Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Who's on First ? or (Who has beaten Who going into Kentucky Derby 2012?)

It may helpful in a competitive field with many contenders to do a bit of analysis of who has raced against each other in the past and who has won. I think some clear pretenders emerge from this review and if any of them win on Saturday, I will call them miracle horses. A key race is the B.C Juvenile in which 9 entrants ran including the top 2 finishers Hansen and Union Rags.

1. Hansen - many contenders have ducked running against the 2 year old champ who beat Union Rags by a head in the B.C. Juvenile. Behind Union Rags were Creative Cause, Dullahan, Take Charge Indy, Alpha, Daddy Long Legs, Prospective and Optimizer.

However, more recently, Hansen beat no other major contenders in the Gotham and lost his final prep to a closing Dullahan.

2. Union Rags - lost to Hansen by a neck in the B.C. Juvenile but has beaten Alpha and El Padrino. He ran 2nd to Take Charge Indy in the Florida Derby after a troubled trip - a horse he had beaten in the B.C. Juvenile.

3. Creative Cause - has beaten Bodemeister by 3/4 of a length and lost by a nose to I'll Have Another, one he had beaten as a 2 year old at 7 furlongs. He ran 3rd by 1 to Hansen and Union Rags in the B.C. Juvenile.

4. I'll Have Another - beat Creative Cause by a nose and ran 2nd to him as a 2 year old at 7 furlongs. He also lost to Trinniberg at 7 furlongs in the slop in his first ship east as a juvenile.

5. Bodemeister - ran huge in his final prep in the Arkansas Derby beating Sabercat and Optimizer by many lengths. As noted above, he lost to Creative Cause in his previous start.

6. Gemologist - is undefeated and won the Wood by a neck over Alpha who was 2nd to Union Rags earlier.

7. Take Charge Indy - won the Florida Derby and beat Union Rags and El Padrino in this race. He  previously lost by 2 lengths to El Padrino and was beaten 6 lengths by Hansen and Union Rags in the B.C. Juvenile.

8. Dullahan - won the Blue Grass Stakes with a strong close to beat Hansen. In the B.C. Juvenile, he was 4th beaten by Hansen, Union Rags and Creative Cause. Earlier he had beaten Optimizer but also lost to this horse and Sabrecat in maiden races.

9. Daddy Long Legs - ran poorly in the B.C. Juvenile as a Euro shipper. In his only 3 year old prep for the Derby at 1 3/16 miles (the longest prep), he was dominant and beat Wrote who had won the B.C. Juvenile Turf and Lucky Chappy.

10. El Padrino - came up 4th in the Florida Derby with a wide trip with Take Charge Indy and Union Rags ahead of him. Previously, he had beaten Take Charge Indy by a length.

11. Optimizer - was beaten badly in his last prep in the Arkansas Derby by Bodemeister. In his previous start, he appeared to close strongly for 2nd against horses that were collapsing up front. He also lost by many lengths this year to El Padrino. As a 2 year old, though, he was beaten 2 lengths by Gemologist and about the same by Dullahan. Early in his career, he had beaten Dullahan on the turf.

12. Went the Day Well - has not beaten any major contenders but has followed a similar pattern of preparation as last year's winner Animal Kingdom. The Kentucky Derby is such an elusive prize that I can't see the same connections being able to strike twice in a row. It would say this game is easy and history proves that it is not. 

I will be looking for value from these top 11 and hope that post position draw, pre-race appearance and odds will help sort out the best plays.

12. All Others - the remaining horses are non-contenders according to their past non-competitiveness against the top horses or others who have been trounced by top horses. For example, Daddy Nose Best beat Lucky Chappy who lost by many to Daddy Long Legs. He subsequently lost to Isn't He Clever who was well-beaten by Bodemeister. Rousing Sermon has never been competitive for a win against the top ones that he has faced in California. Sabrecat is in the same category.

Look for an updated performance analysis that will be posted after the Entry and Post Position Draw on Wednesday. Saturday's Kentucky Derby should most exciting and entertaining as a great crop of 3 year olds try to sort out who is the best on the track.

Full Card Race Selections available at:

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