Saturday, 1 May 2010

Derby Brief

After reviewing the card and replays of more than 50 races including at least 3 for every single starter, the draft for my planned Kentucky Derby post died of obesity and still I couldn't pinpoint the one or two golden candidates, mainly because I think there isn't one. Since it doesn't make sense to add a 3-page post when there have been dozens of Derby previews all week, here's just the gist of it in brief:

The possible burn to start it off: I toss out Ice Box – talent, pedigree, pace scenario and form be damned. He isn't good enough to make it from the 6-path, and Zito has always ordered his numerous jockeys to go "in the clear" with him. My approach is simplistic but quite successful: "In the Clear" in the Kentucky Derby translates to "Off the board", unless your horse is far superior to their opposition.

The question who wins could easily come down to a more or less coincidence-based 'the one who gets through relatively unscathed on or near the rail' when the early birds are fading out. Looking at Lucky is the most likely candidate for this, especially since Gomez/Baffert will be searching for the inside route, which is not nearly as common as it should be. Plus, he does have superior class and seasoning compared to most of his opponents. Also, I agree with Sarah Palin (I gotta shower now), Devil May Care is in it with a chance (like Sarah Palin, unfortunately) and not just a choice for the mentally disadvantaged (unlike Sarah), although there is a huge question mark behind her ability to handle adversity.

If you like Mine That Bird odds, the entirely unheralded Dean's Kitten is one I wouldn't toss out. Yes he has lost against some of the weaker ones in this field, but looks to be perfectly primed for this race. He's got nice turn-of-foot and has settled down well over his last three starts, now showing enormous strategic range. Has to step up considerably, but then who in this field doesn't?

And of course: keep an eye out for track conditions (or rather, track maintenance/manipulation) during and especially between races. My guess: it will once again be sealed up like a Chinese dissident, which usually means the inside becomes even more favorable than it would generally be in an overpaced 20-horse field.

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