In case any of my readers missed it in previous posts on this site, I’ve decided to move to a multi-sport website format and promote my own websites rather than free-lance for others. I will be transitioning completely over to the new Cox Sportsnet website next year.
I expect to have better content moving forward on a variety of sports on the new website, including feature articles from other authors and writers.
Whether you are a fan of horse racing or not, I am sure you have heard by now about the controversial disqualification in the 2019 Kentucky Derby that took a win off the board from Maximum Security. You may ask, why should I care if I am not a horse racing fan? I doubt anyone writing this isn’t a horse racing fan. However, if you love sports in general, you just may reap the rewards of better officiating of all professional sports in the near future due to this controversial decision. I’ll explain.
The owners of Maximum Security are filing a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court seeking to overturn the race stewards’ decision and make Maximum Security the official winner as well as receiving the $1.86 million winner’s share.
Although some believe that this court case will be thrown out, I think the case will be heard. The Kentucky Derby is simply too high-profile of a race, with too much money bet on it, for this case to not to be heard. Even President Trump tweeted his disdain over the disqualification. Not hearing the case would only invite corruption to a sport that had issues in the past with doping and organized crime affecting race outcomes. Bettors are consumers and it is the government’s responsibility to protect consumers.
With sports-betting on the verge of sweeping the country after New Jersey won a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court last year, a bad call or disqualification just doesn’t affect Vegas vacationers, it is going to affect many more Americans in the future.
The public needs to be protected from fraud. As sports-betting grows, there is going to be more upward pressure to “get it right” because professional sporting events will be viewed as more than just entertainment. We may already be there at this point now when you consider the recent FBI probe into college basketball.
This is why this court case may actually be a very good thing for the fans and athletes in all sports. If Maximum Security’s ownership group wins their court case, the next step will be refunding money to all those who had placed bets on Maximum Security. It may take a class action lawsuit, but bettors will get their money back if Maximum Security’s win is restored.
This will force professional sports leagues to improve officiating out of fear of future lawsuits. Yes, that includes the NFL which is still reeling from the controversial non-call in the Saints-Rams NFC Championship game. The New Orleans Saints most likely win that game and advance to the Super Bowl if Pass Interference had been called by the referee who standing in plain view of the incident.
And the NHL for those who watched last night’s Sharks-Blues game. The San Jose Sharks were the Game 7 beneficiary of a bad call in the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs vs the Vegas Golden Knights. The NHL even apologized to the Vegas Golden Knights and their fanbase over the 5 minute Major penalty for Cross-Checking that should have been a 2 minute minor at most. And now last night’s game (see video below). How the NHL can review goals to see if the play was offsides but can’t review a goal scored via an illegal hand pass (that the refs missed) is beyond me.
It may force the sport of horse racing to require Race Stewards to have actual experience as a jockey and not just as an exercise rider who attends a school to be a Race Steward.
Overall, I expect to see more video review and better officiating in all sports if Maximum Security’s ownership group successfully wins their court case. The technology is certainly there and a landmark ruling could set a precedent for similar sports related court cases in the future.
For professional sports leagues, there would be too much to lose other than integrity and some television ratings if poor officiating alters outcomes and generates court cases and lawsuits.
For this reason, we all should hope that Maximum Security’s owners win their case and his Derby win restored.
As I delve into handicapping this year’s Preakness Stakes, my level of excitement has grown. With no Country House or Maximum Security entered in the field, many viewers won’t tune in to watch this Saturday. Not tuning in, I think will be a big mistake. This year’s Preakness Stakes is wide-open. I think this is going to be a really exciting race and a good one for bettors with no short price favorite.
Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for this Saturday’s 144th running of the Preakness Stakes.
The Preakness Stakes – 9 1/2 furlongs. Race #13 at Pimlico. Post-time: 6:48 PM EST. Televised by NBC.
1) War of Will(4/1) – The Risen Star Stakes winner originally started off as a turf horse with little success before switching to dirt. The change worked well for the Mark Casse-trained colt as he reeled off three straight wins. War of Will generally likes to get out towards the front which will bode well in the Preakness Stakes.
Career: 9 Starts 3-1-1-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st-->9th–>7th Sire: War Front Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 96 – 2019 Risen Star Stakes
2) Bourbon War(12/1) – The Tapit colt finished 4th in the Florida Derby. His most impressive performance came in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (shown below) where he unleashed a late charge to finish second.
Career: 5 Starts 2-1-0-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st-->2nd–>4th Sire: Tapit Trainer: Mark Hennig Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 96 – 2018 Remsen Stakes
3) Warrior’s Charge (12/1) – The Brad Cox-trained colt has never raced in a graded stakes race. So, I don’t understand the 12-1 morning line odds even if two-time Preakness Stakes winning jockey Javier Castellano is on board.
areer: 5 Starts 2-0-3-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>1st Sire: Munnings Trainer: Brad Cox Jockey: Javier Castellano (2006 and 2017 Preakness Stakes Winning Jockey) Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2019 Lexington Stakes
4) Improbable(5/2) – The Bob Baffert-trained colt is a consistent runner, never finishing below 4th in his six career starts. The Los Alamitos Futurity winner had some issues loading into the gate in the Arkansas Derby. He finished 4th in the Kentucky Derby after a poor start out of the gate. Note that Improbable ran as fast as Maximum Security after the bad start. He gets Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith for this race, so I am confident he will be the live race favorite come post-time.
Career: 6 Starts 3-2-0-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>4th Sire: City Zip‘ Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2010, 2015 & 2018 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer) Jockey: Mike Smith (1993 & 2018 Preakness Stakes Winning Jockey) Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 100 – 2018 Los Alamitos Futurity
5) Owendale (10/1) – After a disappointing 8th place finish in the Risen Star Stakes, the Brad Cox-trained colt bounced back with an impressive win in the Lexington Stakes winner (shown below).
Career: 8 Starts 3-1-1-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>8th–>1st Sire: Into Mischief Trainer: Brad Cox Jockey: Florent Geroux Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2019 Lexington Stakes
6) Market King(30/1) – He’s 30-1, and the only reason why he’s not 50-1, is due to his Hall of Fame trainer. D. Wayne Lukas who has won six Preakness Stakes races. This colt has never produced a Brisnet Speed Figure over 90 in eight career starts.
Career: 8 Starts 1-1-2-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>11th Sire: Into Mischief Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas (1980, 1985, 1994, 1995, 1999 & 2013 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer) Jockey: Jon Court Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 88 – 2019 Rebel Stakes
7) Alwaysmining (8/1) – The Frederico Tesio Stakes winner (shown below) is the most experienced horse in the field. The Frederico Tesio Stakes is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Preakness Stakes but hasn’t produced a winner for the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown since 1983 with Deputed Testamony.
Career: 12 Starts 7-0-1-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st Sire: Stay Thirsty Trainer: Kelly Rubley Jockey: Daniel Centeno Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2019 Frederico Tesio Stakes (Black Type)
8) Signalman (30/1) – The 2018 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner (shown below). He finished 3rd in his last start, the Blue Grass Stakes. This is a quality colt, who you may remember, finished 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. I had hoped that he would find his way into this year’s Kentucky Derby. I felt he could have been a Derby sleeper since he had run so well before at Churchill Downs. So, 30/1 seems too long to me here but I am not sure the Pimlico track fits his running style.
Career: 7 Starts 2-2-2-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>7th–>3rd Sire: General Quarters (Finished 9th in the 2009 Preakness Stakes) Trainer: Kenneth McPeek Jockey: Brian Hernandez Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
9) Bodexpress (20/1) – The son of Bodemeister. Bodemeister finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 2012. A nice pedigree but Bodexpress has failed to break his maiden in 7 career starts. He did run well in the Florida Derby (shown below) with a 2nd place finish behind Maximum Security.
Career: 7 Starts 0-3-0-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>13th Sire: Bodemeister (Finished 2nd in the 2012 Preakness Stakes) Trainer: Gustavo Delgado Jockey: John Velazquez Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Florida Derby
10) Everfast(50/1) – The Dale Romans-trained colt finished 2nd in the Holy Bull Stakes (shown below) but really hasn’t done much since. A very appropriate longshot in this field but I think 50-1 is a bit too long given the trainer and the rider.
Career: 10 Starts 1-1-1-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 8th–>9th–>5th Sire: Take Charge Indy (Finished 19th in 2012 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Joel Rosario Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 94 – 2019 Holy Bull Stakes
11) Laughing Fox(20/1) – The Steve Asmussen-trained colt is coming off a win in the Oaklawn Park Invitational. He finished 4th in the sloppy Arkansas Derby. Asmussen has won the Preakness Stakes twice. This colt’s form is improving, just wish that he had drawn an inside post.
Career: 7 Starts 3-0-0-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 7th–>4th–>1st Sire: Union Rags Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 & 2009 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer) Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 96 – 2019 Oaklawn Park Invitational (Black Type)
12) Anothertwistafate(6/1) – The runner-up in the Sunland Park Derby and the Lexington Stakes. His best performance came on an all-weather surface at Golden Gate in the El Camino Real Derby (shown below). This colt has speed and the Pimlico track and Preakness race distance does fit his running style. He probably won’t win this Saturday but consider him in all your exotic bets.
Career: 6 Starts 3-2-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>2nd Sire: Scat Daddy Trainer: Blaine Wright Jockey: Jose Ortiz Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2019 El Camino Real Derby
13) Win Win Win(15/1) – After winning Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January, Win Win Win followed up this effort with a 3rd place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby, a 2nd place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes and a 9th place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
Career: 7 Starts 3-2-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 3rd–>2nd–>9th Sire: Hat Trick Trainer: Michael Trombetta Jockey: Julian Pimentel Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 101 – 2019 Pasco Stakes (Black Type)
The Pimlico straight is 80 feet shorter than Churchill Downs and the Preakness is 1/2 furlong shorter than the Kentucky Derby. The turns at Pimlico have less banking, so it is more difficult for horses to accelerate through the turns. All of this works against deep closers. It benefits early speed types and inside runners. So I would think you would want a horse that gets out towards the front early and makes his move early.
The Preakness exotic bets usually don’t pay out well unless longshots finish in the top 3 or the race favorite gets beat. Just like the Kentucky Derby was 2 weeks ago, this race seems pretty wide-open. So I am expecting that the exotic bets will pay out much better than it did last year with no short price favorite like we had with Justify.
My Preakness Stakes pick for tomorrow is Improbable. This is no “lock” by any stretch of the imagination with his previous gate issues. But if I am going to pick a favorite, I am going with a horse that has proven to be nearly as fast as Omaha Beach and was faster than Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby after his bad start.
At the 1/4th mark, of the Kentucky Derby, Improbable was 4 3/4 lengths behind but he finished 3 1/4 lengths behind. That is making up 1 1/2 lengths. He will get Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith who is good at getting the most out of his mount and being able to calm a high-strung horse.
Plus Improbable is trained by Bob Baffert who has won seven Preakness Stakes. Jockey Mike Smith has won two.
Improbable also has a decent post-position (#4). The Preakness favors inside runners who get out to the front early. This bodes well for Improbable, Warrior’s Charge, Alwaysmining and War of Will.
This field is wide-open and if I am betting on it, I have to key who I feel is the fastest horse in the field. You can have a paralysis of analysis trying to handicap this race. You’ve got to put “the baby to bed” at some point as they say. If I am going down with the ship, I’ve got to go down with the best trainer, best jockey and fastest horse in the field.
So, I am playing a win bet on Improbable and a some 10 cent Superfectas keying Improbable with the following combination:
4, over 1,3,5,7, over 1,3,5,7,12 over 1,3,5,7,9,12
I wouldn’t recommend betting huge amounts on this race. I am steering away from Exactas and Trifectas because I feel Superfecta are the better exotic bet for this race.
I will keep updating this clear up until post-time if I like anything else.
I wanted to give all of my readers the link to a new multi-sport website that I created. I will keep this one for at least the rest of this year but will eventually transition fully to the new website. Please bookmark the new address: Coxsportsnet.com
So why the change? After five years of blogging on the sport of horse racing, I found that the majority of my blog views came in a three month span leading up to the Kentucky Derby. After the Kentucky Derby, views drop off considerably and especially if there is no Triple Crown candidate. It is hard to generate any kind of significant Ad revenue with these dynamics.
By switching to a multi-sport website platform, I hope to publish really good content on a wide range of sports and generate revenue. Revenue that I can use to pay contributors for article submissions and photo media to enhance website views.
I have a network of talented friends who are writers, authors, photographer and sports handicappers that should make this new site even better.
Stay tuned! I am still in the process of tweaking the new site and trying to enhance it.
Although I have been silent for awhile, I have submitted a new US Racing article to my editor on how to grow and improve the sport of horse racing. I love the sport of horse racing. I want it to succeed and regain past glory. However, the sport has been stuck in the past when it comes to safety and needs to really think outside the box. The thinking “We’ve have done it this way for years” needs to change.
Other sports have changed, through pressure from unions and lawsuits, and improved safety. A horse can’t talk or sue like a professional athlete. Jockeys have a union but they don’t have as much power as other pro sports unions.
The Kentucky Derby disqualification of Maximum Security really tarnishes the sport and affects the confidence in many. Keep in mind that the sport of horse racing was once one of the top two sports at the turn of the 20th Century but has dwindled to a niche sport due to internal cheating, doping and organized crime affecting outcomes over the years.
If the sport is going to bring more fans back, it has to change with the times and improve safety and fan experience. And display integrity enough to make good officiating decisions. Social media doesn’t agree with the disqualification of Maximum Security. Just look at any Facebook post from Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby for proof. That my friends, is a huge problem and its not like there aren’t knowledgeable people in the sport who agree with the disqualification either. I being one of them.
Perhaps another article I may write is to break down the DQ of Maximum Security on why it was a bad decision.
Sports and officiating. They say a well officiated game/sport is one where you don’t notice the officiating. What I just witnessed today at Churchill Downs with the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby was simply… I’m reaching for adjectives….absurd, astonishing, shocking, stupid…
Every one of these race officials who overturned the win of Maximum Security should be fired immediately. Why?
Rules govern the sport. Rules govern every sport. They are there for a reason to guide the sport and make it safe and have integrity. But millions of people are tuned in, watching the Kentucky Derby, the sport in its most absolute glamorous position—then you stall and extend coverage over a Race Stewards decision on who won. If it was that obvious a foul altered the outcome of a race, the decision should have been quick and easy.
Do I need to mention that the sport of horse racing is in serious decline, almost needing mouth-to-mouth CPR, in the face of a new sports landscape on the horizon where every Joe Blow will be able bet on any sporting event? The sport of horse racing has lost many fans and bettors over the years due to cheating within the sport and organized crime altering race outcomes.
And what do you do, drag out the decision so that the event gets extended coverage, then overturn the finishing order that all these Millions of people watched. You give the win to a 65-1 longshot. Who will never win another Grade 1 stakes race. Put me on record for that.
The rules read: “If in the opinion of the stewards, a foul alters the finish of a race, any offending horses may be disqualified by the stewards.”
Maximum Security led from start to finish. No other horse finished close enough to him for a disqualification to have merit.
The bettors race favorite, Maximum Security, gets the win taken away from him by a horse who would have doing good to hit 4th place in your Superfecta. Maximum Security was the best, the fastest horse in this field and was today. All the NBC commentators agreed. Race Stewards, listen to them.
Then you completely turn your back on bettors. There was $6,212,046 bet on Maximum Security to win compared to $520,907 on Country House. Maximum Security also had $1,495,408 to place and $1,272,082 to show. So roughly $9 million dollars. A really wise move for a sport on CPR.
These colts are inexperienced. A horse in the lead should get to decide where he wants to go. This isn’t Formula One racing with seasoned veteran drivers that you can penalize for blocking. This is horse racing with animals who aren’t as experienced. They don’t have rear view mirrors or side mirrors to know whose behind them and where they are on the track.
The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby should be viewed as a complete farce. I am glad that I have moved into writing about NHL hockey, a sport that has integrity enough to suspend officials and apologize to fans for bad calls by referees.
April 30th 2019 – Updated May 4th 2019 4:50 PM EST
Below is the starting field for the 145th Kentucky Derby with post-positions and jockey assignments. Note the updated Morning Line Odds.
Who’s my Derby Favorite?
It’s really up in the air, I have no magic this year as my Derby favorite, Omaha Beach, has been scratched. Everybody Derby handicapper has been scrambling since this news. But, I want to share some wisdom and one simple race replay for you to watch. The 2019 Arkansas Derby (shown below).
But Magnum Moon didn’t take to the slop, neither did a lot of horses. Too much backsplash. Todd Pletcher said they were still cleaning out mud from Patch’s one good eye three days later in an interview.
One thing that is clearly evident from watching the 2019 Arkansas Derby below, is how Improbable raced in traffic, in the slop and challenged Omaha Beach to the wire. And note how jockey Mike Smith hustled up Omaha Beach at the start of this race to avoid any chance of backsplash being a factor. Mike Smith = a very smart and wise jockey.
In your Derby handicapping and betting, give extra attention to colts who historically like to get to the front quick and those who have raced and performed well in an off track condition. It looks to be another slop fest Saturday.
Right now, I like Maximum Security and Improbable but this Derby is wide-open and not a great betting race as it appears from weather reports, to be another wet, sloppy race. Improbable had gate issues in the Arkansas Derby which concerns me.
Overall, I like Maximum Security if it turns out to be a dry race. If it is wet, I am leaning towards Improbable. I didn’t get a chance to handicap this race like I wanted to as my Uncle passed away yesterday unexpectedly so I have been reeling from that news.
2019 Kentucky Derby Starting Field
1) War of Will(15/1) – The Risen Star Stakes winner originally started off as a turf horse with little success before switching to dirt. The change work well for the Mark Casse-trained colt as he reeled off three straight wins. The he simply did not fire in his last start with a head-scratching 9th place finish in the Louisiana Derby. War of Will generally likes to get out towards the front, something he did not do in the Louisiana Derby. But he will now have to drawing the dreaded trail in the Derby.
Career: 8 Starts 3-1-1-1Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st-->1st–>9th Sire: War Front Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.45 (estimated) – 2019 Louisiana Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 96 – 2019 Risen Star Stakes
2) Tax (20/1) – The gelding was a consistent performer at Aqueduct, with a third place finish in the Remsen Stakes, a win in the Withers Stakes and a second place finish in his last start, the Wood Memorial. Move along.
Career: 5 Starts 2-2-1-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd Sire: Arch Trainer: Danny Gargan Jockey: Junior Alvarado Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.23 – 2019 Withers Stakes Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 103 – 2018 Remsen Stakes
3) By My Standards (15/1) – At 22-1 odds, By My Standards was the surprise longshot winner of the Louisiana Derby. This is a colt to consider for your Superfecta bets as he produced a sub-38 second last 3 furlong time in that race, something very few in this field accomplished.
Career: 5 Starts 2-2-1-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>1st Sire: Goldencents(Finished 17th in 2013 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: Bret Calhoun Jockey: Gabriel Saez Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.53 – 2019 Louisiana Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 102 – 2019 Louisiana Derby
4) Gray Magician (50/1) – He finished 2nd in the UAE Derby. He raced exclusively in the US before that race with little success. A very appropriate 50-1 longshot. Move along.
Career: 8 Starts 1-3-2-1Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 5th–>2nd–>2nd Sire: Graydar Trainer: Peter Miller Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 93 – 2019 Miracle Woods Stakes (Black Type)
5)Improbable(5/1) – The Bob Baffert-trained colt is a consistent runner, never finishing below 2nd in his five career starts. The Los Alamitos Futurity winner finished 2nd to Long Range Toddy in the Rebel Stakes and gave Omaha Beach a run for his money in the Arkansas Derby. He has proven to run well in the slop in the Arky Derby so file that fact away if we get a wet race on Saturday. He has one of the winningest post-positions, post #5, so that will help. I generally like this colt in Trifectas because of his proven consistency. But he has enough speed and fight to win under the right circumstances.
Career: 5 Starts 3-2-0-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>2nd Sire: City Zip Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, 2015 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer) Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.07 (estimated) – 2019 Arkansas Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 100 – 2018 Los Alamitos Futurity
6) Vekoma(15/1) – The Blue Grass Stakes winner. Although he only has four career starts, they all came at different tracks and he never finished below third. He also has a great jockey in Javier Castellano. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits the board.
Career: 4 Starts 3-0-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>3rd—>1st Sire: Candy Ride Trainer: George Weaver Jockey: Javier Castellano Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.93 – 2019 Blue Grass Stakes Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 101 – 2019 Blue Grass Stakes
7) Maximum Security (8/1) – Just like last year, jockey Luis Saez has one of the fastest colts in the Derby with Maximum Security. Last year, Saez had a disappointing 19th place finish with Magnum Moon in the sloppy Kentucky Derby. The good news here is that Maximum Security won the first race of his 3-year-old campaign on a muddy (sealed) surface at Gulfstream Park. So Maximum Security should be viewed as a dual threat to win on any surface. If you are shopping for a good price on a horse that I think has a serious chance of winning.
Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1 Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st->1st Sire: New Year’s Day Trainer: Jason Servis Jockey: Luis Saez Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.86 – 2019 Florida Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 102 – 2019 Florida Derby
8) Tacitus(8/1) – The Wood Memorial winner has won three straight. A progeny of Tapit, he should take to the added distance. Although I don’t consider him a serious threat to win the Derby, consider him as a candidate to slip into your Superfectas. And I think he has a bright future moving forward with more experience. He’ll win a big stakes race somewhere down the line, I just don’t think its this Saturday.
Career: 4 Starts 3-0-0-1Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st-->1st–>1st Sire: Tapit(Finished 9th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: Jason Servis Jockey: Jose Ortiz Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.23 – 2019 Wood Memorial Stakes Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 103 – 2019 Wood Memorial Stakes
9) Plus Que Parfait (30/1) – The UAE Derby winner. They often don’t perform as well as expected in the Kentucky Derby. His time in the UAE Derby of 1:58.41 was the exact same time Lani produced in the race three years ago. The Ridgling had spotty performances on US soil before shipping over to Dubai for the UAE Derby. He did finish 2nd in the Kentucky Jockey Club race at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old. However, I don’t see him hitting the board on Saturday.
Career: 7 Starts 2-1-2-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 5th–>13th–>1st Sire: Point of Entry Trainer: Ricardo Santana Jr. Jockey: Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: N/A Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
10) Cutting Humor(30/1) – The Sunland Derby winner that is trained by Todd Pletcher and will now be ridden by Mike Smith. Note that he set a track record in Sunland Derby. His first race was a 2nd place finish on a sloppy track at Belmont. So he has off track experience. With a good mid pack starting spot in the gate, Cutting Humor is the best longshot in this field in my opinion.
Career: 6 Starts 2-2-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>7th–>1st
Sire: First Samurai
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer) Jockey: Mike Smith (2005 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:46.94 – 2019 Sunland Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2019 Sunland Derby
13)Code of Honor(12/1)– The Shug McGaughey-trained colt won the Fountain of Youth Stakes and finished third in the Florida Derby. McGaughey is a Hall of Fame trainer who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb. Code of Honor’s jockey John Velazquez is a future Hall of Famer who has won two Kentucky Derbys. I am just not sure Code of Honor has the speed to win the Derby but consider him in your Superfecta bets.
14)Win Win Win(12/1) – After winning Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in January, Win Win Win followed up this effort with a 3rd place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby and a 2nd place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. At 12-1, these odds are too short for my tastes.
Career: 6 Starts 3-2-1-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–->3rd–>2nd Sire: Hat Trick Trainer: Michael Trombetta Jockey: Julian Pimentel Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.49 (estimated) – 2019 Blue Grass Stakes Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 101 – 2019 Pasco Stakes (Black Type)
15) Master Fencer(50/1) – The Japanese Fukuryu Stakes runner-up. That is exactly what I said to myself when I heard this colt was entered in the Derby. 50-1 morning line odds? Might as well be 500-1 odds as this colt will be like a Toyota racing versus Ferraris in the Kentucky Derby. Why? Master Fencer finished 4th in the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby point standings. Plus, he is slow. I converted his estimated time in the 1800 meter Fukuryu Stakes to an estimated time for 9 furlongs which most of this Derby class ran in their final Derby prep. I came up with an estimated time of 1:54.14 on a dry, fast track. He might fare better on an off track as he won an 1800 meter race on a bit of an off track on December 23rd. That estimated time came out better at 1:51.84. Slow, slow, slow.
Career: 6 Starts 2-2-0-1Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 1st–>4th–>2nd Sire: Just a Way Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda Jockey: Julien Leparoux Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:54.14 (estimated) – 2019 Fukuryu Stakes (Japan) Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: N/A
16) Game Winner(9/2) – The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse 2 Year Old American Male Champion is the current Morning Line odds favorite. Count me as one who doesn’t think he should be. Although I was high on this horse by virtue of his 2-year campaign, Game Winner didn’t win either of his Derby prep races as a 3-year old. In his final Derby prep race, he lost to Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby. The winning time of that race was 1:51.28— the 4th slowest Santa Anita Derby ever at that 1 1/8th mile distance.
Career: 3 Starts 3-0-0-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 3 Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>2nd Sire: Candy Ride Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, 2015 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer) Jockey: Joel Rosario (2013 Kentucky Derby Winner) Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.72 – 2019 Santa Anita Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 103 – 2018 Breeders Cup Juvenile
17) Roadster (5/1) – The Santa Anita Derby winner is tied at 5/1 odds with Improbable for the 2nd Morning Line favorite. For the same reasons why I am not a big believer in Game Winner, I am not a believer in this colt. One of my horse handicapping colleague’s always like to tell me “Time only matters when you’re in prison” when I bring up fraction and race times. But Roadster’s Santa Anita Derby winning time of 1:51.28 was the 4th slowest ever at that 1 1/8th mile distance. You have to go back to 1957 to find a slower Santa Anita Derby winning race time. This is part of the reason why Mike Smith opted for Omaha Beach over Roadster.
Career: 8 Starts 1-3-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1 Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>1st Sire: Quality Road Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, 2015 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer) Jockey: Florent Geroux Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.28 – 2019 Santa Anita Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 98 – 2019 Santa Anita Derby
18) Long Range Toddy (30/1) – After winning the first of the two Rebel Stakes races at Oaklawn Park, the Steve Asmussen-trained colt was expected to be a major challenger in the Arkansas Derby. However, he finished a disappointing 6th in that race. My take is that he had never raced on an wet track before and didn’t take too well to those conditions.
Career: 7 Starts 1-3-1-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 2nd–>3rd–>4th Sire: Take Charge Indy (Finished 19th in 2012 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Jon Court Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.56 (estimated) – 2019 Arkansas Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 97 – 2019 Rebel Stakes (1)
19) Spinoff (30/1) – Another one of Todd Pletcher’s trainees. He has raced at four different tracks and never finished below third. He lost the lead in his final Derby prep race, the Louisiana Derby, to By My Standards. So there is concern how he will like the added distance of another furlong in the Derby. My verdict, probably a mid pack finisher at best and Pletcher’s second best Derby entry in this race behind Cutting Humor.
Career: 4 Starts 2-1-1-0Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 3rd-–>1st–>2nd Sire: Hard Spun(Finished 2nd in the 2007 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer) Jockey: Manny Franco Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.65 (estimated) – 2019 Louisiana Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 102 – 2019 Louisiana Derby
20) Country House(30/1) – Country House finished third in the sloppy Arkansas Derby so we know that can handle an off track. He isn’t viewed as a serious threat to win the Derby as he has yet to win a Stakes race of any grade. However, he’s got to be a horse to consider in your Superfectas if we get another wet or sloppy Kentucky Derby.
Career: 6 Starts 1-2-1-1Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 2nd–>4th->3rd Sire: Lookin At Lucky(Finished 6th in the 2010 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: William Mott Jockey: Flavien Prat Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.99 (estimated) – 2019 Arkansas Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 95 – 2019 Louisiana Derby
21) Bodexpress (30/1) – The son of Bodemeister, who finished 2nd in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, gets into this Kentucky Derby field due to the scratch to Omaha Beach. He has never won a race in 6 career starts but ran well in the Florida Derby (shown below) with a 2nd place finish behind Maximum Security. The Kentucky Derby is no place to try to break your maiden, especially from post #20.
Career: 6 Starts 0-3-0-1Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0 Last 3 starts: 4th–>2nd—>2nd Sire: Bodemeister (Finished 2nd in the 2012 Kentucky Derby) Trainer: Gustavo Delgado Jockey: Chris Landeros Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.82 (estimated) – 2019 Florida Derby Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 98 – 2018 Florida Derby
On the docket…
I will preview every Triple Crown race, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.