Brandon A. Quick | Sat 06/01/2018 - 12:40 EST

Kentucky Derby: 2018 Sham Stakes Horse Racing Picks

Kentucky Derby: 2018 Sham Stakes Horse Racing Picks

Clear-cut favorite

On paper and on the morning line odds, McKinze (3/5) towers over his six rivals. The precocious Bob Baffert trainee was beaten less than a length last out in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec.9, but lost nothing in defeat after posting a Beyer Speed Figure of 92 while racing around two turns for his first time. That effort followed an impressive 5 1/2-length debut score at Santa Anita going 7 furlongs which earned the colt a 99 Beyer Figure. 

The contenders

Despite the credentials and talent McKinze brings to this race, he is not a slam dunk. His stiffest challenge could come from stablemate Mourinho (4/1) who hasn't run since finishing second in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Nov. 11 at Del Mar. Mourinho was flattered by that result after the winner, Greyvitos, came back to take the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park - another race with Derby points. Mourinho has trained forwardly and adds blinkers for his first try at two turns. 

Another runner sure to take a fair share of wagering action is the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Shivermetimbers (7/2) who earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in his last start against maiden special weight company at Del Mar. Unlike Mourinho, Shivermetimbers has already answered the two-turn question, but takes a considerable step up in class here. The rest of the field looks like this:

  • #1 My Boy Jack (12/1) - tries dirt after finishing 7th in BC Juvenile Turf last out
  • #2 Here is Happy (20/1) - first-time gelding adds blinkers; looks overmatched
  • #3 All Out Blitz (10/1) - speedy colt stretches out and could be the pacesetter here
  • #4 Mourinho (4/1) - one of two Baffert horses in here with huge chance
  • #5 Shivermetimers (7/2) - steps up in class, but looks fast enough to challenge
  • #6 McKinze (3/5) - the one to beat; looks super-talented 
  • #7 City Plan (20/1) - stakes winner last out on synthetic track; 0 for 3 on dirt

The Picks 

It's just too hard to find any fault with McKinze at this point in his career to play against. He's fast, he's versatile and Baffert removes the blinkers here, suggesting he'll sit a comfortable stalking trip behind All Out Blitz and stablemate Mourinho who adds blinkers. Only special horses run as fast as McKinze has this early into their careers. This colt is certainly one to follow on the Derby trail and could be the antepost Derby favorite with another big effort here. 

  • 1st: #6 McKinze 
  • 2nd: #4 Mourinho
  • 3rd: #5 Shivermetimbers

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