While Todd Pletcher is expected to run 5* out of the 20 horses in the The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, including favored undefeated Verrano, Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze, top-rated Revolutionary, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten, three-time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert will be missing from the line-up after withdrawing both Govenor Charlie and Code West. This will be the first time since 2008 that Baffert will not be competing in America’s greatest horserace.
Govenor Charlie, who won the Sunland Derby on March 24 by five lengths, missed some training after coming up with a sore foot and will now be pointed for the May 18 Preakness, while Code West will be aimed for the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
Other defections to the field include Lexington winner Winning Cause, who is expected to head for an upcoming start at Woodbine over the synthetic Polytrack, where the colt has won all three of his starts, and Tiz a Minister, who finished third in last week’s Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Despite the four defections, there will plenty of excitement as history wits to see whether Revolutionary will give Calvin Borel his 4th career Derby winner or if Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents* can become the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902. Kevin Krigger, who will try to become the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902, while Rose Napvranik hopes the become the first female jockey to win aboard Mylute.
This year’s race also marks the riding return of jockey Gary Stevens after 7 years spent as a racing commentator at the race. Stevens, 50, four months into his comeback is teaming back up with trainer D. Wayne Lukas, 77 to ride Oxbow.
Stevens has ridden in 18 Derbies and won three times, including twice with Lukas; 1988 aboard the filly Winning Colors and 1995 with Thunder Gulch.
Lukas will also saddle Will Take Charge. The colts will be Lukas’s 46th and 47th Derby starters, the most of any trainer in the race’s 138-year history. He has won it four times, but not since 1999.
Rounding out the field for the 139th Kentucky Derby are Florida Derby Winnr Orb, trained by Shug McGaughey; Java’s War and Frac Daddy, trained by Kenny McPeek; Lines of Battle trained by Aiden O’Brien; Vyjack by Rudy Rodriguez; Itsmyluckyday by Edward Plesa, Jr.; Black Onyx by Kelly Breen;Normany Invasion by Chad Brown; Falling Sky trained by John Terranova; Normandy Invasion by Chad Brown; Golden Soul by Dallas Stewart; and Fear the Kitten.
*Goldencents, who won both the Sham Stakes and Santa Anita Derby is trained by Dough O’Neill, while Mylute is trained by Tom Amoss.
Also see http://tapeunit.com/article/todd-pletcher-to-run-six-horses-2013-kentucky-derby