2020 Kentucky Derby: Meet the Field

2020 Kentucky Derby Preview

With the calendar flipped to September and no fans in attendance, the 2020 Kentucky Derby will be unlike any other. Several of this year’s top contenders will not make it to the starting gate in Louisville, namely Nadal, Art Collector and Maxfield. That has set things up for Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law (3/5 ML) to notch his second bid for the Triple Crown. A horse has never won from the No. 17 post in the Kentucky Derby, but Tiz the Law has all the tools to change that.

PostHorseMorning Line
1Finnick the Fierce50/1
2Max Player30/1
3Enforceable30/1
4Storm the Court50/1
5Major Fed50/1
6King Guillermo20/1
7Money Moves30/1
8South Bend50/1
9Mr. Big News50/1
10Thousand Words15/1
11Necker Island50/1
12Sole Volante30/1
13Attachment Rate50/1
14Winning Impression50/1
15Ny Traffic20/1
16Honor A.P.5/1
17Tiz the Law3/5
18Authentic8/1

Pony Pundits

Tune in every Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET as Marco D’Angelo and SIG break down the upcoming weekend in horse racing. Each handicapper offers their best bets for the biggest races on the card.

Meet the Kentucky Derby Field

1) Finnick the Fierce (Jockey: Martin Garcia) – Drawing one of the first two post positions used to be the kiss of death in the Kentucky Derby. But thanks to a new gate setup this year, that might not be the case. Fun fact: Only two horses have finished ahead of Tiz the Law during his seven-race career. One of them is Finnick the Fierce, who beat Tiz at Churchill Downs last November.

2) Max Player (Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.) – An interesting longshot that’s certainly capable of hitting the board. Max Player has improved his speed figure in each of his five starts. Max Player finished third behind Tiz the Law at the Belmont in June and the Travers in August.

3) Enforceable (Jockey: Adam Beschizza) – Enforceable had a promising start to his career with a 3rd-place finish in last year’s Breeders Cup Futurity and a win in the Grade-3 Lecomte, but has not done anything in recent months to suggest that he will be a major factor on Saturday.

4) Storm the Court (Jockey: Julien Leparoux) – Same story as Enforceable. Ran the race of a lifetime in last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile at 45-to-1, but hasn’t come close to repeating that feat in 2020.

5) Major Fed (Jockey: James Graham) – Fifty-eight horses had a workout at Churchill Downs on August 9. Major Fed was the fastest. Thirty-six horses had a workout at Churchill Downs on August 28. Major Fed was the fastest. Can he turn that morning speed into a meaningful race?

6) King Guillermo (Jockey: Samy Camacho) – Will likely grab a fair share of headlines this week with Detroit Tigers’ Victor Martinez leading the ownership group. He hasn’t raced in four months, but his performance in the Tampa Bay Derby and Arkansas Derby make him a contender.

7) Money Moves (Jockey: Javier Castellano) – Only has three races under his belt, and just one race since March. Good trainer (Todd Pletcher). Good jockey (Castellano). But this is a major step up in competition.

8) South Bend (Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione) – Won the first start of his career at Churchill Downs last year, but hasn’t been to the winner’s circle since. Recently changed barns going from Stanley Hough’s stable to Bill Mott’s.

9) Mr. Big News (Jockey: Gabriel Saez) – Probably not a factor, but his best race did come with Gabriel Saez aboard. Mr. Big News has had a different jockey for each of his last three races, but Saez was able to lead him to a win in the Oaklawn Stakes.

10) Thousand Words (Jockey: Florent Geroux) – There’s a term in horse racing called, “The other _____.” Fill in the name of the a top trainer: Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher, etc.. When they have two horses entered in a race, and one of them grabs the headlines…it’s usually the “other” one that you have to worry about. Meet Thousand Words – The “other” Bob Baffert horse behind Authentic. He’s got four wins in six races, but hasn’t faced a field like this before.

11) Necker Island (Jockey: Miguel Mena) – Not much to like in terms of recent form, but he has raced at Churchill Downs quite a bit with two wins there last year. There’s a little something to be said for the horse that knows the track and its surroundings as well as he does.

12) Sole Volante (Jockey: Luca Panici) – Had this race been run in May, Sole Volante would probably have a few more headlines. He won three of his first four starts and his speed figures in January and February put him near the top of this class. But he got smoked at the Belmont in June. Was that a bad day at the office, or have the other top contenders passed him?

13) Attachment Rate (Jockey: Joe Talamo) – Solid horse, but unlikely to be much of a factor. Speed figures aren’t good enough to compete with the big guns.

14) Winning Impression (Jockey: Paco Lopez) – In his last three races, he’s lost by 13 lengths, 11 lengths and nine lengths. Not much of a shot here.

15) Ny Traffic (Jockey: Mike Smith) – Has hit the board in each of his five starts in 2020, including a 2nd-place finish to Authentic as the Grade-1 Haskell in July.

16) Honor A.P. (Jockey: Martin Garcia) – I’ll make the same comment for Authentic below. The California racing scene is so thin right and these horses have never come close to seeing a large field size like this. Honor A.P.’s last race had three other horses in it. He’s a very good horse, but hasn’t experienced any kind of legitimate traffic trouble, outside post position, etc..

17) Tiz the Law (Jockey: Manuel Franco) – As good as advertised. Has won six of his seven career starts, with that lone loss coming at Churchill Downs last year. He’s not just winning these races, he’s cruising through them. He won the Travers by five lengths, and the Belmont and Florida Derby by four lengths each.

18) Authentic (Jockey: John Velazquez) – Has won four of his five career starts and has beaten a number of other competitors in this field. Hasn’t faced Tiz the Law yet. Jockey John Velazquez has never ridden him before. Has never been in a field with more than seven horses before.