What do Broadway’s Alibi, Believe You Can, Amie’s Dini, Hansen, Bodemeister, and Trinniberg all have in common? You guessed it … you will not find any of them on my tickets this weekend. Oh, that wasn’t your guess? You figured that I was singling out several of the speed horses running in the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks this weekend. Well, that’s kind of the point. Show me a horse that will be contesting the pace in either the Derby or the Oaks, and I’ll show you a horse that I do not expect to be around when the winners are reaching the finish line. Why do I say this with such conviction? Several reasons…
In the Kentucky Derby, the entire field will be running a distance farther than they have ever seen before. In the Oaks, only a pair of fillies have ever been the 9 furlong distance, and that of course came at a different track than Churchill Downs. One thing you can count on is there will be many leg-weary young horses coming down the lane.
Combine that fact with the intense pressure that the 34 horses will find in the Oaks and Derby respectively, pressure that they’ve never experienced before, and the tired factor will be raised exponentially for many. Not only are they racing against the biggest field they’ve ever seen, but the quality of competition will test every ounce of courage they may or may not possess. Sprinkle in a little unusually warm Louisville weather, and hundreds of thousands of screaming fans, and it’s enough to make me want to loosen my tie.
And lastly, and most importantly, both fields are loaded with speed. Not only are there the six that I mentioned, but several others in each race that can be expected to be part of a contested pace. Speed is great when unpressured, but clearly that will not be the case in either the Oaks or the Derby.
All this adds up to what will be remembered as the Great Speed Burnout of 2012. Toss the speed, and join me in playing some horses that will be finishing strong in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Horses just like Dullahan and Summer Applause?