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Kentucky Derby Power Rankings

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D.S. Williamson

April 6th, 2016

What a bummer the 2016 Florida Derby turned out to be. It wasn't a bummer for everybody. The connections of Nyquist certainly didn't think it was a bummer after they took down a cool $1 million for winning the Florida Derby as a Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale Graduate. That bumped up Nyquist's earnings to a gargantuan $3,322,600. Nyquist will be the richest horse to ever start in the Kentucky Derby.

But he's not at the top of my rankings. Mohaymen doesn't even show up on my rankings. I've watched the Florida Derby at least 10 times. Mohaymen struck me as a horse that just didn't want to run. He packed it in and gave up in the stretch. I don't see him turning that ho-hum attitude around before the Derby.

I've added the Kentucky Future Pool Final Odds to each of the horses in my Top 5. I'd love see your Top 5 if you have one.

Kentucky Derby Top 5
1. Destin, 16/1 - He still might run in a race in the next couple of weeks. But, it's doubtful. The Kentucky Derby will be his sixth lifetime race and his fourth race in 2016. He has the bottom needed to win the Dreby. I don't understand why only a handful of horseplayers are giving this guy the respect that he deserves. He's run faster than most of the other contenders, he was sired by Giant's Causeway, and he's trained by Todd Pletcher. 16 to 1?  I don't get it.
2. Mor Spirit, 11/1 - He can switch gears in an instant. The Kentucky Derby could very well set up like the Robert B. Lewis stakes with Mor Spirit coming on strong from the outside and catching the speed horses. His run in the San Felipe Stakes was dynamite as he was the only animal making up ground on Danzing Candy. Mor Spirit runs this week in the Santa Anita Derby. If he gets the job done there, it will be awfully difficult to look past him on the First Saturday in May. 11/1 are decent odds on a beautifully bred Baffert runner to win the Run for the Roses.
3. Nyquist, 3/1 - Visually, his Florida Derby win was impressive. There's no doubt about that. But, in reality he only ran against Mohaymen. Every other horse in the 2016 Florida Derby came in off of a maiden win or was some sort of grinder like Fellowship. I'm still not convinced that he's good enough to face pace pressure from a horse like Danzing Candy and run on to victory in a 1 1/4 mile race. Who knows?  I've been wrong plenty of times before. No matter. I don't see how anybody can bet on Nyquist at 3/1 odds.
4. Danzing Candy, 16/1 - His run in the San Felipe was absoluely breathtaking. He got a half mile in :46.11 and still went on. The difference between Danzing Candy and Nyquist is that one was sired by Uncle Mo and is out of a Forestry broodmare while the other has Candy Ride on his dad's side. It's not too difficult to guess which one is the Candy Ride horse. It's likely he'll have the front all to himself in the Santa Anita Derby this weekend. Don't be surprised if he does enough to wire the field while Mor Spirit comes clunking home again in second. 16/1 makes him an overlay.
5. Lani, 25/1 - The UAE Derby winner got the 1 3/16 miles in 1:58.42. That's not a bad time. What's more impressive is that Lani almost fell to his knees as soon as the gates opened. He spotted the field around 6 to 7 lengths. Then, jockey Yutake Take, a legend in Japan, rushed Lani up and to the outside of the speed. Take got Lani to relax through the entire race. Oh, the horse was sired by Tapit and is out of a Sunday Silence broodmare. There's a lot I like about this import.

 

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