In the movie "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?". Spencer Tracy quotes Isobel Sanford, who played the family maid with the following line, "All Hell done broke loose now!" To say that is what has happened to the Kentucky Derby picture would be a fabulous understatement. The favorite didn't win ANY of the three prep races this past weekend. Of course, this coming weekend, order could be restored with the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, but I find it highly doubtful. Here are the Pix for this week:
#1 Dialed In- Nick Zito has inherited the favorites role with the Florida Derby winner, Dialed In. I still don't think the race was that tremendously impressive, but what can I tell you? Unlike some others this year, Dialed In has actually been working hard up to the Derby. The win in the Holy Bull, the loss to older horses in what was basically a public workout, and the Florida Derby win might have him ready to go come Derby Day.
#2 Santiva- The likely favorite in what will prove to be a bulky field at Keeneland in the Blue Grass Stakes remains the horse I feel is most likely to put forth a tough effort in the Derby. Again, he might not walk off the track wearing the Roses, but I feel confident in saying he will be part of the Superfecta on Derby Day. I am anxious to see how well he does on the Polytrack and how well he reacts after he gets off of it.
#3 The Factor- Bob Baffert's most likely Derby candidate has taken the Arkansas road to Louisville, which has been so successful so many times in the recent past. His win in the Rebel seemed to prove he could get a distance of ground to most observers. I am hoping someone will go with him and prod him along in the Arkansas Derby, so we can see if he can handle being challenged while on the lead.
#4 Toby's Corner- I felt his performance in the Wood Memorial this Saturday was magnificent enough to put him on the list this week. If you get a chance to watch a replay of this race, Toby's Corner was in behind TWO lines of four horses across the track at Aqueduct while on the far turn. He weaved his way through the traffic while full of run and powered past the fading Uncle Mo and the surging Arthur's Tale to win the Wood and make him a candidate for Derby glory.
#5 Uncle Mo- OK, I know he grabbed a quarter at the start of the Wood Memorial and was never really comfortable the whole race. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he had done that in a previous race and it wasn't a problem. So, then why was it a problem on Saturday? Pletcher also said that this was not a short horse for the Wood. I respectfully disagree with that assessment. He completely stopped in the stretch while trying to go farther than he ever went before. The total lack of competition caught up with him in the Wood. While that is that case, I also think he can rebound and still win the Derby.
#6 Archarcharch- You know, if the Kentucky Derby were held today, he wouldn't even have enough graded stakes earnings to make the top twenty. He would have to wait for the Preakness. However, the Derby is not held today, so his connections don't have to be concerned until Saturday. He will run tough again on Saturday, he always does. It will be interesting to see if he can turn the tables on The Factor, especially if The Factor is pressured on the front end.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!