Kentucky Derby Top Five - 04/30/13
Kentucky Derby Top 5
It's only Tuesday? The hours can't tick away fast enough to the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday I outlined my five potential upsets. Today, I will outline my top five as we head into Wednesday Post Draw. The post position for these horses should not have much of an impact on their prices, unless one draws the rail or the 20 post. Even then, we have seen Big Brown win from 20 and the inside rail is not as bad as one might think. As it stands right now, here is my Top Five Derby picks.
This colt has been impressive to say the least. Verrazano has answered every question thrown his way. Can he get around two turns, can he get the distance. Yes and Yes. I watched his run in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct from just beyond the finish line there earlier this month and I was impressed. Sure Normandy Invasion was closing on him towards the wire, but after the trip jockey Johnny Velazquez said he didn't have to hit him. Velazquez said he simply showed him the whip. To me, it looks like Verrazano is very in-tune with what is going on around him. That means, he knows when he has to start going. Plus he is undefeated. It will be close between him and Orb for the post time favorite.
I have always been a fan of the Florida Derby. I remember when Ice Box come storming to the wire in 2010. He finished second in the Kentucky Derby that year to fill out a decent exacta with Super Saver. Orb's victory in the Florida Derby wasn't as dramatic as the photo finish in 2010, but it was eye opening for sure. It showed me one major thing that could come into play here on Saturday. Orb was able to come from the the back of the pack to grab the win after very modest fractions. This colt has been running consistently and training very well since arriving at Churchill Downs. Trainer Shug McGaughey is soaking it all in as he hopes for his first Derby winner. He has also won four straight. My only concern was that his best races came at Gulfstream, but his workouts at Churchill suggest he'll have no trouble with the track.
When I watched the Withers at Aqueduct I was not impressed. Not necessarily with Revolutionary but with the field. The quality of the field was a question being raised by handicappers all over. And for good reason. The second and third finishers there, Escapefromreality and Seite De Oros. Enough said. Given that, Revolutionary showed some grit in the Louisiana Derby. He came from way back along the backstretch and then pulled out the win over Mylute at the wire. He ran well after a few weeks on the shelf so we should expect him to run another good one Saturday.
This might be the 'sexy' Derby pick in my opinion. For the untrained eye, his Wood Memorial trip looked great. As I mentioned earlier, he was closing on Verrazano down the stretch and it looked like with an extra furlong he would have had him. As I have mentioned plenty of times on this blog, I like to throw out a dud race in a horse's form cycle. For Normandy Invasion that would be the G-II Risen Star. It was his first start off a layoff and had a less than desirable trip. Normandy Invasion was bounced around a bit and still overcame that to pass some of the field in the stretch. He responded well in the Wood Memorial. I look for Normandy Invasion to continue that upward climb and if he runs back to his career best Beyer Speed Figure of 99 (G-II Remsen), it might be enough in this field.
This colt will be coming off a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 105 in his Santa Anita Derby win. He was pressing the pace early before pulling away down the stretch. It was a solid performance off his fourth place finish in the San Felipe in March. If he can duplicate his Santa Anita Derby he will be tough on Saturday. He will be up front, most likely with Verrazano and trying to set the pace. My only concern for Goldencents is that the SA Derby wasn't much of a key race. And overall, he hasn't faced the cream of the crop.
My Kentucky Derby Top Five, in particular order. Tomorrow is the Derby Draw, which hopefully won't throw all of my pre-race handicapping for a loop, although it most assuredly will. We are just a few days away. I hope you are excited as I am. Follow @TheChalkBlog on twitter.