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    2019 KENTUCKY DERBY ANALYSIS

    SATURDAY MAY 4, 2019

    With the surprizing last minute defection of Omaha Beach, the Derby favorite, Bob Baffert once again is in the drivers seat as he goes for a record tying 6th Derby win. Baffert has the top 3 contenders this year.

    With the post position draw placing 2 of his runners extremely outside, Improbable may be the best of the trio of talented runners. Although he couldn’t close the deal in his last two they were fine efforts in which he lost more ground than he lost the races by.  I like his grit and determination. He made an impressive mid-race move in the Arkansas Derby to get into contention, something that will play well in the Derby.

    Game Winner is the 2 year old champion winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill last fall. While he fell a nose short to Omaha Beach in the Rebel, that was his first race since the Breeders’ Cup. His last race in the Santa Anita Derby he had to be hard ridden but still just missed. That race came off only a 3 week rest. I think you will see the real Game Winner Saturday but the 16 post did him no favor.

    Roadster is the lightest raced of Baffert’s big three but he ran down Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby. He was very  impressive last time and may have the most upside. The 17 post is a big disadvantage with his running style but the best horses usually overcome these kind of obstacles.

    After the top 3, Vekoma the Bluegrass winner may get a good tracking trip behind Maximum Security, the Florida Derby winner who isn’t likely to get a lonely lead in here, although he is the only remaining entrant who has broken 100 on the Beyer scale and he has done it twice in his last 2 races. Tacitus will take money but the Wood Memorial hasn’t placed a horse in the top 3 in the Derby since 2003. By My Standards was impressive coming up the rail in the Louisiana Derby but that race hasn’t produced a Derby winner in eons. The steam horse is Win Win Win who motored home well for 2nd in he Bluegrass Stakes.  Recent Derby’s haven’t favored his deep closing running style but that doesn’t mean he can’t be there at the finish.

    One thing seems certain. The scratch of Omaha Beach will seriously impact the running of this race as he had the tactical speed to pressure and collar the likely pace setters, draw off and be hard to catch in the stretch. Without him in the race as the target and able to keep the pace honest, this race could have unexpected results.

    Still, Baffert is the King of the Hill when it comes to the Derby, and he has 3 rock solid chances here. But fasten your seatbelts, we may be in for a bumpy ride. This race appears to now be one of the most wide open in many years and that often causes upsets. Unlike recent years, I believe this race will somehow light up the toteboard when the running is over. Especially with the ton of rain expected Friday and Saturday.

    Best of Luck!

     

     

     

     

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