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Meet the Field for Derby 142: The Cali Boys


As we begin to fill you in with who could win Kentucky Derby 142, we must start with horse racing’s flavor of the month — California horses.  The previous two Derby Champions, California Chrome and American Pharoah, were Cali kids and this year’s big three from the west coast appear to be a cut above the rest.  Here’s what you need to know about each of them.


Eclipse Sportsire

Eclipse Sportwire

Where He Came From

Bred in Lexington at Summerhill Farms, his dad is also his uncle.  Sired by Uncle Mo with Seeking Gabrielle, the undefeated Derby favorite is owned by J. Paul Reddam of Reddam Racing.  He’s spent his early career primarily running in Cali at Del Mar and Santa Anita, along with a few trips to Keenland.

Who’s Got/On His Back

Nyquist is trained by Doug O’Neill, the man who took home a Derby and Preakness win in 2012 with I’ll Have Another.  Nyquist’s jockey, Mario Gutierrez, was also O’Neill’s jockey aboard I’ll Have Another.

What He’s Won

Everything.  He beat Exaggerator in the San Vincente Stakes and dusted Mohaymen in the Florida Derby.  He also won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall at Keeneland.  Only one horse has ever won the Juvenile and gone on to win the Derby — American Pharaoh.

Why You Should Bet On Him

You shouldn’t.  It’s a waste of money.  You should include him in exotics — trifectas, exactas, supers — because you need to put the overwhelming favorite in there just in case.  But seriously, don’t be the kind of person to say, “I told you so” after you win $2.50 on a $2 win bet.


Eclipse Sportswire

Where He Came From

The son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin and Dawn Raid, he was bred in Kentucky by Joseph Murphy and is owned by three different partners.

Who’s Got/On His Back

Exaggerator is a family man, sticking with the Desormeaux family.  Kent is his jockey and his brother Keith is Exaggerator’s trainer.

What He’s Won

When everyone is riding high on California horses, he won California’s biggest race — the Santa Anita Derby.  In his nine races, he’s finished in the money seven times.

Why You Should Bet On Him

If it rains, you gotta go with Exaggerator.  It was a sloppy track at the Santa Anita Derby, with most horses experiencing it for the first time, Exaggerator looked like he was on roller skates, flying past the pack down the stretch to win by more than six lengths.

Mor Spirit

Zoe Metz | ESW | CSM

Zoe Metz | ESW | CSM

Where He Came From

Bred in Pennsylvania, Mor Spirit comes from Im a Dixie Girl, sired by Eskendereya.  Owned by Michael Lund Peterson, five of the seven races he’s ran have been at Santa Anita.

Who’s Got/On His Back

Mor Spirit has an experienced duo with Gary Stevens in the saddle and Bob Baffert as his trainer.

What He’s Won

He only has first and second place finishes in seven career starts, but his last ride — the Santa Anita Derby — was a second-place finish behind Exaggerator.

Why You Should Bet On Him

Riding the Bob Baffert train isn’t a bad idea.  With a win on Saturday he’ll stand alone as second all-time in Kentucky Derby wins with five.  Gary Stevens isn’t planning on retiring, but the 53-year-old could have a Kobe-esque performance, hitting a run through the Triple Crown on his way out the door.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

4 Comments for Meet the Field for Derby 142: The Cali Boys

  1. pithuahua
    9:58 pm May 3, 2016 Permalink

    What about the Kentucky bred Cali horse Danzing Candy? He may not win but could get into that exotic bet field.

  2. Bomb Grade
    10:13 pm May 3, 2016 Permalink

    I agree he is conspicuously absent from the presented field. Until his fourth place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, Danzing Candy was in the conversation for being one of the derby favorites.

  3. Swaggy_P
    1:41 am May 4, 2016 Permalink

    American Pharoah actually didn’t win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he didn’t even race in it; he was out due to a bruised foot. However, one horse has accomplished such a feat and it was Street Sense, wining the 2006 BC Juvenile and the 2007 Kentucky Derby

  4. CrazyCayts
    1:48 pm May 4, 2016 Permalink

    Danzing Candy is too fast, he will likely lead the pace for the first 2 polls but will run out of gas by the stretch.