With a little more than two weeks until the Kentucky Derby 2017 Live, interest in what appears to be an open field is growing.The latest Las Vegas odds from Bovada have Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire the 9/2 favorite with Always Dreaming second at 5/1.Saying he wouldn’t let ego get in the way of doing the right thing for his horse, Tom McKenna announced Tuesday he will not enter Conquest Mo Money in the Kentucky Derby and instead will send him to the Preakness.
Conquest Mo Money ranked 12th on the Kentucky Derby points list with 60 after finishing second in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. However, Conquest Mo Money is not a Triple Crown nominee and would have had to be supplemented to the Kentucky Derby for $200,000.
“I made the choice based on what I think is best for the horse,” McKenna said during a news conference at Sunland Park in New Mexico. “I really believe the best choice for Conquest Mo Money is the Preakness. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
With less than three weeks until the May 6 Kentucky Derby 2017 at Churchill Downs, the 20-horse field is rounding into form but still is muddled at the bottom of the points list.
Conquest Mo Money’s defection bumped Cloud Computing to the No. 20 spot in the points standings, but trainer Chad Brown said Tuesday he also is leaning toward sending his colt to the Preakness.
Cloud Computing was unraced as a 2-year-old and is 1-1-1 in three races this year, coming off a third-place outing in the Grade II Wood Memorial on April 8. Brown said Cloud Computing will breeze this weekend, with a final decision on his Kentucky Derby status to come next week.
“The horse has a run a lot in a short period of time,” Brown said. “I don’t want to overwork him.”
If Cloud Computing skips the Derby, Untrapped would move up to No. 20 on the points list. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Untrapped finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby.
A son of Uncle Mo, Conquest Mo Money could have played a factor in the early pace of the Kentucky Derby. In the Arkansas Derby, he set fractions of 46.92 seconds for the half-mile and 1:11.16 for three-quarters of mile and led the field down the stretch before losing by a half-length to Classic Empire.
McKenna said not running in the Kentucky Derby was a tough decision, especially given that trainer Miguel Hernandez and jockey Jorge Carreno would have been making their first appearances in the race as well.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” said McKenna, who runs Judge Lanier Racing with his wife, Sandy. “What I thought about more than anything else is, ‘How many people am I going to Kentucky Derby Live disappoint if I don’t run in the Derby?’ On the other hand, the Derby is certainly an ego builder for anyone. Everybody in the race horse industry dreams of the day we might get to the Kentucky Derby. Sandy and I are no exclusions.”
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“They ought to limit the Derby to 14 horses,” McKenna said. “This 20-horse thing is not the best thing in the world for horses or riders. I realize it’s a heck of a pageant, and I realize it has a lot of viewers. But, to me, it’s who gets the best trip. That’s one of the reasons I made the decision I made.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher announced Tuesday upcoming plans for his five Kentucky Derby hopefuls.
Two of the five are at Keeneland – Tapwrit (fifth in the Blue Grass) and Malagacy (fifth in the Arkansas Derby). Pletcher said Tapwrit will work at Keeneland on Friday or Saturday.
“Malagacy arrived here Monday and looks to be in good shape from what I could see this morning,” Pletcher said. “We will give him a week and then finalize our plans.”
Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming and Louisiana Kentucky Derby 2017 Live Stream runner-up Patch are at Palm Beach Downs in Florida.
“They are going to breeze Friday there and then ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday,” Pletcher said. “I was going to go to Churchill this week, but I looked at the long-range forecast and saw six straight days of rain.”
Wood Memorial runner-up Battalion Runner remains at Belmont Park.
“He is going to breeze up there Friday or Saturday and then go to Churchill after that early next week when we consolidate there,” Pletcher said.
Pletcher said Ghalia, who ranks 14th on the Kentucky Oaks points list, could be pointed instead to the Grade II Eight Belles on May 5.
It is a baffling fact: The top rider in the game — he’s won the Eclipse Award as the sport’s best in each of the last four years — has the worst record of any jockey ever to ride in the Kentucky Derby. And even with all his accomplishments, when the Run for the Roses draws near the most glaring omission from his resume starts gnawing at him.The top rider in the game — he’s won the Eclipse Award as the sport’s best in each of the last four years — has the worst record of any jockey ever to ride in the Kentucky Derby. And even with all his accomplishments, when the Run for the Roses draws near the most glaring omission from his resume starts gnawing at him.”To win this race, it would mean a lot,” Castellano said. He paused for a moment, looked up and quietly continued his thought: “A lot,” he said again.
Castellano has ridden in the Kentucky Derby 10 times. He’s 0 for 10 in those starts. Not just 0 for 10, mind you, but he’s never finished second, never even finished third. Only Rafael Bejarano has such a record with at least 10 Derby appearances, and every jockey with 11 or more Derby mounts has crossed the line first, second or third at least once.”He told me that he wanted to ride this horse,” said Gunnevera trainer Antonio Sano, who like Castellano is a native of Venezuela. “He called me and said that. That meant very much.”
Besides the four straight Eclipse Awards — something only Jerry Bailey has done among jockeys — Castellano is a finalist this year for enshrinement in racing’s Hall of Fame, with the announcement of the new induction class coming on Monday. His mounts have collected over $275 million in earnings, a total only four other Kentucky Derby 2017 Live jockeys have reached. He’s won nearly 5,000 races, seven of them at the Breeders’ Cup.