Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects

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1. Revolutionary

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Calvin Borel

Breakdown: Winner of the Louisiana Derby has shown two things from day one: determination and heart.  He’s the most seasoned horse out of the bunch, and has overcome bad trips to win in both of his Kentucky Derby preps.  The one to beat.

2. Goldencents

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Jockey: Kevin Krigger

Breakdown: He ran the most impressive race of all the preps, winning the Santa Anita Derby and earning a beyer speed figure of 105.  The way he’s learned to sit just off the pace will help him in the Derby tremendously.  Very dangerous if the mile and one-quarter is to his liking.

3. Orb

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Breakdown: Distance shouldn’t be any problem at all, and top jock Joel Rosario grabbing the mount is a definite positive.  The key will be if he has enough tactical speed to sit a decent trip.  Decent turn of foot, but won’t be able to come from way out of it and win.

4. Verrazano

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Breakdown: Undefeated and most likely the favorite.  His form going a mile and sixteenth or less is flawless, but he did slow down a little when running a mile and one eighth.  Breeding for distance is in question, plus he had zero races as a two-year old so 100+ years of history is against him.

5. Itsmyluckyday

Trainer: Ed Plesa

Jockey: Elvis Trujillo

Breakdown: It’s interesting with one average race how far this guy has fallen off the radar.  Supporters have to love the price they could get on him, as well as the bounce back potential this he has.  You’d probably be wise to pay attention to his works at CD leading up to the race, he could be live on the first Saturday in May.

6. Oxbow

Trainer: D Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Gary Stevens

Breakdown: I’m not ready to give up on him yet!  The Arkansas Derby was a disaster, and he’s still yet to get the post position and trip you’d like to see him get.  His latest work over the Churchill surface was pretty good.  This time look for him to go to the front and try to take them all the way to the wire.

7. Will Take Charge

Trainer: D Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Jon Court

Breakdown: He’s the mystery horse of the Derby.  Last time out he looked like a prime contender when winning the Rebel Stakes, but that was seven weeks ago.  The colt is growing at a rapid rate, but can Lukas get him ready for a big performance off a long layoff?

8. Java’s War

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Breakdown: I’ve liked this horse from the start, and he hasn’t disappointed in his two preps for the Derby.  His closing kick is solid, the question will be what kind of trip he’ll get.  With twenty horses in the Derby, those late flying closers usually get caught pretty wide on the final turn.

9. Normandy Invasion

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Breakdown: Everyone is buzzing about this one, but I’m not buying the hype.  He looked pretty thin when arriving to Churchill, and lets not forget the horse is eligible for a non-winners of two allowance.  Would be playable at the right price, but think he’ll be way over bet.

10. Overanalyze

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

Breakdown: The big win in the Arkansas Derby was encouraging, but the race came back pretty slow.  You have to like that his best races have been over a mile and one eighth distance, but will this horse be fast enough to get the job done?  Maybe one to look at for exotics…

11. Mylute

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Jockey: Rosie Napravnik

Breakdown: Here is another that’s flying under the radar, although Rosie signing on to ride will hurt your price on Derby day.  He showed tremendous kick in the Louisiana Derby last time out, but can this horse get mile and one-quarter distance?

12. Palace Malice

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Mike Smith

Breakdown: It’s great that Curlin’s first crop has produced a Derby horse, but I still question just how good Palace Malice can be.  The distance should be right up his alley which is good, but is he fast enough?  He reminds me a little of Overanalyze, exotics are possible but don’t think he can win.

13. Lines of Battle

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Breakdown: He’s classy enough to compete with these horses, but how will he take to the dirt?  His breeding suggests he’ll do just fine, but winners of the UAE Derby have not done well in Kentucky.  Should be looked at as a wildcard.

14. Vyjack

Trainer: Rudy Rodriguez

Jockey: Garrett Gomez

Breakdown: It certainly wasn’t a horrible third place effort in the Wood Memorial for Vyjack, but he was clearly beaten by the top two.  The longer distance probably won’t help him much in this one.

15. Code West

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: ???

Breakdown: Who knows if he’ll even run in the Derby, but if he does I actually think he has a shot to hit the board.  He’s bred to get the distance, and he had run some decent races before flopping in the Louisiana Derby.  His best effort would be good enough to compete here.

16. Black Onyx

Trainer: Kelly Breen

Jockey: Joe Bravo

Breakdown: Here is another one that is flying completely under the radar.  He’s going to have to improve off his win in the Spiral Stakes, but Kelly Breen is not one you should underestimate.  Maybe a longshot chance?

17. Govenor Charlie

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Martin Garcia

Breakdown: His Sunland Derby win doesn’t look like much, and there has been reports about foot bruising.  I’d stay away from him as of now.  His workouts at Churchill will be very important to monitor.

18. Winning Cause

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: ???

Breakdown: Hey why not?  The horse is on a roll, and that’s never a bad sign heading into the Derby.  Tough to know how he’ll like the Churchill Downs dirt, but I’ve seen crazy things happen.

19. Frac Daddy

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Victor Lebron

Breakdown: Was able to clunk up for second in the Arkansas Derby, but was dominated in two preps before that.  Not liking his chances in this spot.

20. Charming Kitten

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: ???

Breakdown: This horse is a total question mark on the dirt, so that’s why I’ve landed him at number twenty.  Deserves a chance to prove himself, but will be a pass for me.

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

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2 comments on “Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects

  1. Love your breakdown of the derby. Found you guys thanks to a buddy about halfway through Oaklawn. Wish we had a fall meet. I just think from Revolutionary’s pattern he might dip in this race. Normandy Invasion turned it on in the Wood and almost caught Verrazano and this extra pole gives him that edge. Oxbow still has some power and is surely used to the outside post by now. He’s my sleeper. I hope I get at least 8/1 on itsmyluckyday. Thanks for the reads guys. I’m addicted to the website. Keep up the good work!!

    • We’re really glad you like the site! Yes, it would be very nice if Oaklawn had a fall meet. It’s along ways off until January! Tough Derby this year. Orb is getting a lot of workout buzz right now. Normand Invasion as well. Money to be made…we just have to figure it out!

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