2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders: SOCIETY MAN

The 150thKentucky Derby (G1) is Saturday, May 4, at Churchill Downs, offering a record $5 million purse. The field is limited to 20 starters based on Derby qualifying points from dozens of prep races. 


Society Man

On the first Saturday in May, trainer Danny Gargan will be saddling not one but two sons of Good Magic in the Kentucky Derby: multiple graded stakes winner Dornoch and Society Man, who earned his way into the starting gate via a runner-up finish in the Wood Memorial at odds of 106-1.

The two horses, who will likely be at opposite ends of the tote board, are also opposites in running style and looks. As for talent, we’ll find out on Derby Day.

“He’s more relaxed [than Dornoch],” said Gargan of Society Man, a chestnut gelding. “He’s a cool horse. It’s going to be fun with two horses.”

A relative bargain when sold for $85,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, Society Man lost his first three races by a combined margin of 35 ½ lengths, including an eighth-place finish behind Uncle Heavy and El Grande O in the Withers (G3) on Feb. 24 at Aqueduct. Running in the mud and on Lasix for the first time in his next start, Society Man came from last in a field of six and powered to a three-length victory in a 1-mile maiden at the Big A, in which he earned a then-best Equibase speed figure of 92.

Although dismissed at 106-1 – the second-longest shot in the 12-horse Wood field – Society Man again took to the mud like a warthog back in his favorite puddle. Four wide on the first turn, he settled in not far off the pace set by Evening News, then barreled four wide to take aim at Resilience, coming up 2 ¼ lengths short at the wire. (Rounding out the superfecta were a 38-1 shot and an 80-1 shot, with a $0.10 wager returning $6,776.55).

“The favorite doesn’t always win,” said Gargan when asked about Society Man’s chances in the Derby. “The best horse doesn’t always win. You have to get lucky and be the right horse on the right day at the right time.”

2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Society Man

Betting advice: Stranger things have happened.

Post Position: 19

Odds: 50/1

Jockey: Luis Rivera

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Owners: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, West Paces Racing, Carl and Yuri Pascarella.

Career record: 5-1-1-1

Career earnings: $196,705

Best Equibase speed figure: 99

Most recent race: Wood Memorial, April 6, (2nd)

Pedigree: Good Magic-You Cheated, by Colonel John

Color: Chestnut

Running Style: Comes from off the pace

Notes: Society Man had his first tune-up over the Churchill Downs strip on April 20, covering four furlongs in 48.20 … He will run sporting Dean and Patti Reeves’ green, white and gold silks, as they purchased part of the gelding after the Wood … The last gelding to win the Derby was Mine That Bird (50-1) in 2009 … Dubyuhnell was the first of the three sons of Good Magic Gargan has trained, winning the 2022 Remsen (G2).


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