The Brock Talk

Friday, May 1, 2009

Brief Comments on Each Derby Horse

1. West Side Bernie, 30-1
Jockey Stuart Elliott won the 2004 Kentucky Derby with Smarty Jones. West Side Bernie was second behind I Want Revenge in last start. Hasn’t won since September, although he has been racing against Derby-type horses.

2. Muskat Man, 20-1
Was my longshot horse early off of his victory in the gr. 2 Illinois Derby. But hasn’t trained particularly well since coming to Churchill for the Derby.

3. Mr. Hot Stuff, 30-1
Jockey John Velasquez is one of the best, but this horse has only won one race in his life against maidens. Third in the Santa Anita Derby behind Pioneerof the Nile. Will have to improve and get a perfect trip in the Derby.

4. Advice, 30-1
One of top trainer Todd Pletcher’s three Derby horses. Impressively won the gr. 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland to prepare for Derby. He likes to make one big run at the end.

5. Hold Me Back, 20-1
Will have to overcome the fact that he has only two starts this year coming into the Derby, but both races have been impressive winning the gr. 2 Lane’s End at Turfway Park and finishing second behind General Assembly in the Bluegrass.

6. Friesan Fire, 5-1
Has won three straight including the gr. 2 Lousiana Derby six weeks ago. A bit of a long layoff for a Derby horse. Trainer Larry Jones has finished second in the last two Kentucky Derbies with Hard Spun in 2007 and Eight Bells last year. One of the favorites.

7. Papa Clem, 20-1
Won the grade 2 Arkansas Derby last race and was second behind Friesan Fire in the Louisiana Derby. Before that he chased Pioneerof the Nile in California. Has trained well since coming to Churchill.

8. Mine That Bird, 50-1
Won five of six races in Canada as a 2-year-old before finishing last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Finished fourth in the minor league Sunland Park Derby near El Paso in his last race.

9. Join The Dance, 50-1
He’ll be fun to watch for a while as it appears this speedy colt will be on the lead early in the Derby. Also comes from the Todd Pletcher Barn but hasn’t shown he can defeat this caliber of horse. Last 50-1 winner of the Derby was only a few years ago when Giacomo won in 2005.

10. Regal Ransom, 20-1
Won the United Arab Emirates Derby (gr. II) in his last race over stablemate Desert Party. He has looked great since coming to US for the Derby, but seems to be overshadowed by Desert Party.

11. Chocolate Candy, 20-1
A dark horse. (Just kidding). A good longshot trained by Jerry Hollendorfer who races mostly in the second-tier Northern California circuit. Chocolate Candy was second behind Pioneerof the Nile in the Santa Anita Derby. Another good longshot.

12. General Assmebly, 20-1
Feel good story of this year’s Derby as he comes from the one-horse stable of septuagenarian trainer and former Louisville high school principal Thomas McCarthy. Won the gr. 1 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland in his last start and has continued to impress folks here at Churchill Downs with his training.

13. I Want Revenge, 3-1
The Kentucky Derby favorite who has trained like a monster at Churchill since winning the gr. 1 Wood Memorial Stakes in New York. Overcame a ton of trouble in that race and has hot, young California jockey Joe Talamo.

14. Atomic Rain, 50-1
Will need a nuclear effort to win this race.

15. Dunkirk, 4-1
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s best Derby horse. Second behind Quality Road in the gr. 1 Florida Derby after making a big run at the leader. Only two horses have won the Derby with only three previous lifetime starts – Big Brown last year and the filly Regret in 1915.

16. Pioneerof the Nile, 4-1
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be trying to win his fourth Kentucky Derby joining only three other trainers to do so. Has defeated many Derby contenders while racing in California. Also has one of the best jockeys in Garret Gomez.

17. Summer Bird, 50-1
Third in the Arkansas Derby, has only three career races and he won only one of those against maidens (horses that have never won.) Will it be a fine feathered Derby? Not this season.

18. Nowhere to Hide, 50-1
Trainer Nick Zito has won two Kentucky Derbies and has a talent for getting horses to the Derby prepared. Fourth in the Illionois Derby and is another with only one career win.

19. Desert Party, 15-1
Second to stablemate Regal Ransom in gr. 2 UAE Derby but has looked absolutely terrific in the morning at Churchill Downs. Will have to overcome the curse of the 19 post position as it is one of only two post positions never to produce a Derby winner. (17 is the other). The long trip from the middle east has traditionally been very tough on horses, but it doesn’t seem to have affected him. Good longshot.

20. Flying Private, 50-1
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is one of only three trainers to win four Kentucky Derbies. While he may be past his glory years, he can still condition a horse. A bit more highly regarded before finishing fifth in the Arkansas Derby behind Papa Clem and Summer Bird.



Anonymous said...

I Want Revenge has been scratched . Looks like its up to Pioneer of The Nile.

Anonymous said...

I also like Dessert Party .