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By Jarrod Horak

The is my first Kentucky Derby 2024 report of the new year. In this article, I will look back at the Smarty Jones and Jerome, and update my “Exceptional 11” Derby contenders. The Lecomte at Fair Grounds on Jan. 20 is the next Kentucky Derby prep, and the winner will receive 20 points.

Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Race Results

Smarty Jones – Jan. 1 (Oaklawn)

Fractions: 23.02, 47.01, 1:12.20, 1:38.34, 1:44.59

Top 5 Finishers: Catching Freedom, Just Steel, Informed Patriot, Gettysburg Address, Mystik Dan
Just Steel was the morning line favorite but bettors flocked to Catching Freedom in this 1 1/16 miles Derby prep. The pace was honest with Lagynos showing the way and Mystic Dan and Just Steel chasing. Catching Freedom was patiently handled under Cristian Torres, and Brad Cox’s Constitution colt moved up while racing wide, straightened out in the stretch, and pulled clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Just Steel stalked, gained a short advantage in the lane, and dug in to hold the place over Informed Patriot and Gettysburg Address. The latter was my top choice under Flavien Prat, and he was last early after a troubled beginning. He was grinding away from off the pace and found his best stride late, and probably would have finished 2nd with a better start and trip. Catching Freedom acts like he will handle more ground, and Gettysburg Address probably deserves another chance.

Read more at Today’s Racing Digest

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.