10 days ago Texas Red was the longshot winner in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. He didn’t get much consideration as a serious 2015 Kentucky Derby then but that’s starting to change perceptibly.
In most years the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile becomes *the* rising three year old to watch as well as the presumptive Kentucky Derby betting favorite for the following year. That wasn’t the case this year as a 14-1 longshot named Texas Red became the upset winner of the BC Juvenile. Not only did he not immediately become the rising three year old of the moment but his victory in the biggest race of the year for a young horse was all but dismissed. Some bookmakers served up the greatest indignity–not radically changing his Kentucky Derby futures odds after the win. William Hill, for example, didn’t seem in much of a rush to move him off of 40/1. At most betting outlets Carpe Diem and American Pharaoh were the antepost betting favorites for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
While futures odds can vary widely from book to book there does appear to be a growing amount of support in the marketplace for Texas Red. At Europe’s Bet365 racebook he’s now a 16/1 co-favorite with American Pharaoh. Carpe Diem is 20/1 along with Daredevil and Competitive Edge. Trying to pick a horse that will make the Kentucky Derby field at this point is hard enough, let alone finding the winner but given historical precedent–and public perception, if nothing else–the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile victory is one of the few tangible accomplishments for a young horse against a highly competitive field. It should mean *something*.
It also seems as if the attitude of horse fans toward Texas Red is changing. A couple of weeks ago he would have been called an ‘uninspiring prospect’ now he’s described as ‘a potential jewel in the rough’, ‘a California Chrome-like underdog’ and even a ‘throwback to racehorses of a different era’. The truth might be somewhere in between but the public is beginning to realize that in a wide open field of two year olds it’s foolish to dismiss the chances of a young horse with back to back Grade 1 race victories.