2010 Kentucky Derby Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 5/1/2010
The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner. Finally. I start watching two year olds closely every year in about mid-August in hopes of spotting the ones that will be a factor in early May. It's all in preparation for my favorite sporting event of the year. Sadly, it doesn't turn into a winning day at the windows as often as it should. I put that down to the fact that no race is tougher to handicap than the Kentucky Derby. Or more compelling. With all the preparation over, and nothing left but the waiting, it's time to make some final 2010 Kentucky Derby predictions. Here, then, are five things I am pretty sure that I think will happen:
Todd Pletcher will extend his streak of futility to 0-for-28 - A couple of weeks ago it seemed like Pletcher was destined to win this race. He had as many as seven horses that were possible for the race, and likely favorite Eskendereya seemed invincible.
Time has been cruel to Pletcher, though, and now I just don't see him winning. Eskendereya went out with a leg injury. Rule and Interactif were ruled out because of disappointing works and a general lack of competitiveness. Now Pletcher is left with just four horses, and I really don't like any of them.
Devil May Care, the filly, has only run well once, she is coming off a long layoff, she hasn't raced enough to get the experience she needs, and I just don't believe she is good enough. Super Saver is a front runner in a race that is going to set up horribly for front runners, and his inability to finish in the Arkansas Derby makes me doubt his ability to get the distance here. Discreetly Mine is another guy who doesn't finish strong. He disappointed badly in the Louisiana Derby, and he'll do the same here. Mission Impazible will be overbet because of a win in the weak Louisiana Derby, but he had to work way too hard to win that one, and would have to adjust his style to win in the Derby. That's never a good thing. Pletcher just doesn't have a horse left standing that I am afraid of.
Sidney's Candy will not win - The race this horse had in the Santa Anita Derby was very impressive - among the three or four best races of the whole prep season. I love his heart and his size, and jockey Joe Talamo is talented and will win more than one Derby before he's done.
All that being said, I don't think he stands a chance here. The list of things working against him is long. He's a front runner who may not have the speed to stay with the speedballs in this one, and probably doesn't have the staying power if he does. He's never really been challenged, and the Santa Anita Derby front-running win was thanks to the most ridiculous, slow pace I have seen in a major race for a long while.
He won't get that kind of race again here. He's never run on the dirt before, and the Derby is a cruel place to make that transition. He's stuck out in the 20 gate, so he won't be able to easily get to the lead and will have to adjust his racing style to succeed. I don't believe in his ability to do so. This is a horse that I want to love, but I really can't.
Stately Victor will disappoint - There has been some momentum towards this horse. I get it - he was extremely impressive in winning the Blue Grass Stakes in a season when impressive performances were reasonably rare. I won't be touching him, though. He won on the synthetics in that race, and has been far from impressive on dirt. That race came from nowhere, and I really don't like his chances of repeating it.
The Wood Memorial will be a very important prep race - This was going to be a key race because it was the one that Eskendereya won impressively last time out. Even without him this race should be a major factor. Second place finisher Jackson Bend got into the Derby at the last minute, but he's twice been second behind Eskendereya, he's improving, is physically imposing, and has worked very well. Third place finisher Awesome Act was based in Europe to start his career, so he is familiar with distance. He lost a shoe early in the Wood and never settled in after that, so I am willing to toss that race out. He's poised to bounce back strong. One or both of these horses can be a big factor in the exotics.
Bob Baffert could have a very good day - I really like both of Baffert's horses, and would happily stick with him if I had to settle on just one trainer. Lookin at Lucky is by far the classiest horse in the field, he was stunning last time on dirt, his running style suits the pace scenario well, and he has the best jockey in the world on his back. He's a very legitimate favorite.
Conveyance is the lesser of the two stablemates, but that doesn't mean he's not a contender. He's a front runner who is bred to get the distance. Of all the speed in this race he's the best suited in my eyes to stay to the finish line, and he has a good post position to do so. He's either going to try to run away and get away with it - as another Baffert horse, War Emblem, did in 2002 - or he'll set the race up nicely for his stablemate.
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