Best bet to win the Kentucky Derby
No. 15 Rock Your World (5-1)
The Santa Anita Derby is a popular prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Last year, Rock Your World won the Santa Anita Derby gate-to-wire. He is now 3-for-3 but the Santa Anita Derby was not his first race on dirt.
John Sadler, trainer, stated that this was the plan. Start on the turf first and then move to the dirt. The turf is less taxing. Rock Your World is out Candy Ride, whose offspring won at 21% in Grade 1-stakes races. The fact that Rock Your World has proven he can win in gate to wire fashion or can sit a stalking trips makes him a top contender in this field.
No. 15 Rock Your World (5-1)
After Candy Ride’s front-end win in the Grade 1 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, April 3, at Santa Anita Park, I was immediately all in on this talented, lightly-raced son.
The horse’s track record is very similar to that of 2006 Derby champion Barbaro. He was unbeaten and an absolute star before succumbing at the Preakness in 2006. Rock Your World started his career on the grass, just like Barbaro. After his two grass wins, John Sadler decided to try out Santa Anita dirt. He was victorious in both.
It was a brilliant move by the horse’s connections and he won by 4 1/4 lengths. Rock Your World was able to perform well enough to be ranked second behind Essential Quality, the unbeaten favorite.
Rock Your World will likely switch tactics slightly in the Derby. Joel Rosario, the jockey, is more likely to be sitting off the lead than rushing to the front from the No. 15th position. This should position the duo perfectly off the leaders. He should then be able to move around the 3/4 pole, and get into high gear going down the stretch.
Two Breeders Cup Juvenile champions have won Kentucky Derby (Street Sense and Nyquist), which is because of the historical aspect of the race Essential Quality has against him. I will not be able to fade the favorite, and hope Rock Your World has a perfect trip and rolls to victory.
No. 7 Mandaloun (15-1)
Brad Cox trains No. 14 Essential Quality is his favorite morning line horse, but his “other” horse has been buzzing in training sessions leading up to the Kentucky Derby. 7 Mandaloun has been training as hard as any horse at Churchill Downs in the past few weeks.
Mandaloun was the morning favorite in all five of his starts, with the exception of a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby on February 20. He was fast enough to compete against this group in his qualifying race, when he received a speed figure of 99 Beyer in the Risen Star in Feb.
Because of the pandemic many horses in this field haven’t had much racing experience in the last two years. I tend to trust recent workouts more than a race held six weeks ago. The clunker of a course is an outlier when compared with Mandalouns past performances and recent workouts.
If Mandaloun was coming off a win or a career-best placing in this spot, his price would likely be half. It would probably be closer to 8-1.
People love to place bets on Derby Horses that are in good race form. But I will take the horse that has outworked his stablemate more than seven times as much.
Kentucky Derby Longshots:
No. 6 O Besos (20-1)
O Besos is my favorite longshot play in this field. O Besos is coming in after a third-place finish at the Louisiana Derby. However, he was flying late. O Besos won the gallop out after he ducked to the rail in that race.
If he can make another leap forward from the race, he has a chance to be here at a high price. He will be included in both horizontal and vertical wagers.
No. 10 Midnight Bourbon (20-1)
The Derby’s pace situation was thrown into turmoil when Caddo River, the likely pacesetter, dropped out of the race.
Several horses – including No. 15 Rock Your World, No. 8 Medina’s Spirit, No. 9 Hot Rod Charlie No. 17 Highly Motivated and No. 19 Soup and Sandwich – could try to show early speed but I believe the No. 10 Midnight Bourbon is a strong candidate to lead the pack in the second turn.
Mike Smith, a Hall-of Fame jockey, is on board for Steve Asmussen. Smith holds the record for most Derby entries without a Derby victory. Asmussen will be able to break through, and Midnight Bourbon is more likely than the No. 18 Super Stock, who won the Arkansas Derby recently.
If Midnight Bourbon does not take another step forward, I don’t think he can win the race. However, he is consistent with his Beyer speed scores (three consecutive Beyer speeds in the 90s) so I believe he has the potential to gain an early lead.Last Updated on October 11, 2021