2020 Kentucky Derby Preview

Updated: 9/5/2020 7:00 PM EST

Unfortunately, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will be contested without fans. A sign of the times during this pandemic. However, I am just grateful that the we will still get to see the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Below is the starting field for the 146th Kentucky Derby with post-positions and jockey assignments. Note that all horses and their sires are hyperlinked to their Equibase profiles to facilitate personal handicapping.

2020 Kentucky Derby Starting Field

1) Finnick the Fierce (SCRATCHED) – He finished 3rd in the Arkansas Derby (2nd division) and 7th in the Blue Grass Stakes. A mid-pack horse at best in this field.


Career: 9 Starts 2-1-2-2  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>7th
Sire: Dialed In (Finished 8th in the 2011 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Rey Hernandez
Jockey: Martin Garcia
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.06 (estimated) – 2020 Arkansas Derby (2nd div)
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 97 – 2020 Arkansas Anita Derby (2nd div)

2) Max Player (30/1)  – The Withers Stakes winner gets a new trainer in Steve Asmussen. He finished third in the Belmont Stakes and third in the Travers Stakes against Tiz the Law so I think he is a course to include in your exotics.


Career: 5 Starts 2-1-2-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st-->3rd–>3rd
Sire: Honor Code 
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:47.37 (estimated) – 2020 Belmont Stakes
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 107 – 2020 Travers Stakes

3) Enforceable (30/1) – After winning the Lecomte Stakes back in January, Enforceable followed with a 2nd place finish in the Risen Star Stakes, a 5th place finish in the Louisiana Derby and a 4th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes in July. He is a closer who could hit the board if the pace is fast.


Career: 10 Starts 2-2-2-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd-->4th–>5th
Sire: Tapit (Finished 9th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Adam Beschizza
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.43 (estimated) – 2020 Blue Grass Stakes
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 95 – 2020 Blue Grass Stakes

4) Storm the Court (50/1) – The Breeders Cup Juvenile winner looked to be a promising two-year old but he is winless as a three-year old. His last race came on the turf at Del Mar in the La Jolla Handicap where he finished 2nd.


Career: 9 Starts 2-1-3-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 6th–>3rd–>2nd
Sire: Court Vision (Finished 13th in the 2008 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Peter Eurton
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.26 (estimated) – 2020 Arkansas Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 102 – 2019 Breeders Cup Juvenile

5) Major Fed (50/1) – The son of Ghostzapper finished 2nd in the Indiana Derby. I like his inside post position but he is a closer. I will include him in my exotics as he might be able to pull off a nice rail-run to hit the board.


Career: 6 Starts 1-2-1-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>10th–>2nd
Sire: Ghostzapper
Trainer: Gregory Foley
Jockey: James Graham
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.94 (estimated) – 2020 Indiana Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 99 – 2020 Indiana Derby

6) King Guillermo (SCRATCHED– He won the Tampa Bay Derby and then the Arkansas Derby (2nd div) by disqualification. He’s talented but this is a pretty deep field. Consider him in your superfecta bets as he is coming off a long layoff so we don’t know how much he has improved.


Career: 5 Starts 2-2-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st—>2nd
Sire: Uncle Mo
Trainer: Juan Carlos Avila
Jockey: Samy Camacho
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.82 (estimated) – 2020 Arkansas Derby (2nd div)
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 102 – 2020 Tampa Bay Derby

7) Money Moves (30/1) – The Todd Pletcher trainee comes into this race as the least experienced colt in the field with just three career starts. However, in his last start at Saratoga, he produced a 100 Brisnet Speed Figure and lost by a neck in a field that had 4 and 5 year olds. A longshot to consider in your superfectas.


Career: 3 Starts 2-1-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer:  Todd Pletcher (2010 & 2017 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.08 (estimated) – Saratoga Allowance Optional Claiming Race 7/25/20
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 100 – Saratoga Allowance Optional Claiming Race 7/25/20

8) South Bend (50/1) – He finished 2nd in the Ohio Derby and 4th in his last start, the Travers Stakes. Not a real threat to win against this field on paper but trainer Bill Mott did wonders with 65-1 longshot Country House in last year’s Derby. So consider him in your exotics.


Career: 12 Starts 3-2-2-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>2nd–>4th
Sire: Algorithms
Trainer: Bill Mott (2019 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Tyler Gafflione
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:51.72 (estimated) – 2020 Ohio Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 105 – 2020 Travers Stakes

9) Mr. Big News (50/1) – The Oaklawn Stakes winner finished 6th in his last start, the Blue Grass Stakes. He might be a candidate for your exotics if we get a wet track for this year’s Derby. Otherwise, he is a very deserving 50/1 longshot.


Career: 7 Starts 2-1-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>1st–>6th
Sire: Giant’s Causeway
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.89 – 2020 Oaklawn Stakes (Black Type)
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 96 – 2020 Oaklawn Stakes (Black Type)

10) Thousand Words (SCRATCHED) – The Bob Baffert-trainee has the same sire (Pioneerof the Nile) as American Pharoah and is coming off a surprise win in the Shared Belief Stakes.


Career: 7 Starts 4-1-0-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 11th–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Pioneerof the Nile (Finished 2nd in 2009 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, 2015 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.07 (estimated) – 2020 Los Alamitos Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 104 – 2020 Shared Belief Stakes

11) Necker Island (50/1) – He has produced third place finishes in his last two starts, the Ellis Park Derby and the Indiana Derby. Another longshot that I wouldn’t bother including in my exotic bets.


Career: 10 Starts 2-0-3-2 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>3rd–>3rd
Sire: Hard Spun (Finished 2nd in the 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Chris Hartman
Jockey: Miguel Mena
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.38 (estimated) – 2020 Ellis Park Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 98 – 2020 Indiana Derby

12) Sole Volante (30/1) – He won the Sam F. Davis Stakes, finished 2nd in the Tampa Bay Derby and 6th in the Belmont Stakes. A mid-pack horse in this field that is not a threat to win or a good candidate for your superfectas.


Career: 7 Starts 4-1-1-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>6th
Sire: Karakontie
Trainer: Patrick Biancone
Jockey: Luca Panici
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:46.94 (estimated) – 2020 Belmont Stakes
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 102 – 2020 Sam F. Davis Stakes

13) Attachment Rate (50/1) – He finished 2nd behind Art Collector in the Ellis Park Derby in his last start. The Dale Romans trained colt is probably a mid-pack horse in this talented field.


Career: 8 Starts 1-3-1-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>5th–>2nd
Sire: Hard Spun (Finished 2nd in the 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Joe Talamo
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.54 (estimated) – 2020 Ellis Park Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 98- 2020 Ellis Park Derby

14) Winning Impression (50/1) – With a name like Winning Impression, his race career has been everything but that with only one win in nine career starts. A very deserving 50/1 longshot.


Career: 9 Starts 1-1-2-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>7th–>7th
Sire: Paynter
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Joe Rocco
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.97 (estimated) – 2020 Arkansas Derby (1st div)
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 91 – 2020 Arkansas Derby (1st div)

15) Ny Traffic (20/1) – The New York bred colt has finished 2nd in his last three starts, all graded stakes races. So, he is a quality colt but not a great threat to cross the finish line first in this talented field.


Career: 9 Starts 2-3-2-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>2nd
Sire: Cross Traffic
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.46 (estimated) – 2020 Haskell Stakes
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 107 – 2020 Haskell Stakes

16) Honor A.P. (5/1) – The Santa Anita Derby winner was disappointing in his last start, the Shared Belief Stakes, where he finished 2nd. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith had him in good spot coming into the stretch but Honor A.P. didn’t kick it in until it was too late. That was a 8 1/2 furlong race, the Kentucky Derby is 10 furlongs. I think Honor A.P. will like the added distance so include him in your exotic bets.


Career: 5 Starts 2-3-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts:  2nd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Honor Code 
Trainer: John Shirreffs (2005 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (2005 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:48.97 – 2020 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 108 – 2020 Santa Anita Derby

17) Tiz the Law (3/5) – The Kentucky Derby favorite has the most impressive resume in the field with four Grade 1 race wins (Champagne Stakes, Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes). He is a very deserving race favorite but I think the 3/5 odds were a little too short for morning line odds. I had him at 1/1 odds and moving to 4/5 after Art Collector wasn’t entered.


Career: 7 Starts 6-0-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Last 3 starts: 1st-->1st–>1st
Sire: Constitution
Trainer: Barclay Tagg (2003 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Manuel Franco
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:46.53 – 2020 Belmont Stakes
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 115 – 2020 Travers Stakes

18) Authentic (8/1) – The Haskell Stakes winner is the other Bob Baffert entry his this field. The hall of fame trainer lost Charlaton and Nadal due to injuries from the Derby trail earlier in the year. Authentic has won four of five starts with his only loss coming in the Santa Anita Derby to Honor A.P. He will be ridden by two-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey John Velazquez. Another horse to include in your exotic bets.


Career: 5 Starts 4-1-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st-->2nd–>1st
Sire: Into Mischief
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2003, 2015 & 2018 Kentucky Derby Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velazquez (2011 and 2017 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:49.41 (estimated) – 2020 Santa Anita Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 107 – 2020 Haskell Stakes


Who’s my Derby Favorite?

I have liked Tiz the Law since his Belmont Stakes win and he looked equally impressive in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. I feel that he is a real strong threat to become the 14th Triple Crown winner and wrote about it HERE. I called American Pharoah and Justify‘s Triple Crown championships so I have a good track record forecasting this rare feat.

Overall, win bets for Tiz the Law at 3/5 odds won’t pay very well, so you will have to bet him in exotics to get any decent return. I would key Tiz the Law #17 to win and consider using these six horses in your exotic bets: Honor A.P. #16, Max Player #2, Authentic #18, Money Moves #7, Major Fed #5 and Ny Traffic #15. That is 17/2,5,7, 15,16, 18/2,5,7,15,16,18/2,5,7,15,16,18

Remember, the best horse doesn’t always win the Derby and with such short odds for Tiz the Law, a surprise disappointing finish by the race favorite will lead to huge exotic payouts. In such a large field, anything can happen that could hurt Tiz the Law’s chances of winning: getting bumped/stepped on coming out of the gate or being forced too wide coming onto the stretch. So, I may opt for some 10 cent superfecta bets that have Tiz the Law finishing second or third. Churchill Downs announced on August 12th that will have 10 cent superfectas for this year’s Derby. The previous minimum was $1.

Derby Sleeper?

If I had to pick a Derby sleeper from the longshots, it would be Major Fed. He is #8 in the race linked below. Watch how he brings the heat late and how he displays another gear to kick in to the wire. He’s a closer & gets a better inside post-position for a rail run. He is the son of Ghostzapper who put up eye-popping speed figures during his career. All the speed will be on the outside of Major Fed and he could get an economy run on distance traveled before it is “go time”.


I will update this blog clear up until post-time in case there are any scratches or the weather changes. As of Tuesday evening, weather.com shows it will be sunny in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday with temps in the 70s, low 80s (high of 83) and a 10% chance of rain. You can check weather updates by clicking HERE. 

Also note that I am on Twitter and I use that medium more for last minute selections. You can follow and add me at https://twitter.com/totallyfearless

Here is a link to Brisnet Past Performances.

Live Kentucky Derby odds can be found here: https://www.kentuckyderby.com/horses

13 comments

  1. Hi Michael!

    Thought I left a lengthy post last night but do not see that it took.

    I love your six but do not forget about NY Traffic. He has looked great in most races this year, albeit non-winning ones. Outside post not good with big on the outside but I think he will catch a piece.

    My five are Tiz on top with Honor AP, Thousand Words, Authentic, NY Traffic and Max Player.

    May need to leave Authentic out because of your Major Fed analysis, which I always covet. That being said King is interesting also with a good post.

    Tiz will take down all except the 17 hole will continue the very strange year. Although 20 not running and didn’t believe in Apollo’s curse either.

    Good luck, buddy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greek, I am not that high on Authentic as his times were slow in the Santa Anita Derby and Haskell Stakes. He didn’t break 38 seconds in the last 3 furlongs in either of those two races and that is one of my measuring sticks for this race when it is in May. So what that being said, I will throw Authentic into my exotics due to Mike Smith as his rider but leave out Ny Traffic. Smith tried to win the Haskell with a hand-ride and nearly got beat by Ny Traffic. All things being equaled, Smith wins that race easily if he went to the whip earlier.

      Like

  2. Greek, thanks. I am still doing analysis on this field and I will take another look at Ny Traffic. I calculated that Major Fed ran the last 3 furlongs of the Indiana Derby in 37.03. I think having an extra furlong to work with will benefit Major Fed’s closing style.

    Like

  3. Michael,
    I like Major Fed based on that final 3 furlong time. Still deciding between the following to use underneath.
    Honor AP
    Thousand Words
    NY Traffic
    Major Fed
    Money Moves
    Thx,
    Greek

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unbelievable with the circumstance before the race. Did not see Authentic hanging on and was sure Tiz would mow him down after the stretch. He had the trip, no excuse. Swayed too much to keep momentum

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Greek, yes, no excuses for Tiz the Law. He got off to a great start and was right where he needed to be. He simply did not run like he did in the Belmont or Travers. His closing speed was noticeably slower and verified by my calculations. I wonder if they should have skipped the Travers and rested him? Anyway, this is the first Derby I didn’t make money on since 2013. I feel very humbled.

    Like

    • Right, wasn’t the same. Hard to believe he needed a rest, but perhaps the sxhedule was part of the reason.
      First time in the points era for me, too, except the debacle last year. Humbled sums it up rather well. Feel bad for the horse and connections.

      Like

      • Now the debate is whether Tiz the Law goes to the Preakness or rests up for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Trainer wants to rest for the Classic, ownership wants the Preakness. I am with the trainer on this one.

        The handle for the Derby was down 50% this year and I don’t think it was all due to a pandemic economy. I think many bettors are still pissed about that debacle last year and taking Maximum Security down with a DQ.

        Like

  5. I’m with you and the trainer, take a break. It’s not a normal year, and going for the Preakness here is nothing like trying for the Belmont in a normal. Means very little for him at this point.
    Handle may also have been down because of timing and lack of real betting choices. Feel was nothing like the first weekend in May either.
    I watched the replay today, and still can’t believe he didn’t crush it. Track must have had something to do with it.
    Hope to see a Preakness post. Thoroughly enjoy chatting.
    Pls b safe.

    Liked by 1 person

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