Odds questions to ask heading in to today's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks preps

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Ed DeRosa

April 9th, 2016

I’m as excited to talk about the aftermath of today’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks than I am for the preps themselves. Click the images below for pages dedicated to each of the big days at the respective racetracks.

There are three Kentucky Derby Championship Series races and four Kentucky Oaks Championship Series today, and unless Songbird suffers one of the most shocking defeats in the history of the Turf in the Santa Anita Oaks, not much will change regarding who will be favored on May 6-7 at Churchill Downs.

But just what price those favorites—undefeated champions Nyquist in the Derby and Songbird in the Oaks—go off at, and who the potential second choices behind them are, definitely hang in the balance of today’s races.

The presumptive #2 behind Songbird is clearer than that role behind Nyquist. If Cathryn Sophia wins the Ashland Stakes as expected as the even money morning line favorite, then she will certainly be the 2nd choice behind Songbird. The Ashland is a compact field, but two of Cathryn Sophia’s four rivals are legitimate Oaks contenders themselves, and strong three-year-old debuts from Rachel’s Valentina and/or Carina Mia will surely move the needled in 27 days.

The Fantasy Stakes is the lone Oaks prep today without a companion Derby prep on the same day, as Oaklawn runs its Arkansas Derby next week. Still, it has a big favorite in 3-to-5 morning line choice Terra Promessa, and if Cathryn Sophia falters in the Ashland then Terra Promessa could end up second choice behind Songbird.

Like the Fantasy where Steve Asmussen trains both favorited Terra Promessa and second choice Taxable, the Gazelle has its top two choices from the same barn as well, but at Aqueduct it’s Chad Brown sending out likely favorite Lewis Bay and second choice Clair De Lune. The Gazelle is the only Oaks prep today at the Kentucky Oaks distance of 1 1/8 miles.

The Derby odds board won’t be settled until next week, as Cupid could make a case for second choice status with a big Arkansas Derby effort, but the Santa Anita Derby is the race most likely to produce a top choice.

Obviously those who perform well in the Blue Grass and Wood will attract money, but it does appear that West Coast-based horses are tops right now. Lackluster performances from obvious contenders this week could propel Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner’s chances in the eyes of bettors as well.

What are you most looking forward to among today’s seven Kentucky Derby and Oaks prep races?