Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

2010 Kentucky Derby: Less Than Two Weeks Away

Posted by Brian Appleton on April 20, 2010

Did the Lexington Stakes help clear the Derby picture, or just serve to make things more complicated? The answer is that it had absolutely no affect on the Kentucky Derby field, except that it confirms the fact that none of the Lexington Stakes contenders will enter the Derby gate due to insufficient earnings. For horses like Jackson Bend and Backtalk who are currently on the outside looking in, this is potentially good news. If horses with doubtful status for the Derby drop out, such as Noble’s Promise or Interactif, Jackson Bend is next in line on the graded earning s list with Backtalk right behind.

With the Derby Trial being run this weekend and Pleasant Prince and Eightfiveinafifty both shooting for a win and a

Eightyfiveinafifty

Derby berth, the final field is still not certain. The Derby Trial has rarely been used as a prep to the Kentucky Derby in recent years due to the fact that it is only one week before the Derby. Decades ago nobody would have given a second thought to running a promising young colt back after one week in the Derby, but today’s colts and fillies are treated like fine, breakable china. You would think it’s harmful to run them more than once every four weeks. It is nice to see that tradition being broken this year and hopefully this can an example for other trainers in the future.

Over the past week high-profile Derby contenders have been arriving at Churchill Downs, hitting the track and recording serious works in preparation for the biggest race of their careers to-date. Dublin was among those who recorded one of the most, if not the most impressive work so far. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee swept through a swift 5 furlong work in a stunning time of :59.20. His was the fasted time of 44 horses running the same distance and proves that he has taken beautifully to the Churchill surface, good news for all his supporters.

Zardana & Rachel Alexandra

The most impressive work overall and the most anticipated came from 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and it was a smashing performance. Gliding over the Churchill Downs surface looking like the Rachel of old who went 8 for 8 last year, Rachel Alexandra sizzled a six furlong bullet work in 1:11.40. After the work trainer Steve Asmussen expressed his delight with the way Rachel has completed her last three works, calling this latest move “crazy good”. There is still no decision yet on where the super-filly will appear next but many strongly suspect she will appear next in the La Troienne Stakes on April 30th on Kentucky Oaks day. Something tells me she would have been ready to run back to her 2009 form in the Apple Blossom facing Zenyatta after observing the way she started working after finishing second to Zardana in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

Hot Dixie Chick will be making her second start of the year in the Eight Belles Stakes (Gr.3) $100,000 after winning her

Hot Dixie Chick

2010 debut in the Prima Donna very impressively. I was hoping to see this talented and speedy filly in the Kentucky Oaks after her smashing comeback this year but apparently trainer Steve Asmussen doesn’t think that is the best avenue for her. Regardless of where she runs it will be fun and exciting to see the talented Grade 1 winning daughter of Dixie Union once again strutting her stuff.

More later on the Derby Trail field and some of the major races this coming weekend.

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9 Responses to “2010 Kentucky Derby: Less Than Two Weeks Away”

  1. LDP said

    The Derby Trial will make things very interesting. Personally, if it is Pleasant Prince who makes it, I feel the Derby Picture will not change all to drasticlly. However if Eightyfiveinafifty wins he could be SC own personal, pesky rabbit. For six furlongs I can envision those to locking horns running some hot fractions.

    On RA, what a work! she finished up her final furlong in 12 flat, after running 11 flat for the previous furlong, giving her a final quarter in 23 flat! Also, she ran nearly 2 seconds faster than anyone yesterday. RA is back and ready to roll.

    • The only thing that will change if Pleasant Prince gets in is that the undeserving Homeboykris will get pushed out of the field. Also he will be one more confirmed closer that will most likely be getting a fast pace to run into down the stretch. I think Eightyfiveinafifty is a very good horse and would love to see him in the Derby. He has speed and the ability to draw off in the stretch which is exactly what you want to see from a front-runner, especially in larger fields. I’m not sure I think he can beat the likes of Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky or some others in the Derby, but I think he deserves a shot.

      Rachel’s work was fantastic I agree!

      • Brian,

        How is G.1 winner HOMEBOYKRIS less deserving than 85ina50? Personally, the more I look at the bottom of the earnings list I think HOMEBOY has a great chance for at least a minor placing. He’ll be fresh, rated well in 2010 start #2 after speed/fade in G.3 Holy Bull, and as I said before won a G.1 at two. Dutrow, Jr. is as cagey as trainers come.

        I hope 85 fizzles severely…one thing you don’t need is his unpredictable speed messing up the race…what if he were to bolt again? I know it was equipment, but he ran last out with his head turned toward the infield the whole way down the back.

      • Hi Rob!
        I wasn’t referring to Eightyfiveinafifty actually, I was referring more to horses like Jackson Bend or Backtalk. Especially Jackson Bend though, he deserves a shot at the Derby way more than Homeboykris in my honest opinion. Not only has he been consistent against the best three-year-olds this year, finishing no worse than second but he also finished way ahead of Homeboykris in the Holy Bull Stakes. Homeboykris looks like a second tier horse to me, not Derby material (not that I’m an expert).

        I’m actually a big fan of Eightyfiveinafifty. He’s super green still it appears, but I would like to see him get a shot in the Derby. I don’t think he’s ready to win the Derby, but I have a feeling he will be a major player this year. Plus I love speed horses that go gate to wire! 🙂

  2. “Crazy Good.” The best is yet to come…I am in full desperately seeking Rachel mode !!!

  3. Hi Brian. Great article. I’m still curious if Backtalk or Jackson Bend will get in the gates. It’s sizing up for an interesting field! 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I hope Jackson Bend gets in, he deserves a shot just as much as anyone and more than some (Homeboykris!). With Noble’s Promise firing off that beautiful five-furlong bullet work at Churchill Downs I seriously doubt he will be dropping from the Derby field, so I suspect only a defection from Interactif can get Jackson Bend in. Unless of course one of the contenders gets injured in the following weeks, god forbid.

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