5/2 – Kentucky Derby

The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby will be Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.  Post time is set for 6:24pm ET.  The weather forecast is good with partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 76 degrees anticipated.  The track is expected to be listed as fast.  Here's a look at the horses that will be running.

American Pharoah is the current favorite at 5-2 but injured a foot in his 2 year old campaign and races with a bar shoe for protection.  He has three grade 1 wins to his credit, but because of the past injury, I'll be looking elsewhere for the Derby winner.  Additionally, he will break from the #17 post which has never produced a winner.

The second choice is Dortmund at 3-1.  Like American Pharoah, Dortmund is trained by Bob Baffert and comes in a perfect 6 for 6.  His father, Big Brown, is a Derby winner which means he's bred to run the distance and compete with this class.  Dortmund drew post position #8.

Carpe Diem is getting some attention at 8-1.  Carpe Diem will be ridden by John Velazquez and is trained by Todd Pletcher.  A formidable combination usually, but not so much in the Derby.  Carpe Diem can be tempermental at the gate which has me a little concerned in a race of this magnitude.

Other horses being given some backing in the race include Firing Line (12-1), Materiality (12-1), Frosted (15-1), Upstart (15-1), International Star (20-1) and Mubtaajih (20-1).  Of these entries, Frosted is my favorite.  He had a common throat surgery to improve his breathing and added blinkers which resulted in an impressive Wood Memorial win.  I also like Dubai shipper, Mubtaahij because of his 2 wins at 1 3/16 miles, longer than any other horse in the field.  This is key since the Derby is run at the classic 1 1/4 miles.

Rounding out the field are Ocho Ocho Ocho (50-1), Tencendur (30-1), Danzig Moon (30-1), El Kabeir (30-1), Bolo (30-1), Itsaknockout (30-1), Keen Ice (50-1), War Story (50-1), Mr. Z (50-1), Far Right (30-1) and Frammento (50-1) who got in the field after Stanford scratched.

El Kabeir will be ridden by Churchill Downs favorite and Derby winner Calvin Borel which will likely see him bet down by post time, not enough to like here.  Far Right has a deep closer running style and will be ridden by Mike Smith who won with a similar horse in Giacamo back in 2005.  Worth putting in your exotic bets.

With 20 horses coming to the post, the Kentucky Derby is always a wide open affair and how a horse handles the big crowd and the big field is crucial.  The best horse doesn't always win because of this.  I am discounting American Pharoah as a winner because of the hoof injury.  I'm not too concerned about the 17 post jinx, but it doesn't help.  Having said that, who will win?

I am going with Mubtaahij in the mild upset.  I expect he will go off less than the current 30-1 because of his 2 wins at distance as the bettors get a look at the past performances.  I'm not as worried about the trip from Dubai as some may be and the payoff should still be generous.

Also finishing up front I see Dortmund, Frosted and Far Right.  In that order.  I would not be surprised if Dortmund won but reports that he has been acting up little bit at Churchill make me shy away from picking him to win at this price.  Any extra energy used up before the race could be a factor down the stretch.  Frosted's Wood Memorial win and 103 Beyer in that race has gotten my attention.  Far Right's running style fits right in to rounding out the superfecta.

1. Mubtaahij  2. Dortmund  3. Frosted  4. Far Right

Note:  El Kabeir has been scratched and the race will be run with just 19 horses as it is too late to bring in an AE.


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