LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The weekly Kentucky Derby Media poll by HorseRacingNation.com has scarcely changed, with the prep racing season completed. Now, voters will turn their attention to the final works for the field as they fine-tune their selections for next week’s final poll.
Omaha Beach remained the No. 1 choice of the 24 media members voting in the poll, maintaining his spot over an unchanged top eight. He’s followed by Roadster, Game Winner, Tacitus, Improbable, Maximum Security, Vekoma and Code of Honor.
Win Win Win jumped a spot to No. 9, and By My Standards fell from a tie for No. 8 to No. 10.
“The trick now is figuring out which of these is going to run the race of his life on the first Saturday in May,” said Tim Wilkin, reporter for the Albany Times Union.
Omaha Beach is on the grounds at Churchill Downs and went to the track on Monday morning. Jockey Mike Smith’s decision to ride him instead of Bob Baffert’s Roadster has bolstered his status as the likely favorite, though a quarter-crack in his right front foot has stirred some conversation.
Omaha Beach has won his past two races with the crack, which trainer Richard Mandell had re-patched on Sunday.
All of the top five in the poll received at least one first-place vote.
“Things will start moving around once we see these horses put in their final serious works,” said poll voter Scott Hazelton of TVG.
Four colts worked at Churchill on Monday morning, after poor weekend conditions postponed a few tuneups. Improbable breezed a half-mile in 48 seconds, with Baffert having flown into Louisville to watch.
After acting up at the gate before the Arkanas Derby, Improbable came to the track without blinkers Monday and likely will lose them for the Kentucky Derby.
“We’re just fortunate to be in (the Derby),” Baffert said of his WinStar Farm-China Horse Club colt, who needed to place in the Arkansas Derby to collect enough points to qualify for the Run for the Roses. “They could have scratched him in the gate. I thought they could have scratched him. It looked like he was trying to sit down, and that could have been a disaster for him. He still ran a great race after all that, and I was just thankful that he got in there, and looked unbelievable to finish second.”
Louisiana Derby winner By My Standards worked six furlongs in 1:02.60. Trainer Bret Calhoun was beaming as the colt came back to the barn.
“That was about as good as you can get two weeks out from the race,” Calhoun said. “This horse is just hitting his best stride and I think that’s what we’ll see from him going into the Derby. I put the work off a little bit due to weather but (By My Standards) really showed his stuff this morning. I’m not taking a sigh of relief yet but I feel really pleased by the way he went.”
Bill Mott’s Tacitus was another whose work was put off in hopes of a better track today. He breezed a half-mile in 50 seconds in company. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.8 and six in 1:15.8.
“It was his first work since the Wood Memorial. and I thought it was very good,” Mott said “He doesn’t work fast. He does what his companion does. I thought his gallop out was very good.”
Steve Asmussen’s Long Range Toddy worked five furlongs in 1:02.6.
The expected favorite, meanwhile, galloped around the track for the first time on his new hoof patch.
““He had a good gallop with his new shoes and new laces,” said trainer Richard Mandella, who expects to work his colt either Saturday or Sunday.
The rest of the media poll Top 20: Tax, War of Will, Haikal, Spinoff, Long Range Toddy, Cutting Humor, Country House, Plus Que Parfait, Gray Magician, Bourbon War.
- LEWIS | Baffert arrives at Churchill to watch Improbable
- LANE | Change in plans for Tacitus, fighting through the fog at Churchill
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