Orb is the listed morning line favorite, and rightfully so. He took the Florida Derby five weeks ago in convincing fashion, and has the second highest last-out speed figure among the 19 runners in the field. In a Derby in which several contenders have shown a propensity to make the lead, his closing style will suit him well. He sat midpack off a Florida Derby that was run in a slow 1:12 4/5 through 3/4 of a mile, then charged home to win by 2 3/4 lengths. The only knock against him is that Churchill Downs isn't always favorable to closing types, and horses in dirt routes that were on or just off the pace were finding the winners' circle. It just might turn out that the top two from the Florida Derby will finish in that order in the Kentucky Derby. Itsmyluckyday has won five times in 10 career starts, having won two prep races at Gulfstream Park before finishing second behind Orb in Miami. I'm dismayed by the absence of workouts over the local strip, but I like that he ran a mile at Calder two weeks ago to prepare for the main event. He's a stalking type that can run by leaders, but those leaders really need to be flying. Show dough may likely end up on Goldencents, a speedball coming in off a win at the Santa Anita Derby four weeks ago. His 105 speed figure is the highest that anybody has posted in the field, but the question remains as to whether or not his speed will carry for a full ten furlongs. He stands a great chance at surviving to complete the trifecta if speed carries as well on Saturday as it did on Friday. Verrazano stands as a tricky proposition. The second choice on the morning line, his Wood Memorial victory wasn't as impressive as his final three wins, and the Wood hasn't been as important as other Derby preps in recent years. But he's in the hands of a great trainer/jockey tandem in Todd Pletcher and Johnny Velazquez, so keep him in mind if he looks good during the post parade.
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