Under-the-radar Kentucky Derby contenders, volume 23

July 6th, 2020

A weekly look at under-the-radar 3-year-olds who could step up and make an impact on the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby.


A son of Honor Code, out of a Seeking the Gold mare, it’s easy to see why Creed has thrived since he stretched out in distance.

The runner-up in his debut sprinting at Tampa Bay Downs, Creed demonstrated his talent when he crushed a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Belmont Park by 7 3/4 lengths, and the Shug McGaughey-trained youngster followed up with an allowance victory over the same track and distance Thursday.

With Jose Ortiz in the saddle, Creed rated as many as eight lengths behind fast early splits of :22.75 and :45.88, then came charging with a wide rally to wear down the leaders and prevail by 1 1/4 lengths.

While his margin of victory wasn’t eye-catching, Creed gave the impression he was just getting started and could have gone around the track again.

Sold for $650,000 as a yearling, Creed isn’t nominated to the Triple Crown, but don’t be surprised if this rising star turns up in a major stakes next time out.

King Guillermo

It’s easy to forget about King Guillermo, since he hasn’t run in two months and isn’t slated to start again until the Kentucky Derby. But ignore this talented youngster at your own risk, because King Guillermo showed flashes of serious talent during the winter and spring.

After he competed admirably on turf as a juvenile, King Guillermo fired off a huge effort when he switched to dirt and returned from a three-month layoff in the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

After he pushed the pace, through splits of :23.89, :48.16, and 1:12.00, King Guillermo sprinted the final five-sixteenths in :30.63 to romp by 4 3/4 lengths, over heavy favorite Sole Volante, and earned a 102 Brisnet Speed rating.

King Guillermo proved this effort wasn’t a fluke when he returned to finish second in a tough division of the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby (G1), where he was beaten just three lengths by the undefeated Nadal.

Trained by Juan Carlos Avila for owner Victoria’s Ranch, this son of Uncle Mo has the speed and talent to be a surprise factor on the first Saturday in September.