Post Time: Justify splashes home to break Derby curse
On Saturday, the Peacock's Kentucky Derby coverage kicks off at noon ET on NBCSN and 2:30 p.m. on NBC.
That competitive depth makes Saturday's race intriguing. Monomoy Girl isn't the only horse in the field Cox will have an eye on.
Justify won each of those races easily, though, and impressed horsemen during workouts this week in Louisville. Bob Baffert hasn't trained up an American Pharoah for a predictable result. It would be something we couldn't really dream of, to win this race.
Longshots to include in your combo wagering are two ponies that have unfavorable post positions. There's nothing overly flashy about him, but look, he's won a Grade I and an Eclipse Award. There's no doubt Justify will be prominent, but can he take home the big prize? There's the fleet Mendelssohn, the UAE Derby victor and a horse whose endurance and tenacity may be flawless for the Derby.
Mendelssohn breaks from post 14 of 20 sophomores, which is the outside barrier in the main gate. Lone Sailor and Hofburg only have maiden wins to their credit, yet each finished 2nd in their last outing, earning the necessary points to run in the Derby.
That's a long trend, but as ESPN's Chris Fallica notes, horses that fell to the "Curse of Apollo" didn't lose because they didn't race when they were a year younger, but rather because they just got beat.
My $100 bet this year depends on Bolt d'Oro or Justify winning the race. Another foal of Scat Daddy whose grandsire is Fusaichi Pegasus, this horse has some staying power down the stretch and at times, but has yet to be in a race with a sub-23-second quarter-mile pace.
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Also known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports", this year's big race will feature 20 horses and their riders all competing for a grand prize of $2 million, according to Sporting News. Within 10 years, Azra, victor of the Derby in 1892, had raced 10 times at age 2, and Lookout, the victor of the Derby the next year, raced 20 times at 2.
So perhaps this is the year the curse ends.
They are Audible, Vino Rossi, Enticed, Good Magic and Magnum Moon. His regal bloodlines and $3 million price tag suggest he would be a worthy champion, but no horse from Europe has won the Derby.
"He put in a little bit of a lethargic work prior to the Florida Derby and ran terrifically, so it's not something that we worry about a whole lot", said Pletcher.
"He's a very special-looking horse physically and with his pedigree, he came to us as a top-rated horse". Horsemen call it the "curse of Apollo", the last Derby victor without a start at age 2.
GY: You want to see a horse that's galloping freely. If he was a mid-pack horse or a come-from-behind horse, having only three races so far would concern me a lot more than it does with him being an up-close runner. So when says he likes both Justify and Magnum Moon, despite their inexperience, you pay attention. Then he told me how a gambler convinced him to give him 300-1 on horse he had never heard of. "Todd's going to have his ready, and Baffert is going to have his".
"It's one of the toughest Derbys that I've ever seen and one of the best draws that I've ever seen", Baffert said.
"It's good to be back with a horse that has a legitimate chance of winning", he said. This is a horse who doesn't just wait for others to get exhausted and then goes, he forces other to play keep up by finding more gears to shift through than a vehicle in a Fast and Furious movie.
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