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2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders: RESILIENCE

The 150th Kentucky Derby (G1) is Saturday, May 4, at Churchill Downs, offering a record $5 million purse. The field is limited to 20 starters based on Derby qualifying points from dozens of prep races. Profiles of the contenders will be posted by usracing.com with updates following the post-position draw on April 27.

Even at an early age, Resilience evidenced the kind of self-assurance you might expect from an older, more accomplished horse. So much so that even humans marveled at his poise.

“I just wish I had his confidence,” said Emily Bushnell, who owns the Into Mischief colt with Ric Waldman. “He’s a confident dude and has just done everything right every step of the way.”

Bred by Bushnell’s parents, Pam and Martin Wygod, Resilience took four tries to break his maiden, accomplishing that feat on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream Park, under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Riding the Bill Mott-trained colt for the second time six weeks later in the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds, in which he finished fourth, Velazquez noticed a hesitation to pass horses and suggested outfitting the bay colt with blinkers for his next start in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

“I thought blinkers (would) keep him smart and focused and running,” said the jockey.

Accordingly, and outfitted with blinkers for the first time, Resilience rated nicely off a good pace and powered to a 2 ¼-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial Stakes (G1), earning 100 Derby points to put him squarely in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May.

Like Resilience, Mott appears to be on somewhat of an upward trajectory, having saddled three Eclipse winners in 2023: Horse of the Year Cody’s Wish, champion sprinter Elite Power and top 2-year-old filly Just F Y I en route to earning his own Eclipse as the nation’s top trainer.

Having won the 2019 Kentucky Derby on paper with Country House when Maximum Security was disqualified for interference, Mott has had one other Triple Crown win, that coming in 2010 when Drosselmeyer took the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Betting advice: Has so many plusses, hard to ignore in exotics, but can’t see him winning.

Post position: TBD

Odds: TBD 

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Trainer: Bill Mott

Owner: Emily Bushnell, Ric Waldman

Career record:  6-2-1-1

Career earnings: $493,630 

Top Equibase speed figure: 103

Pedigree: Into Mischief-Meadowsweet, by Smart Strike

Color: Bay

Running style: Stalker

Notes: Pam and Marty Wygod bred Resilience and he is co-owned by their daughter, Emily Bushnell, and Ric Waldman, who oversaw the career of influential stallion Storm Cat at Overbrook Farm… Resilience would be making his third start at Churchill Downs, having finished second and third in a pair of maiden races … He is the first black type winner from the mare Meadowsweet… Resilience’s debut at Saratoga was an eventful one, hitting the gate at the start, going six-wide on the first turn, getting bounced around at the five-sixteenth pole and having nothing left and finishing sixth.

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