TORONTO, May 1 – WEG’s Communications office asked members of the media for their top selection and a live longshot for Saturday’s $2-million Kentucky Derby, first leg of the U.S. Triple Crown.
A field of 20 horses will go to post in the 1 1/4-mile classic including Canadian-bred Danzig Moon who will leave from Post Five under jockey Julien Leparoux for trainer Mark Casse and owner John Oxley.
Bred in Ontario by William D. Graham, the Malibu Moon-Leaveminthedust colt was purchased for $160,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Danzig Moon is listed as a 5-1 choice in the Queen’s Plate Winterbook published in March.
The Kentucky Derby is slated as Race 11 and will go to post at 6:34 p.m. EST. Watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby via HPIBet.Com
Let’s take a look at who our media panel likes in the 141st running of the Run For The Roses.
GARNET BARNSDALE – Writer for Down The Stretch Newspaper and co-host of North American Harness Update. Follow Garnet on Twitter
ranged up in the Fountain of Youth looking like an easy winner then just stopped inexplicably when something appeared to go amiss. He got his game back together in a big way in the Wood Memorial, gets a favorable pace set-up here and has already shown he’s fast enough to win this year’s Derby; top call.
Longshot: Firing Line
JEFF BRATT – Woodbine TV Presenter. Follow Jeff on Twitter
Winner: International Star. Is he fast enough? Is he a Fair Grounds horse for course? All are legitimate questions to ask. In the Gr. I Louisiana Derby he was all out to win. What I admire about him is how agile he is. He can get through small openings and isn’t afraid to do it. His will to win cannot be questioned.
– Daily Racing Form writer and proprietor of OntarioThoroughbred.Com Follow Alex on Twitter @Ax1Campbell
Winner: Dortmund – The way he swept the California prep series was very impressive and I thought he progressed in each start against some tough competition. The fact that he already has a win over the Churchill Downs surface doesn’t hurt either!
– Host and producer of the web-based series Road To The Plate http://www.sdpchrtb.com/
Follow Santino on Twitter
Winner: American Pharoah – He is a 3-time grade one winner who is lightly raced this year and should be ready to give a peak performance here in the Derby. His work over the track at Churchill Downs was very impressive. He stalked the pace last time out in the Arkansas Derby and I believe that his running style will play a big role in helping him win the 141st Kentucky Derby.
Longshot – International Star
PETER GROSS – Proprietor of Down The Stretch Newspaper
Winner: El Kabeir – The only other time he was ridden by Calvin Borel was at Churchill Downs and it was a terrific win at a mile and a 16th. Someone told me that Borel is pretty good in the Derby.
Longshot: Bolo – Because that simply is not the name of a Kentucky Derby winner. Beaten twice by Dortmund, but each time he was not embarassed.
GENE KERSHNER – Buffalo-based turf writer who blogs at EquiSpace and has a weekly racing column in The Buffalo News. Follow Gene on Twitter
Winner: Dortmund. Two words. Beast Mode.
KATIE LAMB – Toronto Star turf writer. Katie’s work has also featured in the New York Times & Maclean’s. Follow Katie on Twitter
Winner: Dortmund. There’s a lot to like about the ‘brontosaurus.’ He’s coming into the Derby undefeated, and when he looked beat by Firing Line in the Robert B. Lewis, he fought back and won. He’s by Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown. What’s more? He’s won over the Churchill Downs surface.
Longshot: Keen Ice.
DAN LOISELLE – Track announcer, until May 31, at Woodbine Racetrack.
Winner: Dortmund. I love his versatility. He can go to the front, stalk, or come from behind…and he has that big, long stride that hopefully allows him to keep out of trouble in a jam packed field. Plus, he loves Churchill Downs.
DAWN LUPUL – Woodbine TV Presenter. Follow Dawn on Twitter
Winner: Dortmund – Post position was the deciding factor for me. While I think that Carpe Diem is also going to get a good trip, I feel that Garcia will have lots of options to save ground which American Pharoah may not be able to do.
Longshot – Danzig Moon
MIKE MACADAM – Daily Gazette sportswriter and columnist. Follow Mike on Twitter
Winner : Upstart. Fast, experienced horse should get a stalking trip behind plenty of speed. I thought he ran a terrific second in the Florida Derby despite losing to Materiality, who won’t have his own way at Churchill Downs.
So this New York-bred picks one of my fellow New York-breds, who have been holding their own in graded stakes in recent years.
KEITH MCCALMONT – Communications Manager for Woodbine Entertainment. Follow Keith on Twitter
Winner: American Pharoah. I hate to pick the chalk in a 20-horse field, but this Pioneerof the Nile colt was so impressive in his Arkansas Derby win, settling in behind a runaway pacesetter and waiting patiently for Victor Espinoza to press the button. I can see him sitting a similar trip in the Derby.
Longshot: Far Right
MARK MCKELVIE – Communications Coordinator for WEG’s Standardbred division. Follow Mark on Twitter
Winner: Firing Line – He comes into the Derby well rested and with tons of confidence after a blowout win in the Sunland Derby. The Callaghan trainee has twice ran a close second to Dortmund and I think he will deliver a big effort Saturday.
JENNIFER MORRISON – Daily Racing Form handicapper and turf writer contributing to the Toronto Star, Blood-Horse and Canadian Thoroughbred. Jennifer’s Woodbine selections can be found on ThoroughBlog. Follow Jen on Twitter
Winner: American Pharoah is my pick. Yes, he will be favoured and the distance and pace set=up could be treacherous, but he really does look like something special.
Longshot: One longshot? There are so many but I am intrigued by a fellow named Firing Line, another colt with high cruising speed.
JOHN SISCOS, Woodbine’s Director of Communications. Follow John on Twitter
Winner: American Pharoah. I tried but I can’t get past American Pharoah. He’s the fastest, most consistent horse of the bunch. He also had a fast work over the Churchill surface the other day, which is huge for me. I think he has also a little bit of betting value as everyone tries to beat the favourite.
BEVERLEY SMITH – Beverley Smith is a Sovereign Award winning writer and an expert on the Canadian figure skating scene. Follow Beverley on Twitter
Winner: American Pharoah
. I know he’ll be chalk, but I think he’s something special. He does everything with great ease. Seems he might have a few gears we haven’t seen yet. He’s shown he can rate. And I like his post: 18. That should keep him out of trouble (fingers crossed.)