IN SUMMARY: It’s very difficult to get away from the monster that is JUSTIFY, who is a perfect four from four and won the Kentucky Derby on his latest start in impressive fashion. He continues to prove progressive and quite simply frightening, a combination that should see him almost impossible to live with. Good Magic was behind him at Churchill Downs earlier this month, trailing in his wake and he’s unlikely to get any closer here given identical circumstances.
1 QUIP – Grade 2 winner when taking Tampa Bay Derby, last seen finishing second in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park last month in much different conditions than today. None of his form suggests he can live with the top two in the market, but he does arrive fresher than most and could sneak the frame given his best form.
2 LONE SAILOR – Son of Majestic Warrior who likes to fly from off the pace, never able to make a worthwhile challenge with eighth in the Kentucky Derby. He has plenty to find with both Justify and Good Magic, but today’s scenario may suit him better in a smaller field. His best form gives him a good chance of reaching third position, though he’d surely prefer a faster surface.
3 SPORTING CHANCE – Grade 1 winner at Saratoga in September, though he’s not gone on from that effort since. He was disappointing in a Grade 3 at Churchill Downs earlier this month and he’s pitched into deeper waters now. With his profile far from progressive, others look far more appealing and he couldn’t be put forward.
4 DIAMOND KING – Four-time winner who steps up into this grade with plenty to find on the figures, last seen winning a conditions race at Laurel Park. The form of that race doesn’t set the world alight and he does look extremely vulnerable here.
5 GOOD MAGIC – Won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar in November, winning a Grade 2 at Keeneland since. He was simply no match for Justify when second in the Kentucky Derby earlier this month, beaten three lengths and he could make no impression late on despite drawing nearly level on the turn for home. He’s likely to give this another good shot and he’s still lightly raced, but ultimately he should just be filling the forecast slot once again.
6 TENFOLD – Holds only two minor victories to his name, which came in maiden special weight and claiming contests. He wasn’t disgraced in the Arkansas Derby on his latest start, but he looked to be slowing up late on and stepping up to this distance is a very big question mark. Looks likely to run out of gas late on kept in this tough grade.
7 JUSTIFY – Four wins from four starts for this Bob Baffert trained megastar, backing up a Santa Anita Derby victory with a devastating Kentucky Derby performance. He was a ready winner over Good Magic that day, keeping on powerfully and never letting that rival get to his quarters. With potentially more to come after only four starts, this monster should take all the beating once again.
8 BRAVAZO – Has a very inconsistent profile, though he was a Grade 2 winner at Fair Grounds in February, winning by a nose. He was a fair sixth in the Kentucky Derby on his latest start, making some late gains but never on terms with Justify. The same should be the case again here, but that Churchill Downs effort does put him in the hunt for third. That said, he’s far from consistent and impossible to trust implicitly.