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Scoping Out The Derby
Tim Layden
May 09, 2005
Who's the horse to beat? Who's the hottest trainer? Who's fighting history? Check out our Kentucky Derby tip sheet
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May 09, 2005

Scoping Out The Derby

Who's the horse to beat? Who's the hottest trainer? Who's fighting history? Check out our Kentucky Derby tip sheet

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However, Greeley's Galaxy was not nominated to the Triple Crown races, which cost a mere $600 in January and $6,000 in March. Hughes, who is listed by Forbes as the 79th-richest American, can afford the $200,000 supplemental fee to make Greeley's Galaxy eligible, but horses nominated early have precedence over horses that are supplemented. Only when Consolidator pulled out on Monday could Hughes rest easier about getting both horses into the race.

8. History is not on their side.

The last horse to win the Derby after going to the starting gate just twice as a 3-year-old was Sunny's Halo in 1983. Before that, it was Jet Pilot in 1947. Bellamy Road, High Limit (left) and Closing Argument, who was third in the Blue Grass Stakes, have each had just two starts this year.

Wilko has even more than that going against him. Not only has he started just twice this year (he did run a whopping 12 times as a 2-year-old), but he also won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. No horse has won the Juvenile and the Derby.

9. Don't write off the contingent from the West Coast.

Wise guys are roundly trashing the three horses coming to Louisville after running in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby: winner Buzzards Bay (whose trainer, Jeff Mullins, has won the prestigious prep three straight times), third-place finisher Wilko (right) and fourth-place finisher Giacomo. One warning: Since 1980 the Santa Anita Derby has produced seven Derby winners, a rate of success equaled only by the Florida Derby.

10. It's all about the money.

You can go to Louisville--hotel suites run as much as $11,000 for the three-night minimum--and pick the winner. More than $19 million was wagered at the Downs on Derby Day last year. Smarty Jones was syndicated for $40 million. It would cost you $100,000 to have Smarty (below) impregnate your mare. This year the winner gets $1.24 million from the newly doubled purse of $2 million, provided he passes the most exacting drug tests in Derby history, to which all horses in the field will be subjected in the wake of doping scandals in New York and California.

Who will win on Saturday? Count on a sick pace and play a closers-only exacta box with Afleet Alex, Noble Causeway, and Wilko or Don't Get Mad. And buy a $2 win ticket on Bellamy Road, so you'll have a keepsake in case he really is the next superhorse. ?

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