Quip Among One-Time Derby Hopefuls Skipping Run for Roses

Kevin Stott

Sunday, April 29, 2018 1:59 AM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 29, 2018 1:59 AM UTC

Several talented 3-year-old thoroughbreds won't compete in the first leg of the Triple Crown, as their owners and trainers hope for better days (and paydays) on the track.

Kentucky Derby: Who's Not Competing

With no dearth of talent in Saturday's Kentucky Derby at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky (6:30 p.m. ET; NBC), a number of quality 3-year-olds won’t be running in The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. The 2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby was a hard one for many and seemingly a breeze for others, and there still seems like six or seven entrants could be legitimate race favorites. The current futures bet favorite is Santa Anita Derby winner Justify (4/1, Bovada), with Mendelssohn (+450, 5Dimes), Audible (+625, Bovada), Magnum Moon (8/1, Bovada), Bolt d'Oro (9/1, Bovada), Good Magic (11/1, Bovada), Vino Rosso (16/1, Bovada), Hofburg (20/1, 5Dimes) and Noble Indy (25/1, 5Dimes) following in current odds order.

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“I think it's probably the most competitive Derby I've seen in years.”https://t.co/rxMTHE78q4

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 27, 2018

With only so many qualifiers in the big 20-horse field, many hopefuls didn’t make it to Churchill Downs for their coveted shot at the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown (Will There Be a Triple Crown Winner? Yes +600, No -900, 5Dimes). Let’s look at some of these hopefuls who will probably be in a barn eating hay on Saturday, ignorant of the fact that this was the day they were supposed to instantly become stars.


Trained by Rodolphe Brisset, this WinStar Farm (and Repole Stable) entry — the stable still has three Kentucky Derby entrants this year in Audible, Justify and Noble Indy — South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Quip (90 points) will bypass the Kentucky Derby to hopefully participate in the 143rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 19 in a field that might include Diamond King. Quip’s spot in the Derby was filled by Combatant (60/1, 5Dimes).

Runaway Ghost

Runaway Ghost (50 points) won the Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park on March 25 but the Todd Fincher-trained and Ghostzapper colt is injured and out with a bad shin, likely a hairline fracture, according to Fincher.


Doug Watson-trained Rayya has 40 qualifying points but this girl, owned by Rashid bin Humaid al Nuaimi and sporting a 2-3-0 record in 5 races, will be running in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday against some of the top 3-year-old fillies in the world. Rayya is 10/1 to win the Kentucky Oaks at Bovada, with Midnight Bisou (+225) and Monomoy Girl (+250) the race chalks.


This Bob Baffert-trained horse was headed for a showdown with Bolt d’Oro at the Santa Anita Derby before being pulled with a late injury and replaced by stablemate Justify, who won the race and is now the futures bet favorite for the Run For The Roses. Once priced third in line in the futures bet market on Feb. 20 at +750 to win the Kentucky Derby behind Bolt d’Oro (+650) and Good Magic (+750), McKinzie (40 points) will now miss the entire Triple Crown series with a bruised hock, according to Baffert. This horse would have more than likely been in the mix on the dirt at Churchill Downs with impressive 101 and 98 Beyer Speed Figure numbers this calendar year.


Named after New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski — now a part-owner with a "substantial stake" in the 3-year-old — this horse earned an automatic berth into the Kentucky Derby by earning the most points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, but it was announced last week that the colt owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds had pulled out the race with a fever. With Gronkowski (50 qualifying points) out, Instilled Regard (29 points) slid into the Field, currently priced at 50/1 to win at Bovada. So the tight end will play this season but the horse won't race.

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Gronkowski the horse will be missing the Kentucky Derby on May 5th after spiking a fever over the weekend.

The horse is currently being treated with antibiotics.

Rob Gronkowski announced last week that he acquired a minority stake in the horse. pic.twitter.com/Zx8QjdzygX

— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) April 23, 2018

Catholic Boy

After suffering bleeding in the Florida Derby (G1) and finishing in a disappointing 4th place — behind Audible, Hofburg and Mississippi (in that win-place-show order) — Catholic Boy (24 points) will reportedly be taking some time off to let his injury heal and won’t be running in the Kentucky Derby as the Steve Asmussen-trained 3-year-old rests. “Unfortunately, he bled a significant amount,” John Panagot, racing manager for part-owner Robert LaPenta, told Daily Racing Form of Catholic Boy’s condition after the Florida Derby. “We’re going to have to stop on him and let him heal.” A stakes winner on dirt, Catholic Boy was shipped back to his Bridlewood Farm base in Ocala, Florida, and will work on healing with help of the great Father Time and the even better hyperbaric chamber.

Snapper Sinclair

Because Catholic Boy is injured, Snapper Sinclair (22 points) would then be the next horse next in line on the Kentucky Derby qualifying points leaderboard to get a chance to go to the Kentucky Derby, but the Steve Asmussen-trained, Bloom Racing-owned 3-year-old male will also be bypassing The Run For the Roses. "We're going to give him a break," Asmussen told Jay Privman of DRF. "Mother Nature is saying quit it."

Blended Citizen

On the bubble now with so many in front of him either injured or simply choosing to bypass the Derby is Blended Citizen (22 points), ranked 21st. So there is a possibility we will be seeing the Doug O’Neill-trained, sire of Proud Citizen running in the first leg of the Triple Crown if anything else changes.


Smarty Jones Stakes and Southwest Stakes winner and the Baffert-trained Mourinho (11 points) had to be euthanized after suffering a fatal injury during a workout at Santa Anita Park on March 12, after suffering a severe leg fracture. "It's terrible. He was going easily, breezing, head and head when he took a bad step," Baffert said of the son of Super Saver who had 2 wins in 5 lifetime races and was working out with Restoring Hope at the time. And another horse with Kentucky Derby aspirations, the Ken McPeek-trained Ten City (2 points), also had to be euthanized after seizing up in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) after fracturing a leg in the high-profile race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, last October in a race won by Kentucky Derby entrant Free Drop Billy (33/1 to win Kentucky Derby, Bovada).


Three horses have registered year-high 107 Beyer Speed Figures this year for 3-year-old males and memales: Kentucky Derby favorite Justify in winning the Santa Anita Derby, Derby second-favorite Mendelssohn in the UAE Derby, and Mitole in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Mitole is also Asmussen-trained and the son of Eskendereya and is 3-2-0 in 5 career starts with all three of the Kentucky-bred bay colt's wins coming at Oaklawn Park. Bought as a yearling for $140,000, Mitole — who has also registered 97 and 96 Beyers this year and stumbled in his maiden race the Gazebo Stakes on Feb. 24 where he went off as the 2/5 favorite — has earned $228,710 for his owners, William and Corinne Heiligbrodt. The highest Beyer Speed Figure recorded in 2018 is a 119 by icon Gun Runner with Florent Geroux in the saddle at the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park in the last race and maybe the best performance of the his career, according to Mike Watchmaker of the DRF.

Also Notable

Dream Baby Dream (20 points, ranked No. 22), Restoring Hope (20 points, ranked No. 23), Strike Power (20 points), Sporting Chance (12 points, ranked No. 24), Givemeaminit (12 points, ranked No. 25) and Pony Up (12 points, ranked No. 26).

Free Kentucky Derby Winner Futures Bets Picks: Mendelssohn +450 (5Dimes), Magnum Moon +800 (Bovada)

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