Calculator Wins Sham, Becomes Kentucky Derby Contender

The Peter Miller trained Calculator went into last Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) winless in four career starts, but that did not stop horseplayers from making the colt the betting favorite and the colt did not disappoint.

Despite racing wide throughout, the colt drew clear in the stretch to win by 4 ¼ lengths, returning his backers at the betting windows $3.20 for a $2 wager and more importantly earning his connections 10 Derby points toward entry into the Run for the Roses and making him a major contender among the elite Kentucky Derby horses.

The colt lost his first two career starts in the maiden ranks, checking in third and fourth. Miller thought enough of those efforts to try him in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) where he ran second to American Pharoah. He then ran second again to that foe in the Frontrunner (G1) on Sept. 27 before picking up his first win in the Sham.

American Pharoah would have been the betting favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but a foot bruise knocked him out of the race. Horseplayers still have plenty of confidence in the colt, as he is currently the early betting co-favorite among the Kentucky Derby horses at 10-1.

The promising colt Dortmund is also sitting at 10-1 in Kentucky Derby betting odds. The Todd Pletcher trainee is perfect in three career starts and is the son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown.

The colt broke his maiden in his debut at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, the day after the Breeders’ Cup concluded. He then jumped on the Derby radar with a flashy win at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29 against first level optional claiming company.

His stakes debut came in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) where he was sent off as the heavy betting favorite and won a three-way photo for the victory. He is tied for sixth in the Derby points standings with 10.

He is in the Bob Baffert barn, a Hall of Famer who won the Kentucky Derby back-to-back in 1997 and 1998 with Silver Charm and Real Quiet and again in 2002 with War Emblem.

Calculator is now among the top contenders at betting odds of 16-1 and is sitting second in the Road to the Derby points standings with 14 points along with Carpe Diem.

The points leader is El Kabeir, who won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G3) and most recently the Jerome Stakes (G3) and has earned 21 points. The colt is currently listed at Kentucky Derby betting odds of 16-1.

Carpe Diem earned his 14 points by winning the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 4 and then running second to Texas Red in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The Todd Pletcher trainee is 16-1 in Kentucky Derby future odds.

Texas Red is fourth in the Derby points standings, the upset winner of the Juvenile, returning $29.80 for a $2 wager. He is currently at 12-1 in Kentucky Derby odds.

There are two Derby points races coming up this week–the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds on Jan. 17 and the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 19.

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