There still is no clear favorite for this I Saturday's 87th Kentucky Derby. Last week's two prep races did not clarify the picture. An 11-to-l shot, Sherluck, won the 1‚⅛-mile Blue Grass Stakes by six lengths. Two days later Light Talk captured the seven-furlong Stepping Stone by a neck from On His Metal, while the favored Garwol ran last.
Sherluck's victory was impressive enough to move this dark bay son of Correspondent into serious contention with Four-and-Twenty, Carry Back, Crozier, Globemaster and Ambiopoisc. He ran his Blue Grass just the way Globemaster ran his Wood Memorial: on the lead all the way, and his time, 1:48⅗ was very good indeed. Furthermore, he went on to the full mile-and-a-quarter Derby distance in 2:01[3/5]—which is good enough to make even the most skeptical railbirds take notice.
The Blue Grass favorite, Flutterby, overtook tired horses and finished second, but he was not gaining on the winner at the wire. He has at least been consistent this season: he runs second and third more often than he wins, and I cannot believe he will win Saturday.
Sherluck is not entirely new to followers of this in-and-out crop of 3-year-olds. He was second to Carry Back in the Everglades and fourth to him in the Flamingo. Trainer Harold Young used Braulio Baeza on Sherluck in the Blue Grass but he is switching to Eddie Arcaro for the Derby.
With Arcaro aboard, the chances are that Sherluck will not try to run on the lead in the Derby, but will settle in just behind the first bunch until the far turn. There will be plenty of pace—with Four-and-Twenty, Crozier, Light Talk and Globemaster. Coming from behind will be Carry Back, Ambiopoise, Dr. Miller, Ronnie's Ace and Flutterby. Nothing that happened last week leads me to change my opinion that at the finish it will be a battle between Carry Back and Four-and-Twenty.