Report: Cox maps out his Kentucky Derby trail plans

Report: Cox maps out his Kentucky Derby trail plans
Photo: Carson Blevins / Eclipse Sportswire

With 15 horses listed in Nevada futures for Kentucky Derby 2023, trainer Brad Cox is navigating who will run where next on the trail.

Daily Racing Form reported that Instant Coffee and Jace’s Road are expected to start in the Grade 1 Louisiana Derby on March 25 at Fair Grounds.

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Instant Coffee has the lowest Las Vegas odds among Cox’s contenders, best-priced at 14-1, after winning the Lecomte (G3) and the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). Jace’s Road, best priced at 100-1, won the Gun Runner in December then was fifth in the Southwest (G3).

Verifying, 32-1, is likely to run in the Blue Grass (G1) on April 8 at Keeneland, according to the report. The Justify colt is on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 14 points from his second-place finish in the Champagne (G1) and fourth-place effort in the Rebel (G2).

Angel of Empire, 50-1, is pointed to the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 1 at Oaklawn. The son of Classic Empire won the Risen Star at 13-1 and was second in the Smarty Jones.

Cox is considering starting Tapit’s Conquest (50-1) in either the Louisiana Derby or the Wood Memorial (G2), according to the report. Slip Mahoney (75-1), runner-up in the Gotham (G3) is a definite for the Wood, and Hit Show (40-1), winner of the Withers (G3), could run in the Wood or the Arkansas Derby.

Tapit Shoes (125-1) was a possibility for the Louisiana Derby, according to the report, but instead will run in a Keeneland allowance.

Cox told DRF that Victory Formation (65-1) missed his last workout because of a “little accident in his stall” and is expected to return to training soon. He won his first three starts before finishing ninth in the Risen Star.

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