We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Animal Kingdom, winner of the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby!  Here are a few stats on this classic winner:
Trainer: H. Graham Motion
Owner(s): Team Valor International/ Barry Irwin
Sire: Leroidesanimaux
Dam: Dalicia
Breeder: Denali Stud
State Bred: KY
Foaled: 20 March 2008
Record: 7: 3-3-0
Earnings: $2,371,800
Trainer Graham Motion originally had two Derby starters, but the week before the big race, Toby's Corner, who was considered by Motion to be more likely to win was scratched with a sore leg.  On the day of the Derby, Animal Kingdom's morning line odds were 30-1, by the time of the race they had dropped to a long shot, 21-1.  The colt had originally been a turf horse, this being his first start on dirt making speculators unsure of his abilities.  Jockey John Velazquez rode Kingdom to a 2-3/4 length win over Zayat Stables, Nehro.  No horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby closed the final 1/2 mile faster except the immortal Secretariat in a ravishing :47 1/5.

What the Mo?

So I just wanted to write a quick article on some things that have been boggling my head for quite a while. Knowing myself this will become a drag on but I feel like it would be to some interest to you all. 

Anyways, over the past few weeks I have really been cutting down on my Derby picks and who I will be keeping my eye on as we come closer to D-Day, but there has always been this one little goofy colt that has constantly struck my eye. Uncle Mo has been my favorite for a long time coming and as we were getting closer to the big day he was still 4 for 4 and was everyone’s favorite as well, especially after his huge blowout of a 2 year old season taking down the BC Juvenile(Grade 1).  When he came back for his 3 year old campaign he hit the Timely Writer first, and when entered in the Wood everyone was optimistic of this great colt. He flunked out of that coming in a mere 3rd place, making everyone discouraged on this guy and his in ability to run distances.  

But if you ask me, I am still rooting for Uncle Mo in the Derby. They say he faced no competition what-so-ever in the Timely Writer(which I happen to agree with.) A horse of his caliber should be racing against REAL competition...Then coming up again, the Wood Memorial. Is his Gastro Testinal Infection that really huge of an impact on a horse? Well yea, sure it is! Anyways, it's not like UM came in last or  placing near last, he came in 3rd place. Although you do have the question floating in your head after watching, did he give up the race? I mean he was first coming home and then just gave it away. 

Another point brought to my attention is that Mo is a front runner, he likes to hit the front early and really take charge of his fields. That can pose a great issue because when looked back upon previous Derby's you find that other horses with the same style of running have not placed all that well. The competition is more fierce, and well...competitive.He will be loaded with good company up in the front, as this is a fast paced track and he is up with faster paced horses that will really give Mo a run for the money(pun intended)

Once again the Derby Distance comes into a broad view for Mo. If he is not back in full form that will really let Mo down and if he gets moving quick on the hot side of a pace then that as well can really let him down. 

This is just food for thought and a way for me to get this off my mind as it has been stewing with me for a while.

Derby Prep Disappointment

Winner of the Bluegrass Stakes, Brilliant Speed(5)
This past weekend, the last two G1 prep races for the Kentucky Derby were run.  First, The Toyota Bluegrass Stakes.  Going off as the favorite, Santiva was sure not to disappoint.  But, as we all know, things did not go as planned.  Santiva ended up finishing a disenchanting 9th place.  The winner, Brilliant Speed stole the show with an exciting photo finish with Harlan's Holiday colt, Twinspired in second.  The only hope for West Point Thoroughbreds came with King Congie, who finished in the money with third.  Next up, the Arkansas Derby, with the overwhelming favorite, The Factor.  A speed horse by War Front who was surely going to demolish this field, but ended up placing 7th in front of JP's Gusto, Elite Alex, and Brethren.  The pace was set by JP's Gusto, who led the race for 3/4 of a mile with a fast pace.  Archarcharch came in the final moments to hold off Nehro.  Nehro, the colt by Mineshaft is becoming an ominous contender for this Derby, and he will surely not go unnoticed.  Soon after the race, The Factor's trainer, Bob Baffert, said that The Factor had displaced his palate, resulting in his poor performance.  Both The Factor and Santiva are still on the Kentucky Derby trail, along with new possible favorites, second place finisher in the Arkansas Derby, Nehro, and winner, Archarcharch.  

Who's Left?

This year's Derby will surely not be forgotten, but for the right reasons?  There have been so many twists and turns this year with injuries and dropouts to, downright disappointment.  In mid February, two Derby hopeful's Boys at Tosconova, and Tapizar dropped out because of knee chips.  After that Rogue Romance, To Honor and Serve, Arthur's Tale, Pluck, and even possible Derby favorite, Premier Pegasus, who has a severe injury that may threaten his career.  So, who's left that we can still count on?  Well, surely in the Derby, nothing goes as planned, but are there still reliable hopefuls left?  We were all shocked last week when early Derby favorite, Uncle Mo, finished a disappointing third place.  Thank goodness though that it is to blame on a GI Tract infection that is most likely to clear up before Derby time, but will he be conditioned correctly?  So, we're left with Soldat, the G1 Fountain of Youth winner who finished 5th in the Florida Derby, despite going in as the favorite, his bloodlines suggest more speed than stamina, so that could cause problems for the 1 1/4 mile trip on Derby day.  Then there's Dialed In, the Florida Derby winner with three starts this year.  His sire (Mineshaft) is definitely a distance horse, with his dam (Miss Doolittle) being a speed horse, he could inherit both qualities and have no problem winning the Derby.  Shackleford, the long shot that gave Dialed In a run for his money in the Florida Derby is likely to be a long shot on Derby day, but as many know, anything could and does happen in the Run for the Roses.  Stay Thirsty, owned by Mike Repole, who owns Uncle Mo, has definite stamina on both sides, which is rare in this year's Derby has a better chance of going the distance, but does not necessarily have the speed to beat out the other horses.  Then there's The Factor, most likely going in as the Derby favorite with a win in tomorrow's Arkansas Derby, is probably the fastest horse in the 20 horse field and is likely to set the pace.  Many other horses such as Santiva, Mucho Macho Man, JP's Gusto, Brethren, Pants on Fire, and Comma to the Top, all with, in my opinion, good chances because with the way this year has been going, who knows what's gonna happen next?