Dream Shake, Hidden Stash and Helium - Kentucky Derby outsiders or challengers?

Dream Shake, Hidden Stash and Helium are all likely to compete in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, but are they outsiders or genuine challengers?

Although the field for the Kentucky Derby might see another change or two before May 1, it's still worth continuing to take a look at the horses that are expected to be entered. The withdrawal of over a dozen contenders who accumulated enough qualifying points to earn invitations has opened up opportunities for a number of others.

Dream Shake - Still possible for the Kentucky Derby

After breaking his maiden at 20/1 in his racing debut at Santa Anita on February 7, Dream Shake went on to finish third in both the 50-20-10-5 San Felipe Stakes and the 100-40-20-10 Santa Anita Derby for a total of 30 qualifying points. In the latter race, he finished 6 1/2 lengths off the winning pace of Rock Your World and was losing ground near the end.

The Peter Eurton-trained colt is still listed as possible for the Kentucky Derby, so he could still end up skipping the first Triple Crown race or being entered in the hope of an upset finish somewhere in or near the money. Nothing in his two qualifying races at Santa Anita would indicate that he's likely to contend for a win at Churchill Downs.

Hidden Stash - Three Derby prep races

It took Victoria Oliver's Kentucky Derby entry until his third race to break his maiden, but he still had time to run in three prep races. He finished third in the 10-4-2-1 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, then followed up with a runner-up finish to surprise Helium in the 50-20-10-5 Tampa Bay Derby at the same track.

Hidden Stash capped off his prep campaign by finishing fourth in the 100-40-20-10 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland to complete the series with 32 points. Although he wasn't able to win any of the prep contests, picking up points in all of the ones he entered is no small feat, especially coming at multiple tracks.

Being able to compete with top horses in those prep races could position Hidden Stash to finish in the top three or four positions at Churchill Downs, making him a decent bet for trifecta or superfecta wagers. He's the only entry outside the top favorites to pick up points in more than two races.

Helium - One hit wonder

Helium went off in the Tampa Bay Derby at 15/1 odds and proceeded to stun a quality field of Kentucky Derby aspirants. He's unbeaten in three starts, but his connections only entered him in the lone prep race, his only start as a three-year-old.

The Mark Casse-trained colt hadn't even been nominated for the Triple Crown when he won at Tampa Bay Downs, forcing his connections to pay a $6,000 late nomination fee to get him into the Kentucky Derby. With such a limited body of work, it's difficult to determine what he might bring to Churchill Downs, but he demonstrated good closing speed, so the additional 3/16th of a mile might give him enough distance to run down the leaders.

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