Is My Boy Jack a True Kentucky Derby Contender?

handicapper Justin Dewby Justin Dew

If the prospect of using My Boy Jack in your Kentucky Derby exotics after his close-fast-and-then-flatten-out effort in the Louisiana Derby was appealing to you, are you at all concerned by the extra race they’re giving him in Saturday’s Lexington Stakes? Let’s just say he runs 2nd, picks up 8 points, and makes the Kentucky Derby field with a total of 40 points. What you are dealing with is a horse who was essentially given an extra prep race as a desperation measure, not because the horse needed additional conditioning or experience.

This isn’t a Don’t Get Mad situation, where a horse needs one more prep, not points/dollars. This is a blatant attempt to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, and it’s hard to imagine this race was on the schedule for My Boy Jack when they drew up their path to the Derby months ago. And how much should we like him to begin with? I suppose we can chalk up his non-factor-3rd in the Sham to that race being his first start on dirt. And based on how he’s run since, he may have been too close that day.

In the Southwest he ran big, but may have taken advantage of a rail that was the place to be, and it didn’t appear that he minded the slop. Still, a win is a win. And there are two ways we can look at his effort in the Louisiana Derby. He closed fast and wide, but also totally stopped in the final 1/16th. So to me, he is a Kentucky Derby superfecta filler at best.

That being said…..

….if he effortlessly romps at Keeneland, that could tell us he’s in good form for connections that have Triple Crown experience and know how to get a horse ready to run big. And we know My Boy Jack likes the slop. What if it rains on Derby Day?

Or, what if My Boy Jack runs 3rd in the Lexington and renders this entire discussion moot?

Another horse to watch this weekend is Dream Baby Dream, the Sunland Derby runner-up. He’s listed as probable for the Arkansas Derby, and with 20 Derby points so far, a 3rd-place effort should land him in the starting gate at Churchill Downs, while at the same time flattering Runaway Ghost, the Sunland Derby winner. He’s a little light on speed figures so far, but could be on the improve for trainer Steve Asmussen. He reminds me a lot of horses like Golden Soul and Commanding Curve. Which is to say he probably isn’t as talented as most of the Kentucky Derby contenders, but just might be among the few still running at the top of the Churchill stretch. I’d love to see this horse run 3rd on Saturday and come to Louisville under the radar at 40-1. Plus it would give me added confidence in Runaway Ghost, who is still on my short list of top Kentucky Derby longshot prospects.