Owners, trainers and the best three-year-old thoroughbred horses on earth are anxiously waiting for D-Day — April 28, the day when the post-position draw for this year’s 136th Kentucky Derby will take place.
Yes it’s almost time for “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports—the first leg of the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing in the United States that will tale place at historic Churchill Downs on May 1st. How important is the post-position? Only two postpositions have failed to produce the Derby champ – 18 and 19.
A maximum of 20 horses can run in the Derby, and graded stakes determines who will make the field, and who will not. With just two weeks to go here are my picks for the top 10 horses in the running for the post.
Eskendereya: Probably this year’s odds on favorite to win the Derby. Todd Fletchers year-old dominated the Fountain of Youth – by 8 1/2 lengths. He is head and shoulders above the rest of at this point, and unless something goes wrong in the four weeks between the Wood and the Derby, he will enter the starting gate on May 1 the daunting favorite to wear the roses. The son of Giant’s Causeway is a horse that accelerates well and is a top pick at 2/1.
Lookin at Lucky: One of Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert’s hopefuls made his three year old debut at Oaklawn Park with a win in the Rebel Stakes but followed up with a not so successful run in the Santa Anita Derby where he came in third behind winner Sidney’s Candy. Some poor performances have outnumbered favorable results as the son of Smart Strike ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. At 13/4 only Eskendereya has better odds.
Sidney’s Candy: The son of Candy Ride broke his maiden at Del Mar in his second start last year. He won the San Vicente for his 2010 debut then won the San Felipe in his first start longer than seven furlongs. But the April 3 Santa Anita Derby at nine furlongs was his most impressive performance. He charged the to the front once again and simply drew away through the final quarter-mile to an impressive-looking win, leaving in his wake some highly regarded 3-year-olds in Lookin At lucky, Caracortado, and Alphie’s Bet. This horse can go the distance at 6/1.
Dublin: He won the Hopeful at Saratoga on September 7, followed by a 5th place effort in the Champagne at Belmont on October 10. Following epiglottis surgery last fall, the son of Afleet Alex finished second in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn on February 20, then finished third in the Rebel stakes on March 13. He finished third in the Arkansas Derby on April 10, as he couldn’t quite catch Conveyance falling 3/4 of a length short. With both stamina and speed Dublin can handle the Derby distance and is a solid 10/1.
Super Saver: Another Pletcher Derby hopeful that hasn’t received much attention, but still makes into the field of 20. The son of Maria’s Mon finished 3rd in his 3-year-old debut, as the favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 13, and then He finished second in the Arkansas Derby on April 10 at Oaklawn. He has great running ability but does he have enough heart? With jockey Calvin Borel, last year’s Derby winner, on board he is a good bet at 15/1.
Ice Box: He broke his maiden in October at the Meadowlands, and then followed that up with an allowance win at Gulfstream in January. He made his stakes debut in the Fountain of Youth on February 20 finishing fifth, by 12 lengths, but then came back to win by a nose in the Florida Derby on March 20. This three-year-old possess’ good late running and a ton of stamina. He seems tailor-made for longer-distance races like the Kentucky Derby and is solid bet at 15/1.
Rule: Todd Pletcher’s front-runner made it four in a row wire-to-wire in the Sam Davis at Tampa, but can the son of Roman Ruler travel the 1-¼ miles to victory especially on the first Saturday in May? We all know that pace wins the race and being near on the lead en route to the first turn at Churchill Downs may not bode well for a strong finish down the stretch. At 20/1 it’s not likely.
Conveyance: Another Bob Baffert star. He won the San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita on January 16 and then the Southwest Stakes on February 20, and was undefeated in his first four starts. His streak ended when he finished second in the Sunland Derby on March 28, giving up the lead in the stretch. The son as Indian Charlie has an easy time on the lead but does not seem to stand up to the extra furlong, which calls his ability to handle the Derby distance into serious question at this time. His pedigree says he can’t go the distance at. 25/1.
Line of David: The son of Lion Heart did not break his maiden until his fourth try, a one-mile event at Santa Anita on February 13. He followed this up with an allowance win also at Santa Anita, but it was his win at the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn April 10 at odds of 17-1 that shot him straight to Kentucky. While impressive that his wins were accomplished in wire-to-wire fashion, only two have managed that in 22 years. A risky bet at 30/1.
Mission Implzible: Another Pletcher trainee. The son of Unbridled’s Song won his debut last April at Keeneland, then finished third in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes in May. In his final prep he won the Louisiana Derby on March 27, making up more than two lengths in the stretch. His win in the Louisiana Derby at nine furlongs showed long distance potential, but the tenth furlong at Churchill Downs is often the breaking point, making him a dicey bet at 30/1.
Coverage of the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby begins on Saturday, May 1, 2010 on NBC Television at 5 PM ET, with post time set at approx. 6:15 PM. ET.
Make your Kentucky Derby Picks and Place your Wagers Online at Bodog.com!