Unfortunately, there won’t be celebrities, thousands of gallons of mint julips, summer dresses, funny hats or the roar of 100,000 as they come for home in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. Ah, but it won’t be any less meaningful for the winning horse’s team.
Churchill Downs Saturday Racing Picks
Race 14: Kentucky Derby
Of course, the Kentucky Derby (Race 14) is one of the most recognized sporting events in the world, certainly the most well-known horse race. This year’s delayed Derby, thanks to COVID-19 features a field of 18 horses, two short of the maximum 20. The best three-year-old boys will race 1 ¼ miles on Churchill Downs’ main track for their chance at glory.
TIZ THE LAW (PP: 17 ML 3/5) has won six of his seven starts and none of his wins have been close, scoring by an average of 4 lengths. The lone miss was the only time he ran on a wet track. He already won the Belmont Stakes, won the most money and ran the highest, last race speed figure by a wide margin. Unquestionably, he’s the horse to beat.
AUTHENTIC (PP: 18 ML 8-1) has the right running style to pull off the upset. Speed horse have won the last six KDs and AUTHENTIC should be among the frontrunners from the bang. He’s won four of his five starts and appears to be improving race to race. If the trend continues, he could make his way to the winners’ circle.
HONOR A.P. (PP: 16 ML 5-1) was beat as the chalk in in his last race and trainer John Shirreffs bounces back at 14% with beaten favorites in their next start. He’ll be one of the fastest at the end of the race as he has some of the best late pace numbers. He should be well positioned mid-pack with the opportunity to capitalize on his running style.
SOUTH BEND (PP: 8 ML 50-1) has a chance to be that horse. The longshot that always seems to sneak its way into the money in the Kentucky Derby. He popped his top speed number by a significant margin in his last race and first with trainer William Mott. If he can make a similar jump in race two with Mott, you never know.
Win: #17 TIZ THE LAW probably wins, but there isn’t much to gain at 3/5. So, we are going with #18 AUTHENTIC
Exacta Box: #8 SOUTH BEND, #17 TIZ THE LAW, #16 HONOR A.P. and #18 AUTHENTIC
Race 13: Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes
Ten horses will slug it out over 1 1/8 miles on Churchill’s turf course for a $1 million prize pool in the Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes. This could be one of the best betting races for horseplayers on the Saturday card. It’s a competitive field where the two pre-race favorites could face disadvantages.
The morning line favorite FACTOR THIS (PP: 1 ML 3-1) gets gate number one, which only won once in 14 races at the distance during the spring/summer meet. We do see him as a top challenger as he’s won four races in a row and three of four at the distance. He’ll really need to be at the top of his game; however, to make it five in a row with the bad draw.
ROCKEMPEROR (PP: 3 ML 7/2) is a really good horse, but this race might be too short for him. He hasn’t finished better than third in any US races less than 1 ¼ miles.
DIGITAL AGE (PP: 4 ML 6-1) won his last race and his only race at Churchill on Derby day 2019. Overall, he’s won four of his 10 races on turf with a pair of seconds and appears to be in top form in 2020 with a win and second in his two starts.
SACRED LIFE (PP: 8 ML 6-1) has by far the best late pace figures for this this field. He should take a step forward in his second start after nearly seven months in the barn. Trainer Brad Cox hits at a high 27% in round twos.
Along with FACTOR THIS, we also see BOWIES HERO (PP: 2 ML 6-1) as a horse with a chance at a value price. He’s making the classic third start after a break, which is a 17% winning angle for trainer Philip D’Amato. He ran the highest, last race speed figure with major improvement from his previous start. ff he can rise up the ladder once again, then he could grab the winner’s share of the million.
Win: #8 SACRED LIFE
Exacta Box: #1 FACTOR THIS, #2 BOWIES HERO, #4 DIGITAL AGE and #8 SACRED LIFE
Race 10: Iroquois Stakes
In what could be a first, the 2021 and 2020 Kentucky Derby winners could both be at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon. Race number 10 is the Iroquois Stakes, which is usually the first qualifying race on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
Eleven two-years-olds will take the first steps toward the 2021 Kentucky Derby by running 1 mile on the main track. Hopefully, they’ll run under normal circumstances next May.
PICO D’ORO (PP: 7 ML 5-1) broke his maiden in a $100,000 non-graded stakes races after failing in two maiden races to start his career. That’s uncommon. Despite running 7 furlongs, he ran a faster 6 furlong time by a few fractions of a second than he did in his previous 6 furlong start.
THERIDEOFALIFETIME (PP: 10 ML 7/5) ran the top, last race speed number for this field, which might not be as important as usual and most of the others have just one or two races on their resumes. He did finish second in a Grade II stakes race in his last outing while improving his early fractions, normally a good sign.
SUPER STOCK (PP: 3 ML 6-1) is a head bob from winning two in a row on dirt after bombing on turf in his debut. He’ll try running more than 5 ½ furlongs for the first time, an angle that trainer Steve Asmussen wins at 16%.
DREAMER’S DISEASE (PP: 5 ML 12-1) ran on dirt in his debut and looked like junk. Trainer Robertino Diodoro switched him over to grass for his second start and he led from beginning to end. Now, Diodoro puts him back on dirt. The trainer hits at s strong 27% when flipping his horses from grass to dirt.
Win: #10 THERIDEOFALIFETIME
Exacta Box: #3 SUPER STOCK, #5 DREAMER’S DISEASE, #7 SUPER STOCK and #10 THERIDEOFALIFETIME