Eskendereya: Out of the 2010 Kentucky Derby

Eskendereya Out of 2010 Kentucky Derby All Bets Are On
by Kenneth Strong of

Eskendereya, the heavy pre-race favorite for the 2010 Kentucky Derby, was withdrawn from the race on Sunday, leaving it wide open. While this may be terribly sad for Eskendereya’sconnections, it is going to make some serious bettors very happy, as they no longerhave to use thisunderlay runner on all their tickets.

After romping victories in the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial, Eskendereya looked almost unbeatable in the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, but the horse had not beenquite up to par in his last few training sessions according to trainer Todd Pletcher, and on SundayEskendereya’sleft front leg was swollen from his knee to his ankle- this despite therapy. The plan was to continue to administer anti-inflammatory medication while icing and poulticing the leg to reduce the swelling. This had to be donebefore an exact determination of the seriousness of the injury could be made, but it guaranteed that Eskendereya was defininitelyout of the Derby.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had run horsesin the Kentucky Derby nine times before this year without winning, but Eskendereya looked like he could be the horse to break the Derby jinx. The bad break was particularly tough for Eskendereyas regular rider John Velazquez, who experienced a similar situationlast year when 2009 Kentucky Derby favorite Quality Road injured himself five days before the big race.


Pletcher also withdrew two more of his serious Derby contenders from the race on Monday, afterboth Rule and Interactif failed to work to his expectations. Rule is a tough speed horse while Interactifrarely failed to fireagainst classy horses.Despite the defections, Pletcher still has four horses that could run in the Derby including Discreetly Mine, Mission Impazible, Super Saver and the filly Devil May Care. None come close to Eskendereya on talent howeer, and they probably wouldnt have even matched up competitively with Rule and Interactif on their best day.

With Eskendereya out, Trainer Bob Baffert now has the 2010 Kentucky Derby favorite with Lookin At Lucky. Last years 2-year-old champ didnt appear to be as good as Eskendereya on paper, but hestalented enough to win the Derby for his three-time Derby winning trainer if he can work out a perfect trip. Hell certainly need a better trip than he got in the Santa Anita Derby, but he does appear to be handling the surface well at Churchill Downs, having worked a good five-eighths over a muddy strip there on Monday. If the track is off on Derby Day, his stock goes up even further.

The defection of Eskendereya, Rule and Interactif from the 2010 Kentucky Derby has opened the door for more than a few runners who had not expected to get into the big race, including Wood Memorial runner up Jackson Bend.Final workouts will likely produce a few more defections before Derby entries.

The20 horsesguaranteed to get into the 2010 Kentucky Derbyby earnings right now, if they decide to enter,are: Lookin At Lucky, Noble’s Promise, Sidney’s Candy, Line of David , Mission Impazible, Ice Box, Stately Victor, Endorsement, Conveyance, American Lion, Dublin, Super Saver, Devil May Care, Discreetly Mine, Dean’s Kitten, Awesome Act, Paddy O’Prado, Homeboykris, Jackson Bend and Backtalk. Next in line by earnings areMake Music for Me, Pleasant Prince, Setsuko and A Little Warm.

Final Derby entries were slated to be taken on Wednesday, April 28, but regardless of how they shake out, the 2010 Kentucky Derby nowlooks like an excellent race to bet on. Stay tuned!