Apr 172019

It’s Derby time! We currently sit just 17 from the “Run for the Roses” and the field of 20 is tentatively set for the first Saturday in May. In this article we will take a look at the prospective field, analyze the pace, and potential odds. Future articles will tackle wagering on the Kentucky Derby and the fabulous card that accompanies it.

Lets meet the field in order of “Kentucky Derby Points”:

Tacitus :

150 total pts

Total Earnings: $610,000


Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Projected Morning Line Odds: 6-1

(Tapit – Close Hatches, by First Defence): Winner of the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial heading into the Derby for powerhouse connections Juddmonte farms. Showed resiliency in his Wood win coming from well off the pace after a rough start around the first turn.

Omaha Beach:

137.5 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 1,050,000

Trainer: Richard Mandella

Jockey:  Mike Smith

Projected Morning Line Odds: 9/2

(War Front – Charming, by Seeking the Gold): Romping maiden win at Santa Anita in early February. Has followed up that performance with back to back wins in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby defeating Baffert runners Game Winner and Improbable. Tactical horse, likely to attend or sit off the early leaders.


110 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 747,600

Trainer: George Weaver

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 15-1

(Candy Ride – Mona de Momma, by Speightstown): Can’t argue this horses talent having won the Nashua Stakes at 2 and the Bluegrass Stakes, but his “paddling” running style leaves much to be desired looks wise.

Plus Que Parfait

104 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 1,450,400

Trainer: Brendan P. Walsh

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 50-1

(Point of Entry – Belvedera, by Awesome Again): Starting the year with two sub par performances on the Derby trail before heading to Dubai to win the UAE Derby. Has the pedigree to go long but the question of if he belongs with this group remains.




100 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 636,000

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey:  Florent Geroux

Projected Morning Line Odds: 5-1

(Quality Road – Ghost Dancing, by Silver Ghost): Baffert notably called him his “next Justify” last summer before he made his first start but enthusiasm tempered following his loss to stablemate Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity. Has since had a layoff and throat surgery and has come back to win two in a row including evening the score against his stablemate with an eye catching off the pace win in the Santa Anita Derby


By My Standards

100 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 600,000

Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Jockey:  Gabriel Saez

Projected Morning Line Odds: 20-1

(Goldencents – A Jealous Woman, by Muqtarib): Improving horse who was just a maiden not long ago. Trainer believes he is going in the right direction following his win in the Louisiana Derby. Distance may be a problem

Maximum Security

100 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 582,800

Trainer: Jason Servis

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 10-1

(New Year’s Day – Lil Indy, by Anasheed): From debuting in a Maiden Claiming race to being an undefeated Florida Derby winner the story of Maximum Security has been an interesting one. Certainly has a ton of talent winning his races by open lengths but doing so last time on the pace with soft fractions.

Game Winner

85 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 1,810,000

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey:  Joel Rosario

Projected Morning Line Odds: 8-1

(Candy Ride – Indyan Giving, by A.P. Indy): Has gone from undefeated 2 year old Champion to Baffert’s other horse in just 2 races, finishing 2nd by a nose to Omaha Beach in the Rebel and 2nd to stablemate Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby. Has been wide in both efforts this year and will be making his 3rd start off the layoff in the Kentucky Derby


Code of Honor

74 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 432,070

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 15-1

(Noble Mission – Reunited, by Dixie Union): Throw out his non effort seasonal debut in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream and this closer has been a model of consistency placing in the Champagne stakes at 2, the Florida Derby and winning the Fountain of Youth.



70 total pts

Total Earnings: $322,500

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey:  Rajiv Maragh

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

(Daaher – Sablah, by Distorted Humor): Has rallied strongly in all of his races including a win in the Gotham Stakes and a 3rd place effort in the Wood Memorial. Looks to be more of a one turn horse although his connections remain confident he will handle the distance.


65 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 322,500

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Projected Morning Line Odds: 10-1

(City Zip – Rare Event, by A.P. Indy): Much like Game Winner, this talented physically gifted horse had his undefeated record snapped in Arkansas losing the Rebel Stakes by a neck to Long Range Toddy and the Arkansas Derby to Omaha Beach. Same owner/trainer combo who brought us last year’s Triple Crown Winner.

War of Will

60 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 440,840

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 20-1

(War Front – Visions of Clarity (IRE), by Sadler’s Wells): One of the hot horses early on the Derby trail with wins in the Lecomte Stakes and Risen Star Stakes. Broke poorly and got out awkwardly in the Louisiana Derby finishing up the track in a non factor performance.

Long Range Toddy

53.5 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 830,000

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey:  Jon Court

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

(Take Charge Indy – Pleasant Song, by Unbridled’s Song): Disappointing finish in the Arkansas Derby after an outside trip for this Rebel Stakes winner. Is a tactical type who hopes to bounce back for a piece in the Derby.


Tax (Arch – Toll, by Giant’s Causeway): Like Maximum Security, a former claimer who’s made good, it’s hard to knock the form of this one. He’s run nothing but solid races in three stakes tries in New York. Having said that, Tacitus was clearly the better horse in the Wood down the stretch, after having a tougher early trip. A nice horse to be sure, but a Kentucky Derby winner? Likely not.

52 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 307,500

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

(Arch – Toll, by Giant’s Causeway): Another who is a former claimer. Has been very consistent on the New York trail finishing 3rd in the Remsen at 2, won the Withers, and 2nd last out in the Wood Memorial where he involved in the early bumping before making a sustained run late along with Tacitus. Consistent but the question of talent remains against this group.

Cutting Humor

50 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 462,467

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

(First Samurai – Pun, by Pulpit): Disappointed early in the year but has since rebounded winning the Sunland Derby and seems to be an improving type for trainer Todd Pletcher. Will have to continue to move forward to be a factor.

Win Win Win

50 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 350,000

Trainer: Mike Trombetta

Jockey:  Julian Pimental

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

(Hat Trick – Miss Smarty Pants, by Smarty Jones): Showed speed and a big figure winning the 7F Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Has since had hard luck trips hitting the board in the Tampa Bay Derby and Bluegrass Stakes coming from well off the pace.

Country House (Lookin At Lucky – Quake Lake, by War Chant): Bill Mott’s other horse has been a consistent closer who has hit the board in the Risen Star Stakes and Arkansas Derby. Still only has a maiden win to his credit though and will have to continue to improve to be a factor in here.


50 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 220,000

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

Gray Magician (Graydar – Burg Berg, by Johannesburg): A non factor here in the states gets in the field off of a runner up finish in the UAE Derby. Hard to like.

41 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 526,000

Trainer: Peter Miller

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 50-1

Spinoff (Hard Spun – Zaftig, by Gone West):Improving runner, as much of the Pletcher horses seem to be. Well meant enough to run 3rd in the Saratoga Special at 2. Coming into the Derby off an impressive allowance win at Tampa Bay Downs and a 2nd place effort in the Louisiana Derby.

40 total pts

Total Earnings: $ 224,000

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 30-1

Master Fencer (Just A Way – Sexy Samurai, by Deputy Minister): Japanese Runner who earned his way into the Derby via an automatic qualifier. Unknown entry who does not stand out against his own generation in Japan let alone the best America has to offer.


Automatic Qualifier

Total Earnings: $ 234,392

Trainer: Koichi Tsunado

Jockey:  TBD

Projected Morning Line Odds: 50-1



Lets take a look at how Timeform US  expects the race to shake out early


1.By My Standards

2.Code of Honor

3.Country House

4.Cutting Humor

5.Game Winner

6.Grey Magician



9.Long Range Toddy

10.Master Fencer

11.Maximum Security

12.Omaha Beach

13.Plus Que Parfait






19.War of Will

20.Win Win Win


As we can see Timeform US predicts a FAST PACE with Vekoma and Omaha Beach dictating the fractions. In my opinion the pace will be moderate with Maximum Security and Omaha Beach doing the early running. I expect Haikal to be further back with Game Winner and Improbable being closer to the action then indicated.

For those unfamiliar with internal fractions

1/4 mile times of .23 seconds is considered moderate for a race like the Kentucky Derby anything under is fast and over slower

1/2 time of .46/47 seconds is moderate with anything under being fast and over slow.



Well that is our early look. In my next article I will tackle betting strategies for the race and my personal opinions. Followed by an article to tackle the undercard and multi race wagers.


Views (270)

  6 Responses to “Talk Derby to Me: Kentucky Derby Early Look”

  1. Nice. I was thinking of doing something similar, but figured I would wait another week, maybe have a clearer view of what the actual field would be, and some odds based on what the last set of futures were, varying them with how the last couple preps finished up.

  2. Thanks for the article.

    This is high-quality stuff! Very well done.

    Please consider this your official invitation to write as much as you like for our beloved Black Type Bugler.

  3. Thanks for the nice article. My heart lies with Omaha Beach. Coming out of the Arkansas Derby on a short rest to the Kentucky Derby is always a hard task to pull off. But I like my horses that win in Arkansas as Oaklawn is considered one of my top favorite track. Thus I will be backing Omaha Beach in the Derby to collect the garland of roses.

  4. Nicely done… these were my thoughts https://trotter1.webs.com/