In this Derby Profile edition, we look the John Sadler-trained ROCK YOUR WORLD, who ranks 6th on the Derby Leaderboard with 100 points. He's won three consecutive races at Santa Anita, which include the Pasadena Stakes over the turf, and the Santa Anita Derby (G1), over the dirt. He's earned $546,600 for owners Hronis Racing LLC and Talla Racing LLC.
ROCK YOUR WORLD is regarded as one of the top favorites to win the Kentucky Derby. Horse Racing Nation pegged him as the 9-2 second betting favorite. Whether those odds are too high or too low, his raw talent is undeniable. And in this discussion, we'll consider five points that make him an unignorable win candidate.
First of all, trainer John Sadler recently announced that Joel Rosario will pilot ROCK YOUR WORLD. Needless to say, they mean business. They are hitting at a 14% trainer-jockey win rate, based on the past two months.
Moreover, we've seen their success with client owners Hronis Racing LLC. Think of 2018 Breeder's Cup Classic champion ACCELERATE, and his durable, successful campaign. They all have history together, they know how to win together.
Joel Rosario is masterful at nursing the speed of a front runner, and he can also finish powerfully from the back of the pack. ROCK YOUR WORLD is still in good hands despite losing jockey Umberto Rispoli. And Rosario is no stranger to ROCK YOUR WORLD; he rode him in his maiden victory.
Second point: the Santa Anita Derby was an impressive win. ROCK YOUR WORLD was making his first start on dirt. He ran a swift :46 flat for the half-mile, yet proceeded to run the field off their feet, kicking clear to win by more than four lengths. He stopped the clock in a solid 1:49 flat. On paper, only two horses matched the competitive rating he displayed: ESSENTIAL QUALITY and HIGHLY MOTIVATED. The replay is shown below.
Did you happen to hear Bob Baffert's praise for ROCK YOUR WORLD following the Santa Anita Derby? This accounts for our third point. When a 6-time Kentucky Derby winning, Hall of Fame trainer endorses a horse that isn't his own, it's something worth noting. Read Baffert's quote below:
"He [Rock Your World] just ran away from us, and he went fast, and he just kept getting faster and faster", Baffert said. "I love those kind of big-jumping, well-bred horses. He'll go a mile-and-a-half." (Ron Flatter, HorseRacingNation)
Fourth reason pertains to ROCK YOUR WORLD's great pedigree. He is by CANDY RIDE out of CHARM THE MAKER by EMPIRE MAKER. His immediate bloodline suggests he'll thrive with the additional furlongs.
Sire CANDY RIDE was a Grade 1 winner at ten furlongs, scoring on both dirt and turf. Damsire EMPIRE MAKER was a Grade 1 winner at twelve furlongs, and was highly competitive throughout his three-year-old season. Along the damline, two generations up, we see the presence of Europe's champion GIANT'S CAUSEWAY. He was superb at ten to twelve furlong, both on dirt and turf.
There's skepticism among fans over ROCK YOUR WORLD's sudden transition from turf to dirt — that this could be a one-time success, as has happened with other horses making their surface switch. But maybe ROCK YOUR WORLD's case is different because of his unique breeding, particularly his CANDY RIDE and GIANT'S CAUSEWAY influences.
The fifth and final point is that on paper, ROCK YOUR WORLD meets the criterion of Kentucky Derby winner, top to bottom. He's shown the required early, middle, and late speed figures to run competitively with the top favorite ESSENTIAL QUALITY. He's bred to welcome longer distances. If he improves off his last win, he and Joel Rosario will be a force to get by in the deep stretch.
As far as training goes, ROCK YOUR WORLD has yet to workout at Churchill Downs. He turned in a 5F workout on April 17th at Santa Anita, going 59.60, the 6th fastest of 72 at that distance.
There's no shortage of reasons why ROCK YOUR WORLD is considered a top choice. He's shown quite a lot in his three months of racing. As long as he stays healthy and makes it to the gate, it's hard to imagine him not having a say in the stretch.