Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby 2011 : Five Contenders

The “Run for the Roses” takes place on Saturday with coverage beginning at 4:00 pm on NBC.  No it’s not a marathon of moms chasing after their kids for not sending flowers to them on Mother’s Day; it’s the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.  The one day out of the year Kentucky isn't known for bourbon whiskey or blue grass.  The Kentucky Derby is a classy race with a very long history, ladies dress up in their Sunday best, with hats that stretch from Kentucky to Texas and men stumble around in nice suits from one two many mint juleps.  The Derby is the first race in the Triple Crown series and sets up this year’s hope of a crown winner.  Some experts feel as though this year’s field is weak, but those are the years that can sneak up on horse racing aficionados and casual fans alike.

As of the time of writing this, Dialed In is the opening favorite after posts were drawn on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.  The closest horse to him would be Uncle Mo, but questions have been raised about if the 2 year old colt can even run.  He suffered a gastrointestinal infection that took hold about a month ago, causing him to suffer his first loss at Wood Memorial.  Uncle Mo’s owner stated that if the colt is not fully recovered he will not run on Saturday in the derby.  If Uncle Mo doesn’t run that leaves the door to victory slightly more ajar for a few other horses.  Below are my top five horses for the Kentucky Derby, absent Uncle Mo and who I would place my money on if I had any. 

5:  Pants on Fire, post #7.  Trying to become the first women jockey to win the Derby, Rosie Napravnik will be in charge of 20/1 Pants on Fire.  The combo won the Louisiana Derby on March 26, a race that also featured Mucho Macho Man who will be running in the Derby out of the #13 post, and Nehro, who will be running from the #19 post.  Pants on fire should be heading into the Derby with a leg (or four legs) up on two other horses.

4: Stay Thirsty, post #4.  Stay Thirsty makes the top five because the three year old colt is trained by Todd Pletcher.  Pletcher is also training Uncle Mo, but with issues hampering Uncle Mo’s chances, Pletcher is concentrating his efforts on Stay Thirsty.  Training last years derby winner, Super Saver also adds a little bit of promise to this horse.  Currently listed as a 20/1 long shot, Stay Thirsty has an opportunity to add a few extra dollars to the pockets of those willing to take the chance. 

3: Twice the Appeal, post #3.  The winner of the Sunland Derby on March 27th will have hall of fame jockey Calvin Borel in his saddle.  Borel has won three of the last four Kentucky Derby’s so it’s difficult to argue against this pick.  Currently the odds are 20/1 for Twice the Appeal, but I expect these to drop a little as the race gets closer.

2: Midnight Interlude, post #15.  The # 15 gate may not be the most appealing to some, but it’s not #20.  Midnight Interlude is the sole horse being trained by three time derby winning trainer Bob Baffert.  Baffert last trained the derby winner in 2002 when 20/1 War Emblem took the roses.  Midnight Interlude is currently at 10/1 and could easily be Baffert’s next derby winner.

1: Dialed In, post #8.  The odds on favorite drew one of the best post positions in recent years.  Of the last 5 derby winners, 2 have come from post #8.  Trainer Nick Zito has won 2 Kentucky Derby’s, the last of which was in 1994 with Go for Gin.  Zito now has the favored horse with Dialed In at 4/1 and a great post position should only help.

I’m not a horse racing guru or anything, but I occasionally get a little lucky.  Judging from the field and who may or may not run, if I had to place my money on something other then a mint julep, I would take Twice the Appeal.  When you combine a hall of fame Jockey with a great horse the results are usually favorable.  If Borel pulls it off he will be the first Jockey in history to win three straight Kentucky Derby’s, that’s a lot of roses.

No comments:

Post a Comment