2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders: TRACK PHANTOM

The 150th Kentucky 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. 


1/20/2024 – Track Phantom with Joel Rosario aboard wins the 80th running of the $200,000 Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

We know he’s fast, but can he hold on for a mile-and-a-half?

Track Phantom has shown he can be quickest out of the gate; based on previous races, the big question is whether the Kentucky Derby distance will prove to be too far.

In the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby on March 23, he led until the final furlong before finishing fourth to Catching Freedom.

In the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star on Feb. 17, he led until the final strides, nipped at the wire by Sierra Leone over a sloppy track.

Now comes the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby. Will he fade or will he go?

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the Quality Road colt has winning credentials at 1 1/16 miles in the Gun Runner Stakes and the Lecomte Stakes (G3).

Perhaps to keep the colt more focused in the stretch, Asmussen is fitting Track Phantom with blinkers for the Kentucky Derby.

“This was his first serious work since we added blinkers,’’ Asmussen said Sunday (April 21) after Track Phantom worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 at Churchill Downs. “And he handled it nicely.”

Asmussen, 0-for-25 in the Derby, says Track Phantom is continuing to develop and needs to “get faster.” He said the horse doesn’t have to be on the lead and expects a quick pace in the Kentucky Derby with a large field.

“I think he will handle the circumstances of the Kentucky Derby and the crowd and the pageantry of it all and show his best side,’’ he added.

2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders Odds and Post Position: Track Phantom

Betting advice: Pedigree is a plus, blinkers could be beneficial, but can’t see a win; a good play in your superfecta.

Post position: 11

Odds: 20/1

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: L and N Racing, Clark Brewster, Jerry Caroom, Breeze Easy

Career record: 7-3-2-1

Career earnings: $405,000

Most recent race: Louisiana Derby, March 23, (4th)

Top Equibase speed figure: 100

Pedigree: Quality Road-Miss Sunset, by Into Mischief

Color: Bay

Running style: Frontrunner

Notes: Purchased at Keeneland yearling sale for $500,000 by L and N Racing ... Among the co-owners is Clark Brewster, one of the lawyers for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Amr Zedan, who are trying to regain Medina Spirit’s win in the 2021 Derby … Track Phantom’s sire, Quality Road, was a four-time Grade 1 winner but not at 1¼ miles, finishing third in the 2009 Travers, second in the 2009 Jockey Club Gold Cup, and last of 12 in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic … Asmussen has a 25-0-3-2 Derby records, finishing second with Nehro (2011), Lookin At Lee (2017), and Epicenter (2022) … L and N Racing also owned Lookin At Lee.


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