UPDATE: I Want Revenge scratched due to lameness in the left ankle. There are a lot of people who may be happy for Mullins right now.
Anytime you have 20 horses in a race, no matter how good the favorites look, it becomes a crap shoot.
So here is my mud against the wall analysis of the 2009 Kentucky Derby:
I Want Revenge is the best horse going into the race. But it is hard to play a favorite in a 20 horse race, especially a favourite ridden by Joe Talamo. I'm tainted after watching the series Jockeys on Animal Planet. He appears to be an up and coming jockey, but he also seems like the type who will do something to lose a big race like this one. I think the series might actually make Revenge a bit of an overlay, because I'm sure that I'm not alone.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still using the horse, I just think he won't win it.
In the recent Wood Memorial, the pace and flow and played in I Want Revenge's favour, but the dark horse that interests me from that race is West Side Bernie. He ran a lot further than the winner, and he might just be improving every race. Will he peak in the Derby? He'll be a nice price, and the one post may be just what is needed to save just enough ground to pull the upset.
Another couple of question marks in this year's Derby ran in the UAE Derby. Regal Ransom and Desert Party left the rest of the field in their dust. But just how good race that race? It is tough to put a speed figure on the race, but from the research I've done, this race could be rated higher than I Want Revenge's Gotham victory. What I don't like is both these horses have been off over a month. I don't like this angle, especially on cheap horses, but with allowance and stake horses it becomes less of a hurdle....it is still a hurdle.
Of the two, I like Desert Party who has attracted arguably the best dirt jockey in North America for the Derby, Ramon Dominguez. I think Regal Ransom will bounce at least a bit off that last one.
I really don't like Pioneer of the Isle. He seems to have better Poly breeding than dirt breeding, and he has only raced on the Poly. His speed figures aren't nearly as good as Revenge's. And the fact that Garret Gomez chose him over Dunkirk, makes me throw Dunkirk out as well. Dunkirk looks like the better horse on paper, but Gomez is no dummy.
Musket Man has only had one bad race, and it was a third. With his inside post, he may get a slice of the pie in the Derby with a good enough trip. He definitely can handle a dirt track.
Another horse that intrigues me is Chocolate Candy who race very wide off a bit of a layoff in his last race. He has never tried the dirt, but he looks like he'll enjoy the mile and a quarter on the dirt.
Join in the Dance may last longer than one might think, he looks like the horse that will get the lead for at least 6 furlongs. Of course, it depends on if the other horses let him breathe on the front, as to whether he lasts longer. This leads to another reason I like Desert Party. He looks like he'll be first to pounce. I think he won't be worse than 4th early on, and that he might get away with only being 3 wide in the first turn despite having the 19 post.
I've mentioned quite a few horses here, and it wouldn't surprise me if I haven't mentioned the 2009 winner. Ok, I'll mention a couple more. Friesan Fire just doesn't cut it for me. The horse has been away 50 days, and has never gone past a mile and sixteenth. Despite Larry Jones, I have to stay completely clear of this one. General Quarters ran a real good race in the Tampa Bay Derby, but his last two numbers have been on the slow side. A good Derby placing wouldn't be a shocker, but I'm afraid he has already peaked this year.
My top four
West Side Bernie
I Want Revenge
FORT ERIE OPENS
Pretty good sized fields (for Fort Erie) on Saturday. It looks like Mike Mehak has the best chance to be leading jockey after day one. He has a few live mounts, it appears. I think bugs will dominate this year, but Rui Pimentel looks like the early favourite to win the jockeys title.
Good to see Regina Sealock back in the saddle. Tampa Bay was a bit of a disaster for her, but she had very few mounts that stood a chance. At least she is winter raced. Watch out when the horses stretch out to two turns. She could be the best two turn jockey at the Fort this year.
A COUPLE OF STORIES THAT WON'T BRING HORSE RACING MORE FANS
One of the worst takes on horse racing ever written. This is what happens when mainstream media and horse racing meet up. And right now, there just isn't enough fans and bettors to stop this attitude. Comparing horse racing with cock fights is amateurish at best, and obviously the author has very limited knowledge when it comes to horse racing and the people involved.
Another article, not as brutal, as it factual and a lot more objective, though the terrible timing of it has to do with horse racing and MSM meeting for the week. This one has to do with horse racing from the viewpoint of a vet who is responsible to give lethal injections to suffering thoroughbreds.
The old saying that "there is no such thing as bad publicity," doesn't seem to be true when applied to horse racing.
One of HANA's main gripes with the industry seems to be attempting to sort out. One of HANA's goals is to have all signals available at all ADWs. TVG has a temporary deal to include Tracknet signals on their menu. This could have a lot to do with TVG being bought out by Betfair. Betfair's influence in North America may actually allow horse racing to finally become a growth industry again.
8 OHHA directors resign The OHHA is portrayed as protectors of drug violators. They are also very lucky that slots exist. Without them, harness racing would probably be dead in Ontario today, except for maybe Woodbine and Mohawk.
The Harness leaders should be kissing the ground that Standardbred racing is alive.
NBC racing analyst collapsed during the Kentucky Oaks broadcast today. He was taken to hospital after what appears to have been something like a seizure. He seems to be recovering at latest report, but will miss the Derby.
Eric Poteck, will be a guest this Sunday on the Fan 590's Inside The Lines, starting at 10:20 a.m. to talk the Canadian Horseplayers Advocacy Group, which he has founded (and is the only member of). His stance was unveiled earlier this week at the Standardbred Wagering Conference in Windsor.