Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Final Kentucky Derby Thoughts

Posted by Brian Appleton on May 7, 2011


With the sad, but not completely unexpected news, that Uncle Mo has been scratched from the Kentucky Derby I find myself scrambling to pick another favorite. It has pretty much come down to a very even and competitive field in this year’s Derby without standout like Premier Pegasus or a 100% fit Uncle Mo so I’m going to stick my neck out there and just make a choice based on nothing but my own instincts and love of the contenders.

1)      I think I’ve decided to go with Mucho Macho Man. Not only does he have a very heart-warming story to go along with consistency, he is also the youngest contender in the field, technically still a two-year-old. You can’t fault any of his Churchill works and he had a good excuse to lose the Louisiana Derby (gr.2) after losing a shoe in the beginning of the race.

2)      Dialed In is still one of my favorites and after seeing how well Churchill played on Friday with the Oaks card to closers on the dirt track you have to think he’ll get a favorable run on a dry track. Traffic issues are always going to be a huge question mark with a closer in a 19 horse field but that’s part of the risk. To me he gives the best physical impression of all the Derby contenders.

3)      The best series of works goes hands down to Archarcharch in my eyes. You would be hard pressed to find another contender in the field that has run as often and as consistent as the colt. The Arkansas Derby allowed him to showcase one of the best rallies of the year and I think he’s still improving.

4)      Pants On Fire has several things going for him; red-hot jockey Rosie Napravnik to guide him, some very impressive works at Churchill and also get favorable post position number seven.

5)      Soldat could turn out to be the dark horse in the Derby and not only if the track comes up wet. He’s run some very impressive speed figures earlier in the year and a return to any one of hi 100+ Beyer’s would probably be enough to take down this field. He will need to relax off the pace if he hopes to survive the 1 ¼ mile journey but I don’t see a problem there.

6)      Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole still have one hope to win the Derby and judging by the last two works Stay Thirsty has posted, he’s prepared to run a much bigger race than his awful Florida Derby placing. As a son of Bernardini there’s definitely something to be said for family stamina.

So there it is, my top six choices as it stands now. I almost always change my mind last minute when I see the horses warming up and I’ll most likely be tweeting something like; “Wow, Archarcharch and Soldat look amazing in the post parade” or “Stay Thirsty looks really good!”. It all comes down to a play of the moment for me I guess, and especially in a wide open derby like this. As a side note I do have to mention Midnight Interlude has also caught my eye as have Shackelford and Nehro.

Good luck to all and may the best horse win.


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