Johnny Love, the Star Tribune's horse racing handicapper at Canterbury Park, is waiting for the live racing season to start. In the meantime, he offered these insights into Saturday's virtual Kentucky Derby on NBC.
The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on Sept 5th this year, due to COVID-19 pandemic.
However, NBC is going to have a virtual race matching the 13 winners of the Triple Crown in an animated setting covering the 1 1/4 miles at Churchill Downs.
Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown Winner, is your 7/2 morning line favorite, as he should be. Second co-choices are Citation and Whirlaway at 4-1. Don’t expect a horse to come from far back for the win. Some of these closers had much more slower times in their victories than their rivals today.
Here are my top choices:
SECRETARIAT is strictly the one to beat, and 7/2 are great odds. (Wish we could bet). He owns the fastest time in the Derby (1:59.4) and should be sitting off the pace ready to pounce. Should be moving like a virtual freight train down the stretch for the win.
AMERICAN PHARAOH won the Triple Crown in 2015, and won the Belmont in the second fastest time among the Triple Crown winners. Expect him to be stalking the pace along with Secretariat
SEATTLE SLEW broke slowly in his 1977 Derby win, but worked his way to the front with Jean Cruguet aboard in a battle tested win. Expect to be on or near the lead from the start with a clean break.
WHIRLAWAY, winner of the 1941 Derby, is the main threat from the back of the pack. Should enjoy the expected heated pace in front of him, and make his one big run.