WINNIPEG, MB - We’re still a couple of weeks away, but now would be a good time to bookmark this page and set your calendar for Assiniboia Downs on May 5.
The 144th running Kentucky Derby is less than three weeks away and, of course, you cannot only wager on the race, but the entire day at Churchill Downs. A day that will include Manitoba’s own Escape Clause running in a $50,000 stakes race.
The 2018 Derby, the Run for the Roses, is wide open this year. The major prep races are finished and there is no definitive favorite, although any qualifying horse that is trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, has to attract serious consideration. This year's purse is $2 million. The winner of the first leg of the Triple Crown collects $1.425 million of that purse..
Television coverage begins on Friday, May 4, with TSN's Kentucky Oaks coverage. On Saturday, TSN is scheduled to televise the entire undercard and the race itself. NBC picks up the coverage from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Here at Manitoba Post, Downs host Rob McLennan and I will each handicap the race. Early on, I like Justify, Mendelsshon and Good Magic and my longshot is Enticed, but we’ll see how the horses look as we get closer to race day.
Here's a look at the contenders and the early odds for the 2018 Kentucky Derby thanks to www.kentuckyderby.com:
Jockey: Mike Smith; Trainer: Bob Baffert. Impressive winner of the Santa Anita Derby in his first stakes start
Bolt D'Oro 6-1
Jockey: Javier Castellano; Trainer: Mick Ruiz. Second in the Santa Anita Derby and third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.
Good Magic 7-1
Jockey: Javier Castallano; Trainer: Chad Brown. Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes and Breeders Cup Juvenile; and third in the Fountain of Youth.
Jockey: John Velazquez; Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Winner of the Florida Derby and the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream
Magnum Moon 8-1
Jockey: Luis Saez; Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Winner of the Arkansas Derby and the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Jockey: Ryan Moore; Trainer: Aidan O'Brien. Winner of the UAE Derby in Dubai and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Vino Rosso 12-1
Jockey: John Velazquez; Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Winner of the Wood Memorial and third in the Tampa Bay Derby.
My Boy Jack 20-1
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux; Trainer: Keith Desormeaux. Winner of the Lexington Stakes and third in the Louisiana Derby.
Jockey: Flavien Prat; Trainer: Bob Baffert. Third in the Arkansas Derby, second in the Rebel Stakes and second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Jockey: Joze Ortiz; Trainer: Bill Mott. The runner-up in the Florida Derby in first stakes start
Jockey: Junior Alvarado; Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin. Second in the Wood Memorial, winner of the Gotham Stakes and fourth in the Holy Bull Stakes
Restoring Hope 25-1
Jockey: Flavien Prat; Trainer: Bob Baffert. Third in the Wood Memorial.
Jockey: Florent Geroux; Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset. Second in the Arkansas Derby and winner of the Tampa Bay Derby.
Remember, Derby Day at Assiniboia Downs is May 5. In the meantime, always remember that there are free VLT tournaments starting at 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You can get into the draw for 10 chances to win $20 in free VLT spins. The leading winner from each night participates in a month-end finale for more spins and $250 in prize money. As well, every Friday and Saturday night there is the Downs’ special $10 buy-in poker. Registration is 8 p.m. and the game starts at 8:30 p.m.
Don’t forget to bookmark this page, print it out and attach it to your fridge. Not only will you have fun on Derby Day, you could win some big money.
Photo courtesy Assiniboia Downs