The big day has finally arrived and it comes without the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion, Uncle Mo, who was scratched by his connections on Friday. That leaves us with a field of nineteen horses who will be going 1 1/4 miles for the first time in their lives. The favorite is likely to be Dialed In, although he should now be a heavier favorite than originally anticipated. Here is the analysis for the 137th running of the Grade 1 $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby:
My top pick for the Derby will be the Bob Baffert trainee, #15 Midnight Interlude, who was the winner of the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 despite having to alter course in the stretch. The rider will be Victor Espinoza, who teamed with Baffert for Derby glory in 2002 on War Emblem. The horse has been working lights-out at Churchill Downs, with two bullets on the docket. I even think he might like a wet track should there be one on Derby Day. One of the bullets was over a sloppy strip and he broke his maiden on a track listed as wet-fast. I am usually loathe to consider the "wiseguy" horse in the Derby, but will do so with #19 Nehro, trained by Steve Asmussen. Asmussen has done just about everything in Thoroughbred training except win the Derby. He is in the same boat that Todd Pletcher was in last year, when Super Saver got him off the Derby donut. Quite simply, Nehro's last two races have been outstanding. He ran second in both of them, but had he had another furlong to run at the winner, which he gets here, he would have more than that one win. I will put #13 Mucho Macho Man in the third spot. He had shoe issues in the Louisiana Derby and he still managed to run a credible third at Fair Grounds. Trainer Kathy Ritvo will have the sentimental angle in this Derby, given all that she overcame to get to this point. Rajiv Maragh will be aboard. The longshot I will be including is #3 Twice The Appeal. Calvin Borel is aboard and he has only won three of the last four editions of the Derby. He might get the trip he wants after drawing the inside slot and if it is a wet track, this horse's chances increase exponentially. Since this is the Derby, I will include a bonus fifth horse with #17 Soldat. He was high on my Derby list until the Florida Derby fiasco. He is another that could benefit from some rain falling in Louisville. Alan Garcia has the riding assignment on a horse that should be a part of the pace set-up in here. Here is the play for the 137th Kentucky Derby:
$10 WP #15
$1 EX BOX 3-13-15-17-19
$1 TRI BOX 3-13-15-17-19
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. There will not be any blog posts until Friday next week in the aftermath of the Derby, as I head to my summer station of Lincoln Race Course. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!