Edmund Gann's Midas Eyes, another dazzling star from the powerhouse stable of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, heads a small field of six 3-year-olds in Saturday's running of the $150,000-added Derby Trial (gr. III), the opening day feature of the 52-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
Saturday's racing at the historic track also launches Kentucky Derby
Week, which will climax with the 129th renewals of the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on May 2 and the $1 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby (gr. I)the following day.
Midas Eyes, who has been installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite
for the Derby Trial by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia, is
currently the third-stringer behind Kentucky Derby favorite Empire Maker and leading Derby contender Peace Rules in Frankel's star-studded stable. But a win in the Derby Trial could help the son of Touch Gold move up in the eyes of his trainer. Frankel said a victory in the Derby Trial could earn the colt a start against older horses in the prestigious one-mile Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
"His race down there (in Florida), I didn't expect what I saw that
day," said Frankel. "He ran unbelieveable. He broke the stakes record and it was his first start in eight months."
Midas Eyes brings a career record of 2-1-0 in three races into the
Trial. The colt will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, who will ride Frankel's Empire Maker in the Derby.
Although Midas Eyes is a solid choice to get Frankel's Derby Week
off to a sizzling start, the colt faces several accomplished rivals. Contenders include Lloyd Madison Farm's Champali,the Greg Foley-trained winner of the Iroquois (gr. III) at Churchill Downs at
the Trial's one-mile distance, and Robert and Beverly Lewis' Private Gold, winner of the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway for trainer Patrick Byrne in his most recent outing.
Champali will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, the all-time
leading rider at Churchill Downs who launches a bid on Saturday for a record 34th overall riding crown at the track, a record 15th spring title, and a sixth consecutive overall title under the track's historic Twin Spires. Shane Sellers will ride Private Gold. $150,000 Derby Trial (gr.III), 3-year-olds, 1 milePost/Horse (Weight) Jockey ML Odds
1. Desert Warrior (118) Cornelio Velazquez 10-1
2. Miner Moss (118) Eddie Zuniga 30-1
3. Midas Eyes (122) Jerry Bailey 4-5
4. Private Gold (122) Shane Sellers 7-2
5. Champali (122) Pat Day 2-1
6. Unbridled America (116) Robby Albarado 15-1
Post Time: 4:45 p.m. (EDT)