Can Storm the Court Beat Long Odds to Win the 2020 Kentucky Derby?
Back in March, Storm the Court and Tiz the Law were even on the RTKD scoreboard with 22 points each. That seems like a lifetime ago. Overall, Storm the Court has added points in four of the five qualifying races he’s run, proving he has the stamina and the speed to compete with the best.
And yet, he reached the end of the RTKD with just 36 points, while Tiz the Law leapt to the top of the scoreboard with a final total of 374 points.
Should Storm the Court and his connections be concerned?
Storm the Court’s Trainer
Trainer Peter Eurton is no stranger to teaching longshots to win—including Storm the Court himself. Only last year Eurton helped then-two-year-old Storm the Court move from a third-place finish in the American Pharoah Stakes (where the morning line had Storm the Court as a 15/1 underdog) on to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in November.
Storm the Court won that Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The odds? 45-1. Two dollars turned into $93 for quite a few punters that day. Those two races ended a lot of skepticism about his chances, and gave Storm the Court his 22 points on the RTKD scoreboard.
Eurton has plenty of Breeders’ Cups events to brag about, and he has been in the top 100 trainers in earning and/or wins since 2012.
Storm the Court’s Jockey
Julien Leparoux will be replacing Storm the Court’s usual jockey—Flavien Prat—in the Kentucky Derby. Reports indicate Eurton preferred to keep Prat aboard his KD hopeful, but COVID quarantines and a long pre-race stay in Kentucky imposed on connections appear to have required the switch.
And Prat has the better win/WPS stats, although Leparoux has ridden in more than three times the number of races. Their Triple Crown race experience is different: Prat has ridden twice in the Kentucky Derby (2017 and 2019), while Leparoux has ridden in the Preakness twice (2008 and 2017) and the Belmont Stakes twice (2008 and 2012).
In other words, they’re both world-class jockeys.
Storm the Court’s Recent Form
As I mentioned above, Storm the Court picked up his initial 22 RTKD points in early in the qualifying process, and then didn’t resurface until March 2020, when he placed third in the San Felipe Stakes, earning an additional 10 RTKD points. The morning line had him at 5/1 for that match.
He had a setback in May with a sixth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, but rallied with a third-place finish in June in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown, which fixed his final Road score at 36, and his position on the leaderboard at Number 14.
Can Storm the Court Beat the Odds Again?
And now, Storm the Court is back in the weeds as far as the odds go: Early handicapping has Storm the Court at 60-1 for the Kentucky Derby. But as I’ve noted, both his trainer and Storm the Court himself seem to take longshot odds in their stride.
And as I’ve said about King Guillermo—another longshot who’s now in the Kentucky Derby—I wouldn’t bet against him.