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2018 Kentucky Derby Preview: Can Pletcher's Audible Or Magnum Moon Bring It Home?

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2018 Kentucky Derby Preview: Can Pletcher's Audible Or Magnum Moon Bring It Home?
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The 2018 Kentucky Derby field of 20 horses has been set. The race features two trainers — Todd Pletcher with four entries and Bob Baffert with one — that represent the class of the group.

Justified?

Baffert’s colt, Justify, may be the favorite based on his easy victory in the most prestigious derby prelim, the Santa Anita Derby. Over the 144-year history of the Kentucky Derby, being the favorite has been more of a curse than a blessing in projecting a winner. This trend has diminished over the the last five years, as the Derby winner has been the betting favorite in all, though not always the morning line top choices.

A much bigger obstacle for Justify is that he's unraced as a 2-year-old. Better known as the “curse of Apollo,” who was the only unraced two-year-old to win the race in 1882, Justify will be attempting to end the longstanding 0-61 streak.

Magnum Moon

The other potential favorite that falls into that category has an impressive Derby prep win. Magnum Moon, one of Pletcher’s entries, romped to an impressive wire-to-wire victory in the Arkansas Derby. Once again, the colt was unraced as a 2-year-old and faces the same challenge as Justify. Even more of a hindrance to Magnum Moon’s chances of winning is his outside No. 16 post position.

Another potential favorite is Mendelssohn, the winner of the $2-million United Arab Emirates Derby. Although he won by a wide margin, he was in an inferior field compared to the other Derby preps. Also, no horse that has won the UAE Derby has replicated the feat in the Kentucky Derby.

The Word On The Street

If I'm laying off the chalk, or potential chalk, where am I putting my money? My choice is Audible.

Despite a sluggish break in the prominent Florida Derby, which can be attributed to a blazing first-quarter pace, the colt showed impressive closing speed in the stretch. Remember, the Derby is 1.25 miles, a distance few — if any — of the entries have experienced. This test of endurance needs a skilled jockey to navigate the stampede.

In the saddle for Audible will be Javier Castellano, the winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey from 2013-2016. From the No. 5 post position, he will be able to make the outside contenders work to get in line for a stretch run while having plenty in the tank to finish.

Longshots to include in your combo wagering are two ponies that have unfavorable post positions. The winner of the Louisiana Derby, Pletcher’s Noble Indy, No. 19, will attract some enticing odds. Also, the winner of the Wood Memorial, Pletcher’s Vinno Rosso will attempt to navigate the herd from the No. 18 post position and should attract double-digit odds.

With four of the 20 horses in the field being trained by Pletcher, along with all those Derby prep wins, something tells me one of his 3-year-olds will capture the “Garland of Roses.”

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Posted-In: Bob Baffert Kentucky Derby Todd PletcherSports Opinion General

 

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