Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Draw and What It Means

The Derby draw had a few surprises with first and second choices, Lookin at Lucky and Sidney's Candy drawing posts one and twenty, respectively. To me, this means you need to find your winners somewhere else.

The problem with the rail is that 18 colts and a filly will tend to come crashing down upon the rail as they break from Churchill's chute and go by the grandstand for the first time. This means a horse and rider must go immediately to establish a racing position one or two away from the rail ahead of everyone else or have to drop back and wait to make a run through traffic. I love Garret Gomez, but I would feel more comfortable with Calvin Borel up against Churchill's rail. Another problem is Lookin at Lucky will load first, will be waiting a while in the Churchill gate and may not break all that alertly.

The problem with the far outside post is that you have 19 other horses inside you working for position and horse and rider must go to establish position somewhere in the middle of the track. Once the rider, in this case Joe Talamo aboard Sidney's Candy, pushes his steed, the horse may not be able to relax and could go through a sub-23 first quarter, which in turn could lead to a sub-46 second half, which would mean whoever is on the lead will be toast. While Big Brown had no trouble two years ago negogiating some quick fractions, he did so against substandard competition. This year's group is more closely stacked together with several speed horses willing to vie for or take the lead - Super Saver (post 4), Line of David (post 5) American Lion (post 7), Devil May Care (post 11), Conveyance (post 12) and Discreetly Mine (post 15) all break inside Sidney's Candy.

Even if it's just Conveyance going alone to the front, rider Martin Garcia could stay in the four-path and force Sideny's Candy wide on the first turn. Of course one, two or all seven could go for the front leaving Sidney's Candy wide or forcing him to rate - something he's yet to do.

If you like either or both Luckin at Lucky and/or Sidney's Candy, you'll have to swallow these poor posts and hope for racing's best luck around both turns. While Big Brown was the first Derby champ to win from the grandstand, it's been a long time since the one-hole produced a winner. In fact in the last 21 runnings, there have been just two fourth place finishers (Jazil and Limehouse) and one third place finisher (Risen Star) coming from the one post.

Looking at the post position draw, I'd have to say my top five choices in no particular order are Super Saver (4), Lookin at Lucky (1), Ice Box (2), Conveyance (12) and Mission Impazible (14). More on these choices to follow either Thursday or Friday in my final Channeling of the Kentucky Derby.

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