Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 7

Kentucky Derby selections
#13. Nyquist
#11. Exaggerator
#9. Destin
#6. My Man Sam
It took me a while to warm up to the undefeated Nyquist, also trained by O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez. I tried to beat him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile because of his poor post draw, but I did have him in my West Coast trifecta that finished 1-2-4. It was that race that turned me around. Once he got the lead, he won’t let you go past him. It’s been the same in his 2016 races. Go back and look at the replays. Exaggerator had dead aim on him in February and Nyquist wouldn’t let him by. Believe me, the Desormeaux brothers (trainer Keith and jockey Kent) were more than happy to see Nyquist go to the Florida Derby, where he beat the best in the East to collect a $1 million bonus. Meanwhile, Exaggerator stayed in Arcadia and turned in an impressive turn of foot in the sloppy Santa Anita Derby win. Destin is coming out of win in the Tampa Bay Derby, which has produced three next out winners, while My Man Sam has some closing ability. My real LONG SHOT is the maiden Trojan Nation. I don’t know if he can win, but I think he can shake up the exotics.

Race 3: #10 Jimbo Fallon (4-1): This colt is coming off a 13-month layoff, but word is that he has been the workout mate for Mor Spirit, who runs later on the card in the Derby, and by the looks of the works JF has been holding his own. Another positive is he’s a 4-year-old running against a lot of 3-year-olds.

Race 8: #9 Birdatthewire (5-1: Dale Romans is back training this filly and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is back in the saddle. Smith has won her before at 7 furlongs, just like today. Her wins all show one thing: a long sustained run from the back and we expect the same here.

Race 10: #2 Ralis (10-1): The colt hasn’t had the same success he had as a 2-year-old, but he has been working out with likely Derby favorite Nyquist in Kentucky. Trainer Doug O’Neill tries to get him to focus by adding blinkers and jockey Mario Gutierrez is reunited with him.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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