The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is restricted to 20 starters. If more than 20 horses are entered, total earnings in graded stakes determine the priority of starters. Link to an updated list of contenders by graded earnings, complete through racing of April 9.
With expected Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) contender Fast Parade taking a pass, things look even better for Brother Derek. But will he have it all his way?
While the morning line makes Cause to Believe the 5-2 favorite in Saturday's Illinois Derby (gr. II), we think he's more deserving than that.
A SUNRIVER, that is. The reasons for this top selection in the grade I Florida Derby are simple and to the point.
Saturday's edition of the grade II Lane's End Stakes will be the first ever run on Turfway Park's Polytrack. Horses have come in from all over the place--many of them with turf pedigrees--to try to earn graded money at this stop on the Kentucky Derby road. With this collision of talent, here's no telling what the pari-mutuel payoffs could be.
We think there is no reason to deviate from the trend of favorites winning races on this year's Road to the Kentucky Derby in Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). Coming into the race, Bluegrass Cat looks like he'll whip this field.
The Kentucky Derby picture may start looking somewhat muddled at some point, but so far this year, the Road to the Derby has been pretty clear-cut. Favorites won the San Rafael (gr. II), Holy Bull (gr. III), Sham (gr. III), San Vicente (gr. II), Whirlaway, Sam F. Davis, Southwest, Santa Catalina (gr. II), and the California Derby. The gravitational pull is so hard, a disqualification placed the favorite first in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II). The issue this weekend is whether we view the trend as our friend in the Rebel Stakes (gr. III). We'll take the contrarian view, if things develop as we think they will.
At TheDowneyProfile.com, we utilize 13 factors more common to Kentucky Derby winners than non-winners, based on our 33-year study, in order to create an objective, weighted-factor predictor of Kentucky Derby success. One factor that we do not use is the "horse for the course" handicapping angle, the one that looks to horses that have run well at Churchill Downs.
This race has it all. Worthy past performances. Terrific workout lines. High profile, solid connections. Quality breeding. From a handicapping perspective, there is good reason to swing for extra bases here, not just a single. From a talent perspective, there are several in here with a legitimate chance to win. Therefore, we can't go with the one who's getting the most attention, First Samurai, to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II).
Brother Derek is the consensus top-rated 3-year-old based in California. Yet, there are eight others of varying aptitude taking aim at him in Saturday's grade II Santa Catalina Stakes, including one shipping in from Louisiana via Texas. We deduce that connections of these rivals aren't taking it for granted that Brother Derek will win this race.
This year's top 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park are Lawyer Ron and Music School. Lawyer Ron is the Downey Profile pick to win Saturday's Southwest Stakes, but another important issue is whether Music School will show improvement in his second outing this year, and if so, how much.
This year's top 3-year-old at Oaklawn Park is Lawyer Ron, and he's our choice to win Monday's Southwest Stakes. A more difficult issue, at least as far as we're concerned, is what will round out the board.
Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs has long been a traditional prep race for the grade III Tampa Bay Derby, but this year's 26th running holds importance in its own right. No less than Bluegrass Cat and Hesanoldsalt ship up from South Florida to test the waters against 10 others, many of whom are worthy foes.
Achilles of Troy will be an overwhelming favorite in Saturday's $65,000 Whirlaway Stakes, but will he win the race? There are two indications that he might be vulnerable. Regardless of the outcome, the race doesn't have significant Kentucky Derby implications, since there are no graded earnings at stake.
Saturday's 1 1/8-mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita has taken on new importance since achieving grade III status for the first time this year. Despite that, the race doesn't fit into the plans of many California connections with stakes plans down the road. It's drawn only six entries, and two of those have emerged from the claiming ranks.
Kentucky Derby Future Wager 1, open Thursday through Sunday, is a tough bet. One thing to consider in this wager is, as with any bet, value. To that end, the morning lines of Future Wager 1 individual entries were compared with betting lines offered on two internet betting outlets prior to the opening of the pool.
According to Bob Baffert, the toll of the Triple Crown Trail usually manifests itself about a week after the Preakness. There is no sign that the Trail has taken a toll on Smarty Jones.
You can sometimes be too smart for your own good.
As things appear on Thursday, April 22, five DQ's stand to enter the starting gate in Kentucky Derby 130, marking a substantial swing of the pendulum. Last year's Derby had no DQ's in the field.
Despite his local success, [Stewart] Elliott hasn't exactly been a household name outside of Philadelphia. Yet he is going to ride the most consistent horse in Kentucky Derby 130, the six-for-six Smarty Jones, who will attempt to become the first undefeated Kentucky Derby winner since Seattle Slew in 1977.
This race could be renamed the Coolmore Lexington Bettors' Paradise Stakes, with 14 entered and the morning line favorite at 4-1.
Kentucky Derby entries listed in order of graded stakes earnings.
Our choice to win the Grade I Wood Memorial is VALUE PLUS. This strapping, gray colt is versatile, fast and has the breeding to get the 1 1/8 mile distance. In last year's Wood, Funny Cide and Empire Maker were prominent throughout the race. We believe that early prominence will dominate this year's running as well.
The grade II Arkansas Derby runs this Saturday at Oaklawn. SMARTY JONES will win and up his record to six for six. He will win by multiple lengths. His time for the 1 1/8 mile race will be under 1:49, and he will quiet all doubts as to his status as a serious Derby contender.
A quick quiz. How many of the starters in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes won the last time out? The answer: two, Limehouse and California shipper Preachinatthebar. In fact, LIMEHOUSE has won his last two. We pick him to run his streak to three in Saturday's Blue Grass.
Here are the top 35 three-year-olds in graded stakes earnings.
The question in the 67th Santa Anita Derby, with Lion Heart going to Lexington to run in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes instead of here, is who will go to the lead.
The Grade II Illinois Derby looks like an orchestra with no conductor, as the morning line odds indicate.
In the past few years, much discussion has centered around the chances of a "lightly-raced horse" winning the Kentucky Derby. But in fact, the talk has not come to much fruition. Truth holds eternal, and although there are exceptions to every rule, the truth is that it still takes seasoning and experience to win the Kentucky Derby the vast majority of the time.
By Dick Downey -- The $500,000 WinStar Derby sees the sponsor's own VICTORY LIGHT shipping in from Payson Park in Florida, and Pat Day comes along for the ride.
Although we're fascinated with numbers at TheDowneyProfile.com, we are not into numerology. However, it doesn't take much imagination to conjure up a projected field of 13 in Kentucky Derby 130.
While we haven't been covering Saratoga County as a potential Kentucky Derby contender on
TheDowneyProfile.com, he is nominated to the Triple Crown, and there are several angles going for him in the Gotham.
By Dick Downey -- The final local showdown for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby unfolds Sunday as some of the most well-known names in West Coast racing contest the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 mile.
Our guest picker, Mike Pearson, loves speed, and sometimes the cheaper the better. But there's nothing cheap about his preferences in the Tampa Bay Derby. Pearson's day job is prosecuting felons, and he never takes the easy way out. He's been on a handicapping roll of late, prompting TheDowneyProfile.com to ask him to apply his talents here.
By Dick Downey -- Six facts lead us to choose THE CLIFF'S EDGE in Saturday's Florida Derby.
By Dick Downey -- Kentucky Downs, a diamond in the rough among racetracks, has a lot to offer horses, horsemen, and racing fans.
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