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 Girvin, one of the contenders for the 2017 Kentucky Derby to be run at Churchill Downs.
Owner: Brad Grady
Trainer: Joe Sharp
Pedigree: Tale of Ekati – Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon
Last Race Result: 1st Place, Louisiana Derby, 4/1/17
Just because a horse has done well in his mini-series leading up to the Kentucky Derby doesn't necessarily mean that he's a lock to even be remotely competitive in the biggest race for three-year olds. Racing in the Bayou has generally led to a clearly defined best colt of the three-year olds, and this year, that horse is Girvin. However, if Girvin follows in the footsteps of once-dominant colts, Vicar's in Trouble and International Star, he won't even end up being the remotest of factors in the Kentucky Derby.
That said, the reason why Girvin is considered to be a reasonable +2000 middle of the pack pony is because he's won three of his four career racing, including the two biggest races at the Fair Grounds, the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby. Odds have it, that price will be about where he ends up when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, and that isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.
Go back and watch any race Girvin has been in thus far in his career, and they all look exactly the same. Brian Hernandez does what he can to keep this horse in the middle of the pack, generally with outside position. Horses have had big runs out in front to essentially play the rabbit role, and Girvin has taken advantage in the dying furlongs to charge on the outside, generally taking the lead. Ironically, the one time he failed was in his second race in which he was a 3 to 2 favorite and ultimately finished second best to Cowboy Culture because he just flat out never got to the head of the field. That race though, was also his first and only on the turf before he moved back to the dirt.
Thus, Girvin is undefeated on the dirt in his career. He's never run anywhere else but the Fair Grounds, thus the competition he has gone up against hasn't been the swiftest. Girvin needs to obviously run his race to have a shot at the big one at Churchill Downs, but that's going to be a tough ask. There aren't any rabbits that are worthwhile in the Kentucky Derby, and even if there are, the quantity of horses who go out with that rabbit versus try to stalk will make a trip very difficult for a horse that feels like it's nothing more than a field-filler in spite of his 150 Kentucky Derby points he's amassed to date.
The peripherals on Girvin aren't great. Joe Sharp is a local trainer who has never succeeded here on a big stage like this one at the Derby, and it's not like Hernandez is a jockey who has had great fortune in the Triple Crown either. The breeding for Girvin? It's not like it's terrible, but Tale of Ekati hasn't had a great history producing champion thoroughbreds.
Still, Girvin is a winner, and that's the one thing you can't take away from him. He hasn't had that one race that makes you believe he can be ridden out at the Derby after a big rally, but his history suggests if he takes the lead, he's going to be off and running without getting caught. Getting there is a big challenge though, and as a result, it's a really big secondary challenge to find a reason to think that this +2000 price is a good one.
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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