Lucky Player Gets Road to Kentucky Derby Off and Running

We are still over 220 days away from the 2015 Run for the Roses, but the Road to the Kentucky Derby officially got underway on Sept. 6 with Lucky Player earning 10 points toward a starting spot in the Churchill Downs gate with his upset victory in the $100,000 Iroquois.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky tracked the early pace and got his neck in front at the wire to pull off the upset, returning $25.00 for a $2 wager. The colt opened at 60-1 in Kentucky Derby futures.

The next Derby points race is the Frontrunner Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 27, which also serves as a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1. There are a pair of Derby points races coming up on Oct. 4, the Champagne at Belmont Park and the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Kentucky Derby three times, has a promising two-year-old that could be a major player next spring in American Pharaoh. The colt showed speed and faded to finish fifth in his debut, and then came back to win the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3 in gate to wire fashion in a strong outing, winning by 4 ¾ lengths. The colt is currently at odds of 40-1 in future Kentucky Derby betting.

Six-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher will have a barn full of Derby contenders that are unveiled over the coming months. So far the most impressive of the lot is Competitive Edge, who broke his maiden on July 26 by better than 10 lengths, and then made his stakes debut a winning one, taking the Hopeful on Sept. 1 in impressive fashion. The colt is 60-1 in early Kentucky Derby odds.

The undefeated Souper Colossal has run his perfect record to three wins with a victory in the Sapling going a mile at Monmouth Park on Aug. 31. Trained by Ed Plesa, the colt broke his maiden in his debut and then won the Tyro Stakes on Aug.3. His current future price for the Derby is 100-1.

Jess’s Dream is currently at 60-1 despite not having made his debut yet. The colt is currently in training with two published works in July. Why would an unraced juvenile be so well regarded for the Derby? Just check out his pedigree. He was sired by Curlin, winner of the 2007 Preakness and Breeders’ Cup as well as the 2008 Dubai World Cup. He retired with an all-time record of $10.5 million and was a two-time Horse of the Year.

The mare is Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Preakness winner and Horse of the Year. She earned $3.5 million winning 13 of her 19 career starts.

Jess’s Dream is currently in training at Saratoga with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and is definitely a colt to watch over the next few months.

The Road to the Roses can be a bumpy one, but now is the time for horseplayers to start looking for promising Kentucky Derby horses that could make it to Louisville next spring on the first Saturday of May.

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