2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders with Futures Odds
by Dave Schwab - 3/27/2012
The 138th running of thoroughbred racing’s premier event, the Kentucky Derby, is set for Saturday, May 5, at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville. A field of 20 of the top three year olds will try and take the first step at capturing an elusive Triple Crown with a victory in the crowned jewel of the event. The final Kentucky Derby field will eventually be determined by the results of over 60 prep races that take place from the beginning of the year until mid-April. However, heading into the final month of the prep race schedule, a short-list of this year’s top Kentucky Derby contenders has already started to emerge.
The following is a brief look at some of this year’s top three year olds along with their current odds to win as 2012 Kentucky Derby futures odds are provided by Bovada.
Union Rags 4/1
This Chadds Ford Stable’s Colt is trained by Michael Matz and ridden by Julien Leparoux. Matz’s was the trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and remains confident that Union Rags can bring him back to the winner’s circle this year at Churchill. This horse has already won the grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream this season after winning two of three major stakes races as a two-year juvenile, including the grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont last October.
Creative Cause 5/1
After turning in an active season as a juvenile, including victories in the grade II Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar in August and the grade I Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita in the fall, this Mike Harrington-trained colt made his mark as a three year old with a first-place finish in the grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 10 at Santa Anita. This followed a third-place finish in the grade II San Vicente Stakes at the same track on Feb. 19. He is currently ridden by Joel Rosario.
El Padrino 8/1
Famed trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping he found the answer to winning this year’s Derby with a colt that was sired by Pulpit; a prime contender for the 1997 Kentucky Derby. El Padrino has only competed in two major stakes races in his career but rose to the top of the list of early contenders with a victory in the grade II Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 25. Ridden by Javier Castellano, this colt is hoping to deliver a second Derby victory for Pletcher in three years after he won with Super Saver in 2010.
Last season’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Champion made his debut as a three year old in the grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in late January, but he could only manage a second-place finish behind Algorithms. Trained by Mike Maker, Hansen quickly put himself and jockey Ramon Dominguez right in the thick of this season’s short list of Derby contenders with a victory in the grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 3.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s top contender for the Derby closed-out his juvenile campaign with a disappointing 11th-place finish in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile after a promising second-place finish in the Champagne Stakes. With jockey Ramon Dominguez aboard for the ride, Alpha put himself back in the spotlight with a first-place finish in the grade III Wither’s Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb.4. This followed an earlier victory this year in the ungraded Count Stakes at the same track.
I’ll Have Another 20/1
This Doug O’Neill-trained colt failed to notch a major stakes race victory as a two-year old, but did finish second in the grade III Best Pal Stakes and sixth in the grade I Hopeful Stakes in the fall. With jockey Mario Gutierrez aboard, I’ll Have Another made an early statement as a three year old with a win in the grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb.4 at Santa Anita to give Gutierrez his biggest victory since coming to the California track from Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
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