What makes the Derby Dozen different? First of all this is a dynamic group spanning both coasts and America's heartland with many different perspectives and knowledge bases. More importantly the group - led by Steve Munday - not only puts together a comprehensive list of Derby contenders, it also provides brief commentaries on each potential Derby entrant with tongue firmly placed in check. A few weeks ago, even Jill Baffert (not really her?) showed up with a few words inspired by Gisele Bundchen....
Below I provide my Derby Dozen for your complete viewing pleasure:
1 - Creative Cause - trainer Harrington lauded for the genius of novel, 3 Derby prep plan
2 - Union Rags - push button, turn-of-foot
3 - Hansen - blinkers off, opened mind, body and spirit in defeating inferior Gotham gang
4 - El Padrino - all of sudden Todd Pletcher's only real Derby threat
5 - Bodemeister - reluctantly rated, took off and almost stole San Felipe stakes
6 - Castaway - breeding, form and human connections point to winning ways continuing
7 - Alpha - he could have made it in New York, but now needs "W" in FL Derby for needed graded stakes earnings
8 - Mark Valeski - call me crazy, but a horse named after the hotel pool guy is too good to be true
9 - Prospective - won a minor event, needs to step up in the Wood
10 - Dullahan - ran big in Palm Beach, but really don't see what all the fuss is about
11 - I'll Have Another - the waiting is the hardest part...
12 - Trinniberg - yet to be nominated, but I have the feeling that will change
Right now I see only El Padrino or Creative Cause stopping a Bob Baffert runner from winning the Kentucky Derby. It just feels like Baffert's Derby this year...of course having a stable full of three-year-olds peaking at the right time helps. Bodemeister - a last minute replacement for San Felipe - came close to winning his two-turn debut in his third career start. Baffert, annually spot on with his three-year-olds, is just plain magical with all his horses this year.