The Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn this past weekend produced some interesting storylines. General Quarters was a 15-1 upset winner in Kentucky and punched the ticket to the Derby for his 75-year-old owner-trainer, Tom McCarthy. Papa Clem took down the Arkansas Derby, although Old Fashioned was gallant in defeat and subsequently retired after suffering an injury.
All this leaves only one more chance for those horses on the outside looking in for the First Saturday In May, the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland this coming weekend. This race was most famously won by Charismatic, won went on to win the 1999 Kentucky Derby two weeks later. So, with only one hurdle left to clear, here are the Super Six Derby Pix:
1) Friesan Fire- Still idle after the win in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, but trainer Larry Jones now has to consider this his last best hope for this year with Old Fashioned now on the sidelines. Will be most interested to see his workouts leading into May 2.
2) Quality Road- Drops a spot from last week after it was discovered he has a slight quarter-crack in a hoof. The connections don't think it will be a big deal for the Derby, but any slight nick at this time of year is usually a cause for panic.
3) I Want Revenge- Is he Fusaichi Pegasus or Bellamy Road? Both were winners of the Wood Memorial and both went into the Derby as favorites, as I Want Revenge is likely to do. FuPeg won the Derby in 2000, while Bellamy Road did not in 2005.
4) Dunkirk- With several horses dropping out, it is now inevitable that he will get into the Derby, which was not certain last week. His race in the Florida Derby was strong, although even with his big move on the turn, he was still turned back by Quality Road.
5) Regal Ransom- He and Desert Party have made the trip over to Kentucky from Dubai and now will (supposedly) have plenty of time to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings to get ready for the race Godolphin wants more than any other. We'll see.
6) Musket Man- Makes another appearance in the Pix here following his win in the Illinois Derby. His running style might be ideal for Derby Day and I would be very surprised to see him at anything less than 20-1 in the Run For The Roses.
Tune in again tomorrow for a look at the last maiden to win the Derby. For right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!