In this COVIT changing world of international racing has the 146th Kentucky Derby of 1¼ miles become a ‘prep’ for the Breeders’ Cup World Championship at Keeneland on 6,7 January, now 9 weeks later.
Those who find the 1¼ miles of the Run for The Roses just too far, then they can drop back to the 1 mile of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, or meet the Europeans in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile.
What of the Kentucky Derby top-liners by-passing the 145th Preakness Stakes of 1 3/16m or 9.5f on the re-scheduled date of Saturday 3 October, and aim straight for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
No new date for the Belmont Stakes of 1½ miles has been announced. It may remain Saturday 13 June, with word out that Belmont Park could open for crowd-less racing on Monday 1 June.
However, it’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert who has a good hand for this year’s Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown and Horse of The Year honours in taking both divisions of the Arkansas Derby.
Leading the Kentucky Derby entries on 150 entry points is the 9/2 equal Derby favourite Nadal, who for Bob Baffert won Division 1 of the Arkansas Derby and the Rebel Stakes.
No next race start has been announced for Nadal with the Preakness Stakes now scheduled for 3 October, and is currently in light training at Santa Anita Park.
In winning Division 2 of the Arkansas Derby the Bob Baffert trained Charlatan has earned 100 entry points, and is 9/2 equal favourite with stable mate Nadal.
In breeding news Hill’n’Dale Farm have purchased the ‘breeding rights’ to Charlatan, who will stand alongside Breeders’ Cup hero’s Curlin, his son Good Magic, Bayern and Midnight Lute in Kentucky.
Bred by part-owners Stonestreet Thoroughbreds who described Charlatan ‘as one of the best physical horses we’ve ever bred. What sets him apart is the way he moves – he’s an absolute standout.’
Also in light training with Nadal at Santa Anita, Charlatan is awaiting news of his next race start, with the Preakness Stakes now set for 3 October.
At 11/2 second favourite is the Barclay Tagg trained Tiz the Law who has 122 Roses entry points from winning the Florida Derby and Holly Bull Stakes. Again, he has no future race start listed.
In winning the Champagne Stakes at two-years Tiz the Law is owned by Sackatoga Stables and was a $110,000 buy from the New York Bred Yearling Sale, bred by Twin Creek Farm.
Being the first crop of Florida Derby winner Constitution, by Tapit, he is from the Gr2 winning Tiznow mare Tizfiz, the family of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Favourite Trick, the 1997 Horse of The Year.
Listed fourth on 104 points is the 22/1 shot Wells Bayou who ran fifth to Nadal In the Arkansas Darby, having won the Louisiana Derby for trainer Brad Cox.
By the Champion Sire Lookin at Lucky, the Preakness Stakes winner, he is the family of Champion 3YO Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, from the winning Hard Spun mare Whispering Angel.
Originally a $50,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale buy, Wells Bayou was re-sold for $18,000 at the Keeneland January Horse All-Ages Sale and finally for $105,000 at the Ocala March 2YO Sale.
Fifth on 90 points is the Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo who sits on 18/1 for the Run for The Roses, who ran second to Nadal in the Arkansas Derby.
Purchased for $150,000 at the Ocala Spring Sale of 2YOs in Training by former MLB All Star Victor Martinez of Victoria’s Ranch, he was originally passed-in for $90,000 at the September Yearling Sale.
Trained by Juan Carlos Avila, King Guillermo is by Champion Sire Uncle Mo, who shuttled to Coolmore Australia, from the unplaced Dixieland Band mare Slow Sand, a half-sister to Slow Pace.
As a 50/1 outsider for the 146th Kentucky Derby is Mr Big News who gained direct entry into Preakness Stakes, as a surprise debut winner of the Oaklawn Stakes.
Trainer Brent Calhourn did not accept the direct entry into the Arkansas Derby, but is happy to sit-out for the direct entry into the Preakness Stakes, with the 16 May running cancelled.