The first Saturday in May is almost here. I hope everyone will be ready for that huge fight. No, I am NOT talking about THAT fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd “Money” Mayweather, even though I hope Pacquiao beats the living daylights out of Mayweather. No, the fight I’m talking about is that 20 horse “fight” to that first turn in this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby on May 2nd. The Kentucky Derby is the premier event for 3YOs, and is the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Aside from being a great sporting event, the Kentucky Derby is an event in and of itself. Attendees wear interesting hats. I have seen hats that have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous on Derby Day. There’s food as well, like Derby Pie and the famous Mint Julip. Celebrities show up to the big race as well. The most important thing about the event is the race, and this race is going to be one for the ages.
I have decided to give my readers a link to the field, with the morning line odds, jockey, etc. I will be discussing the horses in groups. I will group them according to how much of a chance I give them to win the Derby. I will use 3 groups. The first group will be for the horses who have no hope of winning the race. The second group will be the horses who might have an outside chance, but I would doubt it. The third group would be the ones that I think would be the likely ones to wear the garland of Roses. I will end the blog with the horse that I think will be the winner of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. So, sit back with your Mint Julip, memorize “My Old Kentucky Home,” and and enjoy the blog.
Here’s the link to the field for the Kentucky Derby. It includes post position draw, which also corresponds with the saddle number of each horse. The morning line odds are included as well. American Pharoah is the morning line favorite at 5-2. What he will be bet down to at post time, is going to be interesting.
EVENT: Kentucky Derby 141
VENUE : Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY
TIME : 4:30PM-7:00PM EST
POST TIME: 6:24PM EST
KENTUCKY DERBY ANALYSIS:
HORSES TO TOSS
These are the horses in the first group. These horses have no chance to win the Kentucky Derby, at least in my opinion. Now, I’m not saying that these horse have ABSOLUTELY no chance, as I would have tossed a horse named Mine That Bird. Trust me, I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who looked like a moron that day in 2009. I just think this bunch are the least likely to win. If you like longshots like my father did, go ahead and use this bunch.
The first horse that I am tossing is Ocho Ocho Ocho. First off, he got the dreaded rail. The wonderful Ferdinand was the last horse to win the Derby from the one hole in 1986, and this horse is no Ferdinand. Zayat Stables has three horses in this race. Mr. Z, El Kabeir, and the heavy favorite, American Pharoah. Their best shot is the Derby favorite as Mr. Z is another horse that I am tossing. This horse tries hard, but has lost his last ELEVEN races. He got enough points to get in the race, but I’m not touching him. Their other horse, El Kabeir is another toss. He’s a very nice horse, and I love him, but the New York bunch he’s beaten hasn’t been much, and his 3rd place finish in the Wood Memorial is a concern.
Stanford, a horse I was going to toss anyway, has been scratched due to his connections deciding not to run. That means Frammento, one of the two Also Eligibles, gets in, as there is a scratch. He goes into the 20 hole, with all others sliding down one spot. Should another scratch by 9:00AM on Friday morning , the other AE, Tale of Verve, gets in as well. Frammento is trained by Nicholas P. Zito. As much as I respect Zito, I don’t see this horse doing much, so he’s a toss. I hope that this horse doesn’t cause any trouble.
Materiality is a nice and speedy horse. He’s getting a lot of attention, but I don’t see it. He’s coming from the 3 hole, and will have to use a ton of his speed to get position. Pass. Danzig Moon finished a nice second to Carpe Diem in the Bluegrass Stakes. He could finish in the money with the right pace setup, but I don’t think he’ll get the trip. Tencendur is a pass as well as Keen Ice. ItsaKnockOut didn’t knock me off my feet with his Florida races.
HORSES WHO MAY HAVE A SHOT
Now that I have discussed the horses who I think don’t have much of a shot, now I will discuss the horses who might have a possibility of winning. I’m not completely confident that these horses will win. However, I think if I saw some of these horses coming down the stretch, and pulling the upset, I would not be that surprised. In this bunch, some horses have a better chance than others. If you play exotics, such as exactas, trifectas, I would consider some of these horses.
I’m going to start with Bolo and War Story. Yes, Bolo’s likely a turf horse. However, he’s been decent against the likes of the undefeated Dortmund in a third place finish in the Santa Anita Derby. He was a borderline toss for me, but if he could get a decent trip, he might get fourth. War Story is another horse that could get a piece of it, if the right pace scenario comes up. He’s placed in all three Louisiana preps, so even though he would really surprise me if he won, I think he could be a horse to consider in exotic betting.
International Star and Far Right are the next horses I will discuss. Far Right is a deep closer, like 2009 Derby Winner Mine That Bird, or 1991 Derby Champion Strike the Gold. I’m expecting a fast pace upfront. I don’t expect to see Far Right win, but I’d have him in the bottom of my trifectas and superfectas. International Star, the qualifying points leader, now HE would not shock me if he pulled the upset win. International Star won all the Louisiana preps, including the Louisiana Derby. He’s done nothing wrong. He’s shown toughness, and if he runs his race, I expect him to be right there.
The last horses for this category are Carpe Diem and Upstart. I was going to put them in the category of potential winners, but I usually narrow things down after the post position draw. I saw the draw for these two, and I was a bit hesitant. Upstart is a speed horse, and is coming from a far outside post. He’s going to want to go to the front. He’s a very good horse. I’m not sure about his ability to overcome that post position.
Carpe Diem is trying to be the first horse since Strike the Gold to win the Bluegrass Stakes and Kentucky Derby. He’s coming out of that 2 hole. He has to deal with Ocho Ocho Ocho trying to get off that rail, and Materiality trying to get position from the 3 hole. Carpe Diem has speed, but will he have to do a lot of adjusting that may cost him the race?
Either of these horses could still win. I just have some doubts about their ability to overcome obstacles.
HORSES MOST LIKELY TO WIN
This last group of horses are the ones with the best chances to win. These horse are the best of the best. These horses should definitely be used in exotic betting. One of these horses, in my opinion, is the Kentucky Derby winner.
The first two horses I will discuss are Firing Line and Frosted. Frosted was impressive as a 2YO, but in the Fountain of Youth, as a 3YO, he didn’t fire. Well, his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin discovered that the horse needed an operation to correct an displaced palate. The horse also underwent an equipment change, and won the Wood Memorial. He appears to be on the improve. I think he has a great shot.
Firing Line has been dueling with Dortmund earlier this year, but Dortmund has been getting the best of him. However, Firing Line put on a dazzling performance in the Sunland Derby by 14 1/2 lengths. I have been very impressed with Firing Line. He’s a tough horse. I could see him dueling for the lead, and being there at the end to grab the Roses.
Mubtaahij, the UAE Derby winner in Dubai, is the next horse I will discuss. When I saw him win the UAE Derby as part of Dubai World Cup day, I was bowled over by the Irish bred Mubtaahij. He had an amazing turn of foot, and when he took the lead, he blew by that field. The race was 1 3/16ths, longer than any of the American prep races that the American horses have run. His name means “elated” in Arabic. Mubtaahij is also running without the anti-bleeding medicine Lasix. Michael de Kock, the horse’s trainer has won in many countries. I have been very high on this horse since the UAE Derby on March 30.
American Pharoah, the favorite, is owned by Zayat Stables. This stable has been bitten by bad Derby luck in recent years. The Zayats owned Bodemeister was caught in deep stretch by I’ll Have Another in 2012. In 2011, Nehro, finished second to Animal Kingdom . American Pharoah, being the 2014 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding 2YO, gives Zayat Stables their best chance to win yet.
Sidelined from a foot injury since November, forcing American Pharoah to scratch from the Breeders Cup Juvenile, the horse returned to the races in the Rebel Stakes back in February. He was much the best over a sloppy track. On April 10th, American Pharoah ran in the Arkansas Derby. Again, the horse made mincemeat out of the field. Now, the knock on the horse is that he’s all hype, and he hasn’t beaten anyone. Well, one can say that about several of the other horses in the race. Besides, American Pharoah hasn’t done anything wrong. I think some people have an agenda against either the owners and/or the trainer. I feel that this is the horse to beat.
MY KENTUCKY DERBY PICK:
Well, I have to make a pick. There are several horses that I love for various reasons, but I can only pick one horse to win. Can I predict a dead heat between American Pharoah and Dortmund and Mubtaahij? Seriously, after careful consideration, the horse that I predict will win the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby will be: DORTMUND. The basic reason is because, as I said, he’s battle tested, and can win in different ways.
I hope that my readers have enjoyed the blog. Good luck with your wagering. Don’t let anyone talk you off your horse. Bet with your head, not over it. Feedback is welcome.