The Derby is upon us! And only one trainer, Larry Jones, has the chance to win the Oaks-Derby double. And he can do that with two fillies. While that would be pretty cool, I think the field would have to fall apart a lot for Eight Belles to win. But good luck to Jones tomorrow.
Some horsey-related comments first. Devon says:
So does this mean, if I get dragged kicking and screaming to LA at some point, you'll go to the track with me? ;)
Sure! Santa Anita is an especially great experience. And since the next two Breeders Cups are here...
Do you mind if I list your blog in my article for FEMMEFAN? I'm doing the pre-Derby this week, to go up next week, I'll do a Derby wrap-up, same for Preakness and Belmont. I'd love to mention your blog. Last year, my racing articles got thousands of hits, and my own blog traffic went way up.
That would be cool. Thanks!
And Sherrie says:
Derby talk! Love it! Heya Kay, don't be worried about Pyro or Colonal John...they'll run like Street Sense last year & skip over it...just comes down to who's got the jump coming off the turn. Big Brown could be the real deal, but I'm afraid his inexperience will catch up with him...he was too jumpy and agitated at Gulfstream and he's going to have to deal with 10x that??? Not unless he's a super horse. But I wouldn't count him out of the Preakness or Belmont! Still, I think he'll finish in the top 5. Even Curlin didn't have enough experience for the Derby.
I feel the same way about Big Brown that I felt about Curlin -- one or two more races and he would be a strong choice. But I'm worried about him breaking from the outside. I'm worried about the track condition. I'm worried about his feet, and I'm not convinced that his pedigree says 10F. Given how Proud Spell bounced back in the Oaks today from a lousy Polytrack effort, Pyro's moved way up for me. And Colonel John has done nothing wrong. I would be ecstatic if Tiznow got a Derby winner.
So everybody's making their picks. I was going to be industrious and check out some of the experts' picks on the BloodHorse site, but the internets hate me today so I'll just have to wing it. Based on what I've seen of the works, Colonel John is liking Churchill Downs and I really like his composure. Even though he's had only two starts this year like everyone else in the field, they were two quality 9F starts, and he won both. He's shown tactical speed and last time, he showed he can come from off the pace. He looked like he was just getting into gear at the wire, and he'll love the distance. Someone pointed out that a fun play would be Colonel John and Cowboy Cal, because Colonel John's sire, Tiznow, beat Cowboy Cal's sire, Giant's Causeway, in the Breeders Cup Classic.
I think Pyro's going to bounce back from the Blue Grass, and he's got enough of a foundation this year to offset that horrible effort. A lot of people are touting Denis of Cork, the horse who was horribly mishandled and paid his connections back with a wretched Illinois Derby. The work was sensational. The horse looks great. But the horse has looked great all year. I was all over him earlier but I'm so disgusted that I hope the owners don't get rewarded for being asshats.
Two others who look intriguing to me are Adriano and Monba. Both have the pedigree for the Derby. Adriano failed on dirt earlier in the year but that's not enough for me to completely toss him. Visionaire is an intriguing horse, a closer who may come late to pick up the pieces. Like practically everyone else, he may not have cared for Keeneland. Sure, he's bred to be a miler, but he will be closing ground and that may not matter. Speed-wise, I'll take a look at Bob Black Jack. People go on about how fast he is but he settled real nice in the Santa Anita Derby. I think he may be more mature than people give him credit for and if everyone else considers him a one-dimensional speed horse, they may not pay enough attention to him. He improved when he got a little extra ground last time, so he's sort of a hunch bet. So is Cool Coal Man, a beautifully bred horse for the distance, the only horse besides Colonel John to win twice at 9F this year. Last time, he ran up the track in -- what else? -- the Blue Grass. But if these horses can bounce back to form, they may surprise.
A lot of people are also talking about Court Vision but he looks like a wiseguy horse to me. I'm willing to throw him out even if I look stupid later. I don't think Gayego is going to get the distance, and I think Recapturetheglory already got his glory in the Illinois Derby. Eight Belles is a super nice filly and the fact that she's got speed is a plus. But the fact that she's by Unbridled's Song is not. I don't see her getting the distance. Smooth Air is a nice horse but he'll be a wiseguy horse, I think. I like him a little better than Court Vision but I think he's had too much time off (he's not Barbaro) and he also spiked a temperature this week. And deep down, I think the distance may be too much for him. Tale of Ekati has people excited because he won the Wood Memorial, and because of his female family. Yeah, never mind that he's by Tale of the Cat. I hated everything about the Wood so it's not tough for me to toss him. Anak Nakal has been horrid this year. End of story.
I so utterly despise the Zayat people for naming all their horses Z Whatever that I won't go near Z Fortune and Z Humor, no matter how live they may be. Make an effort, people. Think of your horse's name going up there as a Derby winner. Lil E Tee was enough. Let's not keep this up.
And thus goeth my analysis.
There are more comments to get to, which I'll do in the next post. The only thing I wanted to say was in regards to Deepstructure's comment:
y'know, it's just a guess, but i'll bet there's a few folks who read this blog who would jump into your position in a heartbeat. ;)
Maybe I wasn't clear, because that was sorta the point. A lot of people in this business will take the money while badmouthing the work. I've certainly had jobs that were difficult and, well, not thrilling, but I think that going into a situation where you think you're above it is only going to lead to misery. I like working in TeeVee. That's why I do it. But it seems like a lot of folks working in it just don't feel that way.
If you're playing the Derby, good luck. If, like me, you're just watching, have fun!