Eskendereya, the Kentucky Derby favorite, got scratched last weekend after injuring his left front leg, throwing the race up for grabs. The new favorite seems to be Lookin at Lucky, who pulled the No. 1 post position with jockey Garrett Gomez.
The second popular choice is Sidney’s Candy, running far outside in post position 20 under Joe Talamo.
I’m not betting my treats on either of them.
It’s supposed to rain in Louisville on May 1, so the track could be swampy, making the race a free-for-all where any horse has an opportunity to make history.
I predict the winner will be American Lion.
The Lion will be in No. 7 position (the spot of 8 winners since 1900) under David Flores. In 6 career races so far, Lion has won 3, placed in 2, and come in 4th in one.
The Illinois Derby was his last race on April 3, and he won it with Flores. That was just 3 weeks after his 4th-place finish, so the horse knows how to bounce back from defeat and comes to Churchill Downs with the thrill of victory in his hooves.
The Lion’s father was Horse of the Year, Tiznow, his grandfather was Storm Cat, and his great-great-grandfather was Secretariat. Cats occupy many branches of his family tree, and I see that as a good omen.
Plus, he has the perfect name for a Triple Crown winner.
In 2009, remember when Mine That Bird came out of nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby as a 50-to-1 longshot? I predict American Lion will roar across the finish line as this year’s new surprise superstar.