Its that time of year again... Time to break out the julep glasses. But for now... lets set aside the bourbon talk... and get to the horses. I am not gonna break down the whole field... but there are some notables for one reason or another that I think you should be aware of.
The Likely Favorite
Big Brown: Undefeated. Big and Bad. Watch this video of this year's Florida Derby. Its not a wire to wire win... but it may as well be. Pay particular attention to the kick displayed down the stretch. It was a very fast pace y'all... but Big Brown still had another gear. Folks are going to knock this horse... he was hurt last year... he's only run three races... long lay off... blah blah blah. To them I say... Watch the race. Oh.. and one other thing on Florida... notice his gate. He started in gate 12. This is not a one race wonder. He won Saratoga by over 11 lengths. There are some questions.. but I believe once they're answered.. we all may be feeling silly for asking them. Big Brown is has sprinter parents... but when you look deeper in his bloodline you see some serious distance horses. We may well be seeing the birth of a rock star y'all.
Gayego: Ok... granted... his name sucks. But getting beyond that... he ran a great race in the Arkansas Derby... and he's won on very different tracks. That kind of consistancy is a big help in the madness that is the derby.
Tale of Ekati: Ran down War Pass (more on him in a bit) to win the Wood Memorial. You'll hear his name a lot. Its just my opinion... take it for what its worth... but I don't buy this horse. For one thing... the horse did not run that good a race. Anyway... I include him in this teir because of the hype he'll recieve on ESPN on saturday.
Pyro: I don't know... something isn't right here. Everything was shaping up for this derby to be a duel between Pyro and War Pass... Pyro was the probable favorite... then he stank it up in the Bluegrass Stakes... and by stank it up.. I mean he ran 10th the whole race and never displayed any desire to move up. It was just a half-assed race that raises a lot of questions about heart.
The Best Horse Not in the Race
War Pass: Man this sucks. I'd love to see this horse match up with Big Brown in the Derby... unfortunately it looks like we'll have to wait for the Belmont. He has all the talent in the world... He almost won the Wood on a broken foot... and it was that broken foot that let Tale of Ekati run him down. Real shame. It's likely that the same injury could be responsible for preventing a triple crown winner this year... since Big Brown may be battling a fresh War Pass... as well as the distance at Belmont. Of course... after you see Big Brown run... it may not matter.
The Dark Horse
Adriano: In horse racing there are a lot of great trainers that hardly ever bring horses to the Derby. Graham Motion (even if he is based in God Forsaken Mary Land) is one of them. When he decided to show up with Adriano... it perked up some ears. I suggest you pay attention to this horse... especially when you note that Edgar Prado will be riding him.
Its to early. I want to see the workouts... but for now... I see no reason to think anyone in this field has anything for Big Brown. I don't even think a bad gate draw would be the end of the world. Right now... I think this horse is gonna run off and leave the field. I do not expect an exciting race. How good is Big Brown? Kent Desormeaux said he might be the best horse he's ever ridden. That should give you pause. Desormeaux won the Derby on Real Quiet and Fusaichi Pegasus. Be advised.