Today’s Churchill Downs Hot List fullcard selections
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Kentucky Derby Day
By Bob Ehalt and Matt Shifman
Hot List Key:
A: A preferred horse to watch B: Secondary horse to watch
*C: Went down 2 or more betting notches and finished 1st through 3rd
*D: Went down 2 or more betting notches and finished 4th or worst
* - 4 or more betting notches if 11-1 or more.
1st race – (4) Cool Bobby returns to the main track and has enough speed to lead from start to finish. (5) Soros seems ready for a big effort off a layoff. (6) Sounion will also welcome a return to dirt. (1) Striking a Pose tops an interesting entry with Huge Bigly.
2nd race – (2) Robin’s Fantasy made a middle move in her debut and then weakened. She should benefit from start and might break her maiden today. (1) Cadencia has plenty of ability but after three straight runner-up finishes, the bottom of the exacta might suit her. (10) Elle Est Forte missed by a head and a neck in her last two starts and belongs in the exotics. (6) Flying Gem could be a contender in her debut.
3rd race - (4) Cash Rocket appears to be getting better with each start and should emerge victorious. (7) Alejandro was DQ’d from a victory last time and could make amends here. (5) Koolhaus might appreciate the added distance. (2) Extreme has keen early speed and might hang around until the finish.
4th race – (6) Hay Dakota fell too far back last time. Should turn in an improved effort with a better trip. (8) First Premio rallied wide for third last time and could be closer here. (11) Vintage Print debuts for new connections after showing some potential last year. (12) Gear Jockey has as much talent as anyone in this field but drew a tough post.
5th race – (2) Who Took the Money is a perfect 3-for-3 and should get a nice setup with a fast pace in front of him. (5) Ghazaaly was a sharp maiden winner last time and looks like the one to fear. (11) Masqueparade has a bad post but his speed should come in handy and keep him in contention much of the way. (4) Southern Passage fits much better here after facing Grade 1 rivals.
6h race – The Longines Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (G2) - (2) She’s Got You makes her 2021 debut for Chad Brown and her European background could be helpful if there’s give in the ground. (3) New York Girl closed fast for third and will be a stretch threat here. (6) Blowout has a nice turn of speed and could be tough to catch. (5) Got Stormy is not a fan of soft turf, but will be a force if the turf is firm.
7th race – The Derby City Distaff Stakes Presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (G1) - (4) Gamine was the division champ last year and should start 2021 with a win. (3) Bell’s the One won this race last year and promises to be the main concern for the favorite. (1) Estilo Talentoso finished in a dead heat with Bell’s the One last time and should be in the picture once again.
8th race – The Pat Day Mile Presented by LG&E and KU (G2) - (3) Jackie’s Warrior had some trouble with two turns but should be well-suited by the one turn distance here. (4) Defunded didn’t fire in a two-turn Grade 1 stakes but fits much better here. (7) Whiskey Double should benefit from an extra furlong here. (6) Starrininmydreams may respond to a switch to a one-turn distance.
9th race – The American Turf Stakes Presented by Derby City Gaming (G2) - (2) Winfromwithin is 2-for-2 since moving to turf and can make it a hat trick here. (4) Annex is 3-for-3 and should be the main rival. (8) Barrister Tom had a useful 2021 debut and can take a nice step forward here. (3) Chess’s Dream missed by a neck and cannot be ignored here.
10th race – The Churchill Downs Stakes Presented by Ford (G1) - (5) Tap It to Win was an impressive winner in his 2021 debut and seems ready for another winning effort here. (9) Whitmore has the heart of a champion but at 8 he may have lost a step and seems second-best. (8) Get the Prize chases a third straight win and should be a major factor. (12) Endorsed had a troubled trip last time and could take a step forward here.
11th race – The Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) - (6) Digital Age won this race last year when it was contested in September. He hasn’t raced in six months but should be ready for a peak effort. (3) Colonel Liam is in career form and is definitely the main rival. (9) Ride a Comet has done his best running at a mile but cannot be dismissed here. (7) Smooth Like Strait rarely turns in a bad effort and figures to be a main player here.
12th race – The Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) - (14) Essential Quality was the division champ at two and he still sits at the head of the class. It takes a rare talent to do that. It’s a wide-open battle for second, but he’s a standout as the one to beat. (19) Soup and Sandwich turned in a huge effort in the Florida Derby despite not changing leads. He has the kind of speed that has been effective lately in the Run for the Roses, and if he runs as well as he has been working, he could be right there at the finish. (7) Mandaloun ran surprisingly poor in the Louisiana Derby but has more talent than that and should bounce back here. (17) Highly Motivated turned in a great effort to finish second to Essential Quality in the Toyota Blue Grass and should not be ignored. If he moves forward enough, he’s capable of turning the tables on the favorite.
13th race – (6) Triple Tap is American Pharoah’s little brother and after a sharp debut win should be very hard to handle here. (3) Tulane Tryst closed nicely to post a maiden win and will be the top threat here. (2) Colonel Bowman has speed and an inside post and might be tough to reel in. (7) One Fast Cat has late speed and can make his presence felt in the stretch.
14th race – (7) Mr. Sippi was a solid second last time out and seems destined for a maiden win to close out the card. (9) Global Appeal was third and second in his last two tries and should not be discounted. (1) Bagboss was second in his first start and will get a big boost from a rail trip. (6) Curlin Lane is an interesting firster who may have some ability.