The more races a horse wins against more competitive fields, the more points a horse gets and their chances of making the winning advantage in derby races are increased.
In the past few weeks, The field of leading horse derby contestants has shifted considerably, with both the Florida Derby and Santa Anita Derby upsets. The favourite Derby often comes out clearly from April’s first weekend, but that’s not the case this year.
An unusually loaded field will compete in Arkansas Derby on these coming days, and we can not turn our eyes to Louisville and the first Saturday in May until that business is settled.
The Prep Races
The prep races are one of the bases of the bettors which among the contenders are more advantageous to win the upcoming the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
And now with a small gap until the next round of pre-races heats up, it looks like a good time to review and preview where we’re on the Road to the first Saturday in May in the very early stages.
Starters will be chosen by a points system that puts pressure on hopefuls to win, or at least well, for the sixth straight year, a tiered point system will determine who gets into the Derby in a series of designated races on tracks across the country and around the world. Points are awarded in each of the preparation races to the top four finishers.
The Promising Participants in this Year’s Event
Modern derby races appears to have changed the dynamics of how the horse’s connections prepare the prep races. Wins in the preparation races used to be secondary to getting a good, safe, useful seasoning, foundation and preparation into the horses on their way to Louisville.
After all, races are technically preps, and that’s the purpose of prep races. So here’s the most promising contenders in my thoughts.
Code of Honor. He was bumped at the beginning of the Florida Derby and failed down the stretch for a concerted charge. However, he still has a lot of points to qualify for the Derby and might be dangerous in Louisville if he gave his late move a fast early pace.
Trainer Shug McGaughey is more wary than most in pushing his three-year-olds towards the Derby but excels in pushing his competitors into timely peaks. Twice-winning Derby jockey John Velazquez adds to the case of Code of Honor.
Omaha Beach. Here is your candidate most likely to derail the train from Baffert. Before he repress Game Winner in the Rebel Stakes, this rapidly improving colt fancy the handicappers. But that victory, starting his second career in six, stamped him as a legitimate contender.
California-based trainer Richard Mandella may not be the casual fan’s familiar name, but he’s in the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. In his final prep race, Omaha Beach gets a shot at Improbable, and if he wins that showdown, he’d have a strong claim to go off as Churchill Downs’ favorite. Such a scenario would also leave a challenging choice for Smith, who rides both Omaha Beach and Roadster.
Roadster. Keep in mind that trainer Bob Baffert in his stable rated Roadster as the most talented 2-year-old before surgery forced the colt out of last year’s training. So when Roadster roared from near the back of the pack to pass his more accomplished stablemate, Game Winner.
Nobody should have been overly surprised. California has Derby’s most fertile crop, and Roadster now claims to be the best of those, which also means he has an excellent chance to go off as Churchill Downs’ favorite. Baffert and his go-to jockey, Mike Smith, 53, didn’t need much time to make Justify a monster last year.
Game Winner. In 2019, he’s now 0-for-2. But you can’t say that in either race the 2-year-old champion of 2018 ran poorly. He’s still to come up empty in any of his six careers, so it’s difficult to bump him too far down the list.
He was in a position to win Santa Anita Derby, despite a long trip, just for Roadster to chase him down in the stretch. Has Game Winner peaked too early, or is he a top-notch competitor only twice edged out by equally talented foes? He can’t be counted at Churchill Downs with Baffert preparing him and Joel Rosario riding.
Most people say that this has resulted in a massive drop in average win prices in all prep races over the past few years; the favorites win preps and low paying prices. It has also resulted in the recent trend of favorites winning the Kentucky Derby.
In my opinion, directly. Go back to the Derby point series ten years before the Road and nearly never seemed to most of the races. It was even considered to be a favorite curse at one point, as the favorite went on for more than a decade without a Derby victory.