TDN Kentucky Derby Top 20 for May 5


Zandon schools in the Churchill Downs paddock Wednesday | Coady Photo


The last couple of anticipatory days prior to the GI Kentucky Derby can seem like a longer wait than the six-month prep season that preceded it. Here are the final TDN rankings, listed in “likeliest winner” order:

1) ZANDON (c, Upstart–Memories Prevail, by Creative Cause) O-Jeff Drown. B-Brereton C. Jones (KY). T-Chad C. Brown. Sales History: $170,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 4-2-1-1, $713,000. Last Start: 1st GI Toyota Blue Grass S. KY Derby Points: 114. Post 10, 3-1.

Zandon enters the Derby having rightfully earned kingpin status. A beautifully balanced, nearly black colt by Upstart ($170,000 KEESEP), this Chad Brown trainee is light on experience (just four races), but heavy on the “street smarts” he acquired via adversity-overcoming lessons in a trio of nine-furlong graded stakes. Zandon is capable of torqueing into a “Wow!” gear, and I suspect we haven't yet seen the outer limits of his power reserves. He has blossomed from being a scrappy, stretched-out sprinter who put up a spirited fight when second in the roughly run stretch battle of last December's GII Remsen S., to being a big-run closer who now more assertively shoulders rivals out of the way, like when rallying from last in the GI Blue Grass S. a month ago.

Yet, despite his lofty ranking as the likeliest winner, I still have reservations about backing Zandon in the mutuels at or below his morning-line price of 3-1. That's not so much because of a lack of faith in Zandon. The dicey part of the proposition is the same one that emerges every year: Betting any underlaid sophomore in a chaotic 20-horse race over 10 furlongs is usually not the most sustainable move for your bankroll. Zandon's evolving tactics switch–from being a stalker to closing from farther off the tailgate–also gives cause for pause: The last eight Derbies have been won by speed-centric horses who either set or forced the pace.

2) EPICENTER (c, Not This Time–Silent Candy, by Candy Ride {Arg}) O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC. B-Westwind Farms (KY). T-Steven M. Asmussen. Sales History: $260,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 6-4-1-0, $1,010,639. Last Start: 1st GII Louisiana Derby. KY Derby Points: 164. Post 3, 7-2.

Epicenter is the rare “what you see is what you get” Derby contender. Flash and panache aren't his style. But this $260,000 KEESEP colt by Not This Time is as reliable and consistent as they come, with strengths rooted in being able to withstand fraction after fraction of up-tempo splits on the front end while still having enough stamina left to spar through the stretch with anyone who's challenged him so far. He's only lost once (and then just barely) in the last half-year, his Beyer Speed Figures have increased in every start, and Epicenter owns a key victory over both the Nos. 1 and 3 horses on this list.

The main arguments against his chances of winning have to do with historical trends. Epicenter's six-week break between his final prep and the Derby represents a race-spacing pattern that has only produced two winners on the first Saturday in May since 1929. The GII Louisiana Derby is also not a springboard to Kentucky Derby success, with only two horses in 128 years winning both races. Most daunting of all is trainer Steve Asmussen's 0-for-23 record in the Derby. Even if you're willing to dismiss that stat as aberrational because Asmussen has started so many no-hope longshots over the years, it's still a metric that demands respect–especially if the horse in question is the second favorite on the morning line.

3) SMILE HAPPY (c, Runhappy–Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Lucky Seven Stable. B-Moreau Bloodstock Int'l Inc. & White Bloodstock LLC (KY). T-Kenneth G. McPeek. Sales History: $175,000 wlg '19 KEENOV; $185,000 ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 4-2-2-0, $549,810. Last Start: 2nd GI Toyota Blue Grass S. KY Derby Points: 70. Post 5, 20-1.

Once we get beyond the two obvious favorites, the horses ranked at Nos. 3 through 7 shake out as a formidable group of logical contenders, none of whom would be a major surprise to win the Derby. 'TDN Rising Star' Smile Happy is a case in point. How about 20-1 on the morning line for a colt ($175,000 KEENOV; $185,000 FTKSEL) who came into the year sporting two visually explosive victories as a juvenile, then had a pair of logical excuses in his two sophomore preps? Smile Happy waited too long to move when second in the GII Risen Star S. behind Epicenter, then hit a nice cruising gear but came up short in the stretch when Zandon bested him in the Blue Grass (also factor in that Smile Happy was not cranked to the hilt, training-wise, for either of those efforts).

His sire, Runhappy, was the 2015 champion sprinter, which isn't exactly a plus at 10 furlongs. But this colt's damsire, Pleasant Tap, was third in the 1990 Derby and won champion older horse honors in '92, and Derby winners like Super Saver and Pleasant Colony aren't too far back on each side of Smile Happy's pedigree. In fact, Super Saver in 2010 was the last horse to cross the finish wire first in the Derby who did not previously win a race at age three–just like Smile Happy is attempting to do this year.

4) MESSIER (c, Empire Maker–Checkered Past, by Smart Strike) 'TDN Rising Star' O-SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert E. Masterson, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine M. Donovan, Golconda Stable & Siena Farm LLC. B-Sam-Son Farm (ON). T-Tim Yakteen. Sales History: $470,000 ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 6-3-3-0, $435,600. Last Start: 2nd GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. KY Derby Points: 40. Post 6, 8-1.

I'm grudgingly respectful of 'TDN Rising Star' Messier, but still not completely sold on him from a pari-mutuel “trust” standpoint. Which colt will show up on Saturday? The one who couldn't seal the deal in a weak, five-horse GII Los Alamitos Futurity as the odds-on favorite? Or the one who unleashed a 103-Beyer when winning besting a (similarly anemic) five-horse crew by 15 lengths in the GIII Robert B. Lewis?

The closer we get to the Derby, the more inclined I am to think that a more polished version of Messier will emerge, and that performance is likely to be based on what he showed us in the GI Santa Anita Derby. This $470,000 FTKSEL colt forced a favored pacemaker through demanding fractions, then had to work hard to try and repulse stablemate and fellow 'Rising Star' Taiba (Gun Runner), who eventually wore down Messier in a length-of-stretch slugfest. But considering that race was the first in eight weeks for this Empire Maker colt, the 99-Beyer try should serve as a very effective tightener. And John Velazquez on a speed-oriented Derby starter? That combo has come up smelling like roses in three of the last five years.

5) SIMPLIFICATION (c, Not This Time–Simply Confection, by Candy Ride {Arg}) O-Tami Bobo. B-France & Irwin Weiner (FL). T-Antonio Sano. Sales History: $50,000 wlg '19 KEENOV. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 7-3-1-2, $515,350. Last Start: 3rd GI Curlin Florida Derby. KY Derby Points: 74. Post 13, 20-1.

Simplification joins Smile Happy and Messier, both ranked right above him, as a potentially overlooked horse who's most recent losing effort was much better than it appears on paper. This son of Not This Time ($50,000 RNA at KEENOV) got embroiled in two separate internal speed battles in the GI Florida Derby that sapped his chances for engaging in a more robust stretch run, and if you're in a forgiving mood, Simplification's overall dossier that features five 90+ Beyer tries should make his juicy 20-1 morning-line pricing look attractive. He has, in some ways, rounded into a more natural stalker than some of his contemporaries, so Jose Ortiz should have tactical options in trying to attain a good first-flight spot from post 13.

Simplification | Coady Photo

6) MO DONEGAL (c, Uncle Mo–Callingmissbrown, by Pulpit) O-Donegal Racing. B-Ashview Farm & Colts Neck Stables (KY). T-Todd A. Pletcher. Sales History: $250,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 5-3-0-2, $621,800. Last Start: 1st GII Wood Memorial S. KY Derby Points: 112. Post 1, 20-1.

I had this son of Uncle Mo ($250,000 KEESEP) solidly entrenched at No. 3 in the weeks before the post draw. But getting stuck with the one hole in a 20-horse crush cost Mo Donegal a few percentage points toward his likelihood of winning. Post one is never ideal in the Derby. But for a colt like Mo who always seems to be snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the negative effects of being potentially pinned down inside are likely to be amplified. The last Derby winner to break from the rail was Ferdinand in 1986, and it's only been done seven other times since the advent of using the starting gate in the 1930 Derby.

But one advantage for this quick-on-his-feet colt will be Mo's proven ability to move nimbly and with sustained late-race focus, a tactical combination that is unmatched in this field. You want raw numbers to back that up? His winning moves into identical, ground-gaining :12.33 final furlongs in both the GII Remsen S. and the GII Wood Memorial S. represented the quickest final eighths among all 2021-22 preps at nine furlongs.

7) TIZ THE BOMB (c, Hit It a Bomb–Tiz the Key, by Tiznow) O-Magdalena Racing, Lessee. B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY). T-Kenneth McPeek. Sales History: $330,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: MGSW & GISP, 8-5-1-0, $1,044,401. Last Start: 1st GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks. KY Derby Points: 110. Post 9, 30-1.

There's plenty of upside to this $330,000 FTKSEL colt by Hit It a Bomb if you're willing to avoid getting hung up on the overblown “he won't handle dirt” argument. A deep (by modern standards) foundation of eight races, plenty of experience negotiating large fields (Tiz has won grass and Tapeta stakes in fields numbering 10, 12 and 14 horses), and a knack for (almost) always gaining ground in the final furlong are all in his favor.

The glaring lone exception was a seventh-place try, beaten 20 1/4 lengths, in the GIII Holy Bull S. Feb. 5 over the Gulfstream dirt. But that was a kickback-eating try off a three-month layoff against a talented field that subsequently produced four next-out stakes winners (including Tiz himself). His versatile running style should set up pace-pressing positioning, as trainer Kenny McPeek has indicated he'd like this colt a little closer to the front-end action from post nine.

8) BARBER ROAD (c, Race Day–Encounter, by Southern Image) O-WSS Racing, LLC. B-Susan Forrester & Judy Curry (KY). T-John Alexander Ortiz. Sales History: $15,000 wlg '19 KEENOV. Lifetime Record: GISP, 8-2-3-1, $650,720. Last Start: 2nd GI Arkansas Derby. KY Derby Points: 58. Post 14, 30-1.

In case the skies open up, know that among the Derby's 22 entrants, Barber Road owns the best performance on an outright sloppy track. Several other contenders have won and hit the board on “good” dirt surfaces that were retaining some moisture, but this Race Day gray's second in the Smarty Jones S. back on Jan. 1 rates as the best performance over puddles.

This $15,000 KEENOV colt is an overachieving grinder with a knack for hitting the board despite repeated run-ins with trip trouble. Barber Road has an eight-race base that includes a win and a second at Churchill. Yet he hasn't won since Nov. 10, and he took the easiest prep path to Louisville by campaigning against subpar stakes fields at Oaklawn all winter and spring. Go heavier underneath in exotics than on top to win.

9) CHARGE IT (c, Tapit–I'll Take Charge, by Indian Charlie) 'TDN Rising Star' O/B-Whisper Hill Farm (KY). T-Todd A. Pletcher. Lifetime Record: GISP, 3-1-1-0, $230,400. Last Start: 2nd GI Curlin Florida Derby. KY Derby Points: 40. Post 8, 20-1.

Among the three Derby entrants this year who will go into the gate with three or fewer lifetime starts, 'TDN Rising Star' Charge It is the most likely to make an impact. Since 1937, only Justify in 2018 and Big Brown in 2008 have won the Derby off only three prior races, so this Whisper Hill Farm homebred by Tapit is up against the grain of convention. Charge It's not fully focused stretch run in the Florida Derby earned him a commendable second. But any bet on him this Saturday must be based on the unclear projection that he's overcome his greenness via training over the last five weeks.

There is some pedigree promise: Charge It's second dam is multiple Grade I route victress and blue-hen mare Take Charge Lady, whose progeny include the GI Travers S. winner and 3-year-old champ of 2013, Will Take Charge.

10) TAIBA (c, Gun Runner–Needmore Flattery, by Flatter) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Zedan Racing Stables Inc. B-Bruce C Ryan (KY). T-Tim Yakteen. Sales History: $140,000 Ylg '20 FTKOCT; $1,700,000 2yo '21 FTFMAR. Lifetime Record: GISW, 2-2-0-0, $490,200. Last Start: 1st GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. KY Derby Points: 100. Post 12, 12-1.

Generational super-freak or over-hyped horse being asked for too much too soon? 'TDN Rising Star' Taiba ($140,000 FTKOCT; $1.7 million FTFMAR) is the compelling conundrum of this year's Derby based on two scorching triple-digit Beyer wins that have suggested sky's-the-limit potential.

But this Gun Runner colt's career arc dates only to Mar. 5, and also includes a brief stint on Santa Anita's vet list for being “unsound” after his debut win. He later posted three workouts and rather unexpectedly won the Santa Anita Derby with a smooth, sustained stretch run that looked like it was executed by a more seasoned horse.

Now he'll be shipping for the first time and dealing with a crowded field under possibly wet conditions–all experiences he's yet to encounter in SoCal. Since we don't have much to go on based on Taiba's scant past performances, we have to scrutinize them in more granular fashion. In that vein, it's worth noting that all six rivals Taiba beat in his maiden win have come back to make subsequent starts. Not a single one has won (two were second), and none of them even went off favored despite exiting what appeared to be the most powerful MSW race for 3-year-olds at the meet.

Taiba | Coady Photo

11) WHITE ABARRIO (c, Race Day–Catching Diamonds, by Into Mischief) O-C2 Racing Stable LLC & La Milagrosa Stable, LLC. B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY). T-Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. Sales History: $7,500 ylg '20 OBSWIN; $40,000 2yo '21 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: GISW, 5-4-0-1, $823,650. Last Start: 1st GI Curlin Florida Derby. KY Derby Points: 112. Post 15, 10-1.

White Abarrio's pros are efficiency, athleticism, and a knack for finding ways to win even when he seems overmatched on paper. His cons include the fact that he's an apparent horse-for-the-course at Gulfstream who had the good fortune to have two ultra-clean winning trips in stakes while a number of his rivals either had trip woes or got cooked by unrealistic pace commitments. This Race Day colt ($7,500 OBSWIN; $40,000 OBSMAR) has paired 97 and 96 Beyers in two starts at age three, but the final furlong of his Florida Derby victory was an underwhelming :14.09, and the late stages of the Kentucky Derby are bound to unfold in much faster fashion. We're now going on 17 years–encompassing 33 starters–since the last gray horse won the Derby (Giacomo at 50-1 in 2005).

12) CLASSIC CAUSEWAY (c, Giant's Causeway–Private World, by Thunder Gulch) O/B-Kentucky West Racing LLC & Clarke M. Cooper Family Living Trust (KY). T-Brian A. Lynch. Lifetime Record: MGSW & GISP, 6-3-1-1, $521,100. Last Start: 11th GI Curlin Florida Derby. KY Derby Points: 66. Post 17, 30-1.

There's no getting around the fact that Classic Causeway's caving from first to last in the Florida Derby is an ugly past-performance line. And when you try and backfit that race against his two tepid-number wirings (88 and 86 Beyers) in two stakes at Tampa, it also doesn't help that the horses he beat in the GIII Sam F. Davis S. and the GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby have since compiled a collective 0-for-14 record in their next starts.

But if you want to glean some positivity beyond those blah stats, consider that Classic Causeway's visuals in those victories were extremely eye-catching based on his ability to break like a rocket and still finish up in grace-under-pressure fashion. Back in January, I wrote that the “Giant's Causeway out of a Thunder Gulch mare breeding line that anchors this colt's pedigree is only going to play into Classic Causeway's favor the deeper he advances on the Triple Crown path.” That statement remains true today for this homebred for Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper, who will likely try to spearhead the field from post 17.

13) CROWN PRIDE (JPN) (c, Reach the Crown {Jpn}–Emmy's Pride {Jpn}, by King Kamehameha {Jpn}) O-Teruya Yoshida. B-Shadai Farm (Jpn). T-Koichi Shintani. Lifetime Record: GSW-UAE, SW-Jpn, 4-3-0-0, $734,569. Last Start: 1st G2 UAE Derby. KY Derby Points: 100. Post 7, 20-1.

Crown Pride (Jpn), who celebrated his third birthday May 4, has gotten rave reviews since arriving at Churchill for his poise, posture and footwork during morning training, which has been a unique mixture of dressage-style warming-up and more frequent workouts. And no doubt Japan-based horses have been on a global roll at major racing events over the past six months, with big wins on the Breeders' Cup and Dubai World Cup programs.

He's 3-for-4 on dirt with all three victories at nine furlongs or greater, and a trouble excuse for his sixth when only beaten 3 1/2 lengths. Crown Pride got solidly bumped at the break of the G2 UAE Derby, then unwound with a long drive on his incorrect lead in deep stretch that reeled in the pacemaker on a track that was favorable to speed.

Japan's dominant rider, Christophe Lemaire, will be aboard in Louisville, hoping to break two negative historic trends: Japan-based horses have gone 0-for-3 in the Derby, and winners of the UAE Derby are 0-for-11 (with the best Derby finish among them a sixth, along with two DNF's and a 20th-place try).

14) PIONEER OF MEDINA (c, Pioneerof the Nile–Lights of Medina, by Eskendereya) O-Sumaya U.S. Stable. B-International Equities Holding, Inc. (KY). T-Todd A. Pletcher. Sales History: $485,000 RNA ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSP, 6-2-1-2, $181,350. Last Start: 3rd GII Louisiana Derby. KY Derby Points: 25. Post 11, 30-1.

Pioneer of Medina, a $485,000 RNA at KEESEP, will be looking to avenge the second-place finish by his sire, Pioneerof the Nile, in the 2009 Derby. This colt was third and fourth on the Louisiana prep route to Louisville–not badly beaten, lengths-wise, but not a high-impact player, either. He'll be taking blinkers off Saturday after four races with them (they were added after start number two and propelled him to MSW and allowance wins). Trainer Todd Pletcher is technically 0-for-10 when removing blinkers in graded stakes over the past five years. But that small sample also includes the DQ of Vino Rosso from first in the 2019 GI Jockey Club Gold Cup–and that colt in his next start won the GI Breeder's Cup Classic sans blinkers, too.

15) TAWNY PORT (c, Pioneerof the Nile–Livi Makenzie, by Macho Uno) O-Peachtree Stable. B-WinStar Farm LLC (KY). T-Brad H. Cox. Sales History: $430,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW, 5-3-1-0, $427,000. Last Start: 1st GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. KY Derby Points: 60. Post 18, 30-1.

Tawny Port ($430,000 KEESEP) started his career with two Tapeta wins, then was not disgraced when fifth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths against Epicenter, Smile Happy and Zandon in New Orleans. This Pioneerof the Nile son then chased Tiz the Bomb home when second in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks S. at Turfway and was four wide on both bends when winning the GIII Lexington S. in a cutback to 1 1/16 miles. Maybe he'll turn out to be this year's Charismatic, who upset the 1999 Derby at 31-1 odds and remains the only horse to ever parlay wins in the Lexington S. and the Derby.

16) CYBERKNIFE (c, Gun Runner–Awesome Flower, by Flower Alley) O-Gold Square LLC. B-Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey (KY). T-Brad H. Cox. Sales History: $400,000 ylg '20 FTKSEL. Lifetime Record: GISW, 6-3-2-0, $860,000. Last Start: 1st GI Arkansas Derby. KY Derby Points: 100. Post 16, 20-1.

The GI Arkansas Derby winner has been described kindly as a “high-energy horse.” But earlier in the season trainer Brad Cox minced no words in saying he's a “tough horse to deal with.” Getting DQ'd from a win, tossing his jock in the post parade, and barreling through the pack while swerving through the lane have all been part of the makeup of this $400,000 FTKSEL colt. He's improving at the right time of year, but still, you have to wonder if Cyberknife is bred to be a later-than-May bloomer.

His sire, Gun Runner, wasn't a dominant force at age three, but he evolved into one over the course of the next year. And Cyberknife's damsire, Flower Alley, was a no-impact ninth in the 2005 Derby who peaked later that summer by sweeping the GII Jim Dandy S. and GI Travers S. at Saratoga.

Cyberknife | Coady Photo

17) ZOZOS (c, Munnings–Papa's Forest, by Forestry) 'TDN Rising Star' O/B-Barry & Joni Butzow (KY). T-Brad H. Cox. Lifetime Record: GSP, 3-2-1-0, $291,200. Last Start: 2nd GII Louisiana Derby. KY Derby Points: 40. Post 19, 20-1.

This 'TDN Rising Star' and homebred for Barry and Joni Butzow was on his left lead through the stretch of his MSW win, uncorked a powerful turn of foot at the quarter pole of his allowance victory, then led for as long as he could through the long Fair Grounds stretch in the Louisiana Derby before the much more experienced Epicenter reeled him in. That's a nice block of races to build on, but his overall grade is still “incomplete.” Zozos's sire, grandsire and damsire (Munnings, Speightstown and Forestry) all were crack sprinters, so there's not much Derby-distance promise in his immediate pedigree. Neither post 19 nor the historically non-productive six-week gap between starts will help.

18) ETHEREAL ROAD (c, Quality Road–Sustained, by War Front) O-Julie Gilbert & Aaron Sones. B-Paul Pompa Jr. (KY). T-D. Wayne Lukas. Sales History: $90,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSP, 7-1-1-1, $294,545. Last Start: 4th GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. KY Derby Points: 22. Post 20, 30-1.

Ethereal Road will be making his third start in four weeks on Saturday because he spent the month of April scrambling for qualifying points. But you have to go back to January and February to find his most competitive races. This D. Wayne Lukas-trained $90,000 KEESEP colt gave up four paths of real estate on both turns in the slowly run GII Rebel S. at Oaklawn, yet he led from the quarter pole until 50 yards before the wire in what amounted to a pretty nice try coming off a maiden win. He's drawn way out wide in post 20, but has ample experience in sizable fields, with all seven of his races featuring 11 or 12 horses.

19) SUMMER IS TOMORROW (c, Summer Front–Always Tomorrow, by Badge of Silver) O-Michael Hilary & Negar Burke. B-Brereton C. Jones (KY). T-Bhupat Seemar. Sales History: $25,000 wlg '19 KEENOV; $14,000 RNA '20 KEESEP; £120,000 2yo '21 ARQMAY. Lifetime Record: GSP-UAE, 7-2-3-0, $267,606. Last Start: 2nd G2 UAE Derby. KY Derby Points: 40. Post 4, 30-1.

With a six-sprint foundation at Meydan and Jebel Ali and a Derby gate draw of post four, there should be no doubt that the strategy for this late Triple Crown supplement and three-time auction entrant ($25,000 KEENOV; $14,000 RNA at KEESEP; $169,743 ARQDEA) will be to send and try to stave off the competition for as long as he's able. Over 1 3/16 miles in the UAE Derby, this son of Summer Front sought the lead and held well until the deep stages. A reality check looms Saturday against a far superior field that will include multiple waves of pace-pressers and closers.

20) HAPPY JACK (c, Oxbow–Tapitstry, by Tapit) O/B-Calumet Farm (KY). T-Doug F. O'Neill. Sales History: $0 RNA wlg '19 KEENOV. Lifetime Record: GISP, 4-1-0-2, $182,200. Last Start: 3rd GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. KY Derby Points: 30. Post 2, 30-1.

Blinkers were removed then added over the past several races, and will now come off again for Happy Jack, a Calumet Farm homebred who got buried down in post two after qualifying for the Derby with points earned by running a distant third in the Santa Anita Derby. He broke his maiden sprinting in a 24-1 debut on Lasix, but has been trounced by 49 1/2 lengths in three subsequent non-Lasix stakes routes. Sire Oxbow won the 2013 GI Preakness S. for Calumet at 15-1 odds, and Happy Jack is out of a Tapit mare, so bloodlines are theoretically in his favor. Jockey Rafael Bejarano is 0-for-11 in the Derby.

The also-eligibles, listed on the program as No. 21 Rich Strike (Keen Ice) and No. 22 Rattle N Roll (Connect), can draw into the Derby if late scratches occur.

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