With all 34 of the prep races for Kentucky Derby 2019 now complete, the Derby Day Racing team has compiled its final Top 10 list to help you figure out your top contenders for America’s most prestigious horse race. The Derby Trail began when Cairo Cat won the Iroquois at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old back in September at Churchill and ended this past weekend with Omaha Beach’s victory in the Arkansas Derby.
Omaha Beach got the number one spot in the Top 10 with only one more point than Roadster. Jockey Mike Smith announced that he would ride the Richard Mandella trainee in the Derby and in doing so likely stamped the son of War Front as the favorite on the first Saturday in May.
Omaha Beach did the unexpected when he defeated Game Winner in one division of the Rebel Stakes and then Improbable in the Arkansas Derby. Taking down the previously highly-ranked duo of Bob Baffert runners in consecutive races makes him a worthy favorite.
Derby Day Racing’s Pick 5 expert Tony Bada Bing said, “Baffert still rules the 3-year-old division. He holds a strong hand with any of his three contenders capable of being draped with a blanket of roses. But all are a step behind fast maturing and improving Omaha Beach, who has bloomed into a beast since breaking his maiden in February!”
Brian Zipse, DDR’s Managing Partner, added to the debate, “Despite being run on a sloppy track, I believe the Arkansas Derby may turn out to be the top Kentucky Derby prep, as both Omaha Beach and Improbable ran big races. On a dry track, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them run 1-2 again.”
“Vekoma has an unorthodox running style, but he has shown a ton of talent,” said Dick. “He’ll be making the third start of his sophomore season in the Kentucky Derby for trainer George Weaver. The son of Candy Ride is tactical and boasts a strong turn of foot. I love his pedigree being out of a Speightstown mare. Vekoma is definitely one I’ll have my eye on come Kentucky Derby day!”
While Mangrum has taken a liking for one of the Bill Mott runners. “Tacitus seems to be getting better with each start. The added distance is helping, but I was also impressed with his versatility last time when laying fourth early on.”
Photo of Omaha Beach courtesy of Coady Photography