The 2019 Kentucky Derby is one week away. So it’s time for the Daily Racing Blog to take a closer look at the field and offer up our thoughts on the twenty contenders. Here then, is a look at ten of the entrants. They are listed in order of qualifying points earned. Post Positions will be drawn on Tuesday and official odds will be assigned as well.
1) TACITUS ML 6-1 Aside from his debut race, TACITUS has been perfect. He Won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and the Wood Memorial (G2) with determined runs in his only starts as a three year-old. In Florida, he had to squeeze through tight quarters down the stretch, and in New York he was bumped hard more than once and stayed in stride going into the first turn. In both contests, he used his size and strength to get the Victory. He has been improving with each start and might be the one to give his trainer Bill Mott and his sire TAPIT their first Kentucky Derby Winner. Win Contender
2) OMAHA BEACH ML 9-2 With jockey Mike Smith choosing to ride this guy over ROADSTER, they will likely to head to the Starting Gate as the favorite. He switched from turf to dirt as a three year-old, and became a different horse. At Oaklawn Park, OMAHA BEACH beat two highly ranked 3-year-olds when he first topped GAME WINNER in the Rebel Stakes (G2) and then IMPROBABLE in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Defeating Bob Baffert‘s top two horses on the Derby Trail is an amazing accomplishment. Win Contender
3) VEKOMA ML 15-1 He has become known for his paddling front leg action when he runs, but it has had no effect on his ability to Win. VEKOMA likes to run close to the lead and sports a key 100-point Victory. He used his speed to his advantage in Winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) on a day that the Keeneland track showed bias in favor of front-runners. This Derby field is loaded with pace pressers, however, and this will make his task a formidable one. Mid-Pack Finish
5) ROADSTER ML 5-1 Last summer Bob Baffert hinted that this guy could be his next JUSTIFY. He has raced twice as a three year-old, and Won both contests- one being the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in which he rallied from far back in the field. He has only run in California and against small fields. Win Contender
6) BY MY STANDARDS ML 20-1 This guy went from Winning a Maiden Special Weight on his fourth attempt, to a 100-point Victory in the Louisiana Derby (G2). He would have to make another significant jump up to be a major player in a big race. Overall, the Fair Grounds horses have recently not fared well in The Derby. Toss
7) MAXIMUM SECURITY ML 10-1 He’s undefeated, a 100-point Winner and possesses speed. Those have been measures for success in The Derby this past decade. He wired the field in the Florida Derby (G1) in which there was a dawdling pace, and no horse took a run at him. Some believe he is the real deal, and will be ready to go 10 furlongs, while others feel that he got away with a pedestrian pace that won’t happen on the first Saturday in May. Know him early. Toss
8) GAME WINNER ML 8-1 How do two 2nd place finishes in KD Prep Races qualify as a disappointment? Only when you reside in the Bob Baffert barn and Win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the division championship as a 2-year-old. Granted, the two 2nd place finishes were courtesy of ROADSTER in one contest and OMAHA BEACH in the other. GAME WINNER is certainly capable of getting the distance, and there is no reason to think that he won’t be right there at the end. Contender
9) CODE OF HONOR ML 15-1 One thing is certain, he will likely go off at the highest odds of his career. He was overlooked in the Fountain of Youth when he won at 9-1, and in The Derby 15-1 or higher is possible. Critics say he is pace dependent, but there is certainly a chance that there will be plenty of front-end pressure. He should be ready to roll. Use Underneath
10) HAIKAL ML 30-1 He is another one of the late runners, and he is a genuine deep closer. ORB was the last with that running style to Win The Derby, while others have hit the board. In every race this season, HAIKAL was asked to do something new, going longer and longer, and he responded. On May 4th he will have to race on a track other than Aqueduct. He’s another one that will have hefty odds with a chance to be part of the Trifecta or the Superfecta. Use Underneath
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Did we clear things up, or muddy the water? DRB welcomes feedback in regard to these profiles. Regardless of how you feel, it’s time to start thinking about a KD wagering strategy. Next up, a look at the remainder of the field.