Hard as it may be to believe, but we are currently just eighteen days away from the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Is it just me or was it just yesterday that Animal Kingdom was wearing roses? Anyway, the 138th Derby might just be one of the more wide-open editions of the Run For The Roses. I am literally thinking that you could load the twenty horses in the gate, spring the latch and you could get twenty different winners. Here are this week's Super Six Derby Pix:
#1 Gemologist- It was just two years ago that WinStar Farm and Todd Pletcher teamed up for a Derby win with Super Saver. This Tiznow offspring is now 5 for 5 in his career and his last win was a fighting effort in the Wood Memorial with Alpha, who I have been high on all spring. Jockey Javier Castellano might just be the best rider in the business right now, which makes this team tough to beat.
#2 Union Rags- It seems to me that the horse that most people were targeting as the favorite is suddenly forgotten after his loss in the Florida Derby and the wins last weekend from Dullahan and Bodemeister. Granted, his loss in the Florida Derby wasn't great, but I thought it was more of a product of a poor ride from Julien Leparoux. It might be one of the few times I can say "poor ride" and "Leparoux" in the same sentence, but it shouldn't cause anyone to discount the chances of this horse.
#3 I'll Have Another- So far, so good in 2012 for this colt. He won the Robert Lewis at long odds and then followed it up with a win in the Santa Anita Derby in a tough stretch duel that also involved Creative Cause. It is worth noting that the only time this horse left the West Coast, he ran sixth in the Hopeful at Saratoga. Last time I checked, Kentucky was not on the West Coast. The other question with this horse is the jockey Mario Guiterrez. He has done well in the west, but how will do on the REALLY big stage?
#4 Hansen- Can everyone please get off the dye job story involving this horse and his tail? Even the connections are sick of it. What cannot be overlooked is that he was run down by Dullahan this last weekend in the Blue Grass over the polytrack at Keeneland. I think, however, that Ramon Dominguez wasn't really asking for everything he could in the stretch of that race. Remember, Hansen has his spot already secured in Louisville, so while it would have been nice to win that race, it wasn't totally necessary.
#5 Bodemeister- Empire Maker didn't win the Kentucky Derby (much to my chagrin), but this son of his certainly could. His performance at the Arkansas Derby this past weekend certainly was dazzling. However, when it comes to this horse, you must remember that the old statistic of no horse has won the Derby without running as a two-year-old since ye olden days comes into play here. Bodemeister didn't debut until January 16 of this year. Never mind Secret Circle though, I think this might be Bob Baffert's best Derby chance this season.
#6 Creative Cause- He will have eight career starts when he goes postward at Churchill Downs, which is a lot these days. He has never missed the money in any of those performances. I think he is certainly going to be a win candidate in the Derby, but am concerned that he allowed I'll Have Another to go by and win the Santa Anita Derby. In the stretch of that race, I thought this grey was the winner, only to be rebuffed at the very end. He will have to negotiate another furlong on May 5.
Tune in again this week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!