It clearly illustrates the betting public’s thirst for trendy Kentucky Derby picks that Prevalence seized center stage last week for winning a one-mile allowance optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park.
Prevalence’s three-length win over the one-turn mile earned him an 86 Beyer Speed Figure. By contrast, Concert Tour’s 4 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park brought him a 94 Beyer, along with 50 Derby qualifying points. Oh, and that’s not to mention, a two-turn, Grade 2 victory.
Concert Tour’s odds, predictably, fell off the table. He sits at +590 at Circa Sports, and 6/1 at William Hill Nevada. Prevalence, meanwhile, is 30/1 at Circa Sports and 14/1 at William Hill, putting him on the first page of Derby futures contenders.
Adding some needed perspective to Prevalence’s numbers, Mandaloun, who will run Saturday’s Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, is 22/1 at Circa and 16/1 at William Hill. And Mandaloun owns a first and a third in graded stakes. He won last month’s Grade 2 Risen Star, and finished third in the Grade 3 Lecomte in January.
Prevalence’s next stakes race will be his first
Prevalence? He hasn’t run a stakes race – graded or otherwise – yet.
So why the relatively low Derby odds? Why the hype? Well, Prevalence is 2-for-2, with an 8 ½-length dissection of a Gulfstream Park maiden field in January, and last Thursday’s allowance mile win as the 1/9 favorite. That January victory came over seven furlongs, meaning the Medaglia d’Oro offspring hasn’t tackled two turns yet.
“His maiden win told us something, his allowance win told us even more, and his next race will decide where we go from there,” Jimmy Bell, the president of Godolphin’s North American division, told the New York Racing Association. “Each race is its own entity. We’ll all be curious to see what his best distance is. He showed a nice step up from seven-eighths to a mile.”
New horizons await Prevalence
According to the NYRA, Bell and trainer Brendan Walsh are eyeing three of the later Derby preps, including the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 3, and the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 10. All three offer 100-40-20-10 Derby points, meaning a win or a second gets Prevalence a starting post in the Derby.
All three are two-turn affairs, providing Bell, Walsh, and the rest of Prevalence’s connections a clear blueprint to the Godolphin-owned colt’s next race. Can he handle two turns and the Derby’s 10 furlongs? Or is one turn and eight furlongs his ceiling?
And all three take Prevalence to new tracks for him. How will he adjust? Not every horse adapts to travel like a Swiss Skydiver.
“It becomes a question of where his energy level is, and it comes down to a timing thing,” Bell said. “His past races gave him some good experiences and when asked, he responded professionally.”