Some Derby Subplots

The Kentucky Derby is less than three weeks away and while plenty can (and will) happen between now and May 6th, here are three story lines already in play at Churchill Downs.

THE PLETCHER FACTOR The Hall of Famer has Won the Kentucky Derby twice, first with SUPER SAVER in 2010 and then ALWAYS DREAMING in 2017.

Pletcher may very well have the top two choices in this year’s race.

Florida Derby Winner FORTE is expected to be the Kentucky Derby favorite. He’s looking to become just the fourth 2-year-old Champion since 1980 to go on and Win the Kentucky Derby, joining STREET SENSE (2006-07), AMERICAN PHAROAH (2014-15) and NYQUIST (2015-16).

Blue Grass Stakes Winner TAPIT TRICE has Won four straight races and could be the second choice in the Kentucky Derby morning line. Louisiana Derby Winner KINGSBARN, who’s undefeated in three races, is Pletcher’s third Kentucky Derby contender.

“We feel great about the hand we have right now,” Pletcher said. Thank you Captain Understatement.


PROMINATE JAPANESE HORSES Only two horses bred in Japan have competed in the Kentucky Derby, MASTER FENCER (6th in 2019) and CROWN PRIDE (13th in 2022). But the number Japanese entrants will, at the least, double this year.

DERMA SOTOGAKE and CONTINUAR are safely in the field, and MANDARIN HERO could join them with a few (5) defections from the top twenty.

DERMA SOTOGAKE, a son of MIND YOUR BISCUITS, Won the UAE Derby on March 25th to clinch his spot in the Run for the Roses. CONTINUAR, a son of DREFONG, earned his spot via the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. He finished 3rd in the UAE Derby.


OLDEST KENTUCKY DERBY JOCKEY Ken Tohill is scheduled to ride WILD ON ICE. At 60 years old he is set to become the oldest jockey in Kentucky Derby history.

Tohill will get the chance after guiding the 35-1 longshot WILD ON ICE to Victory in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby on March 26th.

Per Equibase, Tohill has Won 4,099 races since 1979 with career earnings of $71.1 million. The Sunland Park Derby Victory was his first in a Graded-Stakes race.

In 2019 Jon Court became the oldest jockey in Derby history when the 58-year-old guided LONG RANGE TODDY to a 16th-place finish.

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