IN THE FAST LANE TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY
So, here we are, a month to the most famous horse race in the world. As a follower of these four-legged phenoms, I am constantly considering. Most casual sports fans only now begin pondering on one of the most important questions of life. We all know how you can pick your clothes. We all know you can pick your friends. But can you pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby?
The Florida Derby and the Louisiana Derby are now in the books. The Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, and Bluegrass Stakes are set for April 4 with the Arkansas Derby to be run April 11. These are the final prep races for the first Saturday in May. With the clock ticking towards a run at immortality, let’s take a look at the top 10 contenders according to the Sports Brew and get a thought on each.
1 Dortmund-Unbeaten son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown has plenty of size and 3-time winning trainer Bob Baffert guiding him.
2 International Star-Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey have been beacons in the sport but never won the roses. This New York-bred son of 2000 Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus gives them a real chance.
3 American Pharoah-Juvenile champion was a runaway winner in Rebel Stakes in only start at three and will next go in Arkansas Derby. Has exactly what his conditioner, Bob Baffert, likes, front end speed and then more speed.
4 El Kabeir-Four wins in eight lifetime starts and no finish worse than fourth means he is an experienced finisher. Florida-bred great grandson of 1990 Derby winner Unbridled has one win beneath the twin spires already.
5 Carpe Diem-Three wins and a second place in four starts tells us he is top shelf. Trainer Todd Pletcher and Winstar Farms teamed up to win 2010 Derby with Super Saver.
6 Far Right-Great grandson of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew put in a nice stretch run in winning the Southwest Stakes. Has raced at 5 different tracks including Churchill Downs.
7 Materiality-Lightly raced son of Afleet Alex is unbeaten in three lifetime starts and fought to win the Florida Derby. Did not race as a two-year old-the last time a Derby winner did not race at two was 1918 (Exterminator).
8 Upstart-New York-bred has proven that he will battle to the end as 7 lifetime starts have produced three wins, three seconds, and a third. One of those seconds was a controversial steward’s decision in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
9 Firing Line-Won the Sunland Derby by 15 lengths after finishing second to Dortmund in previous two starts. Jockey Gary Stevens has the experience with three previous Derby wins (1988, 1995,1997).
10.War Story-Has yet to win a graded stakes race but has been in the money in all five career starts and runs to the wire. Kentucky bred son of Northern Afleet has been behind International Star in last three starts.