The last of the Derby prep races was taken this Saturday at Keeneland by Advice, winner of the Coolmore Lexington. The story coming out of the race, however, was Square Eddie. Square Eddie already had enough graded earnings to get into the Derby field and looked OK in his first start in thirteen weeks. Was that enough to get him into the Super Six Derby Pix? Well, let's find out:
1) Friesan Fire- Worked this weekend and will have a drill next Monday over the track at Churchill Downs for trainer Larry Jones, who is following the same tack he took with his two Derby runner-ups in the last two years, Hard Spun and Eight Belles. Something just keeps gnawing at me that this year is Jones' turn to win it all.
2) Quality Road- Best of the Florida contingent with wins in the Fountain Of Youth and Florida Derby. The only other horse to really emerge from Florida this year appears to be Dunkirk. It calls into question how good he is if he still hasn't really faced anything else, but then you might be able to say the same for Friesan Fire and his Louisiana route to the Derby.
3) I Want Revenge- In my opinion, this will be your betting favorite come Derby Day, maybe at a lukewarm 5-1 or 6-1 on the tote board. His Wood Memorial was terrific after the start, but if he misses the break at Churchill, he has to go through nineteen horses instead of seven as he did at Aqueduct.
4) Dunkirk- Edgar Prado has been named the rider for the Derby. His move on the final turn of the Florida Derby was visually impressive, but he still couldn't get by Quality Road. He will likely be the hot horse going into the Derby, but so were Noble Causeway and Stephen Got Even. He is still very lightly raced for a Derby horse.
5) Musket Man- The Illinois Derby winner showed a running style suited to success on the first Saturday in May at Hawthorne. Again, he might suffer from not beating anyone he will face in Louisville in that Chicago race. The favorite from that day, Giant Oak, is already out of the Derby and looking elsewhere.
6) Square Eddie- He had enough money to get in going into the Lexington and I think he provided his connections with exactly what they were looking for that day. He led into the stretch and then showed the effects of his 13-week layoff by slowing a bit and ending up third. He got the tightener necessary to be ready for the Derby and he might be a factor, even after the injury and layoff. Would be a fabulous story if he won it.
Regal Ransom fell off the list this week, but he and Desert Party have been impressing in Kentucky already. It will be interesting to see how they lead into the race in twelve days. They Are Off also wishes to congratulate all of the Hall Of Fame inductees announced today: Bob Baffert, Eddie Maple, Tiznow, Silverbulletday, Janet Elliot, and Ben Nevis II. Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. Right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!