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HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

Kentucky Derby: The Picks are Revolutionary

Revolutionary_La_Derby_615X400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Happy Derby Week racing fans! The long and exciting trail to the Kentucky Derby is drawing to a close. But, this stage of the journey is always the most exciting because it is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Throughout the prep season I haven’t been overly vocal about my Kentucky Derby rankings, contenders or choices but as of right now that is no longer the case. It's derby week and the 139th Kentucky Derby is here so let’s dive in…….
 
 
As opposed to the standard Kentucky Derby field this year’s crop of 3-yr-olds doesn’t seem to carry a clear cut favorite. This is why I looked for a horse that has the experience factor. But, past performances did not mean that I would choose your number if all you have accomplished is loading into the gate and crossing the finish line. Instead, I favored the horses that have shown me their willingness to compete since the Juvenile season, raced against top class and finished strong on more than one occasion. This is especially true if it was against graded stakes fields that included more than one Kentucky Derby entry or top contenders that are no longer on the trail due to injury.
 
 
Also there’s one element I am lucky enough to exclude. For the first time in a very long time, the post position draw had no effect on my picks. I liked what I saw and I’m happy with where my picks will be starting from.
 
 
Did I just say my picks? Oh yeah, lets break it down.
 
 
The Top Four
 
 
 
 Revolutionary | WinStar Farm | T. Pletcher | C. Borel
 
 
 
I have had my eye on him since his opening act of the 3-yr-old season - G3 Withers Stakes. Although he got hung up early and landed in the back of the pack he was still game enough to fight through traffic with an enormous effort down the stretch. Javier Castellano urged him nicely and once Revolutionary found the window he shot through it in the blink of an eye, split two horses and won by a neck.
 
 
The Louisiana Derby wasn’t any different. Revolutionary got hung up behind the pack and again had to make another huge effort in order to win. But, he did and he impressed a great deal. Why he’s impressed so much is because of where he closes the gap; on the backstretch. Before the final turn in both the Withers Stakes and Louisiana Derby he was in position at the top of lane and the effort it took to close on the lead through the backstretch never faded him.
 
 
The Jockey change didn’t make me hesitate at all. If any other rider would’ve been assigned maybe I would have thought twice. But instead, he’s got a three time Kentucky Derby winner and hall of famer in the saddle. Borel’s experience and guts kept Revolutionary locked in as my top choice and I expect him, WinStar and Todd Pletcher to be celebrating together again on Saturday.
 
 
Summary: He raced four times as a Juvenile so the experience factor is there. He’s raced against and beat top class twice in 2013. Calvin Bo-Rail is aboard right where he likes to be: Post Position #3.
 
 
 
 Orb | Phipps Stable | C. McGaughey | J. Rosario
 
 
 
Orb just has it all. He’s got the look, a beautiful stride, a jockey that is red hot and a hall of fame trainer that may be due for his first Kentucky Derby win. Besides Joel Rosario coming off his record breaking performance at Keeneland (38 Wins) I like his style of racing the most. Orb appears to be a stalker that will sit just off the lead in the second wave of horses tucked in right behind the leaders. This is a style of racing in the Kentucky Derby that I am a big fan of because Joel will have a good sense of all the necessary information. He will gauge the pace, have or create a clear path to the wire, know when it’s time to go without moving too early and be ready for a battle in the final furlong. Trainer Shug McGaughey is due and without saying as much, he seems to believe that Orb is the horse he’s been waiting for.
 
 
Summary: I like his experience (7 lifetime races), his stalker style, Rosario up and I also think it may be time for Shug.
 
 
 
 Itsmyluckyday | Trilogy Stables | E. Plesa | E. Trujillo
 
 
 
The reason I saved my analysis of the Florida Derby is because Itsmyluckyday is my third choice. Of course I liked more about Orb in that race but I also can’t ignore the fight that Itsmyluckyday gave him. In fact, I won't be surprised if these two hook up in the stretch again for another battle. Besides his strong effort in the Florida Derby who else wasn’t surprised or impressed with his record time of 1:41.81 in the G3 Holy Bull. Even the red hot Shanghai Bobby wasn’t up for that challenge and I haven’t forgotten about that performance. Finally, it is not uncommon for a horse to lose in their final prep yet come back and win the derby. Itsmyluckyday could be the next horse that does what recent winners like Super Saver, Mine That Bird, Giacomo and Funny Cide accomplished.
 
 
Summary: Exerience (10 lifetime races), tested against top class (raced against Orb, Goldencents, Frac Daddy, Mylute) and he may be ready to find that Holy Bull form one more time.
 
 
 
 Goldencents | D. Kenney-WC Racing | D. O'Neill | K. Krigger
 
 
 
He rounds out my top four based on one important factor; the pace in the SA Derby. Yes, many have been weary of his ability to carry the distance of 1 ¼ Mile but I can’t assume that just because he won with better fractions than any other major prep that he will fade towards the end so easily. The 1 mile split in that race of 1:35.72 and final time of 1:48.76 were pretty standard times for an eventual Kentucky Derby winner or top place finisher. So, I can’t ignore that he was game enough to hold on and win. His closing fractions might not have been as good as the pace but it’s not enough to steer me away. I’m not even sure I know that much about jockey Kevin Krigger but Doug O’Neill proved last year that he doesn’t need a jockey that knows that much about the Kentucky Derby either. Krigger is confident and he feels that he’s going to be Rick Pitino’s next MVP.
 
 
Summary: Experience (6 lifetime races; 5 graded stakes), last year’s winning trainer and a solid win over my previous first choice Flashback
 
 
Top Exotic Choices
 
 
 
 Mylute | Gold Mark Farm | T. Amoss | R. Napravnik
 
 
 
It’s probably because I like Revolutionary as my top choice but this colt impressed me last time out in the Louisiana Derby as well. Before that race I didn’t pay him much attention but afterwards the colt was hard to ignore. Besides battling Revolutionary to the wire I also give Mylute credit for beating the best horse not in the Kentucky Derby field; Departing. If the team elects to rally from well off the pace again it’s going to be a battle but it could be enough for a third or fourth place finish.
 
 
 
 Normandy Invasion | Fox Hill Farm | C. Brown | J. Castellano
 
 
 
As it relates to Mylute, this horse also appears to be aiming at a late close from mid pack or beyond. I liked his effort when chasing down Verrazano in the Wood but it’s not an effort that I think will lead to a Kentucky Derby win. Leaving him out of a tri or super might be dangerous because he could be game enough to make a very strong run and either surprise me or finish in the top four easily. 
 
 
 
 Java's War | C. Fipke | K. McPeek | J. Leparoux 
 
 
 
It was a very solid conclusion to the 3-yr-old season for this colt (2nd in the TB Derby, 1st in BG Stakes). The outside post #19 will be fine for Julien Leparoux and Java’s War. As long as he can get moving out of the starting gate he may be in position to make a huge run. All three exotics are based on closer's but the late surge by Java’s War in the Blue Grass Stakes was the biggest and maybe the best. 
 
 
Every year there’s always a horse that many people just can’t decide on; Back and forth, back and forth. This year that horse for me was Verrazano. In the end, he’s become the horse that will either make me cringe or be the one I’m delighted I passed on. Leaving him out of my exotics is probably not going to happen but tapping him to win will not.
 
 
The reason I struggle the most with this horse is two reasons; lack of experience and lack of aggressive racing. I can’t blame Johhny V for only having to hand ride Verrazano to victory but it worries me that a horse that never raced as a Juvenile will be ready to respond when Johnny V asks him on Saturday. Again, this decision may burn me but I don’t think he will be up for the challenge and his immaturity will get the best of him.
 
 
As always, there are plenty of horses that can win this race. So, good luck to all of our starters in the 139th Kentucky Derby and their connections. Also, good luck to the fans. If you place a wager we hope you bet wisely and return to the window for more good news. Benefit from a mint julep, enjoy the races, and enjoy the day because there is nothing else like the Kentucky Derby. Cheers!

 

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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL

 

Growing up I spent a lot of days in the Bluegrass State. Although I was born and raised north of the mighty Ohio River in Southwest Indiana, I was still next door to thoroughbred racing; Ellis Park, Henderson, KY 

 

Likewise, the first Saturday in May was always a celebrated family event. As my two brothers and I got older the battle for picking the next winner began to heat up. In 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance. Since then I’ve made it an annaual tradition because there’s no other city or weekend in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 

 

Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, following a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. The coverage begins when the 2-yr-old preps commence but it does not quit racing until all results are official, the field is set, the picks are made and the roses are worn. But that’s not all because the road doesn’t stop on the First Saturday in May. The elusive quest for the next Triple Crown has reached 35 years so I invite my readers to remain in the saddle through all three legs as we await the next Champion of Champions. Cheers.

 

 



 

 


2013 Kentucky Derby