The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby will happen on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
There have been a couple late scratches, including possible favorite Omaha Beach. Thus, the final field has been set at 19 horses.
On Friday, horse-racing handicapper Brad Thomas joined Mike Francesa to preview this year’s edition of the Derby by giving his thoughts on each of the horses involved. Thomas likes four horses to have a real chance at winning the Derby.
“He has showed promise in very decent maiden races, going the distance at age two … he has an exceptional classic pedigree, but still has the look to me of a horse not yet fully mature mentally or physically … but Tacitus has improved with every start. He continues to train superbly. He has great form upside. He has the ability to sit and also finish. I do think he’s a big win threat.”
“He’s super gamely … made multiple stretch runs at the absolutely superb Omaha Beach, a horse who I think is the most talented horse in this division right now … Improbable wasn’t going by him, was never going by him, but kept on trying. Now Improbable is fully cranked … now he is the fit horse. He has taken the blinkers back off for the Derby. He has won at Churchill Downs.”
“Went to the sidelines in September for a throat operation after he had some breathing issues … Something about Roadster just tells me that that horse, he’s light-bodied, he’s in a big field, he’s outside drawn, and that could cause a tough trip at Churchill on a wet surface.”
Game Winner (6-to-1)
“He has evolved at three into a deeper rallyer … He is a very good horse with Churchill Downs experience in the hands of a master. His only two losses have come against the best in the division when he had very tough trips … But this horse hasn’t improved on his two-year-old form. His recent trip issues are a function of his need-to-be-clear preference. He leans in in the stretch too when he’s under pressure. He has done that consistently, I don’t like that.”
Thomas also likes Tax, Win Win Win, and By My Standards to put forth better performances than their odds suggest.
"My other exactor factors are Tax, Win Win Win, and By My Standards. I'm going to use them less on top than the others, I'm going to use them more in the third or the fourth slot than the othters. If any of those three are 20-to-1 or more, I might make a win saver on them as well. I'm feeling Tax more and more as being there, because of the pedigree."