The Californian shippers appear to be loaded coming to Louisville for the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby, led by the undefeated favorite NYQUIST. I think as a group, they’re much stronger and faster than the rest of the field and with the track having a 90 percent chance of being listed as fast, they’re going to be tough to mow down on the stretch run. I expect three of the west coast horses to be in the main body of front runners while taking advantage of a moderate pace over a field that lacks group speed.
Picturing the race in my mind, I see DANZING CANDY taking the field as far as he can go, with OUTWORK, MOHAYMAN, MOR SPIRIT, and NYQUIST tailgating the rabbit in a holding pattern waiting to pounce. With a field loaded with closers, I see the runners up front benefitting from the controlled pace with the deep closers experiencing too much work to do down the stretch to get the job done. Trying not to overthink the race, I’m putting the dependable Nyquist on top. I just think think he’s the best horse in the race and stands above the rest of the field. It would be rude not to put a win wager on this versatile colt if we’re going get 3-1, possibly 7/2 at post time. There’s a lot of value in this race, 18 runners with double digits for odds. Exotics will pay handsomely, even with Nyquist capturing the run for the roses.
NYQUIST: Is the reigning two year old champ, undefeated of seven starts over four different race tracks, and winner of four Grade 1 Stake events. I think this race sits well for him with his quick early foot stalking from off the pace. The deserving favorite does have his critics. Can he get the distance? Had a high white blood cell count in April. I also think because there’s nothing flashy about him, he just wins by doing what he needs to do using his tactical speed. I believe the mile and a quarter distance will fit him just fine. The favorite has won the Derby the last three years and I see the trend continuing with Nyquist taking the lead down the stretch and turning away all rivals.
EXAGGERATOR: Comes off a impressive eye catching win in the Santa Anita Derby but was befriended by a muddy surface and a extremely wicked pace to swoop on. Can he do that on a fast track with a moderate pace? I think he has a solid shot and you might get a tad higher price than the morning line with the fast track. Wants to prove he’s just not a mud specialist.
MOR SPIRIT: I was on the fence with putting Mor Spirit on top this week but his training has me bewildered. Trainer Bob Baffert has been messing around with the blinkers and changing normal workout habits, tough to figure out. Mor Spirit does have tremendous ability to hang around in a grinding way near the lead and it doesn’t hurt to get HOF jockey Gary Stevens aboard. Has never landed out of the top two spots in his seven lifetime starts. A must use on your ticket.
DANZING CANDY: This speedy colt will be the first one to the party but can he go gate-to-wire for the win? Most likely not, but if he can milk that first half mille in 47 plus seconds, he has a shot to get paid some minor dividends. I think it really hurt him drawing post 20.
Don’t Overlook Candidates
CREATOR: Winner of the Arkansas Derby, keeps improving each race and is probably peaking better than any of his combatants right now. Normally a deep closer, but I think he’s going to sit closer to the pace today and start his late kick much earlier. Training well coming in and is solid price play for the race.
GUN RUNNER: Is number #1 on the earnings list coming in and is exiting a 4 1/2 length win in the Louisiana Derby. Nothing spectacular about this guy but he has a knack of finding his way to the wire first. Lone loss was on a sloppy track at Churchill, so keep that in mind if rain does occur.
Horses who will be rolling late to use on the rear end of your exotic tickets: BRODY’S CAUSE, MO TOM, MAJESTO, and SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS
With all that said, here are my bets.
$10 Exacta Nyquist over Exaggerator, Mor Spirit, Creator, and Gun Runner
$5 Exacta Nyquist over Brody’s Cause, Mo Tom, Majesto, and Suddenbreakingnews
$40 win on Nyquist