Here we look at Kentucky Derby Top 10 horses in the betting market, with hints as to where we may see them in action next. The Kentucky Derby future book is an ever-changing landscape, for as every milestone is passed in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series the odds change accordingly, with horses moving in and out of favour with the odds-makers.
Kentucky Derby Top 10 Horses
Andy picks up the pace, enters Derby picture
Bettors and odds-makers will have been relieved by the outcome of last Saturday’s Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity, which was won by a horse who can be given proper consideration for the Kentucky Derby. The victory of Slow Down Andy, at the expense of a Bob Baffert-trained hotpot, adds a little welcome intrigue to the plot.
Slow Down Andy, whose will-he, won’t-he, yes-he-will stretch run took him a length clear at the wire at Los Alamitos, has a Kentucky Derby heritage the equal of anything that might join him in the gate next May. His trainer Doug O’Neill, owner Paul Reddam and jockey Mario Gutierrez won the Derby in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and in 2016 with Nyquist, who is the sire of Slow Down Andy. He’s certainly bred to run for the roses, and is now among the top dozen Derby fancies on the Jazz future book at 40-1.
Before the Futurity moved to Los Alamitos it was run at now-closed Hollywood Park and won by top-notchers AP Indy, Real Quiet, Captain Steve and Point Given, so it has a history of bringing forward future stars. Slow Down Andy is now two-for-three and is likely to reinforce his Derby credentials in a trial at Santa Anita next year, possibly the Robert B Lewis in February or the San Felipe the following month.
He was one of a number of movers in the market in recent weeks, with ten-point RTKD hauls also achieved by Remsen winner Mo Donegal and Kentucky Jockey Club winner Smile Happy (20-1). Mo Donegal, a 20-1 future book choice, may have been a little fortunate to keep his win at Aqueduct after a rough race through the closing stages, but the promise was there for all to see in his narrow defeat of fellow Derby possible Zandon (45-1).
His trainer Todd Pletcher, winner of two Derbys with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017, has three horses in the top dozen of the future book, although both Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fourth Commandperformance (25-1), who is a three-race maiden, and Iroquois winner Major General (40-1), who has been rested since that victory, at this time lack the obvious credentials of their talented barnmate. Another name to note from the Pletcher barn is Emmanuel (50-1), a More Than Ready colt who made a successful debut at Gulfstream Park last week, jogging in by six and three-quarter lengths in a mile maiden.
Smile Happy is unbeaten in two and gave Kenny McPeek arguably the strongest hand of any trainer for the Derby at this stage when cruising home at Churchill Downs, stamping himself as a solid contender for the big one in Louisville. His next target may be the Risen Star at Fair Grounds or the Rebel at Oaklawn Park in February, depending on the schedule of Grade 1-winning barnmate Rattle N Roll (35-1), who missed the Breeders’ Cup after a minor setback, and ‘third-string’ Tiz The Bomb (50-1), runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, whose prowess at top level on the main track has yet to be demonstrated.
Absent friends are on the way back
Several others prominent in the betting market lack a recent run, notably second-favourite Jack Christopher (10-1), who has been absent since winning the Champagne and is currently on the way back after an operation to insert a screw into his left foreleg. He is expected to trial for the Derby from Gulfstream Park, with the Fountain Of Youth in March and the Florida Derby both on the table.
RTKD points leader Pappacap (30-1) was runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and is a rock-solid contender on that form as well as on his second spot in the American Pharoah at Santa Anita, a race that has worked out exceptionally well. He may well pick up the Derby thread in New Orleans next month, bidding to add further points to his haul in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds.
Classic Causeway (40-1) has placed form behind Rattle N Roll and Smile Happy and – like Jack Christopher – will do his preparation in Florida, with either the Holy Bull in February or the Fountain Of Youth the following month, both at Gulfstream Park, potential milestones on the road to the Derby.
A name that may be unfamiliar to some, but not to the odds-makers, is Spin Wheel (40-1), a Hard Spun colt trained by George Arnold, who got off the mark at the third time of asking in a Churchill Downs maiden over a mile-eighth last month. He is a shorter price than many better-credentialled horses but certainly has untapped potential.
Our look at the leading contenders is completed by a trio trained by Bob Baffert, who has won three of the last four runnings of the Kentucky Derby. The threesome are at present ineligible for the Derby and have gained no RTKD points. Unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Corniche (6-1), Los Alamitos Futurity runner-up Messier (25-1) and Grade 1 winner Pinehurst (35-1) all need circumstances to change for either themselves or their trainer in the new year if they are to continue towards the Kentucky Derby.
The last two races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby this year are the ungraded Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Friday, which offers ten points to the winner (certain conditions apply), and the ungraded Gun Runner at Fair Grounds on December 26, another ten-point race.
2022 Kentucky Derby futures book (Jazz Racebook)
6-1 Corniche 10-1 Jack Christopher 20-1 Mo Donegal, Smile Happy 25-1 Commandperformance, Messier 30-1 Pappacap 35-1 Pinehurst, Rattle N Roll 40-1 Classic Causeway, Major General, Slow Down Andy, Spin Wheel 45-1 bar
Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings
12 Pappacap 10 Jack Christopher, Major General, Mo Donegal, Rattle N Roll, Slow Down Andy, Smile Happy 6 Classic Causeway, Commandperformance 4 Double Thunder, Giant Game, Tough To Tame, Zandon 2 Midnight Chrome, Oviatt Class, Red Knobs, White Abarrio, Wit 1 American Sanctuary, Ben Diesel, Bourbon Heist, Durante, Mr Jefferson, My Prankster