Scully: Handicapping Kentucky Derby undercard

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September 4th, 2020

The 146th running of Kentucky Derby comes down to two horses in my estimation, odds-on favorite Tiz the Law and probable second-choice Honor A. P. I tabbed Honor A. P. to win in my race analysis, but will use both horses in multi-race wagers.

Here are some thoughts on the undercard:

Race 2

Five of the seven contestants in this competitive maiden special weight are listed at 5-1 or less on the morning line, and I’m keen on #5 Idol, who will make his career debut for Richard Baltas. A $375,000 yearling purchase, the 3-year-old son of Curlin hails from the stakes-winning dam Marion Ravenwood, who won at first asking, and Idol shows sharp works in preparation.

Race 5

I like playing horses making their second start on the trainer change to Mike Maker, and #8 On a Spree cuts back to a more favorable 1 1/16-mile distance after a decent third to Morning Stride, who came right back to win a stakes race in his next outing. On a Spree, who was competing in the claiming ranks earlier in his career, brings strong Brisnet numbers to the entry-level allowance, and the four-time winner should find this level of company to his liking.

Race 8 – American Turf (G2)

# 4 Field Pass will relish the cutback to 8 1/2 furlongs. The four-time stakes victor broke poorly and never was a serious factor in the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Derby last out, but he performed admirably in his five previous stakes attempts at shorter distances this year and has shown an affinity for Churchill’s turf. There’s plenty of speed in the eight-horse field, and Field Pass will look to pounce from just off the pace turning for home.

Race 9 – Pat Day Mile (G2)

After being considered for the Kentucky Derby, #9 Rushie opted for this stakes race at a one-turn mile. That seems like a very prudent decision for the middle-distance type, and the gray colt drew well on the far outside. Last seen finishing third in the Blue Grass (G2), Rushie appears to be training forwardly for Michael McCarthy and I’m expecting a career-best today.

Race 13 – Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1)

The 1 1/8-mile turf affair drew a solid field of 10, and #8 Sacred Life enters on the upswing for Chad Brown following a four-length tally in the Aug. 9 Oceanport at Monmouth Park. The French import appeared poised to be a factor in the upper echelon of the turf ranks following a convincing win over a stakes-quality allowance field at Keeneland last fall, but Sacred Life got some time off following a fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) in late January. The 5-year-old can keep moving forward off a highly-encouraging performance, and I’ll look to bet Sacred Life straight at anything close to his 6-1 morning line.

Good luck on Kentucky Derby Day!