Audible Hopes to Make Lots of Noise in Competitive Derby

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 7:05 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2018 7:05 PM UTC

The 2016 and 2017 Florida Derby winners went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Audible and new jockey Javier Castellano hope to make it three straight in this year's Run for the Roses.

Kentucky Derby Top Contenders Preview: Audible

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won last year's Kentucky Derby with American Pharoah, has a solid four -- count 'em, four -- 3-year-olds he looks to be racing in the 144th running of the Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky (6:30 p.m. ET; NBC). Pletcher's foursome is Florida Derby winner Audible (+670 at 5Dimes and 5/1 at Bovada to win Kentucky Derby), Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy (+2250, 5Dimes), Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso (16/1, Bovada) and Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon (8/1, Bovada).

Audible is the second choice in the Derby behind Justify. Horses who have won the Florida Derby have fared pretty well in the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown (Will There Be a Triple Crown Winner? Yes +600, No -900, 5Dimes), with the last two Florida Derby champs (Always Dreaming in 2017 and Nyquist in 2016) going on to win at Churchill Downs. Others such as Orb (2013), Big Brown (2008), Barbaro (2006), Empire Maker (2003) and Monarchos (2002) have won the Run for the Roses.

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Audible is looking great and very enthusiastic about mealtime! pic.twitter.com/BjMGeE1Zjm

— Starlight Racing (@StarlightRacing) April 14, 2018
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Training for the Kentucky Derby at Palm Beach Downs last week, Audible ran a half-mile in a bullet-fast :48.75 and galloped out in 1:02.22 in his first work with Pletcher since winning the Florida Derby on March 31. "For him, I thought it was outstanding," Pletcher said of the workout and time after a fairly long layoff. With a very good pedigree, the status of winning the Florida Derby and Pletcher liking the taste of victory at Louisville — he also won there in 2010 with Super Saver — this horse should contest in the Kentucky Derby. The bay colt has won four straight races, including the Holy Bull Stakes, after a third-place finish in his maiden race last September as a 2-year-old. Audible beat Kentucky Derby entrant Hofburg in the Florida Derby, and beat Derby horse Free Drop Billy in the Holy Bull Stakes.

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Bad Timing for Audible?

After cruising to an easy win in the nine-horse Florida Derby, Audible (99, 99 Beyer Speed Figures) will have tougher competition in Louisville, with a bigger field (20 horses) and a handful of horses who have racked up faster Beyer numbers. They include Santa Anita Derby winner and Kentucky Derby favorite Justify (107, 104, 101 Beyer Speed Figures), Santa Anita Derby runner-up Bolt d'Oro (102, 101), and UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn (106). All three should be all hard to outrun should they get fair to decent trips at Churchill Downs. One thing we can read into, from a handicapping point of view maybe, is the choice of three-time Derby winner Victor Espinoza to be in the saddle of Bolt d’Oro instead of Javier Castellano, who will now ride Audible with his regular jockey John Velazquez choosing to ride Vino Rosso at Churchill Downs.

With six other talented thoroughbreds having a legitimate shot at winning The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports, Audible might have been born in the wrong year and could have contested for the winner’s circle in previous years. The bigger field and quantity of talent might freak out Audible some, and jockey changes for the Derby always seem strange. But if Castellano can navigate the shortest possible route on the 1 1⁄4-mile (10 furlongs) dirt track, stay out of trouble, save some speed and give this horse a direct path down the homestretch, perhaps Audible makes it five consecutive wins and heads to the Preakness Stakes with the Triple Crown a possibility. He definitely has the stuff.

Using Audible in exotic wagers such as trifectas, superfectas and boxes in the Kentucky Derby might be the best approach for your horse racing picks, because winning the race outright could be a tough reality. Perhaps bettors would be wiser wagering on a Place, Show or fourth-place finish. With Pletcher sending four to the Derby and Magnum Moon being the one many remember because he raced last, Audible might have gotten lost in the shuffle and could end up providing some value on Derby Day.

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