HORSE RACING: Sammy Nishi’s Picks for the 139th Kentucky Derby

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139th KENTUCKY DERBY (3-year-olds)

1-1/4 Miles
predicted Saturday weather: 56 degrees; 50% chance of showers

REVOLUTIONARY  (jockey-Calvin Borel / trainer-Todd Pletcher)
When it comes to ticking all the boxes in picking a Derby winner, this son of War Pass has it all – Classy breeding with a mama who ran far and fast, the desire to overcome tough trips and a jockey who knows how to get the Roses .. ..

Never worse than third in his six lifetime starts, and riding a three-race win streak, he has the versatility to be near the lead, or come from far back as he did in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. And, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that the Louisiana races this past winter will prove to be strongest preps along the Derby trail .. .. He has also stood out in the mornings and moved beautifully while outworking CHARMING KITTEN last Saturday!

Is he good enough: YES
Is he brave enough: HECK YEAH!
Will he do it: If he gets a decent post, decent trip we just may be talking TRIPLE CROWN > maybe

ORB  (jockey-Joel Rosario / trainer-Claude McGaughey)
YUP – If Shug McGaughey comes to the Derby, then you know he’s got a good one, and he certainly does .. .. Has won his last four-straight including the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth Stakes and Grade 1 Florida Derby last time out .. ..

Bred beautifully for the Derby trip (son of Malibu Moon out of an Unbridled mare), the main drawback is his style – He’s a deep closer who will need a fast pace to pick up all the pieces and will have to navigate through 19 rivals to even get close .. ..

Is he good enough: YES
Is he brave enough: unknown
Will he do it: Only if everything falls right for him & REVOLTUTIONARY gets a bad trip

OXBOW  (jockey-Gary Stevens / trainer-rainer-D. Wayne Lukas)
Finally back home since last fall, this son of Awesome Again could be the guy to fear .. .. He’ll certainly be laying close to the lead all the way around and has been looking great in the mornings .. .. The coach (Lukas) has been knocking ’em dead so far in 2013!

Is he good enough: YES
Is he brave enough: I think so
Will he do it: Will certainly be in front of the top-two early on and loves Churchill Downs!

2013 KENTUCKY DERBY Graded Handicap

(pp-3)     REVOLUTIONARY        Has it all-Talent, breeding, heart & jockey for the Roses!
(pp-16)   ORB                Steady, talented but may not be as fast as the top guy!
(pp-2)     OXBOW            Versatile, bred to run all day & loving being back home!
——————————————————————————————
(pp-12)    ITSMYLUCKYDAY    FL speedster might find 10 furlongs too far; Wants rain!
(pp-14)    VERRAZANO    4-for-4; No Derby champ was winless @ 2YO since 1882!
(pp-8)     GOLDENCENTS    Best of a very average California crop; Has speed though
(pp-9)     OVERANALYZE    Galloping winner of the Arkansas Derby but time was a ?
(pp-10)    PALACE MALICE    Son of Curlin ran 2nd in the Blue Grass and adds blinkers
(pp-18)    FRAC DADDY    2nd in Arkansas Derby & working well; Moves up in slop!
(pp-19)    JAVA’S WAR    Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes but dirt form is just ok
(pp-5)     NORMANDY INVASION    Has the right style, but has been just so-so in the morning
(pp-20)   VYJACK        Was undefeated until 3rd to VERRAZANO last time out
(pp-11)    LINES OF BATTLE    Irish-based winner of the UAE Derby has dirt breeding
(pp-4)    GOLDEN SOUL    Bred to want longer than 10 furlongs but quality is a ??
(pp-17)    WILL TAKE CHARGE     Beat Oxbow in the Rebel but hasn’t been seen since then
(pp-7)     GIANT FINISH    Last-minute entrant was 3rd last time out in the Spiral
(pp-1)     BLACK ONYX    Nice win in the Spiral Stakes but has a stride for the turf
(pp-6)     MYLUTE        Nice 2nd in Louisiana Derby but still winless in 2013
(pp-15)   CHARMING KITTEN    Came running in Blue Grass Stakes; Bad works though
(pp-13)    FALLING SKY    Was tough in Tampa until VERRAZANO showed up

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