Mary Jungers, South Point
Orb, Verrazano, Goldencents and longshot Vyjack.
Orb is very strong down the stretch. Verrazano has proven he can win. Goldencents has four wins and one place in six starts. The Longshot would be Vyjack, who was unbeaten through the Gotham Stakes and put up a great fight in the Wood Memorial.
Mark Dufty, Jerry’s Nugget
Orb, Revolutionary, Overanalyze.
Orb looked great in winning the Florida Derby. Seems to be peaking at the right time. Revolutionary won the Louisiana Derby and Borel loves the Churchill track. Overanalyze is another Pletcher horse. Won the Arkansas Derby.
Joe Porrello, Cannery
Orb, Overanalyze, Black Onyx.
Orb can sit just off the pace and close. This horse can run all day. Overanalyze allows you to take a Pletcher horse at a price. Black Onyx has a veteran trainer who knows how to get his horse ready for the Run to the Roses.
Ed Malinowski, Stratosphere
Verrazano, Vyjack, Palace Malice.
Verrazano has won at each distance and will make it five in a row with a win here. Vyjack has been in rehab in a chamber to heal an infection since trying to track down Verrazano. Love Palace Malice’s pedigree (Curlin) and the connection of Pletcher/Smith.
Chuck Esposito, Sunset Station
Normandy Invasion, Verrazano, Orb.
Normandy Invasion having jockey Javier Castellano is big. Finished a strong second in Wood to Verrazano. Gets the job done here. His Derby workouts have been great.
Tom Quigley, Publisher HorsePlayer Magazine
Goldencents, Orb, Overanalyze.
First: Goldencents – very little early speed in the Derby this year. Second: Orb – respect the connections immensely. Third: Overanalyze – horses that like OP like CD. Longshot: Itsmyluckyday – tough to win every prep race.
Jay Rood, MGM Resorts International
Java’s War, Black Onyx, Vyjack.
Java’s War flies down the lane to just get up for the win. Black Onyx should take the lead mid-stretch from a front running and fading Vyjack, who holds on for third.
John Avello, Wynn Las Vegas
Itsmyluckyday, Orb, Normandy Invasion.
Itsmyluckyday has a solid base going back to last year. Has been programmed to swing to the outside when heading for home. Orb – it’s his race to lose. Connections are outstanding. Couldn’t be in better shape coming into the race.
Brian Blessing, FOX radio
Normandy Invasion, Verrazano, Java’s War.
Normandy Invasion I’m guessing will go off 8-1, maybe 10-1. He ran second in the Remson and the Wood. In those races he was a stalker closer. Closed against ridiculously slow fractions. Was only three parts of a length behind Verrazano. Derby is an eighth of a mile longer. Will get faster fractions to run in. Got the rooting cap and the wallet going for Normandy Invasion.
Tony Miller, Golden Nugget
Verrazano, Normandy Invasion.
Watching those two. Going with the favorite Verrazano. Looking good right now. Brian (Blessing) got me hooked on Normandy Invasion. Finished second a couple of times.
Ralph Siraco, Race Day Las Vegas
Java’s War, Orb, Verrazano.
My three selections released early for GamingToday.
Tony Nevill, Treasure Island
Palace Malice, Frac Daddy, Charming Kitten.
Palace Malice is sitting on best effort and ready to fire! McPeek warming up Frac Daddy up for best effort. Charming Kitten one to watch out for if the pace collapses.
Steve Ferrero, Aliante
Orb, Normandy Invasion, Verrazano.
The distance at Churchill Downs suits Orb.
Paul Truitt, Palace Station
Goldencents (six others fight for second and third).
Goldencents is a seasoned 3yo. His running style is perfect for this type of race. Comes into the Derby with a top Beyer of 105.
Derby info from Louisville
Trainer Chad Brown had reason to feel encouraged after the way Normandy Invasion covered Churchill Downs this past weekend in the final big workout leading into the Kentucky Derby.
The horse clocked 59 seconds over five furlongs to top Derby hopefuls on a busy day, followed by Mylute and Black Onyx. Todd Pletcher came away feeling good about the quality efforts turned in by the five horses he’s training, including favorites Verrazano and Revolutionary, leading his high-quantity contingent.
In the case of Normandy Invasion, Brown sees a horse showing he’s capable of challenging expected favorites Orb and Verrazano.
While the need to build toward the 139th Derby on May 4 explains the urgency shown Saturday by many of its entrants in practice, the weather forecast might be why horses seemed to be in a hurry. Trainer Tom Amoss kept Mylute’s 50.60 at four furlongs with Rosie Napravnik in perspective.
“The work was identical to the pattern that we used leading into the Louisiana Derby, and it went well,” said Amoss, referring to Mylute’s runner-up finish to Revolutionary.
Todd Pletcher’s five Derby horses looked good paired with others. Verrazano has a 4-0 career record, including a Wood Memorial victory earlier this month. Revolutionary is being ridden by newly-elected Hall of Famer Calvin Borel. Overanalyze (47.00) and Palace Malice (47.20) also worked four furlongs.
Orb meanwhile galloped 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider Jennifer Patterson and trainer Shug McGaughey galloped him out on Monday.
“I’ve been very satified with him. I don’t know that he could be doing any better,” McGaughey said. “He went to the gate and stood there. We got that behind us in good order.
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