I love Kentucky Derby Day for the obvious reason of the Derby itself, but the day also brings a tremendous undercard with six graded stakes races leading up to the big one.
Following is a brief breakdown of the six stakes races from the Kentucky Derby undercard.
The Humana Distaff (10:13 a.m.): A 7-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. 4-year-olds and up. The favorite is Lewis Bay (3-1) out of the Chad Brown barn. The horse has hit the board in his last five starts and most recently was third in the Grade I Madison in early April. American Gal (7-2) was fourth in the Madison. Finley’sluckycharm (7-2) was the winner of the Madison at 6-1 and will look to get the best of the other two for the second straight race.
The Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (10:55 a.m.): Fillies and Mares will go one mile on the turf in this race. La Colonel (3-1) is the morning line favorite for Mark Casse but has not won a race this year in three starts. Dream Awhile (7-2) is a Chad Brown runner that ran second in her only start of the year back in early February. The barn is very solid with horses coming off the shelf.
The Churchill Downs (11:45 a.m.): Seven furlongs on the main track with Imperial Hint (9-5) the prohibitive favorite. With six wins and a second in his last seven starts, it’s easy to see why. Awesome Slew (5-2) could be tough, as the horse has strung together back-to-back 100-plus Beyer figures.
The American Turf (12:37 p.m.): Here is a 1-<1/16>-mile race on the turf for 3-year-olds. You will get some horses that were on the Derby trail running here. The lukewarm favorite is Threeandfourpence, a shipper from Europe. In his last start he was 9th by 55 lengths in the UAE Derby. There are three horses at 5-1, including Untained Domain, who was 6th in the Tampa Bay Derby in his last start.
The Pat Day Mile (1:28 p.m.): Arguably the best race on the undercard, it’s another with 3-year-olds going one mile on the main track. National Flag and Mask are both 4-1, with Restoring Hope at 9-2. I would take a long look at Mississippi (10-1) as a bit-time value play.
The Turf Classic (2:25 p.m.): Beach Patrol (5-2) is one of my favorite horses and has been over 100 Beyer figures the last seven starts. Even though he burned some cash for me in the Breeders’ Cup Turf – his last start and he finished second – I will be right back on the Beach Patrol train Saturday! Turf, Chad Brown and firing fresh. Deauville (3-1) ships in from Europe to challenge.
By Dennis Miller