Barring the unforeseen, Empire Maker should become only the third favorite to win in 24 years, since Spectacular Bid in 1979 and Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. Any post position except one or two would allow Bailey to gain good position, rate behind the speed and win by making a timely move. Peace Rules, the doughty, diminutive chestnut also trained by Frankel, does not have to be in front to win but figures to contest the pace. He may be the only serious threat to Empire Maker. Buddy Gil is unbeaten in three races since going to Jeff Mullins, and he and jockey Gary Stevens are confident of another solid effort, although 1 1/4 miles might be beyond his capability. Even though he’s a gelding and none has won since 1929, this is a horse that should not be overlooked, especially at his betting value. Ten Most Wanted is a talented colt that can run all day. In Pat Day, he has a jockey who knows his way to the winners’ circle at Churchill Downs. Atswhatimtalknbout was inexplicably flat in the Santa Anita Derby, but horses have been beaten in that race before (Real Quiet in 1998) and gone on to victory in the Derby. Wayne Lukas was pooh-poohed by some when excusing Scrimshaw’s poor performances due to breathing problems, but the four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer was exonerated after the colt won the Lexington Stakes with authority. Previously a throw-out, now he must be given a second look. Brancusi is lightly raced but improving and deserves consideration for use in the exotics, as does Santa Anita Derby runner-up Indian Express, who could get loose on the lead longer than expected. It looks like Frankel has the two best horses in favored Empire Maker and probable second choice Peace Rules, but strange things happen to favorites in this race.
SELECTIONS: Peace Rules, Empire Maker, Buddy Gil, Ten Most Wanted.