Kentucky Jockey Club 2020 guide: Odds and analysis

Kentucky Jockey Club 2020 guide: Odds and analysis
Photo: Coady Photography

The Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby will pass Saturday under the Twin Spires for the final time before Derby day itself.

Keepmeinmind is the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the 94th edition of the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Post time for the 1 1/16-mile event is scheduled for 5:56 p.m. EST.

The Kentucky Jockey Club pays out points toward next May’s Kentucky Derby on a 10-4-2-1 basis. Along with the Iroquois (G3), which took place in September, it is one of only two points-paying Derby preps that run over the Louisville oval.

Robertino Diodoro trains Keepmeinmind, who will have jockey David Cohen aboard Saturday. The Laoban colt is still seeking a first victory but has run in deep waters, finishing second in October at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and third there earlier this month in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Six of the nine 2-year-olds are between 5-1 and 8-1 on the morning line, including the coupled entry of Sittin On Go and Smiley Sobotka (5-1) for trainer Dale Romans. The former upset the Iroquois at 24-1 odds but could not replicate that effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, finishing ninth.

Sittin On Go (10 points) and Keepmeinmind (eight) rank No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, in the early stages of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby standings. The Kentucky Jockey Club’s other seven runners all seek their first Derby points.

Whoever wins Saturday will look to buck some history. Only one Kentucky Jockey Club victor, Super Saver (2009), has won the following year’s Kentucky Derby during this century.

Here is a look at the 2020 Kentucky Jockey Club field (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:

1. Sittin On Go (Dale Romans, Corey Lanerie), 5-1

1A. Smiley Sobotka (Dale Romans, Corey Lanerie), 5-1

2. Swill (Brad Cox, Florent Geroux), 6-1

3. Arabian Prince (Dallas Stewart, Tyler Gaffalione), 8-1

4. Keepmeinmind (Robertino Diodoro, David Cohen), 6-5

5. Inspector Frost (Brad Cox, John Velazquez), 8-1

6. Oncoming Train (James DiVito, Rafael Bejarano), 10-1

7. King Fury (Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr.), 6-1

8. Ultimate Badger (Dale Romans, Joe Talamo), 15-1

TimeformUS’ pace projections show Swill going out to an early lead under jockey Florent Geroux. The Munnings colt pulled off a gate-to-wire victory over the same track under Geroux last out in September.

Kentucky Jockey Club on TV

“America’s Day at the Races” will broadcast Saturday’s action from Churchill Downs, as well as racing from Aqueduct. Both tracks will host a pair of graded stakes races on their Saturday cards.

FS2 is scheduled to carry “America’s Day at the Races” from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6:30 p.m., MSG+ from 12 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and FS Regionals from 3-6:30 p.m.

TVG will be home for Del Mar’s card. The $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1) highlights that track’s trio of graded stakes Saturday.

Kentucky Jockey Club links

In his Saturday plays, Reinier Macatangay zeroes in on King Fury. The winner of the local Street Sense Stakes adds blinkers for the Kentucky Jockey Club and runs over a course where he is 2-for-2.

Trainer Brad Cox has 13 juvenile runners starting across Saturday’s Churchill Downs card, including Inspector Frost and Swill in the Kentucky Jockey Club. The trainer also has a live duo in the $200,000 Golden Rod (G2) with fillies Coach and Travel Column.

Kenny McPeek also has 13 runners ready to go Saturday, including King Fury. The trainer won the Kentucky Jockey Club two years ago with Signalman.

The Kentucky Jockey Club’s result could create movement in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which closes Sunday at 6 p.m. Keepmeinmind (29-1 as of Friday morning), King Fury (41-1) and Sittin On Go (67-1) are individual interests in the pool, while the rest of the field falls under the umbrella of “All other 3-year-old males” (7-5).

Churchill this weekend is also offering the Kentucky Derby Sires Future Wager. Individual interests in that pool represented in the Kentucky Jockey Club include Curlin (14-1 as of Friday afternoon, sire of King Fury), Frosted (18-1, sire of Inspector Frost) and Munnings (31-1, sire of Swill).

Kentucky Jockey Club card

First post Saturday is 1 p.m., with full Churchill Downs entries available via HRN. The Kentucky Jockey Club is the 11th of 12 races – all featuring only 2-year-olds, and all over the main track – carded Saturday under the Twin Spires.

Here is a look at some of the other events that will take place Saturday under the Twin Spires:

Race 3, allowance optional claiming, 1 1/16 miles, 1:57 p.m.

Scarred, a Churchill debut winner at seven furlongs Nov. 5 for trainer Steve Asmussen, stretches out to two turns here for his second start. Ricardo Santana Jr. will pilot the Into Mischief colt, a 2-1 favorite. Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, the owners of 2019 champion male sprinter Mitole and 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner Yaupon, purchased Scarred last year for $360,000. Second on the morning line at 5-2 is Constitution colt Hidden Stash, who broke his maiden last month on third asking at Keeneland for trainer Victoria Oliver.

Race 6, maiden special weight, 1 1/8 miles, 3:27 p.m.

Godolphin homebred Private Network, third earlier this month at Churchill Downs in his seven-furlong debut, goes a quarter-mile further here. Corey Lanerie gets the call on the Bernardini colt, a 7-2 favorite for trainer Brendan Walsh. The 4-1 second choice is Leblon, a Paulo Lobo-trained son of Broken Vow. He will make his fourth attempt at a first victory Saturday.

Race 9, $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 4:57 p.m.

Simply Ravishing is the even-money morning-line favorite off a fourth-place effort earlier this month at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Trained by Kenny McPeek, the Laoban filly started her career 3-for-3, including a win in Keeneland’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1), before racing in the Breeders’ Cup. Robby Albarado takes over the mount aboard Simply Ravishing, who seeks a second graded stakes victory here. The 5-1 second choice is Travel Column, a Brad Cox trainee who was third in the Alcibiades.

Race 10, allowance optional claiming, 7 furlongs, 5:27 p.m.

Juddmonte Farms homebred Mandaloun, a son of Into Mischief, is the 5-2 favorite here. Jockey Florent Geroux gets the call on Mandaloun, who won at six furlongs on debut last month at Keeneland for Cox. Founder is the 3-1 second choice for trainer Chad Brown. The Upstart colt debuted a winner in August at Saratoga, then was fifth in October at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1).

Kentucky Jockey Club preview

From Churchill Downs’ communication office:

Cypress Creek and Arnold Bennewith’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third-place finisher Keepmeinmind will be in search of his first-career victory against a competitive field of nine 2-year-olds, which includes stakes winners King Fury and Sittin On Go, entered in Saturday’s 94th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club.

Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Kentucky Jockey Club is carded as Race 11 of 12 on Saturday’s “Stars of Tomorrow II” program featuring all 2-year-old races. First post is 1 p.m. and the Kentucky Jockey Club will go at 5:56 p.m. EST. The race will share the spotlight with its counterpart, the $200,000 Golden Rod (G2) for 2-year-old fillies. The Golden Rod will go as Race 9 at 4:57 p.m.

Churchill Downs’ Stars of Tomorrow programs have helped launch the career of more than 50 Grade 1 winners including Kentucky Oaks winners Rachel Alexandra, Believe You Can and Monomoy Girl, Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver and 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who won the Kentucky Jockey Club in 2009.

Keepmeinmind has yet to record a victory for trainer Robertino Diodoro but sports a runner-up effort behind likely 2-year-old champion Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1). Following the Breeders’ Futurity, he finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he was defeated two lengths by Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie.

Diodoro’s go-to rider David Cohen has the mount on Keepmeinmind and will break from post position No. 4.

Another juvenile likely to garner attention in the Kentucky Jockey Club is Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s Street Sense winner King Fury. Trained by Kenny McPeek, King Fury will add blinkers for his start in the Kentucky Jockey Club following his seventh-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Named after the superstar boxer Tyson Fury, King Fury added blinkers in his most recent work at Churchill Downs, a five-furlong move in 1:00.60.

Brian Hernandez Jr. has the call on King Fury from post 8.

Also entered in the field is Albaugh Family Stable’s coupled entry of Iroquois (G3) upset winner Sittin On Go and recent maiden winner Smiley Sobotka. Trained by Dale Romans, Sittin On Go recorded a shocking 24-1 upset victory in the Iroquois by 2½ lengths. In his first try at two turns, Sittin On Go was forced very wide in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and finished a non-descript ninth.

Corey Lanerie is named in the program on both horses. Should the bottom part of the entry, Smiley Sobotka, run in the field, there will be a late jockey change. Sittin On Go will break from post 2 while Smiley Sobotka drew post 5.

Trainer Brad Cox entered two of his promising juveniles in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Kueber Racing and Ten Strike Racing’s three-length maiden winner Swill will break from the rail with Florent Geroux in the irons and Godolphin’s two-length maiden winner Inspector Frost drew post 6 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the saddle. Swill, a 2-year-old colt by Munnings, was a wire-to-wire winner in his third start Sept. 24 at Churchill Downs while Inspector Frost broke his maiden at second asking Oct. 18 at Keeneland under Geroux. This will be both colt’s first start going two turns and they will both remove blinkers for this start.

The complete field for the Kentucky Jockey Club (with jockey and trainer): No. 1 Sittin On Go (Corey Lanerie, Dale Romans); No. 1a Smiley Sobotka (Corey Lanerie, Dale Romans); No. 2 Swill (Geroux, Cox); No. 3 Arabian Prince (Tyler Gaffalione, Dallas Stewart); No. 4 Keepmeinmind (Cohen, Diodoro); No. 5 Inspector Frost (Velazquez, Cox); No. 6 Oncoming Train (Rafael Bejarano, Jimmy DiVito); No. 7 King Fury (Hernandez, McPeek); and No. 8 Ultimate Badger (Joe Talamo, Romans).

As a “Prep Season” race on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” the Top 4 finishers in the Kentucky Jockey Club will receive 10-4-2-1 points, respectively.

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