Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Derby Dozen - The Third

I am happy to report that I am one of 12 lucky contributors that lend a hand in compiling the WirePlayers' Derby Dozen -  a Derby contender list like no other. Haven't seen or read it yet, click here, and see for yourself the meandering thoughts of horse racing aficionados.

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.  

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