PICKING THE WINNER RON RIPPEY'S PICKS
The 90 percent forecast for a heavy rainstorm this afternoon in Louisville Ky. will alter the outcome of the Kentucky Derby. So who has both the best pedigree for an off track as well as the 1 mile distance
1. OXBOW at 30 1 is the one. While the son of Awesome Again (a superior slop runner) hasn t been impressive on the track in the past few days he did fire the best of 35 (59.4) drill for 5 furlongs on Monday despite bearing out with three time Derby winner Gary Stevens in the saddle. There s no question he has the breeding for the distance both on his dad s and mom s side.
Perhaps more interesting he is one of only two in the bulky 19 horse field to have won at Churchill Downs. And he has been saddled with Post 10 in his last three starts and Posts 10 or 11 in five of his past six races. Yet in his other races he has shown early positional speed which is going to be necessary breaking today from Post 2. Of course getting the best trip is paramount in winning the Kentucky Derby. There may be no one better to do that than Stevens who is in the midst of a riding comeback. Oxbow is trained by four time Kentucky Derby winner D.Wayne Lukas.
2. REVOLUTIONARY is the main threat to Oxbow. In addition to having similar off track and pedigree credentials he has Calvin Borel who has won three of the past five Derbys with legendary rail skimming rides including victories in the slop. And breaking from Post 3 should not be a problem for Borel to flee to the rail and save ground all the way home. Revolutionary has won three straight races including being forced five wide and battling through traffic. He is just one of two colts in the field who has won on a wet track.
3. ORB can t be discounted. The morning line favorite has won four races in a row including three since going on Lasix. He also has the services of Joel Rosario the hottest rider in the land who has won seven of his first 15 rides at the current Churchill Downs meet. Orb also has the pedigree that favors distance and can handle an off track.
4. ITSMYLUCKYDAY at 15 1 will move up as the rains come down. He has won on a sloppy track and placed second to Orb in the Florida Derby as the 8 5 favorite. The winner of five of 10 races has more speed than the top three picks and can sit in a good spot behind the pacesetters before the real running starts.
JERRY IZENBERG'S PICKS
1. ORB who trained magnificently on this track is the pick but it will be far from easy.
2. REVOLUTIONARY with the added edge of Borel and his late speed to close strong.
3. VERRAZANO goes in unbeaten with credentials but look for all three in a fight to the wire.
4. NORMANDY INVASION actually has enough late kick to hit the board instead of one of the above.
TOM LUICCI'S PICKS
1. NORMANDY INVASION appears to be both peaking at the right time and crying out for more distance. This was top jock Javier Castellano s choice too.
2. PALACE MALICE adds blinkers for this which should help this stalking type keep his mind on business after his near miss in the Blue Grass.
3. ORB figures to be running late and should benefit from the switch to Churchill Downs from speed favoring Gulfstream.
4. REVOLUTIONARY needs to avoid getting jostled and pinched back at the start from post three. His Louisiana Derby win was impressive.