5 bold predictions for Kentucky Derby 2018 weekend

May 03, 2018 06:03pm
Win Big on the Kentucky Derby this year!

While the Kentucky Derby has been formful in recent years, that cannot be said for the rest of the weekend. It means the opportunity for surprises, as applies to America's other biggest weekend of racing, the Breeders' Cup.

With that in mind, here are my five bold predictions for 2018 Kentucky Derby weekend:

1.) Justify makes history

I've considered Justify special since his maiden win back in February. After he rated so easily, and skipped over the slop to a dominant victory next out, then shrugged off a top Kentucky Derby prospect in Bolt D’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby, I was sold.

Has he faced a field this strong before? No. And in terms of size, he hasn't seen this many rivals combined in three previous starts. But I believe he will overcome all that. Storm Cat on the sire line or not, Apollo or not, Justify will strut it all the way to the winner's circle in the Kentucky Derby.
2.) Wonder Gadot wows

She has been knocking at the door of a breakthrough performance all year, and the 2018 Kentucky Oaks seems to be the best place for her to finally do it.

The amount of pace in the race sets Wonder Gadot up with the perfect trip. Speed is both to her inside and outside, but while she’s proven quick from the gate, she has shown that she is perfectly capable of sitting off the pace.

Breaking from post five, she is directly flanked by two closers in Chocolate Martini and Kelly’s Humor. This should give her the ability to maneuver over to the rail, while Classy Act goes to the front, then gets pressure from Take Charge Paula and Rayya. Monomoy Girl, who drew the far outside, will also look to pressure early, should she break well.

With such a pressured pace up front, Wonder Gadot will have first jump on the soften up leaders turning for home. From there, it’s just a matter of if she is good enough, and I believe she will be.
3.) Greyvitos scores in Pat Day Mile

Yes, he is the fifth choice, and he’s stuck in the 14 hole. But this isn’t the Kentucky Oaks or Derby, and the multiple stakes winner will have plenty of time to overcome that post starting from the chute on the Churchill Downs backside.

Another thing he has going for him in the Pat Day Mile is a cutback in distance, as well as a return to one turn races. Both of these changes will allow Greyvitos to utilize his speed, which as he demonstrated last season can be a knockout type of weapon.

4.) Always Dreaming returns to the winner’s circle

Siding with the chalk is not exactly bold, but last year's Kentucky Derby has his share of doubters. After all, his comeback race back on March 31, while a runner-up effort, could have signaled either more mediocrity, or just needing a race. I believe it to be a perfect prep that will set him up for a big performance in Friday's Alysheba.

In the Gulfstream Park Mile, Always Dreaming was running at a distance he had never been successful at, yet he still contended. Friday, he will be stretching back out to two turns, and unlike the Gulfstream Park Mile, over a track where he's won, and could control the pace.

If Always Dreaming is doing as well as they say he is, and is truly over what ailed him the second half of 2017, this race should be cakewalk for him.

5.) Martini Glass upsets Abel Tasman

No slight against the champion Baffert trainee, but Abel Tasman's been out for quite a bit, without a race since the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Last time that was the case, she took two races to get to the winner’s circle. To be fair, being beaten by Unique Bella and loose on the lead Paradise Woods. In her third race back, the Kentucky Oaks (GI), she got the perfect set-up, and she capitalized on it.

Martini Glass, unlike Abel Tasman, has run three times this year already and should be sharp as a tac for the La Troienne. After impressive wins this year in the Royal Delta and Azeri, she skipped the Apple Blossom. Thatprovided a brief freshening, which should have her on point for this Friday. 


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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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