Kentucky Derby Trail: Exaulted A Maiden Worth Playing

The Kentucky Derby is not far away and TVG's Emily Shields is here to preview a key trial on Sunday
Emily Shields
Fri, February 21, 3:59 AM EST

Mine That Bird Derby - PICK: EXAULTED (1u)

The 2020 Kentucky Derby trail continues on Sunday with the $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby. Although not an official Kentucky Derby points race, the Mine That Bird Derby is the local prep for the $700,000 Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park March 22. The 1 1/16-mile Mine That Bird, named for the 50-1 shot who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby, drew a field of six.

Exaulted may be a maiden with just one start under his belt, but the 7-2 third choice has a legitimate shot in the race. He was second on debut behind leading Triple Crown prospect Nadal in a January 19 race at Santa Anita under jockey Mike Smith, who flies in to ride. Peter Eurton trains the son of Twirling Candy, who was a $200,000 yearling purchase. Lane Way, who was third in that race, disappointed as the favorite in another maiden race last weekend, but Exaulted has had three swift works since the debut and figures to appreciate the distance.

Sir Rick is the 2-1 favorite for trainer Robertino Diodoro. He has won three of his five lifetime starts, including a more than five length win at Sam Houston last out over a mile. He was third in stakes company at Delta Downs after winning an allowance there last October. He has more wins to his credit than any other runner in the field.

Stackin Silver ships in from California for trainer Richard Baltas. The son of Union Rags was a $75,000 purchase and has won his last two starts, both over a mile at Del Mar and Santa Anita, by a combined 10 ¾ lengths. He was being ridden by Abel Cedillo but that jockey stays home for this.

Jungle Runner drew the outside spot. The Steve Asmussen runner puts blinkers on for this, his seventh lifetime start. The son of Candy Ride (Arg) is seeking his third win after taking a maiden race and the Clever Trevor at Remington Park in November. He was eighth last out in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park, but the track was wet that day. Luis Contreras will ride.

Top Draw will break from the rail. The son of Into Mischief was originally trained by Todd Pletcher before moving to the barn of Miguel Hernandez. He broke his maiden at Zia Park in December over six furlongs, and most recently ran fourth here in stakes company behind the well regarded Rowdy Yates.

Tappin Foradance, a maiden winner first out here on January 11 over six furlongs, rounds out the field.

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