For the second year in a row, the Kentucky Derby betting favorite will not make a “Run for the Roses.”
Last year it was I Want Revenge who was scratched on the day of the race and this year it is Eskendereya. The horse would have been a 2-1 favorite in Kentucky Derby odds so his defection makes Lookin at Lucky the new favorite for Saturday’s race.
Kentucky Derby betting on Eskendereya was going to be wildly popular but not anymore. Eskendereya was being talked about as the best Triple Crown contender in a long time. The horse had to be scratched from the Derby though as he developed swelling in his front left leg. Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for his first-ever win in the Kentucky Derby and Eskendereya would have been his best chance. He will still have a number of other horses in the race but none of them are as good as Eskendereya. “Without a doubt, this is the best horse we’ve ever brought to this stage,” Pletcher said. “His last two races were as good as any 3-year-old has ever run.”
Pletcher will still have Mission Impazible, Discreetly Mine, Super Saver and the filly Devil May Care in the Kentucky Derby betting field. Pletcher announced that another of his starters, Rule would also not run on Saturday. He was still up in the air regarding Interactif but it did not look like that horse would be entered. Pletcher still has a chance to win the Derby but losing Eskendereya hurts. “That’s one that’ll take a long time to get over,” Pletcher said. “Who knows, maybe Saturday we’ll feel better (if he wins). But even then, you’ll be thinking, ‘What if?’ ”
With Rule out of the Kentucky Derby it means that Nick Zito’s Jackson Bend will make the field. Jackson Bend was second behind Eskendereya in both the Fountain of Youth and the Wood Memorial. The horse has never been worse than second in nine starts.
With Eskendereya out of the Kentucky Derby the new favorite in Kentucky Derby odds is Lookin at Lucky. The horse breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 over a muddy track at Churchill Downs in his final work. “He worked good,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “I loved the way he came back. Dirt is really where he want to run. He’s not a synthetic horse.”