Kentucky Derby Update: Mind Control, Gunmetal Gray, Mihos Impress

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D.S. Williamson

January 14th, 2019

The Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fairgrounds takes place this Saturday, January 19. The Lecomte, like it does every year, should produce the favorite for the Louisiana Derby in March. Pay attention to what happens in the Lecomte.

Before the race even goes off, read about what happened in 3 Kentucky Derby preps in the past month or so. The Sham Stakes produced a serious contender while the Jerome and Mucho Macho Man Stakes produced a couple of sophomores that could improve in their next Derby preps.

Favorites Go Down in Sham and Mucho Macho Man Stakes

1. Mind Control - Jerome Stakes

The Stay Thirsty bred colt proved no ill affects of the 7th place finish in the BC Juvenile when dominating his competition in the Jerome Stakes. He's got a nice turn of foot. Although he looks somewhat light, the Derby isn't until the first Saturday in May. By that time, he could be a top contender.

Trainer Gregory Sacco appears to want to take the New York route to the Derby. Mind Control's scheduled to run in the February 2 Grade 3 Withers Stakes. There, he should meet Todd Pletcher trained and highly-regarded Moretti.

2. Mihos - Mucho Macho Man Stakes

It's tough to go from maiden win to stakes win, but that's what Mihos did when upsetting the field in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes. Mihos didn't provide much of an upset. He actually went off the 3/1 second choice. The thing is, Mihos caught front-running Trophy Chaser while odds on favorite Code of Honor didn't.

James Jerkens trains Mihos. So, we know he'll be ready for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Signalman, who finished third in the BC Juvenile, and Code of Honor are also schedule to run in that prep. Whomever wins the Fountain of Youth should jump into the Derby Top 5.

3. Gunmetal Gray - Grade 3 Sham Stakes

You might want to watch the Grade 3 Sham Stakes a couple of times to get a real idea of what happened to Bob Baffert's two runners:  Coliseum and Much Better.

Coliseum, the huge favorite, broke last. He started climbing on the backstretch and never really got into the race. Because it was Coliseum's second lifetime race, it's hard to hold that against him. Bob hasn't said yet where Coliseum will run next. Much Better looked like an easy winner at the top of the stretch. He didn't properly change leads. Bob hasn't yet said what his next prep's going to be, either.

By talking about both Coliseum and Much Better, I'm not discounting what Gunmetal Gray did to win the Sham. In fact, I don't believe either of Baffert's horses would have beaten Gunmetal Gray even if things had worked out perfectly for them. The Jerry Hollendorfer trained son of Exchange Rate has gotten better with every race. He'll go next in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. A win there should make him the Santa Anita Derby favorite.

I already believe Gunmetal Gray is a top Derby contender. Hollendorfer finished fourth in last year's Derby with Instilled Regard. Gunmetal Gray is more talented than that one and if no hiccups occur, the hall of fame trainer will have him ready for the First Saturday in May.