2020 has been a year like no other, so can we expect a Kentucky Derby like no other? Normally on the first Saturday of September I am excited about Rutgers football, not the quest for the Triple Crown. But what can I say, it is 2020.
The question of whether the "Curse of Post 17" would be broken this year seems less like with the early defection of King Guillermo, which moves 3-5 favorite Tiz The Law into the 16 hole and front runner Authentic into the dreaded 17 spot.
Interestingly enough, the Kentucky Derby has been run two other times outside of May. In 1901, it was run on April 29 and due to World War II it was run on June 9th in 1945. With all that has happened this year, we should all be happy that the race is even being run at all.
So let's get down to business. My top four choices:
#16 Honor A.P. (5-1) - The pace will be favorable to his running style and he is looks to be deceptively the best horse in this field. Looking at his last three starts tells the story. In the San Felipe no one challenged Authentic who coasted home wire to wire. The Kentucky Derby is not an easy race to win wire to wire, which plays to his running style. The Santa Anita Derby was a solid performance as Authentic was off a step slow and was not able to handle the hot pace. Last out in the Shared Belief he had trouble in the stretch and was able to rally to finish within 3/4's of a length. Expect a better effort here than he had in the Santa Anita Derby with a solid work pattern showing speed and depth.
#17 Tiz The Law (3-5) - I was all over this grandson of Tapit in the Belmont Stakes and the Travers. He has proven he can get the distance and his running style is also a perfect fit for the anticipated pace here. While I always say three year olds can keep improving race to race, this one will regress a bit here, but it still may be enough to win against this field.
#7 Money Moves (30-1) - While he has only cleared the N1X hurdle, losing by a neck in a N2X race last out, he could take a big step forward here although he may get caught in a logjam at the start. He had some trouble in his last start over this course, which was his first try around two turns. He is my primary upset horse.
#2 Max Player (30-1) - Half brother to Honor A.P. has lost to Tiz The Law in two straight starts. His late fractions are deceptively good and he will be moving late. I don't expect to see him win, but he will be a factor late.
How does this one set up?
Authentic, Ny Traffic, Storm The Court, and Thousand Words look to be the group looking for the lead early. The half mile should go in under 47 seconds. The contested pace up front will set up perfectly for both Honor A.P. and Tiz The Law who will be close to the lead. Both have the legs to sustain a late run. Money Move could be right there with them and deserves at least a look.
The "Curse of Post 17" looks to continue until 2021, yet there appears to be the potential for some value in your exotics and if Honor A.P. can hold on against a formidable favorite in Tiz The Law.
So sit back and enjoy the long-awaited fastest two minutes in sports.