With Bodemeister‘s spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate secured, trainer Bob Baffert is looking to add Castaway to his Derby roster, should he put up a big race this Saturday at Keeneland. Castaway hopes to follow in his sire Street Sense’s hoofsteps, but his road to the Kentucky Derby has been a bumpy one after the lackluster seventh place finish in the Sunland Derby his last time out.
A couple of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes contenders are hoping to scrape together enough graded stakes earnings to make it into the Kentucky Derby field of 20. In addition to the 3-1 morning line favorite Castaway, Morgan’s Guerrilla will be aiming for the $200,000 purse, this time out with blinkers off. On the board in three starts, Morgan’s Guerrilla fell short in the Illinois Derby just two weeks ago.
Summer Front went undefeated as a two-year-old but has not raced since December. He has yet to race on a non-turf surface, let alone at the 1 1/16 mile distance of the Coolmore Lexington. However, having regular rider Ramon Dominguez aboard might help ease the step up in class in his first graded stakes race.
Todd Pletcher sends out Holiday Promise, a son of Harlan’s Holiday, who looks to improve from a second place in the Spiral Stakes in mid-March. His early speed should put him up near the front, stalking the pace.
News Pending, also by Harlan’s Holiday, has spent his last two Derby preps chasing Union Rags to no avail. Trainer Dale Romans is hot off a successful weekend at Keeneland with Dullahan in the Blue Grass Stakes, and will need his colt to overcome the outside post and get a good clean trip.
The lightly-raced Johannesbourbon is listed at 8-1 with only one start under his belt. He won his 6 ½ furlong maiden race by 9 ¾ lengths in March, yet the 1 1/16 distance may prove to be too much for this front runner. While a win would still not give him enough graded earnings to warrant a Derby bid, this son of Johannesburg has potential as a newcomer on the three-year-old scene.