are meant to be broken.” Although the statistics generally prove that statement to be an
accurate measurement of triumphs yet to be shattered, there are always going to
be new records waiting. And for some, they have been waiting for quite a long
time. When it comes to the Kentucky Derby the great Secretariat still stands as
the fastest that ever was. His winning time of 1:59.40 has been challenged but no
horse has ever been able to finish any better than the greatest Triple Crown
champion of all time. Until that happens, the old saying will be exactly that;
an old saying.
are one thing and so called trends are another. Trends in sports can sometimes
be short lived and therefore quickly forgotten. Others however seem as though
they will never end and eventually become known as a curse. America’s past time
is a prime example. The Boston Red Sox endured a drought for far too long, but they eventually reached their limit and came roaring out of their hole in 2004
for the first time in 86 years. As for the Chicago Cubs their drought has reached 105 years, and the so called curse continues.
back to the Kentucky Derby and the ultimate trend that has withstood the test
of time. Since Apollo in 1882 there has never been another Kentucky Derby
winner who did not race as a 2-year-old.
years is a long time so it must be rare that anyone
tries to win the Kentucky Derby with this approach. Absolutely not. Actually,
if you only go back to the 1940’s there have been over 50 attempts at ending the curse. Therefore, it’s not a trend that has not been tested. It has and it also includes
so many good horses. What it comes down to is that this trend is proof that the
Kentucky Derby is a race that takes much time and preparation in order to win.
if some records or trends are meant to be broken the question here is, when and
who will be the next Apollo? For those that remember 2012 was only a sixteenth away
from being the answer.
entered the Kentucky Derby red hot. He was beaming with confidence after a 9 ½ length
pounding of the field in the Arkansas Derby. But he wasn’t just sizzling on the
track he was just as hot off of it. With a catchy name, a great story, a
veteran rider and legendary trainer, Bodemeister’s fan base just kept growing day
by day. The momentum would stick with him all the way to the post as
Bodemeister entered the starting gate as the favorite in the 138th
he broke to the front, took the lead and held it all the through the top of the
stretch it appeared that Apollo had finally found a friend. But, the final
furlong is always the toughest. I’ll Have Another had his way and not only did
he claim the roses but he left us having the same conversation all over again
in 2013. Our recent Kentucky Derby champion isn’t the only reason we’re having
this discussion again. You must first have a horse that didn’t race as a Juvenile
and this spring we have two.
Verrazano or Govenor Charlie be the next? They’re definitely chasing Apollo but
whether or not they can catch him will be a very interesting race to watch over
the next several days.
qualifies for this trend by the slimmest amount of time possible. Foaled on
January 27, 2010 the son of More Than Ready began his racing career on January
1, 2013 at Gulfstream Park. Verrazano proved
he was ready to begin racing. His maiden win by more than 7 lengths was special
but it was pale in comparison to his second lifetime race on February 2. His
dominant 16 length victory over a distance of 1 Mile gave trainer Todd Pletcher
and Let’s Go Stable the sign that his trail to the Kentucky Derby was ready to
so it did at the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. And winning didn’t stop either. His next
one took him to the G1 Wood Memorial and after winning again, he’s made his
case as a legitimate Kentucky Derby winner. He’s got a perfect record on paper and
you can hardly find a blemish anywhere else. But, when you look a little closer
he didn’t actually race as a Juvenile. Will this hurt his chances or will he
knew that much about Govenor Charlie before he blitzed through the Sunland
Derby and set a new track record for the distance 1 1/8 Mile at Sunland Park?
If you didn’t he probably caught your attention. Foaled on February 23, 2010 by
Midnight Lute and Silverbulletway, Governor Charlie also began his racing
career this past January. Besides being 18 days later than Verrazano’s debut,
he also wasn’t as fortunate. Instead, he finished 2nd by a half
length and would have to try again.
Bob Baffert returned him to Santa Anita on February 17 and that was when Govenor
Charlie was ready. He would win and Baffert was prepared to try him in his
first graded stakes race next. The track was lightening fast, the pace was
hot and the end Govenor Charlie was too fast to catch. Does this sound
a little bit like Bodemeister? The margin of victory wasn’t nearly as big as
Bode’s in the Arkansas Derby but these two colts do resemble each other just a
little bit. But, that might be because of the Bob Baffert more than anything
you compare them side by side the one BIG difference is that Bode ran in two
graded stakes races before the Kentucky Derby. Governor Charlie on the other
hand completed his trail to the Churchill Downs with the Sunland Derby. So,
will that blemish on his resume coupled with the fact that he never raced as a
Juvenile prevent him from becoming the next Apollo? Or do you believe that he
for Bob Baffert it seems to me that he’s thought about Apollo once or twice
before. Before Bodemeister he tried it with Midnight Interlude in 2011.
Although he won the Santa Anita Derby and earned a spot in the Kentucky Derby
field, the next challenge was too tough. It may have been a shot worth
taking but a 16th place finish defined him as a horse that never had a chance
of breaking the curse. So, if Govenor Charlie stays healthy and remains a part
of the Kentucky Derby field it will be Baffert’s third attempt in three
attempts that you may recall starts with an eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic
winner. In 2007, the undefeated Curlin came into the Kentucky Derby a perfect 3
for 3 and winner of the Arkansas Derby. Except it wasn’t his day as a late
surge from well off the pace was only good enough for 3rd. Another valiant
attempt that fell just short was in 1994 when Strodes Creek and jockey Eddie
Delahoussaye took a shot at Go For Gin but finished 2nd.
appears to be the more likely horse capable of overcoming a trend that is so
hard to fathom ever being duplicated again. Govenor Charlie made a case for
himself but if he is to become the first horse to win without racing as a
juvenile, he’ll probably have to carbon copy his Sunland Derby performance:
Fast and too quick to catch. That’s not to say that Verrazano can overtake the
trend that has lasted over 100 years without a freakish or at least breathe
taking performance either. Both horses will need to be special and that may be
asking too much.
as long as they enter the starting gate the game is on. The most perfect place
in the racing world to make history is underneath the twin spires on the first Saturday
in May. So, the stage is set. Will Verrazano or Govenor Charlie be game enough?