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Sport Three big storylines heading into Kentucky Derby week

17:40  30 april  2018
17:40  30 april  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Report: Status of Gronkowski, the horse, in jeopardy for Kentucky Derby

  Report: Status of Gronkowski, the horse, in jeopardy for Kentucky Derby Report: Gronkowski, named for Patriots star Rob Gronkowski, suffered a setback that has jeopardized his participation in the Kentucky Derby.“We’ve had a minor setback, and we will know where we are in the next 24 hours,” trainer Jeremy Noseda told RacingPost.com.

It's a Kentucky Derby without an underdog. Todd Pletcher comes with four top contenders and Bob Baffert has the horse everyone’s excited about in Justify. But as the week begins, here are three big things to keep in mind heading into Saturday’s race: Todd Pletcher can change the narrative forever.

More: Three big storylines heading into Kentucky Derby week . More: With four contenders, Todd Pletcher has another strong hand. While that won’t necessarily mean anything on Saturday, the trend has to at least enter the minds of experienced horseplayers, who typically prefer to bet against

a man wearing a suit and tie: John Velazquez aboard Always Dreaming (5) celebrates with trainer Todd Pletcher after winning the 2017 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.© Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports John Velazquez aboard Always Dreaming (5) celebrates with trainer Todd Pletcher after winning the 2017 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. LOUISVILLE — Though Gronkowski, the horse, had little realistic chance of winning the Kentucky Derby, the mere possibility that Rob Gronkowski, the party animal, might grace the Churchill Downs winners’ circle would have made this a Derby Week unlike any other in recent memory.

Horse racing, at the level it takes to get to the Kentucky Derby, is mostly a playground for the elites. There are longshot stories here and there, reminding us from time to time that glory on the first Saturday in May can’t be bought, but this is by and large the country club of country clubs. Everyman appeal is hard to find in the owner’s box, and a story that resonates in popular culture happens once in a generation.

No Kentucky Derby for Gronkowski the horse

  No Kentucky Derby for Gronkowski the horse Anyone hoping to see Rob Gronkowski celebrating his namesake horse’s win at this year’s Kentucky Derby will have to find something else to root for at the track. Gronkowski the horse will not be running at Churchill Downs on May 5. After a report on Monday of a “setback” that could dash plans for a [ more ]Gronkowski the horse will not be running at Churchill Downs on May 5. After a report on Monday of a “setback” that could dash plans for a Derby run, the horse’s owners announced that the horse has indeed been scratched. The horse ran a fever over the weekend that required antibiotics and won’t be making the trip to Louisville as a result.

Kentucky Derby : Trainer Aidan O'Brien is sticking to his routine with Mendelssohn. But there's a lot of history suggesting that's unwise. More: Three big storylines heading into Kentucky Derby week . Mitchell has a point. O’Brien is arguably the world’s best trainer, and his results on every corner of the

Kentucky Derby Week at the Kentucky Derby . The 2019 Kentucky Derby is the 145th renewal of The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. Live odds, betting, horse bios, travel info, tickets, news, and updates from Churchill Downs Race Track.

Truth be told, horse racing could use a few more Rob Gronkowskis around the backstretch. The last time someone with that kind of broad appeal had a central role in the Derby was 1992 when MC Hammer-owned Dance Floor had the lead at the top of the stretch before finishing a solid third to Lil E Tee.

With Gronkowski pulling out of the race last week due to a minor illness just a few days after the Patriots’ tight end bought a minor stake in the horse, this is not a Derby loaded with storylines that will draw in the casual fan. But if rooting for titans of industry, old money, Kentucky bluebloods and royal families of the Middle East is your thing, you’re in luck!

More: Todd Pletcher has another strong hand for Derby

More: Gronkowski is out of Kentucky Derby after spiking fever

Here's why it's harder to win big betting Kentucky Derby

  Here's why it's harder to win big betting Kentucky Derby The strategy for many serious players in betting the Kentucky Derby is to build exotic wagers around the favorite and hope some longshots hit the board. That worked beautifully last year when a $1 trifecta with the favorite winning paid more than $4,000 and a $1 superfecta hit for $75,974.50. It wasn’t as exciting in 2016 when the race played out pretty much to the odds and the Nyquist-Exaggerator-Gun Runner trifecta paid a paltry $173.40 on a $2 bet.

The Kentucky Derby /ˈdɜːrbi/ is a horse race that is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky , United States, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two- week -long Kentucky Derby Festival.

Reasons for both heading into Kentucky Derby 2016 at Churchill Downs. Why your Kentucky Derby horse can win, or not. Reasons for both heading into Kentucky Derby 2016 Why he can win: Although he took a Spring Break of sorts – had to do it with the name – eight weeks between races

In many respects, it’s a Derby without an underdog. Todd Pletcher, who seems to get an armada of expensive Thoroughbreds in his barn each year and wins big races with them coast-to-coast, comes with four top contenders. Bob Baffert, a four-time Derby winner and the only trainer in the recent era to crack the Triple Crown code, has the horse everyone’s excited about in Justify.

Ahmed Zayat, the owner of American Pharoah, is back in the Derby with Solomini.

Mike Repole, who made a fortune in Vitaminwater and has brought several contenders to Churchill in recent years, will have a couple more good shots with Vino Rosso and Noble Indy. And WinStar Farm, a mega-successful stud and racing operation, has an ownership stake in three of the favorites and bred another.

At first blush, this seems like an insiders-only kind of Derby. But as the week begins, here are three big things to keep in mind heading into Saturday’s race:

Why Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert is afraid of black cats

  Why Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert is afraid of black cats Trainer Bob Baffert, who brings Justify to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, believes two encounters with black cats cost him Triple Crown wins.“Black cats,” he said. “They kill me every time. I can just feel it when I see one. The only thing that gets me is black cats.

There's a " big three " in this one, too. Tacitus, a Tapit colt who won on his second try in November over the Aqueduct strip, then won the Grade II Lambholm South One more week and we'll just about have the field set for Kentucky Derby 145. But this is worth waiting for as the April 13 Arkansas Derby at

This feature provides a weekly capsule look at three horses who are heating up on the Triple Crown trail and three horses whose chances for the Good Magic (left) and Hofbug are two Kentucky Derby contenders whose training this week has made a positive impression on ABR’s Mike Curry.

Todd Pletcher can change the narrative forever

Though he had seven Eclipse Awards to his name as the nation’s top trainer, Pletcher was widely viewed as a Derby Day disappointment heading into last year’s race. He had brought 43 horses to the Derby over a decade and a half, many of them expensive yearling purchases, and come away with just one win: Super Saver in 2010.

Though Pletcher attracts plenty of owners with the Derby on their minds, his style is uncompromising. He doesn’t rush horses to the track as 2-year-olds. And he doesn’t give them a punishing schedule of prep races, which made some handicappers question whether his horses had enough foundation of endurance to handle 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May.

But now Pletcher is a two-time Derby winner after Always Dreaming routed the field last year, and he flat-out admitted after the race he needed that second win to validate his career. (Always Dreaming hasn’t won in four starts since, but that won’t go on his Wikipedia page.)

Bottom line: If Pletcher wins his third Derby this year, putting him right on the heels of Baffert and D.Wayne Lukas, it will be impossible to quibble with the record.

Favorite Justify, Magnum Moon try to break ‘Apollo Curse’

  Favorite Justify, Magnum Moon try to break ‘Apollo Curse’ Justify is the favorite to beat a crowded and competitive field at the 2018 Kentucky Derby, and should he deliver on that promise would do something no horse has done in 136 years. Justify has 7-2 odds to win on Saturday at Churchill Downs, leading the pack. The horse is undefeated, but so far that only means three races, since Justify never raced as a 2-year-old. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old was Apollo way back in 1882.Magnum Moon, with 13-1 odds, also never raced as a 2-year-old. Saturday will be his fifth career race.

With less than a week before the Derby kicks off and horses entering the final stretch of their preparation for post time, let's take a look at a few of the biggest storylines heading into this epic American classic.

The 2020 Kentucky Derby is the 146th renewal of The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. Live odds, betting, horse bios, travel info, tickets, news, and updates from Churchill Downs Race Track. 2020 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Saturday, May 2, 2020.

And he’s bringing about as strong of a hand as a trainer could have. Pletcher’s horses won the Arkansas Derby (Magnum Moon), Wood Memorial (Vino Rosso), Florida Derby (Audible) and Louisiana Derby (Noble Indy).

The name Apollo is going to come up a lot

A lot of the old theories about what kind of horse can win the Kentucky Derby have gone by the wayside as the sport has changed in the last couple decades. As recently as 1987, for instance, Alysheba had run 10 times prior to the Kentucky Derby including a final prep in the Blue Grass just nine days earlier. That kind of schedule would be unheard of now.

In fact, the trend recently has been toward lightly-raced colts and a training approach that keeps horses fresh for the Triple Crown. Always Dreaming didn’t break his maiden until last January. American Pharoah had just five races before the Kentucky Derby and only two preps as a 3-year-old. If you transported those horses back to, say, 1990, a number of trainers would tell you there’s no way those horses could have been fit enough to run 1 1/4 miles.

One of the last backstrech bromides to die has been the so-called “Curse of Apollo.” Apollo won the Derby in 1882 without racing as a 2-year-old. Nobody else has done it since.

That will change at some point; maybe even this year.

Justify, who made his debut on Feb. 18, was about as impressive as a 3-year-old can be in winning the Santa Anita Derby. He’s just 3-for-3, but he’s for real — and he’s got the modern master in Baffert guiding him. Similarly, Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon looks like he’s legit. After breaking his maiden first time out on Jan. 13, he breezed through an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs and then won the two big prep races at Oaklawn that launched American Pharoah to the Triple Crown.

Can Europe/Dubai finally claim the roses?

There have been plenty of high-class European horses to make the trip across the Atlantic and try the Derby. None of them have won. Similarly, the UAE Derby — a 1 1/4-mile prep on dirt in Dubai — has produced some tantalizing possibilities but no winners. (Notably, last year’s UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow just refused to run when the gates opened and decided to prance around in the slop instead.)

Every year, American horseplayers hear that “this is the year” a horse can pull it off despite the unconventional preparation and long journey overseas. But this might really be the year.

Mendelssohn, who came over from the U.K. to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year on grass, certainly has the pedigree to be great on dirt: Purchased for $3 million at auction as a yearling, he’s a half-brother to the great mare Beholder, who won 11 Grade 1s. Mendelssohn dominated the UAE Derby in his dirt debut, winning by 18 3/4 lengths, and looks like an intriguing contender.

Baffert: Justify doing well after treatment for bruised heel .
Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify is doing well and still on track for the Preakness Stakes after the Kentucky Derby winner was treated for a bruised heel on his left hind foot. Baffert says Justify was irritated by some gravel on Sunday morning outside the barn at Churchill Downs after winning the Derby on a muddy track. Baffert said on a conference call Thursday that Justify's feet were tender following the race but added the problem is behind him after quick treatment.Justify is undefeated in four starts and expected to be a heavy favorite against Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip and others at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on May 19.

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