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. Kentucky Derby Watch – Revolutionary


The Todd Pletcher-trained Revolutionary was a most impressive winner of this year’s Withers Stakes, a race that typically doesn’t produce a serious Kentucky Derby contender. Most legit Derby horses are not racing at Aqueduct in the frigid winter but rather training in the likes of Florida, Louisiana or California.

The problem for us handicappers is that pretty much everyone saw this troubled trip of this potential Kentucky Derby contender. It was really a combination of an overconfident ride from top jock Javier Castellano coupled with some bad racing luck. First, he steadied briefly behind a tiring horse on the far turn, which resulted in the colt being shuffled back to last. He made multiple moves in this race, including again at the top of lane when there was simply no hole to run into. Castellano altered course again aboard Revolutionary, ducked to the inside, and finished gamely to just get up at the wire. It was explosive turn of foot from a very inexperienced, young colt.

“I was watching the replay of the race…and there was nothing good about it except for the last two or three jumps,” stated Pletcher’s assistant, Michael McCarthy. “That may have been one of the worst winning trips I’ve ever seen.”


“This race,” said Elliot Walden, CEO and racing manager for WinStar Farm, “was worth three in terms of education. When you’re looking at a race like the Derby, potentially down the road, to get that kind of experience, it’s invaluable.”

Can’t argue with that.

Revolutionary sports an excellent pedigree. He is out of a dam (mother) who won the G1 Alabama Stakes, and his grandsire on that side is the great A.P. Indy. The colt is bred to run all day.