John Shirreffs and Jerry Moss are familiar with having a 50-1 long shot for the Kentucky Derby. But maybe not 5 1/2 months beforehand.
The trainer and owner who won at those long, post-time odds 15 years ago with Giacomo find themselves with a new contender carrying the same price in a much deeper market.
With his 7 1/4-length victory Sunday in the seven-furlong Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar, Red Flag leaped into the Derby futures at William Hill Nevada. Opening at 50-1, he shares the fifth-shortest odds among the 130 horses listed.
“He’s not a brilliant work horse, so this was a pleasant surprise,” said Shirreffs, who also trained Hall of Fame mare Zenyatta for Moss. “You always hope, but you never know.”
Red Flag, who cost Moss and his wife Tina $220,000, carried 10-1 odds into the Bob Hope. Spielberg, a $1 million colt, was 3-5, and he faded to finish fourth. Still only a maiden winner in five starts for trainer Bob Baffert, the son of Union Rags drifted from 70-1 to 100-1 to win the Derby.
Red Flag was one of five horses to open Sunday night in the Derby futures at William Hill. The others are:
• Caddo River (75-1). After finishing second in his first two races, both at seven furlongs, trainer Brad Cox stretched him to a one-turn mile Sunday at Churchill Downs. That is where jockey Florent Géroux led the whole way in riding the odds-on favorite to a 9 1/2-length win. The Hard Spun colt is another 2-year-old in Cox’s stable, which includes Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality, 100-1 Derby hopeful Swill and, well, scroll down.
• Santa Cruiser (90-1). The Calumet Farm homebred, who was third in his debut at six furlongs and then second at seven, graduated to his own front-running, one-turn mile victory Sunday at Churchill Downs. The Dialed In ridgling trained by Keith Desormeaux got the better of a race-long duel with the favorite Regular Guy and won by 1 1/2 lengths.
• Gagetown (120-1). Cox added another winner to his juvenile roster when this Exaggerator colt finished first Friday at Churchill Downs in his debut. Carrying odds of 5-1 into the six-furlong maiden race, he closed from fourth and pulled away by two lengths.
• Uno (120-1). Making his first start in the Aqueduct mud Thursday, this son of Laoban gave up at least a length of ground in a bumpy break. But with José Ortiz’s urging, he still fought his way to a 3 3/4-length win against four other maidens in the six-furlong race. Todd Pletcher trains Uno for Bill and Terry Mathis, who bought the colt four months ago for $255,000.
Essential Quality remains William Hill’s 8-1 favorite to win the Derby. No other horse is priced shorter than 40-1. The full list is shown below. (Where there were changes, the old odds are in parentheses.)
8-1 Essential Quality
40-1 Classier, Jackie’s Warrior
45-1 Highly Motivated
50-1 Dr. Schivel, Hot Rod Charlie, Red Flag (opener)
60-1 Jaxon Traveler
75-1 Caddo River (opener), Cazadero, Get Her Number, Huntsinger, Keepmeinmind, Midnight Bourbon, Mutasaabeq, Olympiad, Stayin’ Out Late, Vittorio (90-1)
90-1 Santa Cruiser (opener)
100-1 Calibrate, Effinity, Founder, Hidden Stash, Hyperfocus, Reinvestment Risk, Rombauer, Savile Row, Sittin On Go, Smiley Sobotka, Spielberg (70-1), Super Stock, Swill, Ten For Ten, Therideofalifetime
120-1 Boca Boy, Eagle Orb (150-1), Gagetown (opener), King Fury, Pickin’ Time, Uno (opener)
125-1 Bolden, Brooklyn Strong, Chicks For Free, Ethical Judgement, Eucharist, Girther, Greatest Honour, Inspector Frost, Judge N Jury, Known Agenda, Mandaloun, Next, No Cents (140-1), Prisoner, Scarred, Slashing, Speaker’s Corner, Starrininmydreams, Team Merchants
130-1 Cousin Larry, Freedom Fighter, Likeable, Seminole Beach, Whiskey Double
140-1 Bold Minister, Herd Immunity, Kenny Had a Notion (75-1), Raison d’Air, Sonic Brees, Sound the Charge, Waist Deep
150-1 Ambivalent, Angkor, Ascot Storm, Awesome Gerry, Belafonte, Blue Gator (125-1), Breeze On By, Cajun Commander, Camp Hope, Erawan, Fauci, Fury Kap, Hendavid, Hendrick, Highway Bound, Hold the Salsa, Kwist, Lugamo (120-1), Nova Rags, Poppy’s Pride (200-1), Positivity, Restored Order, Roderick, Run Snappy, Saffa’s Day, Thranduil, Twilight Blue, Ultimate Badger, Waspirant, Weston (100-1), Work Out
160-1 Isolate, Seazan
175-1 Basso, Big Daddy Dave, Garoppolo, Hercules, Horn of Plenty (150-1), Lookin For Trouble (150-1), Real Talk (125-1), Schnell, Son of a Beast, Upstriker, Xtreme Mayhem
200-1 Al Heybay, Ampersand, Big Flame, Boomer, Dalton, Superman Shaq, Tiz Handsome (150-1), What’s Up Surfer, Wyfire
225-1 Famous Gent (200-1), Tacoflavoredkisses
250-1 It Can Be Done, Momos
300-1 Advance Cash (250-1)
350-1 Valiant Thor