This will be the final version of the Pix for 2011. Next week is Derby week, of course, and there will be plenty of action to jam pack into the blog. Anyway, here are the Pix for this week:
#1 Dialed In- It is now almost inevitable that the Nick Zito trainee will be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. He is the only contender that really didn't stumble somewhere along the way, winning the Holy Bull and Florida Derby. He did run second to his stablemate in the Florida Derby prep, but that was with older horses and I don't think that was intended to be more than a public, paid workout anyway.
#2 Toby's Corner- The Wood Memorial winner was late arriving on the scene for the Derby, but I think his win in the Wood was the single most impressive prep race of the whole season. If he can overcome the traffic he will face in Louisville with his running style the same way he overcame it at The Big A, I think they will be fitting his flank with a garland of roses on May 7.
#3 Archarcharch- The undisputed King of Oaklawn this spring, winning the Southwest and the Arkansas Derby. He even ran a credible race in defeat in the Rebel, when The Factor was the greatest thing since sliced bread. If they could somehow transport the surface in Arkansas to Kentucky, he would be 8-5 to win the Roses. However, since they are not running the Derby at Oaklawn, he will have to do it on his ability, which still might be enough.
#4 Mucho Macho Man- I still think this one might turn out to be the sleeper of the sleepers on Derby Day. He won the Risen Star and lost the Louisiana Derby, although the Derby effort was compromised with issues encountered shortly after leaving the gate. He still ran third that day, even with the problems. I know Nehro is the sudden "hot horse" of all the wiseguys, but he didn't lose to Nehro by much and I am interested to see how they match up with everything even.
#5 Uncle Mo- The workout this morning of five furlongs in 1:01.3 was a nice return to form by the 2010 Juvenile Champion. He had been the favorite until the shocking loss in the Wood. The question is now, was it just a momentary stumble on the way to history, the way it was for Secretariat and Monarchos (who just happened to run the two fastest Derbies ever) or was it symptomatic of a larger problem of distance limitations for this colt?
#6 Soldat- I think the defection of The Factor from the Kentucky Derby really helps his chances on May 7. I had been very high on him before the nightmare of the Florida Derby. He was overheated that day, didn't get the lead, and didn't run his race. He should be up front in the Derby. The only question with him is will he be alone on the lead or will another speedster like Shackleford compromise his position?
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!