Question of the Day: Who is going to win the Kentucky Derby?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times
Anyone who thinks they have this Derby nailed is delusional. It’s as wide open as any in recent memory. There is a lot of money to be made.
The favorite is Dialed In, the Florida Derby winner, and he could easily hit the board. Nehro, the runner-up in the Arkansas Derby, is going to get some love for his strong stretch drive, and he too can’t be ignored in the exotics.
But the horse that I like is the winner of the Arkansas Derby: Archarcharch. He has the same sire as Blame, the horse who beat Zenyatta at Churchill over 1 1/4 miles, so he has the distance. He has the terrible No. 1 post but will certainly save ground.
Kevin Van Valkenburg, Baltimore Sun
No one seems particularly wowed by any of the horses in this year's crop of 3-year-olds, especially after Uncle Mo -- the one potential superstar -- looked like "Uncle Slow" at the Wood Memorial. If not for that lackluster race, Uncle Mo would be an easy pick. He's the most talented horse in the field, but thanks to a gastrointestinal infection that supposedly was the cause of the poor showing at the Wood, we're still not sure if he'll even be in the gate Saturday. It's too risky to pick a horse with so many questions.
Nehro generated a ton of buzz coming into this week, but he had some bad luck in the post position draw (No. 19), which will put a lot of pressure on jockey Corey Nakatani either to go wide and burn up a ton of energy or fall back and weave through traffic. Archarcharch, who drew the rail, faces a similar dilemma but should be in the mix.
Dialed In is a good horse, but he probably needs a perfect trip to win, and that rarely happens at the Derby. So in the absence of a true standout, go with Mucho Macho Man, a big, powerful horse whose heart-transplant-surviving trainer, Kathy Ritvo, is the feel-good story of the Derby, and use Shackleford and Dialed In to fill out your trifecta.
Tom Jicha, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Things to remember about the Kentucky Derby. Three of the past four winners did not win their previous start. Also, most of the major preps resulted in upsets.
An exception was Dialed In’s Florida Derby victory. That and the many questions surrounding Uncle Mo have made Dialed In the morning-line favorite. His last-to-first style, however, is problematic in a 20-horse field. If he gets a clean trip, Dialed In will be tough to hold off. But clean trips are difficult to work out in bulky fields.
Soldat is a live long shot. He had two impressive distance wins at Gulfstream, including the Fountain of Youth, before misfiring in the Florida Derby. He has enough speed to avoid early trouble and be in position to pounce when the front-runners begin to fade.
Photo: Archarcharch trains during the morning exercise session in preparation for the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Thursday. Credit: Al Bello / Getty Images