Kentucky Derby Favorite Emerges Early
The Road to the Kentucky Derby is always closely followed at this time of year but much like the last two years, the likely favorite come the first Saturday in May seems to be clear. In 2014, it was California Chrome as he was blowing the competition away on the West Coast. Last year, American Pharoah ran over anything that got in his path to a Triple Crown campaign. This year, it’s Mohaymen that looks to be unstoppable.
Although the larger point races for the Kentucky Derby points system are still ahead of us, it may not really matter much in the end as less than 30 points will most likely be needed to enter the gate for the Derby. The loss of the Sunland Derby this year may mean even fewer points will be required to make the top-20. Mohaymen’s 70 points already has allowed owner Shadwell Stables and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin to map out their path to the Derby as they are already in.
The three-year-old colt sired by Tapit is undefeated in five career starts. The last four races have all come in Grade 2-company, each time looking better than the race prior. Mohaymen’s running style suits as he is never far back, but possesses a finishing kick to put away any that challenge him late. Should this pattern continue, and Mohaymen rolls in the Florida Derby next weekend, he’ll become another short-priced favorite come Kentucky Derby day.
Mohaymen’s biggest competition will likely see him before Derby Day as Nyquist is just getting rolling. Making only one start thus far in 2016, points won’t be an issue either for Nyquist. His 30 points will get him in the gate in the Derby should the connections choose to go with the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ. The outlook for both Mohaymen and Nyquist could become clear as the two are slated to face off in next week’s Florida Derby.
The fresh faces of recent stakes winners Danzing Candy and Cupid have a lot of upside as we will get more clarity from both in their next starts. They will likely be showing off their talents upcoming in the Santa Anita Derby and Arkansas Derby in the coming weeks. The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct is also just a week away.
Chrome Returns in World Cup
Make sure to wake up early on Saturday morning to tune in to the races that comprise the Dubai World Cup from Meydan. The card that carries $30 million in purses kicks off before 8 a.m. CT on Saturday as fans can watch and wager at Hawthorne Race Course.
The featured $10 million Dubai World Cup has an American flavor as California Chrome faces a tough test and may have more than just the field to overcome. Leading up to Saturday's big card, the Meydan main track has been favorable to inside speed types of runners as California Chrome has drawn post 11 in the field of 12. While Keen Ice, Candy Boy and Frosted all have North American ties, it could be either Mshawish or Hoppertunity poised to pull off the upset. The World Cup is scheduled to go off at 12 p.m. CT.
Marathon Card in New Orleans Saturday
As the early morning affairs overseas wind down, things will be kicking off with an all-day event taking place for Fair Grounds featured day. The 15-race marathon starts at 11:30 a.m., as nine stakes will be run, featuring the $1 million Louisiana Derby.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will give a leg up to a rider who cut his teeth on the Chicago circuit as Florent Geroux will pilot Gun Runner in the Louisiana Derby. The Risen Star victor is slated as the second choice in the morning line behind Mo Tom, but could likely go off favored as Gun Runner defeated Mo Tom the last time the two faced one another.
With the Fair Grounds emptying their barns in a slew of weekend races, look for many of those horses to start heading North to Hawthorne for April racing. The next two weekends Hawthorne races live on Friday and Saturday at 2:10 p.m. Beginning April 7, Thursday racing returns as well as early turf racing in Chicago looks possible.
As always, Hawthorne Race Course is open daily for full card simulcasting along with eight Hawthorne off track wagering locations. For details, visit www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com.