Foley hopes for big, late run from O Besos in Kentucky Derby

Foley hopes for big, late run from O Besos in Kentucky Derby
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

After the announced defections of several qualifiers for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, and more likely on the way, it appears trainer Greg Foley will be able to enter O Besos in the 1 1/4-mile Run for the Roses. Foley has been playing a waiting game for the past several weeks, hoping the field would work out in favor of his colt.

However, the longtime Kentucky trainer said he never felt stressed by the possibility of not making the Churchill Downs starting gate May 1.

“It’s out of your hands,” Foley said. “If you make it, good, but I haven’t been sitting around fretting about it.”

O Besos ranks 21st on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard after the defections of UAE Derby (G2) runner-up Panadol and El Camino Real Derby hero Rombauer. Just one more defection would put O Besos in the field.

A Derby trip would be the second of Foley’s career, after finishing 10th with Major Fed in the rescheduled September 2020 edition of the race.

O Besos currently has 25 Kentucky Derby points, which has put him on the outside looking in since his most recent effort, a third in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds on March 20. Before that, he earned points with a fourth-place finish in the Risen Star (G2) in February.

Even with the slim points shortfall, Foley said he never considered sending the Orb colt out for a last-minute prep race, such as last Saturday's Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, on short rest.

“Nope,” Foley said. “Just for the points? No I didn’t. You’re just killing yourself doing that, as far as if you got the points and come back into the Derby, it’s just too quick.”

If all goes as expected and O Besos enters the 20-horse starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, he would appear to be a  live long shot. A swift pace, in particular, would set things up well for the colt, who came from the back of the pack and was running late in the Louisiana Derby.

Foley said he would expect a similar trip at Churchill Downs.

“Sit back and make one big run,” Foley said. “I think it’s definitely what we want to do.”

Foley said he hoped to see Concert Tour, trained by Bob Baffert, enter the race for an extra dose of speed. 

O Besos worked Tuesday at Churchill Downs, going five furlongs in 1:00.6, with a closing burst that pleased his trainer.

“He finished great,” Foley said. “Galloped out good and came off the track like it was nothing. He didn’t take a deep breath.”

Jockey Marcelino Pedroza, who has the ride in the Derby, praised Thursday's work in a video released by TwinSpires. Pedroza said he expects the colt to relish the 10 furlongs of the Derby.

“Oh yeah,” Pedroza said. “He will love it.”

Foley said in his mind, success on the first Saturday in May will come from by following the planned tactics for the race.

“Just relax, relax and run the end of it,” Foley said. “We’ll see what we can pick up.”

2021 Kentucky Derby (G1)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.
RankSilksHorse / SireRatingTrainer / JockeyLast StartStatus
 Essential Quality
Tapit
8.54
B. Cox
1st, 2021 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) 
Probable
 Rock Your World
Candy Ride
8.31
J. Sadler
1st, 2021 Santa Anita Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Hot Rod Charlie
Oxbow
8.18
D. O'Neill
1st, 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2)
Probable
 Concert Tour
Street Sense
8.14
B. Baffert
3rd, 2021 Arkansas Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Known Agenda
Curlin
8.08
T. Pletcher
1st, 2021 Florida Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Medina Spirit
Protonico
8.04
B. Baffert
2nd, 2021 Santa Anita Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Super Stock
Dialed In
7.74
S. Asmussen
1st, 2021 Arkansas Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Midnight Bourbon
Tiznow
7.51
S. Asmussen
2nd, 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2)
Probable
 Highly Motivated
Into Mischief
7.48
C. Brown
2nd, 2021 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) 
Probable
 Soup and Sandwich
Into Mischief
7.40
M. Casse
2nd, 2021 Florida Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Like the King
Palace Malice
7.35
W. Ward
1st, 2021 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) 
Probable
 Caddo River
Hard Spun
7.31
B. Cox
2nd, 2021 Arkansas Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Helium
Ironicus
7.27
M. Casse
1st, 2021 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) 
Probable
 Dream Shake
Twirling Candy
7.11
P. Eurton
3rd, 2021 Santa Anita Derby (G1) 
Probable
 Bourbonic
Bernardini
6.84
T. Pletcher
1st, 2021 Wood Memorial (G2) 
Probable
 Mandaloun
Into Mischief
6.81
B. Cox
6th, 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2)
Probable
 Sainthood
Mshawish
6.80
T. Pletcher
2nd, 2021 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) 
Probable
 Hidden Stash
Constitution
6.49
V. Oliver
4th, 2021 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) 
Probable
 Dynamic One
Union Rags
6.46
T. Pletcher
2nd, 2021 Wood Memorial (G2) 
Probable
 O Besos
Orb
6.41
G. Foley
3rd, 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2)
Probable
 Get Her Number
Dialed In
5.85
P. Miller
4th, 2021 Arkansas Derby (G1) 
Possible
 King Fury
Curlin
5.48
K. McPeek
1st, 2021 Lexington (G3) 
Possible

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