Hanson: 2023 Kentucky Derby Day undercard dirt spot plays

May 6th, 2023

Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs kicks off at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday and concludes some 10 hours and 14 races later.

That's a lot of time to take in a lot of action, and in that spirit a couple of our rooting interests on the dirt will come both early and late in the card.

Race 2

#3 Harbour Bridge (10-1) doesn't have quite as much experience as the favorites, but he has plenty of upside. The $675,000 son of Triple Crown winner Justify finished in midpack first out at Fair Grounds going six furlongs, but has the right to improve off that effort while stretching out here to a more favorable distance of 1 1/16 miles. There's stamina on the female side of the family, with his dam being a Grade 3 winner at 1 1/8 miles and a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Last Gunfighter, who thrived in the 1 1/8-mile to 1 1/4-mile range. Plus, the addition of blinkers might get Harbour Bridge more focused.

Race 6

A very competitive renewal of the restricted $175,000 Knicks Go S. over a one-turn mile features #2 Masqueparade (6-1), who earned his signature win to date in the 2021 Ohio Derby (G3). Although limited to just three starts last season, Masqueparade finished first or second in all three, including a runner-up effort to subsequent Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner Art Collector in the Alydar S. at Saratoga when last seen in August. Although this distance might be a tad short for Masqueparade, I like his record over the track, his ability to fire fresh, and his recent five-furlong works for trainer Al Stall.

Race 13

#6 Promise Me a Ride (5-1) beat only four rivals in an off-the-turf maiden at Fair Grounds at first asking on March 19, but the manner in which he did so was impressive enough that he looks like a leading contender while stepping up to allowance company. From the family of noted sire Distorted Humor, Promise Me a Ride might get a favorable stalking trip here for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux.

Find expert analysis and overviews of all the contenders for the Kentucky Derby on our News & Notes page here on TwinSpires.com!