Eskendereya is currently the expected favorite for the 2010 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands. He has dominated both of his last two starts by a combined 18 1/4 lengths. The competition he beat wasn't bad either. He defeated G3 Gotham Winner Awesome Act, Graded stakes winner Jackson Bend, and Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood Memorial on April 3rd. He also took down eventual G1-Florida Derby winner Ice Box in the February 20th renewal of the Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. However, some experts still have some doubts, and I am here to put all your worries away. So break out the wallets and put it all down on Eskendereya in the Kentucky Derby on May 1st.
Eskendereya is by six time G1 winner Giant's Causeway who has produced greats in both Europe and here in the United States including Shoemaker Mile winner Aragorn (Ire), Champagne and Hopeful winner First Samurai, and Prix du Jockey Club winner Shamardal. Eskendereya's dam is Aldebaran Light (winner of 3/5 starts) and is by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. This breeding is exceptional because it provides a base of stamina with Giant's Causeway and early speed from Seattle Slew.
Eskendereya had somewhat of a mediocre two-year-old season winning only one of his three juvenile season starts, but the ligt seemed to turn on with his professional 1.5 length score on January 3rd at Gulfstream. After being way behind the pace in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, jockey Johnny Velazques took Eskendereya to the lead in his comeback start and went wire-to-wire, never challenged. After this race, I knew that this horse was a runner, I had officially selected him as my Derby horse and his next two starts in the Fountain Of Youth and Wood Memorial confirmed my first gut feeling.
The most glaring reason that Eskendereya will be the winner of this year's Derby, is because of the limited amount of proven challengers he will be facing. The five key preps for the Kentucky Derby are the Wood Memorial, Arkansas Derby, Florida Derby, Bluegrass Stakes, and Santa Anita Derby.
Eskendereya won the Wood, the Arkansas Derby was won by 19-1 longshot Line Of David, the Florida Derby was won by Ice Box, a horse that Eskendereya throttled by twelve lengths in the Fountain of Youth, the Bluegrass Stakes was won by a 40-1 shocker in Stately Victor, who coming into that race had a record of 7 starts, 1 win, 1 second, 0 thirds, and the Santa Anita Derby was won by Sidney's Candy who will be up against a tough pace scenario in the Kentucky Derby, being that 'Candy' has never won when more than one length off the lead after the first quarter mile. Meanwhile, two year old champ Lookin At Lucky has not looked himself in his two starts this year, in just getting up in the G2 Rebel and finishing a well-beaten third in the Santa Anita Derby.
With the combination of tactical speed, stamina, and a lack of true competition Eskendereya is an absolute lock in the Kentucky Derby. I will be betting, will you?
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