Age: 3 yo
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Most of the pace seems to lie with the lower half of the draw, which doesn't bode well for Danza and Califonia Chrome, whose running style puts them at risk of being stuck behind the tiring horses and the oncoming horses from the highers stalls. Samraat looks less disadvantaged, given that he's drawn a bit better and probably has better early speed.
If Dance With Fate takes to the dirt, he is the one to beat. He has the draw to suit his running style, and comes here with the highest speed figure (95); an honour he shares with Wicked Strong, who I worry about. He might be very far back when things unfold and his record outside of NY is poor.
Tapiture and Candy Boy have a fighting chance, but truth be told, so do many of the others. It's a deep field without any obvious standouts.
1. DANCE WITH FATE
3. WICKED STRONG
5. California Chrome
12. Dance With Fate
18. Candy Boy
20. Wicked Strong
3. Uncle Sigh
8. General A Rod
10. Wildcat Red
16. Intense Holiday
19. Ride On Curlin
1. Vicar's In Trouble
2. Harry's Holiday
7. We Miss Artie
14. Medal Count
17. Commanding Curve
1. Vicar's In Trouble 30-1
Strong front runner with severeal knocks against him: bad draw, questionable stamina and the way he's been working this week. Not for me.
2. Harry's Holiday 50-1
Could be part of the early pace, but can't see him getting close to the winner.
3. Uncle Sigh 30-1
Put up some creditable performances against Samraat but may have had his stamina limitations exposed in the Wood. Some minor value at 30/1.
4. Danza 10-1
A 40-1 shock winner of the Arkansas Derby, but there was plenty to like about that performance, not least the stretch speed (16.3 m/s). Has a good chance.
5. California Chrome 5-2
Has done nothing wrong this year but value bettors will raise their eyebrows at his 5-2 odds.
From a handicapping point of view, I think there is a huge hole in his 4 runaway wins this season: he got an easy early or middle fraction in each race. There is no way he is getting that here, and in my opinion, this means that he's taking a huge step into the unknown. He's still a contender but 5-2 is not value.
6. Samraat 15-1
A valiant performer who was unbeaten until the Wood. I suspect he was a little bit undercooked for that race, and that he'll be better today. Not the flashiest horse, but has a fighting chance in this moderate edition of the Kentucky Derby.
7. We Miss Artie 50-1
Looks to have no chance here,
8. General A Rod 15-1
Not a bad horse, but has been lacking that bit of je ne sais quoi. If he runs well, you wouldn't be hugely surprised but tipping him up is a step too far for me.
9. Vinceremos 30-1
Looks to have distance limitations; I don't think his late speed will be quite as effective in this race.
10. Wildcat Red 15-1
Has done well at Gulfstream, but I think the deeper, more tiring Churchill strip will find him out today.
11. Hoppertunity (withdrew due to Injury)
12. Dance With Fate 20-1
I would be all over him if the race wasn't run on dirt. As it stands, you have to take it on faith that he will handle the dirt. He didn't really at Santa Anita but that's not to say that he won't do at Churchill. Keeneland poly to Churchill dirt is not a bad angle.
13. Chitu 20-1
Speedy type, and still relatively unexposed, but being by Henny Hughes I doubt that 10F s his cup of tea.
14. Medal Count 20-1
Another one who needs to prove he can do it on the dirt. His workouts reports are good, so could be a live longshot.
15. Tapiture 15-1
Would be of interest if there was rain on Derby day. If not, I think a decent effort is in the cards, without quite troubling the judge.
16. Intense Holiday 12-1
Will come from the back, and could prove dangerous if not slamming into the traditional wall of tiring horses. Overall speed figures not good enough. though.
17. Commanding Curve 50-1
18. Candy Boy 20-1
Speed figures not quite up to scratch, but had a very good last workout at the track, and is respected for these connections.
19. Ride On Curlin 15-1
Another one who could run well.
20. Wicked Strong 8-1
Was very strong finished in the wood, and comes into this race with the highest speed figure. My concern is his weak record when racing outside of New York.