Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/David Alcosser
On Friday, the third future wager pool for the 2016 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will open for wagering. As usual, the field is comprised of 23 individual Derby contenders plus the “all other three-year-olds” option that covers all the Derby contenders that are not individually listed.
The expected favorites include the unbeaten Mohaymen and Nyquist, along with the impressive grade I winner Mor Spirit, but with two months remaining until the Kentucky Derby, a lot can change before the race is run. As a result, there are several longshots in the field that could have a chance to stamp themselves as serious Derby contenders with strong performances over the next few weeks. Here are four longer-prided contenders that I have my eye on…
American Dubai (50-1): In just the third start of his career, he ran great finishing third in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park, in which he pressed fast fractions and led into the homestretch before tiring late in the race. With that effort under his belt, I think he can take a step forward in the March 19th Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn, and if he gets a better trip setting a slower pace, he could launch himself firmly into the Derby picture with an impressive performance. At 50-1, I think he would be an overlay in the future pool.
Greenpointcrusader (30-1): Winner of the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last year, Greenpointcrusader ran a great race finishing second to Derby favorite Mohaymen in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II), changing his running style to help set a slow pace before staying on strongly in the homestretch. His final prep for the Kentucky Derby will come in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) six weeks before the “Run for the Roses,” and while his schedule of prep races is a little unorthodox, I think it could have him fresh and ready for a big effort in the Kentucky Derby.
Matt King Coal (50-1): He stamped himself as a Derby contender when he won a one-mile maiden special weight at Belmont last October with a 96 Beyer speed figure–the highest of the year by any two-year-old colt–and he looked better than ever winning an 8.5-furlong allowance race at Aqueduct on March 6th with a 97 Beyer. He’s talented, he’s fast, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the winner’s circle of the Wood Memorial (gr. I) next month, and if that’s the case, his odds will be a lot lower than 50-1 in the Kentucky Derby.
Whitmore (50-1): He unleashed an eye-catching rally on the far turn of the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and looked like the winner until Suddenbreakingnews passed him in deep stretch. During his career, Whitmore has shown flashes of great talent, and my feeling is that we haven’t seen his best yet. 50-1 would be a great price, but I won’t be surprised if he drops lower than that by the time the pool closes.
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