As Kentucky Derby 139 draws near everyone is asking themselves who is the top candidate, who has the best chance to get to the wire first. Many look at this year’s class and are not impressed with the speed figures thrown by many, as there are few horses who have even run a single triple digit Beyer, heading into this year’s Derby.
Even Orb, the top choice of many, including Chris Sorenson of The Dark Horse, has yet to even go above a 97 Speed figure. One horse, however, who has impressed with raw time and speed figures is Itsmyluckyday. The son of Lawyer Ron has run some of the fastest and most impressive races on the road to the Kentucky Derby, when he won the Gulfstream Park Derby and the Holy Bull. In the later he beat Shanghai Bobby, who at the time was the unbeaten juvenile champion, and did so in record time.
Besides his speed there is plenty more to like about this strapping young colt, like his experience. Itsmyluckyday has started 10 times, which is almost unheard of at this point in a top standing, three year old’s career. He has raced at four different tracks, over two different surfaces, and has only ever come out of the top four once. Despite barely getting a break, after turning three, the colt ran a career best race in his 2013 bow, only to come back and top that performance in his next start, less than three weeks later. This tells me that this colt thrives on racing and will only get better the more he runs, where others may falter.
Orb may have the better pedigree of the two, however, pedigree is not what wins races. The horse does that, and the better prepared the horse the better chance they have to win. I would say there are few horses better prepared than Itsmyluckyday. After running hard for nine starts, Plesa backed off his charge and waited 9 weeks for the Florida Derby. The colt was noticeably rusty, after having the longest freshening of his career. His speed figures, while still good, were below the powerhouse performance he’d given us earlier in the season and instead of kicking clear once passing the leader he idled and was passed by Orb.
His final prep was far from his most impressive, but it is not what you want to have your horse peaking in the Florida Derby, five weeks from the big prize. Plesa let his charge shake off the rust and get a taste of real competition again. In addition to that he’s been giving Itsmyluckyday routine one mile breezes, over the deep and sandy Calder surface. Plesa has masterfully brought this colt along, training the stamina into him, something other trainers neglect to do.
Looking at Itsmyluckyday jogging under the Twin Spires, this past weekend, I had to say he looked like a keg of dynamite ready to blow. He simply looks fantastic and knowing how Plesa has brought him along, knowing the experience he already has over his opponents, knowing that he on his best day is among the fastest of his generation, I have to say he is the one to watch. This is a colt that is sitting on a monster effort and should not be underestimated.