The time has come. After weekly updates about the KY Derby through the fall, winter and early spring, the big race is now just ten days away, we review the Kentucky Derby Field here in our last round-up, look at the changes to the make-up of the Derby field in the last few days, and how they could impact on the way the big race is run.
In, out, in, out, shake it all about
The revolving door at Churchill Downs has been spinning at top speed in the last few days, keeping us all on our toes.
Pioneer of Medina IN
Classic Causeway IN
Pioneer Of Medina OUT
And all the while, Early Voting stands at the threshold, keeping us guessing. Is he in or out? Well, he’s in. But he could be out. It’s almost as tricky to work out the final field as it is to work out who’s going to win next Saturday.
Last Sunday, Steve Asmussen announced that his G3 Gotham winner Morello would miss the Derby owing to a problem with a foot, which he injured when tearing off a shoe on the way to sixth place in the G2 Wood Memorial. That bulletin came as no great surprise, and it allowed G2 Louisiana Derby third Pioneer Of Medina (85-1) to move into the top 20 in the RTKD standings and into the big race.
Twenty-four hours later, Brian Lynch changed his mind about G2 Tampa Bay Derby winner Classic Causeway (40-1) and put him back on the Derby trail. The son of Giant’s Causeway had been benched after finishing last in the G1 Florida Derby, but he already had enough points banked to seal a spot in the Derby and Lynch is of a mind to roll the dice. Julien Leparoux will have the ride.
That pushed Pioneer Of Medina back out of the top 20, and out of the Derby. His participation is now contingent on the presence – or not – of G2 Wood Memorial runner-up Early Voting (37-1), who is ‘60-40’ to run in the Preakness instead, according to Chad Brown. A decision on where the colt goes may not be made until entries are drawn on Monday.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that these are colts who are unlikely to win the Kentucky Derby. Derby winners don’t finish last in their final prep (Classic Causeway), they don’t appear basic non-stayers (Early Voting) and they don’t arrive without a first/second place in a prep (Pioneer Of Medina).
But they will shape the race, as it stands. Both Classic Causeway and Early Voting are notable speed influences, and they – depending on their post positions – are likely to set the fractions, giving race favourite Epicenter (7-2) a rabbit to chase and providing big players Zandon (6-1) and Mo Donegal (8-1) with plenty of pace to run at late.
The dynamic has changed, and the race is a little more interesting as a result. Should there be further withdrawals, our old pal Pioneer Of Medina is first in line to draw back in, with In Due Time, Ethereal Road, Rich Strike and Rattle N Roll behind him in the standings. Some or all of these colts will find themselves on the four-strong also-eligible list that will also be drawn on Monday.
Kentucky Derby Future Book
6-1 Messier, Taiba, Zandon
8-1 Mo Donegal
10-1 White Abarrio
12-1 Smile Happy
15-1 Charge It, Cyberknife
20-1 Simplification, Tiz The Bomb, Zozos
25-1 Crown Pride
30-1 Barber Road
37-1 Early Voting
40-1 Classic Causeway,Tawny Port
75-1 Summer Is Tomorrow, Un Ojo
85-1 Pioneer Of Medina
100-1 Happy Jack, In Due Time
150-1 Ethereal Road
Italics: horse outside the top 20 in RTKD points standings
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