With just hours prior to the noon Post Position Draw for the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands, another contender went down with an injury. Winstar Farm’s Endorsement, winner of the Sunland Derby suffered a non-displaced lateral condylar fracture of the right front ankle, according to Dr. Bo Landry, the attending veterinarian. The injury occurred during the colts’ final pre-race workout on Wednesday morning.
The defection of Endorsement made way for the California based Make Music For Me, to complete the full field of 20 (18 colts, 1 gelding and 1 filly). With the unfortunate injury to Eskendereya on Saturday, who would have been the clear cut Morning Line (M/L) favorite, that label now belongs to Lookin At Lucky at 3-1. The 2 year old Champion, trained by 3-time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert, drew the No. 8 Post. The entire field will break from the gate as follows…
PP Horse Jockey / Trainer M/L GQAPT odds*
1 Lookin At Lucky G. Gomez / B. Baffert 3-1 7-2
2 Ice Box J. Lezcano / N. Zito 10-1 13-1
3 Noble’s Promise W. Martinez / K. McPeek 12-1 17-1
4 Super Saver C. Borel / T. Pletcher 15-1 15-1
5 Line of David R. Bejarano / J. Sadler 30-1 40-1
6 Stately Victor A. Garcia / M. Maker 30-1 39-1
7 American Lion D. Flores / E. Harty 30-1 24-1
8 Dean’s Kitten R. Albarado / M. Maker 50-1 57-1
9 Make Music For Me J. Rosario / A. Barba 50-1 35-1
10 Paddy O’Prado K. Desormeaux / D. Romans 20-1 18-1
11 Devil May Care (f) J. Velazquez / T. Pletcher 10-1 11-1
12 Conveyance M. Garcia / B. Baffert 12-1 29-1
13 Jackson Bend M. Smith / N. Zito 15-1 18-1
14 Mission Impazible R. Maragh / T. Pletcher 20-1 22-1
15 Discreetly Mine J. Castellano / T. Pletcher 30-1 33-1
16 Awesome Act J. Leparoux / J. Noseda 10-1 8-1
17 Dublin T. Thompson / D. W. Lukas 12-1 21-1
18 Backtalk M. Mena / T. Amoss 50-1 51-1
19 Homeboykris R. Dominguez / R. Dutrow 50-1 65-1
20 Sidney’s Candy J. Talamo / J. Sadler 5-1 5-1
(f) – filly * – G.Q.’s Anticipated Post Time odds
There are more handicapping angles when trying to figure out who will win the Derby than you can shake a stick at, but here’s one that I discovered after browsing through the Past Performances which contradicts the belief of many handicappers, including myself.
Over the past years, many tracks have changed over from conventional dirt surfaces to various types of synthetic racing surfaces (Poly-Track, Tapeta, Pro-Ride). IN the Past Performances these are identified as All-Weather (AW). In it’s short history, these types of surfaces tend to favor horses with turf runners in their bloodlines.
Of the 20 potential Derby starters, 8 of them began their racing career either on the turf or synthetic surface. When each of them made their initial start on conventional dirt, the result might surprise you…
1) Lookin At Lucky – Won G2 Rebel Stakes (Oaklawn Park)
2) Noble’s Promise – 2nd by a head to Lookin At Lucky in G2 Rebel Stakes (Oaklawn Park)
3) Line Of David – Won G1 Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn Park)
4) Mission Impazible – 3rd by 2¾ in G3 Kentucky Juvenile (Churchill Downs)
5) Conveyance – Won G3 Southwest Stakes (Oaklawn Park)
6) American Lion – Won G3 Illinois Derby (Hawthorne Park)
7) Dean’s Kitten – 5th, 33 lengths behind the winner (Eskendereya) in $150k stakes race on a “good” (Belmont Park) track in Oct. ‘09
8 ) Awesome Act – Won G3 Gotham Stakes (Belmont Park)
There are two (2) Derby starters who have not run a race on a conventional dirt surface, Sidney’s Candy and Make Music For Me.
Now before you decide that I’ve just narrowed down the potential winner Derby to one of these two colts, consider this…of all 20 Derby starters, Sidney’s Candy has the highest Tomlinson Rating Number (372) for the Turf. This rating system gives one a gauge for a horses potential liking of that surface. With that being said, the only runner who failed to run well in his turf/synthetic-to-dirt debut, Dean’s Kitten, holds the 3rd highest Turf number (335), just behind Backtalk (339). Make Music For Me just made it into the Derby field, a few hours before the Post Position Draw due to the defection of Endorsement (broken ankle). Though a longshot, he has run second twice to Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky by less than one length, but in Sprint races last Summer. Getting the 1¼ mile Derby distance will be a challenge for Make Music For Me whose broodmare sire was a Sprinter (Carson City).