More contenders arrive at Churchill// Trainers thinking ahead// Features on Hear the Ghost, Goldencents, Verrazano, Orb// Updated future odds// more...

The announcement by several trainers and owners of when they would ship their contenders to Churchill was made into something of a joke in Twitterland given the apparent common sense nature of the news. Those who are laughing are missing the rather important point of exactly how much time these colts will have to get acclimated and train over the Churchill track. Vyjack, for instance, will ship very soon after Saturday’s Wood, and seeing as he’s never shipped, let alone raced at Churchill, it’s a worthwhile and positive decision to hear. Verrazano will also ship shortly after the Wood for more than two weeks of preparation at Churchill. Trainer Todd Pletcher is always somewhat unpredictable from year-to-year with his pre-Derby strategy. Just last year he decided to train his two contenders in Florida and ship to Louisville the Tuesday before the Derby. Perhaps their 13th and 16th place finishes prompted him to revert back to his old strategy?// Three contenders shipped into Churchill Tuesday. Mylute, second by a neck to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby (G2), should have enough points to make the Derby gate. The decision by trainer Tom Amoss to remove blinkers seemed to do the trick, and with another five weeks of training Mylute could be sitting on an even bigger race on the first Saturday in May. Falling Sky was another arrival to Churchill, but he will move next week to Keeneland for the Blue Grass (G1) or to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby (G1) seeing as he’s in need of more points. Dynamic Sky will also use the Kentucky Derby track in preparation for the Blue Grass and has the most room to make up on the point standings// Several writers and fans are jumping the gun on the potential dilemma John Velazquez could face with his Derby mount choice between Orb and Verrazano. It’s simple- if the race were held today he would be aboard Verrazano. Two main reasons: he’s the likely favorite and trainer Todd Pletcher is essentially Velazquez’s racing partner. If Verrazano lays an egg in the Wood Memorial, then Velazquez could have a real decision to make, but unless that happens, let’s assume he’s tied to the favorite// Matt Gardner at SB Nation comments on the lack of uniformity in speed figures between the Florida Derby (G1) and Louisiana Derby (G2). While BRIS, Equibase, and Performance Figures all have Revolutionary’s win at the Fair Grounds a faster race than Orb’s at Gulfstream, the most well-known speed figure, the Beyer, has the opposite. As I stated yesterday- and regardless of what speed figure you subscribe to- I believe the Florida Derby was the more impressive race given the competition and ease with which Orb won// Speaking of Orb, there’s a nice feature on him from Paul Moran at ESPN// Jockey Kevin Krigger is bullish on Goldencents’ chances in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and thinks the colt will relax in the early stages, something he was unable to do in the San Felipe (G2).  Winner of that race, Hear the Ghost, will get more attention this time around and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer believes he can adjust to any pace scenario. Hollendorfer also said the plan after the Santa Anita Derby is for Hear the Ghost to stay in California up to three to five days before the Derby// According to an average winning distance chart based on sire line and damsire line crosses, Black Onyx has the best distance potential of all main Derby contenders. TrueNicks points out that last year’s winner I’ll Have Another only had a 6.93 furlong average despite other pedigree signs that suggested 10 furlongs was right up his alley. So, take the chart with a grain of salt// The latest Wynn Las Vegas future book has Revolutionary down to 8-1 and Orb to 7-1, which makes the latter the co-favorite with Verrazano. You will most likely get better odds on two of those by waiting for Derby Day// more…

John Velazquez faces very tough decision (The Kentucky Derby Post)
Where they’re going next (Downey Profile)

Future Odds:
Wynn Las Vegas 4/1 (View From Vegas)
William Hill 4/1 (View From Vegas)


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