Sidelines with John Clay

How Kentucky Derby 2019 horses have run on sloppy, muddy tracks

The forecast is calling for another sloppy, muddy Kentucky Derby.

We may not get the record rainfall of last year, but according to, Louisville can expect a high temperature of 67 degrees with a 90 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

That would have set up well for Omaha Beach, the Morning Line favorite after Tuesday’s draw who unfortunately was found to have an entrapped epiglottis on Wednesday. Trained by Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach had won two on sloppy tracks, including the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 13.

With Omaha Beach scratched, which of the remaining Derby horses have taken to the mud? Here’s a horse-by-horse rundown. If a horse isn’t listed, he hasn’t run on a wet track.

War of Will: Trained by Mark Casse, the son of War Front not only has a win in the mud, he did it at Churchill Downs. War of Will actually broke his maiden with a five-length win in the mud on Nov. 24 of last year. After four (losing) starts on the turf, it was his first start on dirt.

By My Standards: The Louisiana Derby winner started his career the same day on the same sloppy track as War of Will, Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs. It was a different Maiden Special Weight, however, one in which the son of Goldencents finished second by four lengths for trainer Bret Calhoun.

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Gray Magician: The Derby longshot ran on a sloppy track on Jan. 31 at Santa Anita, finishing fifth in an Optional Claiming race for trainer Peter Miller.

Improbable: Out of the Bob Baffert barn, Improbable chased Omaha Beach all the way around the sloppy track at Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby only to finish second. It is the son of City Zip’s only race on a wet track.

Maximum Security: The Florida Derby winner is four-for-four and his career and one of the victories came in the mud on Jan. 24 in an Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream Park for trainer Jason Servis.

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Plus Que Parfait: Here’s another horse that ran in the rain last Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the son of Point of Entry finished second in the Kentucky Jockey Club to Kenny McPeek’s Signalman.

Cutting Humor: Trainer Todd Pletcher’s under-the-radar Sunland Park Derby winner began his career on a sloppy track with a second-place finish on Sept. 9 at Belmont Park.

Long Range Roddy: The son of Take Charge Indy did not appear to like the slop when he finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby. He was coming off a win in the Rebel on a fast track at Oaklawn for trainer Steve Asmussen.

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Country House: He, too, ran in that muddy Arkansas Derby, finishing third behind Omaha Beach and Improbable. Trained by Bill Mott, the son of Lookin At Lucky ended up 6 3/4 lengths behind the leaders.

Bodexpress: An “Also Eligible” who gained a spot in the starting gate thanks to Omaha Beach’s scratch, Bodexpress finished fourth on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 for trainer Gustavo Delgado.

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