A detailed analysis for every horse in the Kentucky Derby, plus undercard plays
Here is a look at all of the horses in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Horses to watch on the undercard are at the bottom. If you want to bet the races in Texas, BetUSR and MyBookie are your best bets if you can't make it out to Sam Houston Race Park.
1) Finnick The Fierce
Record: 9 starts, 2 wins, 1 second, 2 thirds.
Jockey: Martin Garcia.
Trainer: Rey Hernandez.
2) Max Player
Jockey: Ricardo Santana.
Trainer: Steve Asmussen.
Overview: There is a lot to like about this guy. He is lightly raced, has room to improve, and should relish the distance. He also has worked very well at Churchill, and switched to Asmussen after his last race. While not really a fan of Asmussen's, he tends to do very well with horses like this. Chased Tiz the Law twice and came up third. Probably can't improve enough to beat the big horse but he certainly can hit the board at a monster price.
Jockey: Adam Beschizza.
Trainer: Mark Casse.
Overview: Another closer who should love the distance. He's experienced, and should be running at the finish. His last two he fell victim to bad pace scenarios, and should get a better chance here. The question is whether or not he is good enough. The answer? Probably not, but use him on the bottom of tris and exactas.
4) Storm the Court
Jockey: Julien Leparoux.
Trainer: Peter Eurton.
Overview: Won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year at 46-1 odds. That looks more and more like a fluke with every race. Has done nothing since to give you any confidence. Toss.
5) Major Fed
Jockey: James Graham.
Trainer: Greg Foley.
Overview: Another lightly raced plodder who could enjoy the distance and sneak in for a small piece at a monster price, but will need significant improvement.
6) King Guillermo
Jockey: Sammy Camacho.
Trainer: Juan Avila.
Overview: SCRATCHED ON THURSDAY.
7) Money Moves
Jockey: Javier Castellano.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher.
Overview: In a normal year, he would not qualify for this race. Clearly has talent, but this is asking a lot, even for a top-level trainer like Pletcher. Needs to improve a bunch. He could, but that's a big ask.
8) South Bend
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione.
Trainer: Bill Mott.
Overview: A late entrant, he does have two wins at Churchill and was only two lengths behind Max Player in the Travers. Yet another who might clunk up for a piece late.
9) Mr. Big News
Jockey: Gabriel Saez.
Trainer: Brett Calhoun.
Overview: He won a stake at Oaklawn at 47-1 in the slop. That was pretty much his one shining moment. If he can repeat that, he can go on the list of horses that might rumble up for third. Seems a cut below the best of those, however.
10) Thousand Words
Jockey: Florent Geroux.
Trainer: Bob Baffert.
Overview: Beat Honor AP last out, and that horse is second favorite here. He has five-time Derby winning trainer Baffert on his side and was a $1 million purchase, so much is expected. Still, he beat just three horses in winning his prep for this and seems a cut below. Must use, but wouldn't be surprised if he is nowhere to be found at the finish.
11) Neckar Island
Jockey: Miguel Mena.
Trainer: Chris Hartman.
Overview: An honest sort, but he has been no match for some of the third-tier contenders in here and would need the race of his life. Don't see it happening.
12) Sole Volante
Jockey: Luca Panici.
Trainer: Patrick Biancone.
Overview: Another who probably have been better off if the race was in May. Wise guys like him, but he hasn't raced since being no threat in the Belmont. Another "maybe runs late for a piece" guy.
13) Attachment Rate
Jockey: Joe Talamo.
Trainer: Dale Romans.
Overview: Like the connections, but this one appears overmatched. He has finished second to a couple nice horses in Art Collector and Dr. Post, both of which would have taken action had they run in the Derby. (Art Collector would have been second favorite). Another third-tier, maybe-he-gets-third kind of runner.
14) Winning Impression
Jockey: Joe Rocco.
Trainer: Dallas Stewart.
Overview: If he is doing an impression of a winner, it's a pretty bad one. Did finish ahead of Finnick the Fierce at Oaklawn in the slop back in April, and was DQ'd, and Finnick is 50-1 in this race, so...Trainer generally has them ready to fire in big races but this guy would need to run the best race of his career to be in the mix.
15) NY Traffic
Jockey: Paco Lopez.
Trainer: Saffie Joseph.
Overview: Nice, late developing colt just missed catching Authentic on the wire in the Haskell in last, and that runner had everything go his way. Last four have all been solid efforts, and won't be shocked if he is in the top three again.
16) Honor AP
Jockey: Mike Smith.
Trainer: John Shirrefs.
Overview: The second favorite has been first or second in all five starts, with his biggest win a victory over Authentic in the Santa Anita Derby. The latter wasn't fully cranked up for that race, however. He has been facing small fields, and the California horses just might not be very good. Has a shot here, but does not offer much value at 5-1. Another must use, but won't be shocked if he misses the board, either.
17) Tiz the Law
Jockey: Manny Franco.
Trainer: Barclay Tagg.
Overview: The delay of the Derby makes him the most accomplished favorite the race has seen in a long time, with wins in the Belmont and Travers already on his resume, along with the Florida Derby and Holy Bull. Unbeaten in 2020, his smallest margin of victory is three lengths. His only loss did come in the slop at Churchill as a 2-year-old, so if you are looking for a weakness, maybe that's it. Will be hard to get around, and the short price sucks. Will throw a few plays out there where he loses, but the best hope is for big prices behind him. Won't be shocked if he rolls here and sets up a shot at the Rona Triple Crown.
Jockey: John Velazquez.
Trainer: Bob Baffert.
Overview: Speedy type will be on or near the lead, and he has done little wrong in his career. Hard to bet against Baffert, but there are reasons he might not do well here. He probably wants no part of the distance, and he won't be far enough ahead of Tiz the Law to get away from that one in the stretch. Another must-use, but like Honor AP, could see him crumbling late.
THE UNDERCARD STAKES
This is not a typical great Derby Day undercard, but it isn't bad. There are a few potential plays. A quick look:
Race 8, The American Turf: Field Pass is second favorite at 2-1 but should get a very good trip and turn the tables on favored Smooth Like Straight.
Race 9, The Pat Day Mile: Echo Town looms large here, and should be used. We will take a flyer with Rushie at 4-1, using him in exactas with Cezanne, Echo Town, Vertical Straight, Digital, Tap it to Win and No Parole. Also like a few show and place dollars on Digital, who should be a big price.
Race 10, The Iroquois: Ordinarily a total pass race for me. But it's Derby Day, so...we will use the 6 and 7 in small exactas with as many horses as possible and hope for bombs.
Race 11, The Distaff Mile: Newspaperofrecord will be a heavy favorite, but we will take a shot at beating her with Beau Recall at 6-1.
Race 12, The Derby City Distaff: Serengetti Empress, Ce Ce and Bellafina figure to take most of the money, and all will be serious factors. We will try to beat them with Bell's the One at 10-1. We will also use her in exactas with the favorites, Mia Mischief and Sally's Curlin, who loves Churchill.
Race 13, the Turf Classic: Factor This will likely go off as the favorite, but should face some pace pressure, which puts value on Rockemperor at 7-2. I also will be playing Sacred Life at 6-1.
My actual bets will be available on pregame.com. Good luck on your wagers.