Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reflections On The Kentucky Derby Trail

Yesterday on my blog, I noted that I would like for Super Saver or Odysseus to win the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3). Odysseus won with a gutsy nose finish over Schoolyard Dreams and Super Saver finished a respectable third with only one-half length separting the top three finishers.

Despite the finish, however, I was not overly impressed. The time was a relatively slow 1:44.31. By comparison, Street Sense won the Tampa Bay Derby in 2007 with a time of 1:43.11. Musket Man won it last year in 1:43.67. Odysseus and Super Saver should improve off that effort. But, for now, I’ll just have to see how well they move forward.

At this point on the trail, I’m pretty solid with Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky and Awesome Act as my picks for the Kentucky Derby. I really like the pedigree of Eskendereya - he has been one of my favorites since early January. Lookin At Lucky, trained by Bob Baffert, is one of the most consistent on this year's trail and I expect him to be in the money on May 1. I also like the pedigree of Awesome Act and I believe we haven't, yet, seen his best.

The real test for all this year's contenders will come when they stretch out to 9 furlongs and it’s still possible for a new horse to step forward like my “WOW” horse Summer Bird did at this time last year. I don’t see that happening, however, two horses I’m looking forward to see in their next outing are Yawanna Twist who may run in the Wood Memorial and Conveyance in the Sunland Derby.

Yawanna Twist probably needs to win the Wood Memorial to get nominated to the Kentucky Derby. Conveyance, most likely, has enough graded earnings to start.

It’s not very likely they could win the Kentucky Derby – they would need a lot of luck to pull that off. But, if both of those horses run well at 9 furlongs, I believe they could be good under-the-radar horses to hit the board or finish in the money – especially Conveyance.

For some time now, I’ve been following the progress of Cherokee Run sire line descendents on the Triple Crown Trail and, in previous years, several descendents have proven to be pretty good middle-distance runners. Yawanna Twist was sired by Cherokee Run’s son Yonaguska.

Musket Man finished third in last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Recapturetheglory finished fifth in 2008 and if War Pass had been entered in the Derby, I believe he would have finished in the money.

The pedigree of Conveyance is pretty descent and 9 furlongs should be well within his ability. His sire, Indian Charlie, was the 2-1 favorite of the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Bob Baffert trained him too. However, another Baffert-trained horse, the 8-1, fifth-choice, Real Quiet brought home the Roses. Indian Charlie finished third.

So, with Baffert looking lucky, 2010 could be a replay of 1998.

Of course, this is only speculation – reflections on the Kentucky Derby Trail.

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