The ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ is starting to become more well-traveled and the next stop is the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct on Saturday. Here’s our 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby Weekly Update where we look at the recent movers and shakers on the Derby trail as the big picture slowly takes shape.
G1 – purse $3m – 1m 2f – dirt – 3yo – Churchill Downs – May 4
The current Derby favorite Fierceness, so impressive in victory in the 2023 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita and a lock to be named champion juvenile colt, will likely head the market until he makes his reappearance next year – so there is not a lot to talk about here.
A far more interesting angle is to look at those coming up behind him in the Kentucky Derby Future Book, with Nysos his closest market rival after a rampaging victory on his stakes debut in the 2023 G3 Bob Hope at Del Mar over seven furlongs.
It was a short field of overmatched rivals but Nysos made a huge impression, clearing away to win by eight and three-quarter lengths in a fast time without being asked to run hard. He looks like a potential top-notcher, but right now he is ineligible for the Derby because of trainer Bob Baffert’s suspension from Churchill Downs.
That is expected to change. He will almost certainly be transferred to another barn in the spring to pick up Derby qualifying points, and everything about him – performance, pedigree, temperament – suggests he could have what it takes.
Not all ‘prep’ winners are equal, of course, and the market-makers did not think much of Honor Marie after his success in the 2023 G2 Kentucky Jockey Club over a mile-sixteenth at Churchill Downs last week. He did it well enough, moving away to win by two lengths, but at +4000 on the Jazzsports book, he will need to step right up at the Fair Grounds through the spring.
There was a whole lot to like about the way Nash destroyed a field of maidens at Churchill Downs over a mile-sixteenth, hosing them by more than ten lengths with a front-running tour de force. He will need to do a lot more in better grades but the basics are there.
He is owned by Godolphin, as is Knightsbridge, who also won his maiden by more than ten lengths at Churchill Downs over seven furlongs. It will be worth noting how this pair are campaigned in regard to their Derby potential.
Coming up next in the Road to the Kentucky Derby
Dornoch, a brother to this year’s Derby hero Mage, got off the dime at Keeneland over a mile-sixteenth on his third start, strolling by six and a half lengths. He sits at +4000 with Jazzsports and is a likely runner in the G2 Remsen at Aqueduct over a mile-eighth on Saturday, the next stop on the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’.
His rivals could include Where’s Chris, a stakes winner at the Big A over a mile when the extra yardage appeared to bring him forward. Going longer could suit him. Also slated is Sierra Leone, a son of Gun Runner who won on debut at Aqueduct over a mile and has the right connections to move up as he gains experience.
2024 Kentucky Derby Odds
|Odds by JazzSports
|Air Of Defiance