Homeracing

Kentucky Derby Make the Case: Roadster and Game Winner

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

April 23rd, 2019

Two time Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffert will saddle three horses for the May 4 Kentucky Derby. All three should garner plenty of action. Two of the three are Roadster, the Santa Anita Derby winner, and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Game Winner.

Both appear to have what it takes to win the Run for the Roses. Not only are they trained by arguably the top three-year-old horseman of all time, but they both are accomplished sophomores that are also well-bred. Check out the Derby case for and against both Game Winner and Roadster, two of the likely favorites on the first Saturday in May!

The Derby Case For & Against Game Winner & Roadster

Derby Case for and against Game Winner

It’s not too difficult to make the Kentucky Derby case for the 2018 2-year-old champ. Game Winner entered his 3-year-old year undefeated after easily handling his rivals in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Although he got bumped at the start in that race and had to go wide around both turns, he manged to get up over Knicks Go.

That’s the way Game Winner runs. He always puts forth a great effort. He hasn’t yet given up in a race, and there’s a reason to believe he provides an effort on May 4 much like what he showed in the BC Juvenile, no matter the circumstances, getting up in time to beat his competition.

Although Game Winner appears ready for a top effort in the Kentucky Derby, there are also reasons to also believe he’s not ready to win the garland of roses. He has yet to improve in his three-year-old season. Not only that, he faces much tougher competition. In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he got a chance to beat horses like Knicks Go. He’s fared worse when facing top foes like Roadster and Omaha Beach in his two Derby preps.

Game Winner can win the Kentucky Derby. There are some knocks against him, though, making him a tough horse to back if he offers underlay odds.

Derby Case for and against Roadster

Making the case for Roadster to win the Kentucky Derby doesn't appear all that difficult either. Roadster’s lone loss was in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. After losing that race, Bob Baffert discovered that he had a breathing issue. Surgery repaired the breathing problem, and since then Roadster has gone back to winning races. He appears to be an improving horse and even though he chased soft fractions in the Santa Anita Derby, jockey Mike Smith found a way to get  him up for the win.

After his maiden victory, many thought Roadster was Baffert’s top Derby runner. He went off favored over Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity, and obviously has a ton of talent. However, he has yet to run as fast as Omaha Beach, Tacitus, or Maximum Security.

Also, could the Derby be a case of too much too soon? Roadster had to work hard to catch Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby. Although he has enough speed to stay close, what tactics will jockey Florent Geroux use aboard Baffert’s Santa Anita Derby winner? Will Florent take him back and hope for a big run? That could work, or it might prove fruitless. 19 other horses will run on May 4. Navigating through horses backing up, or having to go wide could be what leads to a loss.

Right now, Roadster offer second choice odds behind Omaha Beach to win the Run for the Roses. Do your own handicapping and decide if he’s worth backing at short odds. The same goes for Game Winner. Both provide arguments for and against a Kentucky Derby win.

 
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