Kentucky Derby Prediction
I've been a horse racing fan all of my life. The icon to the left, which we used to illustrate "horse race" coverage of the Presidential election, is actually the wonderous Landaluce, a daughter of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Landaluce won her first five starts back in 1982 by a total of over 50 lengths. Everyone thought she'd be the next superhorse. Unfortunately, she fell ill that November and died before she could fulfill her promise. I've always thought this captured what she was (at least to the 10-year old girl I was then):
She was a lady, a fairy queen, delicate in style, blessed with envious beauty, adorned in fine-spun charms. But hidden beneath that handsome facade was a raging fire, a competitive zeal that left her rivals in awestruck admiration. People came from miles around just to catch a glimpse of this marvelous creature. It is not often that perfection strolls by, so when it does, even the most brutish among us is compelled to yield a begrudging smile.
But, even though I'm enough of a fan to remember an almost-legend like Landaluce, I've never been that successful at picking a Kentucky Derby winner. Why is this race so hard to get right? There are three main reasons:
- The Derby is run at a mile and a quarter. None of the horses in the race have ever gone that far before. A lot of horses look like world beaters at a mile and an eighth, but they turn into also-rans at 1 1/4 miles.
- Horses come into the Derby from all over the country and they haven't raced against each other yet. A horse may be dominant in California, for example, but it's hard to predict how they'll match up against the competition from New York
- The Derby usually has a huge field. That means that horses may run into traffic problems and racing luck is more of a factor in the Derby than it is in any other race
The three big favorites in tomorrow's race are George Steinbrenner's Bellamy Road who destroyed the competition in New York's Wood Memorial, Afleet Alex, who did the same in Arkansas and Dummocrats' official horse Bandini (pictured on the left) who won the Blue Grass Stakes in Kentucky. Other top contenders are Sun King, Noble Causeway and High Fly.
The last couple of years, I've had a very strong opinion on who would win the race. I haven't been right, but my choices have run extremely well. This year, I was all set to pick Bandini. I feel like Afleet Alex doesn't have the breeding to go 1 1/4 miles and that Bellamy Road will face early competition for the lead and that will soften him up for some stretch runners. Bandini certainly fits that profile and he's so tough that he tried to bite a competitor a couple of races back, but I just don't have a good feeling about him and I think the colt he defeated in the Blue Grass Stakes, Sun King, might be able to turn the tables tomorrow.
But there's one horse that I really can't shake a certain feeling about: Andromeda's Hero. He's 50-1 in the morning line, so that's quite a feeling I have. Andromeda, like Bandini, is a son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and his mother's line traces directly back to the legendary Man O'War's big sister Masda. He's a big, beautiful colt who's bred to run all day. He finished third to Afleet Alex in his last start, losing by about 7 lengths. That day, Andromeda's Hero was blocked several times while trying to make his stretch run. He had no chance to win, but he closed ground like a wild horse and actually passed the winner after the finish line. He's a little quirky, but he's incredibly talented and wouldn't the Kentucky Derby be a great time to put it all together?
My offical Derby picks:
- Andromeda's Hero
- Sun King
Any of our readers want to take a stab at this?
Posted by at May 6, 2005 06:32 AM
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|# May 6th, 2005 8:17 AM KVBigSis|
|You know my sentimental pick is Sun King, sired by my beloved Charismatic and also claiming Icecapade as a great grandsire. (Icecapade was the half-brother of Ruffian, the greatest filly to ever set foot on a race track.)
I wouldn't mind Afleet Alex winning either. His breeder has terminal colon cancer, and a part of AA's winnings are donated to a cancer charity.
But I must say, Kris, your Andromeda's Hero is a fine-looking horse.
|# May 6th, 2005 8:20 AM kris|
You HAVE to pick Sun King. Much like Dad had to pick Point Given or any son of Unbridled. Similarly, I'm bound to pick sons of Fusaichi Pegasus.
I especially like that Andromeda's Hero traces back to Masda. I remember reading about how wild she was in Walter Farley's "Man 'O War" many years ago.
|# May 6th, 2005 11:23 AM kris|
|Usually, I celebrate the Derby by making some Mint Juleps (James was even nice enough to send me a vintage Derby glass for them), but, truth be told, I hate bourbon. So, this year I'm switching to Mojitos. I'm still searching for a good recipe, so please let me know if you have one. |
|# May 6th, 2005 12:55 PM KVBigSis|
|My boss would like you to know that he picks Wilko for three reasons:
1. He's run in races with big fields.
2. He gained in the stretch in his last race, which was 1 1/8 mile.
3. He's an English horse, and JWW says they breed them to run a long way over there.
|# May 6th, 2005 1:10 PM kris|
|He's not English-bred, you know. He's by Awesome Again, who won the BC Classic in 1998 at Churchill. |