

7) Justify (3/1) – The race favorite. He is fast but inexperienced. However, he has 100+ Beyer Speed Figures in all three career starts. He’ll be up against the Curse of Apollo. But if had to pick a trainer-jockey combo to break the Curse, it would be Baffert-Smith.

Career: 3 Starts 3-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (2005 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.72 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 107 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby

8) Lone Sailor (50/1) – The Tom Amoss-trained colt is a deep closer who briefly took the lead in the Lousiana Derby only to lose by a neck to Noble Indy (shown below). I question whether he really wants the 10 furlong distance.

Career: 8 Starts 1-3-1-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 9th–>2nd–>2nd
Sire: Majestic Warrior 
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: James Graham
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.32 (estimated) – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

9) Hofburg (20/1) – A second place finisher in the Florida Derby. He’s talented but very inexperienced with only 3 career starts under his belt. However, he should like the added distance as a son of Tapit.

Career: 3 Starts 1-1-0-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: William Mott
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.96 (estimated) – 2018 Florida Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Florida Derby

10) My Boy Jack (30/1)   While he is not a huge threat to win on a dry, fast track in this field, he certainly has a chance and his chances improve exponentially on a wet track. I wrote an article on his chances in the Kentucky Derby for US Racing which can be accessed HERE. And for movie buffs, no he is not named after Jack Kipling who the “My Boy Jack” movie is based on. Great movie though.

Career: 10 Starts 3-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Creative Cause (Finished 5th in the 2012 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (1998, 2000 & 2008 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.40 (estimated) – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

11) Bolt d’Oro (8/1) – Much like Classic Empire was last year, a star as a 2-year-old who hasn’t seemed to take it to the level we expected as a 3-year-old. He’s has an excellent pedigree and I generally feel we have yet to see him run his best race. He’ll have two-time Kentucky Derby winner Victor Espinoza as his jockey.

Career: 6 Starts 4-1-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 4th in 2002 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Mark Ruis
Jockey: Victor Espinoza (2014 & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.20 (estimated) – 2018 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2017 FrontRunner Stakes

12) Enticed (30/1) – The other son of Medaglia d’Oro in the field. He won the Gotham Stakes and then finished 2nd in the Wood Memorial behind Vino Rosso.

Career: 6 Starts 3-1-1-1   
Last 3 starts: 4th–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro (Finished 4th in 2002 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.27 (estimated) 2018 Wood Memorial
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Gotham Stakes

13) Bravazo (50/1) – After opening up his 3-year-old campaign with two wins, most notably the Risen Star Stakes, he had a disappointing 8th place finish in his final Derby prep at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby.

Career: 8 Starts 3-1-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>8th
Sire: Awesome Again
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1988,1995,1996 & 1999 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:53.68 (estimated) – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2018 Risen Star Stakes

14) Mendelssohn (5/1) – The 2018 UAE Derby winner. UAE Derby winners haven’t fared all that well in the Kentucky Derby but Mendelssohn should be viewed as a serious contender setting a UAE Derby track record and winning by 18 1/2 lengths.

Career: 7 Starts 4-1-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Aidan O’Bryan
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2018 UAE Derby

15) Instilled Regard (50/1) – A consistent colt. In seven career starts, he has never finished out of the Superfecta.

Career: 7 Starts 2-2-1-2  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th->4th
Sire: Arch 
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.24 (estimated) – 2018 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 – 2018 Lecomte Stakes

16) Magnum Moon (6/1) – The 2018 Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby winner. His final 3 furlong time in the Arkansas Derby is the fastest in the class. Like Justify, he will be vying to break the Curse of Apollo.

Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st>1st–>1st
Sire: Malibu Moon
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.86 – 2018 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Arkansas Derby 

17) Solomini (30/1) – The Bob Baffert-trainee was yet to win since his first start as a 2-year-old. However, noteworthy that he finished 2nd in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race behind Good Magic (shown below). His 3-year-old campaign has been a bit disappointing with a 2nd place finish in the Rebel Stakes and a 3rd place finish in the Arkansas Derby. And he draws post-position #17, a post that no colt has ever won the Derby from.

Career: 6 Starts 1-3-2-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  3rd–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Flavien Prat 
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.54 (estimated) 2018 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

18) Vino Rosso (12/1) – His name in Italian means “Red Wine” and he’s moving up my board. The Wood Memorial winner will get last year’s Derby winning jockey John Velazquez. His reasoning? He thinks he has more potential than Audible at getting the distance (SEE). I was a bit surprised Churchill Downs handicapper gave him 12/1 morning line odds. I think he will be well south of that number on Derby Day. So many love Italian red wine.

Career: 5 Starts 3-0-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>4th–>1st
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velazquez (2011 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.79 – 2018 Wood Memorial
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Wood Memorial

19) Noble Indy (30/1) – The surprise winner of the 2018 Louisiana Derby winner and yet another Derby horse trained by Todd Pletcher. Noble Indy is an above average colt in this field, but I don’t feel that he has the speed of the other Pletcher trainees. 

Career: 4 Starts 3-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Take Charge Indy (Finished 19th in 2012 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.28 – 2018 Louisiana Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

20) Combatant (50/1) – The lone Steve Asmussen Derby entry. Combatant is yet another son of Scat Daddy in this field. He’s a quality horse but not a serious threat to win in this very talented field. He’s only win came in a Maiden Special Weight race as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs. He’s a deep closer who you might consider in your superfectas

Career: 7 Starts 1-3-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>3rd–>4th
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.56 (estimated) 2018 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Smarty Jones Stakes

Note: In a rush to get this out early as possible, I caught and already corrected a few minor errors and typos. If you see any more, let me know.


On the docket…

My next blog will provide handicapping advice for the Derby. I should have this out by Thursday evening.

–Michael

One comment

  1. Peter Setiawan · May 2

    Bonjorno Final pick WPS. 7 Trifecta box 7,11,16 7,16,18

    Like

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