News

Racing Dudes Three Stars of the Week: Meet Your Kentucky Derby Favorite

Justify and jockey Mike Smith after winning the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park (Melanie Martines)

What a weekend! It’s hard to find the words to even describe the last three days of action-packed racing full of fantastic performances. Keeneland’s opening weekend always brings excitement, and this year was no exception. Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct was awesome, like always, and then there was Santa Anita, where the Kentucky Derby favorite showed himself. This week, we have several honorable mentions, as just three stars is not enough. Check it out:

Honorable Mention: Analyze It, Vino Rosso, Monomoy Girl, Midnight Bisou, Finley’sluckycharm, National Flag, and My Miss Lilly 

1. Justify

We’ve used all the puns imaginable to describe this horse over the last few days, but let’s look at the facts:

  • The Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby was his first start against stakes company
  • This was just his third-ever start in a racing career that’s still less than two months old
  • The distance was the longest he’d ever gone
  • Bolt d’Oro was the best horse in the crop entering the race

Put all that together, and you have to admit that the odds were stacked against him. It did not matter. This horse, operating on raw talent, destroyed Bolt d’Oro in dominating wire-to-wire fashion while in hand the final 1/8 of a mile. His next test: breaking the Curse of Apollo.

2. Good Magic

The Juvenile champion is back! While his 3-year-old debut was disappointing, but he showed tremendous improvement with a workman-like victory in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes. Perhaps the biggest fact of all is that he won with something left in the tank and should be ready for another improvement when it matters most on the first Saturday in May. It’s always good for the sport when the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner enters the Kentucky Derby with a legitimate shot.

3. Army Mule

While the Kentucky Derby and Oaks preps dominated the headlines Saturday, Army Mule stole the show at Aqueduct with his flashy performance in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. After stalking the pace on the inside for most of the race, the rail opened up when turning for home, and it was lights out for the rest of the field as he shot to the lead and never looked back. The final margin of victory was 6 1/2 lengths, and his performance propelled him into a likely start in the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont in June. The Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Mind Your Biscuits is also pointing for that race, so we could have a showdown on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top