The field for the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown consists of a field of six, three of which appear bent on getting the lead at any cost and another who appears in over his head. The first group starts with of Parx Spring Derby winner Bethlehem Road, who is undefeated in three races to date and who has led at every point of call in every one of those three starts. The other two are Going for Gold, who adds blinkers while stretching out from one turn to two turns, and Dare Day, who is also stretching out and who has led at every point of call in his two starts to date. Then there's Math Wizard, who although fourth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial in April, did not improve when fourth of 11 in the Oaklawn Park Invitational Stakes in May and who has raced in claiming races for most of his career.
After discounting the chances of those four horses, we are left with two who stand out in terms of how they have fared this year. Long Range Toddy was proven at the stakes level last fall when winning the Springboard Mile Stakes and again this spring when victorious in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. Owendale won the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes in April and was a very fast-closing third in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes last month. Global Campaign, winner of the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes, was originally entered in this race but will scratch due to a minor foot injury. Either Long Range Toddy or Owendale is highly probable to win this year's Ohio Derby with their best effort.
Owendale was flying fast in the last quarter mile of the Preakness, rallying from ninth to third and missing second by a nose on the wire. Having earned a career-best 106 speed figure when putting in a similar rally going from eighth to first in the Lexington Stakes one month earlier, the 105 figure Owendale earned in the Preakness appears to set him up for another career-best effort. Prior to leaving his home base at Churchill Downs, Owendale put in a strong five-furlong workout which was the best of 21 on the day and which demonstrated he is still in peak condition. With it being likely there will be a very fast past in front of him, it is entirely possible Owendale can go from last to first to win the Ohio Derby.
Long Range Toddy ran the best race of his career, by far, when earning a 109 figure winning the Rebel Stakes by a neck in March. He also showed promise three months earlier when earning a 102 figure in the Springboard Mile Stakes but regressed to finish third in the Southwest Stakes in February before the Rebel. Following the Rebel, Long Range Toddy had no excuse when fading to sixth in the Arkansas Derby. Then, in the Kentucky Derby, Long Range Toddy was one of the horses affected when Maximum Security moved over on War of Will, which resulted in jockey Court pulling Long Range Toddy back sharply from second to 10th. Rested since finishing 17th (moved up to 16th via the disqualification of Maximum Security) in the race, Long Range Toddy could be very competitive in this race if he can rediscover the form shown in the Rebel and so he rounds out a trio of horses which stand out against the other four in this race in terms of their combined probability to win.
The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures is Bethlehem Road (100), Dare Day (99), Going for Gold (90) and Math Wizard (100).
Win contenders, in probability/preference order:
Long Range Toddy