Just a week away from ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports’. So while I won’t make any daring picks until after post positions are drawn on Wednesday I will offer up a brief profile of each expected entrant. These will be in order of the points the horses accumulated during the prep-race season- AKA The Road To The Derby.
MAGNUM MOON. (150 points) This is the first of four Todd Pletcher trained horses competing in this years version of The Run For The Roses. MAGNUM MOON arrives here after he earned 100 points when he won the Arkansas Derby back on April 14th at Oaklawn Park. It was only his 4th start of his career- having won all four. Jockey Luis Saez is up against history at Churchill next Saturday, as no horse since 1882 (APOLLO) has won The Derby without racing as a two year-old.
GOOD MAGIC (134 points) Two east-coast/Saratoga magicians at work here, as Chad Brown trains and Jose Ortiz rides. GOOD MAGIC is the son of CURLIN so getting the distance at Churchill Downs will not be an issue. With the connections and the pedigree, if he crosses the wire first on May 5th it won’t be smoke and mirrors.
AUDIBLE (110 points) Another Pletcher trained horse, with Javier Castellano in the irons. AUDIBLE arrives after having won the Florida Derby on March 31st at Gulfstream Park. Last years Kentucky Derby winner ALWAYS DREAMING also won the Florida Derby and was trained by Pletcher. Jockey John Velazquez rode ALWAYS DREAMING in both those races last year. Johnny V. was on AUDIBLE for The Florida Derby but is opting to ride a different Pletcher horse in the KD. Hmmm.
NOBLE INDY (110 points) Third of the Pletcher group. This horse enters The Derby on the strength of winning the Louisiana Derby back on March 24th at the Fairgrounds Racetrack. Johnny V. has ridden this colt in its last three starts but will not be aboard at Churchill Downs. At this writing a rider for NOBLE INDY is still TBA. Pletcher added blinkers to this horse at The Fairgrounds, and while this obviously helped him focus, Johnny V. said the horse was still a little green. Hmmm.
VINO ROSSO (107 points) This horse rounds out the entry superfecta in The Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher. And yes, this is the horse John Velazquez has chosen to ride. On April 7th VINO ROSSO won a controversial (foul claimed) Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Park. There was some bumping down the stretch, which should serve him well in the ‘jailbreak’ that is the start of The Kentucky Derby. His blood lines indicate he has what it takes to make a late run for victory. At very generous odds.
That’s it for now. I’ll look at the next five with my next post.