Despite being winless in six career starts, Trojan Nation gave Wood Memorial winner Outwork a pitched battle down the stretch before settling for second place. That earned him 40 points which has him at #19 on the Kentucky Derby Qualification standings. With the top twenty horses qualifying, that gives him enough to win in the race. And while there were questions about whether or not his connections would run him in the ‘Run For The Roses’ those were answered on Tuesday as they confirmed that he’s being pointed to the marquee race for three year olds.
He’s an unlikely Kentucky Derby starter to be sure, but he’s earned his way in. He’s eight points up on the horses with 32 points at #20 through 23–Mo Tom, Fellowship, Adventist and Laoban. Mo Tom is the only one of that quartet currently in the Kentucky Derby field based on his earnings in graded stakes races. The other three have a good chance of getting in as horses are ruled out of the race–and that always happens. But Trojan Nation is in the field though he’s not getting the publicity of current Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist or Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator. As his trainer, Paddy Gallagher, noted: “I’m sure there’s horses getting a lot more press than this guy, but that’s all right.”
The betting public isn’t exactly enthused over Trojan Nation’s chances. In the Kentucky Derby futures betting odds at the Wynn Las Vegas, Trojan Nation is listed at 40/1. To provide some context–note that three of the horses we mentioned above are listed at the same or shorter odds as Trojan Nation–Laoban and Adventist are also 40/1 and Fellowship 35/1. Considering that they haven’t qualified for the race yet while Trojan Nation has and it doesn’t look good for Gallagher’s horse. Then again, he’s got shorter odds than Oscar Nominated (50/1) or Tom’s Ready (60/1) and they’re both in the field.
Owner/breeder Aaron Sones says that his horse could be more competitive in the Kentucky Derby than folks are anticipating: “He’s really bred to go the Derby distance, and it was really always mine and Paddy’s plan to get him to the Derby starting back in March of last year when he showed up at Paddy’s barn. Paddy’s very conservative, and of course we have to do what’s best for the horse and keep him happy and healthy. Knock on wood, he keeps getting better every day, and we’re going to give it a shot.”
Nyquist is still the 4/1 favorite to win the Kentucky Derby ahead of Exxagerator (9/1), Mohaymen (10/1), Brody’s Cause (12/1) and Gun Runner (12/1). The Kentucky Derby will be run on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky and is the first leg of horse racing’s ‘Triple Crown’.