Kentucky Derby undercard plays for dirt stakes on May 1
The 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) is the clear centerpiece of the racing at Churchill Downs on Saturday, but six additional graded stakes races help comprise the fantastic 14-race card. A superb trio of those will be run on the main surface, and I have horses that interest me in the star-studded dirt events.
Race 7 -- Derby City Distaff (G1)
Fillies and mares will travel seven-eighths in a fine affair, led by champion #4 Gamine. The reigning Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) romper aced her test with ease in the Las Flores S. (G3) in her seasonal debut, and it’s almost impossible to go against the remarkable four-year-old who will control this dash from the outset.
#1 Estilo Talentoso figures to get first run turning for home from the rail under Castellano. The peaking daughter of Maclean’s Music comes off a fine runner-up try in the Madison S. (G1) at Keeneland most recently, and I will tab her for the same result on Saturday.
Race 8 -- Pat Day Mile (G2)
A dozen talented three-year-olds will go postward here. #11 Noble Reflection went too fast early in the Lexington S. (G3) over a sloppy surface before throwing in the towel late, but a more sensible trip is more than likely in this spot. Baltas trainee cuts back in distance, and if he can rate even a little while drawn outside of the other speed in the cast, then he could be a dangerous commodity in the lane at a fair price. Johnny V picks up the live mount.
Race 10 -- Churchill Downs S. (G1)
Champion #9 Whitmore will lead a baker’s dozen postward in the seven-furlong dash. The fine betting event has numerous legitimate contenders signed on, but the race oddly lacks pace players. #5 Tap it to Win is fast when he is asked for speed from the gate, and if Velazquez gets the talented bay on the front end early, then I could see this four-year-old being especially tough to upend. Florida-bred bay has run some huge races in his career and appears to be sitting on a top effort second time off the bench for Casse.
Whitmore has too much class and current form to be ignored in the event, and he will be included in most of my wagers. The ageless eight-year-old has kept fine company this campaign and will be rolling from off the pace beneath Santana.