The 143 Kentucky Derby is restricted to only 20 Kentucky Derby runners and will run on Saturday, May 6, 2017, for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Here is the latest look at State of Honor, one of the contenders for the 2017 Kentucky Derby to be run at Churchill Downs.
Owner: Conrad Farms
Trainer: Mark Casse
Pedigree: To Honor and Serve – State Cup, by Elusive Quality
Last Race Result: 2nd Place, Florida Derby, 4/1/17
State of Honor locked himself into availability for the Kentucky Derby by finishing second in the Florida Derby, but there's obviously a lot going against him, not the least of which is the fact that he's won just once in his 10-race career. He's a 50 to 1 longshot, and that actually might not end up being a bad price when push comes to shove on a horse that probably will go off with shorter odds than that at the Kentucky Derby. Still, the likelihood of State of Honor being the winner when he has already raced this many times and hasn't had the greatest results is slim, and that's why this is going to be one of the longshots of the Derby.
State of Honor has a lot of strikes against him. He's a consistent horse, but he's not a consistent winner, and that's a bad sign when it comes to winning the biggest race of his life. State of Honor has some really good Beyer Speed Ratings, but getting into the mid-90s consistently is a telling sign that this is what it is. If that's what State of Honor is going to do at Churchill Downs, he's looking at a mid-pack finish at best.
Part of the problem State of Honor has is that he wants to be a speed ball. He's jumped out to the lead at the Sam F. Davis Stakes, the Tampa Bay Derby and the Florida Derby, and in each case, he flat out ran out of gas and was lucky to just hit the board. We aren't sure if he really has the distance in him to run at this level at a mile and a quarter, but we can't imagine an experienced trainer like Mark Casse would put his horse through this hassle when there are other options out there that could be lucrative.
And that brings us to the other point about State of Honor that is so interesting. He's a Canadian-bred colt, and rare is the horse who isn't bred in the United States who has any success whatsoever at this level. There's a reason why Casse is already talking about taking this pony back to Woodbine where he started his career and had his greatest successes, including his only win in his third try at his maiden and his fifth race overall.
But therein lies the biggest problem with State of Honor. Horses these days only run 10 races in their careers when they're all that successful, and State of Honor has already done that with the Kentucky Derby yet to come. Generally speaking, any horse who runs in more than six, maybe seven races before the Run for the Roses is labeled as a loser, and we have a feeling this colt is nothing more than what he is. If that turns out to be the case, he's nothing more than, as we suggest earlier, a middle of the pack option. Sure, it's great that he's hit the board in seven of his 10 career races, but there's a big difference between hitting the board in these fields of 10 and 11 and doing so in the Kentucky Derby with 20 ponies out on the track.
The price? It's good on State of Honor. The results? Probably not as good.
With a maximum of 20 horses accepted into the Kentucky Derby field, there is a significant vetting process to qualify the horses among this group of three-year olds. A points system is in place to reward winners and other top finishers of the main races leading into the Derby. The Top 20 horses will get the first opportunity to run in the Kentucky Derby, though as horses bow out of the process, the next ones in the standings are given their chances until the field of 20 is set.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby wraps up the second week of April, thus ending a grueling stretch of eight months of qualifying for the top colts in the world. The field won't be finalized until the Kentucky Derby post draw on Wednesday, May 3.
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Below are some of the contenders that will possibly run the day of the race. There are 20 Derby Contenders for the race but these are the most likely ones will be confirmed a place at the event.
|Rank||Horse||Points||Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings||Graded Stakes Earnings||Breeder||Trainer||Owner|
|1||Girvin||150||$840,000||$840,000||Bob Austin & John Witte||Joe Sharp||Brad Grady|
|2||Gormley||125||$884,000||$884,000||Castleton Lyons & Kilboy Estate||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|3||Irish War Cry||110||$676,660||$616,660||Isabelle de Tomaso||H. Motion||Isabelle de Tomaso|
|4||Irap||108||$760,000||$738,000||Aaron & Marie Jones||Doug O'Neill||Reddam Racing LLC|
|5||Always Dreaming||100||$589,000||$589,000||Santa Rosa Partners||Todd Pletcher||St Elias, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Brooklyn Boys, MEB Stables|
|6||Gunnevera||84||$1,137,800||$1,134,200||Brandywine Farm & Stephen Upchurch||Antonio Sano||Peacock Racing Stables, LLC|
|7||Practical Joke||74||$966,000||$966,000||Whispering Oaks||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|8||J Boys Echo||63||$305,000||$305,000||Betz, Blackburn, J. Betz, Ramsby, CNHHNK||Dale Romans||Albaugh Family Stables LLC|
|9||State of Honor||62||$310,364||$280,000||Manfred Conrad & Penny Conrad||Mark Casse||Conrad Farms|
|10||Mastery||60||$480,000||$480,000||Stone Farm||Bob Baffert||Cheyenne Stables LLC|
|11||Tapwrit||54||$325,570||$280,000||My Meadowview LLC||Todd Pletcher||Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LaPenta, Robert V.|
|12||Epicharis (JPN)||50||$753,381||$400,000||Masatsugu Kamada||Kiyoshi Hagiwara||Carrot Farm|
|13||Malagacy||50||$540,000||$540,000||John Trumbulovic||Todd Pletcher||Sumaya U.S. Stable|
|14||McCraken||40||$385,048||$335,320||Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC||Ian Wilkes||Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC|
|15||Battle of Midway||40||$224,000||$224,000||Thor-Bred Stables, LLC||Jerry Hollendorfer||Fox Hill Farms, Inc.|
|16||Patch||40||$200,000||$200,000||Calumet Farm||Todd Pletcher||Calumet Farm|
|17||Battalion Runner||40||$140,000||$140,000||Dell Ridge Farm, LLC||Todd Pletcher||St. Elias Stable|
|18||Cloud Computing||40||$135,000||$135,000||Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc & Stretch Run Ventures, LLC||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|19||Mont Saint Legame (JPN)||40||$0||$0||Kawashima Bokujo||Koji Maki||Shinichi Yamashita|
|20||Untrapped||34||$210,000||$210,000||Indian Creek & Jonathan Sheppard||Steven Asmussen||Michael Langford|
|21||Classic Empire||32||$1,493,820||$1,493,820||Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson||Mark Casse||John C. Oxley|
|22||El Areeb||30||$330,000||$270,000||Dixiana Farms LLC||Cathal Lynch||M M G Stables, LLC|
|23||Royal Mo||30||$213,000||$213,000||Brandywine Farm||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|24||Local Hero||30||$140,000||$140,000||Three Chimneys Farm LLC||Steven Asmussen||e Five Racing Thoroughbreds|
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