Once again, the Kentucky Derby has changed drastically from what we all thought it would be at this point in the season. Horses like To Honor and Serve failed to progress from their juvenile form to three year olds. Promising looking two year olds like Brethren proved to be only be hype. Dialed In showed promise early this year, but after a loss to allowance horses and a lackluster win in the Florida Derby, one cannot help but have doubts. Uncle Mo, the most impressive juvenile champion in years, fell in the Wood Memorial and then so too did The Factor in the Arkansas Derby. After so many unforeseeable upsets one has to wonder now, who should be the Kentucky Derby favorite?
Dialed In, the Florida Derby winner will most likely take favoritism, but how deserving is this son of Mineshaft? His one loss was going nine furlongs to a group of allowance horses. Yes, they were older, but none of them were even near the class of Dialed In. In the Florida Derby he did manage to scrap out a nose victory after making a huge middle move, but he came home in a snail-like 13.5 seconds. People, even dear old Moses could have gotten to the line faster.
So, if not Dialed In, who should enter the Derby as the favorite? Uncle Mo could still be a threat. He had a GI Infection during the running of the Wood and still lost by only 1 ¼ lengths, coming home in 12 4/5 seconds. The question remains, will he be ready for the Derby? His work today indicated that he seems to be just fine. His final three eighths were run in around 36 flat, after an opening quarter of 25.41. Over the sloppy Churchill Downs main track, that is not a half bad work.
Nobody seems to want to acknowledge just how consistent Archarcharch has been this year. He is one of the most prepared horses this year, coming into the Kentucky Derby with plenty of bottom and experience. He disappointed in the Smarty Jones, his 2011 debut, but came back with a strong win in the Southwest. He was then barely nicked for third by Caleb’s Posse when being beaten by The Factor, but turned the tables on those to when winning the Arkansas Derby. Once could argue he has probably run against the toughest fields assembled in Derby preps this year.
My personal order would give favoritism to Uncle Mo, second would come Archarcharch, with Dialed In possibly third. Dialed In just seems more like dynamite closing miler, just watch his Holy Bull. Uncle Mo, when at his best is much quicker with just as dynamic of a kick. Running straight 11’s in his maiden, coming home a final quarter in 24 flat in the Champagne, a final 1/16 in 6 1/5 seconds in the Juvenile, and closing his final quarter in 22 4/5 in the Timely Writer are proof of that.