1. California Chrome – There is no questioning the talent this horse has…can he take his show on the road is the only question mark left to answer for this Kentucky Derby Favorite. He brings a huge fan following with him, and also a bit of mystery as he won’t arrive to Churchill Downs until the week of the race. One of the more unlikely and entertaining favorites in Kentucky Derby history!
2. Hoppertunity – Just keeps getting better and better with each race and workout. He’s been clearly defeated by California Chrome, but if Chrome doesn’t show up with his best effort this is the horse that can take him down. His work on Wednesday morning was very strong.
3. Wicked Strong – Can he give his best effort outside of the state of New York? Wicked Strong is one of the few horses to win from off the pace which is great news in this field that should have a fast pace, but he’s ran a few duds outside of New York. Will Churchill suit him?
4. Intense Holiday – He’s been forgotten about since finishing second in the Louisiana Derby, but I look for him to rebound with a nice race. The long Churchill Downs stretch will be to his liking.
5. Samraat – This might be the toughest horse out of them all. He’s yet to run a bad race, and in the only loss of his career he was still a game second to Wicked Strong. Has a little bit of pedigree problems, but you can’t underestimate him.
6. Tapiture – Fairly disappointing effort in the Arkansas Derby, but perhaps he can rebound at the right time. Pedigree has always been in question…looked flat going a mile and one eighth.
7. Candy Boy – The Santa Anita Derby was not a good effort at all, but I do believe he’ll improve in this one. The extra distance should be right up his alley, and hopefully they can get him to settle early and make one big run at the end.
8. Wildcat Red – He’s outrunning his pedigree distance wise so you can’t discredit this ones heart. Most likely will be close to the lead the whole way, and also will most likely be the one fighting to stay around at the end.
9. Danza – Is he for real…or is he a one hit wonder? The first Saturday in May will give us an indication, but as of now this one has me puzzled.
10. Ride On Curlin – His level of improvement throughout the prep season has been great, and many are raving about his workouts leading up to this race. Can he make those workouts translate into a big time victory? Maybe…you also have to like that Calvin Borel has jumped aboard.
11. Uncle Sigh – Pedigree wise this one is shaky, but he’s another that has a lot of heart. I don’t look at him as a horse that can win, but he might keep trying while others will quit.
12. General A Rod – I’ve wanted to like this horse for awhile now, but he just has kind of developed into a hanger. In both his last two races at Gulfstream it looked like he was going to win during the stretch, and both times he’s come up short.
13. Dance With Fate – Really great performance in the Bluegrass, but his connections even hinted that this one is a poly track specialist. Will make him beat me.
14. Commanding Curve – Definitely a logical longshot pick here. Had a pretty nice closing kick last time out, and this trainer proved to us last year that you can’t leave him off any tickets.
15. Vicar’s In Trouble – I love the talent this one has…his natural turn of foot and early speed is something to be respected. However, I just have zero confidence that he can get the mile and one quarter Derby distance. If by some chance he can he could become very dangerous.
16. Vinceremos – Forget about his performance last time out in the Bluegrass Stakes as it was obviously he didn’t care for the surface. His races on dirt have been ok, but I’m not sure he’s quite good enough to make an impact in a tough spot like the Derby. You could find worse longshots though…
17. Medal Count – Certainly looks like a poly track specialist to me. He’s had a few chances on the dirt and none have turned out to be very pretty.
18. Ring Weekend – Usually horses don’t lose the Calder Derby and then come back to win the Kentucky Derby. He was able to win the Tampa Bay Derby by getting the right trip, but that most likely won’t happen again.
19. We Miss Artie – Got into the Derby by winning the Spiral Stakes, but that race wasn’t all the impressive. It’s also worth mentioning…he’s been terrible on dirt.
20. Harry’s Holiday – Complete toss for me as even if he brought his poly track form to this one he still wouldn’t be fast enough to compete.