Today is the day we wait a year for… The Kentucky Derby! As the run for the roses gets started in only a few hours, it is time for my pick. If you have been paying any attention to my bias this week, then you probably already know my pick… Charming Kitten! I’m joking… actually, my pick is Normandy Invasion. Throughout NI’s career, every time the distance increased, he moved up in place. He has been a workhorse on the track, running a ferociously fast Wood Memorial, just to come up short behind Verrazano. Some worries are that he won’t be able to get the distance, especially looking at his pedigree. However, I have a good feeling that he will not only make the distance but improve as well. He was gaining on Verrazano right up until the end. Looking back at his pedigree, Tapit horses have won a whopping 18% of races on and off-track surface. With the race supposedly going to be muddy, there is a good chance that we see an even better performance from him. Finally, Thursday’s interesting workout only solidified his position for me. He ran beautifully throughout and had a fast pace that would have been a route if in a race. This horse is loving Churchill Downs and I expect to see him in the winners circle this Saturday.
Now I will be gone til after the race, but feel free to post your picks in the comments section below. Good Luck!!!
As Promised, Here is Your Elite Eight (in alphabetical order) of the 139th Running of the Kentucky Derby:
- Java’s War
- Normandy Invasion
- Palace Malice
Tomorrow, at 3pm eastern, I will release my pick for the Kentucky Derby!!
Only a few days out, here are the Ups and Downs of this years Kentucky Derby!
- Normandy Invasion: An early closer has a great run style fit for the Kentucky Derby. NI likes the back and with Javier Castellano, he is sure to be a threat. Even though he only has a maiden win to his name, NI has been improving over the past few races, coming very close his last race. The late speed he has is amazing, and todays workout just made that statement even more valid. Hopefully Chad Brown can break his Derby maiden with this super horse.
- Mylute: Another closer, Mylute is very patient and calm. He loves the back and makes steady moves near the end. He might not have enough to win, but he will be great for exotics.
- Itsmyluckyday: The Holy Bull winner is going be tough to beat… if he runs right. With my favorite jockey Elvis Trujillo on the mount, he is going to be tough. The only problem is that his run style is going to make it tough to win, but keep him for some exotics.
- Goldencents: One year ago Doug O’Neill shocked the world with I’ll Have Another. This year, he has another chance with Rick Pitino’s Prized Pony Goldencents. A front runner has a very hard time winning the Derby but if any horse is to do it, this one would be the one. He has great speed and is smart about taking the lead. If Krigger can keep him under control, the Santa Anita Derby winner could shock the world.
- Orb: Did you really think I would forget the favorite! The legendary Shug McGaughey finally has an amazing shot at the Derby with this closing horse. He is an early closer, just like Normandy Invasion, and will definitely compete with NI down the stretch. The Florida Derby winner flies down the stretch at the end of races and could easily use that speed, as long as he isn’t challenged too much, which is a strong possibility with NI in the field.
- Java’s War: Just had to throw him in. I like him enough to have him in some exotics but winning, ehhh. He just reminds me of how Animal Kingdom ran in the Derby so maybe Java has a chance.
- Todd Pletcher Field: 5 horses. 5 chances to win. 1 race. Seems like good odds… if Pletcher had a better Derby record. Revolutionary, even though he is a closer, has stamina problems, easily causing him to tire late when moving with a bunch of other closers. You don’t need to analyze Overanalyze too much, he doesn’t like to be with a lot of horses so a 20 horse field could be too much for this young horse. Palice Malice has the best shot, in my opinion, out of all of the Pletcher horses. He rides in the pack and loves the rail; if he finds space late, Mike Smith may have a winner… too bad he is too inconsistent to be trusted. Everyone loves the undefeated Verrazano, but as a front runner, and with only four career races, the Wood Memorial winner might not be able to hold of numerous closers and stalkers in this field. Finally Charming Kitten. Winning his sire’s namesake stakes may be a good thing, but that’s as far as good things go. He as no early push and has falling back in his last few races. He might have a chance to hit the board if things go real well but very little chance at him getting to the line first.
- Lines of Battle: In 139 incarnations of the Derby, no European raced horse has ever won. Sorry, but with this field, Aiden O’Brien (who I think will one day win a Derby) won’t be making history.
- Black Onyx: Stamina could be a big issue with this horse. And he is on the rail. Sorry, Jumping Joe Bravo and Kelly Breen won’t be getting a Derby win this year.
- Oxbow: Young. Gary Stevens is definitely going to put him in a position to win, but this horse is too young to be at the Twin Spires on Derby day. Oxbow has some stamina issues and struggles a lot when not in the lead so he doesn’t have the best chance in the field.
- Golden Soul, Giant Finish, and Frac Daddy: Outclassed.
- Flying Sky: A front runner with stamina problems. Probably not going hit the board.
Ok! There is your ups and downs. Comment your opinions below. Pretty much slicing the field in two. See you tomorrow for my Elite Eight!! Good Luck this Weekend and don’t forget to download the Stat Sheets!!
Now that the field is set and the odds are made, its time for the famous Derby Stat Sheets. Once again, read left to right and page 2 is just a continuation of the lines in page 1. If there is anything you would like me to add to the Stat Sheets for the future comment below and I will try my best to put them on in the next edition (most likely Preakness). Enjoy!! I’ll be back tomorrow with Derby Ups and Downs!!
Also Available for Excel download at https://www.dropbox.com/s/cdl75e851xvtxan/Kentucky%20Derby%202013.xlsx.
*** The thick black line under Falling Sky does not mean anything… Disregard.
After defections of Winning Cause, Tiz a Minister, Code West, and Governor Charlie, Mike Maker’s Fear the Kitten fills up the last spot in the 20 horse field. Post Position draw is this Wednesday at 5pm live on NBCSN.
Today in a Derby Press Conference, Todd Pletcher announced that his horse, Winning Cause, will not be racing this Saturday. This defection leaves him with only 5 horses.
Also trainer Paul Aguirre has decided to not run his horse Tiz a Minister citing the the “Owner decided not to run.”
(report from Blood Horse)
And we are back!!! Sorry for the long delay but we have returned just in time for the Kentucky Derby!! The week ahead at Horse Racing Station will be a big one!!
- Wednesday: Derby Stat Sheets
- Thursday: Ups and Downs
- Friday: Derby Elite Eight
- Saturday: Kentucky Derby Picks (3pm eastern)
So this will be all until Wednesday. See you all Wednesday Night!!!