Storm the Court the Favorite in a Full Field


Storm the Court

Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court is the favorite in Saturday's Ohio Derby. Photo from @Reuters (Twitter)

  • With the Kentucky Derby now slated for September, the Ohio Derby is a Run for the Roses Prep Race
  • With Kentucky Derby qualifying points on the line, a strong full field will contest the only graded stakes race in Ohio
  • Storm the Court is a tepid favorite in a race with lots of good betting options

Ohio is not a mecca of horse racing and the Ohio Derby is usually a soft spot for three-year-olds to land when they have fallen off the Triple Crown trail. Not this year. With COVID-19 pushing the Kentucky Derby to September, the Ohio Derby is a race in which contenders can earn qualifying points to the Run for the Roses.

With increased importance, the only graded stakes race in the state all year has a full field entered for Saturday’s mile-and-an-eighth heat at Thistledowns.

Because these are the second or third tier of Kentucky Derby probables, there is no massive favorite. Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz The Law won last week in the Belmont Stakes, and top contenders Honor A.P. and Authentic raced earlier this month in the Santa Anita Derby. While juvenile champ Storm the Court is the favorite, this event is wide open and may yield a price.

Let’s take a glance at the updated odds, break down the field, and make a selection.

2020 Ohio Derby Odds

Storm the Court+300
Rowdy Yates+450
Code Runner+600
South Bend+800
Celtic Striker+1500
Dack Janiel’s+1500
Dean Martini+2000
Rogue Element+3000
Bear Alley+3000

Odds taken June 25


Horses who are stars at the age of two have a tendency to be mature a little quicker than their rivals, and not improve the way their counterparts do when turning three. Storm the Court is the latest example of a Kentucky Derby contender in November, pretender now. It has been downhill since winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile in November.

Storm the Court has finished third, fourth and sixth in three races this year. He has faced strong competition and perhaps will respond today against a less proven field.

Lebda has four wins in eight starts but hasn’t been facing top horses running primarily in Maryland. He is two for two this year winning minor stakes at Laurel Park. The competition in the Ohio Derby could be challenging, though both victories in 2020 have been impressive.

Rowdy Yates has five wins in nine starts and now is returning from Saudi Arabia where he finished fourth in what amounted to a cash grab in the Saudi Derby February 29. The card in the Middle East had so much money attached to it if you were willing to make the long trip, which can be very difficult to recover from for horses, your chances at a large check were strong.

He rallied to finish fourth, and his victories are not exactly at the top tracks against the best horses.

2020 Kentucky Derby Odds Tracker


Code Runner has faced top competition once and finished out of contention in the Arkansas Derby. However, he sandwiched that loss with allowance wins in Texas. He has three wins in 10 starts and is two for five this year.

In six races this year South Bend has no wins, a second, and two third places finishes. However, he has been running against strong competition at top tracks and if he repeats his effort in March’s Cutler Bay Stakes at Gulfstream Park, he may be a winner in Ohio.

2020 Kentucky Derby Odds Tracker


A wide-open field of horses who haven’t exactly proven themselves begs for a longshot and there are a couple of solid options at big prices.

Sprawl is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who won the Kentucky Derby last year with Country House. Sprawl is coming off of an allowance win at Churchill Downs, and though that was just his second career victory, he has been running in fairly strong races.

At a huge number we’re mildly interested in Established. The lightly raced colt is winless in two tries, but he is well-bred, trainer Michael Stidham is high on the horse, and this isn’t a monster field he is tackling.

The Bet

This really feels like a race that is up for grabs and because of that our interest level in a short price is minimal.

South Bend feels very reasonable. He has run versus tougher, and come out of a well-resourced barn. Kevin Plank who runs Under Armour is the horse’s owner, veteran Stanley Hough is the trainer, and top tier rider Rafael Bejarano will be the pilot.

A small bet on Sprawl is justified too. Mott is as good as it gets and this is a nice spot for him at a big number.

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Dave F.

NFL NBA Golf Sports Writer


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