BONUS: This week on The Player's Edge, we discover that 100% of the past seven Kentucky Derby winners share something in common, find out what the secret is! Also, we give you our TOP 5 Kentucky Derby Contenders and our take on the Alabama Stakes, a win and you're in race for the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
It's almost over, the detour to the 2020 Kentucky Derby. Saturday's $150,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park is it, the last of the qualifying races. From COVID-19 shutting down tracks, qualifying races cancelled, rescheduled, new races added, to Arkansas Derby Division winner CHARLATAN being disqualified, to injuries to potential contenders NADAL and MAXFIELD... whew! How profoundly Grateful Deadish, what a long, strange trip it's been.
But, now we are here, the last stop before the final destination, the 2020 Kentucky Derby. On a side note, Churchill Downs is going to allow 23,000 fans into the fabled track to witness the 146th run for the Roses.
When Monmouth's 10th race is official, at approximately 5:20 pm Eastern, the KD's field of 20 will be set, minus injuries. Well, it would be 2020 without a twist. In all likelihood SWISS SKYDIVER, who has qualified for the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks with the 13th most points by tiebreaker, will run in Friday's Oaks instead of Saturday's Derby. She couldn't handle ART COLLECTOR and would likely struggle versus the other top-tier contenders too. Whereas, she'll likely be the OAKS' favorite. That means number 21 is likely the last one in.
Another side note, SWISS SKYDIVER is running in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga today. The Alabama is a win and you are in the race for the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She looks like the class of the field.
Unfortunately for six of the eight running in the Pegasus, their fate is sealed. Even if they wear the crown, the winner's 20 points won't be enough to send them to Louisville, Kentucky in three weeks. A fourth-place finish and one point could be enough for PNEUMATIC (PP: 5 ML 5/2) to make the Super Bowl of horse racing. He's 22nd in points, tied with FINNICK THE FIERCE, but is way behind on earnings. So, he'll need to collect at least one more point.
It gets tricky for PNEUMATIC if JESUS' TEAM (PP: 8 ML 3-1) were to take the trophy. He currently has 10 points and would move into a tie for the 20th position with 30 but loses the tiebreaker and would be number 21. Under that scenario, PNEUMATIC would need second's eight points to pass ANNUEA D'OR, currently 19th with 32.
PNEUMATIC in the Belmont Stakes
JESUS' TEAM in the Haskell Invitational Stakes
As you see, both did not race well against better competition. As such, of the two, our handicapper believes neither will visit the Pegasus winners' circle and only PNEUMATIC will be on your TV screen, September 4, 2020.
Here's how we see it playing our in our Pro Subscriber's Bonus Commentary.
"Usually not a fan of horses coming from secondary tracks to the big leagues. However, ARKAAN has only raced twice and has crushed the competition without needing to give it his all. If he can handle the distance and gets any better than he was in his last start, he's the one to beat. AS SEEN ON TV is the only horse in the field to hit triple digits on the speed gun, two of them. If he can run back to his potential, he'll be hard to beat. PNEUMATIC has wilted late against top level comp, not sure he's getting that here. His training has only been ok, which is worrying. JESUS' TEAM ran the highest, last race speed figure in a green run in the Haskell. If he can straighten it out late, has a chance."