A Look at the Kentucky Derby Field
20 horses. A mile and a quarter. 2 Million Dollars. It’s a lot to take in. We try and sort through it all with a brief look at the entire Derby field. @JoeBianchino
The post positions for the 138th Kentucky Derby were announced on Wednesday – the proverbial opening of the gates for amateur handicappers and gambling degenerates everywhere. This year, unlike year’s past, the Derby field seems lousy with champion-quality stallions. And also unlike years past, much of that quality will be on display early as the Derby figures to feature a ton of early speed. Such a start could open the door for some late running dramatics in deep stretch. A full breakdown of our predictions for the race will be posted later in the day. For now, we offer you a brief introduction to the entire field.
Daddy Long Legs: 30/1 – Unlikely. In his one race on dirt – also at Churchill Downs – Daddy Long Legs was woefully unimpressive, losing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by almost 20 lengths in November.
Optimizer: 50/1 – With speed figures that look that bad, Otpimizer, is not an optimum bet – see what I did there with the corny joke? Yeah, you like it. Seriously though, don’t bet this horse.
Take Charge Indy: 15/1 – The farthest inside of the many speed horses in this race, this colt took the field wire to wire in the Florida Derby, but was being closed on at the finish. Calvin Borel has taken worse horses to the winner’s cirlce, but with another furlong and with better speed fighting him for the early lead, don’t count on him being there first.
Union Rags: 9/2 – One of the more impressive horses in the field. He’s failed only twice in his career – once the victim of a bad trip, and once the victim of some drunken wandering down the stretch in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Each time, the colt would have been the likely winner at the Derby length. He likes to come from just off the pace, and with the speed that will be featured – look for him to be there in the end.
Dullahan: 8/1 – He’s a deep closer, which could set up nicely in this field. Expect Derby veteran Kent Desormeaux to have him positioned well to make a run. If he falls beyond 8/1 – I’d take a flyer on him.
Bodemeister: 4/1 – He’s been installed as the favorite for a reason. With impressive speed figures and having won two his last three races by 9 lengths EACH, he’s correctly positioned in the odds and should be figured in every exotic bet you make. He can run at a hot pace, but it’s unknown how he’ll work with the array of other horses challenging him for the lead. His two losses have come when he wasn’t running out front wire-to-wire.
Rousing Sermon: 50/1 – Hasn’t topped a 94 speed figure and hasn’t won in his last five starts. Eeyore seems more likely.
Creative Cause: 12/1 – Another off the pace runner who could certainly be there in the end. He bested Bodemeister two races ago and would have run down his foe with the extra furlong he’ll be given in the Derby. Not a bad look at 12/1.
Trinniberg: 50/1 – Almost certainly will be the early leader, but having never raced beyond seven furlongs, he’s a prime candidate to move from first to last before anyone notices.
Daddy Nose Best: 15/1 – He’ll try to work from off the pace, but he simply doesn’t look the equal of the better horses in the field.
Alpha: 15/1 – He’s looked impressive in his last three – fighting the undefeated Gemologist tooth and nail before succumbing at the Wood Memorial last month and winning the two previous starts. He’s said to have come away from the Wood with some minor injuries, however. Still, expect him to be forwardly placed and in contention in mid-stretch.
Prospective: 30/1 – Word from Churchill is that Prospective has taken to the track well and looked impressive in training. At 30/1 and as a late charging horse who will have plenty of pace to run at, he’s certainly worth a look as a live long shot. But with poor speed figures, he’s not worth much more.
Went The Day Well: 20/1 – Graham Motion and John Velazquez combining with a European horse that no one is talking about. Worked last year. And while I don’t expect this colt to make an Animal Kingdom like run, there is a reason John Velazquez has chosen to ride him.
Hansen: 10/1 – All this horse does is win. And when he doesn’t win, he finishes second. But his early speed has seen him closed on in several of his past races. You’ll hear his name a lot, but I don’t expect it to be in the winner’s circle.
Gemologist: 6/1 – All this horse does is win. Period. He’s 5/5 in his racing career with two wins already on this Churchill Downs course. Though he’s a speed horse by nature, he’s shown that he can sit just off pace and be there in the end. Expect the latter, and expect a big performance.
El Padrino: 20/1 – He’s looked impressive in the past, but was only fourth best in his only other grade one start. A long shot? Sure. A winner? Probably not.
Done Talking: 50/1 – A closer with a jockey I don’t trust (Russell Sheldon: Never trust someone with two first names) in a traffic jam field of 20? Pass.
Sabercat: 30/1 – Another closer. And while I trust the connections – Asmussen and Nakatani – I don’t trust the speed figures.
I’ll Have Another: 12/1 – He’ll be forwardly placed and in striking position when the field takes the final turn, but I don’t see him turning back the favorites. Worth playing in exotics, but the last time he raced with only a month off – as he will on Saturday – he finished a woeful 19 lengths back.
Liaison: 50/1 – An impressive two year old campaign hasn’t translated to his work as a three year old. In three starts he’s bucked his rider, and finished 4th and 6th. You can bank on recapturing the glory of 2011, or you can just not bet him. I’d chose the latter.
My Adonis: 50/1 – An “Also Eligible” who may be best served to remain as such.