An fascinating weekend on and off the monitor has thrown a wrench into the Kentucky Derby image.
Just a few hours earlier than the Louisiana Derby went to put up Saturday night, phrase got here out of California that Life Is Good — the undefeated Kentucky Derby favourite heading into the spring — would miss the Might 1 basic at Churchill Downs with an harm.
Corridor of Fame coach Bob Baffert — in the hunt for his report seventh Kentucky Derby victory — stated he expects Life Is Good to be again to racing later this yr, however the announcement that arguably the highest star of this budding 3-year-old class could be off the path was a significant blow to the Derby panorama.
It was additionally unwelcome information to early bettors.
Life Is Good — the son of Into Mischief, who sired 2020 Derby winner Genuine — ended up because the 2-1 favourite in the newest Derby Future Wager pool, a stunningly quick worth on a horse two months earlier than the race. In actual fact, that was the shortest worth within the 23-year historical past of the March version of the Derby Future Wager. That’s now a misplaced wager for these bettors.
Final week’s futures sheet from the William Hill sportsbook had Life Is Good because the 7-2 favourite. Clearly, he’s now not on that sheet, and Monday’s up to date Derby odds from William Hill listed Important High quality because the 4-1 favourite for the race.
Important High quality — skilled by Louisville native Brad Cox — is the reigning and undefeated champion of this 3-year previous class after profitable the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland final fall. He returned to the monitor and gained his 2021 debut in spectacular vogue this month with a 4 ¼-length victory within the Southwest Stakes.
Subsequent up for Important High quality would be the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 3, his remaining tuneup earlier than the Kentucky Derby 4 weeks later. The Keeneland Spring Meet is ready for opening day April 2, and entries for the Blue Grass Stakes will likely be drawn March 30.
Important High quality has impeccable credentials, however he’s not a lock for Kentucky Derby favoritism, even when he wins the Blue Grass Stakes in a few weeks.
Live performance Tour, additionally skilled by Baffert, regarded super profitable the Insurgent Stakes this month and would be the favourite within the Arkansas Derby on April 10. He’s subsequent on the William Hill sheet at 6-1 odds for the Kentucky Derby.
After which there’s Best Honour, who has gained the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park this winter. He’ll be the Florida Derby favourite this weekend for Corridor of Fame coach Shug McGaughey. Best Honour is third alternative on the William Hill sheet at 8-1 odds.
Going into the Louisiana Derby on Saturday, there have been solely 5 horses with shorter Kentucky Derby odds on the William Hill sheet than Mandaloun at 16-1. He went off because the 6-5 favourite at Truthful Grounds and by no means fired, ending a disappointing sixth within the eight-horse race. Mandaloun is now 30-1 on William Hill’s sheet for the Derby.
The Louisiana Derby winner, Scorching Rod Charlie, noticed his Kentucky Derby futures odds shorten from 30-1 to 12-1 after the spectacular victory. He earned a 99 Beyer Pace Determine for Saturday’s win, the best such pace determine for any horse nonetheless on the Derby path. (Life Is Good ran 107 and 101 Beyers in his two victories this yr).
The fifth alternative for the Kentucky Derby, based on the William Hill sportsbook, is Prevalence at 14-1 odds. The Brendan Walsh trainee made his profession debut in late January and is 2-for-2 up to now. He’s anticipated to run in one of many 100-point races on the Derby prep calendar — doubtless the Wooden Memorial or Arkansas Derby — although no particular race has been confirmed.
Keeneland Spring Meet
When: April 2-23 (racing Wednesdays by way of Sundays, besides Easter Sunday)
Key data: Ticket gross sales will likely be restricted due to COVID-19. Go to Keeneland.com/tickets for particulars.
Key dates: The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Kentucky Derby prep) and Central Financial institution Ashland Stakes (Kentucky Oaks prep) will each be contested April 3. The Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile is ready for April 9 and the Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley for April 10.