We’re about to find out a whole lot about the Kentucky Derby trail this weekend. Along with the much anticipated 2018 San Felipe, which pits Bolt d’Oro against McKinzie, the 2018 Gotham Stakes will feature at least three contenders of immense intrigue as we barrel towards that pivotal first weekend in May. Free Drop Billy opens up as the 9/5 favorite, but is being pursued closely on the dial by two other well known hopefuls.
I’ve made no qualms about how much I like Free Drop Billy, a horse that looks to have all the tools necessary to be a real threat in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He was meant to compete in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, but trainer Dale Romans shifted him to the 2018 Gotham Stakes. Free Drop Billy is coming off a second place loss to Audible in the Holy Bull where he showed off his speed and grace, but also didn’t improve on his tactics and patience. That’s been the book on the Union Rags offspring since he started competing. Running him in a one-mile competition will prove once and for all whether or not he has the discipline to unleash his obvious talents at a longer distance.
Contesting near the top of the betting board is Firenze Fire, who last came a distant second to Avery Island in the Withers Stakes. A known competitor, Firenze Fire is a consistent consideration but he’s never really put it together when things matter. There’s a growing sentiment that we’ve seen this colt’s best.
Enticed will also look to crash the winner’s circle after a harrowingly disappointing run in the Holy Bull where he finished fourth. At 7/2 in the 2018 Gotham Stakes, he’s bound to gain some traction but I think bettors will treat him with a “what have you done for me lately” mentality.
One of the major upstarts to watch in this race is Beautiful Shot, who makes his season debut after finishing third in the 2017 Hopeful Stakes. The Deosrmeaux product, who will be ridden by Angel Arroyo, is listed at 8/1 and might be the best to parcel in with Free Drop Billy or whichever favorite you prefer.
The 2018 Gotham Stakes runs out of Aqueduct Racetrack this weekend and whomever wins will find themselves on the inside track behind the winner of the 2018 San Felipe Stakes. Saturday can’t come soon enough. As much as I could talk myself in to any other horse, Free Drop Billy really surges to the forefront. This feels like Dale Romans’ year and his decision to reroute this colt to this specific race bodes well for his chances.
2018 Gotham Stakes – Saturday, March 10th at Aqueduct Racetrack
1 Mile – 3 Year Olds – $300,000
|1||Dial Operator (NJ)||Trevor McCarthy||117||Jason Servis||10/1|
|2||Cove Blue (KY)||Chris Landeros||117||Dale L. Romans||30/1|
|3||Beautiful Shot (FL)||Angel S. Arroyo||117||J. Keith Desormeaux||8/1|
|4||Whereshetoldmetogo (MD)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||119||Anthony Pecoraro||15/1|
|5||Firenze Fire (FL)||Manuel Franco||123||Jason Servis||5/2|
|6||Free Drop Billy (KY)||Dylan Davis||123||Dale L. Romans||9/5|
|7||Old Time Revival (FL)||Steve D. Hamilton||117||Kenneth Decker||15/1|
|8||Nine Route (NY)||Kendrick Carmouche||117||Jeremiah C. Englehart||30/1|
|9||Enticed (KY)||Junior Alvarado||121||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||7/2|