LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – If you spend enough time on the Churchill Downs backside, you might soon believe that there are at least 20 horses that could win the Kentucky Derby. (And I caution at this point, I have spent the last three days, shuffling from barn to barn.) I'm the man, who knows too much.
Dale Romans is very nervous because he thinks Medal Count gives him his best chance ever to win. But Romans is most worried about Wicked Strong.
Todd Pletcher says Intense Holiday and Danza are working great and peaking at the right time.
Gary Contessa told me that blinkers could mean the difference for his improving New York bred Uncle Sigh.
Owner Mike Pegram says Bob Baffert has a warrior in Hoppertunity, the kind of horse you want for the Derby.
Billy Gowan says don't leave out Ride on Curlin, who always seems to hit the board. Candy Boy has Gary Stevens and a new strategy and California Chrome has "all of California" on his side.
But remember "All the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else's name." Saturday we find out if he's gold or a chrome bumper on a '57 Chevy.
The field in Derby 140 seems to be the product of fashionable pedigrees that are bred for speed, and a little bit of distance, middle distance. So, the question is: Who will be running at the end?
We first assume that the weather will be drying out by the end of the week, but the last time I looked, we still had a 30 percent chance of showers. If it rains, you know the drill; start looking for Distorted Humor offspring and recent success in the slop. Hoppertunity and Uncle Sigh come to mind.
Let's start our possible winners with Hoppertunity by Any Given Saturday. He shipped to the Fairgrounds and Oaklawn and won a four horse battle in the Rebel Stakes. He's tough. He should get the distance wet or dry.
Next, everyone fears the closing rush of Wicked Strong. He was terrible in Florida, but a revelation in New York. Everyone knows the stretch run they saw at Aqueduct is the kind that wins the Derby.
Also I include Medal Count. The pedigree page screams Triple Crown because he's a Dynaformer (As in Barbaro.) However, were the two races at Keeneland because of the Polytrack or a horse peaking at the right time?
Starlight Racing and Skychai Racing thought enough of General A Rod to buy him this week. He competed in the tough Florida division of the Derby Trail and he has the best distance pedigree of the Gulfstream bunch.
Intense Holiday is a late addition to the list because he's sparkled in recent workouts at Churchill. His winter races at the Fairgrounds will also remind him of the long stretch on Derby day.
And finally, among a half dozen who can win, how about Ride on Curlin.
He's always around at the finish and he's a grinder. If the speed stops and the race breaks down, Curly might just keep running and running and running.
Among the long shots: You might get a price on Danza although not the 40 to 1 he returned in Arkansas. And Samraat was always the best horse in New York until Wicked Strong passed him in the stretch. And Candy Boy has Gary Stevens who might figure a way to win this thing.
That's my list of possible Derby winners. On Thursday, I'll try to settle on one, which would be my first winner since Super Saver in 2010. The Derby is never easy to win or handicap.