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Top 2018 Kentucky Derby Contenders


"Kentucky Derby 2014-0214" (CC BY 2.0) by Bill Brin

Even though it is still winter, prime horse racing season is just about here, with the Kentucky Derby set to open up Triple Crown season. The run for the roses acts not only as the opening of the Triple Crown, but also as an unofficial start to spring. And just as people look for new beginnings when spring rolls around, the following Kentucky Derby contenders look to get off to a good start this spring. They hope to get off to that good start by giving themselves a chance at a Triple Crown by winning the Derby. These are the biggest contenders looking ahead to the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Bolt d`Oro

With a name that translates to Bolt of Gold, Bolt d`Oro has the potential to be a goldmine for trainer Mick Ruis. The three-year-old colt has won three of its first four races, making it an early contender to take down the run for the roses. While there is still plenty of time for Bolt d`Oro`s status to change, the horse has emerged as one of the favourites to win the Kentucky Derby.

However, a little horse racing analysis reveals that Bolt d`Oro is vulnerable at the top of the list of contenders to win the first leg of the Triple Crown. The horse lost its last race, the Breeders Cup Juvenile back in November. This was a third-place finish for Bolt d`Oro in a race that many thought it would win, making the third-place finish a shocking result.

That Breeders Cup Juvenile was the most high-profile race of Bolt d`Oro`s life, which raises the question of whether or not Bolt d`Oro can rise up to meet the challenge of big races. While the horse itself has no sense of the magnitude of each race, its physical ability to outrun the other top horses of its class could be an issue here, and we won`t truly know if Bolt d`Oro can validate its status as a Kentucky Derby favourite. Of course, if Bolt d`Oro can win the first Triple Crown race, there is no reason to believe he can`t win the next two as well.

Good Magic

What has been so impressive about Good Magic so far is how consistent at the top of each race it has been, with three top-two finishes in three races to start its career. The last of those top-two finishes was a win in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, in the same race that the aforementioned Bolt d`Oro finished third in. For the horse to get their first win in its most high-profile race to date, beating the favourite in Bolt d`Oro and announcing its candidacy to win the Kentucky Derby is very impressive and promising work.

The most difficult thing about backing Good Magic is the fact that Good Magic is relatively inexperienced despite its status as one of the horses most likely to win the run for the roses. With only three races under their belt, the Chad Brown-trained son of Curlin is still somewhat unproven. Of course, that does not preclude him from going out and winning the Kentucky Derby, but Good Magic is another horse who will be proving himself for one of the first times if he manages to win the race.

Encouraging for Good Magic is just how convincingly he managed to win the Breeders Cup Juvenile, as he pulled away to win by over four lengths when all was said and done. That is impressive in any race, but when you factor in that it was the biggest race of his career and that he was taking on a heavy favourite in Bolt d`Oro, well, you may have a contender in multiple triple crown races in Good Magic after all.

It will be interesting to see if Good Magic can outperform Bolt d`Oro, or if another horse taking part in the race will find a way to usurp both of them en route to a surprising victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown. Both of these horses have shown flashes of greatness in the early stages of their racing careers, and have handicappers and horse racing fans salivating over what they are capable of doing once this year`s Triple Crown races get underway.


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