The first Saturday in May is still far in the future, but careful observation of these soon-to-be three-year-old colts could yield a solid value bet in the Kentucky Derby futures market. Click the Bet Now button below to bet at FanDuel Sportsbook. Here are three horses to consider, with odds derived from usracing.com.
CODE OF HONOR (75-1)
CODE OF HONOR has been handled very patiently (perhaps to a fault) by trainer Shug McGaughey, winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb.
The son of Noble Mission broke his maiden in gate-to-wire fashion going six furlongs at Saratoga in August before rallying smartly for second after a terrible break in the Grade I Champagne at Belmont in October. He was supposed to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but scratched due to a fever.
The next start for CODE OF HONOR was scheduled to be Aqueduct’s Remsen on Dec. 1, but after a tune-up work that was described as “not his best,” McGaughey withdrew his horse from consideration (it was a 1-of-20 bullet). CODE OF HONOR should finally get back to racing in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream on Jan. 5.
It’s usually unwise to bet a horse that’s already had multiple setbacks, but these have been minor hiccups and the current odds are extremely generous.
To the surprise of no one, two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert has a strong contingent of two-year-olds in training, including Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner and multiple stakes winner Improbable. However, based on pedigree, COLISEUM could be Baffert’s best Derby prospect.
COLISEUM is by Tapit, whose progeny can win on any surface at just about any distance. In fact, sons of Tapit have won three of the last five runnings of the Belmont Stakes, so the Derby distance should suit him well. The dam of COLISEUM is Game Face, a multiple graded stakes winner at sprint distances but the daughter of Menifee, who ran second for Baffert in the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
The debut for COLISEUM was a flashy one, as he dusted five rivals in a seven-furlong maiden special weight event at Del Mar in November.
VEKOMA has begun his career a perfect 2-for-2, including a solid victory in the Grade III Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct in early November. Among those left behind were Grade II winner Call Paul and highly-regarded Chad Brown trainee Network Effect, who returned to run second in the Remsen.
The pedigree on VEKOMA is impressive from top to bottom. He’s by Candy Ride, whose progeny are just as versatile as those of Tapit, out of a Speightstown (a brilliant sire in his own right) mare named Mona de Momma, who was a multiple graded stakes winner.
VEKOMA is trained by George Weaver, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher.