Full field expected for Cal's Derby
A maximum field of 16 native bred three-year-olds is expected to face the starter in Saturday's 96th running of the Cal's Jamaica Derby over 2400 metres with a whopping purse of $7 million.
Included in the line-up are Triple Crown aspirants NUCLEAR AFFAIR and FUTURE KING, respective winners of the Post to Post 1000 and 2000 Guineas on April 9.
In addition to this pair, the other main contenders are Oaks winner A THOUSAND STARS and the recent Lotto Classic (Governor's Cup) hero BIGDADDYKOOL.
All four have been working well in preparation for this once in a lifetime chance at derby glory, none more so than the Anthony Nunes-trained BIGDADDYKOOL, a powerfully built bay gelding by Sorrentino out of Beware Baby, who will have no stamina limitations as he apparently stays forever.
He turned heads at exercise recently, having strode nine furlongs in 1.58.0 and given his physical improvement since the 2000 Guineas, should be vying for favouritism in the minutes leading up to post time.
Top apprentice Linton Steadman, who rode such a perfect race aboard him in the Lotto Classic, will again ride BIGDADDYKOOL for his Trinidadian owner Stephan Narinesingh.
Nunes, who last won the derby with RELAMPAGO in 2014, has another strong contender in ORPHEUS, runner up to FUTURE KING In the 2000 Guineas over a mile and a close third to BIGDADDYKOOL in the Lotto Classic over 2000 metres. Owned by top regional owner Elias Haloute, ORPHEUS will again be ridden by big-race jockey Shane Ellis.