All signs point to less than ideal conditions for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. It has been raining at Churchill Downs since early this morning, and is expected to continue throughout the afternoon likely leaving a muddy track for the Kentucky Derby. Two horses with strong track records in the rain are Bolt d’Oro and My Boy Jack.
Covers.com provides an outlook on the weather forecast for Churchill Downs.
“Rain early, tapering off to showers in the afternoon, accumulating 0.15 inches of rain. Overcast at post time with 24% POP, temp of 64. Expect muddy or even sloppy track conditions today,” Covers.com tweeted.
Accuweather.com forecasts a 75 percent chance of rain from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern. It drops down a bit during the race window with a 49 percent chance of rain between 5-7 p.m. Eastern. Even if it is not raining during the actual race, the track is still likely to be muddy thanks to the rain that accumulated beginning earlier in the day.
As we look at the horses that have a strong track record in the rain, one word of caution. Last year, Always Dreaming was the favorite, and many people started backing other horses on race day thanks to a muddy track. The conditions were muddy, but Always Dreaming ended up winning the race. While it is important to consider the track conditions, you would be wise not to throw out all your research leading up to race day.
Why are so many people backing My Boy Jack? The horse won the Stonestreet Lexington at Keeneland in the rain just weeks ago. As the video below shows, it looks like the Derby will be run in much worse conditions.
My Boy Jack also won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in the mud. The conditions below could be similar to what we see today at Churchill Downs.
For those looking to hedge their bets by picking My Boy Jack in the rain, just be aware that the line is likely to move as more people begin backing him. For perspective, My Boy Jack began with 30 to 1 morning-line odds. The latest OddsShark odds had My Boy Jack down to 18 to 1 this morning. According to NBC Sports, My Boy Jack has already moved into second in the odds at 5 to 1. Jockey Kent Desormeaux does have some experience winning in the mud in American Classics. Desormeaux rode Exaggerator to a 2016 Preakness win in nasty conditions.
Aside from My Boy Jack, what other horses are worth a second look in the rain? According to the Washington Post, the following horses have the top Tomlinson figures, a key benchmark for potential rain performance: Solomini, Instilled Regard, Bolt d’Oro, Vino Rosso and Bravazo. Of that list, Bolt d’Oro and Vino Rosso are the two worth watching. The Washington Post detailed why Bolt d’Oro is likely to perform well in the mud.
Seeing Bolt d’Oro high on the list bolsters his bid for a Kentucky Derby win. He has the speed needed to win on a fast tor wet track — he has triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in three races already and ran the final three-eighths of the Santa Anita Derby in 37.40 seconds, well below the 38-second threshold of prior winners — plus the stamina needed to carry it the classic distance. Plus, his sire, Medaglia d’Oro, has a 17 percent win rate in the mud among his progeny and his broodmare sire, A.P. Indy, has produced a win rate of 19 percent among his offspring.
Don’t discount the favorite, Justify also performed well in the mud in a Santa Anita allowance race.
These are the horses that have a good chance to be top mudders in the Kentucky Derby. Keep in mind that the lack of experience by some of the other horses does not necessarily mean they will not perform well. The Kentucky Derby has a way of being full of surprises.
Source: Heavy Sports