Bettors Should “Honor Marie” in 150th Derby

After, as expected, the Kentucky Court of Appeals refused to let Arkansas Derby winner Muth run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby because the horse is trained by Bob Baffert, who has apparently been banned for life from running his horses at any of the six tracks owned and operated by Churchill Downs, Inc., the field for the 150th Kentucky Derby is set, with post positions for the event having been drawn on Saturday, when in prior years they had not been typically drawn until the Wednesday before the race.

Muth is now being pointed for the May 18 Preakness — and if he wins both that race and the June 8 Belmont Stakes, which will be run at Saratoga both this year and next year because of the massive ongoing renovations at Belmont Park, look for the notoriously litigious Baffert to sue Churchill Downs again for keeping Muth out of the Derby and denying the horse a chance at the immortality that comes bundled with winning the Triple Crown.

(And the Arkansas Derby appears to cursed: Valhol, a maiden facing winners, won the race in 1999 at 30-1, but was disqualified because jockey Billy Patin used a "battery" in an effort to "shock" the horse into running faster. Three weeks later, Valhol would finish 15th in the 19-horse Derby after leading for the first seven furlongs of the 10-furlong race.)

The exclusion of Muth, along with the defections of Deterministic and No More Time, still leave the customary field of 20 for the Derby, with two also-eligibles — Epic Ride and Mugatu — who can only run if there are scratches (Rich Strike was such a horse — and he won the Derby in 2022 at odds of 80-1, the highest odds for a Derby winner since Donerail in 1913, and the second longest price ever).

So, without further adieu, this is the field for the Run for the Roses — with post positions, morning line odds, Dosage Profile, Dosage Index, and whether or not the horse qualifies under the putative successor of the Experimental Free Handicap for the 2-year-olds of 2023.

PP-----Horse-----------------Odds---Dosage Profile---Dosage Index---"EFH"*?
2-------Sierra Leone------------3-1-------2-2-8-0-0--------------2.00------------Yes
3-------Mystik Dan-------------20-1-------0-1-1-0-0--------------3.00-------------No
4-------Catching Freedom----8-1--------2-5-3-0-0--------------5.67-------------No
6-------Just Steel--------------20-1--------2-4-4-0-0-------------4.00--------------Yes
7-------Honor Marie-----------20-1------9-11-15-1-0------------3.24--------------Yes
8-------Just a Touch----------10-1--------3-6-7-0-0--------------3.57--------------No
10------T O Password--------30-1-------2-0-6-2-0--------------1.00--------------No
11------Forever Young-------10-1--------4-2-6-0-0--------------3.00--------------No
12------Track Phantom-------20-1-------1-2-5-0-0--------------2.20-------------Yes
13------West Saratoga--------50-1-------2-3-5-0-0-------------3.00-------------Yes
15------Domestic Product-----30-1-------0-2-2-0-0------------3.00--------------No
16------Grand Mo the First----50-1-------0-1-9-0-0------------1.22--------------No
20------Society Man------------50-1--------2-5-5-0-0------------3.80-------------No
21------Epic Ride----------------50-1-------1-2-8-1-0-------------1.40-------------No

*In order to qualify herein, a horse must have done at least one of the following as a 2-year-old:

1. Won any graded stakes race; or
2. Finished first or second in any Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes race; or
3. Finished first, second, or third in any Grade 1 stakes race

It is significant to note that two of the top three choices on the morning line — favorite Fierceness and third choice Catching Freedom — have a Dosage Index of higher than 4.00, while only three — Honor Marie, Endlessly, and (if he gets to run) Epic Ride — have any representation on the stamina wing of their Dosage Profiles. And since Endlessly has never run on a conventional dirt surface, Honor Marie could be the only option come Saturday.

And after Honor Marie zipped five furlongs in :59.13 on Thursday, that might not be such a bad thing — and to top it all off, May 4 is Honor Marie's birthday, as he was foaled on May 4, 2021! (Honor Marie also qualified as per the "new EFH" when he won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old; he also won in his debut under the Twin Spires.)

So May the Fourth be with you — and it will be, if you bet on Honor Marie in the 150th Kentucky Derby.

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