This Saturday is one of the most magical days in sports. Three races at three different tracks spanning this great nation of ours will provide an opportunity for immortality. With Kentucky Derby qualifying points on the line, runners will be racing towards the first Saturday in May in New York (Aqueduct), Kentucky (Keeneland), and California (Santa Anita). We understand you can pick your clothes and you can pick your friends… but can you pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby???
First, let’s try and hit these three with a prep race trifecta. First up is the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. First run in 1925,this mile and an eighth race has long been one of the most coveted in the Gotham state. The last time a Wood winner wore the Roses was 2000 (Fusaichi Pegasus). This year’s field features nine runners with Risk Taking and Prevalence vying for early favoritism. I am thinking upset here and taking the Bill Mott trained Candy Man Rocket. Sitting at 12-1 on the morning line, this son of Candy Ride was sensational in the Sam Davis Stakes before a disappointing 11th place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby. We think he can provide a sweet blast off as his finishing kick can produce dividends.
Off to Keeneland and the Bluegrass Stakes where Juvenile champ Essential Quality is the heavy 3 to 5 favorite on the morning line. Unbeaten in four starts and two for two at Keeneland, this Brad Cox trainee no doubt has the goods. The field has some other talented runners and if we are picking one who might make like a monkey wrench it would be West Coast invader Rombauer.Trained by Mike McCarthy, this son of Twirling Candy is coming in off a win in the El Camino Real Derby and picks up rider Florent Geroux. The smart money will be on Essential Quality… but a hillbilly ain’t always smart.
Last but certainly not least we go west to Santa Anita. Inaugurated in 1935, in the last 10 years three of the winners of this Derby have gone on to Kentucky Derby glory (I’ll Have Another 2012, California Chrome, 2014, Justify 2018). Nine-time winner Bob Baffert will saddle the morning line favorite in Medina Spirit (5-2). No doubt this horse is a tough runner, but we are taking the lightly raced Dream Shake (7-2 on morning line). With only two races under his saddle, this son of Twirling Candy has one win and a third to his credit. Trainer Peter Eurton has leading Santa Anita jock Flavien Prat in the irons and likes the way his Shake is coming in. A win here puts this Dream in the Kentucky Derby.
There you have it…back a horse and get paid!!!