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Kentucky Derby preview

The Kentucky Derby blows everything away in the US as far as racing coverage goes, it's all about this race (unless there's a Triple Crown on the line). Churchill Downs is the place to be, and in his inimitable style, regular US racing correspondent Jon da Silva, @creamontop, has provided his preview. Links to key race replays included below.

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Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands
1m2f Grade 1 Dirt
US$2,000,000 1834 local 2334 BST


Free Timeform Past Performances/Form Guide

Yes once again we can be thankful to the owners of Kentucky Fried Chicken for their kind and generous sponsorship. Next time you have a Zinger Tower Burger you are supporting this fine institution. Indeed if you're a racing fan you should probably consider eating more. Indeed Yum! is owned by Pepsi and also has Pizza Hut and Taco Bell under its banner. Your heart attack and girth is all in a good cause.

My personal plan of attack is to favour forward runners but not necessarily pace horses. Nyquist enters the race with a formidable record and is an obvious favourite. Here are the profiles in post order, morning line prices provided.

1. Trojan Nation Aaron Gryder 50-1
Closer who could catch Outwork in the Wood Memorial after that one had run stupidly fast early. Previously had failed to win four maidens out West [California]. This tends to suggest the best horses come from the West. The final furlong of the Wood Memorial was 14 seconds FWIW.

2. Suddenbreakingnews Luis Quinonez 20-1
3. Creator Ricardo Santana Jr. 10-1
Suddenbreakingnews is a stone closer who gives impression if the race was long enough he'd win. Stayed on remorselessly in the Arkansas Derby to be second to Creator. Prior fifth in the Rebel to Cupid who set the fast pace he closed into in the Arkansas Derby. Creator won the Arkansas Derby coming from five behind Suddenbreakingnews to beat him by a length and a quarter. Creator had previously been third in the Rebel Stakes too also coming from further back to pass Suddenbreakingnews by a length and 3/4s. Both score well for the distance in Brisnet's numbers. Suddenbreakingnews was coming back again but Creator the classier.

4. Mo Tom Corey Lanerie 20-1
5. Gun Runner Florent Geroux 10-1
Gun Runner beat an unlucky Mo Tom last twice. Gun Runner put 4.5 lengths into that field in the Louisiana Derby. Mo Tom has been checked in those two starts making his ability and progress hard to track. As a compulsive avoider of unlucky horses not for me and another closer. Gun Runner wandered in the straight before putting the Louisiana field to the sword which was the only worry I have.

6. My Man Sam Irad Ortiz Jr. 20-1
Closed well in the Bluegrass at Keeneland and that was a big step forward. Another late runner who will only be having his fifth start and has shown progression.

7. Oscar Nominated Julien Leparoux 50-1
Ken Ramsey's son of Kitten's Joy and Ramsey gave an Oscar Nomination worthy piece of phishing for idiots when he suggested that he'd split triple crown prizemoney if someone put up the 200K supplemental for this turf bred. His trial win was on synths in the Spiral at Turf Paradise. Never run on dirt. Animal Kingdom won Spiral and came here off only one dirt run (second) but no evidence he's quite in that league so far.

8. Lani Yutaka Take 30-1
Someone suggested if they created a three mile dirt race he'd win. Won the UAE Derby but did not separate from the locals there which to my mind is a negative.

9. Destin Javier Castellano 15-1
Ran down Outwork in the Tampa Bay Derby. Good Beyers in steadily run races. Prior handed a beating by Mo Tom at the Fairgrounds. Impossible to write off but equally to fancy strongly.

10. Whitmore Victor Espinoza 20-1
Another closer. Run down last by Suddenbreakingnews in the Southwest having made a big move. Third to Creator and Suddenbreakingnews in a closerfest Cupid set up. Second in Rebel ahead of those two. Other two from those races appeal more.

11. Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux 8-1
The racing porn was this one's move in a sloppy Santa Anita Derby eventually coming six clear having come from last. Given his last race another likely to try and come from the back.

12. Tom’s Ready Brian Hernandez Jr. 30-1
Second to Gun Runner in the Louisana Derby and seems no angle to him changing that form. Folded badly two times he encountered hard pace early.

13. Nyquist Mario Gutierrez 3-1
Has built a 1111111 record including the Breeders Cup Juvenile where he overcame a poor trip. Trained by the only man to be insulted as he was presented with a Breeder's Cup winners trophy - by Bo Derek no less. Yep trained by everyone's favourite Doug 'Drug' O'Neill. Can lead or press and overcome trouble. Negatives poor speed ratings especially beyond a mile. However has beaten Exaggerator, Brody's Cause and Mohayman. Way Euros do form should be clear top rated.

14. Mohaymen Junior Alvarado 10-1
Was favourite until eclipsed by Nyquist in the Florida Derby when hung wide whole way. You can make excuses but has had some nice trips building his record. With all the hold up horses could get a nice stalking trip here. Last time was a regression mind however you paint it.

15. Outwork John Velazquez 15-1
Blasted off like a scalded cat and won the Wood from a maiden. Previously beaten by Destin in Tampa Bay. His wide draw may make it interesting for others as he will probably charge for the lead.

16. Shagaf Joel Rosario 20-1
Unable to run down Outwork in the Wood and will have to pass more horses here. Some suggestion it did not go his way but unable to get within four lengths of Outwork despite that one's hard fractions earlier. Nothing suggests to me he can leap forward here but only had four runs so not forlorn.

17. Mor Spirit Gary Stevens 12-1
Undone by Exaggerator by six lengths having chased a hard pace on an off track. Prior second to unopposed speedster Danzing Candy over a mile and half a furlong with Exaggerator behind. Last run hard to say if he went backwards or stopped going forwards chasing a hard pace on a sloppy track and beaten six lengths by Exaggerator.

18. Majesto Emisael Jaramillo 30-1
Second in the Florida Derby to Nyquist with Mohaymen fourth. Prior had only won a maiden in fourth start. Unexposed to a degree.

19. Brody’s Cause Luis Saez 12-1
Classy closer third to Nyquist in the Juvenile and after an ordinary comeback won the Bluegrass. Beat progressive My Man Sam last time and they will be two more in the closer queue at the back.

20. Danzing Candy Mike Smith 15-1
This is the pace of the race. He and Outwork will be breaking from wide but should have the toe to clear this field unless Nyquist is sent.

Conclusion
Two obvious pace horses so you have to consider one gets loose and wins or hangs on in the exotics, especially as Danzing Candy 33s and Outwork 20s. Of the closers Exaggerator and Creator appeal to me as potential winners. Of the pressers I could make a better case for Nyquist, Mor Spirit, Mohaymen & Gun Runner.

Occam's Razor on winner Gun Runner and Nyquist have fewest questions and issues in the run. Nyquist is 3s and maybe bigger on the PMU. Personally like Gun Runner at 12s.

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The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands

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