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    California Chrome is a legitimate favorite with a morning-line of 5-2. After a series of wins in state-restricted stakes races, the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit attempted the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity against open company and finished sixth, beaten two lengths. He returned to restricted races and didn’t return to open company until the March 8 San Felipe (G2) which he won impressively by 7 ¼ lengths. The Santa Anita Derby (G1) was next and he overpowered the field to win by 5 ¼ lengths. In his three races this year he’s won by a combined 18 lengths.

    With all of his races occurring in California, the question with California Chrome is whether or not he can do as well outside the state. He has the best speed figures in the bunch and although he runs well on the lead or close to it, I think he’d be content to sit just off the pace leaders and reserve some energy for a stretch run. If he wins, he’d provide a great story for the sport—California-bred by first-time breeders trained by 1955 Kentucky Derby winner Swaps’ exercise rider, not to mention the owner dreamt that he won the Kentucky Derby with the horse before the horse was born.

    Dale Romans’ Medal Count is very interesting to me. Romans has been high on this horse since last year. The problem is that the horse had not been able to live up to the accolades. Although he broke his maiden at first asking, it took Medal Count three more tries to get his next win. That came in an Optional Claimer on the turf. He was well-beaten in his next start, the Fountain of Youth (G2), but came back to win the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland Apr. 4. Romans wheeled him back on just a week’s rest in Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1) and finished second by 1 ¾ lengths. Although running a horse three times in a month is unusual nowadays, when a horse shows he’s ready to run he usually runs big. At a morning-line of 20-1, Medal Count would provide a nice price and give the Louisville trainer his first Kentucky Derby win.

    Ride On Curlin is a great horse for Louisvillians to get behind. His owner, Daniel Dougherty, his trainer, Bill Gowan, and his rider, Calvin Borel, are all locals. Ride On Curlin has been getting better as of late and has looked great in the morning works. He’ll break from post 19, but with his closing running style and rail-rider Borel aboard it shouldn’t matter. Borel will likely let the field go from the gate and make his way to the rail, saving ground. I could see Borel lead Ride On Curlin on the same sort of path as he did with 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense or 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Ride On Curlin has a morning-line of 15-1, but with the popularity of Borel it’s possible he takes more money and his odds drop.


    Jessie Oswald's picture

    About Jessie Oswald

    I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as a paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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