|Goldencents, with regular rider Kevin Krigger, a good bet for this year's|
It is a puzzling Kentucky Derby this year with no outstanding candidate and favorite Orb set to go off about 4/1.
There appears to be a half dozen or so horses in with a chance but on this big day it is always best to stick with those with Derby winning experience.
It takes extraordinary luck and skill to end up in the derby, the most prestigious race in horse racing. Wayne Lukas, now 77, is the king of the Derby but his two runners Oxbow and Will Take Charge seem outclassed on this occasion.
However, Oxbow, under Gary Stevens may surprise. I expect this horse to shoot out of the 2 hole and gun for the lead, there seems little other option when you are trapped down on the inside.
I expect Goldencents and Verrazano to be right there up front as well and the pace to be relatively moderate perhaps 48 for the half.
Normandy Invasion and Orb at that point should be making their way through the packed field ready to deliver a late challenge.
I think Verrazano will not hold on round the final turn. he has only ever run four times and does not have the bottom for a mile and a quarter yet . It will prove a bridge too far, excuse the pun.
I expect Goldencents to take it up in the stretch and seek to hang on against the closers.
I think he will succeed. O’Neill showed a deft touch with I’ll Have Another and may well be the next West Coast Bob Baffert when it comes to winning big races like the derby.
Normandy Invasion is the one I expect to chase him home with Oxbow and Orb finishing third and fourth.
Irish challenger Lines of Battle looks like a turf or artificial surface horse and not a dirt horse.
However, if it rains heavily as some are predicting look out, he had great wet track pedigree.
So it’s Doug O’Neill for me for a second consecutive derby with Goldencents setting out on the Triple Crown trail and the Preakness in two weeks.’
Good luck everyone!