Getty Images

Nyquist Maintains Momentum as Kentucky Derby Betting Favorite

Leave a comment

After claiming the No. 13 post position Nyquist continues to dominate the odds to win the Kentucky Derby, pegged as a +300 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Nyquist takes a perfect record through seven races into Saturday afternoon’s 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and is slated to occupy the same post position he held when he claimed victory at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last October.

The Doug O’Neill-trained three-year-old colt will be looking to duplicate the success of recent betting favorites at the Kentucky Derby.

Favorites have won each of the past three editions of the race, including American Pharoah, who also went on to capture the Triple Crown a year ago after paying out at 5/2 odds in the Kentucky Derby.

Nyquist will be flanked by his two primary competitors on the Kentucky Derby odds, with Exaggerator starting from the No. 11 post and Mohaymen drawing the No. 14 post.

Exaggerator has maintained the momentum he gained on the Kentucky Derby odds following his spectacular victory at last month’s Santa Anita Derby, staying just ahead of Mohaymen at a solid +750.

Mohaymen continues to hang tough at +800 following his first-ever loss, a fourth-place finish five weeks ago in the Florida Derby, won handily by Nyquist. Mohaymen tallied wins in the Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull Stakes while starting from the No. 12 post and the No. 11 post, respectively.

Gun Runner rounds out the front of the Kentucky Derby betting pack with +900 odds, and will start from the No. 5 post.

The Steven Asmussen-trained Colt has won his last two starts, at the Louisiana Derby and the Risen Star Stakes, and will be looking to build on the past success of horses starting from the No. 5 post, which have accounted for 13 Kentucky Derby winners since 1900.

That’s good news for Asmussen, who will send out both Gun Runner and Creator in this year’s race, but has yet to produce a winner in 13 Kentucky Derby appearances.

Creator will start from the No. 3 post after earning a Kentucky Derby berth with a victory at the Arkansas Derby, where he paid out at a healthy 10/1, and has seen his odds rapidly climb from +2000 to +1200.

Destin, saddled by trainer Todd Pletcher, follows at +1400, ahead of Suddenbreakingnews and Mo Tom at +1600, while Mor Spirit sits at +1800, but will start from the No. 17 post, which has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner.

Irish War Cry is 5-2 favorite in $1M Haskell Invitational

Getty Images
Leave a comment

OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) Irish War Cry, the runner up in the Belmont Stakes, is the 5-2 favorite in the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds.

The richest race of the season at Monmouth Park drew a field of seven for the 50th edition on Sunday.

With a victory, Irish War Cry would join Thanks To Tony (1980) as the only New Jersey-bred winners of the state’s biggest thoroughbred stakes.

The Garden State connection runs even deeper. The race is named for Amory Haskell, the first chairman and president of Monmouth Park, whose daughter Isabelle de Tomaso bred and owns Irish War Cry.

The morning-line choice breaks from the rail with Rajiv Maragh aboard for trainer Graham Motion.

Irish War Cry was a top contender heading into the Kentucky Derby after winning the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. After chasing the early pacesetter, he faded to 10th.

Motion initially planned to give the horse time to regroup after the Derby and await the Haskell. The colt was training so well that Motion sent the horse to the 1+ mile Belmont.

It was a good decision. Irish War Cry led most of the way but was beaten two lengths by Tapwrit.

“At the end of the day, we are all very excited that we got to this point,” Motion said. “This was certainly our goal of the summer.”

Trainer Chad Brown sends out the second and third choices in the Haskell: the undefeated Timeline, 3-1, and Practical Joke, 4-1.

Timeline, winner of Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes last month, is 4 for 4 coming into the biggest test of his career.

“He’s a horse that’s always shown a lot of natural ability,” Brown said. “I’ve had my eye on the Haskell for this horse for a long time. I felt this race would suit him.”

Javier Castellano will ride Timeline from post 3.

Practical Joke is alongside in post 4 with Joel Rosario in the saddle.

The full Haskell field, in post-position order with jockeys and odds: Irish War Cry, Maragh, 5-2; Battle of Midway, Flavien Prat, 5-1; Timeline, Castellano, 3-1; Practical Joke, Rosario, 4-1; McCraken, Brian Hernandez, Jr. 9-2; Hence, Paco Lopez, 12-1 and Girvin, Robby Albarado, 6-1.

The 1 1/8 miles Haskell is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The winner earns a qualifying berth in the $6 million Classic on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

Arrogate remains on course for Pacific Classic at Del Mar

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Bob Baffert wasn’t beating himself up a day after Arrogate’s upset loss in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar that snapped the seven-race winning streak of the world’s top-ranked horse.

The Hall of Fame trainer said Sunday that other than getting a lot of dirt in his eyes and mouth the 4-year-old colt emerged in good physical condition after finishing fourth, beaten by 15 \ lengths as the 1-20 favorite.

Baffert says that as long as Arrogate continues working out well and nothing comes up, the colt will run in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 19 at Del Mar. Baffert says Arrogate “will be ready next time.”

Arrogate was never better than fourth among the five-horse field during the race. Accelerate led all the way and won by 8 + lengths.