User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Derby could have 4 Pletcher horses

Todd Pletcher is going after the Kentucky Derby with numbers again.

The trainer who has won the America's greatest race once could saddle four horses. Little-known Mike Maker could have three starters, while three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert has two contenders.

Art Sherman has just one. But it's a really good one.

California Chrome is expected to be the favorite for the 140th Derby next Saturday. The colt brings a four-race winning streak into Churchill Downs, having won those by a combined 24 1/4 lengths.

''I've never had a horse that did that before,'' said Sherman, who began training in 1980 after being a jockey for 21 years and later a racing official. ''I just want my horse to have a fair shake at it and have good racing luck, and I'm sure hopeful for him. He's a gutty little horse.''

Pletcher knows something about luck.

Four years ago, he ended a 0-for-24 skid when long shot Super Saver, one of four horses he entered, won under a rail-hugging ride by Calvin Borel. That was the year Pletcher had the favorite, Eskendereya, who was forced to drop out six days before the Derby with a leg injury. He also had the horse to beat in 2011, Uncle Mo, who was scratched with a stomach ailment on Derby eve.

This year, Pletcher's quartet is made up of Arkansas Derby winner Danza, Risen Star winner Intense Holiday, Spiral Stakes winner We Miss Artie and Vinceremos, who finished 14th in the Blue Grass.

California Chrome will need some luck tangling with an expected full field of 20 horses for the 1 1/4-mile race at Churchill Downs. The final lineup won't be known until Wednesday, when entries are drawn and post positions are assigned.

Baffert's ace is Hoppertunity, who won the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The colt will try to buck a Derby jinx that has no horse since Apollo in 1882 winning without racing as a 2-year-old.

''You need a really good horse because you need a lot of luck,'' said Baffert, who also has Sunland Derby winner Chitu.

Maker's trio of contenders is Louisiana Derby winner Vicar's in Trouble, General a Rod and Harry's Holiday.

''I think it's going to be a very lively pace,'' he said. ''I feel my horses they can adjust to whatever the pace calls for.''

Maker has had five previous Derby starters, including Hansen, who was ninth in 2012. Both he and Pletcher are former assistants to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time Derby winner.

Vicar's in Trouble will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik, who will try to become the first female jockey to win the Derby. Her husband, Joe Sharpe, is an assistant to Maker.

Last year, Napravnik rode Mylute to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby behind Orb and a third-place finish in the Preakness behind Oxbow. Those finishes were the best by a female rider in each race.

Sherman is going for a bit of history himself.

The 77-year-old could become the oldest trainer to win, surpassing Charlie Whittingham, who was 76 when Sunday Silence won in 1989.

Graham Motion, who trained 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom, is back with Ring Weekend, who won the Tampa Bay Derby.

Steve Asmussen trains Tapiture, the Southwest Stakes winner. He's under investigation after an animal rights group alleged mistreatment by him and a former assistant. Asmussen's nomination to the Racing Hall of Fame was put on hold last month in the wake of the allegations.

This year's road to the Derby trail claimed a number of contenders, including Constitution, who is trained by Pletcher, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year's Day, who is trained by Baffert. Also knocked out with an injury was Cairo Prince. Another of Baffert's horses, Midnight Hawk, was dropped from Derby consideration after finishing second in the Illinois Derby.

For the second straight year, the field of 20 starters is being determined by points.

Churchill Downs established a system that awards a sliding scale of points to the top four finishers in 34 designated races. The top 20-point earners earn a spot in the Derby starting gate.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Dempsey: At the Gate - Saturday
News: 2016 Breeders' Cup Odds
Do the Dance wins Santa Anita feature
Muqtaser splashes to win at Belmont
My Fiona rallies, wins Santa Anita feature
Dickinson dominates Belmont feature
Night Prowler wins Belmont Park feature
California Diamond wins at Santa Anita
US horse Resolve wins Yonkers Trot
Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont or Keeneland. You can also get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
Live Odds
Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry daily with picks from Belmont and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $19.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership