By US Racing Team
The field for the 147th Kentucky Derby (G1) lost a top contender on Saturday morning with the withdrawal of trainer Bob Baffert’s Concert Tour from consideration.
“Concert out. Wait for Preakness,’’ the six-time Derby-winner sent in a Twitter message to Churchill Downs.
Baffert is now down to one Derby starter in Medina Spirit after several of his other contenders were recently pulled off the trail — Life Is Good, Hozier, and Spielberg.
Concert Tour won his first three starts, including the Rebel Stakes (G2), but ran third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 10 behind Super Stock and Caddo River, an effort that had Baffert considering skipping the Derby. The move, at least for now, leaves top rider Joel Rosario looking for a Derby mount.
The decision comes after several other potential starters were recently declared out of the race, including Blue Grass (G2) third-place finisher Rombauer and UAE Derby (G2) runner-up Panadol.
The revamped top 20 leaderboard for the Run for the Roses now includes O Besos, who moves up to No. 20. Hidden Stash is now No. 18, and Dream Shake is No. 19.
The Derby is limited to 20 starters based on qualifying points offered in 35 preps that began Sept. 5 and concluded April 10.
Panadol, a New York bred, is trained by Dubai-based Salem bin Ghadayer and was No. 15 on the leaderboard with 40 points. Rombauer was 19th.
Unbeaten Essential Quality is the likely favorite for the 1 ¼-mile, $3 million Derby. The 3-year-old gray colt is trained by Louisville native Brad Cox, looking to win his hometown race in his first Derby attempt. He also could saddle two other starters, Caddo River and Mandaloun.
On Saturday at Churchill Downs, Essential Quality posted a 5-furlong work in 59.60 with regular rider Luis Saez aboard. Also working on Saturday were Mandaloun (6 furlongs in 1:11.40) and Soup and Sandwich (5 furlongs in 59.59).
Five likely Derby starters posted Friday works at Churchill Downs: Bourbonic (5 furlongs, 1:01.60); Dynamic One (5 furlongs, 1:01.00); Helium (5 furlongs, 1:01.80); Known Agenda (5 furlongs, 1:00.40); and Sainthood (5 furlongs, 1:00.40).
The post-position draw is Tuesday (April 27).
Of course, the field could change again at any minute, but for now here’s latest update released Friday by Churchill Downs:
Essential Quality (Luis Saez, Brad Cox)
Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, Doug O’Neill)
Super Stock (Ricardo Santana, Jr., Steve Asmussen)
Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke, Wesley Ward)
Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Todd Pletcher)
Rock Your World (Umberto Rispoli, John Sadler)
Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher)
Medina Spirit (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert)
Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, Steve Asmussen)
Mandaloun (TBA, Brad Cox)
Helium (Julien Leparoux, Mark Casse)
Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse)
Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher)
Sainthood (TBA, Todd Pletcher)
Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver)
Dream Shake (TBA, Peter Eurton)
O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, Greg Foley)
(on Top 20 list, by preference)
Caddo River (TBA, Brad Cox)
Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, Chad Brown)
Crowded Trade (TBA, Chad Brown)
Next up (in order of preference)
Get Her Number (TBA, Peter Miller)
King Fury (Brian Hernandez, Jr., Ken McPeek)
Hockey Dad (TBA, Doug O’Neill)
Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro)
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.