For Every horse racing fan out there, the Kentucky Derby is known in the United States as, “The most exciting two minutes in sports”. The countdown is quickly approaching, and everyone who loves the sport now claims to have derby fever. Yes, it is highly contagious and if you don’t know much about the sport this is the perfect time of the year to find a new love in thoroughbred horse racing.
It’s the sport of kings, and if the sport itself does not intrigue you; the beauty of a thoroughbred horse should! Its’ grace and power will take your breath away as they blitz by you with speed and finesses. I wish I had enough time to captivate you with all the information you need to love the sport as much as I do, but for now let me entertain you with some great information for this year’s race.
It’s the 139th, Run for the Roses, and the question is who will adorn the blanket of sweet Kentucky roses? Out of 40,000 foals born each year, only 20 will make it to the gate on the first Saturday in May. Mixed with talent and a bit of luck, it’s every owner’s and trainer’s dream to make it to the gate and hear those magical words, “And they’re off…” It is like music to every owner’s/trainer’s ears.
In my opinion, this year’s field appears to be wide open. There are several stand-outs that we can all give legitimate reasons for strong contenders within the race. A good post position, an honest pace, a good trip and let’s not forget “luck” from the ‘Racing Gods’, anyone of these stand-outs could win or definitely come in the money.
I’m a firm believer that pace makes the race and with that said one of my top 3 contenders is GOLDENCENTS. I saw this magnificent colt run in the Santa Anita Derby and I said to myself, “I just may have seen the Kentucky Derby winner” again… With a moderate pace anticipated in his year’s race; he will definitely be a pace presence. Falling Sky and Lucas’s rabbit – Oxbow will be part of the pace along with Verrazano. While several others will be just off the pace; I am also hoping Goldencents will do the same. Let’s hope he sits comfortably off the pace as he did in the Santa Anita without burning the candle too early, too soon. None of these 3-year olds have run 10f, so this will be test to see who will triumph the “Classic Mile”. Goldencents will be dangerous with his high cruising speed and I’m hoping his jockey Kevin Krigger will be able to control the needed pace and let him ride through the top of the stretch holding off the closers that will be charging late from the rear. Patience and timing will set up the perfect trip for the winner. This is a talented colt that has proven that he is tough beyond his pedigree; which does not scream distance.
REVOLUTIONARY has a very classy pedigree with stamina influence from his Dam’s Sire A.P. Indy. Javas War also shares the same Sire, War Pass – who favors speed over stamina and still unsure whether his offspring can handle 10f. This is a colt that has extreme talent and has the ability to overcome a bad trip which gives him the tactical edge against other horses in this race that have not had to deal with traffic problems. He has the ability to come from anywhere on the track which indicates intelligence, and you also can’t go wrong with having Calvin Borel (Mr. Churchill Downs himself), as your jockey. I see this colt as a major threat, and with the perfect trip he might just skim the rail to victory.
It’s difficult not to like ORB. He is a major threat with outstanding pedigree that will suit the distance for the Triple Crown races. Both his Sire and Damsire has produces multiple winners beyond 10f. Orb’s Sire Malibu Moon is the son of stamina influence A.P. Indy, and his Dam Sire Unbridled was 3 year old of the year and captured both the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic. He has been improving in each race and has proven in the Florida Derby that he can sit much closer to the front as his closing style had previously indicated.
I’m going to have to leave VERRAZANO off my list, a bit risky…I know. He obviously a very strong contender, but as with GOVERNOR CHARLIE both did not race prior to January and I’ll have to go with the thought that the last Kentucky Derby winner who “did not” race as a 2 year old was Apollo back in 1882, and history continues to repeat itself. He is large and muscular and the only undefeated horse in the field, but I’m going to have to stick to my gut and believe he will probably finish mid-pack rather than in the money. Lets’ also not forget the “Wood Memorial Curse”. Silly you think? To put it lightly, colts coming out of this race have not had the best of luck. Will Verrazano be the first to break this curse?
Finally every handicapper must have a few dark horses to win the derby. I am going to include into my exactas and trifectas Will Take Charge, MyLute and Normandy Invasion. Not unrealistic; especially for MyLute who has been improving with each race. What can I say about Will Take Charge? He has improved since his last race and achieved one of the highest Brisnet speed scores which is close to the speed par of the Kentucky Derby, (Courtesy of Brisnet.com). He also had two works at a mile (4/12 at Oaklawn Park, and at Churchill on 4/21); unlike any colt (except for Itsmyluckday who also had a mile work on 4/18). He’s a longshot in my eyes. I have also been a Normandy Invasion fan since the Remsen Stakes back in November, each time he as let me down but why jump off the wagon now? In his last race in the Wood, he finished 3/4 back from Verrazano. I’ve also noticed he was more forwardly placed in the race which I believe he will also be in the Derby. Maybe he’s finally coming around, and ready for a big win? He had a sharp workout on April 21st, he went 4f in :48, breezed 7/81 (he was 7th out of 81 runners in that workout). He is also 30% off the layoff which is a high percentage (Courtesy of Brisnet.com).
So to recap who I like in this race, my choices right now are: Goldencents, Orb Revolutionary. My longshots are: Will Take Charge, Mylute and Normandy Invasion. I will probably trim this down to 4 colts within the next few days.
We still have 5 more days to ponder on who will be draped with the beautiful blanket of roses. There is still much to consider with post positions still unknown. Weather will also be a strong factor since there are other’s within the group what will relish the mud. There is much to consider if you are lucky enough to pick the Kentucky Derby winner, but remember pace will make the race!