After months of anticipation, the Grade I, $2 million Kentucky Derby will be held this Saturday at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/4-mile classic drew a field of 20 with one also-eligible. Post time for the Derby, Race 12 of 14 on the day, is 6:50 p.m. EST. Many of America’s top jockeys will be present, so study all of Churchill’s races carefully if playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#9 HOFBURG (20-1) has raced just three times to date but offers plenty of potential for improvement while stretching out. He did well to rally for second in the Florida Derby and his pedigree says he’ll relish the extra furlong. The Florida Derby has been a key prep of late, as it’s produced three of the last five Kentucky Derby winners. Look for HOFBURG to drop behind a fast pace and charge home late. Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the assignment on the Bill Mott trainee.
#16 MAGNUM MOON (6-1), the Arkansas Derby winner, is a perfect 4-for-4 lifetime but did not race at age two. If he wins the Kentucky Derby, he’ll be the first horse since Apollo (1882) to win the “Run for the Roses” without two-year-old seasoning. The late-blooming MAGNUM MOON has demonstrated all kinds of versatility this year, winning at three different tracks with varying tactics. He’s also bred to get the Derby distance. Luis Saez, who’s been aboard for all four starts, has the call once more for 2017 Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.
#15 INSTILLED REGARD (50-1) fell off the radar after two straight fourth-place finishes in Derby preps but his Lecomte win from earlier this year hints at ability. He had little-to-no pace to work with in both the Risen Star and the Santa Anita Derby but his rivals should be flying up front on Saturday. The added ground aids his cause as well. Drayden Van Dyke picks up the mount for Jerry Hollendorfer.
The play: $6 win 9,16, $2 win/place 15, $4 exacta box 9/16 ($24)
DFJ analysis: See my Kentucky Derby undercard column!
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