Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 22
the surprise which transpired down the Aqueduct stretch in the Wood Memorial, and
whether Uncle Mo ran to his ability or not, my contention is there were other
good horses in that field. In a race where more than one person used the
dreaded “D” word to describe the opponents of Mo that day (that’s right, some racing fans
called the Wood Memorial field, sans Mo, a bunch of donkeys); there emerged at
least one more bright light destined for Louisville. I suppose after the
implosion of Uncle Mo, from the clear cut Kentucky Derby favorite into a huge
question mark, some might include Uncle Mo in the donkey brigade, but that is
neither fair, nor accurate. The winner, Toby’s Corner is a real nice colt and a
very deserving member of the Kentucky Derby field.
you I have absolutely nothing against donkeys. I actually have found the ones
that I have met to be docile, good natured animals. They have little in common
with the world’s most beautiful and noble animal though … the thoroughbred race
horse. OK, we’ve established that calling a thoroughbred a donkey is a no-no in
my book; by the way, I don’t even like it in a field of $5,000 claimers, but
let’s get back to the merits of Toby’s Corner.
always thought him a nice horse, but honestly I did not consider him a top candidate
to wear the roses, that is, until recently. After finishing 3rd in a
sloppy maiden sprint at Delaware last October, Toby’s Corner has reeled off
four wins in five starts, including an impressive win in the Whirlaway Stakes,
and of course the big Wood win. His only loss in that stretch came when he
rallied to be 3rd in the Gotham Stakes behind Stay Thirsty. He reportedly
fought the bit that day, and seems to have really been helped by the addition
of blinkers. In the Wood, Toby’s Corner finished full of run despite tepid
fractions. In fact he never really looked like a winner until he found a new gear
late in the race. That fact, as well as, the way he was able to maneuver
through traffic, and then gallop out strongly past the wire, all are good signs
for the First Saturday in May.
bred by Dianne Cotter, who also bred his sire and former Wood Memorial hero,
Bellamy Road, Toby’s Corner is in very capable hands. The bay colt resides in
the barn of trainer Graham Motion. Best known for training top turf horses like
Better Talk Now and Film Maker, I feel confident in Motion’s ability to have a
horse fit for the ten furlong Kentucky Derby. If he is good enough, his trainer
should have him ready for a peak effort. Toby’s Corner is not the only late
developer that interests me, but he does seem to fit well into my new strategy
for this year’s Derby.
strategy being, that I’ve decided to throw out everything I thought I knew
about this year's Kentucky Derby just a short time ago. I'm starting with a
clean slate, as are all the contenders in my eyes. I'm not positive it will
help me pick the winner, but with a victor that is likely to be the one that
peaks in May, and pays $30 or more, I feel this stripping down of 'old'
thinking is bound to help.
the next time you are about speak about a field of thoroughbreds as donkeys, mules, or nags, please … bite your
tongue. You just might be talking about Toby’s Corner, or maybe even your next
winner of the Kentucky Derby.