The “Road To The Kentucky Derby” finally comes to an end today at Churchill Downs today where nine 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will go to the starting gate in the 89th running of the $175,000 Derby Trial Stakes (G3) which is the final prep race on the Derby Trail. Trainer Bob Baffert will send Zee Bros to the Trial as the 5-2 morning line favorite and makes a jockey switch putting Mike Smith in the irons.
In his last race, Zee Bros broke sharply from the gate to take the lead and never trail en route to a 2½-length maiden victory. His fractional splits were pretty fast and the 105 Brinsnet Speed Figure he earned for that performance is the highest in today’s field.
Two recent back-to-back bullet workouts could have Zee Bros ready to fire from the gate and with his front running style he’ll go fast and hard and could be a tough competitor in today’s race.
Tour Guide at 10-1 morning-line odds is an interesting long shot. He comes into the Trial from the barn of new trainer D Wayne Lukas who also has entered Titletown Five at 5-1 morning-line odds. I wrote about Tour Guide in my 2013 Kentucky Derby Outlook, and was curious to see if he would be given a classic campaign but his former trainer Bret Calhoun ran him in only in sprints.
Here’s what I wrote about Tour Guide last December:
Whether Tour Guide has classic potential remains to be seen. But he has good speed and his breeding suggests that he should be able to stretch out in distance and be competitive on the Derby Trail.
Broken Vow, the sire of Tour Guide, did not race as a 2-year-old but he was a pretty good middle-distance runner that only finished out of the money once in 14 starts and compiled an 8-2-2 record in 12 route starts.
At the age of three, Broken Vow won the Sir Barton Stakes. As a 4-year-old, Broken Vow won the Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G2), Ben Ali Stakes (G3), R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial Stakes and the Skip Away Stakes.
Broken Vow’s best runners to date on the Derby trail have been Interactif, Private Vow and Done Talking.
Tour Guide’s damsire, Came Home, was a pretty good sprinter and router that compiled a 9-0-0 record in 12 lifetime starts. He was a perfect four wins in four starts sprinting while he won five of eight route races.
As a 2-year-old, Came Home won the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3). At the age of three, Came Home won the San Vicente Stakes (G2), San Rafael Stakes (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) en route to a sixth-place finish in the 2002 Kentucky Derby.
The tail-female line of Tour Guide traces back to Turk Mare (Family 23-b) and that line produced the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds I’ll Have Another (2012), Mine That Bird (2009), Lil E. Tee (1992), Winning Colors (1988), Affirmed (1978), Tim Tam (1958), Zev (1923). Byrn Mawr (1904) and Kingman (1891).Tour Guide’s fifth dam, Patelin, is also the fifth dam of I’ll Have Another.
Tour Guide has the breeding to be competitive in today’s race and a recent bullet workout could have him ready to run a good race at a nice price.
Since finishing off the board in his maiden debut, Ruble has been almost near perfect and comes into today’s race with two first-place finishes and two second-place finishes where he narrowly lost by a half-length in both races.
In his last race, Ruble posted a 1¾-length victory running a mile in the slop at Gulfstream Park on April 5. His finish time of 1:36.93 was pretty decent and a repeat of that performance could make him competitive in today’s race.
The winner of the Derby Trial Stakes (G3) will receive 20 points while second-place will yield eight points, the third-place finisher will receive four points, and the fourth-place finisher will receive two points. Here’s a look at the current top 20 list:
Kentucky Derby 2013 Leaderboard
(Updated April 27, 2013)
Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1 = Orb, 150, Shug McGaughey III, $840,000
2 = Verrazano, 150, Todd Pletcher, $810,000
3 = Goldencents, 129, Doug O’Neill, $1,208,000
4 = Java’s War, 122, Ken McMcPeek, $651,772
5 = Overanalyze, 110, Todd Pletcher, $908,381
6 = Revolutionary, 110, Todd Pletcher, $720,000
7 = Lines of Battle, 100, Aidan O’Brien, $1,261,089
8 = Vyjack, 70, Rudy Rodriguez, $405,000
9 = Will Take Charge, 60, D. Wayne Lukas, $512,971
10 = Itsmyluckyday, 50, Eddie Plesa, Jr., $593,600
11 = Govenor Charlie, 50, Bob Baffert, $400,000
12 = Black Onyx, 50, Kelly Breen, $317,130
13 = Palace Malice, 50, Todd Pletcher, $200,000
14 = Normandy Invasion, 44, Chad Brown, $258,000
15 = Frac Daddy, 44, Ken McPeek, $240,596
16 = Mylute, 42, Tom Amoss, $363,365
17 = Oxbow, 36, D. Wayne Lukas, $316,000
18 = Falling Sky, 20, John Terranova II, $157,500
19 = Charming Kitten, 20, Todd Pletcher, $206,000
20 = Winning Cause, 20, Todd Pletcher, $137,250