Sunday, April 12, 2009

Less Than Full???

For the first time since 2004 it looks like the Kentucky Derby will have less than a full field of 20. Here's why:
  • Mafaaz - the win-and-in Kempton Challenge winner ran less than stellar in his American debut finishing a well beaten eighth in the Blue Grass. His connections wanted a good showing to move onto the Derby, so he should be out.
  • Regal Ransom or Desert Party - the sheiks that own Shadwell Stable have said that only one of their two eligible starters will go forward to Churchill Downs...stay tuned.
  • Old Fashioned - the early book favorite is out with an injury.
  • Square Eddie, Win Willy, Giant Oak, Charitable Man, Theregoesjojo and Flying Pirate - none of these really belong based upon recent form. I'm hoping that at least half of the connections will forgo Derby Fever and do the sensible thing by holding back young horses that aren't talented enough for the Derby. My guess is that Win Willy and Giant Oak will go forward and the rest will stay home on May 2.
  • Mr. Hotstuff, Join in the Dance, Summer Bird and Massone - all qualify for a "non-winners of one" allowance condition, not exactly Derby material.
This is good news for phenom, Dunkirk, who most likely gets in and will go off as second or third choice. With front-runner Old Fashioned now out of the race the connections for the fabulous filly, Rachel Alexandra may actually take a shot at the Derby. Rachel Alexandra has absolutely destroyed the last two graded-stakes field she's faced, and she uses her early speed to do so. Like it or not, she's a natural fit for the Derby. 

Even if Rachel Alexandra gets in, I see the field at 17 at most. For more thoughts see graded earnings list below.

  1. Regal Ransom ($1,200,000) Spoiled stablemate's party by winning in Dubai   
  2. Pioneerof the Nile ($1,193,250) Has beaten four on this list; deserves respect
  3. I Want Revenge ($774,000) Showed Derby toughness in spectacular Wood win
  4. Papa Clem ($760,000) Favorable pace helped Arkansas win
  5. Square Eddie ($756,000) Has not returned to 2-year-old form
  6. Quality Road ($600,000) Tough nut; has minor injury to overcome
  7. General Quarters ($595,000) Does Blue Grass win mean anything?
  8. Friesan Fire ($570,465) Training up after Bayou wins
  9. Old Fashioned ($530,000) Hurt
  10. Desert Party ($491,667) Handed loss at less than even money by Regal Ransom
  11. Musket Man ($485,000) Two straight graded stakes wins; maybe for real
  12. Terrain ($448,330) Enough money to get in, but that's all
  13. Hold Me Back ($438,000) Synthetic surface specialist will take lots of money
  14. West Side Bernie ($385,160) Either live long shot or no-show
  15. Chocolate Candy ($370,000) Steady, but is that enough?
  16. Win Willy ($230,000) Overrated 
  17. Giant Oak ($169,256) Always an excuse and never enough to win
  18. Dunkirk ($150,000) Monster in the making will make the gate
  19. Charitable Man ($150,000) One prep strategy didn't work
  20. Theregoesjojo ($133,000) Not enough
  21. Flying Pirate ($124,000) Who?
  22. Massone ($115,000) Not yet nominated
  23. Mr. Hot Stuff ($114,000) Maiden win and that's it
  24. Summer Bird ($100,000) See above 
  25. Join in the Dance ($90,000) If other defections occur Pletcher has rabbit for Dunkirk


  1. I just watched the video of Rachel Alexandra in the Fantasy. She is a monster. I hope she gets in.

  2. Unfortunately, they didn't nominate her. A supplemental nomination cost $200,000, and I can't see them tossing that kind of money around if they wouldn't nominate her for $600 or $6,000.