3 Horses Most Likely to Win the Triple Crown This Year
In the immediate aftermath of American Pharoah’s Belmont victory, Bob Baffert realized that to win the Triple Crown simply having the best horse isn’t enough. You need a far superior animal who is so much better than the competition he can mitigate the circumstances and racing luck that can make that accomplishment so elusive.
See: Justify. Same scenario. He was so much the best 3-Year-old last year that nobody ever believed that they could beat him on the square.
This year there are many talented colts running in the Kentucky Derby. Therein lies the problem: Many. Could there be a Triple Crown winner this year? Sure. Anything can happen. Will there be? Not likely.
But for argument’s sake, and for you horse racing betting fans out there, let’s look at some of the top horses’ chances at becoming the third horse to pull it off this decade.
Kentucky Derby Morning Line Odds: 5/1 (6.00)
Improbable is a horse whose stock has dipped throughout the year. He’s essentially “Justify-Lite,” a third less talented than the original Justify. He’s a big, good looking chestnut with a great stride and Baffert pulling the strings.
He’s finished 2nd in his two prep races this year but his progression is near perfect for him to peak in the Derby. At least one of his losses can be blamed on a bad trip. Out of Baffert’s three Derby horses, Improbable was garnering the most attention late last year and into February.
He is still a little unfocused and green and the massive crowds at Churchill Downs could cause for some nervousness and wasted energy on race day. Still, the talent is there and if he was your Derby horse at the start of the season there is no reason to jump ship.
The raw ability is there for the Derby and the Preakness, but I worry about this horse getting that mile-and-a-half in the Belmont Stakes. He has a lot of growing up to do.
Kentucky Derby Morning Line Odds: 4/1 (5.00)
Last year’s Champion 2-year-old looks every bit the part of classic distance horse. He isn’t terribly fast, preferring a stalking trip in the second- or third-tier of horses. And although his turn of foot isn’t electrifying late, he just keeps coming at you.
He can sustain a long move at the end of races and he’ll pass a lot of horses down that long stretch at Churchill. He’ll be in tip-top form for Baffert and he will undoubtedly get the distance of the Belmont Stakes. His problem is traffic. There isn’t a ton of stone-cold, front-running speed in this Derby and a horse like Game Winner could use a little set-up in front of him.
It’s unlikely he’ll get three perfect trips, and if he does find some trouble, he’s not the push-button-stop-and-go sort.
Kentucky Derby Morning Line Odds: 8/1 (9.00)
Tacitus is another closer with a supreme pedigree that could easily be considered the most regal of the bunch. His final prep-race was impressive as he had to overcome getting bumped around and checking before they even reached the first turn.
His grinding action is typical of horses that want to get those longer distances, and Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott has put a lot of foundation in him by only racing him around two turns. He’s still improving but would have to win three races in five weeks after having only run only four races in his seven-month career. It’s a tall ask for a young horse.
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