An unsettling wave of upsets in this year's prep races left fans without an individual favorite in the final pool of the 2004 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. They opted instead for the field at odds of 6-1 as wagering closed Sunday.
The Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) did nothing to clear a muddled Kentucky Derby picture, so the mutuel field – all betting interests other than the 22 remaining individual interests – continued to be the favorite with one day remaining in Churchill Downs' finalKentucky Derby Future Wager pool.
Undefeated Smarty Jones, the likely favorite for next Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II), worked five furlongs Saturday in a bullet :58 3/5, almost two seconds quicker than the second fastest time (1:00 2/5) at the distance.
As Eurosilver, another major contender for Kentucky Derby 130 fell out of the picture, fans returned to the mutuel field as a mild favorite at the midpoint of the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2004 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Undefeated Smarty Jones, the likely favorite in next weekend's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, was the surprise leader following the first day of wagering in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Thursday.
Lion Heart, St Averil, and Wimbledon have been installed as the 10-1 co-favorites in the third and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, which opens Thursday at noon Eastern and closes Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Someday Farm's Smarty Jones, unbeaten in five career starts, heads a record list of 152 nominations for the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 10 at Oaklawn Park. The 1 1/8-mile stakes is the highlight of the eighth and final day of the Racing Festival of the South, and also closing day of the live meet at the Hot Springs track.
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.
Some Kentucky Derby pundits have questioned Smarty Jones' pedigree due to the speed influences of his sire, Elusive Quality, and broodmare sire, Smile. Their problem lies in the fact they haven't scratched much beyond the surface.
It seems as if each Monday brings with it a new set of excuses for beaten favorites in Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps. Some will prove to be legitimate and some won't. But the bottom line is no one has a clue who is going to win this year's Derby, which is as muddled as any in memory at such a late date.
Someday Farm's undefeated Smarty Jones continues to have all of the answers, tallying a sharp 3 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Rebel Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park Saturday.
I got hooked on Smarty Jones just off his name--then really got interested off his run in the Count Fleet when he stumbled out of the gate, swept three wide around the field and cleared by five.
Although the Gotham Stakes is only grade III, and is not known for producing Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winners, Saturday's running of the one-mile event features the most intriguing matchup of the year, between two of most gifted 3-year-olds in the country, Eddington and Redskin Warrior.
Smarty Jones likes Oaklawn Park, as proven by his win there in the Southwest Stakes, but the colt will give weight to all of his competitors in Saturday's Rebel Stakes.
Although the afternoon action will be hot and heavy this weekend, there still was a good deal of morning activity around the country Friday and Saturday, as several top 3-year-olds prepared for upcoming stakes.
Someday Farm's heavily-favored Smarty Jones ran his undefeated record to four Saturday, holding off the rallying Two Down Automatic and Pro Prado for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $100,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park.
The $100,000 Southwest Stakes, the second of three local preps for the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 10, lured a field of 10, including a pair of two-horse couplings, Feb. 28 at Oaklawn Park.
Is there any possibility that the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner can come out of the Miracle Wood, Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT), Southwest Stakes, John Battaglia Memorial or Borderland Derby? Not likely, but that doesn't mean there won't be any potential Derby contenders competing this weekend.
Pro Prado and Wildcat Shoes, the one-two finishers in the Mountain Valley Stakes on Jan. 24, and the undefeated New York invader Smarty Jones, head the field for Saturday's $100,000 Southwest Stakes at one mile at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
We're all pretty well set in our minds who the leading Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders are based on 2-year-old accomplishments. But now, the second wave has made its initial impact and it's time to seek out new budding stars.
This is the ninth in a series of early looks at next year's potential Derby horses. The migration of Europeans to the Derby trail begins Saturday when English-trained Master David tackles the Remsen Stakes for new owner Peter Minikes.
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