And so it begins the real Derby countdown. I know we have been tracking these exciting three year olds for 3 months now, but the real action starts this weekend in Florida. This Sunday is the running of the Florida Derby and it is shaping up to be one of the most competitive prep races I think we have seen all year.
Up until now, it seems that we have been watching races that were merely preparing the horse for their final prep race. I know we all know that already, but this year it seems that the fields were not as competitive as prior years. Well that is all about to change.
Don’t get me wrong, a thrown together stakes race to keep Uncle Mo in south Florida and an allowance race for Dialed In was thrilling, but…to be honest, it was not thrilling. Not even close. These were races that were thrown together at the last minute and it showed. This time of the year, I am looking for a brawl heading down the stretch or a blowout against real competition. I am looking for a few horses that could really bring some competition against Uncle Mo the first Saturday in May.
I think we have finally found those horses; we have gotten to the very first competitive field in this road to the roses and it is the Florida Derby. The Florida Derby is going to be the prep race of the year. It will bring out the winner of the Holy Bull, the Fountain of Youth, and the Gotham Stakes. I don’t know who else will be showing up there as of right now, but I think a few others may pop in there when they weigh their options. Let’s face it, nobody and I mean nobody, wants to head to the Wood Memorial and we all know why. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the Florida Derby may not only be the best prep race we have seen or will see, but that it may give me more excitement to watch than the Kentucky Derby itself. No, I’m not crazy I just know I will cash a bigger ticket with the winner of the Florida Derby than I will in the Kentucky Derby…maybe.
So, going into the real nitty-gritty of things, here is where I stand in my Derby rankings.
Dialed In-Yes, I am bold enough to say that this colt may have the finishing punch to beat Uncle Mo to the wire on Derby day. Even his last race impressed me. I know he lost, but it was a slow trip and when Leparoux asked for it, he gave it. He went the two turns and the most impressive thing, his determination. I was absolutely confident in this horse after watching Equestrio veer out near the finish line. Dialed In stayed focused and just kept running. Very impressive; Dialed In ran like a mature horse that day.
Uncle Mo-I don’t think anyone is throwing this horse out. He makes a grueling race look like an afternoon stroll. Not to mention that he has one of the best jockey/trainer teams that a horse can have.
Sway Away-I am still not giving up on this horse yet. Maybe it is the Gomez factor, but I think this horse can run and I am not ready to give up…at least not until April 17.
I am sure we will all have plenty to say about the remaining prep races and ‘our Derby picks’ as time goes on, but that is all for now. I am looking forward to the Florida Derby more than ANY other race this year and I will be rooting for my Derby pick, Dialed In.
Before I close I have to ‘chat’ of the subject; sending my thoughts to Zenyatta and wishing her the best for her next date with Bernardini.