Borel wins Revolutionary sweepstakes// Mike Smith to ride Palace Malice// Verrazano takes first steps on Churchill track// How weak is Kentucky Derby 139?

WinStar Farm and Todd Pletcher chose three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel for riding duty on Revolutionary. The WinStar press release says the fan poll “helped affirm” the decision, even though Rosie Napravnik was the first choice… not sure how that works?// Mike Smith gets the call on recent Blue Grass (G1) runner-up Palace Malice. Garrett Gomez rode the colt on Saturday but was already committed to ride Vyjack. Gomez and his agent could be kicking themselves for making a quick decision, especially considering the jockey could have also been in the running for Revolutionary// Verrazano took his first steps on the Churchill track Monday, and according to the always-descriptive Todd Pletcher, “he galloped nicely”. Pletcher indicated he has penciled April 21 and April 28 as official breeze dates for both Verrazano and Revolutionary. His other three likely Derby entrants- Charming Kitten, Overanalyze, and Palace Malice- will each have one official work before the Derby on April 28// Normandy Invasion is settling into his surroundings at Churchill and will have two workouts before the Derby, most likely over the two remaining weekends// D. Wayne Lukas is also planning two works for Will Take Charge and either one or two for Oxbow, who recently finished a disappointing 5th in the Arkansas Derby (G1)// Considering how desperate most owners and trainers are to have a horse in the Kentucky Derby gate, it’s amazing how many would actually qualify this year but are instead bypassing the opportunity. At least four horses that hold enough points to get in will skip America’s greatest race (Uncaptured, Departing, West Hills Giant, Merit Man). That makes this Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington (G3) and the following week’s Derby Trial (G3) essentially “win and your in” type races. Not that any potential winner of those races would definitely move onto the Derby, but Cerro and Titletown Five have connections who’ve indicated it is a possibility// Get ready for the onslaught of stories on how weak this year’s Derby field will be. The same theme creeps up every year, but this prospective cast does seem to lack a lot of star power. Steve Haskin alludes to the slow times of recent preps in his weekly Derby Dozen column, and says the race will simply come down to who’s peaking at the right moment. Morning workouts and gallops in the weeks between now and May 4th will be critical// more…