by Tom Carley
The KENTUCKY DERBY picture is a fortnight away – kind of “a calm before the storm”. Next week with the post-draw and horses shipping into Louisville, the action gets hectic, and you still need to find time to pick a winner. This week I will analyze the Derby, modifying that old game “20 questions” to ask at least one question for each contender.
The field listed by Derby points:
Why is this horse so overlooked after winning so convincingly in Louisiana? Will he change leads and get the same dream trips he has in his prior races?
Can a horse this large (no horse won the Derby in the last 30 years at 17 hands) navigate into the crowded first turn and still keep that long stride?
How will he handle the paddock and post-parade Derby day? Can he break the 0 for 44 slump of Storm Cat descendants in the Derby? Is he improving at the right time? Can he run tactical against the faster pace than he got in Dubai?
American Pharoah Proved he could rate last out. Is he as good as they think? With his long time away from the track, are the 2 easy races in Arkansas enough of a foundation for the Derby?
Has the surgery done enough to make me forget the way he stopped in the Fountain of Youth? Is he worth all the recent attention?
Can this horse travel all the way from Dubai, without his groom, his feed and his susceptibility to respiratory infections? I still lean toward yes based on the trainer.
Can he break the Apollo curse and continue the improvement?
Does he really belong here? Pace set up should benefit a closer, but can he get 10 furlongs? Borel is always a threat on Derby day.
He never runs a bad race. Why is he so overlooked? An upset special.
Will he get too close on the rail as he likes in a crowded field?
Which horse will show up? The one who chased down Upstart or the one who did not show up in the Florida Derby?
Can he learn to rate today as he can’t take this field gate to wire?
Can he take the recent improvement to the next step? Interesting
Can he learn to break from the gate and finally run a race up to his potential?
Was the Wood Memorial the best he can do or is there one more step up?
How does this speed-horse take the field 10 furlongs?
Why is he here? He lost 11 races in a row.
Ocho Ocho Ocho
How does this little guy push his way into position?
Why don’t the connections take this one back to the turf?
Would this horse even be third best in his own bar?
Much more info to come in the next week. Relax and get ready for the fun.