Every week, three-year-olds jump on and jump off the Kentucky Derby trail. Check out where we are after two lower-graded stakes, the Sam F. Davis and Withers, this past Saturday. Also, check out our preview of the Risen Star Stakes and read about how on Sunday one of Bob Baffert’s top Derby prospects provided a huge fail. With that being said, let’s jump right into action so yo can continue making your bets against their Triple Crown odds.
Risk Taking and Candy Man Rocket Throw Their Hats Into the Ring
2021 Kentucky Derby
- When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
- Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
Chad Brown trained Risk Taking handles Capo Kane in the Withers
After a couple of horrible tries, Chad Brown trained Risk Taking broke his maiden going 1 1/8 miles. Brown felt so good about the first victory that he entered the son of Medaglia d’Oro in the Grade 3 Withers.
Risk Taking romped, catching and overtaking Capo Kane in the stretch. By the way Risk Taking ran, it’s apparent he’s got more learning to do. He didn’t run straight and seemed to have trouble changing leads. If Brown can correct those things, he’s as good of a Triple Crown contender as Life Is Good and Essential Quality.
Capo Kane ran his heart out. No wonder he tired in the stretch. He ended up third. Second-place Withers finisher Overtook is one to watch.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Overtook was the priciest runner, he cost $1 million, in the race. His closing style is reminiscent of 1998 second-place runner Victory Gallop. So far, he’s Todd’s top Derby prospect. Put him on your radar if you haven’t yet.
Candy Man Rocket boosts to Sam F. Davis victory
Bill Mott unleashed a couple of contenders in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. Mott ran one-two with Candy Man Rocket and Nova Rags.
Sired by Candy Ride, the Sam F. Davis winner displayed much toughness when overtaking the front runner and cruising to victory. He should improve off the effort and will have a shot on the first Saturday in May if he doesn’t get injured.
Nova Rags could be the better Triple Crown prospect, though. The second-place finisher is bred to handle the 1 ½ miles Belmont Stakes. The fact that Nova Rags ran on for second in a 1 1/16 miles race at Tampa Bay Downs encourages big time.
Bezos bombs in debut, Dream Shake may be a contender
The most highly-anticipated three-year-old debut came and went with a thud. Perhaps, Bezos heard that his namesake, current Amazon head Jeff Bezos, will retire in the summer. How else to explain Bezos’ performance?
Bob Baffert gets them ready to fire off the bench. Bezos didn’t do that. Not only did he not do that, he tired badly after looking like he’d blow by the front runners at the top of the stretch. Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker sired Bezos while his mother is an A.P. Indy broodmare. Horses like Bezos aren’t supposed to tire in 6 ½ furlong races after running a half-mile in 46 seconds.
The winner, Dream Shake, circled the field and pulled away in the stretch. The Peter Eurton trainee doesn’t have the breeding that screams Triple Crown contender. But who knows? Keep an eye on Dream Shake to see if Eurton puts him on the TC Trail.
Midnight Bourbon, Proxy, and Mandaloun resume rivalry in Risen Star
The three top finishers in the Lecomte Stakes return to the Fair Grounds for this week’s most important Derby prep race, the Risen Star.
Named after the Preakness and Belmont winner, who also happens to be Secretariat’s most successful son, the Risen Star will come down to whether Proxy or Mandaloun can catch Midnight Bourbon.
One other horse to keep an eye on is Keepmeinmind. The Robertino Diodoro trainee finished third behind Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Keepmeinmind won the Kentucky Jockey Club in his last. If he goes, expect the Diodoro runner to go off the favorite because many believe Midnight Bourbon’s Lecomte victory was a fluke performance.