Friday, 31 January 2020 18:20

Where Is the Kentucky Derby Winner?

Written by Jon Stettin

With the Derby preps in full swing, many of us are asking where is this year’s winner? The obvious answer is probably somewhere in Bob Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita. This is horse racing however and things are never that obvious. Or are they? 

On Saturday we get to see the Holy Bull and Swale at Gulfstream. We also will see the Withers at Aqueduct and the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. 

Is the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner running tomorrow? It certainly is possible, and it doesn’t even have to be in one of the races mentioned. That is what is so great about this game. Stars can come from so many different places, and you never know when one may emerge. It would not shock me if a horse in the Dania Beach on the grass transfers to dirt down the line and becomes a consideration for the first Saturday in May. And who knows what horses like Ellis Island, Ajhar, and even Edge of Fire can do. 

In the Swale Untitled, Green Light Go, and even Necker Island look like they could be Derby dreaming. As much as I’d like to, if I owned them, I probably wouldn’t be. Not yet anyway. I would be thinking about a lot of sprints with Untitled though. 

In the Holy Bull we will see one of the early hot horses for this year’s Derby in Tiz the Law. Trained by Barclay Tagg, who knows his way around a good horse, he will likely be a deserving favorite tomorrow. Barclay already won a Kentucky Derby for these same connections with Funny Cide. He was the assistant trainer to Frank Whitely back when he trained Ruffian, so Barclay knows what to do and how to bring one along. I think Tiz the Law has some pressure on him to win Saturday. He lost with a less than ideal trip last out in Kentucky, and you don’t want to string losses together with a Derby horse. It can be habit-forming. 

I have been high on Toledo since I first saw him. I think he had a somewhat legitimate excuse last out when wired by Ete Indian but is also under pressure to win. If he is Derby material, we should see that tomorrow. 

Bob Baffert will probably win the RB Lewis. The question is will it be with Thousand Words or High Velocity. Regardless of odds, that is never an easy question to answer with Bob. They belong, and they come to run, or they would not be there. 

We have Shotski and Portos in the Withers. I have not seen anything thereof yet that screams first Saturday in May to me. 

These may not be the most lucrative races to bet, but they are crucial to watch if you plan on betting the Derby. Your own eyes are your best tool. Put them to work is my suggestion. You can always find ways to create some value as well. 

Tomorrow for me is to determine if Toledo is a legit Derby horse. He doesn’t have to win to be one, but he has to really step up. If not, he goes on the pretender list for me. People say Chad Brown is not a dirt trainer. I disagree. 

Enjoy the preps tomorrow and take plenty of good notes. You’ll need them in a couple of months.